It is all fairly obvious what is going on with the PlayStation Vita outside of Japan. Cartridge production has cut off, so only digital copies of games are being released. The few domestic titles still on the horizon tend to be indie ones, like Conga Master Go!, though The House in Fata Morgana and NG are a notable exceptions. Given even some import games, like Uta no Prince-sama: Dolce Vita, are being canceled, it might make people worry. What is going on with the handheld in Japan? Well, surprisingly, it’s not performing all that poorly.
Vita visual novels are still going strong.
If there’s one area in which the handheld is not lacking in Japan, it’s visual novels. There are still so many showing up in that area. Especially if you look at Vita otome games. Nintendo’s Switch is starting to creep up as the platform of choice for such games, but Sony’s handheld is still number one.
I mean, a new otome game just came out in Japan for the Vita. It’s Shinigami to Shoujo, which originally appeared on the PSP. It follows a young woman who meets a shinigami (death god) after hearing from her author elder brother that his next story involves a girl meeting a shinigami. After that, Kannagi no Mori: Satsukiame Tsuzuri offers another supernatural love story in August, as people follow a heroine who can see the supernatural and starts having a chance to fall in love with an array of bachelor options after seeing what appears to be the dead coming back. A few months later, in September 2019, people can follow a cat princess who has an opportunity to romance people from the Cat and Human Countries after the two regions are suddenly exposed to one another again.
As for Vita visual novels that don’t fall into the otome category, there are a ton available soon. Making Lovers just made its debut this week and is a harem-style game. Mell Kiss will tell a love story in a high school setting in September, giving people a chance to find love with a familiar face or a transfer student while preparing for a school festival. Later this year, in October 2019, Aerial Life will have players trying to escape a VR game while also falling in love with heroines.
But again, these are only some that have been singled out. Eve: Burst Error R. Eve: Rebirth Terror, Gnosia, Karigurashi Renai, Kenka Bancho Otome 2nd Rumble, Memories Off: Innocent Fille for Dearest, Nurse Love Syndrome, Your Diary+ and Yumeutsutsu Re:Master
Unfortunately, given how text heavy Vita visual novels are, they typically aren’t ideal import options. But, a number of upcoming games are still possible titles to bring over from Japan.
Multiplatform releases are still getting by.
There are a surprising number of major series still getting Vita game releases in Japan in 2019. While these have tapered out in other regions, Japanese developers seem more willing to take a risk. Like, I mean, the dungeon-crawling KonoSuba: God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! Labyrinth of Hope and the Gathering of Adventurers just came to the Vita recently in Japan, showing companies support, and it is joined by many others.
For example, people might have been worried about the Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? RPG. It was announced in 2017, received a Spring 2018 release window, initially had a March 29, 2018 release date, was pushed to Summer 2018, seemed like it would arrive in Spring 2019 and only received its November 28, 2019 release date in early July 2019. When these sorts of things happen, platforms can be dropped along the way. However, the Vita version will still appear, even though Switch and PC versions were also tacked on along the way.
Existing series are also still being supported. NIS released Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk on the system not long ago. It gave people a chance to enjoy a supernatural dungeon crawler where dolls were party members. Its sequel, Labyrinth of Galleria: Coven of Dusk, is headed to the same two platforms in Japan. Granted, with NIS’ troubles in the region, its future may seem nebulous. But for now, a Spring 2020 RPG has been confirmed following the witch’s assistant, Eureka, as she heads into a labyrinth with more puppet soldiers.
It isn’t the only turn-based dungeon-crawler. Experience’s Students of the Round: Blue-Winged Chevalier, which is an updated remake of a PSP, Xbox 360 and PC game, finally made its Vita debut in 2019. It isn’t all that dissimilar from Demon Gaze, a successor set in the same world, and again allows people to create parties of original characters who are students of the Knights of the Round who failed to stop a Demon King before and have a new chance at it again.
A baseball game might honestly be one of the more exciting ones. Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2019 showed up on the PS4 and Vita this year. Except, that isn’t the end of it. Konami also said it will eventually offer a major free update for both versions of the title. This will be a 2020 season update that will keep it relevant even next year. It’s a nice bonus, considering what the Vita’s game horizon looks like going forward.
But what about those domestic games you mentioned?
Okay. So the Vita isn’t totally dead in the west. Many Japanese games have made the jump this year. The House in Fata Morgana: Dreams of the Revenants Edition gave Vita owners in other regions a chance to experience the horror novel on a handheld earlier this year. A port of Romancing SaGa 3 is heading to it worldwide. Square Enix even confirmed it at its E3 2019 media briefing. NG, an adventure game that is set in the same world as Experience’s Death Mark game, will be showing up in October 2019. Later this fall, the kinetic visual novel Fault Milestone One will show up on the Vita, joined by a World End Economica port in Winter 2019. There’s even a 2020 game on the way! Utawarerumono: Prelude to the Fallen, the remake of the very first game, could end up being the last Vita game released in the west when it makes its digital debut in 2020.