This article was an inevitability in many ways. Or rather ‘these articles’. I’ll explain in a bit.
If you’re looking at the Western VN market from an outside perspective, it is still a growing market. That is usually ignored over the overall debate on how said market is perceived, and that is where it has gotten complicated. The current reality on the ground is the most recognized VNs for the larger gaming world right now are either the never-ending Sakura series from Winged Cloud (for being crap) or Doki Doki Literature Club. Despite that, the medium continues to attract the attention of major businesses. In my opinion, it is because it is still nothing but upside from the market’s POV and you can see that with Nintendo.
As of this writing, Nintendo’s Switch console is the big story in the gaming business world. It simply wasn’t supposed to reach the level of success it has so far. The current biggest issue facing the system is just that it needs more games. Nintendo have some big titles waiting in the slot such as Metroid Prime 4 and the next Super Smash Bros. However, it is still so early in its life cycle that the company is open to increasing its library with quality work (in most case). Which is why the new President is so open to the mobile market: including VNs. We’ve already had the Otomate announcement and this week we’ve learned that the excellent VA-11 HALL-A (my 2016 VN of the Year) will be making its way to the system as well. They join Necrobarista, a promising title that should be releasing this year if all goes well, and Detention; which is the hill I’m willing to die on in the ‘What Is A VN’ debate.
And there’s still room for more. The question is, who will define the visual novel market on the Switch? Right now, the gate-keeping is pretty solid with either provably good or promising titles. Where it goes from there isn’t actually up to Nintendo, it’s up to the developers who decide to strike while the iron is hot and get into the market before it gets too crowded. Which is what brings us here today.
This series of articles isn’t the end-all, be-all of the visual novels that should be on the Switch because that’s a much longer list than five. Walkerman, Three Guys That Paint, Cupid, and several Cyanide Tea works all came to mind when I was making this list. And as I have ranted about on social media these last few months, if you are a developer and I have given your game a 8/10 or up; you should be looking at getting on the Switch. The ones I chose for this list are simply the ones that have the best corporate through-line right now in terms of content, marketability and proven quality from their developers. They are the ones that could (read: COULD) enjoy a solid run here in the early days and see a serious increase in profile that will most likely wane with time.
But that’s what it’ll come down to: timing. So, these are the FIVE VISUAL NOVELS THAT NEED TO BE TO THE NINTENDO SWITCH….RIGHT NOW.
And yes I will do a list for Japanese visual novels as well. Eventually that link will go here.