I recently did a video listing my top 10 upcoming game releases this year. However, I wanted to do something similar for one of my favorite genres, the visual novel. The thing with visual novels though is that many VN publishers avoid announcing specific dates until very close to release, so a video talking about those coming out in just 2019 would be a bit more difficult. As such, I will be listing my top 5 upcoming visual novels that have an English-language version in production, regardless of its potential release date.
In making this list I referenced VNDB for upcoming English-language releases. Also, do note that the list is in no particular order.
Angel Beats! was one of the first few anime I ever watched and has always been one of my higher-rated ones, so a visual novel adaptation that further explores the different characters and such is right up my alley. The story is already set up in a way to allow for such an adaptation, it is just a matter of adapting and expanding on it properly. Fortunately, this adaptation was developed by Key, the same visual novel studio that brought us classics like Little Busters! and Clannad, so I have high hopes.
However, the game is kinda stuck in a limbo. An English-language version was confirmed and was even revealed to be about 50% complete, but the last update we have heard was almost three years ago. Regardless, I still hold out hope for an eventual release, hopefully one as polished as Key’s previous works.
Senren ＊ Banka
Here we have one actually coming out this year, courtesy of NekoNyan. Just a few months ago I played my first YuzuSoft game localized by NekoNyan, Sabbat of the Witch, and I was rather impressed with its quality. The game had some great artwork, an interesting storyline, and a bunch of configuration options and such that really made it feel like a proper, modern visual novel.
As such, I have high hopes for YuzuSoft’s Senren ＊ Banka, as it was released after Sabbat of the Witch in Japan and was also positively received there. It may not be a pure love story like Sabbat of the Witch, but I am definitely interested in seeing how YuzuSoft makes use of a fantasy setting. NekoNyan has been on top of getting VNs announced and released in a timely manner, so I will likely be reviewing this one later this year.
I will admit that I know little about the Baldr series. I do know that it is a sort of mecha-mystery hybrid story, but outside of that, all I know is that both Baldr Sky games have very high ratings on VNDB. In fact, Baldr Sky Dive2 is the fifth highest rated visual novel on the site. This puts it above some of my favorite VNs (Little Busters! and Danganronpa 2 specifically). So on top of the genres being right up my alley, I am very interested in seeing just what everyone sees in these two games.
Sekai Project did announce this project quite some time ago, but we finally got an update a couple weeks back. At the time of writing, Sekai Project has the translation and editing at 70%, so we may even see a release this year. Again, this is just me being optimistic, as this is Sekai Project, but there is at least some hope.
Bokuten – Why I Became an Angel
I have had my eye on Bokuten for quite some time, always watching it never make any progress on MangaGamer’s status updates. The game is basically about a depressed, lonely MC who comes across an angel that wants him to see the world differently. It takes a very depressing approach to the romance genre. In fact, the game is even classified as an “utsuge”, which literally means “depressing game”. I am all for a visual novel that can tell a good, yet depressing story, which is exactly what Bokuten is trying to do.
Fortunately, the game has received a lot of status updates over the past couple months and is now currently sitting in scripting, one of the last phases until release. Again, this is another visual novel that I will definitely be reviewing upon its release.
I started this list with a game from Key and I will be ending it with another one. This time it is for Key’s critically-acclaimed Rewrite. Key has continuously set the bar for what to expect from a good romance-drama visual novel, so I am hoping that they do it once more with Rewrite.
The game already has a fan translation, but I have been holding out for an official release. The official release carries the added bonus of being based on the “plus” version of the game, which includes a number of improvements not seen in the base game. The localization was announced a while back and seemed to be dead until a couple weeks ago when an update appeared on Sekai Project’s status tracker, putting the game at 35% translated.
Considering Sekai’s pace, it probably won’t come out for another two years, but I am looking forward to it regardless. Just looking at all of the reviews that already exist for the base game have set my expectations pretty high.
I am looking forward to more than just these five, but these five are definitely my most-anticipated. Hopefully 2019 can provide us with even more surprise announcements, enough so that I can justify making another one of these videos.