Visual novel fans tend to have a similar way to describe the genre to those new to it. Often fans will say that VNs are just like watching the anime in play format. As visual novel players ourselves, we can kind of agree with this as many VNs become anime at one point or indeed play like an interactive anime. School Days—regardless if you love it or hate it—was one of the few VNs that truly captured the concept of fusing anime with interactive choices by literally having every scene in game be animated. More recently though, another game has done the same and has improved what School Days did by a considerable amount. This game is Steins;Gate Elite which made the original VN into a clone of the anime but with all of the original’s various routes and endings being done as if you were watching/playing the anime! With such an amazing design, we began to really think that More Visual Novels Should Be Like Steins;Gate Elite.
Truly An Interactive Anime
There are thousands of visual novels out there that truly boast amazing anime-like graphics and designs that fans of the anime series will feel as if they are rewatching the anime but with the ability to make choices that alter the story the way they want it to be altered. Steins;Gate has only a few of the routes embedded in the show which does make fans of the other girls—or guy who looks like a girl—kind of sad that they can’t see Okabe ends up with another girl even though Kurisu is obviously best girl of the series. Steins;Gate Elite removes that dilemma by giving players the power to see other girls chosen by their actions and watch as that path unfolds in glorious anime format. Imagine if every VN allowed this? You’d have a lot fewer wars online claiming an anime made a mistake at which girl was chosen.
Production Value Galore
Probably the most annoying thing about those who hate on VNs is that they have one argument we can’t fight back well against. At the end of the day, VNs are just books with images that give you different choices to see different paths. It might seem like a silly thought to dwell on, but VNs are kind of just that, books with different paths. If more VNs took the Steins;Gate Elite approach, they would be more akin to actual games due to the visual presentation and the feeling of choice having more depth due to the animation. That’s why we are loving how another popular visual novel—Root Letter—is redoing the original style with a live action version that has players still making choices but now are watching the scenes unfold as if they are watching a movie! It might not be an actual anime in the case of Root Letter: Last Answer, but that level of style really shows a genuine care to have better—and stronger—production values.
Visual novels—and those who create them—tend to stick to a very formulaic approach. This design makes most visual novels feel like copy and pasted works. You’ll pop in another visual novel and immediately feel déjà vu as you watch CG sprites on screen and some minor movements occur as you read through hours of text. Visual novels taking on the Steins;Gate Elite concept will gain a new level of diversity as they can make anime scenes or even choose a different animation approach. Imagine an all chibi themed VN or maybe a VN with CGI animation. The bottom line is that choosing to mimic Steins;Gate Elite would mean more diversity in VNs which we always need.
Did Someone Say Sales Boost
Our last argument for why More Visual Novels Should Be Like Steins;Gate Elite comes in the most obvious argument, sale increases. Visual novels aren’t at a bad sales point—Japan loves VNs and the west is beginning to more and more—but with the format of Steins;Gate Elite behind a VN…the sales would soar. More visual novels would do better in terms of sales. While it might cost them more to be made—because you’d need to hire anime studios or teams—the price of sales would outweigh the cost of creation.
Steins;Gate Elite might be a clone of its original—as the only thing to change was the added on anime format—but we played through it again because of just that one small change. Anime and visual novel gameplay is the perfect marriage in a gaming genre and it’s something we want to see more often in VNs. Do you agree with us or feel that visual novels shouldn’t mirror anime? Comment below as we genuinely want some opinions here! Be sure to keep stuck to our hive for even more articles done by us here at Honey’s Anime!