NIS details htoL#NiQ: Hotaru no Nikki
When you think of Nippon Ichi Software, you probably think of comedic strategy role-playing games with ridiculous grinds, and damage numbers. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to have immediately recognizable titles, it can be limiting a company in what it can do. That is why NIS’s president president, Sohei Niikawa, started “New Brand”; a label containing titles that are so far removed from the company’s norm, that if you removed their name from the packaging you wouldn’t be able to tell that they made it. htoL#NiQ: Hotaru no Nikki for PlayStation Vita is one of those games.
htoL#NiQ: Hotaru no Nikki, which has been translated to mean “Firefly Diaries”, is an action-adventure puzzle game about a young girl named Mion who loses her memory, and awakens deep inside dark ruins covered in rubble. A strange pattern is engraved on her body, and more alarmingly, she’s begun to sprout wood-like branches from her head. Two fireflies – one of light, and another of darkness- will guide Mion outside of the ruins. But each firefly has its own motivation. As Mion is defenseless, players will have to carefully maneuver her through the game’s levels. One section will have players come across the shadows who will attack and harvest Mion if she’s noticed. Their boss will eventually chase Mion, and if he succeeds, he’ll cut her up and eat her. Through exploring the ruins players will come across unmanned machines blocking paths, distorted vegetation, and the bodies of dead children. Baring the strange pattern on her body, the figure of these children resemble Mion. Players will also stumble across sprout-like objects called Memory Fragments. Touching them reveals a glimpse of Mion’s past. The only way to uncover the truth about the young girl and the ruins is to find all of the fragments.
As that summary probably hinted at, despite htoL#NiQ’s cute appearance, the game will have a serious tone. It received a CERO D rating, which indicates the game is suggested for players 17 years and older. “The game will be balanced between dying and thinking of different strategies. The story isn’t told through words, so there will be a lot of parts you’ll feel through the atmosphere, and its content is rather serious” says Niikawa.
The development staff consist of a small team within Nippon Ichi’s studio. A character designer from the Disgaea series is handling htoL#NiQ’s direction, character design, and game design. Niikawa states that “he’s practically focusing on every aspect while making the game. In a way, it’s almost like making an indie title.”
htoL#NiQ: Hotaru no Nikki will be released on June 19th for 3,086yen. While the game has been primarily thought of as a download-only affair, there will be a premium package box that includes an art book, soundtrack, and a set of two Mion badges for 6,264yen. But before you importers get excited, do note that this release may be akin to Phantom Breaker: Battlegrounds, where instead of a cartridge, you receive a download code. NIS hasn’t specified either way.
While the game hasn’t been announced for a western release, I expect it to get one.