Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpaboxart.jpg
North American PlayStation Vita cover, featuring Monokuma
Developer(s) Spike
Publisher(s) Microsoft Windows
Producer(s) Yuichiro Saito
Writer(s) Kazutaka Kodaka
Composer(s) Masafumi Takada
Series Danganronpa
Platform(s) PlayStation Portable, iOS, Android, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4
Release PlayStation Portable
  • JP: November 25, 2010[2]
iOS, Android PlayStation Vita
  • JP: October 10, 2013
  • NA: February 11, 2014[4]
  • PAL: February 14, 2014[5]
Windows, OS X, Linux
  • WW: February 18, 2016
PlayStation 4
  • NA: March 14, 2017
  • EU: March 17, 2017
  • JP: May 18, 2017[6]
Genre(s) Adventure, visual novel

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生?, Danganronpa: Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei, lit. Danganronpa: The Academy of Hope and the High School Students of Despair)[7] is an adventure visual novel video game[7] developed and published by Spike (later Spike Chunsoft) and the first game in the Danganronpa series. The game was originally released in Japan for the PlayStation Portable on November 25, 2010 and was later ported to iOS and Android devices on August 20, 2012. Two manga adaptations and two spin-off novels have been published, a anime television adaptation by Lerche aired between July and September 2013, and a stage adaptation ran from October to November 2014 in Tokyo's Nippon Seinenkan.

A sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, was released for PlayStation Portable on July 26, 2012. A compilation of both games, titled Danganronpa 1・2 Reload, was released for PlayStation Vita in Japan on October 10, 2013[1] and in Taiwan on January 16, 2014.[8] NIS America released the Vita remake of the first game in North America on February 11, 2014, and in Europe and Australia on February 14, 2014.[1][4] The game was also released on Steam in February 18, 2016 and for the PlayStation 4 in March 2017.

A spin-off game, titled Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, was released for the PS Vita in 2014.[9] A canonical anime sequel that is considered the third entry in the series, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, began airing in July 2016.[10] A third main title, which will supposedly start a new saga unrelated to the previous entries, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, has been announced for PS Vita and PlayStation 4.[11]

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot from a conversation with the character Mondo Owada

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc casts players in the role of Makoto Naegi, a student of Hope's Peak Academy, who finds himself trapped in a game of mutual killing among his students. Gameplay is similar in style to the Ace Attorney series, revolving around investigation and finding contradictions, albeit with an emphasis on faster gameplay.[7][12][13] Each chapter of the game features two styles of gameplay; School Life, in which the player explores the academy and progresses through the story, and the Class Trials, where the player must deduce the culprit of a crime.

During School Life, the player can explore the school grounds in first-person perspective, with more areas of the academy becoming available as the game progresses. Whilst in one of the various rooms, players move a crosshair cursor which is used to initiate conversations with characters or examine parts of the environment. Examining certain objects yields Monokuma Medals, which can be used in a capsule machine in the school shop to unlock presents. School Life is divided into two sections; "Daily Life" and "Deadly Life". In the Daily Life sections, players converse with various characters and move the plot along. Certain comments can be 'reacted' to reveal new information. In designated 'Free Time' segments, players can choose to hang out with specific characters and give them presents, which in turn reveals more information about them and unlocks various Skills that can be used in the Class Trials. When a crime scene is discovered, the game shifts to the Deadly Life section, in which the player must search for clues throughout the academy. Evidence and testimonies gathered are stored in the player's e-Handbook, where players can also save their game. When all possible evidence is located, the game moves on to the Class Trial. Prior to a Class Trial, players can assign any Skills they have unlocked, which can assist them during gameplay.

The Class Trials are the main section of the game, in which the students must discuss amongst themselves who the culprit is. With the exception of occasions where the player must answer a multiple choice question or present a piece of evidence, Class Trials consist of four main styles of gameplay: Nonstop Debate, Hangman's Gambit, Bullet Time Battle and Closing Argument. The most common of these is the Nonstop Debate, where characters will automatically discuss their thoughts on the case, with potential 'weak points' highlighted in yellow. During these sections, the player is armed with "Truth Bullets", metaphorical bullets containing evidence relevant to the discussion. In order to break the debate, the player must find a lie or contradiction amongst the weak points and shoot it with a bullet containing the evidence that contradicts it. Players can also silence disruptive purple chatter to earn extra time and utilise a Concentration meter to slow down the conversation and make shots more easily. These sections become more difficult as the game progresses and more possible weak points are added, with later trials occasionally requiring the player to use one remark as ammunition against another. Hangman's Gambit is a shooting puzzle section in which the player must shoot down specific letters that spell out a clue. Bullet Time Battle is a one-on-one debate against another student featuring rhythm style gameplay. As the opponent makes remarks, the player must press buttons in time to the beat to lock onto the remarks and shoot them down. Finally, Closing Argument is a puzzle in which players piece together a comic strip depicting how a crime went down. The players Influence amongst the other students is represented by hearts, which is reduced whenever the player makes errors in shooting contradictions or presenting evidence and is slightly replenished when correct evidence is presented. The game ends if the player loses all of their Influence, or if they run out of time during a segment. At the end of a trial, players are ranked on their performance, with additional Monokuma Medals awarded for high ranks.

The PlayStation Vita and the PlayStation 4 versions features an exclusive School Life mode, based on the Island Mode introduced in Danganronpa 2, which is unlocked after clearing the game once. In this 'What If?' mode, Monokuma tasks the students with building several backup units of himself over several days. Each day, the player assigns students to scavenge rooms for necessary materials needed to build each concept, keep the school clean, or rest up to recover energy. During Free Time, players can either hang out with the other students to unlock skills, just like in the main game or use Trip Tickets earned from completed concepts to take them on trips. The Vita version also features high-resolution graphics and optional touchscreen controls.

Story[edit]

Danganronpa takes place at an elite high school called Hope's Peak Academy (希望ヶ峰学園?, Kibōgamine Gakuen), which accepts talented "Ultimate" students (超高校級?, chō-kōkō-kyū, lit. Super High School Level) of the highest caliber in various fields each year.[7] Makoto Naegi, a fairly optimistic but otherwise average student, is selected in a raffle and chosen to enroll into the academy as the "Ultimate Lucky Student".[7] However, when Naegi arrives inside the Academy, he loses consciousness and wakes up locked inside the school, where he meets fourteen other newly picked Ultimate students who are in the same situation as him. A sadistic, remote-controlled bear named Monokuma appears before them, telling them they will be imprisoned in the academy for the rest of their lives, and that they will be put to death if they violate any of the schools rules. He offers only one way for students to "graduate" from the academy: murder another student and not be identified as the culprit.

When a murder occurs, a "class trial" (学級裁判?, gakyū saiban) is held, in which the remaining students must determine amongst themselves who the killer is. As the game progresses, several students are killed, and Naegi frequently takes the role of arbiter of the trial, and provides most of the logical insights. Naegi receives assistance from Kyoko Kirigiri, a mysterious girl with no recollection of her past, but possessing keen observational and deductive skills. However, through their investigations, it becomes clear to the remaining students that regardless of what they do, Monokuma has no intention of letting them leave the academy. In addition, following each trial, after a period of time has passed, Monokuma instigates further strife by direct manipulation: threatening students' families, threatening to reveal embarrassing secrets, or offering a bounty to provoke the remaining students. In the penultimate trial, while it has become obvious to the player that the person controlling Monokuma committed the "murder", the only possible culprits from the surviving students are either Naegi or Kirigiri. In the canon plot, Naegi, placing his faith in Kirigiri, withholds evidence that could potentially implicate her as the killer, and is summarily declared guilty by Monokuma without a vote. However, during Naegi's execution, he is saved by an artificial intelligence previously introduced into the school's computer network and instead falls into an underground dump. Escaping from the dump with help from Kirigiri, the surviving students band together to work against Monokuma, and find out the true mastermind behind the death game is Junko Enoshima, one of the students previously thought killed, but who had, in fact, employed her twin sister, Mukuro Ikusaba, to impersonate her, only to ultimately kill her on a whim.

Junko reveals that the students all had already been in the academy for two years and all knew each other. However, when an unspecified apocalyptic event, caused by a mysterious movement calling themselves "Ultimate Despair", led global society to collapse and violent anarchy erupted worldwide, the students and the headmaster agreed to barricade themselves inside the academy to wait out the crisis. Unfortunately, Junko, herself a secret member of and the implied leader of Ultimate Despair, then murdered the headmaster, took control of the academy, and erased all of the students' memories of having known each other. Her motivation is to spread further despair all over the world by televising the world's brightest and most talented students murdering each other. Having been found out and her plans foiled, Junko then commits suicide by subjecting herself to a combination of all of the executions she used to kill the past culprits.

Afterwards, Naegi, Kirigiri, and the other surviving students exit the academy, uncertain of the current state of the world. In a post-credits scene, Monokuma mysteriously re-activates and swears that it will continue its quest to spread despair.

In the Vita and PS4 versions, players can also reach an alternate ending when successfully completing School Mode. In this ending, all students survive and leave the school, unaware of the disaster waiting ahead and oblivious to the fact that their memories were erased. This ending includes a cameo appearance by Monomi, a character from the second game.

Development[edit]

Danganronpa uses a special graphics technique, termed "2.5D Motion Graphics", used to blend 2D character and item art within a 3D explorable environment.[7] The game uses pop art and a bright and colorful style, such as using bright pink-colored blood, as a way to contrast the dark subject matter of murder.[14] The game's scenario was written by Kazutaka Kodaka, with character designs by Rui Komatsuzaki. Kodaka stated he desired to "...shake user's heart by showing a devastating accident in not devastating ways. But, by some measure, it might be more shocking than showing a devastating scene."[14] Prior to release, a free demo version containing the first chapter of the game (with a different victim from the final game) was made available. A bonus key chain with a figure of Monokuma on it was given to people pre-ordering the original PlayStation Portable version.[15] The game was ported to iOS and Android in August 2012, with new features such as retina display support, touch screen controls, and a new image gallery.[16] The game could be purchased either separately by chapter, or as a whole like the PlayStation Portable release.[17] The fan translation group Project Zetsubou released an unofficial English translation patch for the PlayStation Portable version of the game on June 23, 2013.[18] Two smartphone applications, Danganronpa: Monokuma no Gyakushū (ダンガンロンパ モノクマの逆襲?, lit. Danganronpa: Monokuma Strikes Back) and Alter Ego (アルターエゴ?, Arutāego), were released for Android devices on April 27, 2012 and iOS devices on May 23, 2012.[19] Following the Japanese release of Danganronpa 1-2 Reload, a PlayStation Vita port of the game and its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, NIS America released the Vita version of Trigger Happy Havoc in North America and Europe in February 2014.[1][4] Spike Chunsoft later released the game on Steam in February 2016.[20] NIS America also released Danganronpa 1-2 Reload for PlayStation 4 in North America and Europe in March 2017.[21] A virtual reality demo based on the game, titled Cyber Danganronpa VR: Class Trial, was released for PlayStation VR on October 13, 2016.[22]

Other media[edit]

Danganronpa: The Animation
Danganronpacharacters3.jpg
ダンガンロンパ: The Animation
Anime television series
Directed by Seiji Kishi
Written by Makoto Uezu
Music by Masafumi Takada
Studio Lerche
Licensed by
Original network MBS, TBS, CBC, BS-TBS
English network
Original run July 4, 2013September 26, 2013
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

Danganronpa has received two manga adaptations. The first adaptation, illustrated by Saku Toutani, was published in Enterbrain's Famitsu Comic Clear web magazine between June 24, 2011 and October 18, 2013, and is told from the perspective of the other students.[24] The second, illustrated by Samurai Takashi and based on the anime series, began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten's Shōnen Ace magazine from July 2013. An official fanbook and comic anthologies based on both the game and the anime have also been published.

A spin-off novel based on the game written by Tsuyoshi Kodakazu and illustrated by Rui Komatsuzaki, titled Danganronpa/Zero (ダンガンロンパ/ゼロ?), was released in two volumes between September 15, 2011 and October 13, 2011.[25] Another novel series written by Takekuni Kitayama and illustrated by Komatsuzaki, titled Danganronpa Kirigiri (ダンガンロンパ霧切?), began release from September 13, 2013.[26] A mini light novel written by Ryohgo Narita, titled Danganronpa IF: The Button of Hope and the Tragic Warriors of Despair (ダンガンロンパIF 希望の脱出装置と絶望の残念無双?, Danganronpa IF: Kibō no Dasshutsusōchi to Zetsubō no Zan'nen Musō), is unlockable in Danganronpa 2 after clearing the game once. The story tells of an alternate universe in which Naegi manages to find an alleged escape switch.

The game's original soundtrack, composed by Masafumi Takada, was released by Sound Prestige Records on February 14, 2011. The anime adaptation's original soundtrack was released by Geneon Universal Entertainment on August 28, 2013.

An official stage production named Danganronpa The Stage (ダンガンロンパ THE STAGE~希望の学園と絶望の高校生~) ran from October to November 2014 in Tokyo's Nippon Seinenkan, presented by Cornflakes. Its cast includes Kanata Hongō, Rei Okamoto, AKB48's Haruka Ishida, and NMB48's Reina Fujie.

Anime[edit]

In December 2012, Kadokawa Shoten's Newtype magazine announced that there would be an anime television series adaptation of the game, titled Danganronpa: The Animation, produced by Lerche and directed by Seiji Kishi.[27] The final Blu-ray/DVD volume, released on February 26, 2014, contains an extended final episode.[28] The series aired in Japan on MBS' Animeism programming block between July 4, 2013 and September 26, 2013. The series is licensed in North America by Funimation, who simulcast it as it aired and will release the series on BD/DVD on November 10, 2015, featuring a different English dub cast from the game, while Manga Entertainment released the series in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2015.[29][30] The opening theme is "Never Say Never" by TKDz2b with rapping provided by Jas Mace and Marchitect (aka The 49ers) and Tribeca, whilst the ending theme is "Zetsubōsei: Hero Chiryōyaku" (絶望性:ヒーロー治療薬?, Despairity: A Hero's Treatment) by Suzumu feat. Soraru. The opening theme for episode one is "Danganronpa" by Masafumi Takada whilst the opening theme for episode four is "Monokuma Ondo" (モノクマおんど?) by Sachiko Kobayashi feat. Monokuma. The ending theme for episode 13 is "Saisei -rebuild-" (再生 -rebuild-?, Playback -rebuild-) by Megumi Ogata.

A second anime series, titled Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, aired between July and September 2016. The series concludes the "Hope's Peak Academy" storyline and is split into two parts; Future Arc which takes place after Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and Despair Arc, which takes place prior to the events of Trigger Happy Havoc. Seiji Kishi once again directed the series at Lerche, while Norimitsu Kaihō wrote the screenplay.[31]

Appearances in other games[edit]

Along with the Danganronpa series, Monokuma has made multiple appearances in other Spike Chunsoft games. A costume of Monokuma can be worn in the action-adventure sandbox game Terraria (Japanese release) as well as Gachitora: The Roughneck Teacher in High School.[32][33] Monokuma also appears as a mini boss in two free DLC packs for the game Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars.[34] Both Monokuma and Makoto Naegi appear in the Spike Chunsoft game Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics along with Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls protagonist Komaru Naegi, where they are designs available for the game's Ultimate Student class.[35]

Reception[edit]

Sales[edit]

During its first week of release in Japan, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc sold 25,564 copies, making it the top selling PlayStation Portable game of the week, and eighth across all platforms.[36] After three months of sales, the game had sold over 85,000 copies, a number Spike CEO Mitsutoshi Sakurai would label a success.[37] Danganronpa 1・2 Reload for the PlayStation Vita sold 76,172 copies during the first week of release in Japan during October 2013.[38] In the West, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2 combined to sell over 200,000 copies in the United States and Europe by 29 April 2015, which NIS America CEO Takuro Yamashita said was impressive since they were PS Vita exclusives.[39]

Reviews[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
Metacritic (PC) 83/100[40]
(PSV) 80/100[41]
Review scores
Publication Score
Destructoid 8.5/10[42]
EGM 9/10[43]
Eurogamer 4.5/5 stars (US)[44]
Famitsu 36/40[45]
Game Informer 8.5/10[46]
GamesMaster 86%[47]
GameSpot 8/10[48]
GamesRadar 4/5 stars[49]
Giant Bomb 3/5 stars[50]
IGN 8.5/10[51]
Play 85%[52]
Polygon 8/10[53]
4Players 87%[54]
Gamer.nl 8.5/10[55]
Gaming Age A-[56]
MeriStation 8.5/10[57]
PSU 9/10[58]
RPGFan 90%[59]
Vandal 8.4/10[60]
Awards
Publication Award
GameFan Game of the Year,
Best Sony Portable Exclusive Game,
Best Adventure Game[61]
Game Informer Best Vita Exclusive,[62]
Best New Character (Monokuma)[63]
RPGFan Best Story,[64]
Best Graphic Adventure[65]

Upon release, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc received positive reviews from video game publications in both Japan and North America. At the review aggregate website and Metacritic, the game holds an average review score of 83/100 for PC and 80/100 for PlayStation Vita.[40][41]

The discovery of the true gender of a character received mixed reception from some critics, such as Patrick Klepek, who called the discovery "a cheap plot device that's not handled with very much sensitivity."[50]

Both the Japanese and English releases have received critical acclaim. Famitsu gave the original PSP game a score of 36/40, based on four scores of 10, 9, 8 and 9.[45] GamesRadar gave the English Vita release 4/5 stars, calling its story one that "weaves a devilishly addictive tale you'll want to see through to the end."[66] IGN gave the game a score of 8.5, praising its writing and soundtrack and calling it "a must-own game for hardcore Vita owners".[67] Hardcore Gamer gave the game a 4/5 saying "it's exciting and has an uncanny ability to leave its players slack-jawed at the sights of the unraveling plot points." [68] Destructoid gave the game a score of 8.5/10, praising its art style and well thought out story. GameSpot gave the game a score of 8/10, praising its story and diverse characters, whilst criticising that the School Life mode is lacking.[48] MyM gave the game a total of 9/10 saying: "What makes Trigger Happy Havoc stand out from most visual novel games is how well it weaves other genres into its narrative.[69] British newspaper Metro gave it 8 out of 10, praising the writing and character development, but being critical of slow early pacing and anime-tropes.[70] Cubed3 awarded a 9/10, describing Danganronpa as "an absolute treat, and a much-needed welcome addition to the visual novel genre in the West."[71]

Sequels[edit]

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, the successor to Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc was announced in April 2012. The game was made by Spike Chunsoft (still known as Spike during development) for the PSP, and was released on 26 July 2012 in Japan. A PS Vita was later released alongside the first Danganronpa game as Danganronpa 1・2 Reload on 10 October 2013 in Japan, and was later released as a standalone game on 2 September 2014 in North America. Danganronpa 2 tells the story of another group of high school students accepted to Hope’s Peak Academy, before they're abducted and forced to participate in the same life or death game on a deserted tropical island.[72][73]

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, the successor to Danganronpa 2 was announced in September 2013. Developed by Spike Chunsoft for PS Vita, the game was released on 25 September 2014 in Japan, and will be released on 1 September 2015 in North America. Ultra Despair Girls is set one and a half years after the events of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and follows Makoto's sister, Komaru Naegi, as she tries to escape the fictional city of Towa City, which has become overrun by Monokuma robots.[74][75]

A third game, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, has been announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita.[76] A technical demo based on the first game, titled Cyber Danganronpa VR, has been showcased for the PS4's PlayStation VR virtual reality headset, though there is currently no word on if this will become a commercial product.[77]

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External links[edit]