Dies irae (visual novel)
Japanese Amantes amentes Windows cover art
|Publisher(s)||Light, Views Co.|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch|
As in most visual novels, the gameplay mostly consists of reading text on the screen (representing narration or dialogue) accompanied by images showing characters and locations. At certain points in the story, the player can choose options which influence the path, or "route", the story takes.
Prior to the events of the story, the Longinus Dreizehn Orden, a group of sorcerers, perform a ritual in Berlin during World War II, using the lives lost in battle as a sacrifice for their spell. After the war ends, they disappear, but are rumored to return. In present-day Japan, Ren Fuji is released from the hospital after recovering from a brawl with his friend Shirou, when the Longinus Dreizehn Orden returns.
Development and release
Dies irae was developed by Light, and was produced by Hattori Michisato and written by Takashi Masada, with art by G-Yuusuke and music by Keishi Yonao. It was developed during the 2000s PC boom in Japan, when the audience of Japanese video game players on Microsoft Windows grew, and the introduction of simpler development tools lowered the barrier of entry. Light experimented with games at the time, and created things they wanted to make; after developing Paradise Lost, they decided they wanted to make a serious game themed around battles, which led to the creation of Dies irae. Michisato described the game's theme as "the reason to fight for and protect your loved ones", and "the stubborn pride of men".
Development was challenging, leading to the game being released unfinished; this first version was released on December 2, 2007 for Microsoft Windows with the subtitle Also sprach Zarathustra. Development continued, and a second version, Acta est Fabula, was released on December 25, 2009; the game was not completed until its third version, Amantes amentes, which was released on June 28, 2012 for PlayStation Portable and on August 31 of the same year for Microsoft Windows. To show gratitude to users who bought the original releases despite them being incomplete, Light included 200-page fan books with each new release, which were not made available to purchase in book stores. Amantes amentes was later ported to smartphones, and was released for Android on August 19, 2015 and for iOS on December 2, 2016. A Nintendo Switch version of Amantes amentes, which includes an additional scenario that serves as a prequel to the mobile game Dies irae Pantheon, is planned for release in Japan on October 18, 2018. The Nintendo Switch version, which is developed by Greenwood, was delayed from the originally announced release date of September 27 due to bugs being found late in development.
Amantes amentes has not been fan translated, something Michisato attributed to the story's length and complexity. An official English localization was worked on by a team led by the American translator John Hooper, who had previously worked on the localization of Root Double: Before Crime * After Days, and had approached Light with the proposal to localize Dies irae. In addition to the translation, the localization team handled the debugging of the English release, and advised Light on what kind of merchandise would appeal to American players.
Also sprach Zarathustra was the twelfth best selling PC game of 2007 on the web shop Getchu; Acta est Fabula was the twenty-fifth of 2009. The PlayStation Portable version of Amantes amentes sold a total of 5,669 copies during its debut week, making it the third best selling PlayStation Portable game of the week in Japan, and twentieth best-selling game in Japan across all systems. By May 2017, over 100,000 copies of Dies irae had been sold across all versions.
The game has won awards: Also sprach Zarathustra was given an Award of Excellence in the Background Music Division of the 2008 Bishoujo Game Awards, and Acta est Fabula won the gold award in the background music category in the 2010 Moe Game Awards.
According to Michisato, users were upset by the initial, incomplete releases.
Media based on the game has been released: a manga adaptation by Kazuomi Minatogawa started serialization on January 27, 2016 in the March 2016 issue of Kadokawa Corporation's Dengeki Maoh; a novelization by Ryō Morise was released in early 2016; and an anime adaptation, titled Dies Irae, began broadcast in 2017. A spin-off video game, Dies irae: Interview with Kaziklu Bey, was released in March 2016. A mobile game, Dies irae Pantheon, is in development by Super Appli, with a scenario by Masada and art by G-Yuusuke. Dies irae Pantheon was planned for release in Q4 2017 in Japan; Light has also mentioned that they hope it will get an English localization.
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