Danganronpa Has Grown Bigger than Vita, But May Never Return Home

"A body has been discovered!"

The Danganronpa series is in a transitional period, as the series is set to finally make its Nintendo Switch debut with the four-game collection Danganronpa Decadence later this year. It’s exciting because the visual novel murder mystery series is suited for handheld devices. That was made even more clear after developer Spike Chunsoft started bringing the series to mobile last year. However, while the series is expanding to new audiences, the system it began its western takeover on isn’t seeing the same love, as the games have become near impossible to find for the PlayStation Vita.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair brought the series to the west in 2014 as PlayStation Vita exclusives. Both games originally launched on the PlayStation Portable in Japan but were ported to Vita in 2013, which served as the basis for the localized versions NIS America would publish in the west. The partnership would last for two more games: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls in 2015 and Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony in 2017. However, the publishing rights were eventually transferred to Spike Chunsoft, resulting in the delisting of all four games from the PlayStation Network last year. This meant the Vita games and their PlayStation 4 ports were impossible to buy digitally for a short time. 

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As of this writing, the PlayStation 4 versions of all four games have been restored to the PlayStation Store since last year. But the Vita versions are only available to download if you purchased them before Spike Chunsoft and NIS America originally removed them. They can’t be purchased on Sony’s storefront and are only accessible if you go scrolling through your system’s downloads list (which can be exhaustive, as it includes your PS3 digital collections, as well).

As a result, physical Vita copies of all the Danganronpa games have become a hot commodity. Nearly every SKU for the system on Amazon is marked as “currently unavailable,” and GameStop is sold out of everything but Danganronpa 2, which is only available through in-store pick-up. People are reselling physical Vita cards bearing Monokuma’s killing games in places like eBay for anywhere from twice the standard MSRP to several hundred dollars.

For a time, this seemed like the lesser of two issues, as Sony had announced plans to shut down the PlayStation Vita’s store, meaning all the handheld’s games and content would be unavailable for purchase. But after the ensuing backlash, the company announced it would be keeping the Vita’s digital storefront up “for the foreseeable future.” So it made the status of the Danganronpa series on Vita a question once again.

Regarding whether or not Spike Chunsoft has plans to make the Danganronpa games accessible again now that Sony is keeping the Vita store running, a company representative told Fanbyte the company “cannot make any comment.” So it remains unclear if the franchise will ever make its way home.

For now, the series is readily available on PlayStation 4 and PC. Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will bring the full mainline series to mobile devices soon but was delayed following the discovery of a game-breaking bug in testing. The puzzle-shooter spin-off Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is only available on PS4 and PC at this time, as it isn’t on the docket to be ported to mobile and won’t be included in Danganronpa Decadence on Switch.