It looks like, despite creating an entire game that used a meta-driven commentary on fandom, capitalism, and the desire to not run a series into the ground, Spike Chunsoft might be in the process of developing another game in the Danganronpa series.
The company has added a new job listing on Workport for a UI designer for an unnamed PlayStation 4 and PC adventure game. That seems fairly standard, run-of-the-mill information to put in a job description, but there’s also one more specific requirement: the applicant must be a fan of the Danganronpa series (translation via Gematsu).
Over the past few years, the teddy bear-orchestrated murder mystery series has become a pretty big hit for Spike Chunsoft, especially after the first two games in the series, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, were finally localized and brought to the west in 2014. The audience grew again after the Vita games were ported to PC and PlayStation 4, then a puzzle shooter spin-off Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls followed and was also ported to other platforms. The story Spike Chunsoft had been telling was ultimately wrapped up in the anime series Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School, which premiered in 2016.
When the series rapidly grows in popularity and is making money for a company, naturally they’d want to make more of these, but what makes Danganronpa a unique case is that the last game in the series, 2017’s Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, pretty pointedly criticized milking the franchise name and compromising its integrity to satisfy demand.
Major spoilers for Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony follow:
The end of Danganronpa V3 reveals that the game exists in a universe where Danganronpa became so popular it made the transition from video games to reality television show, which meant fans could volunteer to be part of the murder mystery and be stars in their favorite franchise. Through an extremely complicated metatextual set up, the game ends with its characters ending the franchise. The entire thing reads like a team saying it doesn’t want to keep rehashing the series beyond its original intent just because it’s what people want and will buy, and as consumer facing (and maybe hostile, depending on your reading of it) as the commentary gets at points, it’s a bold statement about fandom, ownership, and wanting to move on to new creative endeavors.
Spoilers end here.
You may also like:
- Eighteen Years in, Ace Attorney Is Stuck in Its Past
- Double Decker Plays With Tropes To Tell a New Kind of Detective Story
- Knives Out Review: Family Splatters
But for all the theatrical commentary of Danganronpa V3, Kazutaka Kodaka, the writer of the series, left Spike Chunsoft in 2017 to form Too Kyo Games. So perhaps the game isn’t a total farce, but representative of the viewpoint of its original writer and not the company at large. Since Spike Chunsoft owns the Danganronpa IP, it’s free to do with it whatever it wants, regardless of what Kodaka’s intent may have been. Whether this new game will take place in the original trilogy’s continuity or in Danganronpa V3’s meta-driven one remains to be seen. But hopefully it’s the latter, because then it can both not meddle with an already complete story and then also possibly play with the meta side of being the game that follows V3’s message.