An Overdose of the Caligula Effect

Sega’s Valkyria series wasn’t the only Japanese project(s) given a teaser site as a prelude to an announcement recently, as FuRyu also had one for The Caligula Effect — known simply as “Caligula” in Japan, which I’ll commonly refer to it as throughout this post for simplicity’s sake. Unlike that one, though, this was considerably lower-key. The surprise in merely seeing this one wasn’t necessarily because the Valkyria teaser was worldwide while this one was restricted to Japan, but due to Caligula’s popularity being so much lower that it’s a surprise FuRyu is planning anything further for the franchise.

Though FuRyu rarely makes sequels or successors to their games, that’s not always the case. SaGa-like RPG The Legend of Legacy was one of the company’s best-selling titles, and they capitalized on its success with successor The Alliance Alive. (Note: That successor is planned for a western release from Atlus USA next year.) In Japan, Caligula on Vita dropped out of Media Create’s top 20 software sales charts in its second week on the market, after selling 38,532 copies. Its sales were also limited outside Japan, since Atlus USA only released it through PlayStation Network, and didn’t provide much advertising. With those sales, it appeared FuRyu would simply move on to another project, but it was apparently successful enough for their size.

This teaser wasn’t about a sequel, though, but for two other projects: An elaborate remake of the first game for PlayStation 4, and an anime adaptation.

The PS4 version is The Caligula Effect: Overdose, which will receive several new features, many of which were planned for the original version but couldn’t be implemented for multiple reasons (time constraints, Vita memory constraints, etc.). The most immediately noticeable change is the enhanced graphics, as the development team redid the character models and backgrounds in Unreal Engine 4 for the console port. The user interface has also been redone to not only benefit screens larger than the Vita’s five-inch display and work for a system without a touchscreen, but to also make it more readable.

Overdose will also have a new scenario called the “Musician Route.” In this path, the protagonist will team up with the main game’s opposing musicians instead of the Go-Home Club, the student team trying to find their way out of the world they’re stuck in. It will be twice as long as the main story, and will have its own ending.

Additionally, this version will add the option to play as a female protagonist, whose path will include notable story alterations and character interactions. It will also include two new members of the Go-Home Club in Ayana Amamoto and Eijin Bisakawa, and two musicians in Kusanashi and Stork. The addition of these characters will mean significant changes to the main scenario, and parts of it will be rewritten to accommodate them.

The development team explained how the opportunity to implement these originally-intended features is at least part of the reason why they chose to do a remake instead of a sequel. The additions are intriguing, but they notably said nothing about potential gameplay alterations. Many reviews for the Vita version ranged from “it’s okay, I guess” to “this is goddamned terrible,” so they’ll need to do a good job showing how Overdose will be an improved experience. As it stands, making a new scenario that’s twice as long as the original one sounds like the most unappealing offer around, but it’s possible they have plans to detail how it will be a better game soon. But this is important enough that you’d think it would be one of the first things they would clarify.

The second project announced was a TV anime adaptation. This will adapt the main story and include the same voice actors from the game, though details about the production staff, company involved, and length have yet to be provided. Video game anime adaptations have improved in recent years, but they still tend to be subpar, and it’s tough to tell whether the anime version’s story can improve the flaws the original game had. It will premier as part of the April 2018 anime season.

Meanwhile, The Caligula Effect: Overdose will release for PS4 in Japan on May 17th, conveniently while the anime is on the air. Since this new version will have significant story changes and a new scenario, it will have more text to translate for the localization. But Atlus USA might consider bringing it over regardless of how the Vita version sold, since the PS4 has a much larger audience. Before we get there, though, let’s hope the gameplay is given improvements to make it more enjoyable to play, which should be detailed soon. You know, assuming they’re making improvements.

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