Special Feature: Vita in 2018 — Life Remains

Yesterday, I went over how the 3DS still has several games on the way despite the Nintendo Switch taking off — though more software is coming from Atlus rather than Nintendo themselves. Just the same, there are several games on the way to Sony’s PlayStation Vita, which is a bigger surprise in a way. That’s despite Sony themselves dropping software support for the platform in mid-2014.

It’s partly a surprise because it’s a stretch to say the Vita was a “success” in the first place, at least in a traditional sense. Though its hardware and software sales were okay for low and mid-tier games in Japan, it never took off in a big way. The less said about its performance in western territories the better, though it still received good software support for those who enjoyed Japanese games on handhelds and portable indie games with traditional controls. On the other hand, this also isn’t surprising because those who stuck with Vita really, really love the thing, and are still purchasing games for it. It’s been around six years since it launched, and there are still plenty of games coming for it.

There’s a catch, though: The system’s software sales aren’t healthy enough for it to support many exclusives, so nearly every title coming to Vita is either a port arriving simultaneously with a version for at least one other system, or is arriving late. But this should be fine for anyone who simply wants handheld versions of those titles.

Persona 5: Dancing Star Night

Most low and mid-tier Japanese publishers who’ve given Vita significant support over the years are still releasing games for the platform, even though they’re also on other competing systems. Take Atlus, for instance, who also has several games coming to it in addition to 3DS. Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night and Persona 5: Dancing Star Night are coming on May 24th in Japan, both of which are dancing spinoffs of their respective RPGs following in the footsteps of Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Atlus also recently announced Catherine: Full Body, an enhanced version of the original Catherine that will include several new features and a new scenario. They’re also publishing Vanillaware’s 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, announced back in 2015, though they’re hoping to release it soon. These titles are also coming to PS4, but the ports should be faithful.

Other games coming include the western release of Atelier Lydie & Suelle and Attack on Titan 2, both of which are being published by Koei Tecmo. Bandai Namco also has several licensed games due for release on the system, including Super Robot Wars X, Gintama Rumble, and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory in western territories. Square Enix plans to release the Secret of Mana remake on the system, though a remake of Romancing SaGa 3 is also presumably still on the way. Other smaller titles include Metal Max Xeno, the recently announced Fate/Extella Link, and a massive slew of visual novels. Like the others, all those games are also coming to at least one other platform, mainly PS4.

Indie games are also still making their way to the platform, though they’re coming in lesser numbers compared to when the system was in its prime as an indie machine a few years ago. Two titles long delayed for the system recently released: Papers, Please and 2064: Read Only Memories. The former title was announced at Gamescom 2014, and marked its first release for a dedicated gaming platform. ROM, meanwhile, was previously cancelled for the system until it resurfaced and released in quick succession in December.

VA-11 HAll-A

Cyberpunk bartending game VA-11 Hall-A also released for Vita in December, which also arrived for a gaming platform for the first time, so the trio made it feel like the last indie hurrah for Vita. Other titles on the way include Stardew Valley and Rainbow Skies, which will release later this year.

Funnily enough, there are more third-party Japanese-developed games coming to Vita at this point than Switch, which is funny to see when Nintendo is actively trying to court them. There are a couple of reasons for this. As I mentioned above: Vita has an established base of owners who still adore the system after all these years, and they may not transfer over to Switch right away — if at all. Publishers want to keep giving them games as long as they purchase them. But there are several development teams who’ve been accustomed to releasing their games on Sony platforms over the past decade or two, and simply want to continue that trend.

Whether Nintendo will attract them into porting more of their games over remains to be seen. Gust started porting titles to the platform with Nights of Azure 2 and the aforementioned Atelier Lydie & Suelle, and more will follow suit; but don’t be surprised if quite a few of them don’t want to release games for a Nintendo platform.

If you’re fine with ports of Japanese games and indie titles, your Vita will receive plenty of use this year. Given how companies like Spike Chunsoft are still hiring development staff for PS4 and Vita titles, expect more to be announced throughout the year. Sony may have abandoned the system, especially in places where you can no longer purchase new hardware like in western territories, but it still lives on.

Leave a Reply