Another visual novel in Mages’s Science Adventure series (Steins;Gate et al) is headed to PC, and very soon. Chaos;Child launches next Tuesday, January 22nd. It’s a dark teen psycho-thriller mystery set in the aftermath of an earthquake that wrecked Tokyo’s Shibuya ward. There’s a series of grisly murders to be investigated, and they probably related to a group of youths whose delusions and fantasies can rewrite reality itself. It’s all very anime, but the Science Adventure series is typically good stuff, even if nothing can quite top the original Steins;Gate. See the trailer below.
The decision to release Chaos;Child officially in English is a bit odd, as the previous VN in the series – Chaos;Head – never got officially localised. Fortunately there’s a fan-translated version floating about, but getting hold of it would unfortunately be considered piracy unless you track down one of the very elusive PC copies to patch yourself. There is an anime adaptation, although I’ve not seen it so can’t vouch for its quality. Still, I would recommend reading Chaos;Head if you can. I went through it maybe a decade ago and remember enjoying it, even if its protagonist could be irritating, going well beyond anime tropes.
Credit to Gematsu for hosting the trailer
In the original Chaos;Head, the player’s primary interaction with the story (outside of a few more overt dialogue choices) was in choosing from positive or negative delusions. Through most of the story, its psychologically unstable protagonist made for an unusually unreliable narrator, given that it was written from the first person. As the story continued, choices gradually began to increase their effect on the story. Chaos;Child apparently uses a similar system, and can lead the players down a large range of minor branches, and to one of six possible endings. If experience with the series has taught me anything, you’ll need to see a few bad endings before you can see the ‘true’ finale.
While all the Science Adventure stories are set in the same universe, Chaos;Child is a mostly standalone story with only slight ties to Steins;Gate, but it might be fun to spot the cameos if you’re a series fan. Perhaps someday we’ll get the whole series together in one place at a reasonable price, but not today. Oh, and I’ve been told that the anime adaptation of Chaos;Child is rather naff, too – better to read than watch, then.
Chaos;Child arrives on Steam next Tuesday, January 22nd. No word on pricing so far. It’s published by Spike Chunsoft.