This article is about the first game of the Dangan Ronpa series.
Dangan Ronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair is a murder-mystery visual novel focusing on a group of fifteen high school students as they are baited into killing one another by a sadistic teddybear by the name of Monobear/Monokuma.
The game is set at a special, elite high school which only accepts students of the highest caliber in various fields, but it allows in one average student each year, chosen by raffle. The events of the game are shown through the eyes of Makoto Naegi, one such average student.
The gameplay is similar to the Ace Attorney series but with an emphasis on faster gameplay. Each chapter of gameplay takes place in three distinct stages: exposition, investigation, and school trial. In the exposition stage, the main plot progresses and the player can build relationships by spending time with the other characters, in a system similar to Social Links in the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. This section typically ends with the discovery of a crime scene, which leads to the investigation stage. Investigation parallels that found in the Ace Attorney series, as its basic purpose is to gather points of evidence to use in the school trial. The school trial stage includes several different minigames, all of which require high speed action and critical thinking to complete. series but with an emphasis on faster gameplay.
The game uses a special graphics technique, termed "2.5D Motion Graphics", used to blend 2D character and item art within a 3D explorable environment. The game used "pop art", a bright and colorful style, as a way to contrast the dark subject matter of murder. Scenario writer Kazutaka Kodaka stated he desired to "...shake user's heart by showing a devastating accident in not devastating ways. But, by some measure, it might be more shocking than showing a devastating scene.
Release and ReceptionEdit
Prior to release, a free demo version of the game was made available. A bonus key chain with a figure of the character "Mono Kuma" (Mono Bear) on it was given to people pre-ordering the original PlayStation Portable version. The game sold 25,564 copies in Japan in its first week, making it the top selling PlayStation Portable game of the week, and eighth across all platforms. After three months of sales, the game had sold over 85,000 copies, a number Spike CEO would label a success.
The game was ported to iOS and Android in August 2012, with new features such as retina display support, touch screen controls, and a new image gallery. The game could be purchased either separately by chapter, or as a whole like the PlayStation Portable release.