It’s finally here: the long-awaited English release of Steins;Gate, the popular visual novel of science, time travel and otaku culture. We’ve been hard at work on this game for more than a year, editing scripts, checking compatibility and polishing every aspect of the game in preparation for release. If you haven’t ordered yet, you can still pick up the Limited Edition, which comes with official “lab member” pins and a case, a 52-page original artbook and large game box (the latter two printed in Japan for maximum quality), plus a free download version of the game so you can start playing without delay. You can also order the Digital Download Edition of the game (also available right now), or preorder the Standard Edition on shrinkwrapped DVD-ROM, which ships on April 30. All versions of the game are 100% DRM-free.
Now comes the fun part, shipping thousands of games to the customers who preordered the Limited Edition from San Diego. This process will take at least a week, since only a few hundred games can be processed each day — thanks for your understanding! All purchasers of the Limited Edition do get the Download Edition free, so at least you can be playing the game while you wait for the box to arrive. Remember that we are expected to sell out of the Limited Edition soon, so if you want one, grab it before they’re gone.
Steins;Gate is the story of Dr. Pepper-loving “mad scientist” Okabe Rintaro who runs a research lab in Akihabara called the Future Gadget Laboratory with his childhood friend Mayuri (Tu-tu-ruuu ♬), “super hacker” Daru and tsundere genius researcher Makise Kurisu. The group discovers that a cellphone-powered microwave oven they created is actually a device capable of sending email messages into the past. This leads to a world of problems as several characters send these “D-Mails” (from “DeLorean Mails”) which screw up the timeline, enabling the evil organization SERN to kill the person Rintaro loves and eventually achieve world domination in the future. Rintaro and Kurisu must find a way to repair the timeline with the help of John Titor, a real time traveler (he’s listed on Wikipedia). It’s an incredibly dramatic story, one of the best written games ever, with criss-crossing plot lines that will keep you on the edge of your seat for days. And now you can play it, fully translated to English!
One thing I like about the Steins;Gate game is that there’s so much more to the story than in the anime, which was also excellent. The game is longer, has much more science in it, and there are proper endings for all the characters. Are you fan of the catgirl Faris NyanNyan? You can end the game in her world line with her as your girlfriend. Is Urushibara Luka more to your taste? Then you’ve got a great fully developed route to explore with that character. You’ll need to work hard to discover the “True End” that enables you to save the two girls you care for, and also the world.
JAST USA took the job of creating the English version of Steins;Gate very seriously, because they knew this was the most important visual novel release ever. Every translation project brings up certain issues that must be worked through, of course. Should the game use Japanese or Western name order? How should name ending suffixes, like –san or –chan, be handled? What about words like senpai or moe that might have meaning to active fans but not for more general gamers? As with other English-translated visual novels, these elements are in this translation. Steins;Gate was extra challenging because Japanese internet slang is such an important aspect of the game, like the word リア充 ria-juu, a derogatory term used by otakus to refer to normal people who have happy lives with girlfriends/boyfriends. Also challenging to translate were references to memes from anime series like Slam Dunk and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, for example when Rintaro uses the phrase 計画通り keikaku-doori (“just as planned”) in reference to Death Note. Happily the game has a “tips” glossary system which allows it to define potentially unfamiliar terms or references for players without breaking the flow of the game. We’d like to thank everyone who worked so hard on this game, from the talented Steins;Gate translation team to the hard-working staff members of JAST USA who polished the game for so many hours!