Few visual novels are as beloved among veteran Japanese fans as Âge's Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, also known as Rumbling Hearts due to the English title of its dedicated anime series.
Earlier this year, publisher aNCHOR announced a crowdfunding campaign to bring back the game on Steam in an all-ages form, and today the crowdfunding page has been revealed, albeit the campaign won't start until October 21, 2023.
The crowdfunding will be done via the Japanese portal Ubgoe and will accept only Japanese credit cards. Yet, fans who want to support it from the West will be able to pledge via PayPal.
That being said, aNCHOR warns that physical rewards cannot be shipped directly overseas, so you'll have to either use the services of an importer or have them sent via a local friend.
Once the game is released on Steam around Spring 2024, it'll be only in Japanese, but Anchow plans to add English subtitles and interface with a later update.
The crowdfunding goal is 30,000,000 yen, which translates into approximately $200,000 at the current exchange rate. It follows an all-in format, so whether the goal is reached or not, the project will go ahead and rewards will be delivered.
There is a 45,000,000 yen stretch goal (about $300,000) which will spark the creation of a new episode (without voice-overs) telling the story of the first meeting between heroines Mitsuki Hayase and Haruka Suzumiya.
Pledges start from 3,000 yen (with no game) and 10,000 yen ($67) if you want to get a digital version of the game. Gradually larger pledges are available with increasingly lavish rewards up to 400,000 yen (approximately $2,700).
The campaign will last until the end of the year, on December 29, 2023. That's when we'll know if the alumni of Hakuryo High School will be dedicated enough to save their alma mater.
According to the project's intro, the ambitions of the development team don't stop at creating an all-ages version of Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien and releasing it on Steam. This is intended as the first step toward making the game accessible to many new fans and developing new ambitious multimedia projects like dramatization, a new anime, and even the previously teased remake.
If you're unfamiliar with Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien, it's a visual novel that debuted as an eroge by âge in 2001 for Windows PC. It sold 100,000 copies, which is a massive amount for a visual novel, and it served as inspiration for a whole generation of fans and creators.
It received several re-releases and ports (for Dreamcast and PS2) over the years, and the game we'll get on Steam will be based on the "Latest Edition" released in 2008.
The game was also adapted into an anime in 2003 titled "Rumbling Hearts" in the West and even got an OVA series titled Kimi ga Nozomu Eien: Next Season, which followed a different route.
The story focuses on the love triangle between Takayuki Narumi and best friends Haruka Suzumiya and Mitsuki Hayase. I won't say more because it'd spoil the plot too much, but it's extremely romantic and quite dark and tragic. It also gets pretty crazy at times, but we're unlikely to see some of that in the all-ages version.
That being said, having played the Japanese original several times in multiple forms and on multiple platforms, I can definitely say that even without the adult parts, Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien is one of the most compelling stories I've ever played, and not by a small margin.
Incidentally, it's known to share the world with âge's own Muv-Luv series. It's set in the same school at an earlier time, and its heroines then appear in relevant roles in Muv-Luv Alternative and its extended universe. A collaboration dedicated to Kiminozo (a popular contraction of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien) is also coming in the recently launched mobile game Muv Luv Dimensions.
Speaking of Muv-Luv, today's news doesn't end with the crowdfunding. The "Hakuryo University aNCHOR Academia Web Student Assembly 2023" has been announced and will be streamed on October 21. You can find the stream below.
It's an annual livestream with news and reveals about the series, starring creator Kouki Yoshimune, general producer Kazutoshi "Tororo" Matsumura, and more. This year's edition promises news on Muv Luv Dimensions and Kimi Ga Nozomu Eien's crowdfunding. Often we get to see some surprises, so we'll definitely keep an eye on it.