DigiDestined around the world can now rest easy as Digimon Survive, the upcoming visual novel from Bandai Namco Entertainment has found its release date. After two years of development and release delays due to the pandemic, it is finally seeing the light of day on July 29.
As the popular digital monster franchise makes its highly-anticipated return to the sprawling video game market, here’s everything you know about the upcoming Digimon Survive video game.
Digimon Survive was developed by Japanese game studio Hyde and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It will be released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
A Long Time Coming
The latest announcement came from a video update from Kazumasa Habu, the game’s producer. In a personal message broadcast across the game’s social media channels, Habu apologized for keeping the fans waiting before finally announcing the release date for the game.
Digimon Survive was first announced in a July 2018 issue of V Jump magazine to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Digimon IP. Originally set for a PS4 and a Nintendo Switch release, it was originally expected for a 2019 release. However, on July 6, 2019, Bandai Namco announced that the game will be delayed until the following year.
In 2020, the game was delayed three different times until it was slated for a 2021 release, mainly because of the pandemic. The developers also took this opportunity to change the original game engine, requiring more reworks on the game. When 2021 came, Bandai remained silent about the now-mysterious Digimon game. This was particularly observed during the 2021 E3, when the publisher made no mention of Survive during their program. Bandai Namco later released a statement that officially moves the release date to 2022, as well as an apology for not informing the fans about it earlier.
Following easing restrictions on the pandemic, Digimon Con 2022 was held last February 27. The game officially announced having Hyde on board as the game developer from Witchcraft. Last April 18, the Japanese release date was revealed to be on July 28, with the localized release date being the following day, July 29.
Story-Driven Visual Novel
Billed as a visual novel, the much-awaited Digimon game will reportedly feature survival elements, as well as strategy and role-playing aspects that promise an engaging and well-rounded gameplay experience. As a story-driven game, players will have a direct hand in how the story will proceed. This includes the Digivolution process for their partners and the endings players will achieve. Be warned, as there are bad endings where some of the main characters are killed off.
The game also noticeably features different gameplay modes, such as “Drama Parts” that narrate the story in a true visual novel fashion. There’s also a “Free Action” mode that lets players do as they please in the main world, but for a limited time only. In “Free Battle,” players can fight to train their Digimon and farm items and resources.
As such, the gameplay interface can be generally divided into two styles. The first is the visual novel part which features characters and dialog text boxes that show interactions as the story progresses. Its battle system retains similar elements from the Digimon World games—an isometric grid where miniaturized 3D models of Digimon move and execute moves in order to drive the opponent’s HP to zero.
Follow the New DigiDestined
The story for the new Digimon game follows a set of schoolchildren going on a historical activity camp during their spring break. As they explore a local temple, however, they had a chance encounter with a Koromon and return to find the rest of their classmates under attack from stray Digimon. As Koromon evolves into Agumon and fends off the attackers, the children found themselves already transported into another world.
In a teaser trailer released last March 16, we get to meet the main characters as well as their partner Digimon:
Takuma Momozuka – He serves as the protagonist for Survive. A black-haired young man with the signature aviator goggles that have been the signature of the DigiDestined leaders since Yagami Taichi from the original Digimon Adventure series. He is paired with Agumon, a yellow-orange reptilian Digimon.
Minoru Hinata – Dressed in bright orange sweaters and messy brown hair, Minoru is described as a talkative jokester. He hates arguments, is easygoing, and is often carried away by his recklessness. He serves as the friendly core that keeps the group together. Minoru is paired with Falcomon, a brown-and-green avian Digimon with a strong personality.
Aoi Shibuya – A third-year student from a different school than Minoru and Takuma, Aoi joins the other kids on the camping trip. Quiet and reserved, she is described in the official materials as being in charge of managing the base and its supplies in the Digimon Survive world. Her withdrawn personality is balanced by her partner Labramon, a canine-like Digimon with a direct and unfaltering personality.
Saki Kimijima – Honest and positive, Saki easily gets into arguments thanks to her tactlessness. Originally planning to join the camping trip with her own friends, she finds herself in the middle of strangers as no one joined her. She is teamed up with Floramon, a vegetation-themed Digimon with a personality supposedly complementing Saki.
Ryou Tominaga – Sporting a stern and tough-guy attitude, Ryou is actually a coward who’s unable to accept that he and the rest of the kids have been transported into a different world. He is teamed up with Kunemon, a larva-type Digimon.
Kaito Shinonome – Together with her sister, Miu, they live in the area and try to stop the group of students from entering the temple shrine. He is described as mature and protective of his younger sister. Kaito is paired with Dracmon, a vampire-themed Digimon who keeps his thoughts in order.
Miu Shinonome – Kaito’s younger sister, Miu is annoyed by her brother’s overprotectiveness and tries to get away from Kaito. She speaks in riddles and is fascinated by the occult, which reflects in her newfound interest as they are all transported into the other world. She teams up with Syakomon, a shellfish-looking Digimon whose realism balances Miu’s eccentricity.
Shuuji Kayama – The oldest among the human cast of characters, Shuuji is the assistant in the camp. He acts as the leader, imposing a strict rule guided by a personal belief that he is superior to everyone else. His stoicism and sternness are countered by his partner Digimon, the innocent and kind Lopmon.
Short for “Digital Monsters,” Digimon is a Japanese franchise that covers manga, anime, video games, virtual pet toys, and even a trading card game. The titular creatures are those who live in a Digital World, a parallel world created by our world’s technological advancements, such as the creation of the internet.
The franchise traces its origins in 1997 to its own line of virtual pets originally marketed as Tamagotchi for young boys. Digimon then started gaining traction with the release of the first Digimon World video game for the PlayStation in 1999. In the same year, Toei Animation, Bandai, WiZ, and Fuji TV teamed up to release the anime series Digimon Adventure.
Since then, there have been nine seasons of the Digimon TV series, the latest being Digimon Ghost Game which is still airing. Most of these series have also spawned film spinoffs.
As the entire Digimon franchise has crossed its 20th anniversary, the upcoming release of Digimon Survive just shows that there’s still a lot of story potential fans can follow together with their favorite digital monsters. The new visual novel will give older fans a reason to revisit DigiWorld, while a new and younger generation of players will discover this unique virtual world.