Dungeon Travelers 2 Duology Hitting PC Next Week
Publisher Shiravune announced that it will be releasing Aquaplus and Sting’s Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal and Dungeon Travelers 2-2: The Fallen Maidens & the Book of Beginnings on PC on June 9, 2023. The games will be available on the Johren platform, priced at $19.99 each, with a 10% launch discount. Readers should beware that the Johren platform has separate adult and “mainstream” versions, and that the mainstream site still contains screenshots that may not be safe for work. Shiravune previously announced that the games will not be available on Steam, citing difficulties with its “review process” that likely relate to its policies and particular images in the games. Various pieces of DLC containing additional dungeons, costumes, or characters, many based on other Aquaplus properties, will be available.
Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal features a more straightforward premise and is set in the kingdom of Romulea, where monsters have started an uprising against humanity. Players control Fried, an adventurer sent to quell the uprising by building a party from sixteen potential female members who can be rescued, defeated, or otherwise recruited. The game was released in Japan for PlayStation Portable in 2013 and PlayStation Vita in 2014, and is the only title to have previously received a western release with Atlus releasing it in North America and NIS America releasing it in Europe for PlayStation Vita in 2015.
Dungeon Travelers 2-2: The Fallen Maidens & the Book of Beginnings is a “what if?” sequel to Dungeon Travelers 2. It takes place in a world where Fried and his allies were defeated by the final boss. Following the kingdom’s fall to darkness, a mage discovers an amnesiac Fried, who sets out on a journey to recover his allies. It originally released in Japan for PlayStation Vita in 2017. The first game in the series, Dungeon Travelers: To Heart 2 in Another World, which started off as a spin-off to the To Heart 2 romance visual novel, is also planned to release on PC at a later date. Shiravune also released an interview it held with Aquaplus Series Director Tsutomu Washimi, which can be read below.
Dungeon Travelers 2-2: The Fallen Maidens & the Book of Beginnings Screenshots
Shiravune Interview with Series Producer Tsutomu Washimi
Shiravune: Please tell us about the development history of the Dungeon Travelers series.
Tsutomu Washimi: Dungeon Travelers originated from one of the games included in Manaka de Ikuno!!, a spinoff title to To Heart 2. It was a dungeon crawler where the cast from To Heart 2 were trapped inside the world of a video game. Encouraged by the positive reception that this got, we decided to work on another dungeon crawler concept that would become Dungeon Travelers: To Heart 2 in Another World (DT1), released on PlayStation Portable in Japan in 2011.
Shiravune: Why did you go with a dungeon crawler?
Tsutomu Washimi: I had always played a lot of dungeon crawlers, and many members of the development team were big fans of the genre, too. We also thought fans would like to see the cast of To Heart 2 wearing fantasy costumes in an isekai setting.
There was actually some opposition to the idea at first, because designing all the monsters and the different costumes for each character class was going to be a big undertaking, but once we got started on development, everybody got invested in the challenge of tackling a new gameplay genre and setting, and we ended up completing development much faster than I’d expected — and with a better game.
Shiravune: What was the reception to the game like from fans at the time?
Tsutomu Washimi: It was the biggest spinoff project we’d done for the series, so it garnered a lot of attention prior to release. To our surprise, not only did To Heart 2 fans enjoy it even more than we’d hoped, but dungeon crawler fans did, too. Players praised how underneath its cute, light-hearted aesthetic, the game itself was actually tough, and had all the appeal of a hardcore dungeon crawler.
I like to think that since we had fans of the genre working on the game, we were able to cut to the core of what makes dungeon crawlers so much fun. The whole team was very honored by the high praise for the game.
Shiravune: What aspects of the game systems did you focus on the most?
Tsutomu Washimi: There was a lot of trial and error involved in balancing the game and adjusting the difficulty to keep that core dungeon crawler fun alive. For example, there’s the tension of delving deeper into a dungeon, maintaining your party’s HP and MP, managing items and so on. You can’t make it too easy or too difficult. The true essence of a dungeon crawler lives in that moment when you think, “this is getting dicey, but I can go just a little deeper,” so we were fine-tuning the game balance right until the very end.
By the way, every game in the series includes extra dungeons after you beat the game. Not only are they tough, but they’re packed with our most brutal tricks, so players who relish a challenge should find plenty of ways to extend their enjoyment.
Shiravune: The sequel, Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal (DT2), was released for the PSP in 2013, but unlike the previous game, this one wasn’t another spinoff to To Heart 2, but a completely original standalone title.
Tsutomu Washimi: That’s right. As the first game was well received by players beyond the To Heart 2 fandom, we began planning for a sequel that would appeal even more to fans of dungeon crawlers. To do so, we decided that the sequel would focus on an all-new cast of characters.
Although this was now a new IP, we still founded it on Aquaplus’s strengths — attractive character designs, stories and world-building — and built on them with even more refined dungeon crawling gameplay mechanics. As with the previous title, the sequel was a huge hit with the fans.
Shiravune: In 2017, you released a sequel to Dungeon Travelers 2 for the PlayStation Vita in Japan, Dungeon Travelers 2-2: The Fallen Maidens & the Book of Beginnings. It starts with a surprising twist, where the cast from Dungeon Travelers 2 are defeated by the Demon God and fall to the darkness.
Tsutomu Washimi: From the beginning of development, we decided to start the story of DT2-2 with Fried (the main character) and co. falling to the darkness. By the time you reach the final boss of DT2, naturally, your characters are high-level and powerful. But in order to start a sequel from that position, we needed a premise where the characters would have to start over from zero, for gameplay’s sake.
That’s why we came up with the idea of the cast being defeated and falling to the darkness. That way, it made sense for the characters to need to level up all over again, and justified Fried needing to rescue each of the heroines again one by one.
Shiravune: The drastic shift from the previous game was fresh and surprising.
Tsutomu Washimi: One interesting thing is that, with this premise, we were able to adjust the order in which the characters join your party. When we looked into which characters players tend to use in their parties in DT2, we noticed that most people stick to the initial characters that join your team at the beginning of the game — the main reason being that those are the characters they’ve leveled up the longest, have grown fond of and find easy to use. Then, an additional gulf develops in levels between them and the characters who join later on, and most players end up sticking with their party from the first half forever.
That’s why, for DT2-2, we jumbled up the order in which you encounter characters. We thought it would give players of DT2 a chance to try out some party members they might never have used much, and also help to make the story feel fresh.
The development team has a fondness for the game’s whole cast. Not only are the character designs great, but all the heroines have unique costumes for each and every class, so we really hope that players will check out all the various illustrations. We also hope that DT2-2 will encourage players to discover each character’s distinct appeal, and form all kinds of different party combinations.
Shiravune: It seems like DT2-2 was born out of the dev team’s love for all the characters.
Tsutomu Washimi: That’s right. As DT2 featured an all-new cast of characters, we weren’t sure how players would respond to them, but once we unveiled them, they became extremely popular. Our team also wanted to make another game with these characters, so instead of titling it DT3, we felt DT2-2 was more appropriate.
Shiravune: The PC release of DT2-2 will be the first time this game is released overseas.
Tsutomu Washimi: Yes, this PC release will be the first time that international players get their hands on DT2-2. I hope the story will surprise you, and that you’ll find new charms in characters that you may have overlooked before through the gameplay. As I mentioned before, the different order in which the party comes together could even lead to some unexpected characters becoming new fan favorites.
Shiravune: Could you tell us how you went about producing the character art?
Tsutomu Washimi: The illustrations for the first Dungeon Travelers game were handled, not only by our main internal artists at Aquaplus, but with a full staff effort. For Dungeon Travelers 2, we wanted to step things up even further, so we had many external artists helping out on the project, too. I don’t know exactly how many illustrations we ended up with off the top of my head, but if we include all the color variations, we must have over a thousand different pieces of art in the series.
Shiravune: What kind of details or specifications did you give to the internal and external illustrators when you requested their help on the game?
Tsutomu Washimi: I didn’t actually give any special orders. All the artists were very comfortable with the genre, so when it came to the character designs, they fully understood our intentions, and work went really smoothly. With the monsters, all I’d say is ‘this general vibe, with these kinds of attributes,’ and gave them the freedom to interpret that how they wanted in their design.
Shiravune: So you didn’t say, ‘You can’t do this or that’?
Tsutomu Washimi: No, not really. It wouldn’t be any fun if we laid out all these restrictions and all we got back were cliché designs. We trusted in the illustrators’ creativity, which is how we ended up with such richly varied visuals. Though we did have to draw the line occasionally with illustrations that came out a little too risqué. (laughs)
Shiravune: Are there any characters or monsters that are particular favorites of the development team?
Tsutomu Washimi: The series has a whole lot of lovable characters, but the Therian characters are particularly popular, especially the comedy duo of Peggy (a penguin) and Beard (a bear), who are favorites among the dev team and fans alike. They pop up as you explore the series’ many dungeons and give gameplay hints via their conversations, so first-time players should keep their ears open.
Shiravune: Now Dungeon Travelers 2 and Dungeon Travelers 2-2 will be coming to PC in June 2023. In Japan, they will be releasing on the DMM GAMES storefront, but could you tell us about the process of porting the games to PC?
Tsutomu Washimi: We have had a long relationship with DMM Games, and have released numerous Aquaplus titles (as well as Leaf titles) on their platform.
Development on these PC versions began with the person in charge on the DMM Games side, who was a really big fan of Utawarerumono. We released three titles in the series (Prelude to the Fallen, Mask of Deception, and Mask of Truth), and when we were considering where to go from there, we proposed porting the Dungeon Travelers series.
Shiravune: Have there been any changes made for the PC version?
Tsutomu Washimi: We haven’t made any significant changes, so you’ll still be able to enjoy the games the same way you did back when they first released. Because DT2 and DT2-2 originally came out on PSP and Vita respectively, those versions did run at a lower resolution. However, the assets were all drawn in a much higher resolution to begin with, so in porting the games to PC, we haven’t needed to upscale the art — just present it in its original glory. We hope you’ll enjoy seeing all the intricacies of the illustrations (fan service included) in high definition.
Shiravune: You can see a lot more detail in the art than before. I’m sure people who played the original releases will be delighted to hear that too.
Tsutomu Washimi: Yes. Apart from a few things like store-exclusive promos, please rest assured that everything else, including the DLC, has been preserved.
Shiravune: What sort of player would you recommend Dungeon Travelers to?
Tsutomu Washimi: Aquaplus fans will enjoy these games, of course, but dungeon crawler fans are going to have a great time too. We’ve crafted some pretty challenging dungeons that might even test dungeon-crawling veterans, especially if they want to 100% everything, so by all means, please come put your skills to the test.
I should also mention that the first Dungeon Travelers has no connection story-wise to DT2, so you won’t be lost if you haven’t played the first game. Feel free to jump into the series with Dungeon Travelers 2 on PC. As for DT2-2, it opens with a synopsis of the events of DT2, so if you want to start from DT2-2, you’ll still be able to follow along. But if you want to enjoy the story and events to the fullest extent, then I recommend you play DT2 beforehand.
Shiravune: I wonder where the Dungeon Travelers series is headed.
Tsutomu Washimi: First, we hope players will enjoy the new PC versions of DT2 and DT2-2. In order for us to make DT3 a reality, please support the Dungeon Travelers series.