JAST USA has now finally released the long-awaited Family Project under their label G-Collections. For those unfamiliar with the game, the JAST USA post gives a short summary, and fan translator TakaJun has recently posted a review of the Japanese version as well. JAST USA has also set up an official website for the English version of the game. The download version will be available at a later date, and a text update patch is scheduled as well.
JAST USA originally announced their license of D.O.’s Family Project (家族計画) back in 2007 during their Anime Expo panel. At the time, they touted this game as the highest ranked eroge on the Japanese eroge review website, ErogameScape. Currently, elf’s Kono Yo no Hate de Koi wo Utau Shoujo YU-NO (この世の果てで恋を唄う少女YU-NO) has pulled ahead of Family Project on ErogameScape as the top eroge, but oddly, the highest rated games on the site, including number one, are actually all-ages games. At their 2008 panel, JAST USA noted that the game is taking some time to localize because the long script needed special care; if the script received a shoddy translation, JAST USA owner Peter Payne claimed that outraged Japanese fans would swim across the Pacific and ransack their San Diego headquarters. At their 2009 Anime Expo panel, JAST USA announced that Family Project had hit golden master status and would be shipping soon.
Family Project tells the tale of how a group of misfits, totally unrelated to each other, come together and form a virtual family. Each family member has his/her own issues to come to terms with, and the story explores how each one deals with these issues. The main character, Tsukasa, is a lone wolf who, by a random series of chance happenings, meets the rest of the characters in the story, and learns the true meaning of family. The script features a mish mash of odd, bizarre humor, tearjerking serious moments and of course sex scenes, being an eroge. The game also contains an opening animation with a song produced by I’ve Sound, with KOTOKO as singer and MOMO as lyricist. Furthermore, the ending song is also produced by I’ve Sound, with MOMO as singer and KOTOKO as lyricist. As for the voice cast, the game features eroge voice actress veteran Minami Hokuto as well as two male voice actors who sound remarkably like anime voice actors Norio Wakamoto and Takehito Koyasu. There were several versions of the game released in Japan, with the original (unvoiced) game released in 2001, a voiced and graphically enhanced “Kizunabako” version released in 2002, a Playstation2 port released in 2005 and finally a discount version of the Kizunabako version released in 2005. JAST USA is releasing the voiced Kizunabako version in English.
However, bringing out the English version hasn’t always been smooth sailing. The translated script was originally in a form that was deemed unacceptable for release, and had to be reworked greatly, attributing to the increased production time. In fact, a script update patch is planned for the game, which fixes some more issues that have been discovered even after the game had gone Golden Master. Lastly, due to the rush to get things done, the download version won’t be available until later, most likely by early August.