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MAGES. comes back with Iwakura Aria for the Switch!

After months with no new game releases, MAGES. has announced that they will be releasing a new fantasy suspense visual novel called Iwakura Aria on June 27, 2024 for the Nintendo Switch. MAGES. describes it as a work that depicts intense, powerful bonds between women.

Iwakura Aria is the first completely new IP by MAGES. in several years, as the company had opted to focus on existing major IPs such as SciADV and Memories Off, along with contracted projects for other companies such as The Quintessential Quintuplets or My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU. In announcing a completely new IP MAGES. is taking a significantly greater risk but what is shown looks quite promising. Many have noted that it appears fairly reminiscent of the likes of The House in Fata Morgana or Umineko

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The story takes place in 1966, in the ever-turbulent postwar Japan. It follows a young war-orphaned girl named Kitagawa Ichiko, who starts working as a maid at the Iwakura family mansion. Ichiko finds herself especially intrigued by the daughter of the Iwakura family — Iwakura Aria — who has lived her entire life isolated inside the mansion, spending her days entertaining guests. But as they discover there is more than meets the eye about the mansion, the two polar opposite girls find themselves intertwined beyond the point of no return. At its core, this is a story about two girls forming a bond far stronger than mere friendship in the midst of despair. And depending on the choices the player makes, their story can end in one of nine different ways. Pretty interesting huh?

MAGES. has also announced several staff members for the project on the game’s website. The scenario is being written by Gogo Nemuru, who also wrote the B-Project: Ryusei*Fantasia visual novel from 2021. Iwakura Aria marks Gogo’s first work since then. Meanwhile, Mizuno Eriko is in charge of the game’s direction. And the soundtrack is being handled by veteran composer Abo Takeshi. Lastly, in terms of art-related staff, the concept art is by 100年 and the graphics are by Nakada Fumi.

Iwakura Aria cut-in image presentation

Speaking of visuals, Iwakura Aria features “cut-in scene” presentation that somewhat resembles Anonymous;Code’s manga triggers. Moreover, it also features an interactive sketchbook, in which the protagonist sketches what she sees in the mansion. The more she sketches, the closer she finds herself to the truth behind the story.

Interestingly, despite the strong-looking production values, the game is priced substantially lower than most of MAGES’ other visual novels. Perhaps the lower base price is indicative of a shorter game than usual. Nevertheless, the game still boasts 9 different endings, going so far as 33 years past the game’s beginning! As for how it shapes up, we will have to see.

Iwakura Aria price

At the time of this writing MAGES. has yet to announce an English localization. While Spike Chunsoft localizes MAGES.’ Science Adventure series (SciADV), they have refrained from licensing most of MAGES’ other works with the YU-NO remake being a notable exception. Besides Spike Chunsoft, PQube has also recently started licensing some of MAGES.’s non-SciADV titles (such as Alice Gear Aegis CS, Konosuba, and B-Project: Ryusei*Fantasia). It is thus possible for either of the two to license Iwakura Aria, although neither has said anything regarding the game. Nevertheless, fans are already eagerly waiting for news.

With the announcement of Iwakura Aria, that confirms at least five of ten works in MAGES.’ project pipeline — Memories Off Sousou, Corpse Party II, the two new Steins;Gate anniversary releases, and of course, Iwakura Aria itself. In addition to those five works, two months earlier, Asada Makoto also stated that MAGES. would release a long-anticipated sequel in commemoration of Steins;Gate’s 15th anniversary, strongly hinting at it being Steins;??? while fans keep speculating on MAGES.’ remaining 4 projects still in the pipeline are. COLOPL, MAGES.’ host company, releases their next quarterly report in early May. Perhaps that will provide some more clues to what’s in store for fans.

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An avid visual novel reader and particularly a massive fan of the Science Adventure series.

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