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Manga publisher VIZ Media announces indie program and first original game

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Update: Illustrator Lord Gris has since reposted the Instagram post mentioned below. You can find it here (opens in new tab). Original story follows.

Original story:

Manga and anime distributor VIZ Media (opens in new tab) is partnering with Portland-based studio Rose City Games (opens in new tab) to launch a new publishing program dedicated to original indie games. The pair announced (opens in new tab)their first game, The World Next Door, today as the first of three currently in the works. 

"The World Next Door is a narrative-driven game that centers around Jun, a rebellious teen girl trapped in a parallel world inhabited by magical creatures," VIZ Media said, adding that it's a "supernatural action-adventure game" inspired by "the emotional storytelling and thrilling action of both anime and indie games."

The World Next Door is being developed by Rose City Games and published by VIZ Media. It will also feature characters designs from illustrator Lord Gris, whose artwork served as the basis for the game. You can sample her work on her Instagram page (opens in new tab). If The World Next Door looks anything like her illustrations, we're in for a treat. Here's one of her more recent pieces:

A post shared by Griselda (@lord_gris) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on on Jan 29, 2018 at 3:17pm PST

Lord Gris offered a bit more information on The World Next Door's announcement art in a now-deleted Instagram post. Evidently, the "floaty demon thing" to the left goes by Liza, and the "cat litch thing" to the right is Horace. It's a small detail, but take it with a grain of salt nonetheless, because the original post is still absent at the time of writing. 

"The World Next Door is currently in full production with a planned release on PC," VIZ Media confirmed. "VIZ Media is slated to release two more games developed by Rose City Games over the next few years, and is currently accepting publishing inquiries from developers with games at all stages of production." 

Even if you're unfamiliar, you probably know VIZ Media by reputation through some of the properties they license, like Sailor Moon and One Punch Man. They also publish manga adaptations of several videogames, including The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon.

Rose City Games, meanwhile, operated as something of a support studio until now. The World Next Door is their first original game. In the past, they've provided marketing and organizational help to various games and game jams, including the Cartoon Network Game Jam. They've also assisted indie developers directly through the Portland Indie Game Squad (opens in new tab)

Thanks, Polygon (opens in new tab)

Austin freelanced for PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and has been a full-time writer at PC Gamer's sister publication GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a staff writer is just a cover-up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news, the occasional feature, and as much Genshin Impact as he can get away with.