New Loveplus+ features new travel sequences, more leering at your virtual 3DS gal pal

Loveplus, originally released by Konami for the Nintendo DS in 2009, generated a serious sensation among Japanese otaku when it first came out.

A "gal game" adventure at heart, it offered you the chance to have a virtual lady friend - your choice between the strong-willed Rinko, the studious Manaka, or the kind-hearted Nene - and engage in conversation, virtual dates and so on while events proceeded in realtime. Nerds across Japan carried their DSes with them everywhere to keep in touch with their better halves, and Konami wound up selling over a quarter-million copies - a success they weren't quite able to duplicate with New Loveplus, a heavily-expanded 3DS port that developed a rap on the Japanese Internet for being a buggy mess.

Now Konami's announced New Loveplus+ for the 3DS, and senior producer Akari Uchida promised Famitsu magazine that all the problems of the past are going to stay in the past. "With the previous game, a lot of people said it had gotten harder to play after we reworked the gameplay system and interface," he said. "We are reconsidering the entire game here, including rolling back on some of those new features. In addition to that, though, I've written a massive amount of new story scenarios for each of the three heroines."

Concept art shown in the Famitsu article revealed the three Loveplus ladies in some odd situations - among Egyptian ruins, on a pirate ship, and even in samurai-era Tokyo. "I wonder what it could be?" Uchida rhetorically asked. "Looks like they've gone back in time, hasn't it? We deliberately drew them up in order to make people think that, but they represent the themes behind the new features in this game. You aren't traveling through time, but we had wanted to do some kind of travel-related events in the game for a while now. There are a lot of other features we're considering, but right now our hands are full with this, so I'd like to save further announcements for once things are solidified a bit more."

So when will the new game come out? Uchida was characteristically cryptic: "I think it'd be nice if it could be out by the time we're warming up from the cold, but it's not quite warm yet, either. We're all trying hard to make sure we don't make people wait too long this time around."

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