“Diverging follow-up” made in cooperation with franchise creator, has simultaneous international, multi-language release.

Indie games from a single creator with a singular creative sensibility might be fairly commonplace now, but that definitely wasn’t the case 14 years ago. Even today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a title as unique as Yume Nikki, which designer Kikiyama made all by himself using Kadokawa Games’ RPG Maker 2003 software and released in 2004.

Yume Nikki, which translates to “Dream Diary,” stars a nondescript, silent shut-in named Madotsuki. When awake, the player is confined to Madotsuki’s room and balcony, but when he falls asleep, she gets transported to a surreal, disturbing dreamworld. There, she encounters mysterious, often grotesque creatures with whom she has no way of communicating, and while she can choose to wake up at any time, once awake the only way to make progress in the decidedly non-linear game is to dream again.

The game’s vague yet compellingly open-to-interpretation environments and events earned Yume Nikki cult-hit status and an international fanbase. Now, existing fans and those who missed out on the game when it was first released have plenty to be excited about, as a sequel/remake, bearing the bilingual title Yume Nikki -Dream Diary-, has been announced.

Kadokawa Games is serving as publisher, with development being handled by Osaka-based Active Gaming Media with the cooperation and supervision of Kikiyama. Whereas the original Yume Nikki had low-res pixel art somewhat reminiscent of the Mother/Earthbound series for the NES and Super NES, Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- has fully 3-D characters and environments.

▼ Active Gaming Media calls the new game a “diverging follow-up.”

While they may not have the staggering polygon count of the models used in AAA titles, a certain level of stylization is a must for preserving the otherworldly atmosphere of the original game, and the lighting effects look appropriately unsettling.

▼ If you’re not sure if the game is for you or not, you can watch this lengthy atmosphere teaser to see if you find Yume Nikki’s tone enthralling, frightening, or a mixture of both.

Active Gaming Media says its goal is to combine “influences from the original game and other recent indie juggernauts to create something wholly unique.” That’s a mission statement long-time Yume Nikki fans may or may not find encouraging. With the possible exception of the 1998 PlayStation game LSD Dream Emulator, the original Yume Nikki bore little similarity to any other game that’s been released before or since, and grafting gameplay elements from other games onto Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- might erode part of what made the game special enough for its dedicated fan community to form around.

Still, Kikiyama’s involvement suggests that the new game will stick with the open, non-traditional gameplay of the original. Kikiyama is even polishing up unused designs from the 2004 game to be included this time around, so Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- promises to have even more distressing monsters than its predecessor.

After 14 years of waiting for a Yume Nikki follow-up, the developers are being mercifully quick and bringing the game to market less than a month after its unveiling. Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- goes on sale February 23 through Steam and Playism, a Japanese digital distribution platform, priced at 1,980 yen or US$19.99. In contrast to the time it took for the original game to make its way around the world, the new game’s release is simultaneous internationally, with Japanese, English, simplified and traditional Chinese, Korean, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Russian language options.

Related: Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- on Steam, Playism
Source: Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- official website via Jin
Top image: Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- official website
Insert images: Yume Nikki -Dream Diary- official website, Playism