Hoshi wo Miru Hito, a Famicom JRPG that has never been officially released outside Japan before, is getting an international Switch release courtesy of City Connection. It’s due out in northern summer / southern winter 2020, with a planned price of USD $9.99.
Hoshi wo Miru Hito (which roughly translates to “People who Watch the Stars”) first came out in 1987. At a glance, it looks similar to other JRPGs of that era, albeit with a science fiction bent, but it’s known for it’s particularly brutal difficulty, even by Famicom standards. It’s deliberately obtuse about where to go and what to do—for instance, the game opens by dropping you into a section of the world map with no information about where to go, with progress relying on you stumbling upon a town that’s completely invisible. Save points and methods of healing yourself are scarce, and enemies can often tear through your party with ease.
The Switch version will include some “new features”, though City Connection hasn’t yet revealed what those might be—there’s just a dimmed menu item on the game’s website, hinting at announcements to come. Like many retro ports to modern consoles, Hoshi wo Miru Hito keeps its original aspect ratio, with artwork filling out the rest of the screen. City Connection has opened submissions for art to be featured in this way, though it’s worth keeping in mind that creators of the pieces chosen won’t receive a fee (they will, however, retain the rights to their work).
There’s a goldmine of unlocalised games on Famicom and Super Famicom, so it’s great to see publishers like City Connection taking the chance on bringing games like Hoshi wo Miru Hito to a worldwide audience. Square Enix has been similarly active with its own classics lately—in the last few years we’ve seen all three Romancing SaGa games and Seiken Densetsu III make their official worldwide debuts. Here’s hoping this trend continues, and that more publishers jump on board.