Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生, Dangan Ronpa: Kibō no Gakuen to Zetsubō no Kōkōsei lit. Dangan Ronpa: Academy of Hope and High School Students of Despair) is a murder-mystery visual novel developed by Spike, and the first entry in the Danganronpa series. The script and storyline were written by Kazutaka Kodaka and the illustrations were done by Rui Komatsuzaki. It was released for the PSP on November 25, 2010 in Japan, and later in August 2012 for mobile devices.
In June 2013, prior to the official localization, a fan group named Project Zetsubou released an unofficial translation of the game for the PSP.
On July 6, 2013, NIS America announced at Anime Expo that they would localize the game for North America and Europe with an English dub. The localization was entitled Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and was released on February 11, 2014 in North America, and on February 14, 2014 in Europe for the PlayStation Vita. The North American version of the game is compatible with the PlayStation TV, though the European release isn't.
On February 18, 2016, Danganronpa was released on PC via Steam worldwide. It was first referenced throughout January by tweets through the official English Twitter account for Danganronpa.
A sequel was released on July 26, 2012 named Super Dangan Ronpa 2: Farewell Despair Academy (スーパーダンガンロンパ2 さよなら絶望学園, Super Dangan Ronpa 2: Sayonara Zetsubō Gakuen) and the localization, titled Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, was announced Fall 2014.
In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, the player controls Makoto Naegi, a student at Hope's Peak who is forced into a killing game with other students. Each chapter is divided in two parts: School Life, in which the player can explore the academy and progress through the story, and the Class Trial, in which the player must deduce the culprit of a murder.
During School Life, the player can explore the school grounds in the first-person perspective. In certain locations, the player moves a crosshair cursor to converse with other characters and interact with various objects. Examining specific objects yields the player Monocoins, which can be used to get presents from a capsule machine in the school's store. As the game progresses, more areas in the academy become available.
School Life is separated in two sections: "Daily Life" and "Deadly Life". In Daily Life, the players converse with other characters and progress through the story. When speaking with other characters, some comments can be "reacted" to reveal new information. Daily Life also features "Free Time" segments, where the player can spend their time with other characters and give them presents, which in turn reveals more information about them and unlocks "skills", which aid the player in certain aspects of the Class Trial, and "skill points", which determine the amount of skills that can be used.
Once a murder has occurred, the game transitions into Deadly Life, where the player must look for clues throughout the academy. Evidence and testimonies are stored in the player's e-Handbook. After all possible evidence are found, the game shifts to the Class Trial.
In the Class Trial, the students must discuss among themselves who the killer is. The Class Trial consists of four main styles of gameplay: Nonstop Debate, Hangman's Gambit, Bullet Time Battle, and Closing Argument. The most common of these is the Nonstop Debate, where characters will discuss their thoughts on a case. During these sections, the player is armed with "Truth Bullets", metaphorical bullets containing evidence relevant to the case. In order to break the debate, the player must find a lie or contradiction among the weak points, words highlighted in yellow, in the characters' arguments and shoot them with the correct truth bullet. In Hangman's Gambit, the player must shoot specific letters to spell out a clue. Bullet Time Battle is a one-on-one debate against another student featuring rhythm style gameplay. As the opponent makes remarks, the player must press buttons in time to the beat to lock onto the remarks and shoot them down. Finally, Closing Argument is a puzzle in which the player pieces together a comic strip depicting how a murder went down.
Occasionally, the player must answer a multiple choice question and present an evidence to progress through the Class Trial. The player's Influence among the other students are represented by hearts, which is reduced whenever the player makes errors in shooting contradictions or presenting evidence, and is slightly replenished once the player does otherwise. The game ends if the player loses all their Influence, or if they run out of time during a segment. At the end of a trial, the game ranks the player's performance and rewards them with Monocoins.
The story is shown from the perspective of the protagonist, Makoto Naegi, who starts a new year at the elite Hope's Peak Academy, an exclusive government-funded school which is renowned for recruiting students that are emblematic of their disciplines. These students are given the title of "Ultimate", and range from talents such as the "Ultimate Baseball Star" or the "Ultimate Programmer" to ideals such as the "Ultimate Moral Compass". However, every year the school hosts a raffle in which every ordinary high school student nationwide is entered, and a random student is selected to enter the school as the "Ultimate Lucky Student". This is the case with Makoto Naegi, and the events leading up to the raffle are shown through the short story, Makoto Naegi Secret File.
The story revolves around fifteen students who are trapped in the school under the control of a sadistic monochromatic bear named Monokuma. They are forced to live a communal lifestyle together under a set number of rules for the rest of their collective lives, although it is possible to "disrupt the peace" in order to escape. In order to do this, a student must "graduate" from the school by murdering a classmate. After a body has been discovered, the rest of the students must work together to discover the culprit, who is known as the "blackened", while the innocents are on the side of the "whitened," playing off Monokuma's monochromatic color scheme. If the murderer can deceive the rest of their classmates, they alone will graduate and escape the school while the rest of the students will be punished through execution. However, if the classmates uncover the true culprit, then the culprit alone will be punished with a gruesome execution while everyone else remains unharmed.
In each chapter, Monokuma releases motives to encourage students to commit a murder. During this time, the students attempt to uncover the secrets of the school, including why they were trapped there in the first place, as well as other ways to escape the school other than the graduation clause.
Some character's talents are spoilers for the endgame, and as such, all talents in this section have been hidden behind a toggleable button so readers may choose to access it or not access it at their own discretion.
Hope's Peak Academy Headmaster This enlivened stuffed animal can walk and talk and even run a school! The white half of his body is cute and pleasant, while the black half is utterly wicked. He enforces the peace of the school life he's created, or disturbs it, whichever he feels like at that particular moment.
Ultimate Lucky Student (超高校級の「幸運」) The hero of the game is a typical high school student with absolutely no remarkable talents or features. Normally, he wouldn't even have a chance at attending Hope's Peak Academy, but thanks to his Ultimate talent, he was selected from a lottery among average students across the nation, and was invited to enter the school. His only real merit is that he's a little more upbeat and gung-ho than other kids his age.
Ultimate Swimming Pro (超高校級の「スイマー」) Aoi is a very active, alluring girl who loves sports more than anything. She's a member of almost all of her school's sports teams, but she excels at swimming in particular, breaking a number of high school records. She gets nervous if she sits still for too long, so she's almost always moving around. She's not a particularly deep thinker, but her upbeat enthusiasm helps keep the others positive during their crisis.
Ultimate Affluent Progeny (超高校級の「御曹司」) Byakuya is part of the family in charge of the international mega-conglomerate, the Togami Corporation. As the heir to the family business, he was raised harshly to prepare for his duties. He's full of pride, never bothering to hide his elitist disdain for those around him. He's also the only student trapped in the school who seems to somehow be enjoying their dire situation.
Ultimate Gambler (超高校級の「ギャンブラー」) Beneath Celestia's cute lolita-esque appearance lurks as a regal beast, with a sharp, wicked tongue. Despite her unusual name, she is in fact from Japan. She's a true genius when it comes to lying, a talent she has applied to the world of gambling. She has sent more than one world-class gambler home broke, and broken. Other than her obvious love of gothic lolitha clothes, everything about her is wrapped in a veil of lies.
Ultimate Programmer (超高校級の「プログラマー」) Chihiro is a very slight, timid girl that somehow makes you think of a cute little bunny. In fact, she's often mistaken for an elementary school student. She's very quiet, but has an extraordinary ability when it comes to computers.
Ultimate Fanfic Creator (超高校級の 「同人作家」) Hifumi has certain charisma within his industry and is proud of the following he's cultivated. At a local school festival, he was able to sell over 10,000 copies of his latest creation—a stunning achievement by any measure.
Ultimate Fashionista (超高校級の「ギャル」) Junko is a charismatic model who's graced the covers of all the most popular youth fashion magazines. She has no problem expressing her joy, anger, sadness, or excitement—in fact, one reason she's so popular is because she doesn't seem fake. She's naturally outgoing, and she enjoys teasing the guys around her with her playfully sexy banter.
However the Junko that is first introduced in the start of the game was in fact Mukuro Ikusaba, her twin sister, in disguise.
Ultimate Moral Compass (超高校級の「風紀委員」) Kiyotaka was head of the "public morals committee" at his old high school, a noted college prep school. Although he is from an extremely ordinary family, he has excelled in his student life. His scholastic ability comes from his dedication to working harder than anyone else, and he has no patience for slackers. Even amid the extreme events at Hope's Peak, he maintains a dedication to the school's rules and regulations.
Ultimate ??? (超高校級の「???」) Kyoko is the only student at the school whose Ultimate ability is totally unknown. She displays a kind of severe beauty, but her past and thoughts are shrouded in mystery. She's reluctant to reveal her feelings, preferring simply to give Makoto hints to push him in the direction of truth.
Ultimate Baseball Star (超高校級の「野球選手」) Leon acted his high school's cleanup hitter during the national baseball championship tournament. Despite his refusal to ever practice, he's got enough natural talent that pro baseball scouts have already started courting him. He can be kind of obnoxious, but it's hard to hate the guy.
Ultimate Biker Gang Leader (超高校級の「暴走族」)Mondo is the head of the biggest biker gang in Japan. He likes to refer to himself as a "man of mayhem," but his actions reveal him to be filled with justice and humanity. His professed motto is, "Actions speak louder than everything."
Ultimate Martial Artist (超高校級の「格闘家」) Sakura was taught martial arts from a young age by her father, and has become the strongest human being on Earth. They say she learned how to fight before she learned how to walk. Thanks to her stern gaze and taciturn personality, those around her feel intimidated even when she's not doing anything. She shares a love of physical exertion with Aoi, and they quickly become best friends within the school.
Ultimate Pop Sensation (超高校級の「アイドル」) Sayaka is the lead singer in a world-famous pop group. She's the darling of a generation, but she's managed to maintain her sweet, down-to-earth nature. At Hope's Peak, she has a surprising reconnection with Makoto, who was once her classmate years ago. But despite spending several years in the same building, they never actually had any direct contact. Still, she becomes the first student at Hope's Peak that Makoto becomes willing to trust.
Ultimate Writing Prodigy (超高校級の「文学少女」) Toko is a successful novelist known for her stories about fragile young women. Despite being responsible for multiple best-selling romance novels, in person she's very withdrawn and has trouble relating to other people, often coming off as overly negative and hostile.
Ultimate Clairvoyant (超高校級の「占い師」) Yasuhiro apparently has an inherent ability to predict the future through the use of his own intuition. He claims he's right at least 30% of the time, and that so get it right every single time "isn't fortune-telling—that's just supernatural!" He's been held back a few times because of unspecified woman problems, which makes him the oldest student at Hope's Peak.
This section contains spoilers for the endgame of Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Expand at your own risk.
A fearless soldier who was involved in Fenrir, a world renowned mercenary organization. She had an interest in military weapons and strategies ever since she was a child and thus was given the title Ultimate Soldier (超高校級の「軍人」). She is one of the Ultimate Despair, and the older twin sister of Junko Enoshima.
The game Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (both Japanese and English versions and the PSP version) had received very positive reviews from critics, IGN gave it an 8.5, calling it "a must-own game for hardcore Vita owners". Another publication, Made For Gaming, awarded the game with a score of 9, stating that the title is "one of the craziest, most disturbed Japanese game in history".
It was released to PSP on November 25, 2010, and in August 25, 2012 it was later made available for iOS and Android OS in Japan. The game was released on January 13, 2014 in Taiwan, February 11, 2014 in North America, and Europe and Australia on February 14, 2014. It sold 25,564 copies in Japan in its first week, debuting in 8th place in the weekly game sales charts, and in three months of sales sold over 85,000 copies.
Game of the Year Best Sony Portable Exclusive Game Best Adventure Game
Best Vita Exclusive Best New Character (Monokuma)
The series' title, Danganronpa, is compounded from the words "bullet" (弾丸 dangan) and "refutation" (論破 ronpa).
As a game defined in part by its bold aesthetics, Danganronpa was originally supposed to have a monochrome color palette of purely black and white, but with the original pink blood which was later decided to be starkly red-colored blood in order to make instances of death stick out, similar to the hyper-violent Sega game MadWorld. Even after the color scheme was reworked to be more conventional, the blood was stylistically colored back to a bright pink in order to create the same visual effect.
On the "To Be Continued" screen between chapters, the silhouettes are early beta designs of each character. Although these images are otherwise never seen in-game, they can still be found using datamining tools, as they were used as placeholders during development and can be seen in some in-development screenshots. These same images are visible in the character profiles which can be unlocked in the gallery.