Summer is one of the most magical and memorable seasons for the youth as it lets them experience love. As VR technology is becoming more reachable for public consumption and you can live in that fantasy with Summer Lesson.
Summer Lesson was launched as one of the most anticipated VR games in summer of 2017. The game was produced by Bandai Namco Entertainment and it utilizes Unreal Engine 4. The game was shown in a prior event as a virtual reality (VR) demonstration.
In an interview with Anime News Network, Tekken series director and producer Katsuhiro Harada explained that the game aims to make the female companion recognize the player. He said that while other games allow players to recognize the characters that end with a one-sided relationship, Summer Lesson promises a new level of interaction and intimacy. Harada added that the female companion will react based on how the players look at her. She will be upset if players look away from her for too long while she will be surprised if players come too close to her. This creates a realistic and interactive environment for the players. In addition, Harada and his team developed Summer Lesson in order to generate a breaking news about it since VR is becoming more evident in the public eye. He believes that VR will progress in the future as his team develops more contents with VR technology.
But before divulging into the game, let us understand first the culture and context behind dating sims. Youtube content creator Gaijin Goomba expounded on this phenomenon in one of his previous videos. According to him, Japan is recognized in popular culture for its dating simulations in video games. Their work culture ruins the chance of young adults to build any relationships and maintain a steady family. Young men are pressured with tons of work, which prohibits them from having an actual love life. And this pushes them to resort to playing video games. Married couples are also having trouble because men are too dedicated to their jobs, restraining them from spending quality time with their family. Those men who are not manly enough and less interested in physical intimacy are called soushoku danshi (herbivore men). Soushoku danshi are pressured by society to man up while getting employed at the same time. In order to cope with loneliness and help men pursue their personal hobbies, some game developers have created dating simulations. Unlike real-life relationships where they involve effort, commitment, expectations and heartbreaks, Japanese players will experience a long lasting and unconditional love from their favorite female characters or their “waifu.”
In Summer Lesson’s main game, players assume the role of a tutor. They have to help a high school girl named Hikari Miyamoto. She needs to prepare for her exams during the summer season. Players are tasked to raise her statistics by selecting various lessons and planning study sessions, hoping that she
will get an A at the end of every week. During the study sessions, players will have a brief interaction with her until the session ends. This involves simple conversations that will cheer her up.
Other than helping Hikari, players can also spend their leisure time with her or engage in casual conversations. Players can text her, visit the bayside and the hilltop shrine, guide her physical training, eat with her at a cafe , give her some alternate costumes and enjoy a summer festival evening with her while watching the fireworks.
The game requires Sony PlayStation’s VR headset in order to look and interact with Hikari. Players still have to use the wireless controller for choosing in-game selections. At first glance, the game’s concept may look too boring or perverted but the intimacy with the female companion can turn out to be endearing.
Summer Lesson has some Japanese voice acts with English subtitles. Its Package Bundle Edition includes not only the main game but also some extra contents.