Steins;Gate is the second game in the Science Adventure series of visual novels written by Naotaka Hayashi. It was co-developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus, and was released for the Xbox 360 on October 15, 2009, the Personal Computer on August 26, 2010, and the Playstation Portable on June 23, 2011.
The game's success has led to its own Steins;Gate sub-franchise. Since its release, the game has been adapted into a variety of other media, including a successful anime series, a manga series, an audio drama, an upcoming printed novel, and an upcoming animated film. Steins;Gate has also received two spin-off games: a dating sim named Steins;Gate: Hiyoku Renri no Darling and an 8-bit spin-off sequel named Steins;Gate 8-bit.
Like many visual novel games, the player makes moral decisions and dialogue choices that impact the branching narrative. Based on the player's choices, the narrative can branch out in various different directions towards a number of different alternate timelines and possible endings.
The game is set in Akihabara, Tokyo, during the summer of 2010, and follows a group of friends who have modified a microwave to send mobile text messages back in time. The inventor, Rintaro Okabe, is a self-proclaimed "mad scientist" who believes that the international scientific organization SERN (based on CERN) is conducting their own time travel experiments and conspiring to reshape the world according to its own interests.
The discovery and experimentation of this instrument become the catalyst of fundamental alterations to the present. Okabe is the only one aware of these changes because he possesses a Reading Steiner, the ability to retain the memories from previous experienced timelines. Oblivious of the consequences of their actions, Rintaro and his friends end up creating modifications of grievous proportions.
This eventually causes SERN to take notice, placing the lives of his fellow lab members in danger. Rintaro Okabe must use his time-altering capabilities in order to escape SERN's attention while keeping his friends away from harm.
- Rintaro Okabe: The main character. He is an 18 year old, first year college student who thinks of himself as a mad scientist, and uses the alias Kyōma Hōōin. Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano.
- Kurisu Makise: A skilled neuroscientist who had her research published in an academic journal when she was only 18 year old. Voiced by: Asami Imai.
- Mayuri Shiina:A childhood friend of Rintarō's. Works at a maid café called Mayqueen Nyannyan and enjoys making cosplay costumes. Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa.
- Suzuha Amane: A girl searching for her father. Works for Rintarō's landlord and doesn't like Kurisu. Voiced by: Yukari Tamura.
- Ruka Urushibara: An effeminate boy who wears girls' clothes. Mayuri often asks him to try on her cosplay costumes. Voiced by: Yū Kobayashi.
- Faris Nyannyan: The most popular girl at the Mayqueen Nyannyan maid café. Voiced by: Haruko Momoi.
- Moeka Kiryu: A tall, very shy girl who prefers to communicate via text messages. Voiced by: Saori Gotō.
Steins;Gate and its anime adaptation have been highly acclaimed.
The visual novel received critical acclaim from various Japanese game reviewers, including 4Gamer, ITmedia Gamez, and particularly Famitsu, which gave it a 'game of excellence' award. In 2011, Steins;Gate was voted #6 in Famitsu's poll of 'most tear-inducing games' of all time. Square Enix producer Tomoya Asano praised the characters and scenario, which led to Steins;Gate writer Naotaka Hayashi being recruited to pen the plot and characters for Square Enix's role-playing game Bravely Default: Flying Fairy.
Steins;Gate was adapted into a 24 episode anime series by White Fox in 2011. The show was simulcast on Crunchyroll and was later licensed and released by Funimation Entertainment on DVD and Blu-Ray in 2012.
The anime adaptation has been highly acclaimed. Anime News Network gave the anime series an overall A- rating, including a top A rating for the story. Steins;Gate has become one of the highest user-rated anime on sites like Anime News Network.
There is an anime film currently in production. It will be set after the events of the anime television series.
Steins;Gate has also been adopted into several manga series by a variety of artists and writers.
In June of 2011, a group of fans began creating an English translation patch for the PC release of Steins;Gate, but unfortunately the project was cancelled in January 2012. A rough draft of the team's translation was released to the public in September 2011. However there is hope for an official American release of Steins;Gate. JAST USA has expressed a desire to release Steins;Gate in English on Steam and they are currently trying to come to an agreement with with Nitroplus and 5pb.