The first Rance game originally had the uncreative code-named "H-RPG," and was the launch title for prolific developer Alice Soft. The development team decided to make an "H" title, and that informed a great number of their design decisions. The game was originally was originally released for the MSX and PC-98, with releases for the X68000 and 88VA being delayed by a few months. The following year, Alice Soft released a version for Windows 3.1 with improved graphics. The images used in the Windows and PC-98 releases had 400 lines and 16 colors, up from the earlier releases' 200 lines and 8 colors.
Rance: Hikari o Motomete introduces two characters who become mainstays of the series: Rance, the "hero," was intentionally made to be a jerk, with the rationale that a "cool guy" wouldn't be capable of fulfilling the needs of the genre (Namely the lecherousness needed for the lead role in an eroge title). His female assistant, Sill Plain, was originally envisioned as a cheerful magician girl dedicated to the hero, but in order to make sense with respect to the protagonist, she was made into his slave instead.
Unlike later titles in the series, the first Rance game plays out more like a detective story than later iterations that take the form of turn-based RPGs or SRPGs.
After many years out of circulation, in 1998, Alice Soft re-released the original three Rance games along with several other early titles in the "Hall of Alice 456" collection for Windows 95.