It’s been a long time coming, but what started out as a joke on 4chan and then morphed into an actual game project is about to be finished. Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel set in a school for students with disabilities. After suffering a heart attack and discovering that he has a heart defect, the main character, Hisao, is forced to transfer to this school. There he will come to terms with his problems, make some new friends and maybe even fall in love.
Despite what you might expect from the origins of the project, the game takes the subject matter very seriously and the team has on several occasions emphasized that it’s not a 4chan project. While that might be where the idea was hatched, any ties to 4chan are especially at this point faint at most.
The release date has been set for January 4th which will be the 5th anniversary of the thread that started it all. While it remains to be seen exactly how the game is structured, it’s expected to be a ~20-30 hour game with a branching plot that, depending on the player’s choice, puts you in one of at least 5 paths.
If you want to get an idea of what it will be like, a demo of sorts called “Act 1″ has been out for quite some time now on the Katawa Shoujo website. Since it’s less than 3 weeks until the full version comes out, you might as well wait for that though. Katawa Shoujo will be free and the developers have no plans to ever charge money for it.
To celebrate the release date annoucement they made a video showing a montage of how the art has changed during development, linked below.
Source: Katawa Shoujo development blog