Kud Wafter (クドわふたー Kudo Wafutā?) is a Japanese adult visual novel developed by Key and was released on June 25, 2010 as a DVD playable on a Microsoft Windows PC. The game is Key's eighth similar game in its history. Focusing on the title character Kudryavka Noumi, also known as "Kud" (クド Kudo?) for short, the gameplay follows a plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction. The narrative details the lives of Riki Naoe and his close friend Kudryavka as they start to see more of each other in a romantic relationship.
Kud Wafter is a spin-off of Key's earlier adult game Little Busters! Ecstasy, which itself is an expanded version of the original Little Busters! game rated for everyone. Kudryavka appears as a heroine in both Little Busters! and Ecstasy. Kud Wafter is an expansion of Kudryavka's story after the events of Ecstasy and is written by Chika Shirokiri. Na-Ga and Itaru Hinoue returned as co-art directors. A manga adaptation illustrated by Bakutendō began serialization in the May 2010 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine. The limited edition version of Kud Wafter ranked first in terms of national sales of PC games in Japan in June 2010.
Kud Wafter's gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the game's duration is spent on reading the text that appears, representing either dialogue between the characters or the inner thoughts of the protagonist. Often, players will come to a "decision point" where they are given the chance to choose from options displayed on the screen, typically two to three at a time. The time between these decision points is variable and during these times, gameplay pauses until a choice is made that furthers the plot in a specific direction. In order to view the available plot lines to their entirety, the player will have to replay the game multiple times and make different choices to further the plot in an alternate direction. As gameplay progresses, the player will come across bonus sex scenes depicting Riki and Kudryavka having intercourse.
Plot and characters
Kud Wafter's story revolves around Riki Naoe (直枝 理樹 Naoe Riki?, voiced by: Tomoe Tamiyasu (epilogue only)), the male protagonist from Little Busters! and Little Busters! Ecstasy, and Kudryavka Noumi (能美 クドリャフカ Nōmi Kudoryafuka?, voiced by: Miyako Suzuta), one of the main heroines of the same games and the title character of Kud Wafter. Kudryavka has her story expanded upon than what was seen in Ecstasy, which was itself an expansion on the story featured in Little Busters!. During the events of Little Busters!, Riki and Kudryavka formed a romantic relationship, and Kud Wafter begins at the onset of the summer vacation after the events of the peaceful school excursion from Little Busters!. The other members of the Little Busters have returned home for the break, leaving Riki and Kudryavka to spend their vacation living at the school dormitories. However, the male dormitory is undergoing renovations due to a problem with the plumbing, leaving Riki without a place to stay. As Kudryavka has no roommate, she suggests to Riki that he live with her until the renovation on the male dormitory is finished, and Riki accepts. Riki and Kudryavka try to keep the other dorm members from finding out since as it is against the rules for a boy and girl to share a room.
Also living at the dorms is a girl named Yuuki Himuro (氷室 憂希 Himuro Yūki?, voiced by: Kumiko Okukawa) whom Kudryavka knew and was roommates with for a time in Kudryavka's home country; Yuuki is half Japanese, a quarter German and a quarter Russian. She is the president of the science club at the school and came to take part in a cultural exchange program. Everyday, Yuuki is absorbed in various strange research projects and experiments and could be described as a logical genius. The head of the girl's dormitory is Kanata Futaki (二木 佳奈多 Futaki Kanata?, voiced by: Keiko Suzuki), the only main character other than Riki and Kudryavka to return from Little Busters!. While Kanata is good friends with Kudryavka, she is concerned about Kudryavka's relationship with Riki. Kanata succeeded the previous head of the girl's dormitory, a third-year girl referred to as "A-chan" (あーちゃん?, voiced by: Rita). Since she resigned from being the dormitory head, the dormitory rules have become somewhat more relaxed, but she still aides Kanata because Kanata inherited the position. A-chan is the president of the home economics club, which Kudryavka is a member of, and she likes interesting and strange things.
A young girl named Shiina Arizuki (有月 椎菜 Arizuki Shiina?, voiced by: Nana Ayase) is aiming to win a water rocket competition and she becomes friends with Kudryavka and Riki while searching for a suitable plastic bottle. Shiina is a cheerful, energetic girl without a hint of shyness around strangers. Shiina has a Welsh Corgi named Ōsumi as a pet. Her dream is to become an astronaut, but her family is against it. Her mother is a picture book author and she has an older sister, Ui Arizuki (有月 初 Arizuki Ui?, voiced by: Asari), a second-year high school student who also stays at the dormitory, even though her house is close to the school. Ui is a realist who does not really believe in achieving dreams. She is frugal with her money and works part-time at a family restaurant. Ui used to play lacrosse, but had to stop due to an injury.
Development and release
After the release of Little Busters! Ecstasy in 2008, Key decided to produce a spin-off of that game which focused on the heroine Kudryavka Noumi. The project's planning was headed by Kai, who returned to Key after he last contributed to the scenario of Clannad released in 2004. Chika Shirokiri returned after his work on Little Busters!, in which he wrote the scenario for Kudryavka. The artists Na-Ga and Itaru Hinoue were the art directors and character designers, both of whom previously worked on Little Busters! for Key. Jun'ichi Shimizu, who joined Key with this work, composed the game's music and was supervised by Jun Maeda.
Kud Wafter was released in Japan on June 25, 2010 as a limited edition version, playable only on Microsoft Windows PCs as a DVD. As a bonus, it came bundled with the visual novel's original soundtrack and a game demo of Key's ninth game Rewrite. Takahiro Baba, the president of Visual Art's, the publisher of Kud Wafter, announced via his Twitter account in April 2010 that 100,000 copies of Kud Wafter would be produced in its initial release. To advertise Kud Wafter, Good Smile Racing took Shinji Orito's 2003 Honda Fit and made it into an itasha (a car featuring illustrations of anime-styled characters) with images of Kudryavka. The car was driven around and showcased throughout Japan between April 19 and June 26, 2010. The car was put onto the Japanese Yahoo! Auction website on June 25, 2010 and sold for 1,699,000 yen after starting the auction at 1 yen.
A manga titled Kud Wafter began serialization in the May 2010 issue of ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine. Despite the manga being released before the visual novel, the story is based from the game and is illustrated by manga artist Bakutendō. The first volume of a manga anthology titled Kud Wafter Comic Anthology was released by Ichijinsha in August 2010; the second volume was released in October 2010. An anthology of a collection of four-panel comic strips titled Kud Wafter 4-koma Maximum was released by Wedge Holdings in September 2010. Harvest published Kud Wafter Anthology Comic in November 2010. Paradigm released a novel anthology titled Kud Wafter Anthology: It's Kud Wafter! in September 2010. Harvest published a novel anthology titled Kud Wafter Anthology Novel in November 2010.
The visual novel has two main theme songs: the opening theme "One's Future" by Miyako Suzuta, the voice actress of Kudryavka, and the ending theme "Hoshikuzu" (星屑 Stardust?) by Haruka Shimotsuki. An insert song also sung by Suzuta, "Seishuka" (星守歌?), is featured in the game as well. The single of "One's Future" was released on April 23, 2010 by Key Sounds Label in Japan bearing the catalog number KSLA-0056. The single also contained three other versions of "One's Future": a remix subtitled "Let's Go Kud! ver.", a normal instrumental version, and an instrumental version with the chorus. The background music track "Adagio for Summer Wind" was also included in the single. Kud Wafter's original soundtrack was released on June 25, 2010, with the original release of the visual novel, bearing the catalog number KSLA-0057. The soundtrack contained 24 music tracks: 20 background music tracks, an a cappella version of "Seishuka", a remix of "One's Future" subtitled "Rock Band Mix", and the original versions of "Hoshikuzu" and "Seishuka".
From mid-May to mid-June 2010, Kud Wafter ranked first in national PC game pre-orders in Japan. The limited edition version of Kud Wafter ranked first in terms of national sales of PC games in Japan in June 2010. In addition, Kud Wafter was reported to sell the most copies of any PC game in Japan for the first half of 2010. At some stores in Akihabara, Kud Wafter was sold at midnight the day of its release, which is cited as not happening very often for games sold in Akihabara.
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