Touhou 17 will be darker than usual according to ZUN, will launch in summer 2019, and a demo is coming on May 5.
ZUN revealed Touhou 17 on his personal blog, with screenshots, a release date estimate, and how a demo is coming soon. Fully titled Touhou Kikeijuu (Oni-Shaped Beast)~ Wily Beast and Weakest Creature, Touhou 17 will be releasing on PC in Summer 2019, and a demo will be released at Reitaisai 16 on May 5.
ZUN also revealed some info on the game’s story and atmosphere. Reimu, Marisa, and Youmu are paying a small visit to hell and will have a darker adventure than usual. The gameplay experience overall will require players to play more aggressively as well.
Touhou is a series of doujin games, Japanese independent games, made by Team Shangai Alice, a “group” solely composed of ZUN. The Touhou games are technically danmaku/manic shooters, but the biggest and most popular aspect of Touhou is the music, composed by ZUN. Many consider ZUN to be more a genius composer than a game developer, and each new Touhou game with its brand new OST can be considered as a new album he’s releasing.
ZUN is the most popular indie Japanese game developer in the world, and Touhou has been a huge influence on pop culture and gaming, especially on young developers born in the early nineties. The perfect example is Toby Fox, whose Undertale is greatly influenced by Touhou.
Touhou Project is one of the biggest icons of Japanese culture, and the franchise definitely had the biggest fandom in the world among Japanese franchises before starting to slightly decline in early 2010, with the emergence of phenomenons such as Kancolle and later on FGO and Azur Lane. Since the series’ launch in 1996, and thanks to ZUN’s full acceptance of any kind of derivative work, the Touhou fandom has strived through billions of fanarts, music arrangements and remixes, anime productions, memes, and games of any genre from mystery dungeon RPGs to 3D battle arena. Multiple Touhou games developed by various studios regularly release each year. The fanbase is so big, and Touhou is so rich beyond the original danmaku games by ZUN, it’s easier to find someone who knows Touhou and its iconic characters through its derivative works than through the original game series.
The first screenshots of Touhou 17 can be found below.