The unlikely intersection of Vampire Survivors and vtubers has somehow produced both the best fan game I've ever seen and one of 2023's most interesting speedrun categories.
Last June, I wrote about a cute little game called Holocure, which combines the characters and themes of a bunch of Hololive vtubers with a side-scrolling action game heavily inspired by Vampire Survivors. It was so popular at launch that users crashed its leaderboards, and lead developer Kay Yu (opens in new tab), an animator who's contributed to titans like Bleach and Naruto, has only cranked the game to 11 since.
It'd be an understatement to say Holocure (opens in new tab), available for free on Itch, is still going strong. It's now up to a whopping 29 playable characters – all Hololive talents – with dozens of weapons and items which can be combined into dozens more. It's also distinguished itself from Vampire Survivors a bit by leaning more into bullet hell-style AoE markers, which is pretty cool.
I saw Holocure recently put out a big new update, and it's brought fans of Vampire Survivors and Hololive back for more – including the industry-leading vtubers it's about, many of whom have also streamed Vampire Survivors before. There are other standout Twitch and YouTube streamers like IronMouse of Vshojo, not to mention rival global organizations like Nijisanji, but Hololive pretty handily dominates YouTube vtuber viewership, so what we have here are dozens of the biggest vtubers on the planet speedrunning a game starring themselves.
I've been doing this job for a decade, and I don't think I've ever seen a community within a community quite like this. Vtubers from Japan, Indonesia, and the West are playing a fan game, while literally playing as the characters they portray on their streams, and competing amongst each other for the best times.
Mumei said nohttps://t.co/EdZKqnzFNbFebruary 13, 2023
The Holocure Twitter account, which has crossed 165,000 followers, has been tracking this internal time trial. JP streamer Koyori set one record, followed by EN streamer Hakos Baelz, and then Mumei from EN, and then Mumei again, and then Mumei again. I take it Mumei really likes this game, and she's not alone. This free fan game has gotten untold millions of views across countless streams from almost every Hololive member.
Holocure has basically been adopted by Hololive's parent company Cover, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if Cover just buys the game or hires Kay Yu at some point. It's a fascinating and explosive story for fan games, and I can tell you from personal experience that it doesn't matter if you like Hololive or vtubers at all; this is just a genuinely great action game that can go toe-to-toe with the hit that inspired it.
Vampire Survivors will get more DLC itself, but "key features" will always be free.