Hatsune Miku and her merry friends.* From left to right, Kagamine Len and Rin, Hatsune Miku, and Megurine Luka. Not pictured: Kaito and Meiko.
It started with one dot...
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA is a series of Vocaloid-themedrhythm games released by Sega. As the title may very vaguely imply, Miku is front and center, although the other Crypton Vocaloids, Rin, Len, Luka, Meiko, and Kaito, get their share of the spotlight, as well.The aim of the game is simple. Notes fly toward stationary targets on screen and you press their corresponding buttons when they overlap the markers. This task is spiced up by detailed, unique 3D music videos for each song, as well as quite frankly ridiculous bonus difficulties. The series finally made its overseas debut in August 2013 with Project DIVA F, with the budget re-release of the Vita version following in 2014, but the other games are relatively import-friendly. Project mirai finally made its way over with the release of mirai Remix in 2015, so 3DS players can rejoice, too!
Main series games
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA (PSP, 2009)
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Dreamy Theater (PS3, 2010)* PSP connectivity DLC that lets you play unlocked songs in HD.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVAF* Note the use of the capital F rather than a fortissimo (PS3, 2013)
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA ƒ:Best Price Edition (Vita, 2013) * A re-release of ƒ in the same ilk as the # version of 2nd, with updated graphics and added content. Available in English as a digital download in 2014.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F2nd* Both PS3 and Vita releases labelled as F (PS3/Vita, 2014)
Hatsune Miku and Future Stars: Project mirai (3DS, 2012)
Miku Flick (iOS, 2012)
MikuFlick/02 (iOS, 2012)
Hatsune Miku: Project mirai 2 (3DS, 2013)
Hatsune Miku: Project mirai Remix (3DS, 2015)* An enhanced version of Project mirai 2 with additional features. To be released only outside of Japan.
This series provides examples of:
Arc Number: 39, pronounced san-kyu, (like "Thank You") can also be pronounced as mi-ku,* Japanese is wacky like that. and is thus usually associated with Hatsune Miku and winds up showing up several times throughout the series. Taken to meta level with Dreamy Theater 2nd, which costs 3900 yen on the PSN Store. Its file size? 3939 MB. This was taken further with Miku's anniversary song, 39, which appears in Project Diva F and Arcade, with the subtitles even lampshading it with, whenever she sings san-kyu, the subtitles reading 'THANK YOU (39)'.
"Gigantic Girl"'s music video, featuring a giant-sized Mikufighting Godzilla, is all in her head.
"Kagerou Days" music video, where Miku was in a concert, then suddenly a spotlight drops onto her, waking her up with a surprise. In the Chance Time event, the whole music video now goes to a different scene, and the entire thing becomes a Dream Within a Dream. This version has gone Final Destination over and over and over again! All because of that black cat.
Notably, "Kagerou Days" is the only PV in the series to have two completely different scenes.
So very, very much. Each game has massive amounts of costumes (called "modules") to unlock. At least half the modules belong to Miku in each game. "Senbonzakura" in Project Diva F requires you to play the song multiple times to unlock all of the modules from it.
Some of the DLC in Project Diva F 2nd is various outfits, including three costumes previously exclusive to Project Diva Extend.
Bilingual Bonus: In F 2nd Western release, the lyrics can now be set to translated English, while the vocals stay sung in Japanese.
Break Up Song: "Koi wa Sensou"* "Love is War" from the first game is about a particularly bad break-up, sung from the break-uppee's perspective. "Just Be Friends" from 2nd and extend is a softer example, sung from the break-upper's perspective.
In "Time Machine", the two toys that caused the dream from "Gigantic Girl" are sat on the floor of the treehouse.
Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The colors of the melody icons are obviously the PlayStation symbols' colors. The arrow ("W") notes are filled with colors to prevent blending with other types of icons. Hold notes have colored outlines. Star notes in the F series are yellow.
And of course, the difficulties are in PlayStation colors as well: Green "Easy", Blue "Normal", Pink "Hard", Red "Extreme".
Cute Mute: Teto outside of songs. In some games, Haku and Neru are also mute except when you clear a stage.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: If you played too much F 2nd on the Vita with analog sticks as Scratches, see if you can finish any Hard/Extreme songs in F without touching the stick.
Deal with the Devil: Of a sorts in Dream-Eating Monochrome Baku. Len, a baku (read: dream-eating spirit), makes a contract with a girl to eat all of her bad dreams. After he finishes eating her bad dreams, he continues eating her dreams until the girl can't dream anymore.
There are several songs in F series where, even though a character may not appear as a selectable module, s/he will still appear in the song. If you select a Vocaloid other than the default, the default character will replace the selected one within the song. Taken to another level in "Rin-chan Now!", where the selected character's name and color appears correctly on their Twitter-like feed, even Haku, Teto and Neru, as well as Sakine Meiko.
In "God-Tier Tune," if you select a Kaito or Meiko module, they'll still have a super-deformed model to replace Miku's, despite not appearing in the song otherwise.
Several modules in Project Diva F, like Linkage and FOnewearl, have glow-in-the-dark light up panels built in.
The Factory Tyrant module has moving gears on the wrists and ankles, as well as a spinning disc on the chest. Even in shots where the scene is otherwise static, they never stop moving.
A new element in the new PV for Hatsune Miku no Gekishou, as a Chance Time Bonus, is that the notes for the following rapid note sequence have holographic markers added.
New songs, new modules, et cetera. extend had most of 2nd's DLC included.
From 2nd onwards, Yowane Haku, Akita Neru and Kasane Teto are available as bonus characters, with one or all of them included in the DLC packs available each game, if not the game itself.
With Project Diva F on PS3, around a dozen extra songs added as post-release DLC with the Vita version are included with the DLC modules being assigned to the songs they represent, including Senbonzakura having a total of SEVEN costumes, which are unlocked by completing the song a total of TEN times on any difficulty.
Two of the most iconic songs of Project Diva F, "ODDS & ENDS" and "Tell Your World" were added as Live Mode songs for Project Diva F 2nd.
All of the DLC skins for Project Diva F 2nd are available free... for 39 days from release.
The Song "Tell Your World" was originally created for Google to advertise how Hatsune Miku has become a worldwide phenomeon. In the first Project Diva game to come to the West, the song is included. Say it with me. A song made to advertise Miku's popularity worldwide, where she sings of how she wants to sing to everyone, is included in Miku's first worldwide game release, and also appears as Live Mode DLC for the second.
Dub Name Change: A handful of song names in F got... weird translations. "Left Behind City" became "Urbandonment", "Divine Comedy" became "God-Tier Tune", and "Netgame Addicts Sprechchor" (which was already its official English title according to the Japanese version, no less) became "The MMORPG Addict's Anthem", to name a few.
With F 2nd, this was essential, due to the song "Genga Spoofing". The easy translation would be "Gengar Spoofing", but, obviously, with this being a SEGA game on a Sony console... They translated it as "Doubleganger"...
Duet Bonding: "World's End Dancehall" from ƒ has Miku and Luka facing off in a heated dance battle, only for them to hit it off at the end when they realise the crowd loves it.
Those used to later games may be put off by the first game's lack of Extreme mode, hold and arrow notes, and songs that aren't performed by Miku. Some music videos are also just slideshows, and the pass/fail system is entirely dependent on your score, both things that were gone by Project Diva 2nd.
Games before F did not contain star notes, Technical Zones, Chance Time bonus scenes, customization items... or rock paper scissors.
Even worse with Project Diva Arcade, which has points where you need to hit two notes at once and a slide note.
Project Diva F 2nd adds two new types of star note, one of which requires you to scratch two-fingered, the other requiring you to complete a combo, often slightly out of tune with the song itself.
The new star note mechanic also ties into Chance Time, where you can actually CANCEL the bonus animation by doing the final star note with both fingers or analogue sticks.
Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing on the Easy difficulty in F and F 2nd prevents you from unlocking the Hard versions of songs, and some modules and items. Additionally, if you choose to use a help item, the rank shown will have a green heart beside it. Some help items go further and automatically give you the CHEAP/LOUSY rating regardless of performance, preventing you from unlocking new songs.
One of the cheapest, in gaming terms, help items was removed for F 2nd, which allowed you to, on any difficulty, play it with only the basic note types of Easy Mode.
Engrish: As the Vocaloid 3 modules were only finished a few weeks before the release of Project Diva F in English, all the songs are only translated in that Romanji is used on the karaoke bar. Also, All the Vocaloids, when, as of recent updates, all of them have a english voice bank, still use the original engrish victory announcements. Several fans of Project Diva have took it upon themselves to remix, using the Vocaloid 3 English voicebank, several of the songs from Project Diva F and have so far shown almost half the songs sound just as good, if not better, in english!
Averted, in a very cute fashion, in F 2nd... Luka uses the english Yankee Doodle chant for the new minigame, in all regions, purely since she's always spoken passable english!
Then averted even more in a shocking move, as SEGA announced that the subtitles now have an option on most of the songs to translate faithfully the lyrics into full English, approved by Crypton and the original composers, for the Western Release!
Fake Longevity: Unlocking 100% of the Modules in the original PSP game requires clearing all of the songs sung by Miku (32 of the 36) and getting either 5 Normals or 1 Great... per character! This also has to be done six times, using a character's original module for each run, making it almost a waste to use any of Miku's other costumes.
2013 saw the release of Megpoid the Music#, a similar rhythm game for the PSP featuring the popular Vocaloid GUMI.
Gumi also appears in selected songs in Project mirai, however she has not been licensed for Project Diva itself.
And in 2014, IA/VT Colorful does the same for IA on the Vita, courtesy of Marvelous AQL.
Gameplay Grading: Being a rhythm game series, this is obviously present, though with worded grades rather than letter grades. From worst to best, they are MISS×TAKE (DROP×OUT in F's English release)* fail to finish a song, CHEAP (LOUSY in F's English release)* finish a song but fail to get enough rank points, STANDARD, GREAT, EXCELLENT, and PERFECT.
Grass Is Greener: "Negaposi*Continues". Turns out living in a video game isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Hope Sprouts Eternal: Kami Kioku/God-Tier Tune revolves around chibi Vocaloids tending to the last plant on Earth in order to awaken Goddess Miku.
In the intro for Project Diva F, The DX7 synthesizer is uncovered, gathering dust, that appeared in the PSP intros, and Miku is depicted as moving on, reflecting the fact F and F 2nd are PS3 and Vita games, instead of the original system of a PSP game alongside a Dreamy Theatre upscaling program.
Expanding from this is that the first three games are portrayed as being set at a exclusive academy, while Project Diva F and F 2nd are set after they have graduated, with the iconic synthesizer absent completely from F 2nd.
In Sakura no Ame in Project Diva F 2nd, Miku is shown walking around the school featured in the intros, with several locations seen in the various intros shown prominently.
The words and music for The Disappearance Of Hatsune Miku and Tell Your World are incredibly meta, the first having her sing about how she's terrified of the end of the song, and the latter having Miku singing about the fact she's on the stage right now singing for the world.
The music video for Sadistic Music Factory is about someone having escaped a tyrannical factory owner. As the song continues, it's revealed that the person she's looking for is the player themselves!
One of the new aids given for Hatsune Miku no Gekishou is that, from halfway through the song, the music video itself, if you complete Chance Time, changes to allow you to more clearly see the arrangement of the notes, the only Chance Time Bonus omitted from the PV.
In two ways. It's themed around the Crypton-produced Vocaloids (this unfortunately means no Gumi or Gakupo, for instance) and a few fan derivatives, and technically, every single song is a licensed song, since they're preexisting songs made by producers who are not SEGA or even Crypton staff. The fact it uses so many licenses made the localization of Project Diva F a shock, especially since almost none of the songs are cut, only removing a special download-only version of PoPiPo, presumably since SEGA couldn't renegotiate the rights to use Toro and Kuro.
The inclusion of Akita Neru, Yowane Haku and Kasane Teto, as well as modules specifically for them, Sakine Meiko, Tako Luka and Hachune Miku is purely since piapro licensed every single one of them under the Crypton Future Media banner. Ever since, they have appeared, legally, complete with songs specific to them, in the Project Diva games. This licensing does not extend to use of Kasane Teto's voice, which is created using UTAU, which piapro cannot license, meaning she has no songs or bonus modules on any Project Diva game, and was not added to Project Diva Arcade until much later.
Project Diva F 2nd uses piapro's own music archiving website to archive the music for Edit Mode, allowing gamers to optionally attach the song file to a PV, removing one of the bugbears of Edit Mode, namely that you can't always find the song.
Another licensing problem came with F and F 2nd coming out in English at all, since they needed to get approval to do the english lyrics. When Project Diva F was successful beyond all expectations, Crypton approved SEGA meeting with the composers to create the licensed translations the fans wanted.
Life Meter: Like in many other rhythm games. However, you also need to finish the song with enough Grade Points (or, in earlier games, at least a certain percentage of COOL or GOOD judgements) to clear the song properly.
Logo Joke: The logo screen has Miku singing "Se-gaaaa!", similar to how older Sega games had the "Se-gaaaa!" yell. Later games had Rin, Len, Luka, Kaito and Meiko join in randomly.
Love Triangle: "Acute" from F has one between Kaito, Miku, and Luka. As if to drive the point home, the stage is even shaped like a triangle! It doesn't end well, either.
Luck-Based Mission: The room items in the original game are unlocked by random chance after clearing a song. Many of them require a Great but even then aren't a 100% guarantee.
Present in Meiko's song "Nostalogic" in Project Diva F. The camera often locks on or swing pasts her midriff, rear, or chest.
Made even more hilarious if you get the Chance Time for Nostalogic, which causes the camera to become glued to the player character's chest.
Luka's "Blackjack" in F 2nd brings this back in full force.
Mercy Invincibility: In DIVA Arcade, you're granted a brief period of "safety" at the beginning of the song; your Life Meter is restrained from falling below a certain amount until the safety wears off.
Motor Mouth: To varying degrees based on the song, from short spurts in "Secret Police" to constant and nigh-indecipherable in "Rin-chan Now!", "Sadistic Music Factory" and "Ura-Omote Lovers". Most blatant in the infamous "Hatsune Miku no Gekishou" from 2nd, the only song that makes you press notes as fast as Miku's singing.
...which was confirmed to be coming to Project Diva F 2nd as of the final release trailer. Thankfully, about half the notes from the latter half of the song were removed.
Mini-Game Credits: In F's closing credits, you play as Hachune Miku, throwing leeks at the credits to score points. Amusingly, after the first play, you can buy an item that lets you play it whenever you want, and new features are unlocked as you play the credits game multiple times.
Project DIVA F2nd brings back updated versions of past songs, such as "Packaged" from the first game, "Romeo & Cinderella" and "Hatsune Miku no Gekishou" from the second, and "A Thousand Years' Solo" from extend...
This extends to the modules in the same game, with confirmation of the Nyanko and Heart Hunter modules from the PSP games, the latter being well known due to it's use with the first game's rendition of "Ura Omote Lovers", which returns with the PV and module it used in extend.
The game runs at 60 frames per second instead of 30. Not even Project DIVA F on PlayStation 3 runs at more than 30 FPS.note You could play F on a 120 Hz TV, but it's only an artificial measure and will look inconsistent.
Holds are no longer mandatory. Holding a hold note down simply gives you bonus points, up to 3000 per hold note if another note of the same button doesn't appear early enough to interrupt the hold.
"Chord" notes now use different buttons. On harder difficulties, chords of 3 and 4 buttons are not uncommon.
Normal mode actually uses all four buttons.
The newer revisions of the game have a version of the star note from F, indicated by a bar across the top of the control area, that you slide one direction or another to complete the note.
Having the original game's save on your memory stick will net you all of its costumes for free, plus an exclusive DIVA Room poster and title, in the sequel. Likewise, having a 2nd save will get you all of its costumes and such for extend.
This unfortunately doesn't carry on through to Project Diva F, which retires all the costumes from the older games.
However, with Project Diva F 2nd, this comes back, in that any costumes you have unlocked in F are also unlocked on F 2nd. The game however requires you have a save for your own region, a side-effect of the previous game being a global release.
Relationship Values: Every iteration of DIVA Room features these, with a separate gauge for each character. You can raise these with Item Events, giving them gifts, or simply interacting with them. However, in Project Diva F and F 2nd, the Derivative Vocaloids do not have the gauges, due to the DLC only unlocking their module and limited voice data.
Some of the rhythm game items you can choose will make the song harder in various ways, ranging from making targets appear much later and preventing recovery of your life meter.
Songs in F 2nd can make it even harder with multiple challenge items in one go! That's right! Can you ace "Gekishou" on Extreme with icons that appear later than normal, flowing in random directions at high speed?
Sequel Difficulty Spike: The final PSP entry, extend, may very well be the hardest game in the series. Songs on Extreme are now filled with high-speed rapid chains.
"Remote Controller"'s BGA features a Sega Dreamcast controller, which replaces the Famicom controllers in the original PV because you can probably guess how Sony would feel about Nintendo copyrights in games on their systems.
Uh oh! It just got real!note Yep, that's the legit loading screen for Project DIVA F 2nd.
Initally, the Project Diva intros featured a Yamaha DX7 synthesizer somewhere in them, including Project Diva F revealing Miku's one has the voice settings for 37-39 read 'Best Friends Forever'. This same synthesizer is one of several instruments that are built into Miku's outfit. Unfortunately, in Project Diva F 2nd, The DX7 is not present.
Translation Correction: Some slight instances of Engrish were corrected for the English release of F. For example, "Rest X Notes" seen during a Technical Zone became "Notes Left: X".
For F 2nd, further translations were done, with the vague 'WORST' note designation now being called 'MISS', and the 'LOUSY' rating being replaced by the more optimistic 'SO CLOSE'.
Updated Re-release: 2nd# fixes several bugs and niggles, speeds up load times, and comes with a free DLC code that gives you all of extend's costumes to use. extend could be considered this to 2nd, especially seeing as how it's working title was Project DIVA 2.5. In a more traditional example, F is a re-release of ƒ.
Variable Mix: Missing a note in newer games will cause whatever vocals corresponding to that point in the music to not play. Miss notes repeatedly and the characters will sound like they forgot the lyrics.