Personally, I think V Ns
need to work somewhat to break out of the 'eroge prison'. In a lot of anime/manga communities, V Ns
have something of a stigma about them (IMO) due to the fact that a huge, huge majority of them are eroge. And in a lot of cases that content is just there to get customers, it doesn't add anything to the story whatsoever. Thank god for fast-forward functions. Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that we need some high-profile V Ns
to show people that you can do more with the medium than romance. Case in point: Ever 17. That was shit hot.
What you also might see is hybridization. VN elements are becoming hybridized with other genres to produce new and unique games. Exhibit A: Persona 4. And 3 as well, I guess. If you strip out the JRPG aspect of Persona 4, you are left with a rather well-written (and much shorter *heh*) murder mystery VN. But instead of sprites (well there are sprites too but you get my point) the background is rendered in full 3D. Imagine a VN with a full 3D background, using a next-gen engine to render characters. After all, look at how realistic realtime rendering has become in the past few years. There's no rule saying Visual Novels have to use 2D graphics, after all.
Really, though, I think where V Ns
should go is in the direction of more choices. And I mean a truly ridiculous amount of choices. As in, getting a dialogue choice for every single line in the game. See, a lot of the frustration some people feel with Visual Novels (and I feel it too) is that you are sometimes given a couple of choices, none of which you really want to pick. I believe that the player should never be forced into making a stupid choice. Give the player more control. The developers need to remember that they're not writing a book. It's a game. It's software. It can change as you play. Not taking advantage of that is just wasteful.
I mean, think about it. Most (read: 99.99%) of all V Ns
are Japanese. This is generally accepted. The Japanese language lets you communicate a HUGE amount of subtext through written dialogue alone, with things like different pronouns, honorifics, preferential use of family name to given name, et cetera. Suppose that, to the left of the dialogue window, you had a slider which controls what personal pronoun your character uses. Suppose you have a configuration menu in the options menu which controls how you address different characters, allowing you to select family name/given name, honorific choice, and so on. BOOM. You've suddenly got a huge, huge, huge amount of options for fine-tuning and subtly influencing how your character behaves towards other people. Go around addressing everyone you meet as '-sama' for no reason whatsoever. Use 'atashi' even if you're a guy. Play your character like a complete retard, or not, because it's your mistake to make, not because the writers wanted it that way.
Just something to think about.