Gaijinworks Working On Visual Novels?

By Spencer . June 18, 2009 . 10:48am

image I ran into Vic Ireland, previously President of Working Designs and now President Gaijinworks, who revealed a scrapped Guitar Freaks localization to Siliconera. Before that topic came up I asked Ireland about his new company, Gaijinworks.


“We’re consulting for things like Miami Law, consulting localization, actually Miami Law started as straight consulting and then turned into localization,” Ireland answered. “We’ll do that and we’ll do developing, localization, customizing for another publisher, and we also plan on publishing our own stuff too. We’re covering all the bases and not just doing one thing. Basically, we’re branching out from what we did at Working Designs and opening it up a little more.”


Ireland said they were working on three titles. At first I thought these were RPGs. Working Designs previously focused on bringing Japanese RPGs to North America, but Irelands eyes lit up when I mentioned visual novels. He called the genre “the last frontier”, said “imagine Working Designs style visual novels,” and smiled. Miami Law, Ireland’s first post Working Designs project, is a hybrid game meets visual novel. Perhaps, Ireland is thinking about localizing games like The Last Bullet, which like Miami Law has shooting scenes and lots of text.

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  • Trotmeister

    Concentrating on visual novels, huh? Seems like old man Ireland ain’t beating ’round the bush no more – he wants to hit bankruptcy again, as soon as possible.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Yeah. I’m all for some localized visual novels, but let’s face it, the reason nobody has really touched them before is because there’s an insanely small chance that they’ll even be profitable.

      • I believe there’s a strong crowd that they could capture if they went through with it the right way.
        It’s almost feels like the planets have to align to make it success, though. Choose the right title, localize it the right way, release it at the right time, market it at the right crowd, etc. I know that’s the process most games go through, but it needs to catch on fire to establish/expand on the VN base.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          There is some definite marketing guidance to follow to reach the right people. Nintendo’s soft sell of Layton has pretty much reenergized that title and I know Hotel Dusk had a measure of success selling through book outlets like the New York Times review and such.

          What makes my mouth water is that if Vic (or whomever he is working for) keeps to old patterns, they will be localizing existing work rather than commissioning projects ala Natsume. That puts some titles under immediate possibility. Last Bullet is definite one but I doubt Sigma Harmonics would be a consideration.

          However, the PSP has seen a flood of top tier VN ports, including series such as TokiMemo and some of Key’s. I’d immediately jump on the word that the Infinity series was getting a full PSP collection, but that’s 4 games, not 3. But in defense of such options, Brooktown High largely used a TM engine and the PC Ever17 is one of those “you must find this” titles.

    • Serge73

      Hahaha the bankruptcy comment made me literally burst out laughing…

  • BobM

    You know, Snatcher and Policenauts were basically visual novels. How amazing would it be to have those games released on the DS or Wii?

  • Nosferatu

    Imagine how long 1 visual novel will take Gaijinworks and tricky Vic

    • Here’s the thing though: As long as they’re NOT the publisher, they’ll have to deliver on time! Miami Law wasn’t affected by any delays now, was it? That’s what I’m saying. If they keep working for someone else, then this argument becomes moot. Sorta.

  • Pichi

    If they do The Last Bullet, I’ll be so very happy and buy it ASAP! Glad to see interest in visual novels.

  • More visual novel publishers is always great! I’d kill to have Last Bullet localized. :D

  • I would love to play Last Bullet if they plan on translating it.

    In general, not too many companies take the risk of localizing visual novels, but I hope they succeed if that’s what Vic is focusing on.

  • Last Bullet sounds like it would be right up his alley. There are quite a few games for him to look through, so I hope that works out well.

    The final frontier? I can see what he’s saying. There are a few other things left unexplored or untapped, but I can definitely see what he’s saying here.

  • Sounds nice. I wanted to start up a visual novel localization company, but hey, I lack the funds, know-how, and location. Shared dreams with a group of friends is great, but it isn’t enough to sway developers into agreeing with your ideals. Maybe Vic wants some help? =)

  • Evila

    I would totally buy Last Bullet if they picked that one up. It looks pretty cool. Also looking forward to getting Miami Law.

  • jarrodand


    • gar3

      I would be all over a localized 428, heh.

    • Nekobo

      This and Last Bullet in English would make me a super happy gamer.

  • Anon

    No one’s tried Visual Novels on a console before, so I commend old Ire if he decides to try.

    They’re historically been a failure on the PC, but that can be due to ease of piracy + companies with low ad budgets and low distribution power. Console games have a stronger market presence than PC games in retail stores, and if a game was even slightly advertised, it might work.

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