The State Of Xseed Interview

By Spencer . June 24, 2009 . 2:32pm

Xseed may not have core franchises like Atlus and NIS America to publish every year, but Xseed is busy with a ton of titles. This year they added games from GungHo and Namco Bandai to their portfolio. How did they get they get the rights to publish these games? I asked Jun Iwasaki, President of Xseed, how those relationships began and if Xseed plans to develop their own games.


image How did you relationship with Gungho start?


Jun Iwasaki, President: Mr. Futatda, from Game Arts, he worked at Tecmo before. I have a relationship with him. We had a chance to make a proposal for GungHo titles like Ragnarok DS. He also asked me if I was interested in Lunar and of course I said yes. We proposed to do both titles and they decided to give us the rights to publish [them].


Gungho has a lot of other games like a PSP RPG. Is Xseed thinking about Mimana?


We have evaluated those titles already. This year, as you know, we have a lot of titles and we have to select titles. Unfortunately, we’re just doing those two titles.


Is Xseed doing anything with Grandia Online?


No. I haven’t received any offer from them. If they offer something we’ll consider it.


image About your relationship with Namco Bandai… you’ve started localizing their games too. How did that relationship start?


The main reason is Ken [Berry]. Ken checked magazines and he informed me that Game Center CX* was not announced for North America. So, there was a chance to get it, somehow. I have a good relationship with some people at Bandai Namco and I asked each person ‘is this available?’ Then we proposed a deal and we got the rights to publish it.


Fragile happened the same way. We were very interested in that title because of its graphics and it’s a unique RPG. Then I tried to contact my friends at Bandai Namco and they said there was a possibility. Then we discussed a lot and Bandai Namco said OK.


* [Note: Game Center CX is the name for Retro Game Challenge in Japan.]


So about Retro Game Challenge 2


Ken Berry, Director of Publishing: It looks very unlikely that we will localize and bring it.


We’ve gotten tons of e-mails from fans that say ‘thank you so much!’, ‘we love Retro Game Challenge’, ‘it’s my favorite DS game of all time’, but when you look at the sales numbers that actually picked it up and really being vocal about it, it’s pretty small compared to the other DS owners out there. The sales aren’t quite there to justify bringing the sequel.


JI: Fortunately, we got that title, but honestly it has not reached our expectations sales wise. It’s tough to bring the game over. If the sales of Game Center CX 1 dramatically increase we will of course consider it. It’s up to you guys.


OK! Tell my readers how many more copies need to be sold.


KB: 20,000.


JI: 20,000 more? That’s too small. We need more than that.


KB: At least 20,000.


JI: We have to reach 100,000.


KB: OK, that’s a lot more.


Can you tell us about your relationship with Marvelous?


JI: At the beginning we started the relationship with Valhalla Knights on the PSP. At the time we had a licensing deal. After we finished that deal I discussed a co publishing agreement with Marvelous. They agreed our offer to be a publisher and we would help with sales support and marketing. That [was the] kind of co-publishing deal we made. Then we got the rights to publish Little King’s Story, Arc Rise Fantasia, and Half Minute Hero.


For Lunar and Half Minute Hero are these going to be downloadable games or retail?


Both. Sony recommended to publishers to prepare downloadable [versions] and UMD. Maybe we will launch downloads and UMD as well, but it is not confirmed yet.


Are you doing anything else with Game Arts?


Just Lunar.


Xseed has a past relationship with Square Enix. You in particular… [Note: Mr.Iwasaki was previously the CEO and President of Squaresoft.]


When I established this company I had a good relationship with Mr. Nomura. We did some marketing support for Kingdom Hearts, Dirge of Cerberus, and Advent Children. Recently, there is no relationship.


Really? I was thinking you could pick up games like Nanashi no Game?


No, I don’t think so.


AQ Interactive has a huge stake in Xseed. Are you going to localize more AQ Interactive titles?


Sure. Profit wise, AQ Interactive is always comparing selling through Xseed or licensing a title out. The final decision for licensing out Blue Dragon was more profitable so they decided to license it out. [With] Each title they always decide if it’s better to license it out or have us publish it.


Are you publishing Arcana Heart 2?


We have no plans to publish it in the US so far.


AQ Interactive has a stake in many developers like Feelplus and Cavia. Is Xseed thinking about developing or planning original games with help from partner studios?


At the beginning we have to publish. If we have some money we will consider to make titles using Cavia or other outside companies. But, it’s too early for us.


If possible, I would like to consider making downloadable titles like PSN, WiiWare. In fact for WiiWare we have a licensing deal to publish a title this year.




Yeah, that’s Drill Sergeant Mindstrong right?


Yeah, that deal is a licensing deal. If possible in the future, if there is good IP there I will invest. Because, profit wise, it’s not huge. Personally, I’m interested in some kind of title for PSN. With the launch of the new PSP I expect the PSP market to do well and a downloadable PSP title would be a success. If we have a chance to get good IP for PSP I would like to get the rights to invest.

  • Mac

    I think this is the third State of XSEED interview I’ve seen now. :)

    • Hello… RPGamer? Ah that’s where the title for the name came from!

      When I was typing it out I was like hey the “State of something” came to mind, but I didn’t remember where the idea came from. Thanks for the help :D

  • lostinblue

    needs more arc rise fantasia, fragile and little king story.

    Plus, I’ve been dying to know if rune Factory Frontier is selling well, I loved the game on my Wii (still loving it, actually)

    • You did see the interview with Kimura-san right?

      I’m sure we’ll do more things with Fragile and Arc Rise Fantasia later so…

      • lostinblue

        yup! :) I’m completely psyched with Arc Rise Fantasia in particular, I actually imported and I’m playing through the japanese release. The game is beautiful and it tops Team Symphonia game’s so often so far in pacing, world map and such that it’s not even funny.

        Can’t wait for the US release.

  • Ereek

    A very nice and informative interview, thank you!

    I’m extremely pleased that XSEED is planning on both physical and downloadable copies of Lunar and Half-Minute Hero. They can appease to both crowds that way.

  • Pichi

    Nice interview! Sad about Retro Game Challenge 2, but I’m looking forward to Lunar and perhaps Half-Minute Hero.

    Since Xseed is with GungHo, will they be the ones to bring Eco Creatures 2 or is that still Majesco or no one?

    • Well, if they are going to do Eco Creatures 2 it won’t be this year since the only two GungHo games are Lunar and Ragnarok Online DS. Also, Majesco owns the trademark for Eco Creatures so that’s probably more their deal.

  • 20,000? Papa’s gotta get a brand new bag…

  • Hero of Legend

    I just a day back got back a lot of new from XSEED myself! I’m sure most of you have seen it, but no harm in mentioning them here:

    – Little King’s Story is set for July 21st, and North America gets an extra hard difficultly level called ‘Tyrant’
    – Rune Factory: Frontier sales were ‘OK’
    – XSEED will not be pursuing Kizuna
    – XSEED is not commenting on the combat aspect of Fragile. They aren’t sure if anything will be tweaked for NA release.
    – Two secret titles are coming…one to Wii and one to DS: “There are still two titles that we haven’t announced yet; one for Wii and one for DS. Both of these titles are scheduled to be revealed in July.”

    • And I thought we weren’t allowed to talk about the secret titles… :(

      • Hero of Legend

        They probably didn’t want to talk about the titles in detail, but they were allowed to mention platforms and the announcemtn timeframe. :P

        They no doubt know I post whatever they tell me, so I’m sure they told me what they allowed to be public.

        • Oh, I know a thing or two about them, but those things were cut from the interview since they were “secret”. Apparently, not that secret though!

          • Hero of Legend


            Think you’re able to say if the Wii game is retail or WiiWare?

            And are both games… going to make us smile? :P

            I may as well get the word from the Horse’s mouth myself so that you don’t get into trouble in case you reveal something you shouldn’t!

          • I don’t know if I should say anything, but you revealed “hell mode” for LKS too! Kimura-san asked me not to talk about that either. Hahaha.

            I’ll check first before I comment further…

          • Not the first time we’ve lost out this way either. ;_;

    • Ereek

      I want Soma Bringer! Do it, XSEED!
      . . .I doubt I’ll ever get anything more than a fan translation, though.

    • lostinblue

      No Arc Rise? *sad panda*

      btw, Hero of Legend. You might see utility in this:

      -> (17.6 MB)

      Those are my Arc Rise Fantasia pics from the first hour of playthrough, I’d post them on neogaf, on kiryogi’s thread… like I’ve been doing on other forums, but I can’t, so if you have any use for them, feel free to use them. They’re direct framebuffer grabs saved at 95% jpeg quality… and one thing is for sure, they’re way better than the ones imageepoch used to release (which is a shame I dunno what capture equipment they had.

      • Hero of Legend

        Nice grabs!

        What cable connection were you playing it with? If component, does it support 480p?

        If you’re able to can you grab some in 480p if these weren’t? But I’ve heard that kiryogi was told it only runs in 480i. :(

        • lostinblue

          I was playing on RGB, this is framebuffer grab though, it goes to the framebuffer where the frame is stored and downloads it to my computer. I did it through a USB Gecko, purchased just for that (I wanted to do framebuffer grabs with quality of this game, and Rune Factory Frontier… and my camera wasn’t sufficing)

          I don’t know if it supports 480p, but I know the video mode appears marked as “??” in the software, whereas I had stuff displaying 480i (for example) before. If kiryogi said so, he must have checked… But my TV doesn’t support the mode. (sorry)

          I took more pics, a hour ago or so, First Summon, a few other cutscenes and Adeel (Adeel is really awesome, reminds me of Arche Klein, while putting a strong front but it’s still feminine). The animation in this game is totally awesome, it’s exactly what most RPG’s have wanted to have for the longest time and failed at… including stuff on the HD consoles (SO4 I’m looking at you), and of course, it totally rapes DotNW motion capture. If you’re interested I’ll post a mega upload link like I did for the first batch. (originally I was only planning to put the first hour of the game in the internet, but it is getting pretty good)

          The pacing is so much better than any Tales in existence it really hurts. I’m more hyped to play this in english than… Tales of Graces, and more hyped for the possibility of a Arc Rise Fantasia 2 than any game Team Symphonia can muster.

          This game really deserves to sell.

  • cj_iwakura

    It’s worth mentioning that Arcana Heart 2 CS is supposed to be a buggy mess.

  • Anon

    I think their expectations for Retro Game Challenge are too high. It’s a niche game with no exposure.

    It’s a real shame that they don’t think it’s worth bringing over the sequel for such dedicated fans. I hope another publisher like Atlus or Ignition picks it up.

    • jj984jj

      It’s probably because of all the licensing involved, not to mention it’s a Bandai-Namco game. If XSEED doesn’t pick up the second game I doubt anybody else but Namco or Nintendo can.

    • lostinblue

      not necessarily expectations, I’m sure that, if they had turned a profit with the title they’d use that profit to bring the other title up… but they didn’t.

  • jj984jj

    No questions about the state of their currently announced projects? :(

    I’m really curious about how Arc Rise Fantasia’s localization is doing.

    • I felt like that was something we could do later. Business interviews are much less common so I went with that theme.

      Also, questions about Arc Rise Fantasia were discussed with Marvelous directly so we’ll hear more about those games later.

      • lostinblue

        nice, I’ll be waiting to see those questions :) (I already hope that Arc Rise Fantasia is made into a RPG series, IMO it has more than enough quality to be a series)

        btw, spencer, people have been worried because just yesterday Arc Rise popped up as a 2010 title at gamefly:


        • I hate to say it, but that might make more sense, considering Fragile seems to be XSEED’s big Wii release for Q3 and there’s going to be a ton of competition from bigger publishers in Q4…not to mention New Super Mario Bros.

          • lostinblue


            (yeah, I know, but I still have hope)

          • But…you’re already playing it… =_=;

  • Hero of Legend

    I wonder if MMV has anymore big Wii games in the works, we haven’t heard anything big from them since NMH2 at TGS, I hope they aren’t “lessening” their efforts on the Wii. :(

    True that they’re still trying to get out Eldar Saga and NMH2 at some place, they still have quite a number of games still not out everywhere.

    Know anything Spencer? Like if MMV has more big plans for the Wii that we don’t know about?

    • You guys did hear about that post over the MMV blog, right? That isn’t to say those games tanking isn’t MMV’s fault to an extent. No advertising + new IP is almost certainly a recipe for failure in Japan at this point. Sigh.

      That said, I don’t know if they have much of a choice. Spencer talked with MMV at E3 and they said the PS3 game from Grasshopper could drive them to bankruptcy if it failed to sell. I don’t think they were exaggerating either.

      More importantly, where the hell is my Rune Factory 3 announcement? TGS can’t come soon enough!

      • Hero of Legend

        Of course I’ve heard that.

        I suppose they’ll want to see how the rest of their Wii games ell in the long run before continuing the big games. :(

        • Hero of Legend

          *sell :P

        • I really, really think MMV should experiment with Rune Factory on both Wii and DS. It’s a franchise that’s pretty well-known in the West by now, and if Rune Factory Frontier did “OK,” it’s a good sign for future games.

          They’ve been doing a lot of that sort of thing with Harvest Moon, what with all the Wii/DS/WiiWare releases, but Rune Factory is where that design really shines. I’d love to see them focus more on the story, do more with the farming and maybe even allow for some online connectivity and downloadables. That and NMH are their two Western franchises on the Wii that they really need to go all-out with.

          Shameless plug because no one read it the first time:

          • lostinblue

            I’ve read it :(

  • Macstorm

    Well, honestly, RPGLand used it before I did.

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