Aksys Testing The Visual Novel Genre With Jake Hunter

By Spencer . July 9, 2009 . 8:37pm

jakehun Aside from publishing fighting games Arc System Works releases visual novels. Jake Hunter known as Detective Saburo Jinguji in Japan is their flagship series, but ArcSys is branching out with other titles like Another Time Another Leaf from the ex-Atlus developers at Killaware.


Since Aksys is the primary, and currently only source, for Arc System Works games in North America I asked what they thought about the genre in North America.


“We released [Jake Hunter:] Memories of the Past, an update with an all new localization and an extra three stories included in the original Japanese version plus an extra three chibi stories,” Gail Salamanca, Director of Marketing, said.


“Again, it’s more of a test to see if that genre is viable. We thought we would give it another shot to see if people would pick up on it.”


“If it catches on like how Phoenix Wright does then we’ll consider building up,” Harry Chang, Brand Manager, emphasized. “We know Jake Hunter has a really long slew of games. They’re legacy is long, but we’re not sure if American’s are going to accept visual novels.” Harry


“It’s a tough genre,” Salamanca proclaimed.


“It is. Even Phoenix Wright looks like a visual novel, it isn’t. There’s more gameplay than you think,” Chang concluded.


Personally, I classify the Phoenix Wright games as visual novels and the Ace Attorney games are arguably the most successful visual novels in North America to date. While the genre is just getting legs on the DS there were a few “adventure” style visual novel games on the NES like Shadowgate, Deja Vu, and The Uninvited. Each of those games had item fetching puzzles sort of like Phoenix Wright. Perhaps, visual novel/adventure games will be the overseas gateway into the genre.

  • Strike_Man

    ““Again, it’s more of a test to see if that genre is viable. We thought we would give it another shot to see if people would pick up on it.”

    Combine how some of their customers felt burned by the first release of Jake Hunter, along with the fact that I haven’t seen a physical copy of this re-release on a store’s shelf (only on various online shops), and it doesn’t paint the greatest of pictures for this series to succeed in the US.

    For the record, I do own the original Jake Hunter, but undecided if I should give it another shot.

    • astrodan88

      I really hope visual novels could make a comeback, but this doesn’t bode well.
      Here’s a hint Aksys: The people who “picked up” on it (like myself) already bought it. And cheating your fan base isn’t a way to build on an niche market. What idiocy.

      I will not rebuy this game. I reserve that kind of foolish loyalty for the Persona/Shin Megami series.

  • jj984jj

    Well I guess that’s it for Aksys and visual novels then? Jake Hunter bombed so badly there’s no way it’ll recover.

    P.S. I didn’t know Killaware was made up of ex-Atlus employees too, is that why their name is similar to Kamitani’s Vanillaware?

    • Perhaps, Aksys can localize the digital Jake Hunter games and give the genre another go.

      Ex-Atlus staff founded Killaware, but the name is actually a Japanese homonym of a volcano in a Hawaii.

  • Anon

    I picked up this new version and I’m really impressed with it so far. It has way more content and the translation is far more interesting. It’s a shame that this wasn’t the first release because I think it would help build a much stronger fan base.

    I hope Aksys continues with the series, and I hope they’ll give this release some leeway because it’s going to take some time for people to get over the poor first showing.

  • Good lord. They’re using Jake Hunter of all things to test the waters?

    • ShinNoKami

      My reaction EXACTLY. Jake Hunter didn’t do so well as far as I know…

    • On the plus side they’re pleased with the reviews so there’s hope!

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