Namco Bandai Games America’s COO Talks About Tekken 6 And Westward Expansion

By Spencer . August 7, 2009 . 3:52pm

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My interview with Makoto Iwai, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Namco Bandai Games America, started with their collaborative efforts in Tekken 6 and Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny. Both titles are key franchises, which also have added elements designed to make them more appealing in the West. Like many Japanese publishers, Namco Bandai is expanding westward. Iwai discuses the topic with Siliconera and answers a question about Retro Game Challenge 2.

 

Why do you feel it’s important to incorporate US brands like Tapout in Tekken?

 

Makoto Iwai, Chief Operating Officer: We are always looking for opportunities to work with any other brands, but this is a natural fit for us. Tekken, the nature of the game, and Tapout is so attached to MMA, which is rising. It’s a natural acquaintance and we’re happy about the collaboration.

 

Do you ever think we’ll see one of the Tapout spokespeople as a guest character?

 

Not at this moment, [laughs] unfortunately. This time it’s only for the Tapout special collaboration t-shirts.

 

Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny has Kratos from God of War get in the game. How did that collaboration come about?

 

Kratos is another natural fit for the Soulcalibur franchise. That franchise is well known for fighting with weapons and Kratos is a well known character who uses weapons to beat up guys.

 

We started with casual conversations and both teams loved it so it happened.

 

image

 

We haven’t seen much about Tekken 6 for PSP. What can you tell us about the PSP version?

 

PSP version… Basically, you can’t bring the same quality, as much as you would like to. But, we tried to provide the same joy for the people have a PSP.

 

Past press releases mentioned unique content. Can you elaborate on this?

 

Arne Cual-Pedroso, Public Relations Manager: More stages, that’s for sure. Pretty much everything in the console version will be in the PSP.

 

Are you going to sell downloadable content too?

 

MI: For PSP? Yes.

 

So kind of like how Idolm@ster has its own store?

 

Not that robust, but yes to meet everyone’s needs we’re working on it.

 

Oh that’s interesting Tekken 6 is one of the few PSP games doing that right now.

 

Actually, for the PSP downloads we are not sure. The main focus now is the high end versions. 360 and PS3 definitely have download contents.

 

A lot of my readers are Tales fans and we’ve been following Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Vs.

 

Oh great!

 

But, we haven’t seen any Tales announcements. What’s going on with Tales?

 

Well, Tales is being produced in Japan, but we have to be very selective. We’re carefully choosing which titles we deliver here to fans. I wish I could bring everything.

 

Nowadays, you might admit, that Japanese role playing games are not really expanding, to be honest. It’s called the JRPG nowadays. It used to be mainstream, but it’s not as much as it used to be. Of course we like to entertain those fans waiting for the franchise, but at the same time we have to think what is the best for this market.

 

image I talked with the President of Xseed about the sequel to Retro Game Challenge and it sounds like they’re not going to bring it over. It seems like there’s such a huge Game Center CX fanbase now and it is a Namco Bandai developed title. Have you thought about releasing Game Center CX 2?

 

We’re thinking about it, yeah, but we can’t confirm anything.

 

Xseed has been publishing a lot of Namco Bandai titles. Do you feel like you have a good relationship with them?

 

Yes. There are several reasons behind that. We couldn’t release those franchises and it’s a natural fit for them.

 

I see that Namco Bandai Games America is doing more with their internal studios with titles like Afro Samurai and Splatterhouse. Is that the direction you feel the company is moving into?

 

Yes and no. We like to strengthen US development, but at the same time we are working more and more with the Japan team so we can make more games for the US and European market.

 

Looking at the world market, what’s happening in Japan, that market is becoming a different creature. Looking at what other Japanese publishers are doing, Sega, Capcom, everybody is trying to do more business in the US and Europe. The methodology is different, but what we’re doing and what we believe in, the right way for us is to strengthen US development at the same time work more closely with the team in Japan.

 

I see so that way you have the games in Japan designed for a worldwide audience instead of being made specifically for Japan.

 

That’s correct.

 

Speaking of Japan, you just got the Dragonball license back. How do you feel about that?

 

Finally, my child came home. [Laughs] I never had to experience letting my kids go, but it’s just like that. The missing piece of your heart just came back, that kind of thing. We’re happy. We’re excited.

 

Since you have the Dragonball and Naruto licenses do you think there will ever be a crossover game?

 

Good question. Good question. Well, why not?

 

In Japan we have released that kind of crossover game, Jump Superstars. Nothing is impossible, but we have to be very careful about choosing what genre and what format. We don’t want to mess up those important licenses.



  • xemnas

    Oh great to vesperia and VS? maybe…..I’m just grasping at straws

    • Hraesvelgr

      Honestly, it was probably something like “Oh great, another Tales question!” Something sarcastic and meant to imply that they hate being asked questions about any future releases.

  • Joanna

    “Xseed has been publishing a lot of Namco Bandai titles. Do you feel like you have a good relationship with them?

    Yes. There are several reasons behind that. We couldn’t release those franchises and it’s a natural fit for them. ”

    Well then, why not give Xseed all your unwanted and not mainstream enough Tales? huh? >:(

    Sorry, guys, I’m just very bitter about Namco Bandai. Every time I see their BS, it just gets to me.

  • http://myanimelist.net/animelist/OnyxSyaoran OnyxSyaoran

    I came here looking 4 Tales news :p but only got the same as yesterday, good answers the one he gave tough, Idolm@ster should come here too and the others questions well i don’t really care about Kratos or PSP since i don’t own one xD Nice Interview ^^

  • Anon

    Hmm, the only good news from this is that they are considering RGC2. As always, Namco USA continues to disappoint in the Tales department.

    • Gestahl

      Indeed, so there’s still hope after all. Thank you, Spencer, for bringing up the subject of RGC 2!

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    My child…came home? >_>

  • geosaferi

    Lol Namco is a joke.

  • Ereek

    I’m very interested in the Bamco/XSEED relationship. I wish they could divulge more information, but I understand the privacy of businesses.

    Interesting interview. Here’s to hoping that was a hint about Retro Game Challenge 2!

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      Yeah it’s a really interesting relationship. Perhaps, we can cover that in the future.

  • jarrodand

    Are they bringing Go Go Cosmo Cops to America? Seems weird that they’d leave it in Japan/Europe, but then Hometek has a pretty terrible track record on DS.

    I hope the Mr. Driller WiiWare & DSiWare games make it too…

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      Go Go Cosmo Cops is a good question, but I saw a rating for Mr. Driller W before. I just didn’t think anyone was interested so I didn’t post that info.

  • Zuga

    All I want from them is Tales and Katamari Daimacy. Not interested in their other stuff, keep your Tekken and Soulcalibur PSP port. If the relationship is so good, let Xseed localize Tales of Rebirth, Innocence, Hearts, Vesperia PS3 and Graces, etc!

  • lostinblue

    “A lot of my readers are Tales fans and we’ve been following Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Vs.” That’s a diservice for Tales of Graces in itself! not even getting a mention :/

    • http://www.siliconera.com Spencer

      OK, now you’re trolling. I understand you’re a Wii fan and a Tales fan, but seriously lighten up.

      You read the site regularly and you know we’ve been following Graces too. I just said titles as an example, nothing more nothing less.

      • lostinblue

        Sorry Spencer. It wasn’t my intention really.

        I understand you wouldn’t be enumerating every game out there, but just like with the other entry where when I saw the news for Tales instantly ctrl+f’ed for Tales of Hearts and Tales of Innocence, here I did it for Graces; it’s only natural when you’re following the game.

        That and versus in particular is to me no more than a spin-off that doesn’t really interest me. (in the same way dissidia doesn’t) so while I understand, the fact it got a mention and the new mothership game didn’t makes a comment such as “where’s graces? :’(” seem natural. I never for a second thought it was a “intentional disservice” and yes, you’ve been following the game, and I know that because I’ve been following it with you guys.

        On the “lighten up” account… I wasn’t really bothered, since like I said, I understand the context. I think people usually take me too seriously over the internet (as in: thinking I’m overeacting and seriously stressed out, or something; this is the internet, I’ll overeact and all, I’ll even have fun, at times, overeacting [not at others expense, though], but I won’t get up my chair and be pissed about it… it all stays in the window screen), it must be my fault and all (I know it is) but please bare with me.

  • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

    “We couldn’t release those franchises…”.
    Oh, really?!

    Bang up discussion, Spencer! ;)
    Geemu Senta Shi-X …kouchu ON!

  • Jaxel

    I woudl like to have known if there were any plans of a new version of Soulcalibur for CONSOLES. Putting a fighting game on the PSP is just plain insulting. The console version of SC4 is way late for an update, and releasing the update on the PSP instead of the PS3 is a total slap in the face to any serious gamer.

    • xemnas

      And so the casual audience should be ignored? just how big a percentage do you honestly think the “serious gamers” take up of the entire gaming community? Smaller than you’d think i assure you.

      • gontrand

        I would like they’ve talk about macross;ultimate frontier in usa…

    • lostinblue

      hm? but… SC PSP is basically Soul Calibur 4 PSP. think of it as a late port or something, not a new exclusive game of sorts.

      TBH, I hope they stay on the 4th installment for a long time, today they have patches and DLC to keep it going if they want after all… After all SC3 felt like a souped up SC2… Such installments are avoidable now.

      • Jaxel

        All fighting games get patches, patches that fix bugs and balance issues. From waht people have played of this Broken Destiny game, it fixes a lot of issues that still exist in the console version of the game. Its not a late port, its an UPDATE.

        • lostinblue

          last gen they didn’t get patches though, so seeing nothing is keeping them from introducing fixes to the bugs you’re describing in SC4, Then I hope they do so.

          Hopefully there won’t be a SC5 this gen, but that’s just me.

          • Jaxel

            SC2 DID get patches… in the form of arcade testing. For the arcade edition, there were 4 versions, and the version that came to console was SC2 version E. For some reason, with SC3, Namco completely ignored the whole arcade testing phase, and thats why SC3 was such a terrible game.

  • Guest

    Do you ever think we’ll see one of the Tapout spokespeople as a guest character?
    Not at this moment, [laughs] unfortunately. This time it’s only for the Tapout special collaboration t-shirts.

    Spencer why did you ask this? Now they might think about putting this in future games, I don’t want real people in my Tekken. :(

    Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny has Kratos from God of War get in the game. How did that collaboration come about?
    Kratos is another natural fit for the Soulcalibur franchise.

    Gee you think? The PS3 version of SC 4 should have had Kratos from the start. The 360 can have all the broken out of place Star Wars characters, I still can’t figure out why they put Star Wars into SC, it ruined the last game for me. OK technically the lack of a selectable difficulty, and the stupid create a costume/character ruined it for me. I mean come on my fighters have more clothes on the Ivy does so why do I only have 40% HP?

  • http://www.youtube.com/B4ULoveShine Tim_at_where

    Er, how about Super Robot Wars: Original Generation and Summon Night? Sure, they’re now Namco Bandai franchises, seeing how their original IP owners, Banpresto, is now a Namco Bandai subsidiary.

    And as for Dragonball coming back to Namco Bandai… in America, I’m pretty sure that IT’S OVER 9000… times happy with it.

    Then again, it’s just gonna milk Dragonball for all its worth.

    • Uzumaki110

      OHMYGOSH!!!! Naruto Crossover! Now thats what im f***in talkin about!!!!!!

  • susan01

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Susan

    http://onlinemariogames.net

  • Inuboy1000

    Whats up with the logo anyway (aka why is Namco below Bandai)? It makes more sense to put Namco on top. Really Namco is the best thing Bandai has. Now Namco is only associated with arcades (Sad I miss seeing Namco games published by Namco). Well Soulcalibur being my favorite fighting franchise I look forward to 4 (I have only played 2 but yeah), and 3 and I outta buy 2, and 1. Tales is great too. Am I the only one who hates how the publish games. In japan and europe they get the Namco logo. What do we get? Something not as good (though its not bad either). Namco Bandai how I wish you would be like Sega Sammy and publish games as Namco.

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