Rockin’ Android Answers Fan Questions, Talks PC Plans, And Other Game Genres

By Spencer . November 26, 2010 . 2:02pm

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When we spoke to indie game publisher Rockin’ Android about their Sony Online Entertainment partnership and porting process, Enrique Galvez, CEO, also shared his thoughts about publishing other genres. Rockin’ Android plans to expand beyond shooters with action games, RPGs, and maybe even visual novels in the future.

 

Read on to hear more about Galvez’s plans, the life of a doujin publisher, and the answers to your questions.

 

As a doujin publisher, what’s the toughest part of your job?

 

Enrique Galvez, CEO: When porting over a game that was originally developed for another country, it brings into question all kinds of localization issues. There’s translating and making sense of the translation, then you have take into consideration the social aspect of the material. What might be acceptable in one place may be completely unacceptable in another. Then there’s age appropriate language, because many of our games are doujin titles, discreet editing is taken because of age ratings. On top of all that there’s just the unknown: code, unlockables, art details, etc, so everything we attempt to do has its own set of hurdles.

 

We’re lucky to have a small but talented team that is excellent at handling different tasks. We pull together and get the job done. It’s an exciting business for us and we are not afraid to take on new challenges.

 

Can you tell us about your partnership with Sony Online Entertainment? How was that formed and what do both sides get from it?

 

Our plan from the very beginning was to bring these games to console systems. One important step was to come out the gate with a strong release. The downloadable and PC retail release of Suguri Perfect Edition was a great success for us. It just so happened that a copy of Suguri PE ended up at the Sony offices and eventually into the hands of SOE producers, who were excited about the bringing the game over to PS3. Xbox 360 was on the table for discussion, but the PlayStation Network didn’t really have any games like the Gundemonium Collection or Crescent Pale Mist on its roster.  Being PS3 fans ourselves, we felt it was great opportunity and challenge to bring the Rock Android game line up to the PlayStation Network. Now, we wouldn’t leave Xbox 360 fans in the cold, so yes, we’ve got some things brewing for the future. 

 

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Rockin’ Android has been bringing made for PC games to PlayStation Network. What’s the process like to make games like Crescent Pale Mist appear on PlayStation 3?

 

Our first release on the PlayStation 3 was the Gundemonium Collection and Crescent Pale Mist is our second.  SOE is a co-producer with Rockin’ Android and we have a fantastic programming team that knows that ins and outs of the PlayStation 3 architecture.  The process to port over an older PC game to a newer console system like the PlayStation 3 is no walk in the park, especially when cleaning up older game code. With Crescent Pale Mist, SOE and Rockin’ Android wanted to add a bit more polish. If any of you have seen or played the original PC version, there were areas of frustrations and the tutorial was lacking.

 

The developer ClassiC is a one-man team, so he didn’t have the full resources he needed when he was finishing the game. With the original developer’s blessing, we hired a new artist, Keiko Sakurai, and smoothed out many of the areas that could not be fixed in the original release. They are not major changes, but we feel it helps with the flow of the game. Another perk was that we got a chance to up-res the graphics, enhance texture, lighting, environments, add leaderboards and trophies. Games like Crescent Pale Mist were meant to be played on a console system.

 

What have the developers said about seeing their games on PSN?

 

When we first approached them about the possibility they were shocked and didn’t think it would be possible. When you consider that these games were meant to be played only by Japanese gamers, it’s a great sense of pride to see their game release in multiple territories.

 

Shikou san the developer of Crescent Pale Mist is very happy with the results and so are we.

 

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Are there any plans to release game demos?

 

Game demos are very important for the sales of the game, so we’ve released game demos for all of the PC versions we’ve released. It was always our plan to have demos for the PSN versions, but our game are small compared to the blockbusters titles. Creating a demo isn’t practical for us, and at this moment, not cost effective. I’m sure if the fans continue to support us we can find ourselves in a position were SOE is willing to support us on demos for future titles.

 

Are you thinking about licensing any other titles from ClassiC Shikoukairo or Platine Dispositif?

 

While I can’t get into specifics, we have several titles from Platine Dispositif planned for PC and Xbox360. We’re very excited about the upcoming ClassiC game; it’s different than Crescent Pale Mist and leans heavily toward strategy.

 

So far, Rockin’ Android has a bunch of doujin shooters to the West, but what about other genres. Have you considered fighting games or action games?

 

While we love the shooter genre, we have action games, adventure, RPGs and much more on the way. Shooters have been prevalent in the Japanese gaming scene for many moons, so when many of the seasoned programmers decide to independently create games, it feels like the shooter genre is a great starting point, since they all remember these types of games fondly and pay homage.

 

Thankfully many innovative and talented teams like Cave have kept things moving and have developed games that can compete with the big boys. We have a few more fantastic shooters on the way, but also side-scrolling action adventure, strategy, puzzle and of course we are working on our own IP. This is very hush hush, but it will be collaboration between RA and a Japanese developer.

 

How about visual novels?

 

We recently came back from Japan and we did speak with a few visual novel circles, but discussions leaned toward mobile devices. We’ve been doing our research and we have plans to develop visual novels apps, but with so much of our focus on consoles at the moment, don’t expect anything until late 2011.

 

Maybe you can elaborate how Rockin’ Android selects titles to localize?

 

That is a difficult question since there are many variables. What the Japanese think is fun doesn’t necessarily translate to American tastes. When we started Rockin’ Android, we asked ourselves what types of games are missing from U.S. PC and consoles. 2D sprite based games are starting to make a comeback thanks to the DSi and Wii, so our love for doujin games came into play.

 

Digging further it became about what games translate well across different continents. For example the shooter genre is well regarded and has been around long enough that most people young and old have a decent grasp on how to play them. Fun factor, length of game, price point, visuals and developer support all factor into our decisions as well. We look for games that have familiarity to players outside of Japan, easy to pick up and play but addictive. Also, if the code for the game is too old, we can’t do much with it. There were titles that we wanted to license, but once we inspected the code, it was unusable for release on another platform.

 

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Some readers want to know about Rockin’ Android’s PC plans. Will you still release games for PC? Are you considering distribution over Steam?

 

I’m so glad you mentioned Steam. We’ve been speaking to them, and they have given us all indication that they would like to work with us, but nothing official. Fans, please email them and ask for Rockin’ Android games on Steam. Seriously, we want to continue to support PC games, and if Steam were to get involved, that would insure that we continue to release PC titles for some time to come. We have Suguri, Acceleration of Suguri, Flying Red Barrel, and Qlione 1 on Direct2Drive and Gamersgate, but we feel that Steam can really help push our titles to the PC crowd more efficiently. We might eventually open our own DL site to release titles that will not appear on consoles systems.

 

We have some requests for Suguri for PlayStation 3…

 

Acceleration of Suguri-X Edition will be coming to the PlayStation 3 early 2011! This is very exciting for us since we want to give the player the ultimate Suguri experience. With the support of the original developer Orange_Juice, we have done some graphical tweaks and made some expansions here and there. I’ll say no more for now, before I get into trouble.

 

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What are your thoughts about the Tohou series and ABA Games?

 

We are big fans and we’ve had meetings with Zun san, but nothing official on a U.S. release. One thing to keep in mind is that many doujin developers really enjoy creating and sharing there games without the restrictions of company protocols, so in Zun sans case, Tohou games are Japan only, at least for now. We completely understand his position and we’ll continue to bug him until he says yes. He’s truly is a nice man and I was honored when he signed a copy of Scarlet Devil for me on at one of our meetings.

 

If there’s one doujin developer, anyone out there, which one would you like to work with most?

 

Does it have to be a doujin circle? OK, as far as doujin circles go, we’re already working with them. Seriously, the nicest and most talented people you’ll ever meet in gaming outside of that Rockin’ Android crew. Just kidding, but I would like to work with Vanillaware, or, wait a minute, Treasure. Yes, they’re an inspiration to us.

 

QLIONE-EVOLVE-WP Can you, perhaps, give us a hint about an upcoming PSN release?

 

Hmm. Well, you now know that Acceleration of Suguri is coming soon. We also have the intoxicating anti-shooter Qlione Evolve bundle, which consists of two complete games, Qlione 1 and Qlione 2. These games are for those looking for something bit more unique. This title is tentatively scheduled for December 7th. Please check the Rockin’ Android site for more details.



  • maxchain

    I bet ZUN’s intimidated by the licensing nightmare awaiting him if Touhou were to set foot on US turf. That “do whatever with them” attitude that’s led to so many kickass fangames, albums and the like would surely be smothered in red tape.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/EnvyMizuhashi Garyuu

      I do hear ZUN tarnishes the idea of domestic, professional releases and that he has NO idea that there are Touhou has fans all over the world, no matter how small a fanbase. Hell, there’s even a worldwide circle.

      http://www.youtube.com/user/EminenceOnline

      If he should be the kind that lets people do as they please (not disrespecting his good name, mind you), then he can’t go wrong with makin money off of domestic releases. Touhou is just begging to be known and I think Rockin Android and the power of Sony can make it happen.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    Wow that bit about polishing a rough version of a doujin game when porting it to the PS3 sounds like a real treat (for gamers).

    Seems like they avoiding fighters and going for more shooters… :( Oh well thanks for asking anyway.

    I would very much like to see them bring some Vanillaware to my PS3.

    • http://honorless.net honorless

      I keep hearing rumors that Muramasa and/or Odin Sphere are gonna end up with high-res PSN/XBLA ports. It’d be cool if said rumors turned out to be true…

  • BadenBadenPrinny

    Wish they could bring over Akatsuki Blitzkampf :(

    • https://twitter.com/#!/SplashdownTiger STiger

      Oh god ahahaha… I highly doubt that would pan over well in the U.S.

      • http://www.facebook.com/keishenra Kyle D. Johnson

        The fallout would be legendary. Perhaps if they ported an updated version En-Eins instead of Ausf. Ashce or Blitzkampf, they could get away with it.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      Brofist time. Or secret handshake. Your choice.

  • http://twitter.com/The_9th_Sage Ian Chamberlin

    Aw, I was hoping to find out if Pale Crescent Mist would ever be available in english on the PC.

  • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

    Amazing interview. I had the chance to meet Enrique Galvez briefly at the last Anime Expo (he pounded my fist when he noticed my Uniqlo Makaimura shirt – woo!). Wonderful guy, and you can tell he really loves what he’s doing, which makes me glad to see his company going places and bringing other people who share his passion.
    Looking forward to their own IP!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1373473338 Juan Andrés Valencia

    How’s Crescent Pale Mist compared to the Gundemonium Collection? (It was too hard and the only game I really liked was GundeadliGne)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-D-Gonzales/570008344 Daniel D. Gonzales

      Same. I really liked GundeadliGne out of the 3.

      I’d say the problem with CPM were the controls (and possibly repetitive environments/monsters). Although the game is fun, difficult, and the boss fights are crazy (hard).

  • https://twitter.com/#!/SplashdownTiger STiger

    Know what would be cool… if they brought Ragnarok Battle Offline to PS3.

    • http://www.facebook.com/keishenra Kyle D. Johnson

      Brofist.

    • http://sara.wingdreams.net/ Sara Leen

      For personal reasons I’d actually find that rather ironic.
      But no, I don’t believe that will ever happen.

  • Code

    Suguri’s on the way, Rockin’ Android has made my day, hooray for shmup/fighters >w<~!

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      U rapping’ GOOD! XP

      • Code

        Apparently I just had to believe +o+ and then it just came naturally xpx;

  • FHOIW

    Ooooooh Visual Novels! My favourite game genre of all-time! Absolutely can’t wait!!

    • http://twitter.com/Ale598 Ale598

      I know. A VN for mobile phones would be fun! I wonder if Rocking Android would release them for…ahem… Android.

      • FHOIW

        Hahahaha those were exactly my thoughts! But I would still prefer them on PCs or Consoles, since I think the vN being on cell phones would greatly diminish the overall experience. But that’s just me.

      • Joanna

        I hope not. I don’t have a high tech phone so I would be left out in the cold if they did indeed release VNs only on the phone. :(

  • Yukito

    What they need is Studio Siesta stuff.

    • Reaper gI

      Studio SiestA’s licensable game (Trouble Witches) is getting a XBLA port (with English) by SNKPlaymore very, very shortly. The others are all (I think) fangames, mostly of Key/Visual Arts properties. That’s is ok in Japan as they allow use of charcters, setting and music in doujin. But the localisation would be a comercial release so would need to get Visual Arts’ permission. Fangames getting official license is very, very rare; Higurashi Daybreak being one of the few.

  • http://twitter.com/XellossMetari XellossMetari

    Its cool RA is looking at VN and similar games.

    I just hope they stay “true to their name” , and do not limit themselves to Apple’s platform.

    Though personally, best case scenario is they cook up their own multi-platform VN scripter engine, and release for PC/iOS/Android/Blackberry simultaneously just like Amazon does for ebooks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-D-Gonzales/570008344 Daniel D. Gonzales

    I’m guessing that Strategy ClassiC Shikoukairo game is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBNBaaILQbw

    I’d love to see their upcoming published RPGs.

  • http://twitter.com/colonelxanders Alex Sargeant

    I really adore Rockin Android for the way that they’ve been operating. I have my boxed copy of Suguri here, and to see them move from that to PSN has been pretty damn great. The games became more cost effective, they’ve been altering them to better suit the audience (Crescent Pale Mist had that bloody terrible maze section of Stage 3 cut out) and the releases have been getting a lot more frequent too.

    With Qlione coming on the 7th of December, that’s a hell of a lot sooner than the way between Gundemonium and CPM. Now, if they could maybe pick up ‘Malicious’ too, if they were feeling ambitious…

    • JustaGenericUser

      “(Crescent Pale Mist had that bloody terrible maze section of Stage 3 cut out) ”

      You mean the original version was even more aMAZING than it is now?! Holy crap, I hated that stage.

  • caddyalan

    Several groups have already published visual novels in English on the iTunes Store. Mangagamer released a version of Kira Kira with 17+ content, and its staff are currently talking about releasing a re-translated version of Edelweiss on iOS. As for stories written in English, there’s several, including Sakevisual’s short story Ripples, Zeiva Inc’s short story Phantom Seeds, and a relatively simple version of the indie game The Flower Shop: Summer in Fairbrook.

  • JustaGenericUser

    There are several VNs I wouldn’t mind being officially translated, either on PC or console or both, but I know they won’t appeal to many western fans. Probably the only VNs that western fans might like/be familiar with are the Nasu ones such as Fate/Stay Night since both F/SN and Tsukihime have a dubbed anime and have shounen-like action.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J24UY7QAEKQY576PHZYS3EN6BA Celine

    I still weep for my VN genre. The thing is, no matter how much people discuss it, it’s such a niche market that there’s only ever a trickle of games that flow in. Straight up text heavy visual novels are even less like to appear (Fate/Stay Night T____T Thank you fan-translations <333) but supporting the hybrid releases (999 just came out recently! Buy it! *cough*shamelessplug*cough*) is a good way to hopefully expand the market. I do hope a doujin company would look into…er, well non mainstream stuff, but they have to worry about making a profit too…so T_T

    • Joanna

      Fate/Stay has a following here thanks to the anime…so it’s not so unlikely. Tsukihime too. Ah, but I’m just being optimistic. ^^

  • WyattEpp

    Guys need to get in with French-Bread and Gravity for Ragnarok Battle Offline. If ever there was a game that needed controllers…

  • TeyNyan

    As happy as I am that Rockin’ Android is bringing things over, I’d prefer if they didn’t do Touhou. Licensing nightmares, as has been stated, not to mention ZUN himself is opposed to the idea. I also think that Touhou would to better to stay on the PC rather than moving to a console.

    • http://sara.wingdreams.net/ Sara Leen

      It could only happen if ZUN was for the idea anyway.
      Besides, it’d probably stick to PC at ZUN’s insistence even then, I’d think.
      But RA really needs to get on Steam to pursue more PC releases, heh.

  • http://twitter.com/Lordvaynard Vaynard

    Please bring Touhou for the America or Europe, we need it!

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