Siliconera’s Hyperdimension Neptunia Fan-Powered Q&A – Part 1

By Ishaan . January 17, 2011 . 4:32pm

Here’s Part 1 of our fan-powered Hyperdimension Neptunia Q&A with NIS America. All questions have been answered by Nick Doerr, Script Editor at NISA, who some of you might know from the comments as NickyD. Part 1 of the Q&A focuses on the game’s localization.


Could you explain the origins or inspiration behind using characters based on current generation consoles in Neptunia? How did it come about, and how did you go about creating their personalities and different forms?


Nick Doerr, Script Editor at NIS America: I can’t necessarily speak on Compile Heart and Idea Factory’s behalf, but I would imagine they found humor in the state of the industry and the heated “battles” taking place between specific-console advocates online. Why didn’t they use older consoles? Who knows! But there are a lot of consoles and companies out there, so there are a lot of characters that could be introduced…


The base personalities were constructed on the Japanese side, and you can tell both visually and through dialogue why the goddesses are the way they are. The “Leanbox” goddess is blond with a large bust to show how “foreign” she is. She also takes the role of the “American Otaku” by having unique tastes in Japanese paraphernalia (also the console in Japan tends to get a lot of that type of game!).


The “Lowee” goddess looks like a child, since it’s a joke how her console seems to attract mostly children and casual gamers, but she’s loud and proud because like her or not, everyone listens when she talks. She’s supposedly the most astute goddess, the most successful at what she does. The “Lastation” goddess is full of pride and arrogance, boasting the best technology in Gamindustri and striving for perfection. I’m sure you can all see the connections and find the humor in it. Neptune… well, she marches to the beat of her own drum.


So I didn’t have to do much to create the personalities, but because of their ties to the real-world industry, it was a lot of fun expounding on what was introduced. Expect more references sprinkled in than you can blast process!


Neptunia and Trinity Universe are both developed by Idea Factory. Can you elaborate on both the similarities and differences between the two games?


Do you want a technical answer or one from the heart? I’ll give both. Like many games, Trinity Universe and Hyperdimension Neptunia use the same base engine to render the world, so aesthetically they look similar due to camera angles, character size and scale, and partially familiar bestiary. Idea Factory and Compile Heart are in no way the only company to reuse an engine or assets between games; besides, the game is a visual leap compared to TriUni.


Based on the engine, you still have menus to navigate the overworld, shop, and select dungeons or events. You’ve got cutscenes with the really gorgeous moving portraits and you explore dungeons in a similar manner. You’ve still got Idea Factory’s favorite mechanic: AP. But everything else is different.


Visually, the game is vastly improved. Instead of a more active battle system, the game utilizes a turn-based one. There’s no rush to act in battle. Instead of memorizing long strings of combos to link, you create your own in sets of 4, which can be linked or used to transform… or switch to your back-row character. Stylistically, it’s way more “technological” and streamlined. I think the basic mechanics of the game were explained previously, but beyond the familiar interface, the two are different games the same way titles like Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga were.


Did companies like Gust, Compile Heart, Nippon Ichi and others that have characters based on them in Neptunia give any sort of input as how they’d like to be represented, or were they created based on Idea Factory’s visions of those companies?


I’m not sure how deeply they were involved in the actual creation of their personifications, but the incredibly talented character designer at Idea Factory doubtlessly had to show the renditions to the companies for final approval. So, who knows how many designs were scrapped? You might catch some if you pre-order and get the hardcover art book… Yes, that’s a plug… But it really is beautiful! Pre-ordering will be available very soon!


In the game, Nisa is based on NIS. Could you tell us more about her and how she resembles the actual company?


She is mocked for her flat chest. No, really, N1 embraces that ongoing critique of Etna and put a few personality traits in the Nisa character resembling her. She’s a self-proclaimed heroine of justice and she has an unquenchable thirst for righteousness.


Just like N1, right? They are so passionate about what they do and they love doing it, so whatever gets in their way they will do their best to succeed. I think that’s the underlying message with Nisa. She uses a Prinny Gun in battle, and she wears Hero Prinny’s scarf. I think she raided the Netherwardrobe.


Which studio did you use to produce the English dub, and how much of the original Japanese voice-overs were replaced with English voices? Also, would it be possible to let us know which voice-actors you used for dubbing Neptunia?


We used Bang Zoom! Entertainment to record the English dub for Neptunia and they were very great to us. But I’ll spare you my praising and get on with it. I can’t say who the voice actors and actresses are by name, but you may hear some familiar voices and they may have been cast intentionally.


How much did we dub into English? Well, well, well… we fully dubbed the main game with a few minor exceptions. A system voice was left in Japanese intentionally and an add-on from when Idea Factory updated the game in Japan to match the version NA/PAL will get (more on that later), “5pb’s Hi-Five Radio,” wasn’t recorded in English. The radio is available upon the game’s release, but it was added later in Japan. Therefore, I submit that yes, the game is fully dubbed compared to the Japanese original release!


In recent times, NIS America has taken more of a Working Designs-type of approach to localization, taking liberties with the way certain lines and memes and pop-culture references are expressed. There are fans, however, that would prefer a more strict “translation” as opposed to “localization.” Are you trying to appease both parties?


Really? Well, I suppose I can admit I went a bit crazy and had fun with Trinity Universe, but you can safely use that as the wildest we’ll probably ever get. Atelier Rorona, conversely, was kept mostly literal. I think we’re appeasing both parties, and if you refer to my ZHP Developer’s Blog post, you’ll read about why sometimes I stray from the script. It’s all for the sake of creating unique, flavorful characters with distinct personalities.


Could you give us some insight as to why you replaced the cute loli version character art (pre-Henshin) of the limited edition box with the same cover as the standard game box (with the angrier, post-Henshin look). Is this something you foresee yourself having to continue doing with future games as well, and if so, is there any chance you could manage reversible covers for your games?


Reversible covers is a swell idea! I believe we felt there would be a better appeal to a wider realm of people if they see stronger, more adult-looking characters on the box. The pre-transformation art you speak of is in the official art book, but if that were the cover it wouldn’t appeal to the right age group, we felt. A few younger kids may get it thinking it was some cute disc-collecting game, only to get slapped with crude jokes and somewhat suggestive art!


With regard to the localized version of Neptunia, did you have to censor any content within the game itself?


Oh, an easy one. Nope! It’s all intact and some of the incredibly vague references were even spiced up a little to help clueless gamers “get the joke!” Some might not understand how a silhouette wearing a gas mask represents Akira Tori… uh… I best stop myself there!


Look forward to Part 2 of our Hyperdimension Neptunia fan-powered Q&A soon!

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  • animeftw999

    please let there bex reversbale cover art that would be awesome

    • Zero_Destiny

      Reversible Artwork would be amazin’ like some of the recent XSeed releases. I love my reversible FRAGILE cover. There’s that or two-sided Artwork *drools* love the box for YS 7 and FFXIII got art in both the front and back what more could you want!!! lol

  • Ereek

    I know I’ve said this before, but I love your fan-powered Q&As. Thank you, Siliconera, for allowing us to ask questions. It really gives more of a feeling of “community” than simply reading what one person asked.

    • Haha, the real person you want to thank here is Nick. He had these back to us in like, a day.

      • Ereek

        Well, thank you both Nick (post more often, I miss you!) and Siliconera staff. You guys deserve thanks too, for allowing the questions to be asked in the first place. Many other sites don’t bother letting fans ask questions, instead leaving it to the editors.

        • I miss posting too! I’ve been sort of floating lately without much to do, but it’s more like… well… if you’re on a boat and you see a vicious hurricane on the horizon, you kind of clam up and prepare yourself for the winds and rain.

          …It made sense until I removed it from my brain and typed it.

  • Again, NISA does not want to name even a few voice actors that were part of a game. Seeing as how Japan cares so much for their voice actors to mark their names on video game websites, it’s clear that the U.S. localization companies are very sensitive about this.

    • Zero_Destiny

      I always thought it was for legal reasons, some actors/actress like there privacy (probably why they use a lot of pen-names and such).

      • endaround

        Sort of. In general its union rules. If the job is non-union work it can’t be credited.

    • mach

      It’s a union thing. The actors are all working at below union rates, and they can get kicked out of SAG for doing that (which means losing their health insurance, etc.). By not crediting the actors, it’s much harder for any of them to get caught.

      • So it’s as if Square Enix can manage the health insurance and such when marking their own voice actors (i.e. Dissidia credits).

        • mach

          Well, sort of. Square-Enix can afford to pay actors SAG rates (sometimes), so the actors don’t get in trouble for violating union rules, thus they don’t risk losing their insurance. Square-Enix doesn’t actually pay for their health insurance though.

          • Correct! Thank you for explaining this on my behalf, haha!

      • M’iau M’iaut

        It used to be a regular thing back in the early US anime releases. Matt Miller and the original VAs for Tenchi have 2-3 different names they are credited under. I’ve never thought it was a getting ‘caught’ but more following the letter of union rules that quietly would not be investigated too deeply.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Japanese VAs use covers. Usually when they do ero-games or harder hentai stuff. Google some of those names and you might be surprised who is doing the pants and groans.

      • Zero_Destiny

        I knew about the name changes (I think I called them pen-names since I couldn’t come up with anything better) but I never thought about the union or anything I figured the actor just did it for privacy and/or didn’t want to be credited or something. I remember seeing a lot of VO’s in English anime have there names in credits nowadys though. Is it just because the company there working for can pay the bills? Sorry but on an unrelated note did you change pic? Recolonize the name, you had a Rorona pic before right.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          With anime today for the most part, the money is better and they no longer need to cover their behinds. The actors were almost always credited, the names were covers though, and were only shown in a fast moving scroll at the end.

          Just decided to make the change. That’s little Anzu, one of the sweetheart kids from Hanamaru Kindergarten.

          • Zero_Destiny

            I know <3 that show, really funny/cute. Plus the main chara likes Dragon Quest XD. But I disagree with saying all the names where covers .Viz's releases seemed to be giving them all out with no prob lately (granted they are in the super fast scroll you mentioned lol)

  • Zero_Destiny

    lol at first when I looked at Lowee I was like WTF is that NINTENDO. Then face palm and released OH like Wii and Loli XD. Nice interview so far. I too am glad Silconera does these.

  • Natat

    The main game is fully dubbed? Awww right!

    • raymk

      Yeah that makes a day 1 purchase right there. You can’t get any better than a full dub which at that is more than the Jp version.

      • Sorry if it was a bit unclear; it’s fully dubbed compared to the JP release, meaning whatever they had dubbed, we do too. The scenes which were unvoiced in Japanese are still unvoiced. Hope that helps!

  • badmoogle

    This game should have come out in 2006 when the console wars were at their peak!xD

    But still its theme is a very original idea so i hope the references and the inside jokes to be also very clever ones.I’m really looking forward for this game.

  • Darkrise

    Fully dubbed? Sounds great! *checks calender* 2 more weeks of waiting…

  • Phoenix_Apollo

    Why are unions so bull-headed about voice actors? I thought they were supposed to help people, instead of forcing them to go uncredited?

    • Zero_Destiny

      The Unions in these businesses have ALWAYS gotten in the way lol

      • Phoenix_Apollo

        The bastards.

    • Yeah, I thought so too. Damn, I really hate this part. -.-
      Its so stupid.

  • Thank you Nick and SiliconE for taking in the questions!
    I’ve been reading the tadbits at the official site and found some of the descriptions pretty hilarious.
    Looking forward to the game ;)

  • Croix

    This is more of a question concerning the original version than any localization (which is why I hope someone will be able to answer it), but how does the plot compare to Trinity Universe (without spoiling anything please)? What I mean is, is it as haphazard and silly/random? More or less so, maybe? Not that being silly and random is a bad thing, as I’m sure I’ll get my fix of both random and serious and generally awesome in ATQ, but I’m still very curious.

    • It’s a tad more focused, but the characters are really the main purpose here. They’re silly and random, but they are always working toward a solid goal. It never feels like an “unfocused mess,” as Tsubaki would say.

      • Croix

        Sounds good. Not that I had any problem with TriUni…apart from Flonne’s voice, but that problem started with the original Disgaea, so not much to be done about that, either. Speaking of voices, I’m actually pretty excited to hear the choices for voices of the characters in both languages!

  • Japanese system voice? What? Sounds Epic I think!

    • Ren

      Why would a japanese system voice sound epic? You heard it and it was awsome? It’s really difficult to understand what’s on people’s minds these days.(just for a note, this post is sarcasm free)

      • Darkrise

        The word “Epic” is overused here… Actually, it’s really overused nowadays and for the wrong things. Just a few days ago I heard some guy saying to his friend that he had the most “epic” dinner. T.T TS here is also overusing it.

        • Zero_Destiny

          What? Who said dinner can’t be epic?!! lol I do hear you though it’s overused, I’m more than guilty at calling things epic as well.

          • When you’re having dinner and laughing your ass off at your brothers raging while they’re playing Halo Reach, that’s an epic dinner. A dinner by itself? Nope.

            So yeah, overused. T.T

      • Because voices can sound epic?! I can think of many games in which the voices sound epic, lol!

        • Darkrise

          But in your case, you “think”. Which inclines me to “think” that you haven’t actually heard the jp voices yet? They aren’t epic if that’s what you think. They’re good considering the fact that the v/a’s in the game are all top in japan. Just that epic does not fit the description and calling it that is just overuse.

          • For example, Compa. Any english voice actress would play her and still be better than the jp voice.

  • krokounleashed

    So, the game has only english voice or what? Urgs …

  • PrinceHeir

    this has Dual Audio right? :D

    im sure im gonna like the english one as well but i prefer these games to be played in japanese but that’s just me ^^

    • Yes it does

    • Croix

      I have a feeling both voice tracks are going to be great as well.

      • cj_iwakura

        After playing Prinny 2, I’m not sure about anything.

        • Darkrise

          Well having listened to the jp voices, I thought that they were great! Really fits the characters and perfectly grade A.

        • Croix

          I may be jumping to conclusions, but my current expectations of this game are heavily augmented by my experiences with Trinity Universe, and I absolutely loved the voices in that game, so my expectations are fairly high.

  • I am saddened that this is a PS3-exclusive. I am also saddened that by the time I get a ps3, this will probably be rare, super expensive Niche Title T~T

    • Well, it’s a NISA title, so it’s going to be PS3-exclusive. However, if you are worried about the game being rare by the time you get a PS3, why not buy the game now and then, when you do buy the system…look at that, you’ve got a game to play already at no extra charge. Consider it an investment in your future and it prevents you from paying big ebay dollars later.

      • Zero_Destiny

        Agreed, I’ve done that as well. It feels werid at first to get a game and just put it away but sometimes it can save you in the long end.

        • I did that with both my Saturn and my PS1, as I owned Night Warriors and Guardian Heroes for Saturn before I actually owned the system. And for PS1, it was Castlevania and FFVII. I figured if I was buying the system anyway, I might as well pick up the games if I had the extra cash. And then a couple months later, I had games to play when I got the systems.

    • HarryHodd

      There are a number of exclusive jrpgs on the PS3 this year. I mean it’s a natural platform for the genre. Seems like Amazon has these types of games pretty readily.

  • This is absolutely hilarious! A bold concept for an RPG.

  • Most Wanted, imma on the pre order on the NIS Store :D

  • Guest

    “we fully dubbed the main game with a few minor exceptions. A system voice was left in Japanese intentionally and an add-on from when Idea Factory updated the game in Japan to match the version NA/PAL will get (more on that later), “5pb’s Hi-Five Radio,” wasn’t recorded in English”

    I’m a little confused by this, can someone clarify? Its Awesome that the main game is fully dubbed in english but from what I’m interpreting from this, stuff that’s not dubbed like the DLC, Japanese VO will be used even when its set to english?

    • Naw, if you have it set to English, it’ll be silent but you can still read the text (obviously). But if you set it to Japanese, you’ll have the JP voices invading your earspace! It’s a good invasion, of course.

  • androvsky

    It’s a touch unclear what is meant by “fully dubbed” in the article. If I remember correctly, not very many lines in the original game had voices, but what voices are there have been dubbed into English as well (minus the exceptions). Otherwise, it gives the impression that every line in the game was voiced, which I’m pretty sure isn’t the case.

    • Right. I just responded to this above, but in short, it’s 1:1 ratio of dubbing compared to the Japanese version. Unvoiced remains unvoiced.

  • Squee! Awesome interview – I’m so stoked on this game and I don’t play too many of NISA games. This game looks hilarious and the art is so gorgeous – so excited!!

  • *Spamming refresh button on Amazon*

    • I preordered mine from their site! This time I wont miss out on the special bonuses, and free shipping! woot woot!

      • Do you know if they give a tracking number? O.o im considering ordering it from there but i really need a tracking number if i want to bring it to import it

  • Raidou

    Day one!! Knowing Irish Gamestops though… they won’t be getting it in.

  • NISA store pre-orders are open!

  • I see you guys are giving free shipping from NISA store! That is pretty cool! i have a question though, do you get a tracking number when you order from NISA store? someone answer plx D:, the only way i can bring stuff if is the store i order in the US gives a tracking number

    • Just checked my email for the voucher, I ordered mine USPS Priority, and I do see a USPS tracking number service linked at the bottom. I would imagine they also provide a tracking number if you select UPS. However, I think the only free shipping is via USPS Standard, just a heads up!

      • Cool! thanks a lot, i hope they also give a tracking number for USPS standard =/ hope somebody else answers, or ill just ask again in the next hyperdimension’s article to see if someone already ordered it that way xD

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