Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman Could Have Been For PS3 In U.S.

By Spencer . June 29, 2011 . 7:43pm


The PSP is booming in Japan and Nippon Ichi continues to create new titles for Sony’s handheld. Unfortunately, the situation isn’t the same in North America and PlayStation 3 remastered titles are difficult to create because many of NIS America’s games have dot graphics. While discussing the PSP market with Haru Akenaga, President of NIS America, I brought up the idea of bringing bundling PSP games (a la Growlanser Generations) and releasing them on Blu-ray for North America.


"We thought about bringing PSP titles for PS3 for the US market, but it is tough to do. Last year, we released Z.H.P. for PSP. Before that we tried to port PSP [games] to PS3. We wanted to release Z.H.P. on PS3 in the United States," Akeanga revealed.


Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman is a dungeon crawler, more specifically a roguelike, created by the Disgaea team. Part of the game’s charm is outfitting your hero in all kind of items – including Prinny parts.


"Because Sony has really high standards for quality assurance we tried to improve the graphics to match a PS3 standard from the PSP title. We tried to do so and tried to convince Sony, but unfortunately our graphics were not up to par."

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  • FireCouch

    This kind of situation is disheartening.

  • Aw, but dont give up :D, i appreciate all the effort you guys do

  • jugun

    Make it for Vita!Then its ps3 version will come =.= lol 

  • HarryHodd

    Would love to play any PSP games on my PS3. Please keep trying.

  • Whaaaaaaaaaaaat I would love ZHP for the PS3/XBLA!!!!

  • SolidusSnake

    It probably would have sold a lot better on the PS3. It’s a shame that SCEA’s policies make things so difficult for guy’s like NIS. :(

    • Hm I dont think this seems to imply its a policy. How would it look releasing a 700or so MB game on a blu-ray disc. If the game had been originally planned for PS3 I dont think the situation would have been the same.

      • SolidusSnake

        “Because Sony has really high standards for quality assurance we tried
        to improve the graphics to match a PS3 standard from the PSP title. We
        tried to do so and tried to convince Sony, but unfortunately our
        graphics were not up to par.”

        They directly said that it wasn’t released because the graphics aren’t good enough for Sony, therefore we can infer that Sony’s policy is to restrict games if they don’t measure up to a certain graphical standard.

        • And thats bad?

          • SolidusSnake

            You just said in another post that “it would have been nice” if ZHP had been released on PS3. Now you are saying that it’s ok that the PS3 version got axed due to graphics. What gives, Tsuna?

          • Caligula

            Tsuna adores graphics, so while he did say he wouldn’t have minded ZHP being on the PS3, graphics probably trump that for him, and he’s approving Sony’s rule overall for the general sake of (supposed) graphics quality.

          • I was more asking or inquiring why that inquiry into the graphics would be considered “bad”? I would think the platform holder would need to have some level of graphical expectation of games coming to their systems. 

          • Ladius

            Yeah, because as a consumer I want to be able to enjoy the games that I like without someone deciding for me which graphical standards should I upheld.

  • I would’ve loved to play ZHP on the PS3!  Maybe if a sequel comes around they can put in some Disgaea 4 type graphics and try again.

  • DisgaeaGuy11

    Why does NIS like using dot graphics so much? Is it because they’re a small company and it’s easy/cheap to do? I’m a huge fan of their games, btw.

    • JustaGenericUser

      Because they’re one of the few remaining companies doing so. Almost every other company is going the pseudo-reallistic 3D.

  • godmars

    That’s another uncomfortable conformation that Sony’s been keeping games off that maybe they shouldn’t have. 2D fighters, side-scrollers and anything sprite based.

    I want my sprites…

    • Exkaiser

      And… this is why Disgaea 4 is being localized? Because Sony hates sprites?

      • z_merquise

        I don’t think Godmars said that Sony hates sprites in 2D games. It’s just that there were other good 2D games that never get released simply because Sony of America was too strict on it.

        • Caligula

          Was there ever an official statement about this, or is this just fans surmising that Sony hates sprites? I ask this honestly. I know the article says that they were rejected by Sony on the basis of graphics quality, but sprites don’t necessarily mean bad quality.

          I remember people railing about the same thing when the PS2 was out, but that didn’t stop Atlus from publishing Disgaea or Odin Sphere, so…

          • z_merquise

            If you ask me, I don’t think Sony hates sprite-based 2D games or 2D games in general. Because if they do, there won’t be Disgaea, Blazblue, KOF XIII, or Dragon’s Crown or even download-only games like Scott Pilgrim the Game, Bloodrayne: Betrayal or Hard Corps: Uprising in PS3.

            Even way back in the PS2 days, there were those games you mentioned but let me also add other 2D games like Capcom vs SNK, Guilty Gear and Grimgrimoire.

            I still remember old interviews with SNK-Playmore USA (back when they still exist) and they said that Sony were too strict to them in releasing their games. Keep in mind that those games were PS2 ports of their old Neo-Geo games. But with news similar to those is what gave the impression to some people that Sony hates 2D games.

          • I agree, there are too many examples to show that 2D and sprite based games are hated by Sony. Really, I think the issue is just one of planning and content and not just graphics. 

      • godmars

        All I know is that from the start there was a rumor that sprite based graphics wouldn’t be cost effective on HD consoles. That polygons would be generally favored at least by devs. And looking at the games that have come out versus the PS2 era it kind of pans out.

    • Sony has been hard on Aksys as well, hence the lack of retail copies of the first Agarest War and Battle Fantasia. They were refused licensing for Blu-Ray due to the fact that they didn’t have dubbing, then allowed Sega to release Yakuza 3 and 4 without English VO’s. That was a reason why they did the overzealous Naughty LE for the Xbox 360 version. 

      • How do we know it was because it didnt have English dubbing? 

        • The Aksys guys said that last year at PAX East when (a lot of) people asked why no retail PS3 version.

          • The story sounds odd considering that SEGA could do it and Aksys could not, even with their recent Arcana Hearts 3. But they did get Record of Agarest War 0 out on blu-ray even though its not dubbed. Perhaps the policy has and is nonexistant.

          • Arcana Heart 3 is not a retail title either though, it’s releasing exclusively on PSN. 

            I don’t know about Zero though, perhaps Sony saw that RPG fans who are anal about getting physical copies saw that the 360 version was getting the love and allowed Aksys to release the next one on disk. I’m only saying what I was told by Aksys employees. 

            Sony’s always had a history of weird limitations. I remember an interview from Capcom a long time ago about how Sony didn’t want Mega Man 8 on PS1 because it was a 2D game on a system that was about 3D capabilities, but only allowed it if it had exclusive content versus the Saturn version. So it isn’t something new.

          • superdry

            Maybe the policy is more wishy-washy than we think where SCEA is comfortable releasing certains games undubbed for retail than others.

      • kupomogli

        I’m sure there’s more to it than that.  Aksys may not have wanted to pay the fees Sony was asking for, Sony may have had a much lower cost for placing it on the PSN than on Bluray, and it seemed better going that direction, or hey, it may have been because Record of Agarest War looks like it could be developed for the PSP if it didn’t have all that FMV.

        We don’t know the reason.  We won’t know the real reason.  Most developers/publishers don’t always tell the truth when saying something or another, just like the console developers do the same.  Sometimes it happens, but most of the time developers/publishers just don’t want to look bad. 

        One of the most recent examples was LA Noire overheating PS3s and then Rockstar blamed Sony.  But then hundreds of 360s were overheating because of the game as well, which Rockstar was pretty much caught in a lie.  PS3 and 360 owners still got screwed as I doubt the consoles that did overheat and RRoD or YLOD got replaced.

        Another example is that Namco representative that said the reason Vesperia wasn’t released in the west for the PS3 was because of an exclusivity deal by Microsoft.  The person probably came forward with the truth because he/she got chewed out for giving information like that.

        So just because you hear something doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Or is it supposed to be “it came from the internets, it has to be true.”

    • Disgaea 3 had sprites, other PSN games have sprites…

  • Thanks Sony.  God, I’m really starting to get annoyed with these American branches of Japanese companies.  TAKE A RISK FOR ONCE!

    If anybody from NIS reads this, I’d have bought the game for the PS3 since I bought my PS3 for Disgaea.  If you’d upscale the PSP games in to an HD Collection, maybe you could pass it off.  I’m sure the work load would be incredible and you’d cut in to percentages, but they let Growlanser on the PS2 with that.  You might be able to get away with it.

    Disregard the fact that this was a major cause of Working Designs going under.

    • blah blah

      How was that not a risk?

      • Ladius

        How was that a risk? SCEA won’t have lost a single dime on ZHP PS3, they would have obtained their usual royalties and a bunch of niche consumers would be grateful for another great title on their platform.

        Let the consumers decide if a game is successful or unsuccessful.

    • ZHP was great on the PSP though. I honestly cant imagine paying more than $29.99 for it on the PS3 tbh…

  • What makes PSone Classics any different? I’m hardly one to complain about graphics in a game, but most of those PSone games look horrid on my TV, and at 32″ it’s relatively small compared to what some folks have these days.

    I refuse to believe that this game somehow failed to at least match PlayStation games.

    • kupomogli

      Because they probably wanted to release it as a Bluray title rather than a PSN release.  If it was a PSN release, then no doubt should ZHP made it because not only is it a good game, but there are games on PSN only that are much worse looking.

  • Hraesvelgr

    I’ve never understood SCEA’s attitude towards games. I’m not a fan of NIS titles and I know they’ll be anywhere close to so-called “AAA” titles, but I don’t really see the point of turning a game down for no reason other than “the graphics were not up to par”.

    • blah blah

      Quality standards.
      Sony probably wants to have as much good reputation as possible.

      • Ladius

        I think this kind of reasoning is wrong, actually. Mainstream consumers concerned with graphics won’t even know of “ZHP PS3″‘s existance (or they will blame NIS for its poor visuals, not Sony), while niche fans such as us will be denied a game we would have bought and will end up blaming SCEA as soon as the news is out.

        • malek86

          It’s just a matter of enforcing a certain quality standard. They probably don’t want people going to a friend house, seeing them play that game, and thinking oh crap, this console looks terrible. Mainstream consumers don’t even know what a game developer is, they probably think the console maker does everything by itself.

          So for example, during the Xbox days, Microsoft didn’t allow any game to be released without 480p support and DD5.1. Then again, it wasn’t quite as bad – graphics could have been horrible and it would have still been ok as long as it supported 480p, and most developers added DD5.1 but really only used the two front channels.

          I agree that graphics should be up to the developers to choose, but I don’t mind the resolution treshold myself. It’s a way to ensure you’re at least going to get some quality video (and for example, it made sure the games would always work with VGA).

        • Well we dont even know how the game looked if it were truly brought up to PS3 quality. So I cant see how the reasoning is wrong. 

  • Exkaiser

    No great loss.

    I don’t think I would have enjoyed ZHP if it wasn’t as pick-up-and-play as it was, due to being on the PSP. It’s fairly shallow as a roguelike, and running through an entire Mastery Cave in one sitting gets a tad boring.

  • That would have been nice…mine ZHP is still sitting in my PSP, still need to run through it. I would have wished they gave us the figure with it.  Oh and isnt this one of the series they wanted to give a sequel to?

    • Locklear93

      I would’ve liked the figure too.  I considered importing a copy just to get it, frankly.  The sticker was… yeah.  That doesn’t really count as a bonus of any kind.  Fortunately, there was no extra cost/special edition pricing or anything.

  • TenRX

     ZHP is a good title, not the top of the roguelikes  but it’s fun. Too bad for that notice; maybe some later they might try a sequel using the PS3.

  • puchinri

    I’m curious… I thought ZHP and the Disgaea games basically had the same graphics style? Disgaea 3 and 4 were on PS3, right? So do they mean they couldn’t get ZHP up to those standards? Or that Sony rejected ZHP even when it was on that level?

    • blah blah

      Disgaea 3 was supposedly at PSP/PS2 level, and 4 has completely new graphics.
      NISA would have needed to actually redo a lot of those graphics just to port it.
      I’m surprised it even thought about doing it because it would cost so much.
      It seems like NISA tried “convincing” Sony, so it was probably close to par.

      • puchinri

        Ahh. I was actually going to bring up cost, because I wondered if the graphical different between Disgaea 4 and ZHP was that huge and thus how much it would be to get it to that level. Hmm, I see~.

    • I believe the issue with Disgaea was  more to do with space and processing required versus the graphical direction. Didnt it exceed PS2 size and had all that DLC too…

      • puchinri

        Lol, sorry if I confused you Tsuna, but I didn’t really mean to be asking about Disgaea. Just that, if they have two games for PS3, was Sony still rejecting ZHP if they got it up to that par/level, or could they not even manage that.
        But blah blah basically answered it.

  • Draparde

    Though it being on ps3 would have made me take longer to beat it (most of my play-time was spent inbetween classes at collage lol ) i would have loved it still. i hope a sequal rears it head on the ps3..or prehaps ps3/Psv 

  • PrinceHeir

    why you not letting other games with 2D style in SCEA???

    at least their not as strict as nintendo but still.

    they could have made it a digital only game.

    for shame

    • Yeah. I know 2D and cartoon/manga styles are not very popular in America, but if publishers don’t push the boundaries, they won’t budge. Sometimes, you just have to drop something into consumers’ hands and make them try, instead of worrying if they’ll like it or not. If it doesn’t work with first attempt, try again and again; make them get used to it.

    • Then why not say NIS should have made the game for the PS3 from the start and not the PSP. Really better planning on the JPN part could have avoided this situation.

      • malek86

        Problem is, the PS3 in Japan doesn’t sell nearly as much as the PSP. So they have two options – cater to the japanese market and make the game for the PSP, or cater to the western market and make the game for the PS3.

        Most of the localization problems this gen stem from the fact that the most popular consoles on the two sides of the globe are not the same.

        That said, ZHP wasn’t overly successful in its homeland either, which could possibly be due to an overflooding of these kind of titles on the PSP. So maybe a PS3 release could have been a better idea.

  • Lord Highawesomeparty

    I’m actually glad it didn’t make it onto the PS3. Most of my gaming is done on handheld consoles as opposed to home consoles. Plus it made the game cheaper for me to buy!

    • Im glad we did get it anyway. Better to have something than nothing.

      • Lord Highawesomeparty

        Definetly, but I really do think this kind of game is better suited for a handheld gaming console.

  • Kris

    Personally, I love NIS’s sprites. In my dream world, any game with sprites like that could get onto home consoles. XD

  • NIS’s PSP library = reason I’m finally looking into PSP games, and why the Vita supporting the downloadable titles is a major selling point at launch for me.

    I’m gonna get a Vita, and the first thing I put on it is probably gonna be some major, fancy, spectacle of a- who am I kidding, it’s Disgaea 2 or bust. : |

  • ManaKnight

    I will sort of explain it.  Record of Agarest War got denied for lack of English voiceacting AND the graphics being dated for retail release.  Battle Fantasia lacked English voiceacting.  It’s only because the mass market prefers English voiceacting and getting retailers to accept subtitle only games with dated graphics is even harder. 

    However, they did let Yakuza games get through because of them being much bigger exclusives, having pretty good graphics, and with it fitting the theme of the game a lot.  Disgaea 3 was allowed because the game was made for PS3 from the get go. 

    ZHP on the other hand, NIS would just take a direct port and throw it onto PS3.  In reality, it would look terrible because they’d have to stretch the resolution.  While Disgaea had dated sprites, it was made with PS3 in mind.  If ZHP was sort of being remade to fit PS3 (with updated artwork, graphics to fit the higher resolution, but the more dated sprites of the characters), it probably could have gotten passed. 

    Mainly, I just don’t think SCEA liked the idea of a direct port from PSP to PS3 without some rework.  Now a PSP remaster, they would probably allow.

  • JustaGenericUser

    And once again Sony America ruins things for everybody.

    This is actually the first time someone actually states the reason they can’t do something, instead of going “It’s out our hands” and leaving it at that even though everyone knows what the reason is.

  • SirRichard

    The policy must’ve changed over the years, because Disgaea 3 got a pass and I don’t think they couldn’t match that. 

    It’s a shame, though; I wouldn’t mind seeing Z.H.P. on the PS3. If nothing else, I could wait on the price going down so it’d be easier to swallow than a £24 download.

    • Code

      Z.H.P. came out years after Disgaea 3 though. 

      • SirRichard

        Z.H.P. launched in Europe in 2010, Disgaea 3 in 2009 (for Europe), which is what I was going off (to my error, I apologise). And even then, Disgaea 3 launched 2008 in Japan and Z.H.P. in 2010. Not a very big gap, then again it wouldn’t surprise me if Sony began to become more aggressive about its graphical edge over the 360.

        • Code

          Ah no worries, although I’d still consider 2 years a pretty decent gap between titles, consider both were in-house projects from NIS, which isn’t exactly a huge company. 

  • I love playing it on the PSP its one of my favorite games of all time but I pretty much died a little reading this.

  • xhunter

    Sony is still doing this? I though they stopped being jackasses a bit after when they hit the last nail on Working Design’s coffin.

    • FireCouch

      I’m pretty sure it’s a common practice in the gaming industry.  It’s just something we don’t hear about often.

  • theoriginaled

    Ive said it before and Ill say it again. Games like this lend themselves WAY better to portable formats than consoles. With this much content to chug through locking yourself down in front of a TV seems more like a chore than entertainment. Is there anything besides Shinier pixels that being on the PS3 could have added to ZHP? anything? Im sure there is but it was a damn good game as it was and I couldnt imagine being stuck in front a tv playing it. NIS should to portables and they’ll be all the better for it.

  • Code

    rar, this really is a crappy policy on Sony’s part omo; I always thought Sony was over there bias against 2D games ages ago, but I guess not T_T’

    • How in the world did you get a bias against 2D games? The game came out on the PSP, it isnt like they said it cant come out in the US at all! 2D fighters on PS3 just came out this year even. The market is the one at fault here, if people bought more PSP games then they wouldnt have been in the predicament to need to even aim to try to get the game on PS3.

      • JustaGenericUser

        Almost every Tales game on the Playstation systems got turned down and it was suspected, if not outright stated by Namco/Sony that it’s because Sony went “NO 2D ON MY CONSOLE!”

        That was one of the bigger evidences.

      • Code

        I have no bias against 2D games, I love them, hell any game that picks 2D visuals over 3D in this day and age is earning points in my books zwz~! But Sony’s tough stance on a particular visual medium for games is really disheartening T_T’ I mean on one hand the market is at fault, but at the same time Sony cutting them off before they can even get to the market, isn’t helping either.

        • How is Sony cutting it off, Im just lost, since ZHP did come out for the PSP? There isnt a case up here or anywhere on the PS3 or PSP where a 2D game was blocked for its graphics to not come out in anyway on the platforms. For all we know ZHP was blocked because they wanted it to remain as a PSP exclusive to bolster the PSP library that season it released…

          • Actually, for a long time, Sony was very much against any sort of 2D game being on the PS1 due to their personal standards– which is why a lot of games had to incorporate 3D somehow in that era, and why it was a godsend that we got Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, for instance.

            The point is not that the PSP got it, which you’d see if you read the article, but that NIS wanted ZHP to be on the PS3 in America instead of the PSP, but were unable to reach the level of standards in terms of graphics that Sony demanded for it. So, instead, they just localized the PSP version and hoped for the best, since releasing fairly niche PSP games here is a big risk at this point.

  • ninjaonizuka

    ps vita? remake on there :3 NIS

  • cj_iwakura

    Growlanser Generations was never on PSP. You’re thinking of Growlanser and Growlanser IV.

    • He’s saying that Working Designs was forced to bundle Growlanser 2 and 3 together as Generations to get past Sony’s process for the PS2.  Ideally a similar situation could occur to get this past the process for the PS3.

  • I really dont understand what people are complaining about. NISA fans interested in the game already owned PSPs and got it. Im glad that we did get the title in some shape and form

    • ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

      I don’t

    • DlanorKnox

      I don’t own a PSP and I would’ve loved to get this for the PS3. I love sprites and the graphics wouldn’t have been an issue to me at all. 

      I’m certainly glad that North American gamers got to enjoy the title in some capacity, but I think there are a lot of people like me who had to miss out on the title. I just hope it’s still available someday down the road when I actually have a PSP to play it with. 

      • If I recall its on PSN….so it shall always be available unless they for some odd reason remove it.

  • Hmm maybe NISA could try to remake Image Epoch’s PSP titles for PSV? I would really love to see Black Rock Shooter: The Game make it over here. I could wait as long as it takes too lol.

  • Ryos

    As much as I love Z.H.P., it doesn’t really surprise me this was meant to be a PS3 game, if only because of the whole instant death if you shut off the PSP deal.  I’m just glad NISA brought this here, considering how many awesome PSP games we miss out on over here… :(

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