Xseed Interview Part 2 – Exceeding The Future

By Spencer . July 8, 2011 . 6:06pm


Yesterday, we looked at Xseed’s present plans and talked about titles like Solatorobo: Red the Hunter, Wizardry: Labyrinth of the Lost Souls, and their relationship with Falcom. Today, we’re going to delve into the future. Ken Berry, Director of Publishing at Xseed, discusses relationships with other companies like Rodea the Sky Solider developer Kadokawa Games and branching out to other platforms.


Xseed went after a very passionate user base with the Falcom partnership, but other publishers seem wary of the PSP.


Ken Berry, Director of Publishing: I guess it all depends on the project. We look for the best content that’s available and right now the PSP is still really hot in Japan. There are still a ton of great games for PSP coming out in Japan. Because of that, if it’s a choice between a great game on PSP versus a mediocre game on a better platform in the U.S., we tend to go for the better quality game and have faith that the gamers will agree and the sales will follow.


That’s a bold answer.




Earlier, you mentioned how your parent company hasn’t been supplying Xseed with as many games. With the new company after the Marvelous and AQ Interactive merger, there will be a lot more titles in development. Do you think you’ll be able to work with more of those games?


We definitely hope to be able to expand on our relationship with Marvelous. We published quite a few of their games in the past, even when weren’t directly related, and now they are merging with out parent company. We definitely anticipate having a much closer relationship, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee we will be publishing all of their titles moving forward.




Since AQI has so many internal studios, will Xseed move into development and not just localize games?


That’s something we’ve looked into. It’s not exactly our strong point because we don’t have an actual game producer type of person at our company. Everything is centered like on a localization producer working on finished product already. We are definitely looking at a lot of different avenues of what’s the best way to get the best game? Do we continue to license everything or do we create something on our own? We will continue to look at that.


Speaking of licensing there is one company that is growing and doesn’t have a U.S. partner yet, Kadokawa Games. You have worked with someone who is working with Kadokawa too… maybe he’s doing Rodea: The Sky Soldier now. Are you going to bring those titles and their lineup like Earth Seeker over?


[Laughs.] If Kadokawa gives us a chance we would be honored to work on those titles. Kadokawa is definitely working on some good stuff between those two titles that you said. Every single project, as passionate as we are about bringing the best games we can get, it does in the end have to make some kind of business sense. Hopefully, we can come to terms with those games. Earth Seeker, I believe, was just released in Japan. Rodea still seems a way off and we want to see how it is received and how it progresses as a final game. We are definitely interested in pursuing those two titles.


Have you been talking with them at all?


Yes, our president does have a channel of communication with Kadokawa. So, we do talk to them, but I’m sure Kadokawa talks to a lot of American publishers.




What about your communication channel with Namco Bandai. It seems this year they haven’t been focusing on localization of as many Japanese titles. Is Xseed still interested in their perhaps smaller or designed for Japan titles?


Absolutely. There are plenty of titles, not just from Namco Bandai, but other large Japanese publishers where their U.S. subsidiary has decided not to bring something over. I guess it’s just a difference of scale. We’re such a small company that, perhaps, we can be profitable of sales say 50,000 units whereas a large subsidiary with a huge a U.S. office if they’re not forecasting 200,000 units or more it’s not worth their time. Especially, if it’s a big huge localization and translation process.


Konami has some Japanese games in the pipeline with tri-Ace and Nude Maker. They’re working with those developers, but it’s unclear if any of those games are coming out. Have you thought about working with tri-Ace?


If it’s available and Konami is willing to offers to license it out, then sure. We’re always looking for titles from any publisher, but having never worked with Konami before it’s hard to say how those discussions would turn out.




Acquire is interested in seeing Akiba’s Trip localized and some of their other games. Have you been talking with Acquire more?


We’ve had a great experience with Acquire working on Wizardry so yes, by all means, we hope to extend that relationship on various titles. I mean Akiba’s Trip is a very interesting title, it’s doing very well in Japan. I mean who knows, we’ll take a look at it and see if there’s a market for it out here.


How many games can Xseed have in the pipeline at one time?


That’s a difficult question to answer. It depends on the scale and the scope. Are we doing the full translation in house or do we get to at least outsource the translation and just worry about he editing? Or are we getting pretty much finished, translated files, like we’re getting with Solatorobo where we are fortunate that Nintendo of Europe did all of the localization. We just have one editor going in and brushing up the text wherever necessary and making minor adjustments for the U.S. market. There are a lot of different factors involved.


I’d say a conservative estimate, for the course of the year, we can churn out six to eight decent size games.


And Trails in the Sky counts as how many decent sized games?


[Laughs] Yeah, that would take up about half of that capacity, to be honest with you.


Right now, do you have other titles in the works aside from Solatorobo and Trails in the Sky Second Chapter.


We do, we are still early in the planning phase and also going through final contract negotiations as well, but we do hope to be able to announce a few more titles, hopefully within the next few weeks. At least, within the next month or so.


And what does the future hold, that you can tell us?


In terms of packaged goods we have Solatorobo and we haven’t announced much else. We have other announcements coming for digital only titles, which don’t require as long as a lead time from announcement to when we can get it out for sale.


Ah, so maybe you picked up Malicious.


[Laughs.] Well, to be honest with you, we do not have that title. It looks great, but we do not have that title. So, no that is not one of them.



Are you interested in picking up any 3DS titles? Are you a 3DS developer now?


We are looking at some 3DS titles, but for now I don’t think we’re ready to jump into that market just yet unless the perfect opportunity comes by. We’re still sort of sitting back and watching how the market plays out on the 3DS.


In your opinion, what systems do you think are the strongest ones that you want to be on now?


If we could be there at the launch of Vita, that would be absolutely great for us. It just seems like a natural transition from all of the PSP work we’ve been doing recently to be able to move on to Sony’s next handheld platform.


That’s interesting, so you’re already looking at Vita games… maybe the upcoming Falcom game?


Sure, I mean there are other people that are making games for Vita already. We’ll keep any eye on the progress of those games and keep discussions open with those developers and hopefully something will pan out. Like I said it’d be great if it’s right at launch, but anything within launch window, within the first six months of the hardware launching. That would be an ideal scenario for us.


What do you think of Wii U? It’s probably too early for licensed games, but what are your thoughts on the hardware?


With the right opportunity for us, with the right title, absolutely. Their showing and demonstration was very impressive. I think everyone was floored with what the unique new controller can do. If there’s a game creator out there that puts out something very compelling and we get a chance to publish that, then yeah we would like to seize that opportunity.


Are you thinking about localizing iPhone games or doujin games?


We’ve been definitely thinking about iPhone, Android, and perhaps other ways to bring games to the market. Of course, social games are very big in the market now. We are looking to branch out, yes.


If you’re going to tell the readers on Siliconera to look forward to something aside from Solatorobo and Falcom games, what would you tell the my readers that are Xseed fans?


I will say that one title that we’ve already started localization, that we haven’t announced yet, it’s a pretty unique horror title for PSP. That’s probably about as much information as I can share for now, but it is a title that Siliconera has covered in the past.

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  • Marvelous news for the future direction, I can assure you that I will look forward to the PSV titles from XSEED.

  • DanteJones

    So there may be a chance for Xseed to pick up Akiba’s Trip, that’s good to hear. If they also managed to get permission from SEGA to do VCIII that would be even more awesome. :D

    Also, that screenshot of Malicious is gorgeous, though I’ve never heard of the game before.

    • SolidusSnake

      lol yeah, Akiba Strip does look like a lot of fun. I’d be glad to hear of a localization announcement and would definitely pick up a copy.

  • I hope that they start doing more of the obscure game translations. That would be awesome! XSeed just might become the new Working Designs for me…without the delays. And the pop culture references. And the ridiculously overpriced packages. And the delays. …did I mention the delays?

    Ok, scratch that. XSeed is not the new WD. There probably wouldn’t be enough room for Vic Ireland’s mammoth sized ego at their HQ, anyway.

    Great article! :D

    • Ladius

      Poor Ireland, those were different times and he did a great work back in the days. Without WD (and Atlus USA, even if at the time they weren’t as bold as WD) it’s hard to say if the American niche would be the same, and in a way he contributed to create the market that is now enjoyed by XSeed, NISA, Aksys and so on.

      Now the market is different and some of his key traits (liberal translations with pop culture references, for one) would be seen badly by the purists, but those choices need to be contextualized too.

      • BelmontHeir

        Honestly, I vastly prefer WD’s translation of Lunar: Silver Star to XSeed’s but, you know, it may just be a case of WD coming first. I didn’t mind the pop culture references, personally.

        • Ladius

          Well, I’m a fan of Nick Doerr’s liberal editing (even if his work is usually linked with extremely ironic titles like Neptunia or Trinity Universe), so I can’t count myself in the “purist army” either, even if I can agree with them in many cases depending on the context.

          • We’ve been known to insert pop culture references or jokes in our scripts from time to time, but we always try to do so in moderation, and we never insert them unless they’re completely and totally appropriate to the mood and tone of the scene.

            In other words, if we insert a joke, you can bet that in the Japanese, there was either an equivalent joke, or a general tone of levity that lends itself to that sort of humor.

            It’s been my translation mantra for years now: “Translate the meaning, not the words.” A straight-up literal English translation is usually inaccurate to the FEEL of the original Japanese text — in order to capture that, you NEED to take liberties, and try to match the emotions that the original scene is trying to convey.

            When those emotions consist of humor, levity, etc… then sometimes, the best (and most accurate) localization is a well-timed joke or reference.

          • Ladius

            Maybe you misunderstood my post Tom, I was simply talking about WD’s past stance and the major instances of liberal editing in today’s jrpg scene, it was by no mean a comment directed toward XSeed’s efforts.

            I love you guys and Trails in the Sky is probably one of the most enjoyable localizations of this generation, an awe-inspiring feat considering how much text Jessica Chavez and you had to edit.

          • BelmontHeir

            To be fair, it’s been awhile since I’ve played WD’s Lunar. I do remember an Austin Powers joke. XD I guess the problem with that kind of stuff is that it dates itself pretty fast.

  • Jirin

    XSeed is one of the only companies out there that realizes the existence of niches in the US that don’t like all the million-selling games.

    Keep em coming XSeed!

    I really hope to play VCIII in one form or another. The thing that soured me on VCII was the high school aspect of the story. I hear III is a lot darker.

  • Shinji Kazuya

    Very interesting interview!

    I have to ask this: The 5th picture is from what game? Malicious? Looks epic as hell!!!

    • Azuku

      Malicious indeed, 800 yen (10ish dollars) on the Japanese PSN store. The game basically consists entirely of boss battles, which take place in individual arenas. There are smaller enemies in the arenas you kill to regain Aura, which acts as MP, allowing you to use stronger variations of attacks, and restore health (your health is represented by the loss of limbs on your character). Gameplay.  I bought it a while back, as it seems no one wants to bring it to the US store, despite it not being that wordy. It’s a surprisingly good game, if difficult. Camera can be a tad shonky at times.

      I get the feeling it was supposed to be a larger game at one time, perhaps a full retail release, but ended up being scaled down to a smaller PSN release. Better than it being completely scrapped I suppose.

  • amagidyne

    I hope they get to snag the sequel to Labyrinth of Lost Souls. Loved the first one.

    Actually, you know what would be a great PSV venture for Acquire..?

  • I’m really stoked to see what they have in store for us in the near future, and wish them all the success in the world.  They’re one of the most quality and consistent publishers around right now who definitely deserve a ton of support and thanks from gamers.  Thanks for the interview Spencer.

  • Xseed, Thank you for giving life for my psp… <3 Love you guys!

  • SolidusSnake

    “Because of that, if it’s a choice between a great game on PSP versus a
    mediocre game on a better platform in the U.S., we tend to go for the
    better quality game and have faith that the gamers will agree and the
    sales will follow.”

    WOW what a great answer. Xseed seems like a really ballsy company, and they truly have put out some amazing quality games for the PSP so Ken Berry’s statement rings true. I do hope their future games are financially successful so that they can continue on this path. I can’t wait for Trails 2, the first game was amazing, and I am also extremely pumped up for the upcoming horror game since horror is one of my favorite genres. Rock on.

    • CaveNut

      Their continued support for the PSP makes me smile. I hope they bring Elminage and Tengai Makyou 4 here.

    • CaveNut

      Their continued support for the PSP makes me smile. I hope they bring Elminage and Tengai Makyou 4 here.

  • I’m happy you asked about Malicious, and I’m satisfied with a clear “no” answer.

    Better than Nintendo’s half-assed “never say never” crap.


  • CheckEmBrah

    Thank you for not abandoning the PSP, Xseed. As much as I love NISA, Xseed is obviously handling the declining system better, putting faith in gamer’s to buy good games, regardless of the platform, instead of pretty much saying they are going to pass over any future PSP releases. I’d prefer the games to be on PSP or remastered for a PS3 release, but I’ll definitely buy if they find their way onto Steam. 

    • Ereek

      I wish their faith always held out. Games do not always sell well simply because they are good (Little King’s Story says “hello”).

      • Zero_Destiny

        That was always such a shame too. Little King’s Story was such a great game. Oh well. Let’s just hope Xseed’s future releases’ sales will be good. And that no one out there shafts great games like Little King’s Story again. I think that’s the saddest thing.

  • Phlo


    Oh my god, why did I only just get that now.

    I am so ashamed of myself.

    • Shinji Kazuya

      Don’t worry, it happens a lot. I happened to get it this time as soon as I read the title. I mean this one was kinda easy and all x3

  • Hours

    Great interview Spencer.

    “…if it’s a choice between a great game on PSP
    versus a mediocre game on a better platform in the U.S., we tend to go
    for the better quality game and have faith that the gamers will agree
    and the sales will follow”

    I LOVE this answer. XSEED is probably my favorite US company right now (tied with Aksys), they take risks and they work with their fans.

    Now just officially announce Trails in the Sky SC and I’ll be a very happy customer. ^_^

  • Shadow_Raskolnik

    C’mon XSEED, go for Grand Knights History. I’m glad that XSEED is still willing to give the PSP a chance unlike NISA. I mean NISA is good and all, but I just like XSEED’s plans of localizing good games for a (supposedly) dying system rather then forgoe all games for that system entirely in order to publish mediocre games or games that might not even come out for quite some time on an HD system.

    • a little harsh don’t you think. 

      NISA is bringing PS3 JRPGs out for HD Consoles.  Something that is pretty much non-existent now from other companies.  Even Atlus is slow in allocating HD content for consoles.

      Meanwhile NISA still have games like ZHP, Cladunx2 and Makai Kingdom for the PSP. NISA has their contracts with companies and XSeed has their own.  They weigh what they can bring over and what will appeal to the market.  Right now if you have a PS3, you are pretty much starved of JRPG content.  NISA is filling that somewhat.

    • I kind of would rather more give focus to the PS3. I think most people can barely name 10 PS3 localized JRPGs while they can easily name more than 10 for the PSP…

  • Yesshua

    Interesting.  I realize I say this after most of these interviews, but these set Siliconera apart from the rest of the internet.  Very well done.  If you don’t mind, would you be cool with using less specific terminology in the future?  I have no idea what a “doujin” game is.  From Wikipedia it looks like these would be sort of fan fiction games?  But wouldn’t those be illegal?  I dunno, I guess you assumed I had pre existing knowledge that I don’t.

    Or maybe I’m not really your target audience.  I mean, everyone else seemed to get it.

    • timpkmn89

      “Doujin” is just a term for Japanese indie stuff; anything self-published. It can be often based off of copyrighted works, but not always. 

      EDIT: For a few well known ones, Higurashi, Tsukihime, Recettear and the Touhou games were all released as doujin titles.

    • As an addendum to what Tim said, some doujin games ARE based off of IPs from larger companies, and technically ARE violating copyright laws… but for the most part, Japanese companies allow it, and even support it, as it drums up extra business for them and often gives them a pool of eager individuals whenever they’re looking for new employees. (:

    • Everyone is our target audience and to make the site more accessible I’ll add footnotes for specific terms like “doujin.”

  • PsychedelicWolf

    It’s a real shame that the quintessentially European (and indeed, British) script of Solatorobo is being altered. And I say this after having played it, because it’s eccentric in the most wonderful, adorable, appreciable ways. I worry that they’re going to drop some of my favourite things from it, like the overly camp overtones of Alman, or the “Furballs!!” cuss.

    To be honest, those fans of British humour might want to get the UK version in a none-too-proper way and buy the US version. That way, you’ve parted with your money for the game, but you can still enjoy the original script. Because believe me when I say that it’s a goodie, it really, truly is. You’d might like it, and if you did, you’d like it quite a lot.

    Some things I think just shouldn’t be tampered with. Sort of reminds me of the submarine sandwich in Pokémon.

    • Ereek

      Furballs isn’t necessarily British humor. At least, I’ve seen it used similarly where I live.

    • Don’t worry, we’re not changing ANY of that. We’re fixing typos and mistranslations, adjusting Britishisms to their American equivalents (i.e. getting rid of terms like “people mover,” since few people in North America know what that is!)… and that’s about it.

      “Furballs” is staying. So is Alman’s personality. Nothing of consequence is being changed, I assure you. 95% of the game’s script will be identical to the European release, and the few differences that ARE there will do nothing but improve the experience for American gamers. ;)

  • I’m kind of curious if Xseed has talked any with Aquaplus since I figure the PSP ports of Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara could be worth looking into considering the popularity of their anime adaptions and both have more to offer than their fanlated PC versions, which would entice those who have played them to give this a try. For instance, Utawarerumono PSP has some new scenes, a new character, plus a story arc focusing on Oboro and co. while Hakuroro and co. are helping Karua (I hope  I spelled that right). Also to consider is the To Heart games, though if you want gameplay there is a dungeon crawler based off the second game, though I have no idea if it’s good.

    • CaveNut

      I would love for Xseed to work with Aquaplus as well. I always wanted to play Utawaremono, Tears to Tiara, and that ToHeart dungeon crawler.

    • Ladius

      I would love to see Aquaplus games released in the west, too – since there are some PS3 titles they could be more profitable than PSP ones, in the current market.

  • blah blah

    Akiba Strip definitely has a US market.
    Silinconerians, perverts, people that want non-sparkling vampires, otaku, etc.
    I’m almost 100% sure that horror game is Dangan Ronpa.

  • neo_firenze

    Love the great games regardless of systems response – one of my two favorite responses to an interview I’ve seen in years.  The other was from Falcom in another Siliconera interview (last year I think?), noting that they didn’t really focus on appealing to “the West”, just on making good games which might reflect the sensibilities of the people making them. 

    And seeing as how we have some Xseed visibility here…  I’ll reduce myself to staight up begging for continued work with Falcom after the end of the 6 title deal (hopefully still to include Trails in the Sky second/third chapters).  Particularly, Zero and Ao no Kiseki. Pleasepleasepleaseplease.  Already bought my 2nd copy of Trails of the Sky (UMD and PSN) to show my support :)

    I’m sure it’s something Xseed is already aware of, but a reminder to everyone that regardless of whether they were originally PSP titles, the Vita will be able to play PSP games downloaded from PSN.  Seems like a great way to get some relatively early RPG support for the Vita and capture the RPG fan audience, during the traditionally slow times for new RPGs during the first 1-2 years of a new system.  Addresses both the lack of titles available to localize due to developers adjusting to the new hardware, AND the traditional problem of “well, should we release this or wait until the hardware installed user base is larger”.  You’ve got the RPG-loving PSP user base already there, plus the fresh infusion of new Vita owners looking for some games in the more wide open early years of a new system when people are often more willing to take a chance and try something.

  • PrinceHeir

    PS Vita would be amazing :D

  • Ravage27

    ‘In your opinion, what systems do you think are the strongest ones that you want to be on now?’
    ‘If we could be there at the launch of Vita, that would be absolutely great
    for us. It just seems like a natural transition from all of the PSP
    work we’ve been doing recently to be able to move on to Sony’s next
    handheld platform.’

    I was always going to pick up a Vita but Xseed’s answer just cemented that purchase :)

  • xseed banzai! bring akiba’s trip to the west!

  • Peter Johansson

    Awesome interview, it’s fun to get this insider information from Xseed, they’re truly are a fantastic company :)

  • 128bitigor

    Seriously, XSeed is amazing, showing so much love for PSP and all.The only thing that weep is my wallet.

  • A lot of promising stuff here.  A possible localization for Akiba’s Trip, Kadokawa titles… I”d buy them.
    I like the positive attitude towards the PSP, they are certainly going to be one of the last people working with it in the west that is for sure.

  • Mister_Nep

    XSeed as long as you continue bringing games I want I will continue to buy your stuff. The labor of love became really obvious when I played Trails in the Sky. I’m still playing it, and I love your localization.

  • plz Xseeds!!LOH TITS SC!!Faster!! Can wait no more!!!

  • Christian Hansen

    So…Akiba’s Trip can be expected hopefully?
    Also, I’ll have my fingers crossed for that horror title being Corpse Party

  • As a horror fan, I am most definitely looking forward to whatever it is, Xseed!
    Let me guess… The Grudge 2?! :P

    Great interview as always, thanks!

  • It would be so awesome if Akiba’s Trip makes it to NA. I would pre-order the game the second it’s available xD. Make it happen Xseed! XD

  • Always love to these Siliconera Specials checking in with our favorite people.

    In other news (I honestly had no idea where to put this), there’s a Nobuo Uematsu Tribute Concert “Symphonic Odysseys” going on RIGHT NOW.

    Here’s a link to the various streams going on.
    They’re on the right side of the page.

    They’re about to start, but just before the interviewer was talking to legions of nerds, and cutting in line to get an autograph from the man himself.

    • Looks like it’s intermission time. Maybe a few more people who aren’t already watching will notice this and catch the rest of it.

  • I do enjoy reading such interviews.

    I sincerely hope XSEED would localize Luminous Arc 3, especially in light of the AQ-Marvelous merger.

  • jarrodand

    I wish Xseed would apply their PSP line of thinking to DS as well. There’s so many interesting DS imports that were passed over for one reason or another (7th Dragon, Sakura Note, Shiren 4, Love Zombie, Game Center CX2, Culdcept DS, Ninokuni, Metal Max 3, Puyo Anniversary, etc) that it’s almost painful. And so many seem right up Xseed’s alley too.

    Super happy they rescued Solatorobo though. I just wish more could make it.

    • Oh, we apply that line of thinking to every system, believe me. We were just only ASKED about the PSP. ;)

      Solatorobo is proof positive that we’re still willing to publish DS games if they’re good, though (and if we can get them, of course!).

      • puchinri

        Are you able to say if you guys are (or have) looked into any of the above listed games~?

  • TrevHead

    I love reading localiser interviews, any chance of interviewing a PAL publisher like Rising Star Games?

  • How about bringing over Gundam The 3D Battle since yall have a relationship with Namco Bandai :)

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