Idea Factory’s Ideas About Overseas Business

By Spencer . August 5, 2011 . 3:00pm


Idea Factory, the company behind Hyperdimension Neptunia and Record of Agarest War, are expanding further in North America when Aksys releases the PSP otome game Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom next year. To understand their overseas plans better, we spoke with Damien Urvois, Business Development Manager at Idea Factory. Since we talked about Record of Agarest War 2 yesterday (Read that interview here, if you missed it!), we’ll start with a question that might be on your minds… will the game be released overseas.


Aksys brought Record of Agarest War and Record of Agarest War Zero to North America, but other companies are vying to localize Record of Agarest War 2.


Damien Urvois, Business Development Manager: For the first title, when I met with many publishers, no one really believed in the success of the Agarest series in the United States. Thanks to the fantastic job Aksys did on the first one, we have been approached by so many publishers we were really surprised. It’s going to be a difficult choice to decide which publisher to choose.


Because Aksys has been inventive on the marketing side, especially with the limited edition for the first game, you know the mousepad. We think they can do even better with Zero and we’ll think about [Record of Agarest War] 2 when the time will come.


So, you are looking at bringing Agarest 2 to America?


I mean yes, if the fans want to have Agarest 2 in the United States they will need to contact Aksys and post messages on the forums. If they let Aksys hear their voices, I think the title could come.



Also thanks to Aksys an otome game is coming to PSP. How long has Idea Factory been trying to do this?


Since the beginning, I would say. Since the time we first started developing visual novels in Japan. We’ve been trying to find ways, not just in the United States, but also in Europe to bring console visual novels to fans. We receive a lot of e-mails from fans in the United States, France, and Germany where they ask us to bring titles like Hiiro no Kakera and Hakuoki. For me, it was a huge battle with publishers to try to convince them because it is a really successful genre in Japan.


We sold almost 400,000 copies of Hakuoki titles in Japan. Thanks to the anime now and events we do where we bring in 20,000 people with the otomate party. We’d like to do the same thing in the States and we found Aksys Games are really excited to try this genre. We would also like to thank all of the female fans that make a lot of buzz and hype on forums, especially Neo-Romance and also on the Aksys Games forum. I think if the title is successful enough we will bring more titles in the future.


How did you get Inafune-san to join the game as a cameo in Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk-2?


You know the video game industry in Japan is a small world. Every time we go to a licensing meeting, we see a lot of creators. We just had a friendly conversation and he wanted to know more about the galge genre in Japan. He was really interested in what we’ve done so far with the Agarest series and first Neptunia. It’s thought to be like a friendship and I think we can do more in the future if this is successful.




Idea Factory titles have a lot of cameos, but there must be a company out there you haven’t worked with yet. Who would you want to collaborate with, given the chance of working with everyone?


We have many products that I cannot announce, but I think we have fulfilled most of our dreams. In the near future you may hear from us with a big surprise.


Idea Factory has a number of games and in the West different publishers handle each title. How do you balance your releases especially because some games, like Agarest, are so large?


You may be surprised, but for last year we released 52 console titles. Of course, as a company we’re not big enough to handle all of these titles in house. We have many partners like Gust and Nippon Ichi, there are so many companies we’re working with to develop all of these titles. It’s not only us, it’s thanks to all of the partners we have we’re able to develop and publish many titles.


With such a huge catalog, it’s not possible for just one publisher to release, for example, three or four or five PS3 titles in a year. For that reason, we need to work with many publishers [in the West]. Each publisher has a different audience and I try to say which title would be a better fit with each publisher. That’s why we worked with on the Agarest series with Aksys Games, but worked on Neptunia with NIS America. In the past we also worked with Atlus Games too. In Europe, we’re also working with Rising Star, Ghostlight, and Deep Silver because we’re also making Hello Kitty games on the Nintendo DS. We’re always looking for new partners to expand and try new genres. It’s quite an intense job.


Speaking of Gust, can you say anything about your otomate collaboration?


Not yet because the title has just been announced in Japan. Because of the fans we decided to mix Gust’s Atleier universe with our experience with visual novels. I hope the fans in Japan will enjoy this title.


Idea Factory makes many RPGs and visual novels plus the occasional Compile Heart label Hello Kitty game. As a company, are you thinking of expanding into other genres like say action, for example, or a music game?


Yeah, definitely, but I also need to find good partners. People that have experience in those genres because trying a new genre by yourself is not easy. You need to find people who have experience to do it. We are open to partnerships and trying other genres.

  • Yay for the Agarest series ^_^/

  • We need to get Agarest 2 localised in the US and EU. The new battle system and new sprites look awesome.

    • solbalmung

      U got it Bro! Lets spam Aksys forums to show them that AGW2 MUST be localized 8D !!!!

    • I´m all in for localising Agarest 2. But when I think about how it looks I´m getting depressed. For me it looks a little to much like Cross Edge and I didn´t like that game at all.

      So hopefully it will have something that turns me into a believer again when it do come here.

      • Darkrise

        To me, it seems like a much more improved Cross Edge, I don’t think it’ll disappoint. =)

        • I hope you´re right. Cause I really really want to buy it. Who doesn´t love giving a nice massage to the lovely ladies :)

      • See I loved the battle system from Cross Edge which is why I’m happy to see it revived, though as Darkrise said it looks like its been refined even further, it’ll be great don’t worry

    • Yes I agree with you, the new battle system is awesome. Very different from the others in a good way.

  • malek86

    “We have many products that I cannot announce, but I think we have fulfilled most of our dreams. In the near future you may hear from us with a big surprise.”

    Idea Factory vs. Capcom?

    • A game like that have to be better than Cross Edge and they should use remix for every character as a battle theme.

    • Ladius

      They did make their own crossover beat’em up, Spectral vs Generation, even if it was nothing to write home about. Who knows, it would be sweet to slash Ryu with Hiro’s scythe, and they did get the Darkstalker characters for Cross Edge :P

  • Now I don’t have to worry about Agarest War 2 localization. Agarest series are great!

    • I know what you mean! I really loved the story of the first one, and I believe the game mechanics are awesome, if they have a escape option now then this game series will be perfect.

  • I just hope that either Aksys or NIS America translates that Atelier Elkrone PSP game. >.<

    • Yes please, that is the only Atelier game I would play, its seems so awesome.

    • Crimson_Cloud

      Fully agree, as a fan of Atelier I’m hoping for localization as well.

  • Covnam

    “We think they can do even better with Zero and we’ll think about [Record of Agarest War] 2 when the time will come”
    Is this a slightly older interview or are they still watching the long term sales?

    “Thanks to the fantastic job Aksys did on the first one, we have been approached by so many publishers we were really surprised. It’s going to be a difficult choice to decide which publisher to choose.”
    I guess they have to be diplomatic about it, but it’d be odd if they went with another publisher after Aksys (in their own words) did such a good job with the first game and stepped up when no one else would. Though I guess that if another publisher makes the deal sweet enough, that would trump everything else.

  • Wackoramaco87

    Interesting interview- thanks! Especially interesting to me as I hear a lot about Idea Factory, but haven’t made too many of their purchases. (Which Hakuoki and hopefully their Atelier game(s) will change in the future!)

    …Perhaps it is also time to check out the Agarest War series, hm.

  • SirRichard

    Well, here’s hoping Hakouki does well enough to encourage others to ply their titles overseas. I know we’ve got places like MangaGamer for PC ones, but I’m kind of surprised we don’t see more handheld ones. 999 did well for itself in the US at least (VGChartz claims just under 150,000, over five times the Japanese sales no less!), so there’s…kind of a market there? 

    I know 999 was more than just a visual novel, but still, it sort of inspires hope.

    • cj_iwakura

      VGChartz is never a reliable source. Also, 999 was a creepy, original tale of  horror and survival. I don’t think Hakuoki is exactly what 999 fans were hoping for as Aksys’s next project.

  • AzureNova

    I love Idea Factory, Compile Heart, NISA, and Gust <3! They are some of the best companies around.

  • mikedo2007

    This is an interesting article, I would like to see Idea Factory to have a branch in the US.  If Level-5 can have a office in US, why not Idea Factory??

  • Croix

    What I like more and more about Idea Factory? Their attitude. There’s a particular optimism about the way they do what they do, and that alone makes me more interested in keeping up with their releases. I think their partnership with Nippon Ichi  to do Neptunia wasn’t just a good choice, it was the best choice, as I think the attitudes of both companies compliment each other very well.

  • While I wont say the game (Agarest War) was of the highest caliber of games I played, I found it to be a bit charming. Well my only qualm was on the graphics front though I loved the photos, though I wish they could be exported. I would get Agarest 2 only because each title has more innovations, still not sold on the prequel. 

    They should really pump more dollars into the presentation to be honest, I think its the only thing I have in regards to this company. If they are able to pool 52 games together why cant they minimize condense and deliver graphically impressive games.

  • Azuku

    Jumping down people’s throats for disagreeing with you is pretty immature. Especially when their disagreement includes actual reasons, not just a single inflammatory statement. Name calling is even more immature.

  • Elemiel

    I’ve been wanting to play Agarest War, how is it?

    • The voice acting and translation is good, but the story was average at best. I enjoyed it, but its not exactly amazing. Most of the characters are likable and the combat was interesting enough.

      • A good summary.  The combat interface can be a little clunky at first, but once you get the hang of it and utilizing the comination attacks it’s pretty easy.  What’s really rough though is the item creation, this game packs a wallop of making gear.  You don’t just buy it.  Also, the difficulty level is pretty high if you go through it w/o DLC or a firm grasp of how to work the item creation/combat systems.  Story-wise, I really enjoyed the different turns the plot took, and while some was predictable, overall it was a good experience.  I recommend researching the True Ending guide and follow that, otherwise you’ll probably be fumbling around trying to raise the love levels of the would-be brides.

  • Istillduno

    I just wish Idea Factory would stop with the daft “you have to get this conversation now in this area back near you started after x event but before y event or true ending is lost for good trolololol”, it’s just not a fun thing to work with and nothing is really added to them game besides making sure you have an assload of backup save files in case you weren’t meant to so much as lay a finger upon that boss you just killed or were meant to backtrack somewhere for some hidden event that isn’t so much as hinted at in the unmissable events.

    • EusisLandale

      Haven’t noticed anything that extreme in Record of Agarest War 1 or 0, Trinity Universe, or Hyperdimension Neptunia. Sadly, I haven’t gotten the chance to play any of their other games, but just from what I have had the chance to play, I’d have to say that this is either a disgusting bit of hyperbole or they have eased up on it.

      • Cross Edge and the Spectral Souls series were a lot less forgiving than those games you mentioned. The True End requirements for Agarest are nothing compared to CE – Event scenes had to be searched for manually (it worked a bit like a sonar) across huge overworld screens, of which there were 20-25 of by the end of the game and the events could be on any one of them. Not to mention the ridiculously small time window for some of the True End events. Harsh game, but I loved it.

  • Gotta agree here and I have to point you to our community rules.
    Consider this your only warning.

  • Phoenix_Apollo

    I really, really hope Hakuoki does well for Aksys. I would like to see them do more visual novel/-esque games like it and 999.

    • Honestly, I probably wouldn’t play Hakuoki…but I will buy it when it comes up, and leave it factory-sealed on the wall. :)  Gotta support them if I want to see more like these!

      • Agh, yes! You are an awesome person for planning on buying the game to support the genre if though you don’t plan on playing it<3
        They need to set a date already so I can pre-order it right away! I just wish I had the money to buy multiple copies for extra support.

      • Ladius

        There should be more people like you :)

    • Darkrise

      Steins;Gate and Chaos;head as well, either psp for 360 version. =P

    • I know! I would love that too! Visual Novels are just beautiful….or at least most of them. They have a great storyline, and fitting music with beautiful art (well not all of them. Ever heard of Umineko? A sound novel, which is like a visual novel but sacrifices art for better music and story, and it works very well). I would love it when America appreciates the fine art of Visual Novels, but most of us don’t like to read…..which is sad (I, for one, love to read books, not manga or comic books, but mostly just books). I don’t know what -esque games are, but I’ll look it up, unless someone fills me in?

      • Visual Novel-esque means games that have Visual Novel elements, even though they aren’t Visual Novels. For instance, 999 has puzzle and Visual Novel elements. ^^

  • Darkrise

    Well, I’m optimistic about Agarest 2’s future now. And I plan to buy 2 copies of Hakuoki in support of course, might keep it sealed or give it to someone.

    • SerendipityX

      I’m gonna have to buy five copies. Two for me, one for my Mom, and two more for friends. Giving my female counterparts the gift of hotz man…;)

      • Rarutos

        God if I had that much money to spare, I’d do that too… Whatever little niche PSP games that come out now needs as much support as possible so other localization companies might consider bringing more of them out… ;_;

    • Ladius

      Me too, and two copies of Fate/Extra too. Since Aksys has the guts to support our little niche while other publishers don’t even try I think we must do our part to support them, too.

    • I would have done the same if I knew someone else who had a PSP…

  • Souji Tendou

    Okay guys, let’s bombard Aksys forum by asking them to localize Agarest 2.

    • indigozeal

      Guys…guys.  Remember the debacle over Xenoblade?  Or Pandora’s Tower?  Or The Last Story?  Or Mega Man Legends 3?  And that’s just in the past _month._

      It makes great PR for a company to say that it bases its release schedule on fan outcry, but it ain’t how businesses operate.

      • Souji Tendou

        But….. but… but….. we wants it to come here. :(

      • Equus

        At least Agarest isn’t in the hands of Nintendo, so maybe…just MAYBE…our opinions might make a difference.  Forgive me for being an optimist.  :P

        And I just registered on Aksys’ site so I could post that I want the game.  Heh.

  • XxDestinyXx

    OMG, YES!!! Please bring Record of Agarest War 2 to the US! :D
    Maybe.. with a poll for what we would want in the LE like the poll used for Hakuoki?!? That would be awesome! :)

  • LynxAmali

    Okay. Let me get this straight. Aksys is willing to try Visual Novels out as releases? Excuse me. I’m going to go create a topic for the Muv Luv 360 releases.

    • Ladius

      I would like them to try out new, unlocalized titles like Robotic Notes, Dunamis15 or Danganronpa, MuvLuv has already been translated for PC after all.

      • LynxAmali

        Uh…no it hasn’t. As for those, I’m all for it. Especially Robotic Notes and Dunamis15.

        • Darkrise

          It has. Fantranslated actually.

      • Crimson_Cloud

        MuvLuv hasn’t been localized, fan-translation  only. Honestly I would have preferred if it was localized but eh…

  • Ladius

    Really, really happy for Idea Factory (that 400k figure for Hakuoki is really impressive). I loved many SpectralGoC games since the beginning of those franchises, and I’m happy to see them gather some recognition after years of hard work. A bit of a shame that the Neverland saga seems to be on hyatus, but I can understand it from a business standpoint since it’s extremely difficult for new players to understand what’s going on without playing most of the series, and 90% of it is unlocalized.

    Also, I hope they mantain their business relation with Aksys, and I also hope Aksys is able to release more titles in Europe, even if I have no problem in importing them.

  • CombatMeido

    Aksys? The bastards that Regionlock everything they can get?
    To bad no Publisher picked up Agarest for X360 in Europe… :

  • savvy30039

    Idea Factory polled the My-NeoRomance forum about otome games waaaaay back in 2008. I will always have mad respect for them for not giving up on that.

  • THE FANS DO WANT AGAREST WAR 2 ! ! !  Please T-T

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