Nippon Ichi President Interview Continues With Soul Nomad, Vita, And Future Plans

By Spencer . August 12, 2011 . 2:08pm


The first part of our interview with Souhei Niikawa, President of Nippon Ichi, was all about Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten. This half is about what’s next for Nippon Ichi. We talked about new hardware, Z.H.P., Makai Wars, and a Soul Nomad port.


You gave Prinny his own game. Will you give any of your favorite characters their own spin-off game?


Souhei Niikawa, President: [Laughs.] Most likely it will be Asagi.


When I was speaking to Mr. Akenaga, he said you’re always thinking about Makai Wars.


I am thinking about it…


What’s happening with it? Is it a game a movie? (That was a reference to Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days.)


It will be a video game, but it’s so early on in development I can’t say much about it.



Oh, it is in development?


[Laughs] In my head.


Do you think we’ll ever see another Prinny game with the Disgaea 4 quality graphics?


Not at the moment. It’s not planned yet, but the Disgaea 4 graphic style is popular in Japan too. We’re going to use that look for various games that we’re developing.


While Nippon Ichi is known for strategy RPGs, Prinny is a side-scroller. Are you interested in trying any other genres?


Yes, we’re making something right now that I can’t talk about. [Laughs.]


NIS America is working on Cave Story 3D and you’re developing a Bikkuriman game in Japan. What are your feelings on the 3DS?


The 3DS is a little difficult right now, but because of the system’s unique features you can make games that are designed specifically for it. If there are games that completely utilize the system’s features, then it will be a really interesting platform to make games on. On the tech-side it’s intriguing.


What kind of game do you have in mind?


Nippon Ichi made a couple of games for the Nintendo DS in the past, but we weren’t able to fully utilize the hardware and make a unique game for the DS. Because the specs are higher on the 3DS, there is a 3D effect, plus there is a touchpad like the DS we have a lot more creative freedom.


I’d like to make a game that’s completely different, a completely new I.P. Fully utilizing the 3D effect is difficult, that’s something we need to figure out and what makes that special. What would make the 3D feature along with the touch pad unique for a game? That’s the hard part to figure out, but I would like to take on the challenge. At the current moment, I don’t have an idea though.


What do you think of the Wii U?


[Laughs.] We’re not sure what we can do with the Wii U yet.




Since you’re developing PlayStation Vita games, what do you think of the Vita?


Feature-wise, we are looking for it to because the Vita has a very nice feel. Business-wise, the Vita has so much potential and promise, at least in the Japanese market. We’re hoping the system will be successful in the US and Japan. We are working on a title right now, but I can’t say much about it.


[This interview was conducted before Nippon Ichi announced Disgaea 3 Return, an expanded port of Disgaea 3 for PlayStation Vita.]


Sony announced they have an engine to port PSP games to PlayStation 3. Do you think it would be possible to bring over some of Nippon Ichi’s Japan-only PSP games as PS3 titles for NIS America to localize in North America?


We’re looking into it right now. We’re investigating how the feature works and learning about the system. We’re happy about it too because we have a strong lineup on the PSP and we would like to change that to PS3, so we can have a wider audience.


You’re bringing Makai Kingdom to PSP, but what about Soul Nomad? Do you think we will see it appear on PSP or maybe with enhanced Disgaea 4 style graphics?


Do you think it will sell?


On PSP in North America? With the current retail state, it would be very difficult. On PlayStation 3? Maybe and enhanced graphics would help.


We’re wondering about that right now because changing Soul Nomad to PSP format takes time to do and the PSP market is waning in North America, so it’s a challenge. In Japan, Disgaea 3 has the most requests for a portable version. Number two is Makai Kingdom, which is coming to PSP. And number three is Soul Nomad. In the line, it’s third place, so there is a chance, but we need to figure out how to do it.




Recently, Nippon Ichi Japan opened a few new studios. I’m guessing these studios are working on new series that aren’t tied to Disgaea what can you say about those?


[Laughs.] Yes, they are working on different things, but it’s top secret. They’re making the next big title aside from Disgaea. So, it’s a new I.P.


I thought Z.H.P. [Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman] was supposed to be the next big title aside from Disgaea?


We’re actually thinking about that! Did you like Z.H.P.?


The characters, especially the hero who was thrown into the story, were neat and there were many good parodies. It was nice to see Nippon Ichi try another genre too.


Thank you so much!


So, you’re thinking about making another dungeon RPG style game?


We want to keep the dungeon RPG style system we created for Z.H.P. and expand it for other titles too. We’re definitely going to work on that some more.


Have you ever thought about making a traditional RPG?


I want to make a classic style RPG.

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  • Saraneth

    Noooo! Don’t waste your time on traditional RPGs, NIS! Your strategy gameplay is too good for that!

  • “I want to make a classic style RPG.”

    And I want to play one of your classic style RPG’s, don’t see any problem we are in full synch!

    That said, I’m kinda disappointed in concern of Soul Nomad, I hope they eventually will do it, and “Z.H.P 2 The Heroic Alliance” for PS3/PSVita then if they think about continuing that franchise, probably my favorite NIS world.

  • Gerard Tetreault

    So I guess Soul Nomad Portable is in development, they just need to figure out how.

    This news pleases me.

  • ow! Nippon Ichi is awesome! I really love tactics rpg’s and so disgaea. PSP has a lot of rpg’s like that, oh gosh! *O*

  • I would definitely like Soul Nomad for the Vita at least– you guys can work on Disgaea 3 now, but next year I want a Soul Nomad announcement!

  • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

    NIS/NISA has a lot of work on their plate, trying to port older PSP games to PS3, or make new 360, 3DS, WiiU, PSP, Vita, and PS3 games. Hopefully they can accomplish it all in a decent time frame.  But I definitely want to see them do a classic-type RPG and some sort of a new side-scroller like Prinny.

    • HistorysGreatestMonster

      They’ve never made a 360 game.

      • xXDGFXx

        and i hope they don’t. not that i have anything against them being part of a wider audience but… i don’t know. something about nisa on the 360 hits my nerves…. like i said, i don’t know why.

        • HistorysGreatestMonster

          For me, it feels like they know where their fanbase is and they appreciate that. I’ve always had a soft spot for companies that treat their fans right. If you’re a NISA fan you already have a PS3 (or at the very least, one of the portable systems). Plus, with how much they’re juggling already, working on a 360 game would just take away time from a Vita or PS3 (or even 3DS) game they could make instead.

          It’d be like taking a girl to the prom, and you’re the only guy who asked her. You do everything you can to make her feel special. Then, you get to the prom, and she starts flirting with the guy who doesn’t even know she’s alive. And when you ask her why she’s doing that, she says, “Well, I like you both. Can’t you just deal with that?”

      • They really shouldn’t. They made Disgaea games with Sony’s consoles for years (except for Disgaea ds). Besides, they also made a LOT of references to Sony’s consoles in their games. Such example is Prinny, when Etna was playing on her hacked PS3 (lol I love her). SO it be weird to do the same thing on the rival console.

  • ZHP was/is quite the challenge still stuck on the actual first dungeon, quite difficult. 

    Anyway, sounds good for a Vita future. D3R will be fun and IVe not looked that indepthly into D4 graphics, oh well, naught but a few more days until the game anyway. 

  • Makai Wars is in early development… in Souhei Niikawa’s head. Asagi just doesn’t get a break does she? She’ll continue to be NIS’s play toy and I love that. Makai Wars will come out one day though…but not in my life time probably.

  • ForeverFidelis

    Makai Wars needs to be a crossover fighting game Between the Disgaea series, Phantom Brave/ Soul Nomad, and Makai Kingdom

    At least, that’s my dream for it.

    • Idk, it be cool but since NIS never did a fighter, we’re not sure it do well (like Castlevania Judgement, which was alright but not really well executed) and why u trying to stop Asagi from having her own game?! lol 

  • neo_firenze

    I would beg companies like NIS (and their American branch), Xseed, and Atlus to try to see the Vita as an opportunity to localize Japanese PSP games for North America, since the PSN versions of PSP games will be playable on Vita.  There will likely be a bit of a void in the early days of the Vita for RPGs, as usual since RPGs tend to take longer to come to new systems.  This is the perfect way to fill the niche for RPG-hungry Vita  owners who can play a newly released game, even if it was orignially on PSP. 

    If the releases are PSN only, that’s fine for me.  I understand NA retail releases on PSP are a dangerous proposition these days.  But with alternative formats that reduce manufacturing costs, there is a good way to release these games that won’t require jockeying for space on retail store shelves.  That’s very different from the past, when even though we had backwards compatible systems like the PS2 and original PS3s, once the new generation systems hit there were still retail issues due to the older systems losing shelf space and promotion in stores. With a fairly entrenched online service like PSN around during the transition from PSP to Vita, we have a different factor to consider for this generation.

    Also, I’ll definitely be speaking with my wallet and picking up ClaDun2 later this month (I’ll be getting the PSN version), as I would encourage any other NIS fan to do to show there is a market for these games.

    • i will speak with my wallet to, and have done so thus far.

      i have bought every nis psp psn version in the usa so far.

    • Göran Isacson

      I do so much support this proposition. Some people might think that Vita receiving a slew of ports may not make the systems unique features stand out much, but hey: all I care about are good games, and playing good games. Couldn’t care less if they’re controlled byt touch screens or regular thumb-sticks.

  • Ah….Nippon Ichi…..They make, by far, the most interesting and wonderful RPGs I’ve ever played. They deserve a break or some award for all their hard work over the years……

    • xXDGFXx

      they deserve a lot for supporting/distributing/developing great niche games. they really do a lot despite being underrated by the majority. my first nisa game was disgaea 2: dark hero days a couple years after its release, thought i was going to hate it. played through… i was hooked for days, i never slept at night… it is the bomb!

      • Mine has to  be Disgaea DS, since I only had a DS at the time. I wanted to play any RPG that looked liked FF Tactics when I first looked at it, such as the Luminous Arc series (look it up), or Tactics Ogre. Boy was I wrong. Disgaea, by far, has the coolest and weirdest RPG attacks I have ever seen. The gameplay is different and unique beyond belief (though you need to grind a lot, or at least that’s what I did), and I loved it. The story, you have to admit, is really random, but also funny. Like at the start of the game, they set a goal (such as Disgaea 2 Adell, who wanted to defeat Zenon), then they do all these activities that actually leads them towards their target at the end, which looked liked they were wasting their time for the most part lol.  I find that very pleasing. I also say that the music is superb, and believe it or not; they’re better then many Final Fantasy music pieces (well I’m not a big fan of FF, as I only played FF 6, 7, 13, and the spin offs such as Dissidia, but I have seen MANY videos lol). I also love their Disgaea like side games, such as Phantom Brave and La Pucelle Tactics (I call these Disgaea side games because like Disgaea, you can level up to 9999) and their spin offs such as Prinny as well. The big thing that made me a fan of the Disgaea series is that I’m the main character, but I’m EVIL for once (or for the most part)! >:3 I always wanted to feel like that lol. I hope Disgaea and Nippon’s other RPGs stay alive for a long time, like FF or Pokemon did. They’re one of the only RPGs that keep me going when I’m bored for a VERY long time (also the only RPGs that I’ve ever played for over 200 hrs).

        • xXDGFXx

          i know luminous arc 2. surprisingly, all SRPGS were started at the later iteration for me XD. why in the hell did atlus not localize luminous arc 3 yet…

          • Sorry! Late reply. I don’t think Atlus is bringing it over, but it is coming! From RPGamer news:
            Ignition Entertainment has revealed that they will publish Luminous Arc 3: Eyes for the Nintendo DS in North America.

          • xXDGFXx

            YAY! I will be playing it on my flashcart after purchase :D
            The girls were cute in the game + the awesome combo system ~3~

  • SirRichard


    On the other…I’m hoping they don’t stick it on the PSP. It’s a nice system, to be sure, but I’d rather they give it a lovely, fresh coat of paint. Soul Nomad deserves at least that.

    Good to see NIS alive and well after that spat of trouble before Disgaea 4 launched. Can’t wait to see what else they come up with!

  • Göran Isacson

    Ha ha, oh man. I can just see Asagi before me now, hearing her presidents teasing words. Her despair is delicious to me.

    AT ANY RATE, this was a rather sparse interview. For a guy wtih such a wacky company, he sure knows how to be curt with his words.

  • Asagi is finally going to be the Main Character?!

  • A classic style RPG with possible Disgaea humor and art?


      *Smashes bank full of cash*
      *Runs to Headquarters*
      *Gives money*
      Me: I SUPPORT! Please keep your company alive for many more years!

  • Yu_TheKing

    What’s next NIS? A crossover fighting game between almost all of your titles :D

    • Ben Tan

      2d HD sprite fighting game like blazblue would be sweeeeeet

      • xXDGFXx

        Disgaea Vs Blazblue!

  • MrRobbyM

    If you told me Nippon Ichi was making a traditional style RPG, I wouldn’t even have to see any screenshots or videos for me to pre-order it.

    • xXDGFXx

      if you said nippon ichi, you’ve already sold me…

  • I’m  unsure if Soul Nomad would sell well here on psp, on ps3, we are really lacking RPG’s. even xbox 360 has more rpg titles. and Soul nomad is a great game. honestly, it’s one of my favorite games ever. especially in the sRPG sense. 

    also disgaea 4 style graphics, with any type of game will sell well. I’m Just sayin’

    • HistorysGreatestMonster

      I don’t get where this myth comes from that 360 has more RPG titles comes from. That was true in 2008. Very much not true in 2011. Especially in an article about NISA, since they’re the ones that have given us the majority of the PS3 RPG’s.

      Unless you’re counting Western ones, but I know I don’t. September, alone, has three exclusive JRPG’s coming to PS3 (Disgaea 4, Atelier Totori, White Knight Chronicles II).

  • Barrylocke89

    A Z.H.P. style game would be awesome. 

  • i hope he makes that classic style RPG.

  • DarkWaterClone

    I would be all for a Soul Nomad game just as long as it is a remake over a port.
    I also would want it to be a Vita & PS3 game. This way you could transfer your saves to the other system when you want to play on another console. Also this way if you just want one version of the game you can get it on the system you want it on & not have to wait later for a port of the game.

    I hope Cooking Fighter Hao is another game that will be given another chance at life. Lots of people missed out on that game so a remake or sequel would be swell.

    I also hope La Pucelle, Marl Kingdom, Phantom Brave, Hayarigami, Zetta Hero Project & Hymn Princess of Antiphona can get sequels some day. So I hope in the next interview you could ask about those game. But the number one being Cooking Fighter Hao & La Pucelle.I think it would be cool to see what kind of RPG game Nippon Ichi could make. So I hope they make a good old none strategy RPG some day.

  • Xerain

    I haven’t played Soul Nomad, but I really want to. From what I’ve heard its’ by far N1’s darkest game (at least that’s been released outside of Japan.) I can’t help but wonder if it would reach a wider audience if they made the graphics a bit grittier to reflect this.

    • It’s actually drawn in such a way to convey it’s darker atmosphere.

      While the game still has some of NIS’s trademark humor, definitely, and the sprites are still basic NIS fare, the artwork is definitely much more mature looking than other NIS games due to the different artist that worked on it. The story is also darker, though the darkest bits aren’t until you get into the Demon Path of the game, which you only can do after you beat the main game. … Not that the main game doesn’t have it’s moments, either.

      Overall though, it’s probably one of the best written games in NIS’s archive, and it’s well-worth the playthrough, even if it is definitely harder than others. (Due to the lack of being able to replay stages, and grinding being left to a “Room” mode in the game)

      • Indeed,  Overall its one of my top favorites.  Gameplay, Story, Characters and music.  Though i already have it, if they make it for the PsVita, i’ll probably get it

      • Xerain

        I had meant the sprites. And I had heard about how dark the demon path is… I’m saying I think these things could potentially have a lot of appeal outside of Japan… so with response to the president’s “Do you think it woudl sell” question, I think it would if they really played these aspects up.

        • I think I’d rather they not change the sprites, except for maybe updating them to Disgaea 4’s level.

          Sure, they could try to gritty up the graphics more (though the drawn maps as a playing field help with that), but I think part of NIS’s charm is in it’s sprites. It’s what makes their SRPG games recognizable at a glance, I think.

          • Xerain

             I’m not necessarily stating what I or you would prefer, but rather what I think would allow them to sell more copies. Basically if they were going to try and tailor one of their games to have more western appeal, I think soul nomad has a bit going for it.

          • Raharu95

            If Soul Nomad had indeed a PS3 remaster with Disgaea 4 sprites, I think they would probably leave the old sprites as well, for Nostalgia sake, like in D4. That way, It can appeal to an slightly greater audience.

          • Well, maybe you should play the game first. I doubt that it has more western appeal than other NIS Games. Dark Games don’t have broad western appeal. If you think so why does Persona outsell the other SMT titles in the west?

            Besides Soul Nomad has one good character and that is everything it has to offer. Gig outshines all other joke character that where insertet. He might be the most badass sarcastic asshole character in gaming history but he is so omni present that no other character has any chance to “develop” themself. So opposite of disgaea there is no likeable character besides Gig in the whole game.

            And the fight system is pretty much… strange. Not bad but certainly nothing with broad appeal…

  • I want to have a beer with this man

    and I don’t even drink

  • Nippon Ichi <3

  • Nippon Ichi <3

  • you want my wallet?
    vita disgaea 3 (all dlc included), vita/psp soul nomad WITH A DECENT newgame+, and vita/psp makai kingdom (with some added content possibly, but i’ll accept whatever) and you can have my 135 (45$ each) right now!

  • SetzerGabbiani

    I would like all the Disgaea games on PS3 redone with Disagea 4 sprite work.  Specifically the 1st Disgaea…and it should include all of the bonus content from the many remakes.  Call it Disgaea: Final Mix HD

  • No plans for next Prinny game at the moment. ;_; Makes me a sad Prinny, Dood…

  • shion16

    Prinny HD Collection plz!!!!

  • Ah! I just remembered what dream game I’d like to see, by some miracle, get a US release. Princess Antiphona! It’d be great to revisit the Marl Kingdom series, and could probably be a decent candidate for a PSP remaster.

  • I loved Soul Nomad to death and back. T_T Pity the PSP market in NA is so dead right now. There are so many good PSP games too T______T

  • theoriginaled

    I would buy the unholy hell out of Soul Nomad if it made it to the us PSP

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