GungHo’s President Talks About Vita And The Future Of Ragnarok

By Spencer . November 1, 2012 . 9:15pm

Dokuro4

While you may not recognize GungHo Online Entertainment as a company, you probably have played one of their games. GungHo owns Ragnarok Online developer Gravity Games, made Mimana Iyar Chronicle, and Lunar: Silver Star Harmony. Just a year ago, GungHo acquired Way of the Samurai 4 and Akiba’s Trip developer Acquire. GungHo’s next big step is a Westward expansion with their newly opened international branch, GungHo Online Entertainment America.

 

Siliconera spoke to Kazuki Morishita, CEO and President, about the company’s plans, developing games for Vita, and what’s going on with Ragnarok.

 

GungHo Online Entertainment owns a bunch of studios like Gravity and Game Arts. Where does Game Arts fit into your strategy?

 

Kazuki Morishita, President: Game Arts used to self publish games and create titles like the Grandia and Lunar series. Lately, Game Arts has been outsourcing the programming part. In the past, they’ve worked with Japanese game companies like Nintendo, Square Enix, and Bandai Namco Games. Since then they have been self publishing their own games again. Game Arts released Ragnarok Odyssey as well as Dokuro and Picotto Knights.

 

Game Arts is part of the group and is pretty much like a development team. It’s not independent, it is part of GungHo. Right now, they are trying to a game concept based off their skills for GungHo.

 

The Siliconera readers are fans of Lunar and I think they would like to know if there are any future plans for the series.

 

We are aware there is a big fanbase. People are e-mailing us and calling in asking for information about Lunar directly. If we can create something new we would like it to be beyond the fan expectations. Requests from fans builds pressure and gets the developers to move.

 

imageAkiba’s Trip from Acquire

 

GungHo Online Entertainment also acquired Class of Heroes developer Acquire. Where does Acquire fit in? Compared to Game Arts and GungHo’s titles, Acquire has this… kind of wackiness to them.

 

At this point, Acquire is doing their own thing and GungHo is doing their own thing. I visit their office twice a week and exchange ideas and goals to improve the overall quality of the studio.

 

Acquire isn’t intentionally directed to make those wacky games. It just happened to be that way, but that’s their strong point right? We want to continue to have them do that and while they are doing that they are inspiring the other teams too.

 

And GungHo Online Entertainment America just opened too. What are your plans for the international branch?

 

GungHo Online Entertainment America will publish console games and mobile titles. They will also provide marketing support for all of GungHo’s games. Eventually, I hope they can develop games on their side too.

 

What kind of games are you thinking about developing for the American market?

 

When it comes time for them develop games that happens I’ll move to the U.S.! [Laughs.]

 

As a company, GungHo has been one of the strongest supporters of PlayStation Vita.

 

When we start developing a game we aren’t too concerned about the platform. Then we seek out the best platform we have for whatever concept we have. We are very interested in the Vita’s online and network features, which is why we made more games for Vita.

 

PK3

 

Are you considering to make games for other platforms maybe 3DS, as well?

 

We would like to focus making games for smartphones as well as portable devices. Right now, the current development status there are a lot more games for the mobile platform.

 

I can’t tell you the title just yet, but we are developing a title for the 3DS.

 

Which smartphone platform are you focusing on? iOS? Android? Perhaps, Windows Mobile?

 

I don’t have a preference for either iOS or Android. In terms of what’s easier for us to develop for it’s iOS because Android has a lot of devices and the debug process takes a lot of time. We create native apps, so whatever is most suited for the game is what we develop on.

 

GungHo Online Entertainment sells packaged products like Ragnarok Odyssey, has games tied to online subscriptions and have worked with the freemium model as seen in Puzzle & Dragons. Which are you going to focus on moving forward?

 

Moving forward, we are going to pursue the freemium model more aggressively. With that said I’m not criticizing the packaged business model. If there is a hybrid between a monetization system and package model that would be optimal. For mobile games, the standard is freemium. Even with our Vita titles we consider different models. Dokuro is a packaged game while Picotto Knights is a freemium title.

 

image image

 

What do you think of the "kompu gacha" controversy?

 

The kompu gacha issue has mainly affected the social card games. I personally think having regulations on those things is the right thing to do. [Laughs.] GungHo doesn’t make social card games, so it doesn’t affect us.

 

When it comes to subscription games, how do you decide when it’s time to close a game world?

 

When we decide to discontinue a service it’s when we decide we can no longer provide a satisfactory experience for the users. From the time we announce the discontinuation to the termination of the service, we want to make sure every last user is happy and fully understand the service is ending. You might think we might be basing that on statistics or numbers, but that’s not the reason why we create games or end them.

 

image

 

Ragnarok as a series evolved from a massively multiplayer game to a strategy RPG to an action hunting game. What do you want to do next with the Ragnarok IP?

 

As you said, we’ve done many different styles of gameplay. We want to keep the quality of the IP high, so our thought is to focus on a certain type of gameplay and be selective on the platforms we develop for. We are focusing on Ragnarok Odyssey as a series, that kind of fast action gameplay.

 

So, we’re not going to see Ragnarok: The Side Scrolling Adventure or Rangarok: The Poring Shooter?

 

[Laughs.] I can’t say for certain I won’t make a shoot ‘em or try another genre, but we want to be selective when it comes to making games with the Ragnarok IP.


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  • Hans Satori

    ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) Y U NO ask about EU release. only thing keeping me from buying a Vita.

    • Hraesvelgr

      You could import the US version if you have to.

      • Hans Satori

        I could but then I had to make a new psn account to buy DLC.. wich I wont do.

        besides its confirmed that its coming to EU later this year..

        • http://twitter.com/Prinnylink Prinnylink

           its just slow im working  ragnork for the Ds still so that will fill me till RAg O for vita is  hear in the EU

    • http://twitter.com/Prinnylink Prinnylink

       there  working on it :D

  • Solomon_Kano

    So I can expect RO2 for Vita in the future? Good, good.

    • http://twitter.com/Linka13 Linka

      I would seriously play RO2 if this happened.

      • http://www.carpefulgur.com SpaceDrake

        As would I. Been loving ROd1.

  • http://www.carpefulgur.com SpaceDrake

    Just sayin’, if Ragnarok: Poring Shooter was made, I would buy ten copies.

  • HassanJamal

    Yay another developer confident and locked in with the vita :) The more the better I say!

  • SirTeffy

    “Ragnarok Odyssey as a series” HECK YEAH RO2!

  • s07195

    So can anyone explain what Puzzles & Dragons is to me? It’s been mentioned everywhere and I still don’t know what it is…

  • Elvick

    Surprised they ignored Ragnarok Tactics. I mean, it’s not getting the attention of Odyssey, obviously, but it’s still Ragnarok.

  • Göran Isacson

    This was… pretty straight-forward. Surprisingly so, even. The answers were short, but still felt pretty informative. Wish one could have more interviews like that.

  • http://twitter.com/wan2sawa Ozone Magno

    lol vita. I hope after their smartphones and 3ds games comes out. They stop supporting this DOOM gadget. There’s a lot of money when you focus on installed base instead of specs of the gadget. Unless if Sony are giving financial support in the background. But before that, GUNGHO where is the Ragnarok Online 2

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Try not to sound so snarky, please. We have rules against inciting pointless console arguments on here. If you’re going to start a discussion, at least try to sound a little more sincere. Here’s a list of our community rules:

      http://www.siliconera.com/open-thread/

    • SpecDotSign

      Let’s wait another year before you start claiming it’s dead.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geffrey-Rey-Floresca/100000209334980 Geffrey Rey Floresca

      When the PSP was released in 2005 it has Less Sales, Low Quality Games, and Limited Stocks. Before you spout nonsense in the forums, get your facts right, there’s always next year.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/GFQYYWFUR2SBFLKIITVECS5NAI Erik

        Curious, but what was the PSP’s LOWEST sale total in Japan? The Vita just hit an all time low of slightly under 5k, so I’m wondering if the similarities are really there.

    • Elvick

      Yup, the Wii only had tons of successes! :D

      I mean, attach rates aren’t more important than sheer units out there or anything.

      3rd parties were flocking to support the Wii. Not those flop PS3 and 360 things.

      Point being, it’s not that black and white. More units =/= more buyers for every game.

  • Learii

    more ragnarok more buying ♥♥

  • Aisioux

    I was about to say that this article comes down to Ragnarok Odyssey solely be made only on the 3DS, I was about to sell this game so fast it would of made news on Siliconera lmao.

    I personally don’t care what they do with the Ragnarok IP. My status is this: as long as these games end up on the Vita, I have no problems selling my Kidney to buy these wonderful titles.

  • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

    As much fun as the game is, I really wanna kick the combat design in his damn throat. Why would you map basic attack to triangle? Literally any of the other three buttons would work better. 

    • FitzpatrickPhillips

      Eh, feels natural to me. Having the circle button as the hard/launch attack feels natural. X is always jump. And making Triangle dash would ruin the flow.

      • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

        X is not always jump, see KH. Circle jump, X combo, Square smash, Triangle dash.

    • Dante7890

      Lol that was Monster Hunter control hahaha 

      • http://popculturesocialclub.com/ DreamDrop♥

        doesn’t make it not crap.

      • Dante7890

        Well its your choice lol 

  • Canceris

    I wouldn’t mind more Grandia. After all, it deserves another chance.

  • Dante7890

    I am waiting for Puzzle and Dragons NA release date since August. Whenever I saw my Japanese friends playing it even away, helping each dungeon run and an evolving monster. It keeps me pumping my head and searching for localize version of this game and no announcement of the actual release date so I gave up my hope for localize version. but when I check my app store now. 

    POOF!!!!!
    There’s Puzzle and DragonsThank you, You made me surprise. 

  • ragingmerifes

    Good to see we have a company focused on the Vita. With their experience in online games, they’ll probably make the best out of the Vita’s power, which can be great for multiplayer games. I wouldn’t mind playing most single player games on 3DS while going to Vita for some MMOs or games like Dokuro. Perfect balance.

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