Nippon Ichi Software CEO Sohei Niikawa Reflects Upon Past Mistakes

By Sato . April 18, 2013 . 10:40pm

In an interview with Dengeki Online, Nippon Ichi Software CEO Sohei Niikawa talked about learning from the company’s past mistakes and moving forward to a brighter tomorrow, where he plans to do his best to earnestly develop games for all platforms. Niikawa shares:

 

“When new hardware and technologies become available, we never want to be in a situation where we are limited to our strengths to the point where we can’t follow. We’ve had some unpleasant memories with the Nintendo DS, but we’d like to ascertain our position in the market and match the right titles accordingly. We’d at least like to be able to say ‘This is how the game will play on this hardware’ for at least one title for each platform out there.”

 

  

Back in 2009, Nippon Ichi Software had a problem with most of their titles being in a state of negative profits. Some of these games include A Witch’s Tale for the Nintendo DS and 2010’s Last Rebellion for PlayStation 3, which enraged numerous fans due to its poor system. Both of those titles went through two years of planning and still finished with poor results. Niikawa continues:

 

“At that point, I thought to myself ‘Not good!’ then revised our system of quality approval standards and kept a close eye on review scores along with the quality of the game. I considered it a challenge for our external developers to come up with the highest quality product with their allocated budget and time, but I believe that having to take such measures for the sake of quality and its content, only meant that we had slipped somewhere in terms of service.

 

Prior to our release of Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman, it was a period of great struggle for us. I acknowledge that Nippon Ichi Software’s image took a toll from this damage and our achievements were considerably lower.”

 

Due to the negative income Nippon Ichi Software saw in 2009, they had to resort in halting developments for several titles that didn’t meet quality standards, and several games were never released for that reason.

 

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“The period of restructuring has finally come to an end and we’ve considerably reflected upon ourselves. At our lowest, external development was at about 80% and our internal development at just 20%. Now that we’re concentrating all of our energy in reinforcing our internal development; our internal and external productions have reversed.”

 

“As a result, we’ve bolstered our production, but at a cost that I never wanted to experience. Furthermore, I’m very grateful for the customers that purchased our games at the time, but I’d also like to deeply apologize, as well. Our current goal is to earnestly make great titles as a way to regain your trust. I consider Nippon Ichi Software’s 20th anniversary an opportunity to redeem ourselves.”

 


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  • Anonymous

    Well, Good luck NIS!

  • Go2hell66

    You know what?
    Whether it’s Capcom or Square-enix or even Nippon Ichi. i think all game companies need to just take a step back and think about what they’ve done up til now. Seems like there’s been a lot of “drama” in the industry lately, and so many publishers losing money like no tomorrow, a little reflection couldn’t hurt. I think Namco and Atlus are on the right track though.(well game-wise anyway)

    • Hunnybear

      I think the japanese game industry lost its ‘can do’ spirit, that’s why we see so much drama.

    • theoriginaled

      Personally I feel like much of the game industry has forgotten that they are making a product, and that pleasing the consumer of the product should be paramount if you want to stay in business. There seems to be an unhealthy amount of not even obliviousness, but outright disdain for the customer amongst the game industry these days…

      • ShadowDivz

        Making a product huh?
        That makes me think of it as an ultimatum:
        Make a cash cow like C.O.D or risk it all being original.

    • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

      I think NIS is heading that way too. Probably why they are making a part 2 to the most popular disgaea. I will admit Disgaea 1 was my favorite, as only one character has had as much charm as the cast of part 1 in the ones that followed, and that was Desco. Tuna vampire and werewolf weren’t bad, but just didn’t quite measure up to the quality of the original Disgaea cast.

      • Radiosity

        They really seem to be focusing more on making their games accessible now, which works for me. D2 is WAY more friendly than previous Disgaea games, especially after the ship parts debacle in D4, and a cursory glance at the trophy list for the Vita port of D3 indicates a much more friendly approach as well; gone are the tedious pirate trophies, thank the maker.

        Add to this the cheat shop in D2 instead of tedious bill passing as well as adding the bribe option to passing bills instead of the tedious ‘Use Force’ option and you’ve got a much improved experience. Honestly I think D2 is the most enjoyable Disgaea I’ve played as a result of all the changes they made to how the game fundamentally plays.

        • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

          I don’t mind them making disgaea a little more accessible, but doing away with the senate isn’t hte way to to that. This game hits home about demon negotiations and the way to get your things to go through without a hitch is to beat up the senate. I always enjoyed that, and the senators themselves were easy enough since they never had any gear to pump up their defense or attack.

          • Radiosity

            They haven’t done away with it, it’s still there. They’ve just made it a hell of a lot easier to pass bills. Personally I hated having to use force all the time because it got really boring really quickly. Though since the cheat shop replaces a lot of bills now anyway you’ll be passing fewer bills in the senate in any case.

          • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

            The only bill I didn’t enjoy, well bills, was monster power up and down. Other than those, I had 0 issues with the senate. I would rather be able to choose how much monster power goes up and have a less likely yes vote the higher I go than have to redo it 8 times to maximize monster difficulty.

            But over all, I haven’t been paying attention to that part of the discussion on the new game and I barely remember Disgaea 2. That was the only Disgaea I never finished because it bored me.

          • Radiosity

            Monster bills are gone now, they’re in the cheat shop. You can just increase or decrease monster level at will, it’s glorious. Exp boosts and other things are there too so you don’t need to spend as much time looking for exp innocents and the like.

  • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

    You can tell too that this really soured their relationship with Hit Maker. You can sorta tell after Last Rebellion and A Witch’s Tale failed, there’s a distinctive lack of anything Hit Maker.

    I wonder, actually, if they’re still making games now? Does anyone know what their latest release was?

    • TiredOfMyOldUsername

      They made a few, until now this years they have release Guided Fate paradox and Disgaea 2 sequel.
      Also Witch and hundred knights is coming soon.
      Last year they only made Lagasista and the year before that only Disgaea 4.

      • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

        I wasn’t talking about NIS, I was talking about Hit Maker, haha.

        And I know all about NIS releases! I have Guided Fate Paradox and Disgaea D2 on pre-order along with Witch, and I own Disgaea 4 and Legasista.

        • TiredOfMyOldUsername

          Ah :P
          I misunsterdood.

          Here’s a list for Hit Maker http://www.giantbomb.com/hit-maker/3010-6593/

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            I checked there, but the list feels outdated, since they mention that, at the time, they were working on Last Rebellion. Not exactly very current!

          • TiredOfMyOldUsername

            Here another list this is one isn’t outdated.
            http://ca.ign.com/companies/hit-maker-co-2
            Last Rebellion is the last games they made.

          • Jesse Thompson

            Reading from both of those lists, yeah, I’m not surprised at all that NISA may have decided to kick those guys to the curb…

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            Yeaaah, something tells me after Last Rebellion failed, they probably don’t really have the money to do anything else. And Last Rebellion was probably done with NIS’s assistance in terms of funding, too.

        • Saintdante

          Just went to their website looks like they’re making stuff for ios I think they ported a Witch’s Tale to it.

    • Josephl64

      I think Dennou Senki Virtual-On Force was their last…it makes Last Rebellion look good

      • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

        What’s worse is that’s apparently just a 360 port of an arcade game from 2001!

        • neo_firenze

          It’s a freaking awesome port of a wonderful game. Age has nothing to do with it, VO Force is fantastic and held up wonderfully, at it was great for fans of the series to see it finally released on a console.

      • TiredOfMyOldUsername

        That’s not the same Hitmaker.
        That Hitmaker is part of Sega and is now called Sega AM3

        • Josephl64

          ah, thanks

    • Armane

      Looks like they are still alive: http://www.hitmaker.jp/MainFiles/top.html

  • malek86

    It seems like lately, everyone is concentrating their efforts on internal development again.

    While I can understand quality concerns, I’m a bit bummed that this will probably mean less work for smaller developers, and less chances of discovering new talents.

  • PoweredByHentai

    I honestly didn’t mind A Witch’s Tale being touchscreen-only for gameplay. What I did mind are some of the spell-casting runes that you have to sketch in a single continuous stroke and how the detection on that was kind of off for certain runes.

    Aside from that, I think the bonus area could have benefited from a bit more design consideration.

  • http://twitter.com/matty_125 matty

    I remember that dark period of NIS. I think N.A. received another degree of burns with the botched Rhapsody DS game. Seeing how we never got the PSP game that takes place in the Mark Kingdom (or any of the Mark Kingdom games that are on PSN, and the avatars, etc. for that matter), I’m sad to say that franchise is pretty much dead here.

    BUT, I’m glad to be part of the NIS renaissance era! They really are a mark of quality, and improved beyond compared to any game company I’ve seen.

  • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

    I think NIS’ problem is that their fans only buy one kind of game from them and on one platform. They’ve kind of worked themselves into a corner where the only titles that sell are Disgaea games on PS3. This is probably in part due to the fact they haven’t really put a comparable effort into developing high-profile, quality games for other platforms.

    Last generation, a lot of Japanese publishers managed to make a name for themselves on the DS and later the PSP. NIS were one of the very few companies that couldn’t do it. Even Imageepoch who are now known for their generally mediocre games managed to find sales successes on the DS and PSP. If NIS want to see an uptick in how they’re performing, they’re going to need to try to move out of their comfort zone. I don’t know if they’re a small enough company that they can survive off the otaku market alone.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      I think Fate Paradox may be a step in that direction. Take a game which was critically well received yet did not find traction outside its niche, add the recognizable designs of Ito and what seems some care to the story and presentation side of things. It’s still PS3 yes, but Shana for example found a somewhat broader audience in anime.

      Have Fate Paradox be a success and you can then roll those new fans into the portable games from which it spawned.

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

        The problem is Fate Paradox didn’t really make much of a splash. It sold less than 24,000 copies in its first week.

        That’s the issue, IMO—NIS are a bit of a one-trick pony, and when that trick doesn’t work, they don’t know what to do. Look at that Witch and Hundred Knights game… the first time they actually try to do something significantly different and the game goes into development hell and suffers a major delay.

        • M’iau M’iaut

          Hundred Knights will exist — it’s not vaporware, at least I don’t think so.

          You’d almost think a smart play might be to take advantage of the recent otome and yuri-light craze and do something with Marl Kingdom again. Even if that series is Disgaea’s mother, it never was only a SRPG.

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

            Yeah, I’m not saying Hundred Knights is vapourware. It’s definitely coming out. Just that it’s kind of odd that anything outside of their comfort zone causes them so much trouble.

          • ForteWily

            That might just be the problem, once your move a developer from something that they are familiar with… there are a lot of new things that you got to take into account, that takes time and money to flesh all out.

            I am not say that it’s a bad thing, but it does show a level of immaturity on the part of NIS. And really, there is only one way to fix that.

          • ZekeFreek

            I don’t really see why they need to expand. If they have their loyal following that buys whatever they put out, they’ll make their money so long as they budget accordingly. And besides, who are they competing against in the SRPG market? Nobody. You could argue Fire Emblem, or the occasional SRPG spin-off of a larger franchise like Devil Survivor, but that’s kind of a different area. There’s nothing wrong that NIS does one thing and does it very well. And I refuse to believe they are somehow doing poorly, considering they have more projects in the works than ever before and are opening a second office.

          • ForteWily

            Generally speaking, whether they need to expand is not really something that I would concern myself with. Being the consumer at the other end of the spectrum, if I like the product… they get my money.

            My concern would more or less lean to how much money they are spending to product, both new or old IP. Lately, development cost seem to be ramping higher, which is a concern at the end of the day. We’ll see if NIS has kept a fine eye to that as we transition to “next-gen”.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            There is certainly evidence that the cost issue is getting to the developers who have made the games for our niche. Major companies have dropped smaller franchises like Breath of Fire or Shadow Hearts, SquareEnix basically has everything in the FF13 basket, and Atlus has only Catherine and soon SMT4.

            Among the smaller companies NIS has Disgaea in what will soon be its third iteration on the PS3, plus multiple ports of the first two. Complie Heart’s solution seems to be to tighten the customer focus to one part of the niche and save money by far from pushing the tech. Neither of these allow much room to grow an audience.

          • ZekeFreek

            In Atlus’ case, I think it’s more an issue of they don’t want to work with current gen hardware more than they can’t. For whatever reason, they don’t like working with HD graphics.

            Compile Heart’s “solution” is hurting their games more than it helps. They’ve shoved out atleast, in my count, 11 games in the past 6-7 years, and all of them fall short compared to their contemporaries. Their “solution” is to reuse every available asset, try holding it together with duct tape and shove it out the door and onto shelves before customers realize it’s falling apart.

            Again, you have no countered my point. I don’t believe two things. 1. That NIS is struggling financially. or 2. That NIS has a bad reputation.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            As noted above, I do think Fate Paradox is an attempt to do something a little different. In the last gen even after Disgaea set an amazing standard for SRPGs, they were willing to tinker with a Phantom Brave, Makai Kingdom or Soul Nomad. A few of the more complex gameplay tweaks found their way back into the Disgaea series, but things have been pretty much the same since D3.

            So currently for NIS games, you either roll with Disgaea or you don’t. The one test subject (ZHP) did birth Fate Paradox so I’m not saying the company is doomed. But remember what was so remarkable about the original Disgaea, it was a JRPG not named Final Fantasy which found customers outside the niche. It grew our fanbase, I just don’t see evidence that any of the PS3 versions have had that impact.

          • ZekeFreek

            I don’t see a problem. There hasn’t been any decline in quality. I’d argue, and others have to, that D4 is the best entry in the series since the original. All your proving is that the same people who loved it then still love it now. Why can’t we have our Disgaea games AND they can still experiment on the side, like they ARE doing with things like Witch and the Hundred Knights.

            They made great games, gained a loyal fanbase, and continue to make great games. What do you want from them? Lightning doesn’t always strike twice, I think there’s only so many SRPG fans in the world. I don’t see the niche fanbase growing continuously. It will gain and lose different people but probably remain about the same size. But as long as they budget accordingly, they shouldn’t have any problems.

          • CirnoTheStrongest

            It’s not too odd. When you take on something very different from what you’re used to, it’s bound to take time to get used to it.

            Think about Gust and Rorona and At3. Both games obviously showed that Gust was struggling with going 3D. They mostly sold well still because, for one, the previous games had been such a huge departure from the Atelier formula, and so the market was pretty much devoid of that experience, and two, Gust got a very renowned artist to pull off the character designs. As for Ar tonelico, they had the help of Namco with marketing, they had a soundtrack like no other again (hymmnos sell games pretty much xD), and it was also the conclusion to the two games that their fans loved so much. They also did some other things right too.

            NIS is taking a big risk with Hundred Knights, because not only is it a game system they’re completely unfamiliar with, it’s also supposed to be having an atmosphere that their fans are completely unfamiliar with from them, and really has no previous merit to work off of, except that it’s from NIS.

            This could pay off big, but it could also fail hard. It’s going to be interesting to see where this one goes

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

            Well, in the case of Gust, they managed to adjust very quickly to the PS3, to their credit. Once they had their first Arland game out, it was relatively smooth sailing from there. Meanwhile, here we are, a good six years into this generation, and NIS are still fumbling, avoiding every platform on the market except for one, and even on that platform not putting their best foot forward. It’s a messy situation.

          • CirnoTheStrongest

            Yeah, Gust pulled their stuff together rather quick. Though it took them two games to do so.

            The problem is NIS has always almost religiously stuck to the 2D sprite world (and almost exclusively SRPGs) and this has really stifled their ability to branch out much. And while 2D sprites are still appreciated by some, the audience isn’t very large unless it’s a fighting game really. And I feel like the audience for 2D sprites is shrinking.

            So, this has resulted in their experience being very limited when it comes to game design. Making them even more critical of how well they pull off something. For all we know the game could have been decent enough before they decided to delay the game to talk to all these ‘experts’ on Action games. And I’m not saying getting advice is ever a bad thing, just that the huge amount of time without any info did most certainly cause a bit of a hole in the game’s marketing, which won’t be easy to patch up.

            Still, with a proper trailer they could really get people excited for this again.

          • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

            I disagree about the 2d sprite thing. Most indie games nowadays are 2d sprites and they are gaining ground extremely fast. The problem is they stick to the same formula non-stop and don’t, as many have said, go out of their comfort zone. There are so many things that can be done in 2d still, and they can make a ton of 2d games due to the extreme downgrade in costs and not needing big dev teams. Imagine if they made the spiritual successor of Secret of Mana in the West. Other Mana games have been released in the West, but none of them had the Secret of Mana feel with action rpg with items drops.

            NIS has a lot of potential, they just need to learn to expand instead of remain introverted.

          • MrTyrant

            But i like that they are one of the few developers still doing some niche jrpg on ps3 unlike most companies that went for handhelds instead.

          • brian

            It could be giving them trouble because it is an external game.
            Or maybe i’m thinking of something else.

          • CirnoTheStrongest

            I’d love to see a new Marl-Kingdom game come out!

            Hundred Knights…I’m not sure what to think of that really. We still haven’t seen much of anything on it.

        • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

          I’m personally hoping that NA sales for Fate Paradox are better comparatively. I have my pre-order in right now, and I hope at least the people on Siliconera who like NIS games will be doing the same by picking it up.

    • Jesse Thompson

      They have options, Makai Kingdom, La Pucelle Tactics…they could easily cash that cow in for a quick buck if they gave NA the same thing they gave JP. Do what Atlus is doing. Step 1 port them to PS Vita with additional storyline, step 2 ???, step 3 profit!

      • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

        La Pucelle would be great, really, but I realize by now that the La Pucelle sequels that they said were gonna be made in the wake of Ragnarok, probably got canned especially /due/ to that period of being in the red.

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

        I think that’s precisely the problem, though. None of their stuff (except Disgaea) is big enough that they can fall back on it with ports and re-releases. Meanwhile, they’re not exactly doing a good job branching out into other genres/platforms either.

        • neo_firenze

          Doesn’t mean they haven’t tried to hit ports and re-releases pretty hard anyway. It’s not just Disgaea, they’ve ported many of their other internally developed games: Phantom Brave (PSP, Wii), Rhapsody (DS), La Pucelle (PSP), Makai Kingdom (PSP). The only PS2-era RPG they DIDN’T port has been Soul Nomad.

          And I don’t know, there’s something to be said for specializing at the thing you’re really good at. Nippon Ichi are very good at intricate strategy RPGs, and I wouldn’t want them to forsake that at the expense of branching out to stuff they can’t do as well. Maybe work on a good traditional RPG or action RPG in addition to the Strategy pillar, but you don’t want to lose that unique competitive edge in their entrenched genre. I think a company like Falcom does it right – two main types of games with the Ys series as the action-RPG standard bearer, and the Legend of Heroes/___ no Kiseki games as the story-heavy turn based RPGs. Don’t go overboard, and keep quality control high in a limited set of genres.

          I do kinda like NISA’s (the US branch) strategy of filling gaps in their publishing portfolio but still sticking to the overall JRPG genre by publishing games from other developers like Gust, Idea Factory, and Compile Heart.

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

            Maybe work on a good traditional RPG or action RPG in addition to the Strategy pillar, but you don’t want to lose that unique competitive edge in their entrenched genre.

            What unique competitive edge? @_@ It’s not like Disgaea sells by the buttload, and none of their other SRPGs have posted booming sales either. I mean, I know NIS has its niche of loyal fans, but that’s kind of the problem… that’s all they have, and they haven’t really been able to branch out beyond that, even within the SRPG genre.

            If they were doing A-OK relying on their fans, that would be perfectly fine, but clearly that isn’t the case here.

            I agree Falcom is an example of doing it right. Stay small, stay efficient, put your games out on a variety of platforms. Falcom’s business model is very smart. So is Atlus’ for that matter. Atlus are the masters of asset re-use but no one ever really complains about it too much since they use their assets for games that are always very interesting and very different from one another.

          • neo_firenze

            I dunno, I think sometimes niche appeal is the ceiling for a company. No matter what they do, I just can’t see NIS breaking into a huge new mainstream audience, so it might be foolish to chase “new” and neglect the dedicated niche audience that already does support them. Might just have to ride that out as best they can and hope there’s still an interest in SRPGs (not that they can’t do new and interesting stuff in their genre – say, make a good 3D engine).

            There’s nothing inherently wrong with specialization, lots of the most respected developers are laser-focused on a very specific kind of game. Sometimes it’s a niche audience that a developer serves very well (Cave with shmups in the past decade plus, SNK’s 2D fighters in the 90s-00s, Sierra adventure games in the 80s-90s), sometimes it’s a very specific kind of game that happens to have huge mainstream appeal (Game Freak, Polyphony Digital, Infinity Ward – heck, Bungie has been iterating on basically the same sci-fi FPS idea for over a decade and they’re viewed as one of the current elite US developers).

            A ton of my favorite games ever come from these developers who were true artists for one very specific kind of experience. It’s not really that uncommon for a developer to just do one thing and do it well. It’s far less common to see a smaller developer that’s truly capable of releasing high quality stuff across a wide range.

            How many devs (other than huge publishers with multiple teams and lots of resources like a Capcom, Nintendo, Ubisoft) REALLY can be a multi-trick pony? It’s a rare feat.

      • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

        Imo, they should port the games to other systems, especially 3ds and Wii U and make absolutely sure its a quality port instead of a quick cash in.

    • Neophoton

      Noticed that same trend for NIS in regards to how huddled into a corner they are. It’s somewhat of the reason why I progressively lost interest in their games and found Disgaea 4 to even be rather dull — I can’t find myself even being remotely interested in the next installment they have planned.

      I do feel they ought to try branching out instead of settling on the otaku market alone.

  • kool_cid414

    I love NIS but the only thing I can do is what I have done and that’s buying their games.

    • Anime10121

      Agreed:) totally with you there.

  • AlteisenX

    I love NIS and what they bring to us. Yes, there were some low quality games, and I never really expected them to sell… However, they’re now releasing three titles this year that fans wanted. I don’t know how well they’ll be received, but I hope that Disgaea D2 and Guided Fate do well. I’m not sure how well the Summer “anime-game” will be received due to Ni no Kuni’s release. People are going to expect that quality of “anime-game” from my perspective. I haven’t played either yet so I can’t really argue that point of view, but I speculate it. ZHP is my favourite NIS game, I even put it above Disgaea; did it have flaws? Most certainly! But so did Bioshock Infinite. I believe in NIS an what they can bring to us, but I agree with other people in that NIS needs to step outside their comfort zone.

    Wishing all the best to NIS, and I’m buying a new PS3 just so I can pick up Guided Fate when it releases. That’s how much hope I have for that game. Still waiting for Disgaea 4 Vita too NIS ;). [this is inevitable, right?]

    • Pyrofrost

      The “anime game,” Time and Eternity (Tokitowa), is not a bad game. I’ve played it, beat it, and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. However, the game does have some real issues. With the way Image Epoch talked this game up, I can assure you that North American reviewers will fucking rip that game apart.
      I don’t see it getting higher than 6/10 or 2.5/5 from NA reviewers and I am being very generous with those scores. Because, production wise the game is easy as hell to tear apart; regardless of how fun and enjoyable the game really is.
      Hell, even many self-proclaimed “otaku” and “JPRG gamers” are ripping it apart; so you know the Western reviewers are going to have a field day ripping this game to pieces.

      • MrTyrant

        Funny because Time and Eternity was in top worst games from 2012 in japan. Pretty much voted by users.

        • Pyrofrost

          While that may be true, it’s not everyone’s experience. Now like I said, it does have its issues, I would never deny this fact. However, even with the issues I found the game to still be an enjoyable experience.

          • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

            I am buying it entirely for its nostalgia feeling of Thousand Arms. That, and I pretty much buy anything NISA that isn’t Vita only.

      • Elvick

        I don’t expect reviewers to treat T&E well at all. Won’t stop me from buying it. And I hope that’s the same for many others so that another game like it can be made.

        It’s a new concept and an attempt at something new. I’d like for them to be able to improve on it in the future.

        • Pyrofrost

          My thoughts exactly, my friend?

          If you go in with this mindset, “It’s a new concept and an attempt at something new. I’d like for them to be able to improve on it in the future,” seeing it as the first attempt at a new concept it is (not even Tales has attempted this) and you don’t expect to much…I say you will enjoy the game :3

  • DesmaX

    Oh boy, if there was a company that suffered at the beggining of the gen, it was NIS. Not only because of these really bad games, but Disgaea 3 was also crushed by everyone by the PS2 Graphics (And, for some bad game mechanics too, I guess… It was my least favorite Disgaea game, for sure)

    But, hey, glad they got past that and gone back to release the great games they’re known for. I really can’t wait for Guided Fate Paradox, I just loved Zettai Hero Project.

    And, hopefully, since The Witch and a Hundred Knights is going to be released now, it shows that they know how to work with 3D now. Seriously, those lame 3D inviroments should just die already

  • ZekeFreek

    The dude is being a bit hard on himself. Dude, you’ve made maybe 3 or 4 bad games and upwards of 15-20 great ones. That’s a track record very few devs have.

    • http://twitter.com/Tiredman_ Tiredman

      Whats a shame is I kinda liked the Last Rebellion and it isn’t a failure in my eyes. Only gripe was the single player system, but I got used to it, and beat the game. I like it when a game tries various combat systems that haven’t been tried yet.

  • Cerzel

    What I’d like to see NIS do is make games for consoles that are actually up to par with those consoles. People joke about their games looking like PS2 or even PS1-era products, and it’s disappointing. The worst part of it all is that the only thing they seem to be utilising the PS3 for is to make absurd amounts of DLC for every game they release.
    I rarely see NIS get any flak for their ridiculous DLC practices, and they should. The DLC for Disgaea 3 and 4 both amount to costing more than the game itself did.

    • Elvick

      There’s a reason.

      If they did what you ask, they’d up development costs to a point where it’s completely unrealistic. Better graphics won’t get more people interested in niche content. So their games would cost more to produce and sell about the same. Total waste of resources.

      And D3/4 have so much content without the DLC, that it hardly matters. And if you wait, then odds are it’d get a portable version with said DLC that you can buy for less than the DLC total price. That’s what I did with D3 and it turned out well. And that’s what I plan to do with D4. Have yet to buy any of the DLC.

  • Pichi

    Makes me sad to hear about A Witch’s Tale. I’m concerned about them not releasing their port/remakes overseas, like La Pucelle and Makai Kingdom. It could have made a decent splash. But I do have a feeling that their Japanese market is the bigger problem, as the fans seem to have gone down some. Disgaea D2 should have sold more.

  • http://www.staticshin.com/ Akshat Jiwan Sharma

    I sense a ZHP 2 announcement.Yeah! I knew it was happening.

  • Vitor Duarte

    I kinda like Last Rebellion.

  • Setsu Oh

    did any of their tactical games had a fastfoward button? for the enemy phase i mean…. that burned my interest for lapucelle and phantom something..

  • Elvick

    I bought Last Rebellion when it came out for full price. No regrets. Sure, it’s deeply flawed. DEEPLY… but I still enjoyed it despite it’s flaws. Plus, the artwork was still some of the best I’ve ever seen. So lovely~

    I wanted to pick up A Witch’s Tale, but never got around to it. But now, I pretty much buy every NISA release.

    • Sylveria

      Im in a similar position. I try to get almost everything NISA brings out except their digital releases only releases. A Witch’s Tale and Last Rebellion are basically the only two I don’t own.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    I think the main reason why NIS end up in this position is simply because they are banking too much on maintaining their fans which in this case have been decreasing each year.

    Not to mention, NIS seems to have some problem on moving out of their comfort zone as we can see that they never meet any big success on DS and PSP platform while many other small companies actually able to take advantage of that market.(Level-5, Imageepoch, even Sega to a certain extent on Miku series while the other series is not really doing well.T_T)

    Here hoping that Niikawa will be able to revitalize the company and bring success to NIS again.^_^

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    I laugh at all the FPS addicts who say that Japan is the only country where their Video Game industry is failing. Thinks to himself “These people are dumbasses cant they see that games like COD are hurting the industry cause so many buy them, and the other groundbreaking Innovative titles suffer in sales cause the fans are idiots”

    I mean no offense but the fact of the matter is “The WHOLE Video Game industry is suffering” even EA games is suffering while Craptivison’s COD fans are blind like sheep to buy every game.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    I think it’s about time Japanese developers started dominating the video game industry again. It was only in the 80s, 90s nd early 2000s that the industry was doing well- because Japanese developers were the catalysts thatmade it run and be exceptional. Now other developers have only tried to copy them and even copy each other with only fee developers having the courage to stand on their own while standing on the shoulders of giants all at the same time. If nobody takes the step to make the change then I will. Someday you will hear me industry and know who I am and remember me because I had the vision to make a difference when no one could.

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