New RPG Label Aims To Make RPGs Specifically For Japanese Gamers

By Spencer . April 21, 2013 . 11:24pm

imageCompile Heart, one of Idea Factory’s brands, has a new label called Galapagos RPG. Their mission is to develop RPGs specifically for Japanese customers. So, I guess this is a JRPG label that makes JRPGs only for Japan?


Galapagos RPG is currently working on a brand new fantasy game slated for release in 2013. More details about the first title under the Galapagos RPG label will be revealed later on.

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  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    More Eros.^_^

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Would not be surprised if this indeed did take things that ‘one step beyond’ their usual fare. They still probably won’t get the frame rate right.

      • Tyler Beale

        Like they didn’t in the Neptunia Idol PP opening?

        • M’iau M’iaut

          Their official trailers for both it and Mugen Z remain more than really choppy.

          • Tyler Beale

            Even I could do a better job than that…

      • landlock

        Well unless these are going to be PC games they can’t go that much more. Sony have been pretty fussy in the past.

  • Go2hell66

    Hmmm dunno how i should feel about this

  • Whoomp

    Because all their other games have such international appeal? NOPE.

    • Manny Being Manny

      Compile Heart has made a concerted effort to get all their console games localized, while many smaller Japanese developers don’t even bother.

      • That… doesn’t say anything about the appeal factor.

  • M’iau M’iaut

    We are forgetting an actual possibility. These could be broader target Japanese audience games — and not just pandering hikkomori food.

    • If that’s the case, I have to wonder why Compile Heart are being given this label instead of Sting. Idea Factory management must’ve been drunk. :(

      • Well… I’ll admit that, if they really are planning to go mainstream, Sting is probably not a good choice in terms of gameplay design. That said, they at least seem to know what “polish” means, so…

        • I think Sting are fully capable of developing something a little more mainstream, given the right guidance. Hexyz Force was a pretty regular RPG for the most part, and it even let you speed battles up, which was very convenient.

      • notentirelythere

        Are they that trustworthy? From the progression of Riviera, to Yggdra Union, to Knights in the Nightmare, I think Sting’s sanity has a short half-life.
        Though, that’s only one creative team behind Sting, right? The only other games I remember playing by them are some old, bland RPGs that I can’t imagine getting a mass appeal.

  • TiredOfMyOldUsername

    Isn’t that the way it’s already ?

    Agarest war,Neptune, Mugen soul are pretty much the only series from them that are localized and thoses feel like alot japanese to me.
    And thoses 3 series are only small part of all Compiles heart games.

  • Tyler Beale

    So their games are for western gamers too? If so, where’s our Record of Agarest War Marriage? Monster Monpiece?

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Specifically For Japanese Gamers? I’m guessing they want RPGs not to be full of cliches?٩◔̯◔۶ or the other thing…. *only for Japan*

  • Romored

    I’ll never understand why most Japanese devs want to be so intransigent when it comes to producing games. They should always target to sell to the largest audience possible, but they rather seem to prefer withdrawing from others instead of growing as companies and be known by as much people in the world as possible. I really, really, can’t understand what’s wrong with them, sometimes. Why they think there are no people interested in their “nichest” games, in the rest of the world? They could not be millions, but why prevent all the opportunities?

    • Manny Being Manny

      The tastes of Western gamers are far different from Japanese… and you’re always going to be catering to your Japanese fans first and foremost if you’re one of the smaller companies.

    • There are Japanese developers that follow that line of thinking. Capcom, Atlus, Nintendo and From Software come to mind. All of those companies have done a whole lot of good this generation, when it comes to keeping Japanese games relevant outside of Japan.

      Capcom and From Software have both pushed tech and developed action games that are globally successful, with stuff like Resident Evil 5 and Dark Souls. Atlus have developed a fair few JRPGs that have gotten a lot of attention outside of Japan (Persona and Radiant Historia). Nintendo have done more for JRPGs in the West this gen than any other publisher. So I don’t think all Japanese developers are incapable of truly looking outside their market.

      The developers that do seem set on catering specifically to the Japanese audience are the otaku crowd devs like Compile Heart and NIS, and certain larger developers like Square Enix (not counting Eidos, of course) and Namco Bandai. Overall, I’d say that it comes down to a fairly even split.

      • SeventhEvening

        Wait….Nintendo did? I’m struggling to think of a large number of JRPGs on the wii, and most of the ones I can currently think of were operation rainfall and barely came over at all….. and most of those didn’t have Nintendo as a publisher. On the DS? I’m still struggling to think of anything that Nintendo was the publisher outside of the standard Mario RPGs and Pokemon. I think Nintendo made huge strides this Gen, I’m just not sure what JRPGs you’re thinking of.

        • Guest

          They published a fair amount of RPGs that were developed and published by other companies in Japan. Dragon Quest IX comes to mind immediately (DQVI as well).

        • Off the top of my head:

          Xenoblade, Last Story, Pandora’s Tower, Golden Sun 3, Solatorobo, Glory of Heracles, Pokemon series, Mario & Luigi series, Paper Mario series, Fire Emblem series, Dragon Quest series, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Bravely Default, Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, Monolithsoft’s “X”

          All games they’ve published in Europe and/or the US this past generation as well as future titles.

          Also, just because they didn’t publish Last Story, Pandora’s Tower and Solatorobo in the US doesn’t mean they don’t get credit for it. They did localize them for Europe after all, and agreed to let XSEED use their translation and publish the games in the States. They could’ve just said no like Namco Bandai does whenever XSEED tries to bring over handheld Tales titles.

          • SeventhEvening

            Well, I’m still not totally seeing it. He said they did more than any other publisher this gen, but three of those games you listed don’t even exist yet. One of them doesn’t even have a title. Monhun isn’t a JRPG at all (personally, I don’t consider Fire Emblem one, since it is so tactics heavy, but that’s just me) and I’m hesitant to give them credit for the three rainfall games, since a massive petition was needed to even get them to come to the states. As for Golden Sun, Pokemon, Mario & Luigi, Paper Mario….that’s just the same stuff they do each generation.

            I wasn’t aware of them publishing Dragon Quest in the states, that is a pretty big deal, but Glory of Heracles was pretty easy to forget even happened. Solatorobo was kind lukewarm. In my opinion, that isn’t enough to have them count as doing more for JRPGs in the west than, say, ATLUS, XSEED or NISA.

          • $29082171

            ”that’s just the same stuff they do each generation.”

            Publish JRPGs? Why are you acting as if those don’t count?

          • Ishaan said Nintendo “has done more for JRPGs this gen than any other publisher”, so we’re not necessarily talking about sheer quantity of games here. Hyperdimension Neptunia means nothing to Joe Casual, but thanks to Nintendo’s massive marketing push for DQ9, it actually broke into the mainstream and became one of the best-selling JRPGs in the West this gen. It completely eclipsed Nintendo’s own Golden Sun 3, which, by the way, certainly wasn’t in their regular rotation. That series had been dead for over 7 years, and was never popular in Japan. They didn’t need to greenlight it in the first place, and sadly, I don’t think it really paid off for them.

            Unlike Sony who used to be a major supporter of the JRPG but has now largely abandoned it (though here’s hoping those Versus rumors are true), Nintendo still has faith in the genre. They have internal studios working on it, and it’s only been 6 years since they purchased Monolithsoft. At the time I thought we’d never see another Monolithsoft RPG again with them working on that Disaster game instead, but we now know that’s not true. Heck, Nintendo even lets them develop the occasional RPG for Namco Bandai.

            As for franchises like Pokemon and Mario & Luigi being part of their regular rotation… Sure, those games sell millions and will always be guaranteed a Western release, but that doesn’t mean they don’t count. Disgaea and Persona are “just the same stuff they do each generation” as well for NISA and Atlus respectively. It’s called being a flagship franchise.

            Even in terms of quantity I think Nintendo has a substantial selection of JRPGs they’ve been involved with this gen, but where they really stand out is a willingness to support these titles in a way that niche publishers simply can’t/won’t. There is no reason why Radiant Historia couldn’t have sold as much as Golden Sun other than marketing. Nintendo pressers are the only pressers where you can find a tiny handheld RPG like Golden Sun on the big screen with its own full trailer rather than a 5-sec clip in a compilation. These are the things that Nintendo deserves props for this gen.

            Also, I just remembered a few more RPGs Nintendo published in the West: Inazuma Eleven series (Europe only) and The Denpa Men.

          • Like @Axersia:disqus said, I’m not talking about quantity of games published (which is actually quite a few), I’m talking about bringing JRPGs back into mainstream awareness.

            At a time when people had just about given up on RPGs from Japan, Xenoblade made them reconsider. Following that, Fire Emblem, against all odds, overcame its niche status and became another very heavily talked-about RPG on mainstream games coverage sites. Prior to that, Nintendo helped create a Western audience for both Dragon Quest and Monster Hunter (not strictly a JRPG but very much part of making Japanese games relevant in the West again). And now they’re collaborating with Atlus on a Shin Megami Tensei game, as well as bringing Bravely Default to the West.

            I’m not saying that niche publishers don’t deserve credit for bringing over the games they do, but to be frank, most people have never even heard of those games and nor do they care. The genre as a whole only benefits through high-profile titles that manage to break out of their niche and get people talking.

      • Romored

        I’m not saying the largest ones of them didn’t, but even the smallest indie developer never literally closes its doors to a broader audience. Even if their games are very niche. What I don’t understand is why they want to do that at all costs, at the point of wanting to create a “specific label”. It’s not like a lot of the games they’ve been producing until now were not created with the “specific Japanese taste” in mind (Hideo Baba reiterates this in every single interview, when talking about Tales). And it’s not like a lot of them were never localized.

        • I agree, it is frustrating. I think it boils down to a lot of Japanese producers simply not having what it takes to create a global hit any more. I don’t think a game has to lose its Japanese sensibilities to be popular worldwide, but clearly a lot of developers in Japan are having a hard time finding that middle ground. I was thinking of Baba, too, actually. The way he keeps going on about the anime audience for Tales in Japan makes you feel like they’re never even going to bother trying to do anything different.

          • neo_firenze

            I like the way Toshihiro Kondo from Falcom sees it. He says they don’t intentionally work on games to appeal to any certain audience, they just want to make good games and play to their strengths. Given that the that the teams ARE Japanese and have an influence from that culture (both generally and the industry “culture” of being a Japanese RPG developer), the games inherently have a bit of a Japanese flavor. Doesn’t mean the West can’t enjoy them, and honestly it makes the games feel a bit more genuine and reflecting the unique nature of their creators.

          • I wonder if it’s partly to do with Falcom’s roots on PC. They didn’t really have a presence on consoles until more recently, so they’ve kind of always played by their own rules, and even now, they continue to do so.

  • SageShinigami

    Sounds like a label doomed for failure, unless they just create the greatest games ever. You aim for a broad audience, not a narrow one.

  • SeventhEvening

    Isn’t Compile Heart a label for Idea Factory? This is a label inside a label? I think Idea Factory isn’t attempting to make JRPG…wait….JJRPGs, but working on some kind of labelception.

  • Tom

    Well, be better not know about these games. These can only cause frustration in western gamers…

    • Testsubject909

      You mean more frustration.

      There’s already plenty of frustration.

  • Stranger On The Road

    May be they will release culture heavy games that won’t make sense outside of Japan?

    Better yet, games that don’t have any external influence.

  • pekikuubik

    That’s like…
    Remember how imageepoch said they would save the JRPG? And even registered

    Yeah, this reminds me of that.

    • Chiupon

      and then released a variety of underwhelming jrpgs on a dying system (in the us anyways) that only one title got translated on? Yes, I remember. BRS will be sold to approximately 6 people.

      • Lucas Elexpe

        Count me as one of those 6!

      • Go2hell66

        i’m buying brs so i guess i will be one of those 6 people as well

      • I will join the numbers as well lol

        • Testsubject909

          I’ll wait until I see what they’re offering. If it intrigues me. I’ll bite.

      • Testsubject909

        Oh hey… I’ll look into these.

        Maybe those games will solve my need for an answer of “what is just another JRPG?”

        Or I might not. I’ve got good games to play after all…

  • Alicemagic

    Then I’ll learn Japanese. Screw your rules, you can’t stop me.

  • Kioku

    Please no.
    I can’t live without JRPGs.

  • 3PointDecoupage

    So they’re pretty much doing what every JRPG company does?

  • ragingmerifes

    Making JRPGs only for Japan? Bamco has been doing that for a while, with a few exceptions, already.

  • Koine Nacu

    Isn’t the translation (Though I used Google Translate) more like, “Specific customers in Japan”? So…Maybe geared more towards the “Moe” stuff (If that’s possible), or the “Not too Moe, but still Moe-ish in a way RPG” or the “We’re doing something completely different” Kind of dealy. Nonetheless, I’m interested in what this brings, so I’m keeping an eye on it.

    • Testsubject909

      They’re already doing that though…

  • Kai2591

    “Specifically For Japanese Gamers” ?

    NISA disagrees.

    (probably, lol. we’ll see!)

  • This is making curious, because as far as I know I though we played j-rpg but know they’re saying they will make real j-rpg for japanese customers… I wonder what will be the difference, “grinding” or more hardcores games ?

    If it’s just that then they could just make a difficulty choices and still release tjeir game for westerns gamers too. Erotic games ? They’re already making in japan. Hmmm, I a really cuious.

  • Considering the company, I think this is less to do with region availability and more about making games that isn’t moe and try and grab the “Dragon Quest/Final Fantasy” crowd.

    • puchinri

      That’s what I read it as too, actually.

  • 果林

    pshaw im prolly gonna get whatever this is anyways

  • Sergio Briceño

    I wonder why they even need a label for that. I’m fine as long as they get their games published in NTSC territories.

  • DesmaX

    With such a name like “Galopogos”, no wonder it’s targeted to only Japanese gamers. But still, I’m curious

    • puchinri

      I thought the name was some kind of reference to the Galapagos Islands, but I wasn’t entirely sure about where they could be going with that.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Yeah… RPGs seem to be always aimed at Japanese gamers so it’s no shock, unless there’s something I’m missing here.

  • Develop JRPGs “specifically for Japanese consumers”? What the hell does that even mean? More loli bath scenes and boob-touching minigames?

  • Um, isn’t that sort of isolationist mindset the reason JRPGs are dropping in popularity in the first place?

    Also, nearly all JRPGs are made specifically for Japanese markets, so what do these guys think they’re doing differently?

    • Manny Being Manny

      Its just similar to the anime industry. For these niche titles, its far better to appeal to your loyal fanbase instead of trying something different to appeal to the West while losing your fans interest at home.

      Even if they tried to appeal to the West, their budgets are too low that Westerners would just write it off due to the “Bad graphics” without even giving it a chance.

      • Testsubject909

        They’re being dumbasses. Don’t try to appeal to the west. Don’t appeal to the west. Appeal to a more general audience then the west. Appeal to human beings…

        That’s all we’re asking for.

        When they start attempting to appeal specifically to an unknown region, they fall straight out of any comfort zone and instead of exploring ideas, concepts and themes which would be more universally understandable and relatable, they fall into tropes, stereotypes and misinformed ideas instead and end up butchering just about anything they’ll work on rather then creating an interesting piece that, while may have been intended for a specific region that they are highly accustomed to, becomes highly intriguing or just generally appealing because of the sole fact that it is well made even if the story may or may not alienate people outside of the East…


        This is when I’d love to point at Okami among others as a possible example, but I gotta remember that Clover Studios kinda doesn’t exist anymore…

    • Estrius Alstar

      Are you serious? The percentage of modern Japanese RPGs being localized are astonishing compared to back then.

  • puchinri

    I can’t see how that’s any different from their situation now, unless it does distinctly mean that they’re not looking to having these localized [at all].

    Also, a number of devs do this already anyway (like with Baba and the Tales games). At the same time, maybe they’re aiming to expand out of the “otaku” audience and reach a wider Japanese audience, and that’s what they’re referring to?

    Either way, I’m pretty curious about what their titles will be and will keep an eye out~.

  • Well I can’t say that I’m not a little surprised. I thought that more companies would want to try to appeal to the other parts of the World as well. I mean wouldn’t it be great if your product did well in every territory and not just one? I know the task of appealing to different markets can be hard, but if you don’t even try in the first place, then well, yeah………..

  • fh

    …How is that different from every other JRPG company?

  • Hetare Kaiser

    But what are they going to call RPGs made specifically for the Galapagos Islands market now?

    • Neppygear

      Japanese RPGs.

  • revenent hell

    Well as opposed to reading about games becoming more “westernized” I kind of prefer reading stuff like this.

    Every game made has a targeted audience, being honest and saying ” These will be developed specifically for Japanese customers” is just telling the truth and letting everyone know it will be a game to please their people and not try to be something to please people of other territories.

    Sure it might cut down on copies sold from other countries but their targeted group of gamers is in Japan for this game, and is it really any different than what currently goes on with JRPG’s as of now anyways?.

    Though I find it funny since I think most JRPG’s I’ve played are not “westernized” at all, so this doesn’t apply really.

    Maybe its just a way of saying “We are making these games without a care as to if they get a localization elsewhere”?

  • amagidyne

    Ten years from now we’ll all look back and wonder how we didn’t realize Compile Heart was actually a kind of live performance art piece.

    • Testsubject909

      Like the one with the woman who bathed in honey and quoted (was it monologue or dialogue?) Winnie the Pooh while performing BDSM?

      Worse part is, thinking on it I can draw out possible symbolism and metaphors from that… Ah freaking hell… Why does this sort of stuff make sense when you stop to think about it twice over?

      Edit: Yes, what I described was performance art.

  • Warboss Aohd

    …….az opposed to da onez da JRPGs dat are western focused?

    • Testsubject909

      Like Final Fantasy Mystic Quest?

      Edit: Or Final Fantasy USA as it’s known in Japan.

      • Warboss Aohd

        an’ wot else?

  • I just hope it will cross the sea.

  • wat_wat

    Gonna echo everyone else here and say I thought their current games already did this. Are they….are they trying to be even more niche? Should I be afraid? D:

    • Testsubject909

      I’m personally intrigued by what’ll come out of it.

  • Alexandra Cordes

    …Sigh. Back to the kanji books.

    • Testsubject909

      Hang in there.

  • MrTyrant

    B…b…but Galapagos are ecuadorians islands….would they give us spanish translation then? or they would release their games there with a giant turtle included in the limited edition? D:

  • I’m not surprised by this -__- Lately, all JRPGs stay in Japan. Better start learning japanese.

  • biskmater

    So they will be actively hoarding their treasures!? dammit Japan, it is one thing to just do it, and a whole other to say it to our faces.

  • Ben Sylvia

    LOL read the title as “RPGs specifically for Japanese girls.”

    • Testsubject909

      That’d be something similar to the Angelique series.

  • wererat42

    Probably going to be a label for Visual Novels… but Compile Heart is already doing that Date a Live abomination, so who knows.

  • Alex

    *Sees Compile Heart* Nothing to see here folks. Just mosey on out.

  • Testsubject909

    Greeeaaaat… And now I’m turned back to the question I asked and am still confused about…

    I ask because of a debate I had with some random person who viewed an original JRPG and described it as “just another JRPG” in a relatively dismissive manner and one that tends to be used relatively popularly in a negative fashion which would indicate that “Just another JRPG” is meant to symbolize a common JRPG game and one that is obviously mediocre or overdone….


    Which begs the question… What JRPGs do you know… would actually fit in that description? What JRPGs out there are “just another JRPG”?

    I ask because… To date the best answer I’ve received which even now I’m debating, was Lunar… Now mind you I know a few JRPG titles which are plenty mediocre or awful and plenty indie/fan made/western made JRPGs that also fall in the category of mediocre and awful… But I’m having a hard time thinking in terms of more well known franchises and titles…

    … And to note, I repeat myself here but… Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy don’t count since they tend to re-invent and innovate within themselves. They’re huge hulking juggernauts for a good reason…

    • Warboss Aohd

      alot o’ da really recent releases o’ various companiez honestly, granted dere are onez dat aren’t (Over My Dead Body, etc), but alot o’ dem are lackin’ innovation.

  • Guest

    Okay, so I’ve thought about this a little bit, and here’s my theory: They’re going to make propaganda. Think about it; there’s a strong undercurrent of fascism and uyoku bullshit in the otaku community (this exists in western geek culture too, but I digress).

    What better way to appeal to them than to release games that suggest that, say, certain war crimes never happened? It’d be huge. Newspapers would do the marketing for them, and people would buy the games out of spite for anyone who complained about it.

    This isn’t true, of course. They’re probably not going to do that. I hope.

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