We Met With A Company That Plans To Release A New JRPG In English Every Month

By Spencer . June 13, 2013 . 4:02am

symphonyIn mid-2000, Kemco the developer behind Shadowgate for NES and a number of titles starring Bugs Bunny, exited the business of making console games. However, they didn’t quit the video game business altogether. They focused on the feature phone market in Japan designing games for feature phones. Why did they focus on JRPGs?


"Feature phones cannot support 3D graphics, so we had to make to make 2D style games," said Masaomi Kurokawa, Manager of the Mobile Business Department. "We have more than 100 JRPGs. We have made a lot of these games with different concepts. There is an audience that supports us and likes JRPGs with fantasy story lines."


Kemco began porting their library of feature phone JRPGs to iOS and Android devices after seeing the iPhone launch in Japan. Because the iPhone eases distribution they decided to focus on localizing games for the Western market after nearly a decade of absence.


"In the case of JRPGs, we know that there is a huge audience outside of Japan," said Matteo Conti from the Mobile Business Department. "Each month we plan to release two titles, one for Android and iOS." Kemco counts the iOS and Android ports as separate games, so their goal is to release twelve games, one per month, in the West. For Kemco, Google Play and selling for Android devices has been better than iOS. Their best selling game is Symphony of the Origin pictured above.


Kemco is also working with Natsume on the PSP game Mystic Chronicles, which is actually a port of the iOS game Fantasy Chronicles. Natsume is redoing the game’s text and I asked Kurokawa how he felt about the translations Kemco has been doing.


"Our company wants to make games profitable and so far the translation budget it very small," Kurokawa explained. "Natsume wanted to revise the text and polish it. That’s good for us and the audience. So far, Kemco doesn’t have this kind of budget and we have so many titles and RPGs have a lot of text. I have to say I’m sorry about that." Kemco said they are working on localization improvements and mentioned that one of their games has a translator that worked on high budget projects, but could not name the writer due to contract reasons.


Twelve JRPGs are coming this year and Kurokawa said not all of them will have the same 16-bit style look Kemco’s games are known for.

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  • Keima88

    I dont have an iOS or Android… So I cant support them even if I wanted.

    • Guest

      Sure you can. Download Bluestacks for Windows and play the Android games you want. You can access the store from it and buy games.

    • Get BlueStacks. Basically Windows on Android. You get access to the store where you can buy applications and games just like you would on a real device. (where did my last post go?)

      • 9thsage

        Does it work better now? Last time I tried it (though it was some time ago) it ran a lot of things pretty awfully.

        • It sure does. Alternatively, there’s Windroy, but I’m not sure if that thing can access the store. It runs a complete Android on Windows, so if anything, games should work on it.

        • Jeremy Barnes

          It works very well now.

  • ragingmerifes

    I played some on my Android, but I seriously think they should also port some games to the 3DS eShop and PSN.
    And when I say some, I mean all.

  • Admittedly, I have no information of what magnitude of workforce they have, but… Doesn’t “one game per month” sound a bit too fast? I mean, I absolutely appreciate the goal and sentiment, but at the same time, I’d hate to see the plan crash or translations coming out with problems due to pressing deadlines. And JRPGs aren’t exactly known for being easy on the translators.

    Perhaps I’m being too cautious here, but just wanted to say that taking the time when needed is also a viable approach. Regardless of what I think, best of luck to the plans.

    • Lexaus_the_Alchemist

      Quantity and quality are two separate beasts, huh? Looks like they didn’t get that memo…. But like you said, good luck to them.

    • Ladius

      I think it’s impossible they have a single team, despite the low budget those games actually range from 15 to 40 hours to complete and have a decent amount of optional contents.

      • I only got an Android phone recently, so I haven’t played any of their games on Google Play yet. But I hope the speed doesn’t come at the expense of other factors.

        Also, I’m not sure if they’re talking about localizing just their own titles. If it involves JRPGs from other developers, the length of each of them is also gonna be an unpredictable factor in release scheduling.

        • Jeremy Barnes

          they’re not going to blow your mind. They are SNES era RPGs. Some of them are better than others and they fill a nice niche.

  • Rogerrmark

    I liked Kemco RPGs so far.They’re simple,have some issues,but have their charm as well,and the art tends to please me.
    Actually,it’s pretty much everything I play on Android,besides Squareenix’s RPGs.

    So they have my support.Who knows,we might be even looking for a potential Atlus/NIS here.

    • Lumi

      I like Kemco too, but the lack of a 100% completion guide for them (because not enough people care about them) kind of bugs me… I still have a missing artifact from Eve of Genesis

  • Zakai

    Does someone know about their game on android market ? I would be interested in information about their games. Symphony of the Origin is it that good ?

    • Ladius

      I really liked Unlucky Hero (co-developed and localized by Exe Create) because of its plot focused on strategy and politics, otherwise their newest games seems to be more polished, like Dragnir.

      • Zakai

        Ok thx ! Sounds great, I’m going to download it now. I need some classic old school japanese rpg !

  • Freud_Hater

    …How about releasing just one very good RPG a year, or something? :/

    • Ladius

      I think it’s really unlikely they’ve a single team making a game each month, keep in mind most of them are actually quite meaty in terms of contents, especially for the price they ask. The most likely scenario is that they have multiple teams taking turns to release new games.

  • Crimson_Cloud

    Good luck with that. I’m not planning to make my phone a gaming thingy. There is quite a good collection of untranslated JRPGs on PSP, 3DS and even consoles. You should try that…

    • ShadowDivz

      I don’t get the whole gaming on phone thing either.

  • Seizui

    I am not going to lie. Some Of their games thst I have played have been pretty forgettable. One a month sounds cool, but it does raise flags on how memorable they will be.

  • $36598391

    Kemco please remake the original Shadowgate on 3DS
    A port of Shadodwgate 64 to the 3DS would be great too
    If you read comments on here Kemco
    Please consider these ideas

  • Ladius

    The funny thing is that some of their mobile jrpgs are more interesting than bigger budget games, despite how many they make. Unlucky Hero, a game they co-developed with Exe Create (it was Exe Create who localized it on Android, though) is probably my favorite smartphone jrpg so far.

  • Damarius Wingfield


  • Pockystix

    once per month sounds about as cheap as it’s going to get.

    this sounds a lot like EA’s strategy of pushing developers to rush out releases, forcing them to cut important content, and simplify their games for the Da Masses. . . *cough* DA2 *cough*

    though, this is on a much smaller scale. . . and on the Iphone. . . so less hurt, but still squicky.

  • larse

    The biggest problem of their games is that the drawing of the characters is so unprofessional, ancient, and ugly. With so many rpgs on mobile device selling well, they can at least hire a decent artists from semi-professional galgame circle to draw some acceptable character arts. I’m already ok with their poor rpg maker level technology, but do it like a real Japanese company, namely, with decent character arts.

    • Lumi

      I agree that some of their character art isn’t too enticing, but they seem to be getting better. And not all Japanese games have gorgeous character art.

  • Derek E Nay

    You had me at Shadowgate.

  • Testsubject909

    Once a month… That’s… rather much for too much ain’t it? I realize it’s for phone but… Won’t that cause a problem of saturation or something?

    • Colonel Custard

      Well I’m seeing that since most of these are ports once they are done. They will have to wait on whether or not their efforts will pay off before doing anythings else.

  • Work on improving the english translations instead, kthx.

  • Impossible2beat

    I dont want to play any game on my ipad or iphone so no….thanks

  • Lumi

    Just noticed Kemco is having a sale now… On Google Play, at least

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