What’s Going On With Phantom Breaker? And What Is Mages Planning For The West?

By Spencer . July 8, 2013 . 6:02pm

Mages/5pb started making a splash in the West with Corpse Party, Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds, and Steins;Gate which will be localized for PC by JAST. More Mages games are coming over, but what ever happened to the original Phantom Breaker which was supposed to come out last year care of 7Sixty and what else is Mages working on for the West? That’s what Siliconera asked Mages producer Masaki Sakari.




What happened to the release of Phantom Breaker for the US?


Masaki Sakari, Producer: [Laughs] The deal we have is 7Sixty has almost full control of the project. We just gave it to them and all we can really say is if we try to put pressure on them, it’s on their table. I know it’s not good to keep fans waiting. We’re going to hope for the best and keep our fingers crossed that they get it through.


What can you tell us about the new Phantom Breaker game in development for PS3 and Xbox 360?


It’s going to be a fighting game. I’d consider it as a step-up from the original Phantom Breaker in terms of system and mechanics. It’s more like Super Street Fighter IV or Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. We can’t do something like Street Fighter III to IV.


Does 7Sixty have control of Phantom Breaker: Extra or is that Strangely Compelling’s project?


I probably won’t use 7Sixty this time.



How has Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds sold so far? Has it done well?


It’s done pretty well. It performed the way we wanted to. We are hoping it would still kind of extend its life cycle. It actually has surprisingly long half-life. We are amazed by how the curve hasn’t tapered off as quickly as we thought it would. It’s still selling comfortable numbers even three months after it’s been on the market which is pretty good news for us.


What were the factors that contributed to Battle Grounds’ longer life cycle?


I think Mages is still not a globally well-known brand. I’m sure a few anime fans here and there who know Steins;Gate might have heard of Mages and 5pb, but I don’t think Mages as a company is extremely well-known around the world yet. That’s why users and players don’t buy it for the brand immediately on day one. I think what’s really happening here and what I would like to think is the quality of the game is being evaluated for what it is and then people are telling their friends about it, so it slowly keeping the momentum going.


Why did you decide to have line system running like King of Fighters instead of free running like Dragon’s Crown or other beat ’em ups in Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds?


What we wanted to accomplish with Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds is for players who might not have necessarily got into fighting game might pick this game up, and then be curious about fighting game and pick that up as well. We tried to keep the systems extremely similar. In a lot of the other side-scrolling beat ’em ups, up will move you up in the plane, but we wanted to use up for jump because that’s how a fighting game would normally function. We wanted to keep the control and the feel as close to fighting game as possible, which is why we chose for the two planes option.




Interesting, for a fighting game is not available in America…


[Laughs] That was actually unexpected when we are developing it.


What do you want to do next? Will Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds become its own product line and get a sequel?


Since we have Phantom Breaker doing fairly well in the States, I want to continue to have everything exist. We’ll try to continue pushing Phantom Breaker through while we are working on possible future iterations of Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds. There might be a few more things in the pipeline that we would like to bring to the West. They might be action games or fighting games. I can’t really go into too much detail, but there is stuff on the drawing board right now.


Is this related to Phantom Breaker or Mages in general?


Mages in general. New IPs, different IPs.


What kind of action game are you thinking of making?


Hmm… What I really would like to do personally is to create an 8-bit dot animation game on the next gen consoles, so it might have something to do with that.


What consoles are you thinking of developing for? Wii U? PlayStation 4? Xbox One?


We as a company doesn’t have much tie with Nintendo. We haven’t published any game on their platform, so it’s pretty safe to say it’s going to be on PS4 or Xbox One.


I really respect Sony a lot when they announced Mercenary Kings the other day end because they would allow a dot-animated game exist on a next gen console. It really shows the kind of of philosophy and forms of expression of art, and doesn’t necessarily have to be 3D, doesn’t necessarily have to push the envelop and tax their system as much as a game possibly can. I really appreciate that and see a bright future for game developers who want to experiment with different forms of expression and I hope that Microsoft can do something similar and announce another title that kind of shows dot animation is still very viable form of expression.


Is Mages going to focus on PS4?

M Personally I’m very big Xbox fan. I love the titles and I love the achievements and I would really like to do some work with them. But I have to admit from the business standpoint, PS4 is much more appealing probably from our execs as well because there’s just a lot more market share out there, and the 360 didn’t perform quite as well as or any where near as well as the PS3 in Japan. So it’s very difficult to get them on board. I’d say business-wise, it would probably look like PS4, but I personally would like to see something happen on Xbox One.




And you’re bringing Ketsui which was originally an Xbox 360 title to PS3. Will you bring this to America or other regions?


I would say that in our contract licensing agreement between Cave and Mages, it only included the Japan region, so I can’t really say much about what their plans are for overseas. If it is going to come outside of Japan, we’ll have to go look at the contract and possibly amend it to include other regions.




What about the science adventure series, Steins;Gate is coming over, but what about the other games like Robotics;Notes for example?


One of the big problems with the text adventure novels is the sheer amount of text. Since that is what affects the quality of the game, we will need to get really good localization and we have to look beyond that how much we can possibly sell. We would incur huge development costs in the form of localization for sales numbers that are kind of hard to project right now. if we can see a solid need, it’s definitely a possibility we’d like to explore. However, that being said, it’s really hard to say as of right now because of the sheer amount of development costs.

  • Vesperion

    Hey Mages! I’ll wait forever just for a chance to play the U.S version of Phantom Breaker.

    I’m kidding, so don’t hold me to that.

    On a side note i wish they would tell us a little more about what’s going on with the game. I had it pre-ordered for the longest

    • NeoStrayCat

      I was gonna say the same, but its kinda moot at this point, even when PB:Extra is coming out, but hey, I’ll never give up waiting for the Vanilla PB, if for anything, that’s up to answering 7-S, which hardly updates anything now as a small publisher…

  • anarchy_panty

    Battle Grounds was a pretty fun little Guardian Heroes clone, so I’d like to see a sequel. Or more DLC. I guess.

    • NeoStrayCat

      Sequel, I dunno, lol. DLC, maybe, thanks to the title update fees removed, I dunno if it counts towards DLC too. :3

  • DemiSouls

    I actually got Phantom Breaker: BG yesterday and it’s really enjoyable. Too bad there’s not many people playing online.. moreover, the Kurisu DLC co-op.

    • FetusZero

      Even around its release there hardly was anyone playing it.. when there actually was people playing it, that is. So I can’t imagine how it is now.

      • NeoStrayCat

        Well, hopefully with the Exposure around when they had it at AX, there might be more new players, but who knows. :3

  • “I probably won’t use 7Sixty this time.”

    Ouch! I don’t blame them, though. Last thing I heard about an update on PB from 7Sixty was that they were still trying to figure out the “fate” of the game – and that was back in February.
    What they said on their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pb.7sixty/posts/406439632778708
    Was it a bad forecast on their part? Either way, I don’t see the point in releasing the game in States now.

    Would be cool if Strangely Compelling got a hold of Extra. I actually had a chance to meet one of the employees at Anime Expo a few days ago, and they seem really on the ball. Even got a free sticker of the shrine maiden!

    • NeoStrayCat

      You’re not the only one Matty, I was there at AX too, got the stickers, and had fun there as well, but yeah, if anything, they should use S.C. for the possible localization of PB:Extra, but since the game will be multiplatform for importers, PS3 players can rejoice, lol. :3

  • SirRichard

    I like how open they are with their opinions on how things have gone for them and all. Straight up saying they’re likely going to avoid 7Sixty, discussing their sales, even his own preferences for consoles and how that might not go as he’d like, it’s quite nice. Battlegrounds was a lovely little game and I’d certainly give the actual PB fighting game a shot, if it ever gets this far.

    Also, might as well ask here; who are Strangely Compelling? Never heard of them before this, are they a new localisation company?

    • http://strangely-compelling.com/

      They seem really new, but I recognize at least one face who worked with Aksys, and interestingly enough I see they had a hand in BlazBlue: CS Extend’s localization and the ArcSys US website.

  • Erikdayo

    Phantom Breaker is a fun game. Animation isn’t great, but I like how friendly to newcomers it is. Able to get my friends playing without too much frustration. :) Can’t wait for Phantom Breaker Extra as I no longer own a Japanese Xbox 360. Oh, and Battlegrounds is a lot of fun too. Just got it this past weekend. Played a lot of coop with 3 players. Very enjoyable.

    • NeoStrayCat

      Well, rejoice, PB: Extra is Multiplatform, so yay! :3

      • Erikdayo

        Indeed. Already pre-ordered the PS3 version. :)

  • Phannnnnnnnnnnnnntom

    • NeoStrayCat

      Cue Awesome Music! :3

  • Aoshi00

    Battle Grounds was a fun beat ’em up, but I liked Scott Pilgrim more because I was more familiar w/ the story and chars, whereas I haven’t played the original Phantom Breaker (the demos weren’t too fun for me), also SP felt more like a genuine 8-bit (16-bit?) w/o the voice acting :)

    Personally I like the 360 and achievement better as well, and being used to playing all the VNs and shmups there.. so I wouldn’t mind them continue to support the Xbox One, especially both systems are region free now, thank god :)

  • Solomon_Kano

    This was a good read. I enjoyed their candor regarding next-gen.

    Lacking a 360, so I haven’t played Battle Grounds, but I’d jump on the fighter in a sec.

  • NeoStrayCat

    Also, for those wondering, a direct quote from 7-S themselves (that they should have put on the main page instead of a person’s comment) stating that lots of “word of mouth” is necessary to release it or something, so…http://bit.ly/14ZhJZl

  • Learii

    I wish the 360 version phantom breaker can be on ps3

    • NeoStrayCat

      If you mean the Original/Vanilla version, yeah, but hey, PB: Extra is good for the PS3 instead. :3

  • It looks like the glimmer of hope we’ve been looking for. In terms of localising a product, as of late I’ve noticed various companies shifting to another localisation company – Aksys, Mages and Atlus have all done this move – and it seems that a time frame of release really depends on how fast a chosen company can pull their strings.

    Like with the issue of Persona 4: Arena compared to Persona 4; Golden. Atlus went to another localisation company for Golden, and it released earlier than P4A in Europe – which goes to show that the right choice of company can go a heck of a long way.

    Europe may still have a shady relationship with Atlus, and all these companies might still take a long time to localise these games to the west, but delays aside, I feel they’re going about it correctly. Don’t get me wrong – I want so many games to release over here, but if they sold Japan’s entire catalogue over in the West in a heartbeat, just think of what it was mean for sales, relationships between east/west companies etc etc.

    In either case, having played the original Phantom Breaker demo, I’m highly interested in what Mages will be able to do with another company on board. Hopefully we can see positive results! ~

    • NeoStrayCat

      Yeah, and hopefully, they’ll cater to those who are really interested and like their products! :)

  • Gustavo

    I’m still waiting for Battlegrounds on PSN. Hope PB:Extra on the PS3 does well for them so we can get it later.

    • NeoStrayCat

      Yeah, its a possibility! :3

  • Zonder88

    Phantom Breaker is kinda pointless now that Extra is announced. They should just focus on localizing Extra instead, which is an enhanced and updated version.

    • NeoStrayCat

      We’ll see…>_>

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. Who are 7Sixty anyhow, have they done anything else besides this?

    • NeoStrayCat

      They’re just a small subsidiary publisher that are part of Southpeak Games, which only have published Stronghold 3, Kung-Fu Strike, and PB, much hardly a small company that hardly localizes anything. Don’t even know if they’re still around though…>_>

  • I had no idea this is why the fighting game never came over. Thats sad. I loved Battle Grounds and I might import this new game.

    • NeoStrayCat

      Well, at least its Multiplatform, so import away, lol. :3

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