Disgaea 5 Is In Development, Nippon Ichi Plans To Broaden Disgaea’s Appeal

By Kris . October 4, 2013 . 5:19pm


With Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness and The Witch and the Hundred Knight finally complete, Siliconera caught up with Nippon Ichi Software president Souhei Niikawa to find out about the company’s future titles starting with Criminal Girls for Vita.


Niikawa-san, our readers are really curious to why you choose to remake Criminal Girls for Vita.


Souhei Niikawa, President: In Japan, there were hardcore fans who wanted a continuation of the story. I want to continue it on as a series and keep building it. Our first process in building it up is building it on Vita and I wanted to touch the girls on Vita. [laughs]




On the topic of Vita, what are you going to add to Disgaea 4: Return, the PlayStation Vita version?


What was DLC in the PlayStation 3 version will be in the game at start.


After Disgaea D2 came out in Japan you announced Disgaea 4 for Vita. Are you thinking about synchronizing releases in the future like if Disgaea 5 came out it would be released for Vita and PlayStation 3 or 4.


As of right now, we don’t have any plans of doing a simultaneous release on console. If we do a simultaneous release on console and handhelds, some of the things that are unique to the handheld version, for example the traveling feature in Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, the game would only sell on handhelds which would be bad for us.


From our standpoint, since portable devices aren’t really doing well outside of Japan. It’s better for us to release the game on console first because consoles do well in and outside of Japan and then go from there.


If we were just thinking about Japan we could probably just release all of our games on handheld devices, but we we want our fans outside of Japan to enjoy the games as well, which is why we want to release the games on consoles.




The Witch and the Hundred Knight seems to have sold well in Japan, but the game had a long development cycle. Did the sales meet Nippon Ichi’s expectations?


We reached the initial amount that we wanted to sell. However, we are still in the red. [laughs]


Are you thinking about going back to the concept of an open ended game?


Initially, we wanted to make The Witch and the Hundred Knight an open ended world. Where we stand now, we don’t have the manpower as a company to make a game like that yet. If it was going to be open world it probably would have taken another three years. [laughs]


Where do you want to take the Disgaea series next? Can you give us a keyword or a concept for Disgaea 5?


[Laughs] I don’t know if I can say it yet… We have started working on it. What I can say now is we want Disgaea to appeal to a broader audience so we can expand our fanbase beyond the niche audience we have now. We are working on a story that can be enjoyed by a wider user base as well as different characters that will be enjoyed by them.

  • ZekeFreek

    *facepalm* No, Niikawa… you were doing so well! I beg you, please don’t do anything stupid in the name of “broadening appeal”!

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      You know they could just put it on more systems if it came to broadening appeal.

      • LanceHeart

        They kinda tried that with middling results.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          The fact that Im unaware of this is probably a contributing factor to those middling results.Did they make a PC port?

          • LanceHeart

            A DS port of Disgaea. It was fine, but didn’t sell well enough to make them ever make another game on Nintendo consoles.

          • ZekeFreek

            Okay, subjective, I know, but personally I felt that port was a complete travesty.

          • zeothedeathgod

            i thought the game was really bad ;/

      • ZekeFreek

        That would make it a very odd choice of words. That would be more “accessibility” than “appeal”.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Accessibility means simplifying the mechanics so they;re easier to get into

          • ZekeFreek

            That’s one of way of looking at, sure.

          • Accessibility has two meanings, being based on the base word Accessible:


            adjective ik-ˈse-sə-bəl, ak-, ek-

            : able to be reached or approached
            : able to be used or obtained
            : easy to appreciate or understand

            Accessibility can mean it is available for a broader consumer-base, and it can also refer to making a product easy to handle. In Zeke’s case, he is correct and you are wrong.

            Remember that the context of how a word is being used is key in each and every sentence.

          • ZekeFreek

            Finally my grammar class pays off.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Sure, I know what he means. But it wont come out of Nippon Ichi’s mouth sounding any better than what they already have.

            That is the point.

      • Audie Bakerson

        Quiet! Do you want the series to wind up on phones?!

        • Pyne

          please no.

    • DesmaX

      I’ll assume they’ll do the same thing Atlus is doing in their games.

      Nothing wrong with that… As long as they don’t Harada and Sato out, lel

      • ZekeFreek

        True dat. It’s just not NIS without them.

    • LM009

      agreed, disgaea sells because its disgaea, changing it up too much to “broaden appeal” sounds like they might change what makes disgaea disgaea.

      • ZekeFreek


      • Saraneth

        He said that the story would be changed to be more accessible. I’ve liked some of the Disgaea games’ stories, but they could use improvement in terms of story and character development and could use a little less anime humor that the average American would be put off by (or even an anime watcher who’s just tired of cliches, like me). This could be a good thing.

        • Shippoyasha

          I always thought Disgaea did well in regards to being self aware with anime style cliches. What ever happens, hopefully it isn’t a full purge of anime stylings. I am kind of tired of explaining anime elements in games like they are slurs whenever people have a kneejerk reaction against them.

        • 7743

          I think it is rather surprising the direction they took after the first game in series. Disgaea 1 was still the “Disgaea” we love, but I personally felt the humorous aspects weren’t overdone and they managed to stay concise in a story with good characters, decent plot and some emotional parts. I feel what newer players came to associate with “Disgaea” only started in Disgaea 2 when, in my opinion, plot and character development were downgraded compared to the first game’s standards and emphasis was put on the series’ special humor, present but not as emphasized on Disgaea 1 when compared to the later games in the series. You can also notice the change by comparing the art direction of the monsters in Disgaea 1 and 2, with the former’s ones having a darker look. It is a shame, because even if I’m not a fan of most of Disgaea 2’s story and characters, it had the best, most balanced end-game system and mechanics out of the whole series, bar only its own PSP version.

          Hopefully he means a return to those standards rather than pulling a Bomberman: Act Zero or something of the sort on us.

    • Sardorim

      If they want to get the Dudebros they must release on XBox One exclusively and offer free Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Pizza with every new copy as well turning it into boobtube, Sports, TV, and FPS all at the same time and dropping everything else. It also should have Call and Duty somewhere in its title, that would boost sales. Maybe a dog?

      If any series could pull this off it’s Disgaea!

      • ZekeFreek

        Okay fuck all that other shit, but I’d like some free food.

    • Raharu95

      We hear you there. “Broadening Appeal” coming from a Japanese developer has become synonymous with doom. Let’s hope NIS has not be corrupted ‘^’

  • I’m sad to hear that Witch and the Hundred Knight is still in the red for them. I really liked that game and they deserve to be rewarded for it in my opinion. That said, in a way it may be nice because story-wise I felt like it ended very well, very solidly, and I’d hate to see a sequel pop up.

    That said, I hope that they can find a good way to reuse the technology they developed for that game in the future, whether it is a sequel or another project altogether. The engine was rough around the edges but had a lot of promise for the future.

    I totally jive with the handhelds statement. I can’t think of a single NIS game I’ve played (disclaimer, not all of them) that didn’t leave me thinking “this should totally be a hand-held game.”

  • Godmars

    “Broaden Disgaea’s Appeal”

    Never thought in million years that that “phrase” would be used by Nippon Ichi. the most foulest words to come out of a game maker’s mouth…

    • ZekeFreek

      It’s a red flag to be sure.

  • Ardus

    “but we we want our fans outside of Japan to enjoy the games as well, which is why we want to release the games on consoles.”

    If only more companies wanted their fans outside japan to enjoy their games…
    you’ve always been good to me Nippon Ichi!

    • Takui Nanao

      great words great words

  • C.C.

    Don’t worry NIS, I will buy every game that you release on PlayStation! I hope they release it on PS4. I don’t if it is PS3 only though. ^_^

    • Godmars

      And that in itself is the *exact* problem: fans who take it as Gospel that “their” company can do no wrong or make a game which is out of touch with original principals. Who buy and defend the game regardless.

      This is exactly how the FF13 divide happened my friend.

      • C.C.

        I don’t understand what you are trying to say. Can you elaborate it please? Also, what do you mean by Gospel?

        • Godmars

          Blind brand loyalty does no one any good.

          • AkuLord3

            Ok…its not like the games that they’re putting out are bad ones and what does that have to do with anything? Being a fan and buying their favorite companies games isn’t a bad thing unless supporting shitty practices…which NIS isn’t really doing so yeah

          • C.C.

            What!? I didn’t know buying games for the platform I own is a bad thing. I’ve always liked most of the games developed by NIS.

          • Godmars

            Brand loyalty is more than just the platform a game is on – its the game itself.

            Regardless its time to drop this nonsense. Just voicing a concern. At the very least Nippon Ichi have proven themselves to be more grounded than Square, so hopefully they wont put more into promotion than game or story development. Will expand and experiment with them instead while not try to attract attention outside of the Western Anime audience.

          • C.C.

            Please stop talking nonsense and stop judging my preferences in games. Is it really wrong to buy games that I like? I think NIS games are unique, it’s different from games develop and release in the West. Besides, I always buy games which I think it would be fun playing regardless of brand, platform and anything whatever people think of the game. I also like the limited edition games that NIS releases. Is it really a sin to you if someone buy these games?
            For your information, I also buy other games that are not developed by NIS which is the Tales of Series, recently I’ve been playing Tales of Xillia 2, it’s one of the best JRPG in my opinion.
            Loyalty has nothing to do why I buy their games.

          • brian

            I think you missed the point?
            They were probably just trying not to discourage you from buying their games, just discouraging people being fans of them even if they deviate from the things they’re known for like Squeenix has done sometimes.
            I really doubt they’d do that but it could happen, albeit probably only with some executives being replaced.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        By an ‘original principles’ standard, they should only be making slightly naughty VNs and musical games with singing puppets. Let’s not return to making Mt. Everest out of a molehill and then go defensive when called on it.

  • DesmaX

    Oh, sad to hear Hundred Knights is still in the red… But, it was expected, that game must’ve taken a lot of money to make.

    Hopefully it will do well in the west… Going by his words, I’ll assume that their games do better here

  • heartless141

    they could start by making the DLC free or cheaper, like waaay cheaper =/
    else i’ll just wait for the portable version.
    it cost them next to nothing (apart from redrawing a few sprite depends on the game) to make an old game’s DLC to the new one.

    • ZekeFreek

      That’s near-completely irrelevant to what the article is saying.

      • heartless141

        now that i think about it. yeah i guess so….

        • ZekeFreek


  • Göran Isacson

    This man laughs almost as much Iwata. It almost scares me.

    I do hope that Witch ends up at least breaking even, though considering it’s long development cycle that may not be a thing that happens. Heck, I wonder if anything they make besides Disgaea games end up selling well enough to go in the red, Guided Fate Paradox didn’t exactly burn up the market either…

    • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

      I think its because N1 games tend to be the same genre and the same humor based, maybe they should try a “proper” RPG and with a serious plot.

      I disliked Disgaea a lot because the plot didnt motivated me and gameplay was kinds boring, didnt had the same feel with Soul Nomad because it had a serious plot (AT least at its core) and gameplay was unique.

      • Göran Isacson

        Ha ha man, all these people downvoting you, now I feel kinda bad. I will say that I see where you’re coming from though- some people just aren’t into constant laughs and fourth wall breaking storylines. In that regard a more serious RPG might be what’s necessary to broaden the appeal… wonder if that’s the direction they’ll go in for D5, or if they think that’s breaking TOO many conventions.

  • AuraGuyChris

    Make Disgaea games on handhelds, preferably RPG Heaven AKA 3DS, and you’ll see how far you’ll sell your copies.

    • Dark Zerato

      Even 3DS isn’t sold that well and the region locking is retarded. So NIS would probably stick to console for now.

      • Magnumsally

        3ds has been the number 1 system sold for 2 years globally with no end of slowing down.

        • Dark Zerato

          No. The number 1 systems are android and ios.

          • Draparde

            while its correct. i personally find it hard to judge that. since there are alot of people who own Android and ios, who would never touch video game apps. and thus are not apart of the sales install base for those games. (and by judge i mean, if it was ‘best for gamers’)

            while 3DS (or any other console) a sale pretty much means there a gamer of some sort.

            though i suppose it probably still is lol. my minds probably making things overcomplicated ;p

          • Magnumsally

            We have no idea who games on those platforms and who doesnt, who spends 1 dollar and who doesnt

    • Lester Rat

      Too bad they have already put a Disgaea title in a handheld that sold bazillions more than 3DS and it didn’t work very well so that they have never published another game on that handheld or its sucessor.

      If 3DS is so amazing I don’t know why people go to every topic whine about games not being considered to 3DS.

      • ronin4life

        “If 3DS is so amazing I don’t know why people go to every topic whine about games not being considered to 3DS.”
        I have never seen such boards… unless an ios game is announced. But then again, people ussually complain about it being on ios and want to see it on ANYTHING else.

  • DrakeClawfang

    oh, that witch with the oversized rack is from a franchise made from the guys who did Disgaea. Now I get it, carry on

  • SlickRoach

    Please, PLEASE don’t tell me this means a Disgaea game made to appeal to the COD audience. After the upcoming Thief game I don’t know if my heart can take anymore “mainstreaming”.

  • MrTyrant

    Try to appeal a broader audience by doing some of the stuff that Fire Emblem Awakening’s team made.

    • 古戸ヱリカ

      I dunno, I can’t really picture a Disgaea game without feet…

      • MrTyrant

        I can picture it with waifus and husbandos though.

        • CirnoTheStrongest

          Already technically in D4 >.>

          • MrTyrant

            Valvatorez x Artina did not produce a half Vampire/Angel child from what I recall -,-

          • CirnoTheStrongest

            Did you go to the tree? I’m not saying they had children produced or anything, but there was that little feature in there.

  • tubers

    “..we want Disgaea to appeal to a broader audience..”

    iOS version confirmed.

  • Magnumsally

    “since portable devices aren’t really doing well outside of Japan”
    Tell that to 3ds. The system your company has been ignoring


      they ported the first Disgaea to the DS and it didn’t sell well. If the game didn’t had good sales on the DS i doubt making a 3DS port would have any different result

      • This sounds like the kind of excuse NIS would make. The fact of the matter is that everything they’ve done that isn’t on PlayStation platforms has sucked, and it’s affecting them now because their current audience isn’t large enough to support the company any longer.

        PC, 360, Wii, 3DS, DS… every time they’ve tried to do something on any of those platforms, it’s been very half-hearted.

        • sherimae1324

          its because they loves playstation?
          and their heart belongs to it? lol

          • It’s probably a combination of things, including having spent so long on PS platforms that they don’t understand the markets that exist outside of the PlayStation otaku niche. There’s no real quick solution to the problem.

          • ZekeFreek

            Which perfectly fine. They should do what they do best.

          • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

            Its not fine because as it stands they wont be able to branch out and do anything that isnt Disgaea.

          • ZekeFreek

            And yet they are. And frankly they always have been.

          • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

            Really? They still just seem to develop ONLY SRPGs, they need more genres to diversify.

          • ZekeFreek

            Yes, but their non-Disgaea SRPGs are very different mechanically. And they’ve also done platformers and roguelikes as well, very successfully.

          • malek86

            I don’t know about your definiton of successful. Their platformers and roguelikes certainly weren’t commercial successes, despite being (arguably) good quality games.

            Which is the entire point of the discussion – NIS must find a way to make it so that their games can sell well even if they are not Disgaea. Right now, they are so deep-entrenched in their niche that when they try to get out of it, things go badly for them, regardless of the quality of the games.

            This has worked somewhat until now, but the situation is getting worse (look at their being in the red and losing half of their development team) so there is a need for a solution now more than before.

          • DesmaX

            Honestly, I only see them doing Disgaea as SRPG’s these days. All their other games are differents genres altogether

          • CirnoTheStrongest

            Battle Princess of Arcadias – 2D Action RPG
            Cladun series – Overhead Action RPG
            Prinny series – 2D Sidescrolling Action game
            ZHP – Roguelike
            Guided Fate Paradox – Roguelike

            And I could name many many more.

        • Magnumsally

          thank you for your agree

  • epy

    NIS have been fighting the good fight but the words “broader audience” sound like the language of Mordor to me. What follows is usually not pleasant.

    • DanteMasamune

      Reminds me of when Capcom said they wanted to broaden their audience and as a result we got RE6, DmC, Lost Planet 3 (or lost planet in general), and Dead Rising 3 wanting to appeal to CoD fans.

      Well at the very least Nippon Ichi won’t hire any western devs to make Disgaea 5 for them and they’ll mostly alter the gameplay mechanics to make it less grind heavy (and Disgaea is like super grind heavy) and probably take notes from Pokemon (X & Y) on how to make a more accessible game and probably do some alterations to the game’s design and story (they might pull a Capcom and remove the J-pop openings with a generic sound clip see Devil Kings, MegaMan X8’s Jpn/Eng openings) or just remove them in general.

  • Suriel Cruz

    Let Disgaea be Disgaea!!! Dx

  • TheExile285

    Damn, no Vita multiplats then. I guess I can wait though.

    • But you know it will be a matter of time before there are look at the pattern D1-psp/ds, D2-psp,D3-psv and now D4 is coming to Ps Vita too. So we will get it just a matter of time plus as a side note I love your Youtube channel.

  • Bunzi

    I’m not really sure what’s so niche about Disgaea, but than I’m not a huge consumer of jrpgs any more, so I’m not the best to judge.

  • Balalaika

    He said what every other studio has been thinking about making games for the Vita and this mentality is the reason why there us a huge lack of big studio games for it in the west and the cause of the countless ports and indie games.

    “the game would only sell on handhelds which would be bad for us.”

    (He is talking about the vita because 3DS has sold a million or so Units)

    “From our standpoint, since portable devices aren’t really doing well outside of Japan. It’s better for us to release the game on console first because consoles do well in and outside of Japan and then go from there.”

    (Its safer to release the game on the PS3 since it has a couple of million people who have the console and charge more.)

  • Xerain

    I wonder if “broadening appeal” has anything to do with the rumored staff exodus they’ve been having….

  • Does this mean… More sardines? 8D

    • DesmaX

      Assuming that he want to broaden the audience… Probably McDonalds

  • Go2hell66

    That “broadening appeal” piece actually scares me a bit. That can go all kinds of wrong if their not careful. Seen it happen to so many games already.

  • Rogerrmark

    I think that rumour about people quitting NIS was a lie,them?

    People from GAF said more than half of the Disgaea had retired O____o

    • farios

      The team that quits is the one who makes Disgaea 2 and 4, they still have the core team (the creator and his crew) so they still can make the next Disgaea, just might not be the same quality anymore

  • Well I for one am pretty curious about this, I wonder what they have in mind


    >We reached the initial amount that we wanted to sell. However, we are still in the red. [laughs]
    I don’t know what to think. even when they sell something that isn’t disgaea the game still not as lucrative.

    NiS should try makng some Action RPGs spin off of the disgaea series this probably would work

    • CirnoTheStrongest

      Witch was a special case, which involved a lot of extra unnecessary costs due to them not planning it very well.

  • Yeah, this entire series of comments in this post reacting to NIS’ thoughts about “broadening their appeal” is why companies like them have such a hard time growing. It’s because their fans are the most immature and narrow-minded.

    It’s unfortunate that comments regarding growth are immediately perceived with such negativity, when we’ve seen other publishers broaden their appeal effectively without losing what made their games great in the first place.


      They need to start thinking that in this gen and the next one really hurts a company like NIS. and that trying to appeal to more people doens’t automaticaly means “LOL FPS DUDEBRO WESTERN SHIT”.

      And NIS will need to lost that stigma of otaku centric game company and start something more like the Summon Night Series perhaps? The only thing that i know is that re-releasing Criminal Girls certainly won’t help

      • Final Agent

        Criminal Girls is a good game though, it’s just hard to approach due to its content. The gameplay is really fun.

      • Pretty much. They’ve locked themselves into that niche so tightly, and even within that niche, a lot of the games they put out tend not to do very well. (Sales figures here for anyone interested: http://bit.ly/11zQ7Mq)

      • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

        Actually more games like CG but with no fanservice is what this company needs, CG had good characters and good story plus a Soundtrack made in Heaven.

      • Audie Bakerson

        Sadly, sRPGs with cute lesbians that never get released outside of Japan is even more niche than Disgaea.


          And yet. It had a great come back with 100k+ sales in the first week beign a japan only franchise. and if we are going to start with this cute lesbian or stuff with fanservice. Disgaea isn’t in a good place. And it doens’t change the fact that the Summon night games are less otaku centric than Disgaea

    • ZekeFreek

      Why do they “need” to grow?

      • Because it’s clear they aren’t in a very good position financially? You know what being “in the red” means, don’t you?

        • ZekeFreek

          They up and down so often I wouldn’t worry about it.

          • Yes, because that’s exactly how they want to live their lives. In fear of being driven out of business.

          • ZekeFreek

            Sheesh, we’ve been down this road so many times with them. Nothing ever comes of it. They’re still here.

        • CirnoTheStrongest

          That’s because they screwed up with the development process of Hundred Knights and basically completely retooled the game when it was already far in development. The game actually sold really well, just NIS messed up so bad during development that it became really difficult to make profit from it.

          Not saying that NIS is doing well or not. Just pointing out that Witch is a very isolated incident. But I’d say they really went the right direction with it. It’s just unfortunate it took them that long to pull it off right.

    • Landale

      I can understand that they want to grow, and they should. I really enjoy their games, and would like to see more down the line.

      That said, the reactions to how they said it are understandable as well, given that “broadening appeal” typically translates into “gutting almost everything that appeals currently”. Not going to start saying their digging their reputation’s grave to keep the company out over their choice of words, but I’m definitely going to be a bit more wary of what they’re making for a little bit.

    • brwcrw

      Breaking Old News: People who like what they currently have fear change. There’s a reason for this stigma when you see what some of the biggest names in the industry come up with in the name of “wider appeal”.

      But fact is, if they cant sustain on the consumers they have, then they really have no reason to cater to them at all. All that will lead to is a slower, more prolonged death. If a title is “selling well”, and you’re still in the red, there is something fundamentally wrong in your process, and a change needs to be made despite what the diehards may say.

      • Pretty much exactly this. If their current strategy isn’t getting them anywhere, they need to start doing something about it. As the saying goes, “Games = money = more games”. No money = no games. (Or worse, bad games.)

      • icecoffemix

        Like Capcom did with RE and DmC?

        I don’t mind companies trying to net more fans, but seeing how many company actually doing to their established franchise, it’s no wonder many are wary about phrase like these.

        Though I agree that many comments are premature, let’s wait and see what they’re gonna do first.

        • BalmungX


    • epy

      Unfortunately one can’t always be wise like yourself when history has shown companies have turned their backs on their loyal fanbases to search for that “broader audience”. I didn’t like Capcom’s RE6, Team Ninja’s NG3 or that SE chooses to immediately localize every single iOS title but have us beg and petition for their handheld stuff (or have those rescued by Nintendo), but hey, I’m not part of that “broader audience” so I guess I don’t matter and don’t deserve to be upset about it.

      It’s fine if you disagree, but calling out names to people just because they have been burned in the past (many times) is not exactly mature and open minded either.

      • malek86

        I could also point out to Dead Rising 2, or Fire Emblem Awakening, or Halo. Even going very very far back in time, we could say for example that a game like Maniac Mansion was an attempt to broaden the audience of adventures by removing the annoying limitations of the parser. Imagine what IF fans must have felt at the time. “What, we only get a handful of verbs to choose from? What about our freedom? This is gonna suck badly”. Of course you know how it went. Making a game more accessible has almost never been a bad thing.

        There are a few bad examples out there, but they resulted mostly from lack of direction, not as a direct effect of their larger appeal. RE6 might have sucked, but RE4 did the same thing much more successfully and RE5 was also acclaimed, so it wasn’t a problem with the attempt in itself. NG3 was bad because Tecmo made a bad game, not because it was aimed at western players (notice that western players didn’t like it either).

        In other words, enlarging your audience in itself is not bad, it’s only bad if the developers screw up and make a crappy game.

        • Audie Bakerson

          I don’t think a game that ruined an entire genre and had a sequel that introduced use to the horrors of paying for a peer to peer connection and DLC is a good example of enlarging an audience not being a bad thing…

        • epy

          That is exactly my point. Funny you bring up Awakening, because that is a perfect example on how you make a game more accessible. Sure it’s easier overall, but there are deep mechanics in place for those that care and higher difficulties for the veterans. Even Thracia 776 purists love that game. Resident Evil 4 made it more action oriented, but there was also resource management and survival horror, not full blown Hollywood Michael Bay fest.

          Squaresoft of the 90s made fighting games, racing games, strategy games, action rpgs and traditional rpgs and we didn’t care. Why? Because not only were all their offerings (or most of them) excellent, but they never stopped making excellent RPG games.

          Of course enlarging an audience is not bad. I agree 100%! Who knows how many series I love would be unknown to me if “that” title that introduced me to the series never existed. The thing is lately, most of those “broader audience” strategies have been pretty much “Screw you guys, we’re going after the big fish!”. This is why there is such a reaction. As Flandre said above:

          “So long as they don’t abandon the series’s core concepts in the process.Make Disgaea still feel like Disgaea, play like Disgaea, and look like Disgaea, and you can broaden your appeal all you want to.”

    • CirnoTheStrongest

      Being wary of something doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to dislike it. It’s only normal to be cautious after a statement like that.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      To be fair, we’ve also seen examples of developers/publishers who haven’t done so successfully, either because they don’t really understand broader audiences, don’t really understand what made their games great in the first place or both.

      Having said that, I do agree with you that a negative knee-jerk reaction to a developer “broadening the appeal” of their games is unwarranted. Like you said, doing so doesn’t necessarily harm the core appeal of a series. In fact, if done right, such changes can even be appreciated by older fans in spite of the fact that they were satisfied with the series as it was before.

    • CirnoLakes

      People are worried for pretty good reason. Disgaea and loyal fans who love Disgaea for what it is. And to lose it would be to lose something major.

      “Broadening” often isn’t a good thing.
      And what if we were all to lose the very things we all love most about Disgaea? That’s something to be worried about.

      I don’t see a lot of overly negative reactions here. Just a lot of very justified worry.

  • Enigmos

    Personally i think when he means broader audience he means make it less japan centric not so much easier and dumbed down. What i would love is for them to get rid of the moe, little girl art style. That will bring in more people. Hell i know people who would play the game if they got rid of the moe artstyle.

    I even bypass certain classes due to design (archer, mage, shaman,etc).

    Would also love more adult leads/characters like Adell, Val, And the magic knight and male samurai/fighter. As stated before the little girl characters can be really off putting to western gamers. I even feel awkward when i see etna nowadays since she is wearing less and less.

    Also really hope Witch and the Hundred Knights does well here. Would love more sequels from that game. looks fantastic.

    • Odin

      I think a lot of gamers have to realize that the majority of games coming out of Japan aren’t meant to appeal to them specifically. Asking them to change an art style is one thing, but what works in one territory might not in another.

      Their most important market is their own, not the West or anywhere else.

    • Draparde

      I can agree with having general older-looking people. (val is my favorite MC of the disgaea’s) but the art style is what i love about it. drastically changing it would suck out alot of the drive i have for enjoying it if i dont like what i see in the characters ect.

      i think they should have several diffrent appearances for each class personally. (rather than just recolors)

      • Enigmos

        Art style was a wrong choice of words, meant the moe/loli elements in the art style. Love the art style and many character designs, just feel the moe/loli is holding the series back from a more broader audience.

        But i do agree with adding different appearances to the classes. Maybe the higher tier you go, the more designs/colors are available for the class. (example Male Fighter gains leg and arm armor first couple of tiers, then later some chest armor.) that might add some fun customization for characters.

        • Draparde

          That would be an awesome way to do it imo. i hope NIS is reading that comment for disgaea 5 :p

        • CirnoLakes

          Keep ya’ boobs outta my Disgaea!

    • DesmaX

      I’m all for taking out lolis (It’s the cancer of japanese industry for me), but I don’t think anything wrong with the art itself. If one thing, they could make Disgaea 5 a fully 3D game, since they know how to do them now that they finished Hundred Knights.

      Or at least make the scenarios more appealing with that. I like the sprites, but the scenarios in the latest games are really lacking

      • Enigmos

        I guess i used the wrong choice of words for “art style” (just came back from work when i wrote the post, was tired). I like the art style, I think he can create some really cool looking characters. I just would prefer he would get rid of the moe/loli elements in his art style. That to me is the only way to go for a broader audience. In fact i know this, since i know two people who would have played the games but wont due to the moe/loli. Hell one of the is a huge anime guy, which really baffled me why he wont play the games.

        Not sure 3D would do anything positive for the game/company. The Sprites give a nice feel to the game and gives it character. Plus the HD sprites probably cost a lot to make (which is why im guessing a lot of the classes from 2-3 haven’t made it in to 4 and D2). Switching over to 3D now and recreating all the models from scratch might not be in NIS best interest seeing as how they might be low on money. Again though my opinion, could totally be wrong.

        • DesmaX

          The thing is, not only it’s cheaper to make 3D models, it’s easier to do so (You know, because you can put more people to work with them. Sprites is just a single guy who draw them). Honestly, I’ll say that working with 2D sprites is dumb nowadays. Especially since there are games like M&L: Dream Team that can replicate the charm of sprites with their 3D models.

          And, of course, they didn’t reuse any sprites from 4 to D2, so that woudn’t be a problem. Een if they used sprites, they would just make new ones (Seriously, get some close shots and compare. You’ll see the difference).

          But the “moe” trend it’s not really going to get out (You know, even the first game had it’s own share), but I feel like they just abused that in their latest games, probably trying to get the attention of otakus, or something. I just wish that, since they didn’t sell as much as they would hope, they try to give it a more serious tone, like Hundred Knights (Since it reached their expectations. But a single game from a new IP woudn’t save them from the red anyway)

          • Enigmos

            I wouldn’t say sprites are dumb to use nowadays, but i understand where your coming from. I remember watching a video on Skullgirls explaining how hard/ time consuming it was to make the character sprites. Not to mention costly.

            Once i play Witch and Hundred Knights, ill probably get a better idea of their 3D graphics to form a better opinion. Guess im just having trouble seeing Disgaea in 3D. Would be totally for it though.

            And i agree on the moe trend not leaving anytime soon. Just wishful thinking i guess.

    • CirnoLakes

      You speak of removing the best thing about Disgaea and replacing it with testosterone.

      This is unacceptable heresy of the highest degree.

      • Enigmos

        I never said replace every character with with testosterone steroid junkies (personally i HATE overly muscular characters :P ), just to get rid of the moe elements. Now i know im walking in dangerous territory when i say that. We all have our preferences when it comes to this game. And i don’t believe its heresy to the highest degree. Disgaea is in my top 5 favorite game series of all time, and when the company president says they want to broadening the appeal, this is the only way in my mind to do it without sacrificing game play and story.

        Im not saying get rid of characters like Etna (one of my favorite characters in the franchise), Flonne or Beryl, just get rid of the moe/loli elements to them. Dare i say age them a bit (late teens not too much to make them unrecognizable).

        But anyway we both have different opinions for what is best for the franchise. I just wanna make sure NIS will still be around for years to come and not go bankrupt due to low sales of future games. So ill say what i believe could help them. If that means sacrifices have to be made to ensure NIS/Disgaea stays around for future generations so be it.

  • brian

    Take a page from Atlus and do like they did with Etrian Odyssey?
    edit: Holy crap @ several of those comments below getting hundreds of votes up/down

  • Flandre Scarlet

    So long as they don’t abandon the series’s core concepts in the process. Make Disgaea still feel like Disgaea, play like Disgaea, and look like Disgaea, and you can broaden your appeal all you want to.

  • Pinkemon

    This makes me kinda worried for the company’s future, but I guess I’ll just have wait and see. Not gonna freak out yet.

    • CirnoLakes

      It’s a tumultous and changing time in the game industry right now.

      There seems to be both a lot of great possibilities, and scary ones.
      This is a scary one.

  • NicheHero

    Okay, so I thought about this a lot before posting. As a casual gamer (hardcore when it comes to disgaea/ most NIS games) the reason why I play video games is mainly because of Nippon Ichi Software. I love them because they are a niche company that makes unique niche games. Such as Disgaea 4. Now I wont spoil much, but Disgaea 4 was about keeping promises and fighting back against a corrupt society. But upon hearing “we want disgaea to appeal to a broader audience” does that mean they are trying to be main stream? Because I think that if they try to go “main stream” then they might lose what makes disgaea “niche”. I of course will try out disgaea 5, and will give NIS a chance,but I’m just not sure i’m going to like it because Disgaea 5 might lose its “uniqueness”/ “niche” that makes the other Disgaea games “niche”

  • Draparde

    I look forward to Disgaea 5 :o the changes in DD:2 already seem a step in the right direction. gameplay wise

    • ZekeFreek

      ew… no. I was so glad when Disgaea 3 got rid of those bullshit systems. I’m sure I’ll still enjoy D2, but damn I’m gonna miss a lot fo the systems from 3 and 4…

      • Draparde

        Personally i’ll never miss the class world. but to each their own, lol.

  • Punny Fuzz

    “..we want Disgaea to appeal to a broader audience..”

    Calling it now: Disgaea 5 will have Female Main character.


    • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

      They could take pages from Soul Nomad, replay value garantedd.

    • CirnoLakes

      Now this is a broadening I can support!

  • Tiredman

    He mentioned story, but I find it hard to think that just changing the story would affect who buys the game. He has me a little worried now with that broad appeal thing. There will be more to it. Without sacrificing the heart of the game, how do you make a Disgaea game appeal to more people?

    • Hound

      The same way the original Disgaea did. A brilliant and funny script with memorable nonsense crammed into every major encounter without recycling jokes/themes or delving into unnecessary suggestive themes.

      Who can possibly forget “I’m an Assassin,” or the old hero whose attacks looked amazing but weren’t, or Etna shooting the Prism Ranger so they couldn’t transform, or Etna’s melancholy diary, the giant space ship, or the time when Captain Gordon stops being “Defender of Earth”?

      The original Disgaea was incredibly special, and I hope that “broaden the appeal” means something along the lines of “work more on the details and creating many more memorable moments” as the series continues. They were something fans talked about with their friends, and that talk resulted in an anime, a manga, and 8+ games.

      Unless you wanna say that the gameplay is “revolutionary” in Disgaea 2-5, then the story is certainly the gem behind the series.

      • Tiredman

        Thats why Disgaea 1 is my favorite in the series =p. You also forgot horse wiener and succubus fear. I am sincerely hoping they can do that magic with d-2.

      • ZekeFreek

        Every Disgaea had it’s memorable moments like that. I never forget ARMAGEDDON OF EGGINESS or when Fenrich faked his own death, etc.

  • Pekola

    That’s bad for NIS. Being in the red is no good. Battle Princess of Arcadias didn’t do so hot either.

    Maybe they could try and make something that appeals to more people by making something that appeals to the general JRPG crowd?

    They’re really great at sprite work, and they could probably pull Dragon’s Crown-esque numbers by making broader appealing JRPG’s with that specific sprite look.

    Tales of Xillia did pretty well in the west alone. Ni No Kuni did fairly good too. Not as good as Blockbuster million sellers but having over 100-300k copies sold per game could help them a bit.

  • ivanchu77

    It´s a logical way of thinking, but please, whatever you do let disgaea be disgaea, it´s nice to search for new fans but don´t turn the game into something that has never been, giving the old fans the middle finger.

    But it says a lot that the only non-disgaea game that has done ok for them in a while is a 3D game, maybe is a good idea to do the games in 3D from now on, “casuals” are mostly graphic whores and i´m sure most of them aren´t intesrested in NIS games because they use Sprites.

    Besides, The likes of gust and IF have been using 3D for a while and it´s not like they are bigger than NIS, i like 2D graphics but it seems it puts off the average gamer a lot so…

    • CirnoTheStrongest

      I would love if they went more 3D. I think 3D just adds a whole lot that 2D sprites can’t convey all that well.

  • malek86

    And that is why I said that NIS’s position is not exactly enviable.

    They need to get to a point where they make money off games not called Disgaea. And I’m not sure how you broaden the appeal of Disgaea? That game is the poster child of “niche”. It’s successful for its genre, but I don’t know what you could do to make it reach a bigger audience without alienating the current fans (which they probably don’t want to risk).

  • Magnumsally

    The bottom line is they need to put effort into games on other platforms. When they ported Disgaea to DS, no effort. Put an ORIGINAL game on 3ds and see the money come in like it has for atlus, namco, level 5, square, ect. Even NISA, some of the employees have said the marketing efforts for games in japan has been god awful.

    • CirnoTheStrongest

      They’ve put original games on the 3DS already…

  • Masa

    Sega should read this interview and learn.

  • Chromie

    Bring it PC. PC/Steam users would devour any jrpg since it’s a jrpg wasteland. I’d buy 3!

    • Enigmos

      Disgaea on PC would be the greatest thing ever. That would certainly bring in more people too.

    • CirnoLakes

      This is the kind of “broadening” I can very much get behind.

  • H_Floyd

    “Broaden Appeal” equates invariably to two things in Japan:

    1) If it’s a traditional or strategy RPG series, make it an action RPG.
    2) If it used to be on home consoles, make it for mobiles.

    Neither ever end well.

  • $61526767

    After completing D4, I hope they don’t change anything new with Disgaea. Really love the things they do in Disgaea. Haven’t reach much depth into the series yet.

  • Judgephoenix

    I still have not touched the series where do I start and which system T_T?

    • ivanchu77

      Best version for each game is:

      D1: PSP
      D2: PSP
      D3: VITA
      D4: ps3 only but i recomend waiting for vita version since it will have lots of extras

      all of them are great in their own right so i recommend playing them in order, not to mention you can get the first games very cheap now :)

      • Shady Shariest

        Why can i not upvote this by 9999? :3

      • TheExile285

        Also worth noting that if he doesn’t mind DD only he can play every game barring D2D on Vita.

  • Jirin

    Let me run that through the translation matrix.

    “We want to broaden the game’s appeal”
    “We are going to try to appeal to a mainstream audience, fail to do so, and please our niche audience a lot less in the process”

    • Shady Shariest

      “We will mild down some elements of the game which have driven people away from Disgaea’s in the west.”

      • DesmaX


        • Shady Shariest

          *Thank you
          Edit: Tried to think an element to mild down… Disgaea 4? Can’t think of any :x
          Edit2: Mild down the spectacular acting? The game shadowed nearly everything else in that regard.

          • DesmaX

            Disgaea D2 was a start

          • Shady Shariest

            …Was afraid of that… Have you played with English subtitles? Are they really so… Horrible as in the teaser pictures?

          • DesmaX

            Nope, it will be still some time time I get my hands on it.

            There should be videos of the english version by now on Youtube, try checking it out if you’re curious

          • Shady Shariest

            I am curious. But i have the self-restraint to…Resist…
            (TL:DR: Student.Too poor to get the game easy to resist)

      • CirnoLakes

        As long as they don’t stop creating characters like this, I’ll be pretty happy.

        • Shady Shariest

          AMEN! Raspberyl is one of my fave characters in Disgaea’s…And i haven’t even played the 3rd one :3
          (Ooh, a pic with the glasses?Not everyday i see people use that)

  • Kitestwinblades

    All they have to do is bring back the Prism Rangers into the main story.
    So universal how could anyone not get hyped fighting them! XD

  • Shady Shariest

    There is some magic around NIS…Even i am optimistic about the Disgaea 5’s story changes!

  • Spirate

    I see two things taken from past comments Niikawa had made that allude to him wanting to give Disgaea a broader audience: platform and promotion. A long time ago he said that they were interested in putting their hands on PC/Steam, and just recently at TGS he said that he’d made a couple friends in the anime industry (thanks to NISA’s foothold in anime publishing) and is hoping to not only put more anime cutscenes into their games, but also make more adaptations of their products (which may tie into the tidbit in this interview about what they’re doing with the story; gameplay wise I don’t expect much change).

    I have no problem with them trying to expand the series to a bigger audience as long as it keeps its identity with it.

    • DesmaX

      He talked about Steam? Makes sense, since he’s so interessed in west, but that only ended up with a port of an obscure game that was probably made in PC first, and then ported to the PSP (Considering the “quality” of the port), and they just left there (That game was never on a deal, which is ridiculous for a Steam game). But I assumed that Valve asked for a game from them and they just throw the first thing they got.

      • malek86

        NIS’s efforts on the non-Playstation platforms have been so poor they make me laugh. And then they complain about having to expand their audience. Doesn’t surprise me.

        • DesmaX

          heh, but at least they made sense.
          Disgaea port for the DS? Fair enough

          But, seriously, they weren’t even bothering then they released that on Steam. It’s like they foind a PC build on their closet and threw it there

  • Chiupon

    They just need to go straight to the handheld market. NIS games have never been “up to date” console experiences, so they tend to get looked at badly — however the styles they use in their games would be like, 100% successful on a 3DS or somethin

  • Aristides

    I would still like some more handheld love X_X after all the majority of us handheld gamers are actually J-game fans. I do appreciate all the western love though!!!!

  • Hetare Kaiser

    Prediction for Disgaea 5: 70% of the characters will be voiced by Mizuhashi Kaori.

  • CirnoTheStrongest

    Is no one commenting on how he stated that Disgaea 4 vita will have nothing new? That was a pretty disappointing statement in the article. Of course it could just be standard gamindustri lies, but it might just be true. I guess I should be happy that I already bought all the DLC I could want, so I really don’t have a reason to buy the Vita version anymore?

  • Sylveria

    Broadening the appeal… that’s a scary phrase to throw around these days.

  • .:Raphællius:.

    If they make Disgea 5 something else than a tactical turn based RPG you can count me in.

  • Ryo-kun

    can someone list the series that have been destroyed because of this “broadening appeal” crap?

  • Fintlook

    if they want to appeal to a broader audience I guess they would have to tone down the grinding and RNG, it’s easy when you’ve been playing trough all the disgaea but it turn off a lots of new people.

  • Ståle Laastad

    The only thing that could really kill this series is a freemium model…
    or, seeing how much casual gamers enjoy and use money on these types of games, it could actually give them profit..

    but no..dont go there.

  • CirnoLakes


    What must never disappear or lessen from Nippon Ichi for the sake of “broadening appeal”.

  • Skeptika Crediblus

    I dunno about changing the story, but maybe make gameplay less uber-grindy somehow? Spending thousands of hours grinding something up so you can do damage in the millions was always kind of a turnoff to me, despite the fact that it unlocked neat battles and extra characters. I understand that some people love that aspect, but it’s not for me.

  • Hound

    The Witch and the Hundred Knight had a long development cycle? And then I read this: http://www.siliconera.com/2013/07/30/the-witch-and-the-hundred-knights-gets-a-casual-mode-for-wimps/ .

    So it’s a CHALLENGING NIS game similar to the Mana series with Tower Defense elements? NIS, I’m buying your game <3

  • Honestly all I want to see Disgaea do is give us a nice 3DS Game with multiplayer (preferably Online too >8C). I’m one of the odd numbers that loved it on the DS. Handheld gaming isn’t as bad as they assume.

  • Dylan Rose

    NIS could widen their fan base of they released games on multiple consoles for america but in japan it may not help because xboxes don’t sell for shit in Japan. I just finished Disgaea D2 as I was getting to the end it felt like something was dieing inside me because I was liking the story so much and it is the 1st disgaea game ive played. It was great I enjoyed most of the voice acting except Flonne’s voice. SO SQUEAKY. but I was shocked on the 10 episode part I thought their would be 12. Just a tip put the most devotion in your biggest games like disgaea or games that have potential. I played TGFP it was goodbut come on. Disgaea D2 had some bad battle animations. But NIS keep the good work up. You should make a RPG with an interesting easy to understand but unique story with an open world environment with action. That would certainly widen your fan base if you ever get a chance do it.:-)

  • it me

    maybe they’ll start by making the writing and character designs less gross for girls

    that would probably be a good way to broaden appeal

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