Remember how we opened the floodgates for Aksys questions in a Reader Response a few weeks ago? I got a chance to speak with Gail Salamanca about their upcoming Nintendo DS projects and we’ll start by talking about Jake Hunter: Detective Chronicles. While the series is new for North America, Jake Hunter has been around since the Famicom under the name of Jinguuji Saburo.
So, why now? What made Aksys decide to localize Tantei Jinguuji Saburo DS?
Well, as you can probably see from our most recent titles we have a good working relationship with Arc System Works. As far as the game goes, we thought it's a genre that's definitely underrepresented in the US, so we're glad to be able to bring such a unique game to the DS library.
It's pretty obvious that Aksys wasn't going to keep the Japanese name for the protaganist, but where did Jake Hunter come from?
After many weeks of going back and forth in the office, it's basically the name that everyone finally agreed upon.
Were there any alternate names you were kicking around at the Aksys office?
Quite a few actually…
We wanted a name that had a good ring to it and sounded something like a character out of a pulp detective novel like Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon. We also decided early on that we wanted to have a name that started with a J to go along with the "J" in Jinguji. So we went through names like Jack Maverick, Jonathan Murdock, James Hunter until we finally decided on Jake Hunter.
Is the setting going to change from Japan to another country too?
Yes, we took the Anywhere, USA approach when it came time to localize the game.
How would you describe the tone of the game? Is it serious or comical like Phoenix Wright?
It's pretty grim and serious in tone although it does have its lighthearted moments.
Is the gameplay like a traditional point and click adventure game? Or are there unique features that set Jake Hunter apart from the crowd?
It's not really either as it's closer to a straight forward digital novel. Although, you'll still need to search for clues, talk to witnesses, find the right line of questioning to progress in the game.
How long do you think it will take someone to pass through the three cases?
It would probably take you about 4-5 hours to complete 1 episode. So about 15 hours to finish all 3 episodes.
Does Aksys plan on releasing anymore text adventure games in the near future? Perhaps, Apathy: Narugami Gakuen Toshi Densetsu Tantei Kyoku?
We're definitely not ruling it out. We're hoping Jake Hunter is the first in a long list of digital novel style games.