Our Aksys roundtable interview continues with Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, specifically the ladder jokes. Later, we talk about BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Plus and what games the team at Aksys were looking forward to at E3. This interview was done directly after Sony’s press conference and before any of us had a chance to see the show floor.
Just in case you missed it, here’s part one, which was posted yesterday.
Ben Bateman, Editor: [Everyone laughs] There are a lot of ladder jokes. [laughs] I can’t remember them all right now, but I did come up with all of them, more or less, I found some on the Internet. I was very proud of my ladder jokes.
That’s actually another thing that’s also very difficult, but very rewarding when you do it well in Japanese games. Japanese people love puns, but unfortunately a lot of those puns have to deal with Japanese words and they don’t make any sense in English. I like to think of it like a puzzle because basically you have this information that needs to be communicated in this exchange. You also have to make a joke. That joke needs to be a pun. How can you make a pun that communicates the information you need to communicate and is still amusing? Sometimes you get right and sometimes you don’t, but I enjoy doing that. It’s rewarding when you do it well.
How would you feel about working on more visual novels, if you had the chance to do so, no titles or announcements implied.
Frank "Bo" deWindt II, Director of Production: If you go to Anime Expo… [laughs]
Aileen Viray, Assistant Marketing Manager: There’s going to be some marvelous otome stuff there.
BB: You can always show up and live blog it so others can experience it vicariously through you.
OK, I’ll be there and see if we can set up some kind of live blog for the readers. So, if you had a choice of visual novel what would you pick? Maybe something from the Infinity series, perhaps?
Well, I mean don’t really get to choose those things. I’m not really familiar with any visual novels, so I couldn’t tell you which one’s I’d like to work on.
Mike Engler, Editor: Not of the record, but this is not as an employee of Aksys games. Just a personal one, one I actually played through and really, really liked, although the word count would probably kill us all – Imabikisou. It’s from Chunsoft on PS3.
How about 428?
BB: That game sounds cool. I’d like to work on that, but it’s like three million characters or something.
ME: More than that.
BB: The scale of that project is mindblowing.
ME: You’re probably familiar with Jess at Xseed and her trials and tribulations of doing Trails in the Sky. Yeah, it’s like…
BB: It’s like that times ten.
ME: I think she still has trauma from that project.
Idea Factory has worked with a number of localization companies including Atlus, NIS America, and now Aksys. How did your relationship start?
FW: I think we started with Agarest War and then we moved on to Blazing Souls Accelate. Now, Agarest War Zero. Who knows what the future holds.
Compared to working with Arc System Works where Aksys usually handles those titles, do you feel like it’s a battle to license an Idea Factory game?
Yuko Abe: A little bit, but we have a very good relationship with Idea Factory… and that’s all I can say!
Your marketing for Record of Agarest War Zero changed quite a bit from the first title. The special edition isn’t so X-rated.
FW: We tried to make it more user friendly, this time around. [Laughs]
Being a niche publisher, do you feel getting retail space is increasingly difficult?
FW: There’s the what we can say factors and what we can’t say factors.
ME: If it’s any consolation, we’d dearly love to talk it about simply because to put the nonsensical speculation to rest. Some of the forums, reading them, it’s like really guys… but that’s about all I can say about it.
AV: There’s a limitation with the developers and there are several different levels that we have to go through. We have to go through the publishers, first-party, which is the major…
FW: Like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. We always have our fans best interest in mind. Whether we can make that happen is up to various elements.
There’s a Vita game Aksys has to show today.
James Xie, Community Manager: It’s BB: CS II Plus [BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II Plus] working title, parentheses. It’s the first port of BB for the Vita. It’s the first one to use a lot of the high definition assets created originally. It looks pretty much as if it was the high definition version of the game running on the Vita. Actually, it looks like one of the best titles out there, if I could say for myself, in my totally unbiased opinion. [Laughs.]
It’s got a lot of new features and it’s still early in development so we’re still thinking about a lot of the things going into it. It’s going to support online play. They [Sony] mentioned 3G compatibility and we’re definitely looking into that as well.
Is it going to be a launch title?
JX: Well, it might become one.
AV: We are localizing it for North America.
What about the 3DS aside from BlazBlue? Are you working on any more titles?
FW: It’s a new platform, so we’re considering other titles, but as of right now we don’t have any plans.
FW: Ah, Pro Jumper!
AV: It’s coming out soon!
BB: The gameplay is actually so deep [laughs] the programmers have been working on it for several months. You saw one of the early prototypes.
FW: Mainly, we’re just waiting for an unknown company to release it.[Spencer’s note: Pro Jumper Chimaki’s Hot Spring Tour Guilty Gear Tangent?! comes out tomorrow.]
Are you going to localize any more of Arc System Works’ DSiWare games?
FW: Umm… yea-maybe?
ME: We totally localized Othello already.
AV: Let’s just say yes.
FW: Yeah, we do have another Arc System Works DSiWare title.
What do you think about Arc System Works reclaiming Guilty Gear?
FW: I think that’s awesome!
JX: I hope it’s not like a 3D game and when Sol does his super it zooms in on his face. [jokingly]
Tomorrow, we’re going to see Nintendo’s next console. How do you feel about that?
FW: I’m pretty excited about it. I’m curious to see what it will do.
So, I take it Aksys isn’t already working on a title?
AV: They just like to keep a lot of things secret.
FW: Yeah, they’re very secretive. They’re like the CIA of the entertainment industry.
ME: They keep their secrets iron clasped. Let’s just say there used to be one more localization editor.. he didn’t run fast enough.
Since Aksys only has one title to show, which games are you looking forward to playing at E3 that aren’t any of your titles?
FW: I’m a huge Atlus fan so let’s just say Catherine and Persona 2.
BB: I’m sexually aroused by the prospect of seeing Mass Effect 3. Also, Skyrim. There’s something else…
FW: Halo 4.
BB: I doubt I’m going to see Halo 4 there.
FW: Gears of War?
BB: Gears is going to be like all the other Gears games. I’m excited to play it, but not see it.
FW: Battlefield 3?
BB: I don’t really play the Battlefield games.
FW: I do want to see the new Zelda too.
AV: Uncharted 3, I’m a really big fan.
FW: She likes Drake.
ME: Ninja Gaiden [III], Bioshock: Infinite, the new My Little Pony game… I mean did I say that out loud?
BB: That might be cool, actually. Liking My Little Pony is cool these days.
AV: I second Ninja Gaiden III.
JV: Dark Souls, just Dark Souls. I have the same taste as almost everyone here since I play almost everything.
ME: He just wants the pain. He doesn’t hurt enough during the course of his job.