At a panel at Anime Expo last night, visual novel publisher JAST USA announced that they will be releasing Nitroplus and 5pb’s Steins;Gate in the West, as well as a number of other titles that they announced alongside the game.
Steins;Gate happens to be just one of several games by Nitroplus that JAST USA are in the process of translating. Siliconera caught up with the company’s founder, Peter Payne, to ask a few quick questions about the upcoming slate of Nitroplus games.
What have negotiations between JAST USA and 5pb been like? What were their concerns and what were yours?
We’ve worked exclusively through Nitroplus with regards to Steins;Gate. They’ve handled the talks with 5pb. From our experience, 5pb is a great company.
You’ve been working on bringing Steins;Gate over for a while. What changed that makes it possible to bring over now?
I think they were just taking their time making sure they made the right decision about what to do with Steins;Gate for the English market. There’s a lot involved since it’s part of an extended media mini-empire that was created by two different, extremely talented companies (5pb and Nitroplus).
Who’s translating the game?
Steins;Gate is being translated by the same team that released a partial fan translation in 2011. The translation will have been polished and edited for the official release, with complete translation of tips, e-mails, song lyrics, and other items. There will also be numerous system improvements, such as full compatibility with English Windows.
Do you think picking up a big name title like Steins;Gate will give you more room to negotiate with other visual novel developers in Japan?
Our goal has always been to increase the quality of the titles we offer each year, bringing in more of the games our customers want us to bring out. Our relationship with Nitroplus has been a big breakthrough for us, one that has led other game companies to be more likely to want to work with us when we contact them.
You’ve developed quite the relationship with Nitroplus. Are they different to work with from other visual novel companies?
They’re definitely very focused on quality, which is good because it lets us bring customers the best possible product. They also have a strong interest in overseas expansion, driven by changes in the Japanese market. And they have a very nice office in the SkyTree building.
Outlaw Django is another Nitroplus game. Is that being worked on yet or are you waiting to clear other projects off the slate first?
The other Nitroplus games currently in our catalog are Hanachirasu, Django, and Sumaga. We’ve been taking pre-orders for Hanachirasu since 2011, so we intend to do Hanachirasu next. After that, we will assess the situation and decide how to proceed with Django and Sumaga. We definitely want to get these out to fans ASAP.
Have you discussed Guilty Crown: Lost Christmas with Nitroplus at all?
Not at present. If they ask us to consider it, we will.
It’s neat that you’re making an effort to bring over games with a more "grown up" art style. How’s the scene for those in Japan nowadays? Are they harder to find?
We consider ourselves a "mirror" that reflects the overall Japanese visual novel market, and if we can reflect what’s being done in the industry, we’re okay with that. We know that there are lots of fans and we try to include as many genres as we can, e.g. stuff for casual gamers, games for more serious VN fans etc.
You’ve been doing this a long time. What’s changed in the last five years? Has anything changed?
I think the interest by Japanese VN companies in working with us to publish their games has increased in the last five years, which is something that we’re very excited about. As the market is changing, we’re doing our best to help Japanese companies see the benefits of releasing to a wider global audience.