The first part of our interview with Souhei Niikawa, President of Nippon Ichi, was all about Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten. This half is about what’s next for Nippon Ichi. We talked about new hardware, Z.H.P., Makai Wars, and a Soul Nomad port.
You gave Prinny his own game. Will you give any of your favorite characters their own spin-off game?
Souhei Niikawa, President: [Laughs.] Most likely it will be Asagi.
When I was speaking to Mr. Akenaga, he said you’re always thinking about Makai Wars.
I am thinking about it…
What’s happening with it? Is it a game a movie? (That was a reference to Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days.)
It will be a video game, but it’s so early on in development I can’t say much about it.
Oh, it is in development?
[Laughs] In my head.
Do you think we’ll ever see another Prinny game with the Disgaea 4 quality graphics?
Not at the moment. It’s not planned yet, but the Disgaea 4 graphic style is popular in Japan too. We’re going to use that look for various games that we’re developing.
While Nippon Ichi is known for strategy RPGs, Prinny is a side-scroller. Are you interested in trying any other genres?
Yes, we’re making something right now that I can’t talk about. [Laughs.]
NIS America is working on Cave Story 3D and you’re developing a Bikkuriman game in Japan. What are your feelings on the 3DS?
The 3DS is a little difficult right now, but because of the system’s unique features you can make games that are designed specifically for it. If there are games that completely utilize the system’s features, then it will be a really interesting platform to make games on. On the tech-side it’s intriguing.
What kind of game do you have in mind?
Nippon Ichi made a couple of games for the Nintendo DS in the past, but we weren’t able to fully utilize the hardware and make a unique game for the DS. Because the specs are higher on the 3DS, there is a 3D effect, plus there is a touchpad like the DS we have a lot more creative freedom.
I’d like to make a game that’s completely different, a completely new I.P. Fully utilizing the 3D effect is difficult, that’s something we need to figure out and what makes that special. What would make the 3D feature along with the touch pad unique for a game? That’s the hard part to figure out, but I would like to take on the challenge. At the current moment, I don’t have an idea though.
What do you think of the Wii U?
[Laughs.] We’re not sure what we can do with the Wii U yet.
Since you’re developing PlayStation Vita games, what do you think of the Vita?
Feature-wise, we are looking for it to because the Vita has a very nice feel. Business-wise, the Vita has so much potential and promise, at least in the Japanese market. We’re hoping the system will be successful in the US and Japan. We are working on a title right now, but I can’t say much about it.
[This interview was conducted before Nippon Ichi announced Disgaea 3 Return, an expanded port of Disgaea 3 for PlayStation Vita.]
Sony announced they have an engine to port PSP games to PlayStation 3. Do you think it would be possible to bring over some of Nippon Ichi’s Japan-only PSP games as PS3 titles for NIS America to localize in North America?
We’re looking into it right now. We’re investigating how the feature works and learning about the system. We’re happy about it too because we have a strong lineup on the PSP and we would like to change that to PS3, so we can have a wider audience.
You’re bringing Makai Kingdom to PSP, but what about Soul Nomad? Do you think we will see it appear on PSP or maybe with enhanced Disgaea 4 style graphics?
Do you think it will sell?
On PSP in North America? With the current retail state, it would be very difficult. On PlayStation 3? Maybe and enhanced graphics would help.
We’re wondering about that right now because changing Soul Nomad to PSP format takes time to do and the PSP market is waning in North America, so it’s a challenge. In Japan, Disgaea 3 has the most requests for a portable version. Number two is Makai Kingdom, which is coming to PSP. And number three is Soul Nomad. In the line, it’s third place, so there is a chance, but we need to figure out how to do it.
Recently, Nippon Ichi Japan opened a few new studios. I’m guessing these studios are working on new series that aren’t tied to Disgaea what can you say about those?
[Laughs.] Yes, they are working on different things, but it’s top secret. They’re making the next big title aside from Disgaea. So, it’s a new I.P.
I thought Z.H.P. [Unlosing Ranger vs Darkdeath Evilman] was supposed to be the next big title aside from Disgaea?
We’re actually thinking about that! Did you like Z.H.P.?
The characters, especially the hero who was thrown into the story, were neat and there were many good parodies. It was nice to see Nippon Ichi try another genre too.
Thank you so much!
So, you’re thinking about making another dungeon RPG style game?
We want to keep the dungeon RPG style system we created for Z.H.P. and expand it for other titles too. We’re definitely going to work on that some more.
Have you ever thought about making a traditional RPG?
I want to make a classic style RPG.