Nippon Ichi Software CEO Sohei Niikawa Reflects Upon Past Mistakes


In an interview with Dengeki Online, Nippon Ichi Software CEO Sohei Niikawa talked about learning from the company’s past mistakes and moving forward to a brighter tomorrow, where he plans to do his best to earnestly develop games for all platforms. Niikawa shares:


“When new hardware and technologies become available, we never want to be in a situation where we are limited to our strengths to the point where we can’t follow. We’ve had some unpleasant memories with the Nintendo DS, but we’d like to ascertain our position in the market and match the right titles accordingly. We’d at least like to be able to say ‘This is how the game will play on this hardware’ for at least one title for each platform out there.”



Back in 2009, Nippon Ichi Software had a problem with most of their titles being in a state of negative profits. Some of these games include A Witch’s Tale for the Nintendo DS and 2010’s Last Rebellion for PlayStation 3, which enraged numerous fans due to its poor system. Both of those titles went through two years of planning and still finished with poor results. Niikawa continues:


“At that point, I thought to myself ‘Not good!’ then revised our system of quality approval standards and kept a close eye on review scores along with the quality of the game. I considered it a challenge for our external developers to come up with the highest quality product with their allocated budget and time, but I believe that having to take such measures for the sake of quality and its content, only meant that we had slipped somewhere in terms of service.


Prior to our release of Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman, it was a period of great struggle for us. I acknowledge that Nippon Ichi Software’s image took a toll from this damage and our achievements were considerably lower.”


Due to the negative income Nippon Ichi Software saw in 2009, they had to resort in halting developments for several titles that didn’t meet quality standards, and several games were never released for that reason.



“The period of restructuring has finally come to an end and we’ve considerably reflected upon ourselves. At our lowest, external development was at about 80% and our internal development at just 20%. Now that we’re concentrating all of our energy in reinforcing our internal development; our internal and external productions have reversed.”


“As a result, we’ve bolstered our production, but at a cost that I never wanted to experience. Furthermore, I’m very grateful for the customers that purchased our games at the time, but I’d also like to deeply apologize, as well. Our current goal is to earnestly make great titles as a way to regain your trust. I consider Nippon Ichi Software’s 20th anniversary an opportunity to redeem ourselves.”


Gamer, avid hockey fan, and firm believer in the heart of the cards.