The first part of our NIS America interview covered Disgaea 4, Black Rock Shooter, and talk about Sony’s Pub Fund. Our interview continues with Haru Akenaga, President of NIS America, discussing Hyperdimension Neptunia, his thoughts on the PlayStation Vita launch, and Cave Story 3D.
NIS America was an early supporter of the 3DS with Cave Story 3D. I think as a launch window title it would have stood out and filled a void for new hardware owners looking for an action game, but now it’s coming out during the holidays. It’s going to have to compete with Nintendo’s biggest icon – Mario.
Haru Akenaga, President of NIS America: I’m really worried about sales for Cave Story. It’s not the quality of the game, it’s the market. Actually, we could have released the title in the summer of this year, but the market was not great then. Almost all of the retailers did not want to carry 3DS titles that were not AAA titles. That’s why we postponed the release of Cave Story until the market conditions improved. Now there are many big titles coming and that should be better for 3DS. I hope Cave Story will have reorders and always have a spot on store shelves.
Looking at the way the 3DS sold, how do you feel the Vita will launch in the US?
I think PS Vita will be a strong launch. The president of SCE announced they are going to ship 500,000 units for the Japanese launch. 500,000 units at launch is a pretty big number. In that case, I hope the US launch will have a large launch shipment too. At the time the PSP launched, they didn’t have as many units, just 100,000 units. This time Sony has a lot of units prepared for launch and many titles.
Will you be able to release Disgaea: Absence of Detention as a launch title for PlayStation Vita?
We’re not sure what the exact launch date of PlayStation Vita is for the US. So, we cannot say for sure, but near launch.
We discussed this many times before and I’m glad to see NIS America is finally using their Xbox 360 developer license with Clan of Champions.
Yes, this will be our first Xbox 360 game. Right now, it’s our only title for Xbox 360.
We had some plans to release titles for the Xbox 360, but considering the Japanese market some developers gave up on releasing Xbox 360 versions. With this title [Clan of Champions] we analyzed the U.S. market and the best market for this kind of title. Because of that we decided we should release it for Xbox 360.
But, with Microsoft I believe you have to sign a three game deal, so that would mean Clan of Champions won’t be your last Xbox 360 game either.
You know a lot about these things. [Laughs.] We are planning to do so, but cannot release any details at this moment.
I think PC is an interesting shift for NIS America too, it could be a good place for some of your core titles too like Disgaea, perhaps.
For PC, we are going to release several titles for Steam. I can’t say for sure, but in the future there may be a chance [to see other] Nippon Ichi titles on Steam. We are planning to do something seriously with Steam. At this moment, we cannot announce anything about our Steam projects other than Clan of Champions.
Have you seen the price of Hyperdimension Neptunia on eBay? It’s roughly double the price! The game must have been a hit for NIS America since all of the units sold through.
Yes, I saw that and that is because didn’t ship many units of Neptunia. That title is for really hardcore users. The sell through was really great, but there weren’t many copies printed. The install number is really small. That’s the reason many people cannot find Neptunia. Right now, we are talking with Sony to see if we can re-release Neptunia at a cheaper price.
Especially, because downloadable content for Neptunia are doing really well. We want a lot of people to play Neptunia and we announced we will release Neptunia Mk2. That’s another reason why we want to re-release Neptunia at a cheaper price.
Do you have high expectations for Neptunia Mk2 then?
I think Neptunia Mk2 will be just as successful.
You mentioned downloadable content for Neptunia is selling well. Percentage wise since there are fewer copies of Neptunia out there is it outperforming Disgaea?
Percentage wise, yes. The attach rate for Neptunia is 40-50%. Usually the average is 15-20% for our titles. 15-20% is a pretty good attach rate, but Neptunia is doing much better than that.