The partnership between Marvelous USA and XSEED was an unprecedented announcement that opened doors for domestic releases of RPGs like Avalon Code and creative games such as Little King's Story. However, Atlus is localizing Luminous Arc 2 and Natsume still has Harvest Moon. What’s going on here? I spoke with Yasuhiro Wada, President of Marvelous Interactive in Japan, to find out. We begun the interview discussing how the relationship between the two companies started and closed with a glimpse of the future.
When did you decide to make an agreement with XSEED?
We started talking with XSEED since around last summer. We were having some discussions with them to see if we would be able to work together or not in the US.
What made you pick XSEED out of all the companies you worked with?
They have knowledge of the Japanese and US market. They import a lot of Japanese titles, RPGs, to the market and have a really good know how about what kind of titles can be sold in the US. Since we didn’t have any experience publishing by ourselves in the US we decided to work with them.
We really like the President of XSEED and thought he would be a great guy to work with. XSEED is handling the localization of Marvelous titles in the USA, but since we can’t release all of our titles on our own we are still licensing titles to several partners like Natsume and Atlus
Will we get games like Lux Pain or Flower, Sun and Rain, which are being published by Rising Star Europe, in the USA?
We don’t know who is going to publish them yet. They might be published by Marvelous USA or licensed out to another publisher so we can’t talk about those two titles yet.
What about Arc Rise Fantasia? Have you thought about bringing that to North America?
We are considering to release Arc Rise Fantasia in the US too. Since XSEED has experience releasing RPGs in the US we will consider them as the publisher for Arc Rise Fantasia.
How did you meet up with Valcon Games to bring Ikki Tousen: Shining Dragon out in North America?
We were in touch with Valcon for more than two years. We usually try to meet during gaming events like Tokyo Game Show, GDC or E3. We showed them Ikki Tousen and they were interested in releasing the title in the US.
Are there any plans to bring any other anime or manga games to North America?
Before we can release the games in the Western countries, the US and Europe, we have to first work with the licensor. If the anime is not released in the US we cannot release the game. Depending on this we have to find a publisher interested in releasing the anime titles.
Will XSEED handle those too?
Marvelous USA and XSEED will be focusing on original IPs only.
So for Rainy Woods, is this going to be something XSEED is going to be working on?
We would like to release Rainy Woods with XSEED too, but this title is still pending due to a development issue. After the development issue has been fixed we would be glad to release it in the US as a Marvelous USA and XSEED title.
In the future, do you plan to have Marvelous USA publish titles independently?
We want to work with XSEED for the next three to five years. If things continue to go well we may continue to associate our corporation with them.
Three to five years is a long time and that has to be good for XSEED. For Marvelous USA or Marvelous in general have you thought about doing digital download games like Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, or WiiWare?
Actually we’re working on a downloadable title.
For which platform?
Is it a Harvest Moon game?
No, a brand new title.
Speaking of Harvest Moon, will you give XSEED Harvest Moon too or will that franchise say with Natsume?
The Harvest Moon series will still be published by Natsume in the US. Natsume has the copyright to Harvest Moon. If we release Harvest Moon ourselves we will have to change the title. We have a really good relationship with Natsume and are glad to work with them.
All of the Harvest Moon titles will be released by Natsume. The rest of the titles will be released by XSEED and Marvelous USA.
Whatever happened to that Vanillaware game Oboro Muramasa Youtoden that we saw at Tokyo Game Show?
Come to Tokyo Game Show and you can see it. We don’t know if it will be playable, but we are talking about it. You should be able to see new videos at the event.
Do you plan for XSEED to work with the games from Grasshopper Manufacture too or will that still be carried out with Ubisoft?
With No More Heroes we had a relationship with them before, but if they decide not to release it we would be glad to have it released by XSEED and Marvelous USA. If Grasshopper submits a new IP we will hand it to XSEED and Marvelous USA.
Special thanks to Jimmy Soga from XSEED and Louis Lamarre from Marvelous Entertainment with all of the support during the interview.
Images courtesy of Marvelous.