In the first part of our fan-powered interview we talked about Atelier series creator Gust, Black Rock Shooter: The Game developer Imageepoch, and PSP to PlayStation 3 ports. We changed topics to NIS America’s anime business, Persona 4: The Animation, Makai Wars, and Mr. Akenaga’s thoughts on the new hardware.
NIS America has a very close relationship with Sony because you have Bleach. Aside from Soul Resurrección will we see more Bleach titles from NIS America?
Haru Akenaga, President of NIS America: Any other Bleach titles out there?
There are the Heat the Soul fighting games.
Yeah, those are on PSP.
I would be surprised if Sony stopped with the latest Bleach game. Perhaps, future titles?
If it’s on PS3 we will consider it.
How did you license Bleach: Soul Resurrección from Sony?
Negotiations. [Laughs] It was pretty hard.
What do you think about bringing more anime games over from Japan?
We started our anime business two years ago and that’s why we acquired Bleach this time. We’re going to continue to get anime licensed titles. Basically, anime licenses are owned by many companies. Sometimes titles have more than ten companies owning a license and IP. It can be difficult to convince all of them. We will try, but I can’t say I can do that every time.
Speaking of anime, are you going to license Persona 4: The Animation?
Do you want to see it?
Yeah, and I think my readers do!
It’s possible. We released the Disgaea anime series and Persona: Trinity Soul. Those two titles have hardcore fans from the video games, they spent hours and hours of their time on these video games. When we released Persona: Trinity Soul and Disgaea anime we heard from fans that the world and the way the characters feel from the anime aren’t really matching up to the video games. If there is any little difference from the anime fans, Persona fans and Disgaea fans, notice it and they get disappointed because what they want is what they played transferred into anime.
We take how they respond and react to the anime seriously. When we release anime we want the fans to be happy. With Persona 4: The Animation and because we’re a video game company too, we would love to do it. But, we want to evaluate the anime first to see if it’s lives up to the video game and follows the storyline from the game perfectly, and for quality, as well. We will consider it after an evaluation.
There are some requests to localize the Disgaea light novels.
Light novels? Really?
Yeah, that’s what I heard from some of my readers.
That’s a difficult point because "some" could mean only ten [people]. Many people asked us to remake Rhapsody, that’s why we released it for the Nintendo DS. But, business-wise it was not great.
We don’t have to make much money, if our fans are satisfied with a title and we can break even, that’s fine. But, if we lose a lot of money, we can’t survive and we won’t be able to release other titles in the future. Bleach is a big title and we need to have money to localize it. In the future if there is a big title, we need to make some profit. That’s the business side.
Light novels? We can consider it. We always want our fans to be satisfied with our products. If we can break even that would be great.
What’s going on with Makai Wars1?
[Laughs.] Makai Wars? It’s still inside an eggshell. [Laughs.]
1Originally announced for PSP, Makai Wars is said to star Asagi, a cameo character in Makai Kingdom, who would be the star of her own game. Asagi then became a perpetual cameo character in other Nippon Ichi titles.
I saw Nippon Ichi filed a trademark for Makai Wars recently so I thought it might be moving forward.
The president at the headquarters, Mr. Niikawa, is always planning Makai Wars in his mind and thinking about it. Every time I talk with him, he’s talking about Makai Wars. It’s not time for it though, there’s nothing concrete.
Nippon Ichi is working on PlayStation Vita titles, but is NIS America developing Vita titles as well, similar to how NISA is creating Cave Story for the Nintendo 3DS?
Right now, we have no plans to develop titles by ourselves. Definitely, once our headquarters develops titles we will release them here.
Can you give us any hints about the titles? Are they something new? Something we’ve seen? Something… in the Netherworld?
I would be scolded if I said anything. [Laughs]
What do you think about the Wii U?
That’s interesting. It’s an interesting system. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any information about Wii U until the morning of the press conference. Maybe, we’re going to think about it, moving forward. At this moment, we have no plans to develop for the platform.
Do you have any more Nintendo 3DS games aside from Cave Story 3D?
Not right now. Do you think we should? The market is not great now.
I think, perhaps, Disgaea 3 could use another version and it would be neat to see the sprites as paper cutouts in 3D. Also there’s the 3 and 3DS, I don’t know…
[Laughs] Good point!
Are you going to develop any more titles internally similar to how NIS America is working with Nicalis?
We have a really good relationship with them. Once we master Cave Story we’re going to talk about what’s next.
Since this interview has reader questions, what would you like to say to all of the NIS America fans?
I feel it’s wonderful that we’ve been able to survive for such a long time among the big companies. Maybe, we are still the smallest publisher in the United States. We owe everything to our fans. We really appreciate your support. Thank you very much and please continue to give us support.
Oh one more thing… there are lots of requests for Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk-2.