In case you missed Part 1 of our fan-powered Hyperdimension Neptunia Q&A, you can catch up with it here. In Part 2, we cover the localization process, pre-order bonuses, and cultural differences between games like Neptunia and more mainstream titles. A big thanks to NIS America script editor, Nick Doerr, for taking the time to answer!
Neptunia is being published relatively quickly, compared to Atelier Rorona, which took much longer. Could you give us some insight as to why there was such a large difference between the time it took to localize both games? How many working hours does it take to localize a game like Neptunia?
There are good reasons for this discrepancy. When we work together with any developer, their schedule for programming availability needs to be taken into account as well. With Rorona, Gust was really busy overhauling their engine for Atelier Totori in Japan. With Hyperdimension Neptunia, Idea Factory happened to have an opening as soon as we were done with the edit on our end. That’s the gist of it.
Working hours to localize…? Good question, since there’s a lot of waiting between steps. I think 6 months is a decent estimate for most titles, from start to finish.
Do the original publishers ever go back and forth with you while you’re trying to settle on character personalities and wording during localization?
Yes, we have almost daily communication with the Japanese developers to go over anything and everything we can think of. For Neptunia, we had to ask for a list of references they used which we couldn’t quite pick up on because of the unique twisting of kanji. So no worries; they are all intact and I challenge everyone to find them all!
Could you tell us about the different versions available at different stores? Will the pre-order bonus be a NIS Shop exclusive or will it be available at Gamestop like Atelier Rorona, where Gamestop had the box with the art book and game, and the NIS Shop had the same but with an added soundtrack? There are also a lot of people that do their video game shopping on Amazon…
Oh-ho, ho, ho, ho! No matter where you get it, the initial shipment of Hyperdimension Neptunia will be the premium edition with the art book for the US. Therefore, it’s very limited, so if you want it, you better pre-order it from wherever you prefer shopping! BUT! Keep in mind we have a special bonus only available to those who order from the NISA Online Store.
That bonus is… a Hyperdimension Neptunia set of playing cards! Imagine whipping out this deck at your next Texas Hold ‘Em. Each suit of card has been customized to match each of the four CPUs! The face cards are replaced with the beautiful goddesses themselves. I say this not as an employee but as a NISA fan, they are really cool and an amazing bonus.
[Editor’s note: Neptunia pre-orders are now up at the NIS Shop. The store now offers free shipping within the U.S.]
Will the pre-order bonuses be exclusive to the U.S.? What about territories like Europe or Singapore?
They will be exclusive to the US, much to our chagrin.
Is the European version of the game going to be a joint NIS Europe and Koei release, or did NISE simply give Koei the full rights to publish the game by themselves?
Koei is one of our distributors in PAL territories, but the game itself was handled by us. I’m not quite sure I get the question, but they’re distributing our game in the UK. They didn’t do anything to the game itself.
Are there any plans to bring over all the DLC that has been and is still being released for this Neptunia? (Characters, items, costumes, etc.)
You bet. Stay tuned as I’m sure that’ll be revealed in due time.
Is it possible to have 3-player co-op battles instead of having to pass the controller around? If not, do you think it could be patched in via a downloadable update?
I can understand the appeal for this, but I don’t think that’s a feasible idea at this time. If something like that were implemented, it’d probably be an update, yeah.
Will Neptunia include a mandatory or optional HDD install to help with loading times?
Nah, no install necessary. The game comes pre-patched with the last few Japanese updates which allow for animations to be skipped, reduce loading times, and 5pb’s Hi-Five Radio, mentioned previously.
I enjoy Idea Factory/Compile Heart games, and I’ve been looking forward to Neptunia, but I’m curious as to the level of male fanservice. I mean, you’re basically playing as magical girls wearing no clothes and it seems like much of the point is to sexualize consoles. I suppose my real question here is: Do they actually have any personality? What are their conflicts? I know they’re trying to save their world from R4/piracy, but I want to know more about the characters themselves and their motivations. Is it like Agarest where the actual amount of fanservice is much smaller in the final game?
They’re all wearing clothes! But I know what you mean; skintight suits leave little to the imagination and I never understood why Neptune didn’t agree with the idea of pants. That said, they do have personality! Lots of it! See the answer to the first question. Their main conflict has to do with their ongoing war with one another. There is intense hatred between some of the goddesses and throughout the game this hatred needs to be assuaged.
They also have a grudge against Neptune, because they all believe she was the strongest goddess of all before they teamed up and took her down. They mainly just want to be left alone to govern their landmasses in peace, but they believe one another are plotting to take over all of Gamindustri. It’s all very political, if you think about it! I hope that answers your question… they have personality and there is a central conflict driving their actions. The fanservice is primarily through industry jokes and game references.
I think back to the recent review of Atelier Rorona on IGN that ripped it for having JRPG tropes that fans either don’t mind or even see as plusses. When the title of a review accuses the game of having child molestation jokes, you know you’re not getting a fair shake. Now, we all know that Neptunia has off-color humor, anime girls, etc. I guess that nobody can really control who their game gets given to for review, so how do you react when major review sites give your games to reviewers who don’t "get" your games?
Everyone has and is entitled to their opinion. Reviews are opinions meant to explain to the masses what the game is like and how they felt about it. Therapeutic, really. It doesn’t mean the review will properly cover every aspect of the game, and of course personal emotions or prejudices may weigh into how a game is perceived. I would advise everyone to always leave the final judgment for themselves. You are the only one who knows what you like the best, after all!
Do you feel like you heavily rely on good scores from these big sites like IGN and Gamespot to drive sales of your games or do you feel you can rely to some extent on existing NISA fans, grass-roots coverage on sites like Siliconera, word of mouth, etc.? I’m not baiting for criticisms of any particular bad reviews/reviewers/sites or anything, but if NISA has a take on any of this that won’t get them in hot water with anyone I’d be interested to hear.
I think the games speak for themselves and reviews are a medium to make a game’s voice heard. But just like the Telephone game, sometimes the words can get jumbled or change context entirely. Coverage of our titles is always flattering and word-of-mouth is very powerful — just look at what happened with Carpe Fulgur and Recettear based primarily on word-of-mouth and some grassroot coverage. All companies live and die by their fans, and we appreciate every one of them, be they customer or website.
Happy New Year from the Siliconera community!
Happy New Year from the NISA family!