Siliconera spoke with Marvelous’ Chief Creative Officer and Story of Seasons producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto. We talked about moving the Bokujou Monogatari series over to XSEED and Hashimoto’s ideas for new games.
Why did Story of Seasons change publishers in the West from Natsume who used to handle all of the Bokujou Monogatari games to XSEED?
Yoshifumi Hashimoto, Producer: We’ve been working with Natsume for a very long time. Throughout those years, there were times when we were looking at different directions. It could be the game itself, about game systems or it could be the conversations. We wanted to keep evolving the Bokujou Monogatari series to make it better. Since we had an opportunity with XSEED and we can communicate with them more directly a lot closer than any other publisher and to convey what Bokujou is to the US as smoothly as possible we changed the publisher for the series.
Can you elaborate more on how you plan on evolving Story of Seasons and how you plan for XSEED to communicate with the fans?
Previously, we just concentrated on creating the game for the Japanese market and then we would localize the game for the U.S. audience. Since we can work more closely from the beginning, not to change the gameplay or not to make it more U.S. friendly, but to make it a smooth transition so both audiences can experience the same gameplay. The game is still for the Japanese market, but we are trying to make it easier for the U.S. audience to understand what I’m trying to say within the game.
Is XSEED going to handle most of Marvelous’ games these days?
Well, it’s 100% that all of the Marvelous games are going to XSEED. Muramasa: The Demon Blade went to Aksys and there are other companies. If there are pluses for both titles, we’ll move forward, but it is still case by case for all games.
When we look at publishers we look at translation quality, what their reputation is with the genre, and from there we see what the best match is. Since we are in the same group with XSEED, we usually talk to XSEED first and then decide if we should fish a game out to other publishers. XSEED also has their own types of titles that they specialize in handling.
What is going on with the Rune Factory series since Neverland closed down?
I think you know the Rune Factory team is involved with developing Lord of Magna which was released in Japan in October. After that we’ll have more time and figure out what to do with Rune Factory then.
Marvelous has focused on 3DS and Vita, but we haven’t seen many console games from Marvelous directly. Have you started working on console titles again?
It’s not like we’re not focused on doing it. We are getting ready for those titles whenever we have an opportunity to do so.
Of course, since Marvelous has a development muscle that creates many console games internally, but for other publishers.
It’s the just timing of where we are as a company right now. When we merged with AQ Interactive, they were a strong development company. We are looking into [consoles], but the timing of where our company is right now, we’ve been focused on handhelds.
When we’ve talked in the past, Marvelous always had new IP up their sleeves. As the company’s Chief Creative Officer, can you tell us some of the ideas you’ve been thinking about outside of Story of Seasons and Senran Kagura?
As a creator, I’m trying to make something new and something different. Since I’m part of the same group with XSEED, I can rely on showing them concepts and ask what they think about it. I can show them a demo or prototype and if they think it’s good we can all move forward with a project.
I’m always interested in stage performance, not just because Marvelous does their own musicals and stage performances, but at different country’s stage performances too. When you look at games, there is one side you’re looking at through a screen as a player. When you look at a stage, there is always something going on even when there is seemingly nothing there is someone running around picking up stuff. I want to create a game where there is something always happening that players can view from all angles in a 360 degrees perspective. It’s a concept I have that I’m trying to put together.
Spencer’s Note: Thank you for reading our Story of Seasons interview. XSEED and Siliconera are giving away an autographed copy of Story of Seasons signed by producer Hashimoto himself. You can enter this giveaway by sending an e-mail to siliconera[at]gmail.com with the subject "Story of Seasons secret giveaway." Good luck!
Marvelous has expanding with arcade games like Pokémon Tretta and the Puzzle & Dragons Z arcade game. Can you tell us about developing those?
We don’t have any plans to bring those over. [Laughs] That’s a good point because we do have an internal team making games like Pokémon Tretta and Puzzle & Dragons Z we are gaining more experience and skills there that we could use to create something new.
What do you think of Natsume’s Harvest Moon game, Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley? Have you seen it?
I have seen it. It’s a different way to look at farming. There are a lot of farming games and to have another game in the same market on consoles, it’s good that a lot of users will pay attention to the farming genre.
Have you played the German farming simulators like Farming Simulator 14? What do you think of those?
I have played Farming Simulator too. At one time, I thought of making a more realistic farming simulator like where a wolf would come and you would have to shoot them with a rifle, but that was as far as I got with the concept stage. People said that wasn’t Bokujou and we couldn’t move forward with it.