Xseed may not have core franchises like Atlus and NIS America to publish every year, but Xseed is busy with a ton of titles. This year they added games from GungHo and Namco Bandai to their portfolio. How did they get they get the rights to publish these games? I asked Jun Iwasaki, President of Xseed, how those relationships began and if Xseed plans to develop their own games.
Jun Iwasaki, President: Mr. Futatda, from Game Arts, he worked at Tecmo before. I have a relationship with him. We had a chance to make a proposal for GungHo titles like Ragnarok DS. He also asked me if I was interested in Lunar and of course I said yes. We proposed to do both titles and they decided to give us the rights to publish [them].
Gungho has a lot of other games like a PSP RPG. Is Xseed thinking about Mimana?
We have evaluated those titles already. This year, as you know, we have a lot of titles and we have to select titles. Unfortunately, we’re just doing those two titles.
Is Xseed doing anything with Grandia Online?
No. I haven’t received any offer from them. If they offer something we’ll consider it.
The main reason is Ken [Berry]. Ken checked magazines and he informed me that Game Center CX* was not announced for North America. So, there was a chance to get it, somehow. I have a good relationship with some people at Bandai Namco and I asked each person ‘is this available?’ Then we proposed a deal and we got the rights to publish it.
Fragile happened the same way. We were very interested in that title because of its graphics and it’s a unique RPG. Then I tried to contact my friends at Bandai Namco and they said there was a possibility. Then we discussed a lot and Bandai Namco said OK.
* [Note: Game Center CX is the name for Retro Game Challenge in Japan.]
So about Retro Game Challenge 2…
Ken Berry, Director of Publishing: It looks very unlikely that we will localize and bring it.
We’ve gotten tons of e-mails from fans that say ‘thank you so much!’, ‘we love Retro Game Challenge’, ‘it’s my favorite DS game of all time’, but when you look at the sales numbers that actually picked it up and really being vocal about it, it’s pretty small compared to the other DS owners out there. The sales aren’t quite there to justify bringing the sequel.
JI: Fortunately, we got that title, but honestly it has not reached our expectations sales wise. It’s tough to bring the game over. If the sales of Game Center CX 1 dramatically increase we will of course consider it. It’s up to you guys.
OK! Tell my readers how many more copies need to be sold.
JI: 20,000 more? That’s too small. We need more than that.
KB: At least 20,000.
JI: We have to reach 100,000.
KB: OK, that’s a lot more.
Can you tell us about your relationship with Marvelous?
JI: At the beginning we started the relationship with Valhalla Knights on the PSP. At the time we had a licensing deal. After we finished that deal I discussed a co publishing agreement with Marvelous. They agreed our offer to be a publisher and we would help with sales support and marketing. That [was the] kind of co-publishing deal we made. Then we got the rights to publish Little King’s Story, Arc Rise Fantasia, and Half Minute Hero.
For Lunar and Half Minute Hero are these going to be downloadable games or retail?
Both. Sony recommended to publishers to prepare downloadable [versions] and UMD. Maybe we will launch downloads and UMD as well, but it is not confirmed yet.
Are you doing anything else with Game Arts?
Xseed has a past relationship with Square Enix. You in particular… [Note: Mr.Iwasaki was previously the CEO and President of Squaresoft.]
When I established this company I had a good relationship with Mr. Nomura. We did some marketing support for Kingdom Hearts, Dirge of Cerberus, and Advent Children. Recently, there is no relationship.
Really? I was thinking you could pick up games like Nanashi no Game?
No, I don’t think so.
AQ Interactive has a huge stake in Xseed. Are you going to localize more AQ Interactive titles?
Sure. Profit wise, AQ Interactive is always comparing selling through Xseed or licensing a title out. The final decision for licensing out Blue Dragon was more profitable so they decided to license it out. [With] Each title they always decide if it’s better to license it out or have us publish it.
Are you publishing Arcana Heart 2?
We have no plans to publish it in the US so far.
AQ Interactive has a stake in many developers like Feelplus and Cavia. Is Xseed thinking about developing or planning original games with help from partner studios?
At the beginning we have to publish. If we have some money we will consider to make titles using Cavia or other outside companies. But, it’s too early for us.
If possible, I would like to consider making downloadable titles like PSN, WiiWare. In fact for WiiWare we have a licensing deal to publish a title this year.
Yeah, that’s Drill Sergeant Mindstrong right?
Yeah, that deal is a licensing deal. If possible in the future, if there is good IP there I will invest. Because, profit wise, it’s not huge. Personally, I’m interested in some kind of title for PSN. With the launch of the new PSP I expect the PSP market to do well and a downloadable PSP title would be a success. If we have a chance to get good IP for PSP I would like to get the rights to invest.