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Silicon Era Interviews Xseed Games

by Pedro Hernandez - June 27, 2009, 8:40 pm PDT
Total comments: 20 Source: Silicon Era

Xseed President Jun Iwasaki talks about how game sales affect what they localize, the likelihood of Retro Game Challenge 2, and the company's history.

Xseed Games has gained a loyal following thanks to their efforts in bringing obscure Japanese games to the Americas. Most recently they gained the publishing rights to Namco Bandai's Wii role-playing game Fragile and brought Drill Sergeant Mindstrong for WiiWare. Silicon Era sat down with Xseed President Jun Iwasaki and discussed future projects and how game sales decide what games they localize.

One example of how game sales affect what they localize lies in their North American release of Namco Bandai's Retro Game Challenge for DS, which came out at the start of the year. While a sequel already exists in Japan, Xseed is struggling to justify its localization. The title has to sell around 100,000 copies, according to Iwasaki. Ken Berry, Xseed's director of publishing, explained that Retro Game Challenge 2's chances of being localized "looks very unlikely."

"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," Berry added. "The sales aren’t quite there to justify bringing the sequel."

The interview also discussed Xseed's history and relationship with various game developers. Iwasaki explained that "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."

Little King's Story is a Wii simulation title in which players take control of a young king as he manages his kingdom, enlists people to dig for treasure, build new buildings, and strives to make life better for everyone in the kingdom. It came out in Europe and Australia in April and is due out in North America on July 21.

Arc Rise Fantasia is an RPG for the Wii developed by Image Epoch and published by Marvelous in Japan. It recently came out in Japan and is due out this fall in North America.

Talkback

KDR_11kJune 28, 2009

That's what happens when you listen to hardcore gamers...

StratosJune 28, 2009

100k is really low.
I also wonder how many copies were pirated.
I'm considering getting RGC.

I thought King's Story wasn't coming until the Fall?

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusJune 28, 2009

Nope late July. It's sad that Retro Game Challenge flopped since it's a fantastic game.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJune 28, 2009

Quote from: KDR_11k

That's what happens when you listen to hardcore gamers...

Hardcore gamers? XSEED mainly publishes games that are niche and people want to play but the big companies don't want to see brought over.

I doubt there was a HUGE hardcore following for Retro Game Challenge when it was published. Fans saw the game, it looked cool and XSEED tried to bring it over.

XSEED is just trying to bring more games over. Isn't this a GOOD thing?

StratosJune 28, 2009

Quote from: pap64

XSEED is just trying to bring more games over. Isn't this a GOOD thing?

Not if they lose money doing it. Though I wonder where it's sales are now. 100k is a pretty low number. I also know I plan on getting it before Summer is over.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJune 28, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

Quote from: pap64

XSEED is just trying to bring more games over. Isn't this a GOOD thing?

Not if they lose money doing it. Though I wonder where it's sales are now. 100k is a pretty low number. I also know I plan on getting it before Summer is over.

Once again, the videogame industry's reluctance to tell us what is considered profitable makes it hard to determine whether XSEED is being profitable or not. Obviously purchasing the rights to the license and the translation work take some money. But it seems they are doing well enough  that they are publishing titles on many consoles, mainly the Wii. So it seems they are making profit, but need the sales numbers to convince publishers that the IP is worth bringing over.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusJune 28, 2009

You guys also have to realize that Xseed is a very small company (about 12 people that's run by the former president of Square-Enix USA), and they survive on localizing left over scraps from other publishers that don't want to localize specific games  to America. Xseed also gets some games from their parent company, AQ Interactive. To decide whether they can localize the game, first they see if it's feasible to get the publishing rights then the company playtests the game to determine whether it's fun and worth their time to bring it over. They struck a deal with Marvelous for localization and co-publishing a set of games, part of the deal was to help Marvelous gain a US presence.

Namco Bandai rarely allows another company to get publishing rights to their games so that's why it's a shame that Retro Game Challenge sold poorly. The only reason why they get rights to some Namco games like Fragile and Retro Game Challenge is because the President of Xseed knows people in Namco Bandai, so we should be grateful that we are getting it. Europe/Australia is getting Fragile in 2010 courtesy of Rising Star. The only other company that gets publishing rights of Namco Bandai games is Atlus but they usually only go for Banpresto and Flight Plan games(both are owned by Namco Bandai).

StratosJune 28, 2009

I didn't realize how much of this localization process was a big political game. Crazy. Makes me appreciate even more that games like RGC and Fragile are coming/have come here.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusJune 28, 2009

Yeah it's a crazy process, part of the reason why I appreciate companies like Xseed, Aksys, Atlus and NIS America. It's easier to get rights from smaller companies likes Success or Sting, but it's hard to get it from bigger companies. Part of me wishes that Atlus pursues Disaster Day of Crisis or Fatal Frame 4 since Atlus did publish Cubivore (GameCube) in America, which was a game that Nintendo published in Japan. They also recently got the rights from Sega to publish Shiren the Wanderer 3 Mystery Dungeon for Wii (YES YES YES!!) and rights from Sony of Japan/From Software to publish Demon's Souls (Epic win!) for the PS3 in America.

TJ SpykeJune 28, 2009

Maybe Atlus has tried to get D:DOC or FF4. Nintendo is very tough on this, they refused to let Atlus localize Mother 3.

StratosJune 28, 2009

Quote from: TJ

Maybe Atlus has tried to get D:DOC or FF4. Nintendo is very tough on this, they refused to let Atlus localize Mother 3.

I believe XSeed said once they were interested in publishing Fatal Frame and would do it if they could so maybe something cam be reached there. Though I don't see why they can't just fix the game themselves.

PeachylalaJune 28, 2009

Quote from: TJ

Maybe Atlus has tried to get D:DOC or FF4. Nintendo is very tough on this, they refused to let Atlus localize Mother 3.

Nintendo of America called, they want their "we hate earthbound" pins.

KDR_11kJune 29, 2009

Quote from: Stratos

Quote from: TJ

Maybe Atlus has tried to get D:DOC or FF4. Nintendo is very tough on this, they refused to let Atlus localize Mother 3.

I believe XSeed said once they were interested in publishing Fatal Frame and would do it if they could so maybe something cam be reached there. Though I don't see why they can't just fix the game themselves.

IIRC Tecmo has a deal with Nintendo that only Nintendo is allowed to publish FF4 but they're refusing because Tecmo are being dicks over the flaws in the game. Without the deal Tecmo would publish the game itself.

If we're going to talk about games published by Nintendo that need to come to the west, Chou Soujuu Mecha MG!

StratosJune 29, 2009

Is that that mech assault game they released in Japane a little bit ago?

KDR_11kJune 29, 2009

Yeah though it was quite a while ago.

jakeOSXJune 29, 2009

RGC is a fantastic game, everyone should get it. as for the localization... get rid of the 'plot' if that helps! just give me challenge and then the game. make me figure the rest out (or learn to read japanese) =D

KDR_11kJune 29, 2009

I'd get it if it was released in Europe.

StratosJune 29, 2009

Quote from: jakeOSX

RGC is a fantastic game, everyone should get it. as for the localization... get rid of the 'plot' if that helps! just give me challenge and then the game. make me figure the rest out (or learn to read japanese) =D

They could sell the Japanese version here with a copy of My Japanese Coach. ;)

I wonder if they would consider releasing RGC 2 on the DSiWare service? That would at least save on the distribution and material costs. Translate and put it on the service. Much cheaper. Though the question of how many you could sell on the service is questionable.

KDR_11kJune 29, 2009

DSiWare puts a price cap on it, a retail game costs more. Someone suggested selling the individual games on DSiWare but I'm not sure that'd work if RGC has some sort of metagame going on.

StratosJune 29, 2009

There's always WiiWare. The game doesn't use any of the DS' touch or other exotic features, right?

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