Speaking of DDS, Nocturne and its release are only two months apart. SMT is a dense game, not just in length but also in subject matter. At the very least, do you believe players will need some time to fully digest the SMT experience? Are you worried that DDS might be overlooked with the glut of
games being released around that time to prepare for the holiday shopping
Actually, we think it will be quite the contrary. After playing
Nocturne, fans will be dying for the next installment of Shin Megami
Tensei. Furthermore, Digital Devil Saga is voiced and takes place in a much
different setting than Nocturne, so there are plenty of changes to keep the
Galleon was a surprise choice, especially considering its style runs contrary to the SMT series and many of the other games you have localized or
published. Was there a specific reason for this choice, or is this just a
sign of Altus USA branching out further?
Actually, it is somewhat of a misconception that Atlus only does RPGs.
While we are best known for our hardcore RPGs and strategy games, we have
also done a lot of other successful titles such as Snowboard Kids, Super
Dodgeball Advance, and SkyGunner, all of which were from different genres.
When we see a really good game that we feel gamers will enjoy, we will
branch out to take advantage of the opportunity. In the case of Galleon,
after trying the game out, it was obvious that it was challenging and fun,
so we decided we were interested in publishing it.
How does Atlus USA decide which games to localize in general? Are there any
current or future releases from other territories that you are considering
for the U.S. market? Are there any games you'd like to do even if they ended up not being feasible? Can you tell us anything about Stella Deus, the newest project recently announced by Atlus Japan?
Our process for choosing titles involves several steps. When we learn
that a game is available for licensing, if we are interested in checking it
out, we'll purchase an import copy of the game assuming it's been released
or we'll request a playable version from the developer for evaluation.
Sometimes we'll work through an agent. After the staff here has evaluated
the title, we compile our comments and make a group decision. Then, we make
an offer to the developer. Typically, we look for games that are unique and
fun to play, but which may have been overlooked by larger publishers. Some
of our titles come from our parent company, as in the case of Nocturne and
Digitial Devil Saga. Currently, we are looking at several titles, but a
decision has not yet been reached on any of them. Once a project becomes
official, we announce it through a public press release.
You're distributing Phantom Brave for the new company NIS America. What
exactly does that entail?
Actually, we're doing both the localization and the distributing. The
process is similar to that for Disgaea, only this time NIS is handling the
pr/marketing and the other responsibilities of a publisher such as
submitting the game to SCEA for approval. As a distributor, Atlus will
utilize our sales channels to get Phantom Brave onto store shelves.
Doublejump Publishing will be writing the guide for SMT: Nocturne as they
did for Disgaea. How do you come to an agreement with the company that will
be making the guide for the games you publish? Since Disgaea was their
first guide, what was it about Doublejump that gave you the confidence they
would do a good job with it?
There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right people to
do the strategy guide for our games. Obviously, there's the financial
aspect of the deal, although we like to do strategy guides for the exposure
it gives on store shelves rather than straight profit, although that's nice
too. In the case of DoubleJump, we've worked with many of the people there
in the past and they have always come through for us in terms of quality, so
we knew that they'd do a great job with the guide. The high attach rate we
achieved with Disgaea is testament to the quality of the guide. When it
came time to choose the publisher for SMT: Nocturne's strat guide going with
DoubleJump was a no-brainer.