I attempted to prepare a good batch of questions to ask Idea Factory International President Haru Akenaga and Trillion director Masahiro Yamamoto, but time was not on my side. The 20 minute timed interview was not nearly enough for me to interview two huge parts of the niche video community, but I made the best of it. This interview was set in a private room of a noisy bar and was conducted while using a translator. Please enjoy.
Did you plan to make 2015 “The Year of Neptunia”? With a new title released what seemed like every month, did you notice a growth in the fanbase?
Haru – Idea Factory creates a lot of games all year, but instead of getting those titles [the spin-off Neptunia entries] and putting them out on their own. We wanted to start from the beginning and introduce the re;birth games. So because of this it may look like a Neptunia game was released every month, but that business decision was made that we should back track and re-introduce the story. I can say that, yes, because of this decision our fanbase has grown over the past year here in the West.
Neptunia and other Idea Factory games have found their way on to Steam recently. There are some PC players who are wondering if the release window between the console and PC version will be shortened in the future.
Haru – We try, but we have to code from the console version to the PC version. It takes the company a little longer to analyze and then port to PC, but all I can say is we try to shorten the gap. The response from the PC community has been very well received, so that is why we have announced three more titles (Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Hyperdevotion Noire, Monster Monpiece) to come to PC.
Do you have a favorite character from Neptunia?
Haru – I like Noire.
I asked Yamamoto-San the same question, but we got sidetrack and began talking about how great Etna from Disgaea is.
In recent video game news Team Ninja PR has announced that they are not planning on releasing Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 here due to how the sexualization of women in video games is viewed in the West. Does this issue ever affect your process of choosing which games will be released in the West?
Haru – That’s honestly their decision, but yes, sadly, it has stopped us from localizing certain Compile Heart games. We don’t want to censor anymore because we know that’s not true to the original developed art.
Moe Chronicles was released with English subs in Asia. Will we start seeing English releases in Asia more often?
Haru –That’s actually Compile Heart Asia’s decision, not really ours. We could start seeing that more in Asia, but maybe we should do something to change in the West in the future. Anyway, we just don’t want to censor anymore.
What are your thoughts on the PlayStation Vita?
Yamamoto – In Japan, from a developers point of view it’s really easy to gauge and tell that having a console that’s a handheld is really important. So as a developer it’s easy to gauge what people want and that makes it easy to develop on the Vita.
What’s it like going from developer to director?
Yamamoto – As a developer I have that passion that I want to be on the floor with my fellow developers. I don’t want to be that director that says here’s an idea go do it. I want to be working and developing with my team.
There were no visual novels announced at the press event. So again, we got sidetracked talking about Amnesia: Memories and the many ways to get the bad endings.
One last question (since time was up), is there any chance Date-a-Live will get localized?
Haru – Right now, we don’t have any plans, but maybe in the future.
Sadly, I didn’t have more time to talk Disgaea and Trillion with Yamamoto-San, but we agreed to speak again soon for a proper interview.