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AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series where Operation Rainfall will be briefly covering publishers that specialise in localising niche-market titles into the West. Fans of niche gaming should pay close attention to each of these publishers, and the best way to support them is by purchasing the titles they localise. As the saying goes, “put your money where your mouth is”… Without further ado, we present this month’s publisher:

Nippon Ichi Software

Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) formed in the September of 1991 in Gifu Prefecture in Japan. While originally they focused on all kinds of entertainment software, they soon settled on developing and publishing video games. “Ichi” means “one” in Japanese, while “Nippon” is what the Japanese call their homeland; so, the name “Nippon Ichi” translates roughly to “Number one in Japan”.

In the dying days of 2003 NIS opened up a North American branch in Santa Ana, California with the purpose of localising their own and other developers’ games in the USA. They won the Stateside Publisher of the Year Award at RPGLand in 2009 and have become quite well-known amongst the niche gaming community for their high-quality localisations. NISA have also released a number of games for the European market.

Of the games developed and published by Nippon Ichi Software, their most well known is probably the Disgaea series. Disgaea games are TRPGs found, for the most part, on Sony consoles. There are four games in the main series for the PS2 and then the PS3. These then received a rerelease and can now be played on the PSP, PSV and DS with bonus content. The series has also generated six spin-off games, a series of light novels, a manga and an anime series. That’s a pretty fair effort, especially considering the first Disgaea game was only released in 2003.

Nippon Ichi Software

The games published by NISA differ between each region. It’s thanks to NISA that PAL regioners such as myself can enjoy the excellent Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love for the PS2 and Wii. They also brought us Way of the Samurai 4 where XSEED could not. To both regions they have brought Vanillaware’s GrimGrimoire as well as Phantom Brave, which they developed themselves. Legasista is another game published by NISA for the PSN that we at Oprainfall can highly recommend.

NISA were responsible for bring the 3DS version of Cave Story to the American eShop. Other games they brought only to America (which were handled by other publishers in Europe) include Hyperdimension Neptunia and its sequel Mk2 and the wonderful Mugen Souls. They’ve released quite a few games from Gust, including the Ar Tonelico series and their Atelier games.

Nippon Ichi Software Nippon Ichi Software Nippon Ichi Software Nippon Ichi Software
Nippon Ichi Software Nippon Ichi Software Nippon Ichi Software Nippon Ichi Software

These are certainly not all of the games that have come through Nippon Ichi Software’s capable hands; I have merely listed some of the more notable. They sure have done a lot of work in the West in the short nine years they have been operating. Keep a close eye on them for future releases like Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and The Witch and the Final Knights.

Got a favourite NIS America game? Let us know and tell us why below!

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