E3 Natsume Interview: Skytree Village, Lufia, & More

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

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NatsumeOR: Next, Wild Guns Reloaded is a game that [originated] in a 1995 title.

CC: Correct. So Natsume-Atari – we were previously their U.S. branch [but] we’ve been independently owned and operated for over twenty years- one of the games Natsume-Atari developed back in the day was Wild Guns. [Wild Guns] was a sort of side-scrolling shooter that was cyberpunk-wester and there really wasn’t anything like it. There kind of hasn’t been anything since. But the same development team that made Wild Guns back in the day still worked at Natsume-Atari twenty years later. And so they really wanted to remake the game. They had all sorts of cool ideas for the game when it was first developed, but they had an extremely short period of time – like six months – to develop the original title.

So the new game includes two new characters, two full new stages, and lots of new weapons.

Natsume

It’s classic Wild Guns action, only updated for this generation’s home consoles.

OR: With Wild Guns Reloaded, is there any chance of it being compatible with the PlayStation Move?

CC: Well, the game’s still in development. So we’re not closing the door on anything right now.

OR: Looking at [Wild Guns Reloaded], it’s very pattern-like [gameplay].

CC: This is the thing I like about Wild Guns – I don’t play shooter games. I like calm games like Harvest Moon. And so the thing I really appreciate about Wild Guns [Reloaded] is that I can learn something every time I play it and slowly get better. And once I know the patterns of a boss or a level, I can practice it and get better. Because it’s an arcade game, there’s no save points.

Natsume

Annie takes on a boss in Wild Guns Reloaded.

OR: How is it localizing this title versus something like Harvest Moon?

CC: They each have their own challenges. A text-heavy game, localization-wise, is different from a game that has very little text but has a lot of context that you have to give without using words.

For us, it is all about making sure that all of the little details are included. For example, when you’re in the stages [of Wild Guns Reloaded] we wanted to make sure that there was a crisp 16:9 ratio. The Super Nintendo game was 5:3. So we went to Natsume-Atari and said ‘hey, this is going to be really important for our fans. It’s a really small detail, but let’s make sure we include it.’

And the new game also has four player couch co-op. So one of the things we asked [Natsume-Atari] to include was the ability to change the color of your character. So Annie is traditionally seen in a pink dress, but you can actually have multiple Annies on your team and one can be in a pink dress, one can be in a blue dress, one can be in a white dress.

And so for us, because we’re so involved in the development process, even though we aren’t developing [Wild Guns Reloaded] ourselves, localization and what we feel like the players are really going to ask for really melt into one.

OR: When you’re localizing games, how much say does Natsume have in the localization process?

CC: Well, it’s a partnership with the developer that we’re working for. Harvest Moon: Skytree Village is developed by us and localized by us. And so we have complete control in North America and we get to be a little more ‘fun’.

For something River City [: Tokyo Rumble], not only are we working with Arc System Works, who is the developer, but we’re also dealing with a really rich history. And so while we changed the character names back to Japanese where they were, for example, in English in the Nintendo version, we really wanted to stay true to the history the series had built up in North America. So you will see all of the food and all of the names of the moves and all of the things that you can buy in the bookstore. We’ve retained all of those names from the originals because we really like them and we want to respect the history.

So it kind of varies from game to game.

Natsume

Ninja Dash: Dangerous Dash was the last title in the Ninja series released for the Wii U in 2015.

OR: What other franchises is [Natsume] looking at localizing in the near future?

CC: Oh my gosh, hmmm – Well, we have several franchises that we haven’t had a game for in about a year and a half. We released our latest Reel Fishing game on the Vita, our last Gabrielle game on iOS [OR Note: Gabrielle’s Monstrous Duel in 2014], and our last Ninja game [OR Note: Ninja Strike: Dangerous Dash in 2015] on Wii U. And so we’re definitely looking at revisiting our core franchises, including those [ones].

OR: Stepping into more of Natsume’s history – Lufia.

CC: Oh, that’s a loaded question. *laughter*

So, the original developers of Lufia were Taito. And Taito is now owned by Square Enix. And Neverland actually develops some of the Lufia series, but unfortunately they’ve gone out of business. So Lufia 2 just wasn’t in the cards for Virtual Console, as much as we would have loved for it to be.

And so we’re definitely exploring the possibility [to bring Lufia] for the New 3DS, but we don’t have any New 3DS Virtual Console titles to announce yet.


“Ohhh, we would love to [bring Harvest Moon 64 to the Virtual Console].”


OR: Yet.

CC: Yet.

OR: Do any of those [possible] titles rhyme with ‘Retabots’?

CC: *laughter* We’ll see.

OR: Harvest Moon 64 – Any chance of it?

CC: Ohhh, we would love to. We definitely haven’t lost hope on it. But the answer right now is no. It’s just unfortunately [has] too many technical issues.

OR: Now you put some games on the virtual console with Nintendo and other platforms. What is the process like for bringing these titles to the virtual market?

CC: It’s sort of a multistep process. You and Nintendo have to work out which titles are going to be placed on the virtual console and some of that is past experience with your own titles [and] some of that is past experience Nintendo has had with titles. And from there it’s kind of 99% in Nintendo’s hands. They do all the programming and all of the Q&A’ing and making sure that everything runs like it’s supposed to. And we just get excited for the release dates.

It’s a pretty similar process for the PSN. You and Sony pick out the games that make the most sense. They do have to be identical to the original, you can’t change them. They go up as is, whether they have pretty spots or pretty warts.

OR: Thank you.



All images were provided courtesy of Natsume.

Which of Natsume’s upcoming titles are you looking forward to coming out the most?  Would you like to see Lufia or Harvest Moon 64 come to the Virtual Console? Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.


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