Anime Expo 2011 NIS America Games Industry Panel
by Gia Manry,
Nippon Ichi Software America's Public Relations and Marketing Manager Nao Zook opened the company's videogame panel just shy of ten minutes late and started by introducing game producer Jack Niida. Niida began talking about some of the company's upcoming projects, starting with Cave Story 3D, an adaptation of the classic 2D platformer game. The game is due out in November.
Niida then introduced Phoenix Spaulding, a script editor, who introduced a trailer for Bleach: Soul Resurrección, a hack'n'slash game that follows the Arrancar arc from Tite Kubo's Bleach franchise. The game will be released on August 2. Spaulding introduced Steve Carlton, another script editor who introduced the upcoming Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten strategy role-playing game. The game will allow fans to make their own pirate ships and maps which they can upload for other users to play with as well. The game will hit stores in September. An over-the-top trailer for the game had the audience very excited.
Continuing the train of introductions, Carlton introduced the president of Nippon Ichi Software (Japan), Sohei Niikawa, who answered questions from Zook. Niikawa joked that NIS was working on something "really stupid" again, but went on to extoll both the art and the new network system for Disgaea 4, which basically allows fans to play the game eternally, in theory.
With only 20 minutes left in the panel, Zook opened up the audience question and answer session. However, the audience— particuarly those who departed the panel when the Q&A began —continued speaking, making it difficult to hear the first questions asked. Highlights include:
- Originally they were thinking about calling Disgaea "dystopia," but decided it didn't "click well." They also wanted to use "Gaean," but decided that the game was more "dis-Gaean," resulting in Disgaea.
- Niikawa stated that he's been working in the gaming industry for 15 years. He was a game player as a child, but he'd never thought of becoming involved in the industry then. When he was in college, he wanted to be a college teacher like Indiana Jones and therefore studied archaeology. Then he played Final Fantasy V and was inspired to make games, so he applied to work at NIS and was hired.
- Asked how he felt about Prinnies when they were first introduced versus now, Niikawa noted that Prinnies have appeared since the first Disgaea game, and they began using it as a mascot character as well. It's such a cute character, so everyone enjoys it, but the impact of the character in the U.S. is greater than that in Japan. Niikawa hoped that someday Prinnies will overtake Mickey Mouse in popularity, and everyone will wear hats like his (pictured above).
- One questioner asked the script writers which Disgaea game was the toughest to translate; the answer was the second, which was slightly more serious than the others.
- For Disgaea 4, due to rights issues NIS America isn't sure if it will bring over all of the game's DLC to the North American version of the game but they are hoping to bring as much as they can.
- Someone asked who narrated the over-the-top Disgaea 4 trailer. However, because they don't use union voice actors the NIS representative declined to name the actor. Spaulding did hint that the actor also plays a character in the game.
- Also for Disgaea 4, the game network will not allow fans from the U.S. and Japan to play each other's maps due to regional and other technical issues.
- Niikawa noted that if they were to get enough fan demand, they would consider putting the first two Disgaea games on the Nintendo DS; the company is not bound to any one console.
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