Anime Expo 2012
by Carlo Santos,
NIS America's games panel began with the introduction of Legasista for Playstation Network, a top-down action RPG due out in August. As seen in the game's trailer, there are numerous customization options for leveling up and allotting various skills to each character. Players can even customize the character sprites and draw their own art for the game (as one example, characters from Disgaea made a brief cameo in the trailer).
Next up was Mugen Souls, a space-themed RPG due in Fall 2012. The game's storyline involves a young girl who embarks on a mission to conquer the universe, traveling through various worlds and fighting to make each planet's Demon Lord her minion. The game trailer showed plenty of over-the-top comedy action that the audience clearly enjoyed.
NISA will also be releasing Clan of Champions, an online fantasy-action game featuring combat between warring factions. It will come out on PSN in August 2012 and will also be available on the PC gaming service Steam later in the year.
The company also anounced a new original title, Character Chowdown, a free iOS game designed by Siliconera's Spencer Yip. In this educational game, the player can learn Japanese writing system with a mascot character by that "eats" Japanese katakana, hiragana or kanji. The game has a "progressive learning" feature where characters that the player has difficulty with will be tested more often. In addition, fans can customize the game's soundtrack with their own MP3 collection. But the chief reason for releasing the game through NIS is that the game will feature various Disgaea characters—an idea that the audience was very enthusiastic about, as they shouted out plenty of suggestions for which characters should be included.
The next game on the lineup was a brand-new announcement: The Witch and the Hundred Knights, an top-down action RPG comparable to Diablo. The game features a customizable combat system with numerous attack combos, even allowing weapon-switching in mid-attack. Furthermore, the game's storyline is affected by a "moral system" where the player can chose to be helpful toward NPC's and embark on side quests, or conversely just kill them—which will have its consequences in the future. The Witch and the Hundred Knights will come out on Playstation 3 in 2013.
NIS producer and president Sohei Niikawa also made a guest appearance at the panel. After several opening comments, Niikawa (and the rest of the NISA staff) offered to answer any questions that the audience might have.
Are there any plans to port any games, even older ones like Disgaea on PCs?
Niikawa: It's getting harder to choose which system to release a game on, but we still want to diversify and are looking into PC as well.
Will Character Chowdown feature hiragana and kanji [in addition to the katakana shown in the demo]?
Yip: Yes, the game will be released with 400 kanji and then more will come out in expansion packs.
Will there be plans to release a localized version of Atelier Ayesha?
Staff: We are working on it, but there is no specific release date yet. Look forward to more information in the coming 3-4 months.
Will there be a continuation to Makai Kingdom?
Niikawa: We're not working on anything right now, but if you have an interest, please let us know. The more voices we hear, the more chance there is we will make a new game.
Will there be any plans for Disgaea 5, or at least more DLC for Disgaea 4?
Niikawa: We are going to make Disgaea 5.
When are you going to do the world justice and give Asagi [of Disgaea] her own game?
Niikawa: I'm considering that we probably should give her a game by now. But I have a question for all of you: Is it better for Asagi to have her own game, or be a sad little girl who never gets her own game? [The best answer shouted from the audience was probably "Give her a demo."]
Do you have any plans for releases on PS Vita?
Niikawa: Yes, in Japan we already have Vita games scheduled to come in August and later in the year, so I hope to do the same in the US. However, one issue right now is that Vita is not selling too well in Japan.
Do you have any sneak peek of what you plan to localize in the future? And have you ever looked at the Super Robot Wars series?
Staff: We have nothing we can show yet, but there will be more news later in the year. As far as Super Robot Wars, we haven't really considered it. But we always want to bring out RPG, Strategy RPG, and other games that might go overlooked [in the market], so if you have other suggestions, please let us know.
Finally, the panel ended with some closing remarks from Niikawa, noting that he would be willing to take more questions from fans at the NIS booth throughout the convention.
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