Japan Expo 2nd Impact
Sekai Project Panel

by Heidi Kemps,
The Sekai Project team began the panel by introducing themselves – company president Raymond Qian, along with Toya Okano from visual novel developers VisualArt's.

“I'm very happy to work with a company like Sekai Project to localize our games, said Okano.

From there, the company went over their current projects and plans. Narcisu, a free visual novel (and, according to the presenters, a “good starting point” for the genre), is currently available on Steam (along with a soundtrack), while two successful kickstarted projects, The Moe Headphones Design Guidebook and the first chapter of Spice and Wolf author Isuna Hasekura's World End Economica, had just seen release. Chapter 2 of World End Economica is currently slated for release on Steam this winter.

The team then went into some of their announcements from Anime Expo. Pacaplus, a bizarre dating sim in which the protagonist's girlfriend randomly becomes a lovably fluffy alpaca, is currently in the process of translation and coding checks. Raiders Sphere 4th, a Sci-Fi aerial dogfighting simulation, is also currently undergoing translation and coding checks. No release date was mentioned, but the team happily emphasized the game's Oculus Rift support – a rarity among Japanese PC games.

The recently kickstarted Fault Milestone 1 was showcased. While the translation is still ongoing (and the team mentioned that it would “take some time before release”), there is a playable demo available on the game's Kickstarter page. Le Fruit De La Grisia is also in a very early state, though it's eventually slated for a release on steam.



The final set of announcements was related to the company's work with world-famous visual novel developer Key. The first Key release, Planetarian, is slated for September 12th on Steam. (“Please keep hitting F5 on the 12th until it shows up,” said the presenter.) But an even bigger announcement was forthcoming – the team had planned to save it until the end of the panel, but an itchy Powerpoint trigger finger revealed it a bit early: a trailer for Clannad Full Voice Edition, coming to Steam at an as-of-yet unspecified date. A Kickstarter to help fund the translation is also planned.

“Based on the response here at the panel to this announcement, I can see that you care about and are anticipating the release of this game,” said Okano. “This game is ten years old, but even in Japan it's still a major title... it defines Key as a brand.”
“It was long thought that you had to have adult content in a PC visual novel for it to sell, and even our earlier games like Kanon and Air featured a small amount of it. With Clannad, we made a game without adult content, purely based on characters and story. It will bring you to tears.”



From there, the audience was invited to engage in Q&A (“Except anything related to Type-Moon or 07th Expansion, sit down.”).

Since Sekai Project is primarily distributing through Steam as a platform, it was asked if the company might ever opt to release an adult PC game – something that Steam doesn't support. “The possibility of doing adult titles is definitely on the table. We can't exactly say if that's something we will pursue, but it's worth noting that there are a lot of companies out there that don't do all-ages releases. So we won't rule that out, but should an opportunity arise, the all-ages version will be our first priority… we always listen to the users, so if you want us to look at adult products, we'll definitely put that into consideration.”

Would Key be interested in bringing over older titles like Kanon? “Definitely. If Clannad is a success, then we think other Key titles will be a success as well. So please, please, please tell twenty people to buy Planetarian and Clannad, and have them tell twenty people so we can start this great VisualArt's pyramid scheme! Spread the gospel of good things!”

Would retail/packaged versions be available? “Download sales are definitely on the uptick in Japan, but packaged versions are more appealing to the hardcore fans,” said Okano. “I'll look to Sekai Project to decide if a packaged version would be feasible in this market.” To which the Sekai Project staff replied: “It is a non-zero possibility… which doesn't mean yes. But it could be yes!”

Regarding releases on non-PC platforms, it was noted that since outside contractors are responsible for porting the games to different consoles, working with them and console licensing is considerably more difficult.



Who is Okano's favorite character? “If I had to pick one, it'd be Minagi from Air.”

What inspired Key to bring their games overseas? “We got a lot of messages from overseas fans through comments and emails, particularly in response to the anime adaptations of the games. They wanted to know more about the games. We decided we wanted to give that opportunity.”

The panel ended with a raffle for limited Key goods that had been sold exclusively at the Sekai Project booth (and very quickly sold out). Ten lucky attendees walked away with very nice T-shirts featuring art of characters from Clannad and Angel Beats, capping off a very enjoyable panel.

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