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Big In Japan: D3 Publisher Takes On The U.S.


November 9, 2007 Article Start Previous Page 5 of 7 Next
 

Back to the point about games being expensive... I spoke to a producer at D3 Japan when I was at TGS -- I never actually printed this anywhere -- and he told me they cut out the girl from Earth Defense Force and also didn't include online multiplayer, because these features were just too expensive.

YT: I don't think so. When we started Earth Defense Force for 360, it was way too late for the time frame, because we had business plans to launch the title in November last year. I think we launched a month late. [The developer] Sandlot couldn't do so much.

They're only like 60 people, right?

YT: No, less! 30 or something. I went there once.

That's right. Another developer D3 uses, Tamsoft, is 60. I was confused.

YT: Yeah, Tam is bigger, but Sandlot is very small, but it's really good quality.

Of course. They're very good.

YT: That game opened up my eyes a lot, because it was so fun.

Did the U.S. version perform to your expectations?

YT: Actually, yes. When EDF came out on PlayStation 2 in Japan, the first game was about 60,000 or 70,000 in sales, I think. The second game increased to 200,000. I'm expecting a similar sort of event. Right now, all I have to do is promote EDF as much as possible. To me, every single person who bought EDF will buy the next one, because there's something in the game. Those people will talk to their friends. The first game is a seed to me, and the second game we bring in, I want to sell a lot of units for the low price point, I hope.

Yeah, that was another thing I spoke to him about -- if he thought the Simple series could continue on next-gen consoles like 360 and PS3. He said, "No, because it's too expensive." Do you think so?

YT: In Japan, probably as you said, technology is kind of behind, so they have to buy very expensive middleware. That's becoming very popular in Japan. Buying an engine. That's going to add up and it's going to be more expensive than they can probably afford right now. But I've been thinking about that point too. To sort of think about the Simple series in the Western terms.

I've been thinking about that as well, because you finally managed to release D3 Japan's Simple series game, The Adventures of Darwin. I don't know how well that did.

YT: It was my pick! I played the game, and I actually spent a couple of days playing -- about four or five hours a day. I got to the point where I thought I finished it, and I said, "Boy, this game's big and fun!" so I decided to pick it up. Later, I found there was another world somewhere. "Okay, I missed it!" (laughs) It is my game. It's a fun game.

I wonder if we will be able to see more like that coming, especially on the PlayStation 2, now that it's ramping down on its hardware cycle.

YT: It's not a planned thing, but every time we see a good game in the Simple series library, why not?

I've heard of several cases where D3 has tried to push a Simple series game through Sony, and it has not been accepted.

YT: From other third-parties before. We are very careful. So far, though, I think we have never been rejected by Sony, I think.

I thought I heard differently. I thought several games had been pitched on the budget line that had not been accepted.

YT: No, not from D3 Publisher of America. Maybe one game on PSP. In the beginning I thought about a pick-up, but it wasn't enough for Sony.

It seems like EDF 2 and Oneechanbara could be more possible on PS2 at this stage.

YT: At this stage, but since we have EDF going already, I don't know how we would go back to PS2 EDF.

You could just change the name.

YT: It could be a good idea to do EDF 2, because it's such a huge game. But I'd rather keep the 360 going.

Sure. Do you think that the next 360 version will have some of those options that were not available in the first?

YT: I don't know. Actually, I cannot comment. And also I don't know! People don't tell me in Japan. I'm sure they're going to make a full-blown version next year. That's all I can say. That's all I expected.

I really hope they bring back the girl, because I like flying around.

YT: And I heard [that] from many people, and I read some write-ups too.

Part of what I like about EDF -- and don't take this the wrong way -- is that it does feel low-budget. It feels like a B-movie version of games, but not in a bad way.

YT: Exactly.

In a good way.

YT: Exactly!

It's got silly dialogue, and sometimes your character gets caught in the buildings, but that's part of the fun, for me, anyway. I don't know if everybody feels that way.

YT: That's exactly what we felt like when we decided to pick it up.

It's just fun. You don't feel like you have to have this amazing investment in the character or anything. It's just fun to do. You want to keep playing.

YT: I'd like to provide gamers a break from serious gameplay. Everything's getting so serious and so intense. I just want to cut that flow, and give a game that is nothing but fun. You blow things up, and you can laugh at it.

Yeah, you blow up all the buildings in that game, and it's great. That's what I do all the time! I can't help it!

YT: That's my intention!

It's great. My friend and I played that game. We have a 360 in the office, and generally we never play anything. But Earth Defense Force... we were like, "Okay, after work today, we're going to play EDF on the 360."

YT: I like to satisfy people!


Article Start Previous Page 5 of 7 Next

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