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I've been really interested in Marvelous, because I've noticed that the quality has been rising, and that the number of licensed titles is decreasing. It's an interesting way to plan the course of the company, because not a lot of people seem to have that specific goal.
YW: Our market is like the U.S. market
-- you have to have the series titles, like sports games. It's the same
as any other thing, but the user starts to get sick of this and gets
fed up with those titles. I want to release more original titles. That's
why I'm aiming for more original titles every year.
So that leads to a somewhat difficult question. Do you ever get tired of making Harvest Moon?
YW: Harvest Moon was my game concept, so now I'm still supervising the concept for the gameplay design. Before he started working with us, he pitched the work. So now, they put their own ideas in the game too, so now I'm just in the game concept development. Making a new IP for a new title is risky, and it's still really risky. I know that the casual producer won't try to do it. But I want to take this challenge and try these new titles, to make those original titles. My position now is to actually find those new titles, to work on the concept, to try and launch them, and once they're launched, to pick a producer to work on it.
So do you still get to create your own original titles yourself?
YW: Though Kimura-san is the producer for [our new game] Osama Monogatari, it was my concept. Once the concept was launched, I just handed it to Kimura-san to work on it. [Ed. note: Osama Monogatari translates roughly as "A King's Story".]
seems to me that there's getting to be a much bigger casual market,
so it seems that every year, Harvest Moon is in a better position
to be popular, but it doesn't get a big push in the U.S. It seems
like it's kind of a wasted opportunity, because the DS and the Wii are
so much more popular, and Harvest Moon is perfect for the audience.
YW: In the U.S., it's published by
Natsume, but we set up our own branch in Europe. So in Europe, we set
up a deal with Nintendo Europe. And so in Europe now, it's getting really
big too. We've reached almost five hundred thousand units in Europe,
so now in Europe it's becoming really famous and we're hoping we'll
be able to use this popularity in Europe in the U.S. too.
Which game is the five hundred thousand for?
YW: For Harvest Moon DS.
Do you ever have any plans to open up a U.S. Marvelous office?
YW: Yeah. But we might leave Harvest
Moon to Natsume. We might choose the new titles that we're trying
to launch now in Japan for sale at our U.S. branch.
When might you be creating your U.S. branch?
YW: Two years.
Will you be bringing people from here to manage, or will you be growing up a company from within the U.S.?
YW: We're going to send two or three staff to the U.S., but we need someone over there who already has the contacts and who is very strong with all the retailers and with the distribution channel to help us. We hope to find a partnership with someone over there to set up our U.S. branch.