RPGamer Feature - XSEED Games Fall 2013 Interview - Part 1

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Today, XSEED Games announced the localization for The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC, to be digitally available on PC and PSP in 2014. The first chapter, already on PSP, will also be released on PC in winter. For more details read our news story here. RPGamer was able to chat with Ken Berry from XSEED Games about the announcement. I'm sure you'd much rather hear from him, so please dive right in.

Michael A. Cunningham (RPGamer, Editor-in-Chief): Greetings, and thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Let's jump into the big news, Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC is coming to Steam. How did this localization partnership come about?
Ken Berry (XSEED Games, Executive Vice President): Well, after the very long and arduous localization process to get the first one out, sales were a bit disappointing at first considering how much effort and expense went into the project. Falcom wasn't sure they could commit to another gargantuan localization programming effort that was almost double the size and scope of what we had just done, and to be honest we weren't sure we could handle it on our end either. As we were continuing to debate for months what to do, Andrew at Carpe Fulgur offered to take over the translation and editing duties, freeing us up to continue working on all the other projects we already had. That was over two years ago, and Carpe Fulgur's been working on it ever since.

As for the Falcom side, thankfully sales of the original Trails has had a long tail and the fans have also been very vocal in their support of the series. That coupled with the great success that Falcom's Ys titles have had on Steam made their decision easier from a financial standpoint.

MAC: I know the amount of text is massive, but other than that what challenges did you face during the localization process?
KB: The main thing has been from a business point of view, especially with the very long localization time needed and the PSP market fading quickly. Should we just concentrate on a PC release despite all the fans hounding us for over two years for the sequel having played it on the PSP? Keep in mind that at this time Falcom had publicly stated that Trails SC could not be sold digitally on PSN due to the 2-UMD game being programmed in a certain way. Luckily, this technical issue got solved on their side and we are still able to release the game on PSN for the original PSP fans in addition to the PC version.

MAC: I know initially there was some concern with the original Trails in the Sky coming to Steam due to the content differences between the PC and PSP versions. How did this end up getting worked out?
KB: This is still a work in progress, but if you've played any of our Ys releases on Steam then you'd know that our programmer did some amazing things by combining the best features from multiple past releases into a single "ultimate" version, so fingers crossed the same magic can happen again so that the PC version has all the added features from the PSP release.

MAC: Are there any plans to release SC on PSP still? Any chance of a new collector's edition for those of us who still like our physical copies?
KB: I'm sorry to say, but chances are looking very, very slim. We don't mind looking into limited print runs, but who knows if UMDs will still even be in production by the time SC comes out next year, and even if they are, will we be able to procure special 2-UMD cases that, as far as I know, have never been used in North America before? That would be asking a lot of the PlayStation team to set up a completely new packaging template and case for what would likely be the very last release on an expired platform.

MAC: So when should we expect Trails in the Sky The 3rd? *hides*
KB: Based on the math of about 1.5 years to bring the first one over and roughly three years for the second, you should be able to expect it to release sometime by Christmas 2019.

MAC: But seriously, how does XSEED plan on dealing with the continuous flood of Kiseki games from Falcom? Would there be opposition to another publisher taking on the more recent games or is everyone else afraid to touch those as well?
KB: We ask ourselves that every day. We would love to release all of them if we could, but most of the later Kiseki games are even bigger than Trails SC, so I just don't see how it's physically possible. Other publishers are free to discuss with Falcom directly if they are up to the challenge.

RPGamer would like to thank the crew at XSEED Games for taking the time to chat with us about this announcement. For all the latest information, check out the XSEED Facebook page and follow on Twitter. Stay tuned to RPGamer for the second half of this interview coming later in the month.

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