RPGamer Feature - XSEED Games Fall 2013 Interview - Part 2

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Just a month ago we posted the first part of our interview with XSEED Games, which mostly focused on the announcement of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC. Now we're back with part 2 where we discuss the recently released Rune Factory 4, the soon-to-be-released Valhalla Knights 3, and the upcoming Ys: Memories of Celceta. Let's hear what XSEED Games has to say about these games and more.

Michael A. Cunningham (RPGamer, Editor-in-Chief): Jumping back into this, let's following up with one more question about Trails. There are no plans for the PS3 versions of Trails FC and SC to be localized right now. What are the roadblocks preventing this?
Ken Berry (XSEED Games, Executive Vice President): We just want to focus on the PSP and PC versions for now as thatís what weíve been talking to Falcom about for over two years. Hopefully we may have an opportunity to publish the PS3 versions at a later time, but itís too early to tell at this point if that will be possible or not.

MAC: Moving on, let's chat about Ys: Memories of Celceta. What are some of your personal favorite aspects of Celceta?
KB: Though I havenít played the game as much as I would like yet, I really liked that the battle system builds upon the great party combat system from Ys Seven. I also like how this game handles the main protagonist having amnesia, which JPRG critics state happens a little too often, to give it a fresh spin so that you have to determine if someone claiming to have met you before is recalling the facts accurately back to Adol.

MAC: Is everything going smoothly with Celceta? Still on track for a 2013 release?
KB: Though we had completed localizing all the text and voices a while ago, the implementation was a bit delayed on Falcomís side since they had to focus all their energy on their Japanese release of Sen no Kiseki. Now that the title has released in Japan, we are progressing very quickly through the English builds in time for a holiday release.

MAC: Rune Factory 4 is now available. Any challenges during its localization?
KB: Rune Factory 4 just launched this week, and it was an enormous challenge for us due to the sheer volume of the game. A lot of people, especially our production assistant Brittany, had to go well above and beyond the call of duty to put in time outside of the usual office hours to make sure the localization turned out as well as we could possibly make it, so hopefully gamers will agree once they get their hands on it.

MAC: What are some of the features you are most excited about with Rune Factory 4?
KB: It has to be the option to play as a female in addition to a male, since that adds a whole new dimension to the game when it comes to potential love interests. It instantly almost doubled the amount of text that had to be localized, but I think that feature was definitely worth it.

MAC: Valhalla Knights 3 is just around the corner and looks to have some very curious sexual content in it. How has it been working with this project so far?
KB: The Valhalla Knights series had never been about sexual content before so it definitely caught us by surprise when we first learned of the new ďfeaturesĒ in VK3, but hopefully people will see it as an amusing distraction if they choose to participate rather than taking away from the tried-and-true addictive dungeon crawler gameplay.

MAC: For those who are on the fence after the past few VK games, what are some key aspects of VK3 that might change their minds?
KB: The increased amount of customization options and now 7-on-7 party-based action combat should really appeal to people as they try to create their own personal wrecking machine of a battle party. With 7 races and up to 20 job classes to choose from when including DLC, no two 7-member battle party will be alike. This is especially important when players test their mettle by taking their customized battle party online for an intense mano-y-mano sparring session against another playerís unique battle party. Japan launched with only ad-hoc support, but we added online and leaderboards because we wanted to be sure that players in North America would always be able to find an opponent to battle against regardless of their location.

MAC: How has the atmosphere been while working on publishing Killer is Dead, a game more in the spotlight than most RPGs? What aspects of the game has XSEED handled?
KB: That game had us going a little out of our usual comfort zone since it wasnít an RPG and was such a high-profile title, but we definitely learned a lot from the experience and hopefully helped bring awareness to the general XSEED brand from people that may have never heard of us before. All the localization was taken care of by Japan, so it was also a little unique in that we just had to worry about the actual publishing aspect of it like marketing and sales.

MAC: With new management and the formation of Marvelous USA, what changes has XSEED had to work with this past year? What challenges have come from this and how have you worked to overcome those?
KB: The change to a different company name definitely took a lot of work, but since we kept XSEED as the brand name all the changes should have been almost invisible to the regular gamer (e.g. revise contracts, add the Marvelous logo to the back of the box, etc.). The main challenge has been trying to integrate more closely with the newly formed mobile and online division that works out of another office, but thatís been difficult to do so far since our products have been so different from theirs. Perhaps there will be a title that will span both console/handheld and mobile where we can count on each otherís respective strengths to help cross-promote the IP as a whole.

MAC: Anything else you'd like to share with readers? Or even tease?
KB: Well, weíve been wanting to announce another non-Falcom title for Steam for a while now and this month would have been the perfect opportunity, but unfortunately it looks like itís going to slip out a while so youíll have to wait until closer to the end of the year for that announcement.

Again, we'd like to thank Ken Berry and the rest of the crew at XSEED Games for chatting with us. Fans can check out Rune Factory 4 (3DS, out now), Valhalla Knights 3 (Vita, 10/15), and Ys: Memories of Celceta (Vita, holiday) all before too long.

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