RPGamer Feature - DotEmu Interview
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Latest RPG release: Ys Origin (PS4, Vita)

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RPGamer was able to get in touch with the crew at the French video game company, DotEmu, to talk with CEO Cyrille Imbert about the company's past RPG projects and what the future holds. From Final Fantasy VII on PC to the upcoming Vita version of Ys Origin, we chat about development highs and lows, physical releases, and potential projects.

Michael A Cunningham (RPGamer): First off, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. DotEmu first hit RPGamer's radar when porting Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII to Steam. Can you share a little as to how you came to be working with Square Enix?
Cyrille Imbert (CEO at DotEmu): You are welcome! My pleasure!

Well, it brings us years ago. Square Enix was looking for a partner to help them bring the Final Fantasy series back on PC. They were searching for a partner with strong technological background, capable of working with reverse engineering methods. Technology, skills in emulation, and low level languages was already part of our DNA at the time. We explained how we could solve their problematics and had a very good feeling with Square Enix teams and Hashimoto-san. I donít know the exact reasons, but even if we were not the only ones they had consulted, we were the ones they selected for those first projects. We continue to have great relationship with Square Enix and work with them on a regular basis. Our latest work being Final Fantasy VII on PS4 (and we are VERY proud of this one!).

MAC: Correct me if I'm wrong, but Final Fantasy VII for PS4 was your first venture into console ports. What challenges did you face in bringing that PC release to PS4?
CI: Yes absolutely. It was actually a double challenge. Like the PC version, it was technically very difficult. But this time we also had to get familiar with the console environment and requisites. At some point we almost failed because we choose the wrong approach during several months. Square Enix supported us and let us get back on our feet. Thankfully, with our technological background and the hire of new talents, we managed to make it happen and we are really proud of this port.

MAC: What are the chances of seeing any of your other Final Fantasy PC ports make it to consoles?
CI: Thatís a good question, but we canít talk in behalf of our friends at Square Enix. ;)

MAC: More recently you released Ys Origin on PS4. How did that deal with Falcom come about? Did you approach them with that specific game in mind or what? If so, what was it about Ys Origin that made you want to release it on consoles? (Editor's note: I'm thankful you did, as I love Ys Origin.)
CI: Haha, I am glad that you liked it. Ys is a great RPG series. We first started to work with Falcom on Ys Chronicles I&II that we adapted to mobile. We came to Japan and proposed them this mobile project which they accepted. Mobile was a new market for them and as we already had nice references like Final Fantasy or Double Dragon, it was not too complicated. When we decided to expand to the console market, we thought that Ys Origin would be a great way to start. We presented the project to Falcom and even if they are familiar with the console market, they liked our vision of promoting the series in new languages, like French or Spanish. There were also a lot of possibilities in terms of UI improvements, screen ratio, achievements, etc. Finally, Sony really helped us out as well, as our main point of contact there is a huge fan of the series.

MAC: Did you handle any re-translation for this version or was the XSEED PC release dialogue used in full?
CI: XSEED was really supportive and authorized us to use the English version they did as a reference for other languages. We knew their translation was top-quality, so we thought it would be great to ask them. I am glad we did!

MAC: We are excited for the Vita version that's still on the way, is it still on track for a May release? What challenges have you faced in bringing it to Vita?
CI: Yes, the release will be on May 30th as announced, and we are really excited! The delay is due to the fact that we made the mistake of working first on PS4. As it is a game from 2006, the optimization work in terms of performances was not too big. However, when we started to work on the Vita, we saw almost immediately that the performance optimization would take us a long time, as the device is made very different. We mis-calculated that. But the build we have in the office now looks and feels great and I canít wait to see people playing Ys Origin on the go.

MAC: What UI changes should we expect on Vita, as there were some tiny icons even on PS4? Will load times be comparable to those on PS4?
CI: We adapted completely the UI and tutorials in all languages, to provide the best portable experience possible. Also, as we had to do a lot of optimization work for the PS Vita, the load times should be the same or even quicker than on the PS4 version. By the way, the PS4 version will most likely be patched soon so players can enjoy the optimization work we did for the PS Vita.

MAC: Any plans to work with Falcom on future ports? The company still has a few PSP games, mostly the Legend of Heroes games, that would be great to see ported to newer consoles or PC.
CI: That would be great indeed, we are working regularly with Falcom for Ys Origin and Ys Chronicles and we would definitely love to continue to bring their other licenses too. (TLoH: Trails In The Sky would be very, very nice for example ;) )

MAC: Can you talk about the limited edition of Ys Origin that will be released via Limited Run Games? Just an art book included with it or is there more? Will the PS4 and Vita versions have the same limited edition content?
CI: Unfortunately I canít reveal much for now, as we are still working on it, but you will be hearing about it very soon. Yes, both collector versions should have the same content.

MAC: How has it been seeing your games released in physical format?
CI: Itís great! Thanks to Limited Run Games we have the opportunity to actually have something that we can hold in our hands. It is a great feeling and I think we will do more and more physical editions with our upcoming games.

MAC: What should fans of RPGs look forward to as far as future projects from DotEmu? Any hints or teases?
CI: I am personally an RPG fan, so when a RPG project comes up, I am always a bit more excited than other projects! So yes, definitely, there will be other RPGs. There are so many great RPGs from the 90s and early 2000s that the possibilities are quite huge. In addition, contrary to other types of games, RPGs usually hold up very well along the years, as their main value is an immersive universe and a great story.

RPGamer would like to thank Cyrille and the DotEmu team for setting aside time to answer our questionsabout the company's lineup. We eagerly await the Vita version of Ys Origin and whatever else might be in their future. For those interested in DotEmu's non-RPG handheld titles (with some overlap), check out more of this interview over at Pocket-Console.

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