Interview: Director of Publishing, XSEED Games
We caught up with Ken Berry, Director of Publishing over at XSEED Games, which recently released Lunar:Sliver Star Harmony for the PSP. Read on to get to know about some interesting details regarding what goes on behind the scenes andÂ a little about the future plans of the studio.
Greetings, stranger! Can you please introduce yourself to our readers, and tell us exactly what it is you do at XSEED Games?
My name is Ken Berry, and as the Director of Publishing I oversee all daily activities from marketing and sales to operations and business development, with the occasional mopping up the office floors and taking out the trash when needed.
Ever since XSEED was formed, over 23 titles (till this day) have been published under your banner. In fact, 2009 saw 10 games alone pushed out. What can we expect in 2010?
You will see a much more concentrated and realistic release schedule from us in 2010.Â We had more releases than number of employees in 2009 so it was pure madness as we were always behind schedule before a project even started.Â In 2010 we will concentrate on fewer titles that focus more on what we love; RPGs.
It was recently revealed that Samurai Shodown Sen (aka Samurai Spirits Sen in Japan) would be your first Xbox 360 title, as well the first fighting game, to be published by the company. What brought this decision together?
SNK Playmore pretty much had the English version localized and ready, they just needed a publishing partner to help bring it to market in North America.Â We were more than happy to work on such a legendary fighting series, especially me personally as Samurai Shodown I and II were my favorite arcade fighters back in the day.
Can we expect any other Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 titles to be released? I will even settle for a tease…
Absolutely, we are constantly looking for great games on both of those platforms so hopefully we can finalize something else sometime soon.
When XSEED publishes a game for the US audience, what sort of factors are determined to meet their expected revenue? Has there ever been a title which has exceeded public demand?
In terms of the expected revenue, we just have to try to estimate what the potential market is for that kind of game on that particular platform.Â An RPG may perform better on one platform while a party game may perform better on another.Â I wish I could say all our games have exceeded expectations, but that is rarely the case as we’re always fighting just to get our product on retailer shelves (this is why pre-orders are critical to a small publisher like us, otherwise they won’t stock our games).
Talking about third-party support for the Nintendo Wii, some publishers say that it just isn’t worth the hassle. What are your thoughts?
I think it depends on what your product is.Â The audience on the Wii is different than that of other platforms, so you have to take that into account whenever you’re trying to forecast what a particular title may sell.Â The right title can still be very successful on that platform.
Because of your healthy relationship with Namco Bandai, would it make sense to expect any of the remaining Tales of games localized by you?
I wish I could say “Yes,” but the Tales series is one of the biggest franchises that Namco Bandai has, so unfortunately “No,” you would have to be crazy to think that we have a shot at being able to publish any of those titles.
It’s cool that we got Lunar: Silver Star Harmony for PSP. Has anyone over at Game Arts expressed interest in developing a follow-up or side-story to the Lunar or Grandia universe?
I don’t know about Grandia, but Game Arts has clearly expressed interest on doing a Lunar: Eternal Blue remake on PSP depending on how the sales of Lunar: Silver Star Harmony goes.
Out of all of the Japanese companies that you’ve coordinated with over the years, which is the one you’ve grown most attached with?
It would have to be Marvelous as we’ve worked on numerous projects together over the past two years, so we’ve gotten to know their entire staff very well.
Finally, and most importantly, who would win in an epic battle royale to the death: Atlus or XSEED?
Well, Atlus would probably summon a Persona to do their dirty work for them, but as long as we can keep the pace fast and furious, say within 30 seconds, we should have a good shot at coming out on top.