Thursday, December 2, 2010

NBGI Representitve Interview (Non-Facebook Redirect.)

This is a copy-paste of an Interview done by Jiyoon Kim, and I am merely putting it here as asked, as some people don't have FB, or refuse to use it. I didn't write it, I'm not claiming ownership, etc. etc.


While I was working at 7 Eleven today, I was actually talking about video games to this customer. Then apparently, the guy next to him suggested the customer to try Enslaved. So I asked him if he's like a Enslaved fan or a Namco fan. (Yes, I did say something by the words such as 'What are you, some kind of Namco's loyal servant?') and he said "Yes, I am actually. I am one of the press representatives for Namco Bandai Games North America." He showed me his business card, and I told him I was one of the Tales fan for NBGI and he understood why I was really upset with NBGI. So he gave me a chance to interview him. I’ve written stuff on papers while I was interviewing with him for an hour. So I basically summarized 70% of what he really said.

Reminder: There is a chance that fans/people will not take this story seriously due to his request to keep his identity in privacy as much as possible. His name is Scott, and he works for NBGI North America as a press representative in northeastern part of the United States. I will be keeping his promise from not sharing voice clips, videos, pictures, and even his last name incase if it jeopardizes his career.

J: Thank you again for spending time with me to do this interview Scott. My name is Jiyoon, and I am one of the fans of Namco Bandai Games.

S: My pleasure, Jiyoon. I am pretty sure you have a lot of questions regarding the company I work for.

J: Yes, my first question is - what bring you here in the middle of Long Island, especially this place?

S: Well, my job for this week was to promote Enslaved and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 during Black Friday and this weekend. The promotion was quite a success, and people were able to see the gameplay of Enslaved. I am currently heading to the further east side of Long Island to visit each video game stores such as Gamestop, Best Buy, and Play N Trade to encourage players to buy our franchised game.

J: I see, that’s good to hear. But I’d like to hear your opinions as well. Did you play Enslaved before, and why do you like the game?

S: Enslaved is probably Namco Bandai’s first game that has “hack and slash” functions with such an advanced graphics and environment. Even though it was produced by Namco, but Ninja Theory made all of this happen, to show the players that we have the capability of creating a game similar to what Capcom and SEGA have created for this past years. I’ve played Enslaved when it came out during the first day of it’s launch… and I still consider it to be amazing!

J: But didn’t Enslaved get a very low sale when it came out for it’s first week?

S: *sighs* Yes, it was quite unexpected.

J: Even though it had many commercials to promote such a game?

S: I mean it’s something ‘new’. So people probably didn’t want to get the game because it’s something that Namco Bandai has never done before.

J: Have you ever thought about that fans are boycotting of buying Namco Bandai games?

S: Sorry?

J: What I am trying to say is, fans such as Tales fans are refusing to buy any Namco Bandai games at the moment.

S: I guess you are counted as one of them, huh.

J: Something like that.

S: Well, I’ll try to answer questions for anything that’s related to Tales then. I don’t have too much knowledge on everything, but I hope this answers for the fans.

J: Thank you. The first question regarding Tales is… Why didn’t you guys localize Tales of Vesperia for Playstation 3, and also try to localize Tales of Graces for Wii or even PS3 version?

S: It has to do with the money wise. Tales games are extremely tradition for Namco… but it’s just that voice overs, and translations, DLCs are just too much money. One or two lines by a voice actor can be really expensive. It could go from hundreds to thousands!

J: Well, have you thought about not dubbing the game, but just translate the game with subtitles?

S: There are many reasons of why we refuse to leave Japanese dubs in our game. One of them is really about encourage players to listen in English… but also there are players that don’t really read subtitles or even read game dialogues. So it’s quite a troublesome for us to localize the games in undubbed quality.

J: Then what’s with Super Robot Wars OG Saga: Endless Frontier? You guys have not done any voice overs.

S: That was up for Atlus and Banpresto to decide. Namco Bandai maybe the producers, but the localizing team and the main team were those two.

J: You said players get lazy of reading dialogues or even subtitles. Isn’t it their fault of refusing to not read them?

S: I wouldn’t say ‘lazy’, but there are those people who just can’t read so they have to listen to understand English. I am pretty sure if you were in America and you were trying to learn how

J: I guess so, but the words in English version game’s vocabularies aren’t too hard enough to look in the dictionary.

S: It’s really a matter of taste, but because this is the country we live in with the language we speak… we’d prefer using English.

J: If this is the case, why not have NiS or XSEED or Atlus to work on the localizations?

S: That’s really a good question. I am sure people did suggest us to localize under them… but they need to know that localizing under their names also mean us spending money too regardless of them taking our titles. We’d be getting half the money while they get the other half…. And by any contract, the more sales the game makes, then it’d be the other company that will get more money than us. That’s how the system runs. If we let XSEED localize Vesperia for instance, and they sell like 250,000 copies… we’d be getting 30-40% of that. Sure, we’d still get money… but what’s the point if we are the ones to pay for the translation, voice overs, and BluRay supplies and so on…? XSEED are just localizing and they only pay for advertising and promoting. That’s all there is to it.

J: My next question is about Troy Baker. Did he actually get called in for Tales of Vesperia for Playstation 3? If you haven’t noticed, there was this female Tales fan who asked about Vesperia voice over during 2010 Sakuracon on April. Please tell the truth here, and I told you I’ll keep my promise with you anyways.

S: No, he did not. We had the projects up on the list, but it was never fully passed. I am pretty sure he didn’t really listen carefully to that fan when she asked him about the voiceovers. I can tell you this… if we are going to localize something, we will be announcing the game before we -call out- the voice actors.

J: Really? Because if I am right, Tales of Vesperia was announced AFTER voice actors were called in. Isn’t that what most studios are supposed to do?

S: I don’t think you listened properly. I said call out, which means we announce the voice casts after we announce the game’s release.

J: So then are you ever planning of localizing Tales of Graces F or even Xillia or whatever the fans are calling?

S: I honestly would answer that question to them, but as of right now… no. They aren’t even in our priority lists. I am sure you’ve looked at the release for God Eater Burst, yes?

J: Yes I have. Do you believe that God Eater Burst will beat Monster Hunter 3 Portable?

S: I do not believe that it’ll beat MH3P. Capcom is too strong on that. This is just my personal opinion… but I believe that we’ll have our successful sale regardless of what it is. Are you excited about the game?

J: Personally, I’d want it. I also would want .hack//LINK. Is there anything about that?

S: Because there was some sales conflict from previous .hack series, it’s not even in the priority list.

J: Then Pac Man Party was in priority list?

S: Yes, it was a new idea to revive Pac Man due to it’s anniversary… we’d believe that it might be successful.

J: Another question is, would there be any new Gundam franchise games that will be localized? What about OG Saga’s sequel?

S: For NBGI , not as of moment. We have no plans on bringing any Gundam related games just yet. If you wanted to know about Super Robot Wars OG Saga, I have no idea about what’s going on with sequel. If it will be localized, I am pretty sure Atlus will be in charge of any Super Robot Wars localizations.

J: What about SD Gundam Ggeneration series? Or even SD Gundam Capsule  Fighter Online?

S: What’s that?

J: It’s basically a miniature version based Gundams in tactical style game… and also SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online is a third person based shooting online game created by Netmarble and Softmax.

S: I have no idea of those games, but I think that’s really up to Sunrise and Bandai more than Namco. Also if it’s online game, then it’s probably up to the online game company that created the game.

J: About Namco x Capcom, why wasn’t it ever localized in United States?

S: I’ve heard about the game, but I think there were a lot of two companies licensing conflicts when it was being brought here.

J: But wasn’t any Capcom fighting games had conflicts with licensing situations? Such as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom.

S: I am pretty sure Capcom already got that settled by removing some characters and replacing with different characters. They are larger company than us as of right now. Not only that, Namco x Capcom has voicing conflicts too.

J:  What about Super Robot Wars OG for Playstation 2?

S: That’s something you should ask Banpresto or Atlus about that game.

J: What about Tales of Symphonia for Playstation 2 and Tales of Destiny Director‘s Cut?

S: Symphonia was fully in contract when we exclusively released it for Gamecube. By the time when the contract ended, there was no point of us creating another Symphonia game for Playstation 2. For Destiny, we dropped the project because of us planning to bring games into new gen consoles such as Tales of Vesperia. It was Destiny or Vesperia, and we chose Vesperia.

J: So I guess NBGI itself is trying to put their faith in new generation based games such as Tekken, God Eater Burst and Enslaved?

S: They are as of right now, a chance to change something with our company. Aside from Pac Man, we want to try to accept newer things than just always stick with old styles. I know many fans are going to be disappointed, but I really hope they’ll try something new for once.

J: Wouldn’t this make other fans boycott on buying NBGI games who had been expecting their Tales games to be localized?

S: It would make us harder to localize more games then. The lesser sales we get on any games that are being localized, the lesser chance we can localize games such as Tales. Like I said, the Tales games are just overwhelmed with voice castings with translations… we might not even be able to localize at all if fans are just refusing to buy our games. I understand why people are upset and they are boycotting, but it would also mean there might not even be future games such as Tales, .hack , Gundam wouldn’t even exist in Japan. Then again Gundam franchise is strong by Koei because of Gundam Dynasty Warriors, so I am sure Gundam franchise will survive.

J: Does it matter if fans buy import or localized games?

S: Not really. The more sales we get from any region, we will gain money regardless. It will encourage us a lot to localize new games in future, or even develop more games such as new Tales series. Remember, even if NBGI North America is away from NBGI Japan, it’s still one company.

J: Well I think that sums up everything for me. Thanks for your patience of allowing me to interview with you and also giving me enough time to take important notes about what’s going on with Namco Bandai North America’s department. Any last message for the fans such as …Tales fans?

S: You are welcome, sure.  For Tales fans, as of right now we currently have no further plans of bringing Tales games into the United States… but don’t lose your hopes! I really wish I could do a lot for the Namco Bandai fans out there, but as of right now I am just a press representative. Keep your chin up, and possibly you might get a surprise at next E3? Anyways, thanks for an interesting time Jiyoon.


So there you have it.

1 comment:

  1. Good. Maybe the Tales fanbase will stop tantruming now. Doubt it, though, given the fanbase's huge entitlement complex. I like the games, but I hate the whiny fanbase.