Nippon Ichi Software President Talks Life After Disgaea

Disgaea

Nippon Ichi Software (Disgaea) is one of my favorite developers. I love the deep and addictive gameplay in its RPGs. The company’s use of unique and quirky humor is outstanding. In a rare interview, NIS president and COO Souhei Niikawa gave Gamasutra an update on the company’s future plans:

Well, RPGs remain a popular genre for the hardcore audience, so I think that RPGs will still be a central part of our strategy.

Disgaea is certainly an important title for Nippon Ichi. We’ll continue to grow that game by doing what’s best for that particular series. Placing our fortunes on nothing but Disgaea wouldn’t be right at all. For example, we want to grow this new game in the same way that we’ve grown Disgaea. We want to make games that are different from Disgaea, of course, but sell just as well as that.

The market is getting harder and harder for small developers, so I worry about a company like NIS. I’m glad to see that it plans on expanding outside of Disgaea. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Hopefully it will still involve prinnies.

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Coffee Talk #2: Fantasy Games vs. SciFi Games

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the Toy Story 3 trailer, the upcoming “Super 6” middleweight tournament, or Rob Schneider’s birthday, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Fantasy vs. SciFi — it’s a debate that will last an eternity. Most gamers I know enjoy both settings, but strongly lean towards one or the other. Some folks dig games with swords and sorcery, others prefer laser rifles and warp drives. Personally, I’m way more of a fantasy guy than a sci-fi guy. Space battles are cool and all, but I rather jump into an adventure filled with mystical spells, magic weapons, and cool frickin’ dragons. I liked Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but I loved Baldur’s Gate.

Dragon Age Origins chicky

My reasoning is simple; fantasy settings are more ridiculous, ergo more imaginative. Science fiction — good science fiction anyway — is often based on…(get this) science. Sure, it might be theoretical, but in many cases it’s plausible and not a huge leap from reality. Even though a lot of sci-fi features alien races and futuristic weaponry, it’s just too “real” for me. At the end of the day I see science as cold and clinical (I’m sure a psychiatrist would tell me that I’m just afraid of death).

Fantasy is more fun for me. A sword of sharpness? Ludicrous. A bag of holding? Preposterous. A race of miniature creatures that live inside trees and bake cookies? Waitaminute…those actually exist. So many elements in fantasy games, books, etc. are just impossible. Call me a romantic, but I enjoy dreaming about the impossible.

I’d love to hear about your preference. Are you SciFi or fantasy? Pick a side and explain your choice (please)!

Squre Enix Taps Bon Jovi for Final Fantasy: Crystal Bearers

Square Enix + Bon Jovi = Awesome! To help promote Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Square Enix has enlisted the help of the New Jersey rockers. According to Andriasang:

Square Enix announced today that it will be tapping none other than Bon Jovi for the new Wii Crystal Chronicles game.

Commercials for the game will make use of ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ off the band’s new The Circle album. The commercials will start appearing later this month.

Bon Jovi band

I love Bon Jovi and I love Square Enix games, so I’m thrilled by this partnership. I can’t wait to see the Japanese commercials online!

What do you make of the Square Enix/Bon Jovi pairing? Do you think Sega will try to get Cinderella to help them out? Maybe From Software will use Dokken. Also, isn’t this the same song MLB is using to promote the playoffs?

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Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford Equates Game Design With Magic

Borderlands

I have the utmost respect for game developers. They work so hard to craft the fantastic experiences that we all enjoy. The art of making games, to use some of Queen’s lyrics, “It’s a kind of magic.” According to Gearbox Software co-founder Randy Pitchford (Borderlands), game making and magic have a lot in common. The former professional magician (as opposed to the amateurs that cast spells in the Olympics) told Gamasutra:

A magician can create wonder by creating a set of logic, and then proving that the logic is impossible and false. Now if I repeat the same trick over and over again, as long as it’s still surprising, it’s fine. I’ve got you. But as soon as you start understanding how the trick works, you get bored and you lose interest. So, I’ve got to create a new trick. I’ve got to hit you with new magic.

I’ve always pegged Pitchford as some sort of sorcerer. I’m pretty sure he just admitted it in the quote above. I wonder what house he belonged to. Gryffindor? Hufflepuff maybe?

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ThinkGeek’s Tauntaun Sleeping Bag Rules!

Taun Taun sleeping bag

Big ups to N8R for bringing this product to my attention! In the immortal words of Han Solo:

And I thought…they smelled bad…on the outside!

I’m sure many of you have been craving this exact product and here it is: a tauntaun sleeping bag from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back! If you’ve ever fantasized about being a beat up (almost) Jedi that needs the warmth of a tauntaun’s innards for survival, your dream has come true.

C’mon, I know at least one of you is going to pick this sleeping bag up. Admit it!

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Shigeru Miyamoto Speaks on New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Legendary Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto addressed a crowd of Japanese retailers to assuage any fears that New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be anything but a blockbuster hit. According to a Games Maya manager, Miyamoto said:

It’s a Mario that will continue selling even after one year has passed.

New Super Mario Bros

It’s interesting that Nintendo felt that trotting out Miyamoto was necessary. I can’t imagine the game doing anything but ridiculous numbers, but Andriasang’s Anoop Gantayat (hi Anoop!) feels that some retailers might be concerned with Super Mario Galaxy not selling as well as previous Mario games. I think those retailers should have their heads examined — New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be a fun game that appeals to gamers of all ages and skill levels. I will stand on my head if it doesn’t sell millions of copies.

Are you dudes and dudettes looking forward to this game? Or do you think it’s a case of Nintendo selling the same title over and over again?

Source via Andriasang

T-Mobile Sidekick Data Vaporization Update!

T-Mobile Sidekick Tony Hawk edition

On Sunday, I wrote about a service disruption that zapped the data of T-Mobile Sidekick users. To make amends for the loss, T-Mobile is offering its users a free month of data service and a $100 gift certificate. The company updated its forum post with the following:

In the event certain customers have experienced a significant and permanent loss of personal content, T-Mobile will be sending these customers a $100 customer appreciation card. This will be in addition to the free month of data service that already went to Sidekick data customers. This card can be used towards T-Mobile products and services, or a customer’s T-Mobile bill. For those who fall into this category, details will be sent out in the next 14 days – there is no action needed on the part of these customers. We however remain hopeful that for the majority of our customers, personal content can be recovered.

A free month of service and $100 gift card? I’d still be pissed off. So much of my personal and business data is stored on my phone and in a Google cloud. If that were to suddenly vanish…well, like I said before, I’d probably break down and cry (whoa-oh-oh Sweet Child O’Mine). Then again, the Sidekick demographic is pretty young and I’m sure the percentage of those using one for work is pretty low. So maybe a high-school stud that lost the numbers of all his girlies would be perfectly satisfied with T-Mobile’s payout.

To all the “data disruption” victims and friends of said victims, is T-Mobile giving enough back to its customers?

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Dragon Age Origins Launch Trailer — Sacred Ashes

Okay, I’m pretty much a BioWare fanboy, so when the company says anything or releases new media — like a new Dragon Age: Origins trailer — I pay attention. Here are some official lines from the press release, followed by the video.

This trailer takes a look into a quest in search of the Sacred Ashes, where danger awaits the band of warriors in the glacial, jagged edges of a treacherous mountainside. Darkspawn assault the group, and pressed into action, the soldiers leap into battle. Using world-class skill, magic, might and outright brute force, the Darkspawn are being eviscerated; just when the situation appears to be under control, a massive Dragon – stunning in its size and might – swoops in and crushes everything in its path, threatening the very survival of the heroes. Check it out and let me know what you think (please)!

China Hates Foreign Game Investors

Chinese Flag

According to Katie Melua, there are nine-million bicycles in Beijing…and soon there will be zero money from foreign game investors. Reuters has reported:

China’s video game industry regulator the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and copyright watchdog issued a circular on Saturday prohibiting foreign investment in domestic online gaming operations through joint ventures, wholly owned enterprises and cooperatives.

The new directive also disallows foreign firms from indirectly influencing Chinese gaming firms through agreements or technology support.

Hundreds of game companies have been trying to take advantage of the billions of people (millions of gamers?) in China. It looks like the government has put a stop to that, at least in the online gaming space.

I have a few friends in Shanghai attending GDC China. Hopefully they’ll be able to dig up some more info on this development.

Source via Game Politics