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RPGLand Interviews Souhei Niikawa of NIS America on Disgaea, Philosphy, Franchises

By Janelle | January 8, 2014 at 6:41 am

RPG Land got a chance for an in-person meeting with Souhei Niikawa, president of Nippon Ichi Software & NIS America and talk shop.

RPGLand: How has Nippon Ichi’s development process been altered by the rapidly changing game market?

Mr. Niikawa: Well, we try to make our games so that they can be compatible with many different kinds of hardware, so that they can be played by many different people.

RPGLand: Many companies nowadays have been feeling pushed–some would say “forced” –into smartphone and tablet development. Has Nippon Ichi been feeling the same pressure?

Mr. Niikawa: We’re not really feeling any pressure. But we think we can learn things from smartphones and social gaming, so we are putting a little bit of work into those aspects, so we can learn and absorb things from the process. But our main focus will still be home console games.

RPGLand: In an era where anything and everything from action games and shooters to social games are using RPG mechanics, how can Nippon Ichi’s pure RPGs stand out from the crowd?

Mr. Niikawa: Our way of thinking is that an RPG isn’t just something that uses leveling and gaining experience. It’s more about raising a character that you like, making them stronger and putting your time into that is the fun of RPGs and that’s what they should be about.

RPGLand: You can see that philosophy emerge in the Disgaea series.

Mr. Niikawa: That’s what we’re striving for.

RPGLand: Speaking of the Disgaea series, the Disgaea canon just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The number of worlds, characters and so forth has been expanding. There have been cross-game cameos, but is there any chance of something bringing them together in the future, like a kind of “Disgaea All-Stars,” if you will?

Mr. Niikawa: We would love to do something like that. We announced something like that, Makai Wars, but we haven’t worked on it in a while. I do want to work on a game with not just Disgaea characters, more like NIS All-Stars or something.

RPGLand: The Witch and the Hundred Knight had some delays and difficulties. How was developing it, an action RPG, different from the types of things that NIS usually develops, like tactical RPGs and Roguelikes?

Mr. Niikawa: The biggest problem was the 3D. Aside from that, we had gained the knowhow from all the other titles we’ve worked on over the years, so it was almost entirely the 3D. Encoding the 3D graphics was the most difficult, by far.

RPGLand: But you’re happy with how it turned out?

Mr. Niikawa: Yeah, we did it, I think. Since the days of the PlayStation, the industry has been moving towards 3D, and the technology has been getting bigger and bigger. It’s good that we did a 3D game, because for the last 15 years, since the PS1, we’d been slacking off in that department. So in that regard, us creating a 3D game like that in a year or two was kind of crazy.

RPGLand: Thank you so much for your time today. Do you have any messages for your fans?

Mr. Niikawa: Regarding Disagea, people who have played it in the past and haven’t been able to play it recently, we’d be happy if they would be able to come back and re-enjoy the Disgaea world. We also want franchises like The Guided Fate Paradox and The Witch and the Hundred Knight to become a staple of our lineup in the future, so we want our fans to help those franchises grow. It would be awesome if everyone could cheer us on and support us.

Topics: Disgaea, Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness, Interviews, Nippon Ichi, NIS America, NISA, The Guided Fate Paradox, The Wtich and the Hundred Knight