Interview with XSEED Games

XSEED games is a new game publisher, composed of individuals who gained experience and expertise with other companies. Recently, the company announced the North American localizations of Wild ARMs 4 and Shadow Hearts: From the New World. We got a chance to ask a few questions to company President Jun Iwasaki, who is the former President and CEO of Square Enix, Inc.

RPG LandThanks for talking with us. Care to introduce yourselves?
Jun Iwasaki, President, XSEEDWe are a brand new publisher called XSEED. We just recently announced our first two titles for the North American market, Wild ARMs 4 and Shadow Hearts: From the New World, both for the PlayStation 2.

XSEED was formed late last year to provide marketing services, mainly for Japanese clients in the game/anime industries, with a long-term goal to become our own game publisher.

RPG LandSo, is there a special meaning to the name “XSEED?” How’d you come up with it?
Jun IwasakiThe “X” in XSEED points at many words such as experts, experience, extreme, expectation…
Those are all words we would like our clients to immediately think of when they come into contact with our group.
“SEED” points at each one of us, as we challenge ourselves to something we believe will grow, as well as the product we will be handling.

“Taking our past experience and bringing ourselves, our clients, and the products to full bloom,” is what’s in the name.

RPG LandWhat makes you unique in the world of game publishing? Mind going into the backgrounds of certain key staff members, perhaps?
Jun IwasakiAs you may have already seen, all of our staff has extensive experience in the game business, but more specifically, experience with RPGs. As a team, we have not only sold triple A million-seller titles, but have sold all ranges of RPGs. Knowing that not all games (RPGs) are going to sell by the truckload, we know what to look for and what makes a good, solid, quatliy title. Currently, our clients are Japanese developers, but the first thing we do is we play the games ourselves. By understanding the product by playing it with our own hands, we can form the communication concept and product proposal to our clients. We believe this worked towards our advantage in the case of Wild ARMs 4 and Shadow Hearts.

RPG LandAs far as we have experience, the start of any new organization comes with much excitement. What’s the general feeling around the XSEED offices right now? Are you guys as excited to bring us games as we are to play them?
Jun IwasakiWe sure are! We are very excited to bring over games to the US audience. Emails from gamers telling us how much they love us (already) provides motivation everyday!

RPG LandAfter you were founded in 2004, at what point did the studio begin to consider localizing Wild ARMs: The Fourth Detonator and Shadow Hearts: From the New World?
Jun IwasakiAs mentioned above, XSEED started off late last year doing marketing projects for Japanese clients (which we currently still do). The work ranges from advertising planning, creative, market research/evaluation/group testing to PR. Through our relationships and through these marketing services, we were fortunate to land these two titles earlier this year.

RPG LandAbout what percent complete are those two projects right now, would you say? (If you *can* say)
Jun IwasakiWe should see Wild ARMs 4 in January, followed by Shadow Hearts within the same quarter (1st quarter 2006).

RPG LandSince we’re an RPG site, we obviously noticed the two games you recently announced for localization are both RPGs. Will you be primarily focusing on this genre, or looking into other types as well?
Jun IwasakiEver since the announcement, we have received a lot of emails from gamers suggesting other games they would like to see localized. Although we cannot promise anything at the moment, we hope to expand to other franchises, genres and across other platforms in the near future. Obviously, having worked on over 30 titles of which most were RPGs and sold over 20 million units in the last several years, you can say that we know the genre very well. However, we will not limit ourselves and hope to be able to work on story-oriented titles including action/adventure games.

RPG LandDo you have an approximate idea of how many games you’d like to publish per year? We know this might change with time, but right now, in the early going, is there a figure you’ve got in mind?
Jun IwasakiAs many titles as possible! (Laughs)

Considering the amount of time necessary from initial evaluation to localization and then to the actual release (for RPGs), realistically speaking, four titles a year (one every quarter) would be ideal. But again, we are not limiting ourselves to just RPGs, so we may have more titles down the road.

RPG LandGreat. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Any closing messages for the readers?
Jun IwasakiThank you for the support you’ve already given us. Know that these are only the firsts from XSEED — continue to watch us grow!

RPG Land thanks President Iwasaki and all of the good people at XSEED for taking the time to participate in this feature, as well as doing what they do on a daily basis. Visit the website below for more official news, watch RPG Land for updates, and look for Wild ARMs 4 and Shadow Hearts: From the New World early next year.