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RPGamer Feature - The State of NIS America Interview
NIS America
Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica
Platform:
Developer: Gust
ESRB: T
Release Date: 01.20.2009


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Mana Khemia: Student Alliance
Platform:
Developer: Gust
ESRB: E10+
Release Date: 01.20.2009


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A Witch's Tale
Platform:
Developer: Hitmaker
ESRB: N/A
Release Date: 2009


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X-Edge
Platform:
Developer: Compile Heart
ESRB: N/A
Release Date: 03.2009


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Welcome to the State of NIS America interview, our second in a series of at least three interviews with North American publishers. NIS America has been kind enough to answer our tough questions about their upcoming schedule of games and much more. So please make yourself at home and get ready for some wonderful information from Nao Zook, Jack Niida, and the rest of the NIS America crew.


Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica

For those that missed out on Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, does Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica require much knowledge of the first or does it stand on its own?
NIS America: Fortunately, Ar tonelico 2 does not require any knowledge from the first game to enjoy. Both the main story and the characters are all-new. However, there are many guest appearances from the previous game, so you will enjoy it a lot more if you have played the original.

The first Ar tonelico was full of sexual innuendo; does Ar tonelico 2 follow in the same footsteps?
NISA: Yes, and even more over the top this time. Keep a look out for all the innuendo and kinky little moments. We had a lot of fun localizing this part and it shows. You could call us idiots, but we'll do anything to make fun games.

What are some of the biggest gameplay improvements over the first game?
NISA: It's definitely the battle system. The original had a pretty unique system for a classic style RPG, but 2 has a quicker tempo and some action element to the battle. Your Reyvatails are more vulnerable to enemy attacks, so a lot more strategy is involved during combat. If you mindlessly just attack enemies, you won't get very far in the game.

In as many words as you need, let our readers know why they should rush out and pre-order Ar tonelico 2.
NISA: Limited to the launch, the game will come with a special bonus soundtrack and art book. These items are limited and will not go into reprint, so if you miss the opportunity you're gonna have to eBay them to get it. If you're either a fan of the series or like beautiful anime art it's worth getting the first release.

Mana Khemia: Student Alliance

We have to know, is the Wi-Fi multiplayer only via ad hoc, or can you play against people from all over the world?
NISA: The Wi-Fi multiplayer is for ad hoc only, but it helps when you need to fight powerful enemies. It's always easier to fight with another person than battling on your own.

Do you think Gust has any plans up their sleeves to port any more of their series' games, such as Ar tonelico, to the PSP?
NISA: That's a good question and at the moment we haven't heard much from Gust regarding future ports. Hopefully they have some titles up their sleeves 'cause Ar tonelico or even some of their older titles that never made it here to the states would be awesome.

Are there new quests and crafting recipes, or is multiplayer functionality and new items the only new additions?
NISA: There is a new battle tournament mode where you could fight to gain new rare items.

There were lots of complaints about the loading times of the Japanese version of this PSP title, so having the Jump Start option is a great addition. With Jump Start, how are the load times when compared to the PlayStation 2 version?
NISA: If compared to the PS2 version it's not as fast, but it is definitely faster than without enabling JumpStart.

A Witch's Tale

It was stated the game would be an action RPG developed specifically for western audiences, but not much else has been specified. Can you describe the gameplay for us?
NISA: It's tough to say since it's still under development, but one thing is for sure, the game has been changed to an RPG instead of an action RPG. The reason behind it is that the developer felt the world setting and story was better suited for an RPG that can be played for a long period of time, rather than a relatively short action game. We haven't seen the latest game just yet, so as soon as we get more info regarding this title, we will inform everybody.

Is there any estimated release for this title, or is it on hold?
NISA: At the current moment the release is going to slip back to the fall of '09. In fact, we may just wait for a Halloween release, which goes along with the setting of the game.

X-Edge

X-Edge just seems to have NIS America all over it. It features characters from Disgaea, Mana Khemia, Ar tonelico, Spectral Souls, and the Atelier series. I mean, come on, there are even Prinnies. When should we expect to see it in North America?
NISA: X-Edge is an interesting project since it's a collaboration between 3 different companies. It's pretty funny to see a little Prinny fight characters from Darkstalkers like Morrigan and Demitri.

The release date isn't finalized yet, but it's going to be in March 09.

General NIS America Questions

A little birdie told us that someone was finally getting brave enough to localize a game in the Sakura Wars series, mainly the fifth game in the main series for the PS2. Would that be NIS America, and what can you tell us about the game?
NISA: Haha, your birdie knows too much. Let's just say the game is in the works by an undisclosed company. I've heard somewhere that the game should come out in '09.

So, just curious. Since the PS2 refuses to die, should we expect Mana Khemia 2 to make it over here as well?
NISA: We haven't made any formal announcements, but yes please expect to see Mana Khemia 2. The game is definitely an improvement over the original, so please look forward to it.

I know the game is not really an RPG, but I have a couple questions about the upcoming Prinny game. Such as, where did the idea for this game originate?
NISA: That's a good question. This was actually our dev team's idea. They basically thought it would be cool to make an action game based on a Prinny. NIS tends to do all sorts of crazy things, so we weren't surprised, just delighted. Not only is the game hardcore, it's distinctively Disgaea, meaning lots of humor and ridiculous remarks.

Am I really going to have to use all 1000 lives to complete this game? Is it that hard?
NISA: YES, you will definitely need to have 1000 lives. Even on standard mode, where you can get hit up to 3 times, it is very challenging. It's quite difficult to describe the game play, so look forward to actually playing the game.

Is it going to have a deep, Disgaea-style story mode to go with the action gameplay?
NISA: Since Prinny is an action game, the story mode might not be as long and deep as Disgaea, but it definitely has its own charms and moments. If you enjoy Disgaea-style humor, you will love Prinny. (Lots of parodies and jokes)

If you are looking to broaden your horizons in terms of new systems, which direction are you most likely to pursue the hardest? Wii, Xbox 360, or PS3?
NISA: This is a very difficult question. Since we have to release our titles in both U.S. and Japan we have to think about 2 different markets. If we're only working here in the states we could pursue consoles like the 360, but since we have to worry about 2 different regions we can't release a 360 title in Japan. There's just not enough install base for a niche title like ours. Therefore, we have to first start with consoles like the PS3 and Wii. Hopefully, as our titles become better known, we can broaden our reach to all the platforms.

Are you planning to try to follow more of the current series that have been successful for you? We are mostly curious about recently announced Atelier Annie for the Nintendo DS.
NISA: 2009 is going to be an interesting year for us. We will release a brand new series that has never made it to the States. Your mentioning of Annie is a sharp guess. We can't say officially that we're going to bring the game over, but please look forward to what we have to offer next year.

Are there any plans from Nippon Ichi Japan to port any of their own games to the DS or PSP like they did with Disgaea 1? I think that something like Soul Nomad would be great on the PSP.
NISA: That's a fine question and we would love to know about it, too. JP likes to keep things quiet until the last minute, so who knows what they have up their sleeves.


Special statement from NIS America: "Thank you very much for this interview opportunity. We always appreciate your help and would also like to thank everyone who is interested in our titles."

RPGamer would like to thank Nao Zook, Jack Niida and the rest of the NIS America team for their time in answering these questions. NIS America looks to have an interesting 2009 lineup, so we cannot wait to see how things turn out. Keep an eye out here at RPGamer for future contests and other exclusives from NIS America.



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