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R P G A M E R   -   R O U N D T A B L E

Topic II: How to Make it Big
07.05.2005

J_Sensei: So, moving on to the next topic

J_Sensei: Since Nippon Ichi was a rather small company that few had heard of before they hit it big

J_Sensei: What does it take for a company to really go from being small to being famous enough for people to talk about them?

Toran: One superb game it seems.

XeroZohar: Good games. Plain and simple

Martyr: One of the big reasons is also one of the obvious reasons: Make good games, and make many of them.

ZeroSlash: Agreed

Limdallion: For me at least, it feels like Nippon Ichi became a famous brand name because its games were so recognizable

Lord_Klaxor: Like the music industry, one big hit will do it. But you have to make sure not to become a one hit wonder

Dracos: Eh.

Dracos: One big hit will get attention.

Dracos: One big hit.

Dracos: But...

Dracos: It takes more than that to stay on it.

J_Sensei: But what is required to put yourself on the map?

Martyr: Doing something a bit different with your games are good too. While sometimes it may be less risky financially to do the same thing as everyone else, doing things differently can pay off in a big way.

Diamond_: Yeah, NIS put out several games of critical acclaim in quick succession, like Jay-Z does with songs and albums.

XeroZohar: Risk is reward.

BorgmanJayce: Rave reviews and good hype, especially outside Japan and America

ZeroSlash: To put out good games consistently

Limdallion: Like I said, recognizable games

Dracos: going back to the 90s, id used to be a small shop.

Lord_Grifter: You definitely have to work with your strengths and be able to follow up with similar success

Toran: True, Disgaea put them on the map, and La Pucelle and Phantom Brave cemented their spot

Dracos: Doom put them on the map, to be sure.

J_Sensei: yeah

J_Sensei: Id was small

Dracos: but they followed it up with a line of games that sold very well.

Dracos: and kept fighting to stay in the attention focus.

Lord_Klaxor: I remember downloading the trailer for Disgaea and instantly realizing that the title was going to be something special. At the time i thought it was a total atlus project though.

Lord_Grifter: Word of mouth can be a powerful thing, especially as more titles are released

J_Sensei: What about some of these companies that are splitting off of a bigger company?

Dracos: The tribute of a title is not in its own sales.

Dracos: but in how the next game goes.

BorgmanJayce: I find it interesting that NISA's games are popular in Europe

Limdallion: How so, Jayce?

Lord_Klaxor: Gamers are gamers everywhere ^^

Dracos: NISA's games are pretty good. Thus folks will like them. When you are referring to a starved gaming hole like Europe especially.

BorgmanJayce: They've had good reviews in all kinds of magazines everywhere in Europe, especially the UK although as I mentioned before, some people aren't happy at the fact that there's no Japanese voice option in the Euro releases...

Limdallion: Another topic to consider: advertising - I think Steven would have had something to do with how NIS games are advertised in North America

Dracos: As history has shown time and time again.

Dracos: While vocal, those who care about the japanese voices are a minority. We like it, but we've never been the majority and never will be.

Dracos: Folks by and large prefer their own language first and foremost.

Toran: I think the humor in NISA's titles really help to appeal to gamers everywhere, that and the stat maxing

Dracos: Anime has been showing this for thirty years or so.

ZeroSlash: I beileve that the prinnies helped make NIS's popularity in that I've hardly ever talked about an NIS game and not mention the prinnies

Lord_Klaxor: personally I'd rather that life was in japanese with english subtitles ^^

Diamond_: You can't hold the best stuff down, the best always finds some way to make it.

XeroZohar: d00d

Limdallion: Do you think most Japanese companies are aware of this demand for Japanese voice acting in North American and European releases?

BorgmanJayce: I've nothing against the English voices myself, especially as far as Disgaea and Rhapsody are concerned but it is a bit odd that the Americans should have Japanese voices in their releases and not the Europeans...

ZeroSlash: That is rather odd

BorgmanJayce: Gotta love the prinnies, d00d!

Diamond_: *exploding penguins*

J_Sensei: So, does that mean for a company to hit it big, all they need is something like a Prinny to become famous?

ZeroSlash: It's hard not to be popular when you've got a lovable animal character

Diamond_: It doesn't hurt, look at Moogles and Chocobos, and Pikachus...

XeroZohar: You, too, can have a hit game for only Prinnies a day!

ZeroSlash: Much like Squares Chocobos, moogles and tonberries

Limdallion: Prinnies have a lot going for them. They're cute, they're penguins, they say d00d, they explode, and they reoccur in multiple games.

Toran: That, and then to keep the quality of that first game, and expand upon it

madhtr: You have to keep in mind that disc-size restrictions come into play. When these games are published in Europe, there are more than just english translations on the disc.... so less space for Japanese dialogue

Lord_Grifter: Well, mascots usually give a recognizable aspect to whatever they're representing

Dracos: Um.

J_Sensei: How does one design a macsot?

J_Sensei: Is it enough that it's cute?

J_Sensei: Does it have to be funny?

ZeroSlash: If a cute design goes along with the game I believe that helps a lot

Diamond_: Think of the cutest stuff possible then make the monster (or whatever) the deadliest random encounter foe in the game.

Limdallion: The most successful mascots seem to appear cute and harmless but are capable of being very dangerous: Pikachu lightning, Prinny explosion

Dracos: Ahem.

XeroZohar: Well, it has to be memorable in some way. Cuteness is just the easy way out.

Dracos: Mario.

Toran: Something that has broad appeal, and can draw people in. Cuteness wouldn't hurt too

ZeroSlash: Black Frost from SMT:Nocturne

Dracos: A mascot doesn't hurt.

Lord_Klaxor: Everyone needs a mascot :)

Lord_Grifter: I'm not really an expert on mascots, but anything that distinguishes them from others will make them more memorable

Dracos: But it is a small part of it.

ZeroSlash: actually Jack frost is SMT/Atlus's mascot

Limdallion: I don't think Mario has anything going for him except starring in so many popular games.

Diamond_: Color choice is key.

Diamond_: Would we look at Sonic the same way if he was green or orange? Dracos: A memorable set of characters is key.

Dracos: Disgaea wasn't just "Prinnies are cool".

Toran: Sonic was a big hit because of his 'tude. He wasn't cute, but he was different.

Dracos: It had a lot of neat and interesting characters going into it.

J_Sensei: Yes, but how many of us can hum the Chocobo theme right here and now?

Dracos: I can.

Toran: Maybe...

* XeroZohar: can

* Lord_Klaxor raises hand

J_Sensei: Exactly

ZeroSlash: Yeah, it's hard to forget Laharl with his laugh, Flonne because she was so cute, and the scheming Etna

Dracos: Nin.

Dracos: Nin.

Dracos: Nin.

Dracos: =)

XeroZohar: Yeah, mascots are only part of the "formula", if you can even call it that.

J_Sensei: That's a mascot that we ALL know and recognize to the point of knowing its song

ZeroSlash: LoL

J_Sensei: Should Prinnies get a song?

Lord_Klaxor: something violent

ZeroSlash: They do. Red Moon

Lord_Klaxor: like the Rambo theme

Diamond_: yeah, something from Fatboy Slim

J_Sensei: Yeah, but Red Moon isn't really a theme song

Dracos: Japan: Eeh.

ZeroSlash: True, but my friend and I always sing it to freak everyone out during a D&D session

Dracos: I would state that the Final Fantasy Prologue and Prelude are far more recognizable.

Toran: That's true

Dracos: And have far more effect than the chocobo mixes.

J_Sensei: That's true.

Diamond_: true, I'm listening to the FF7 soundtrack right now

XeroZohar: Sure, Dracos.

J_Sensei: So, to make it big, a company needs a mascot and a memorable theme song?

Dracos: No.

Dracos: That's offbase.

XeroZohar: People who love their jobs. I think that's what you need.

Lord_Klaxor: A really good title first and foremost.

J_Sensei: well right

Lord_Klaxor: mascot and theme song just puts it over even more

J_Sensei: but in that first title

Diamond_: not necessarily, they are just things that can help grab peoples attention

ZeroSlash: There really just ingredients for a good game

Toran: Quality, and something that catches the player's attention is what is needed, in the first title.

J_Sensei: Are those things extremely important

Dracos: A Mascot is nice.

Dracos: But

Dracos: I urge a glance at EA.

Dracos: what is their mascot?

Dracos: What is their theme song?

madhtr: Madden

Lord_Klaxor: no its, "its in the game!"

Dracos: Madden is one of hundreds of titles.

Diamond_: yeah, EA is pretty soulless though

XeroZohar: Are you ready for some football?

Limdallion: Madden is their mascot?

madhtr: EA SPORTS ..... Yeah, what LK said

Dracos: Klaxor: They abandoned that 2 years ago.

* Toran_ shudders...Madden as a mascot...

Dracos: Which was among the dumbest moves they made.

Dracos: They replaced it with Challenge Everything

Lord_Klaxor: yeah considering I can still remember it

Dracos: but that's a slogan.

J_Sensei: And we all know it

Dracos: It was a reaaaallly good one.

Diamond_: Buying the NFL rights, no competition

Dracos: But I was more making a point.

J_Sensei: But as soon as you asked about EA

Dracos: Being big isn't about the kitchz.

J_Sensei: Madden popped in my mind as a mascot of sorts

BorgmanJayce: And don't forget the rumors about them buying Ubi Soft

ZeroSlash: I'm suddenly reminded of the VGcats comic about EA

Limdallion: Notice: Maybe we should get back on a topic

Dracos: It isn't about the mascot. it isn't about the theme song.

Dracos: In the end it is just about making the games that really entertain people and selling them effectively over and over again.

Toran: It's about the game itself, the rest are just extras

J_Sensei: So, we're making a new game

J_Sensei: what is needed to make it a hit?

J_Sensei: So a fledgling company can make it big?

Limdallion: I think many games under emphasize having a story; or maybe I'm just partial to RPGs

ZeroSlash: If we already have a following, something to please the current fans

Toran: Addictive gameplay, Memorable characters (mascot or no), and good dialogue

Dracos: If there was a simple formula to dictate success.

Dracos: everyone would follow it

ZeroSlash: That's true

Lord_Grifter: if you don't have several million dollars to spend just on advertising, then you're going to have to make it entertaining for the players

Dracos: and we'd all be sitting around smoking our cuban cigars we lit with 20 dollar bills.

Limdallion: Advertising seems to make a big difference; look at Fable

Dracos: Advertising makes a huge difference.

Dracos: People can't buy what they don't know about.

ZeroSlash: And Final Fantasy

Diamond_: Dracos, somehow I think that's what the EA offices look like

Dracos: And word of mouth, while great, only goes so far.

BorgmanJayce: I never got the point of adverts for certain games like Fable...

Limdallion: I don't think RPGs need to advertise as much because they appeal to a niche market that finds out about these games on their own

Dracos: That's totally wrong.

Dracos: Square Enix made themselves huge by advertising.

J_Sensei: That's true.

Limdallion: Well Square Enix is so big that it appeals to almost every gamer

J_Sensei: They do advertise so much.

ZeroSlash: Final Fantasy: Spirit's within comes to mind

Diamond_: Well Fable was huge I think because people were thinking "Yes, now the Xbox has an RPG".

madhtr: They didn't use to be big though

Toran: New RPG series need the advertisements a lot more than established long running ones though.

Dracos: I'm certain that the folks at Nisa would LOVE to have that kind of advertising budget.

XeroZohar: A good game is more important than a good commercial. Get them both, then you'll be talking major bucks.

madhtr: They used to have to rely on Sony and EA.... Now they rely on their marketing skills

Limdallion: I don't know about that, Disgaea's success was mostly due to word of mouth advertising

J_Sensei: But, since we are quickly running out of time, we should move on to our final topic.

J_Sensei: But first, any parting thoughts on how to make it big?

XeroZohar: I reallize this sounds sappy, but I still say, if you love what you do, you'll succeed.

Diamond_: No doubt, "And now the most anticipated event in Media, will not be coming to a theater near you"!

Toran: Making it big is all about appeasing the audience.

Lord_Klaxor: "If you build it, they will come"?

BorgmanJayce: Considering that it's highly likely to come out in English

Limdallion: Know your market

Dracos: No.

Toran: If you build it right.

BorgmanJayce: That, plus it had good music...

Dracos: I promise you guys there are more games that are truly awesome that you've never ever heard about.

Dracos: Word of mouth goes a good way.

Dracos: but it can only go so far.

J_Sensei: Ok

XeroZohar: Yes

ZeroSlash: True

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