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View Full Version : Interview with Hirameki Int's Shinichi Shimura


byndhrzn
2006-04-04, 15:35
Some of the more interesting bits

Anime Advanced: There have been recent rumors that Hirameki has acquired Air, a visual novel title developed by Key, can you confirm or deny this rumor?

Shinichi Shimura: Unfortunately, that is only a rumor. Of course, we would like to put out famous games that are well-known even in America including, but not limited to, Air. But to be honest, until we gain enough fans that the visual novel is established as a valid game genre in America, it will be difficult to convince the people who hold the rights to these games to let us release them overseas.
Shinichi Shimura: ...although this only my personal wish, I would at some point like to release a fully voiced PC version of Phantom of Inferno.
Shinichi Shimura: ...we are currently negotiating with quite a few game makers, so look forward to big things in the future.
http://anime.advancedmn.com/article.php?artid=2536

rodan
2006-04-04, 18:08
I guess typing A*R wasn't enough censoring to stop the rumor mill...

Anyways, he said that Ai Yori Aoshi and Ever 17 weren't selling well...
Well, I'd buy them, but I just don't know where to do it, besides online.

Leo_Otaku
2006-04-04, 19:33
I guess typing A*R wasn't enough censoring to stop the rumor mill...

Anyways, he said that Ai Yori Aoshi and Ever 17 weren't selling well...
Well, I'd buy them, but I just don't know where to do it, besides online.

I was at an amercian store called "Sam Goody" and saw a couple there. You can probably order to or check out what they got.

If you live in Canada maybe HMV or an anime DVD selling place.

inuyasha9854
2006-04-04, 19:47
Stores under the Sam Goody or Suncoast flag in America are being closed down. FYE - a large chain (just like Sam Goody and Suncoast, which were owned by the same company previously), bought the parent company for Sam Goody and Suncoast, and are closing them all. Really annoys me actually - got some nice people at out local Suncoast.

Carl
2006-04-04, 21:06
We ourselves are otaku
Not something you hear everyday from a Japanese person. ^_^

Vatina
2006-04-04, 21:23
Hmm to bad they if they aren't selling well....

I would have bought Ever17 this month, but then I found out that even Amazon won't ship it here T_T I'll have to see if I can try sending them a mail then... *sigh*

GreatSaintLouis
2006-04-04, 22:57
Stores under the Sam Goody or Suncoast flag in America are being closed down. FYE - a large chain (just like Sam Goody and Suncoast, which were owned by the same company previously), bought the parent company for Sam Goody and Suncoast, and are closing them all. Really annoys me actually - got some nice people at out local Suncoast.

All Suncoast or Sam Goody stores aren't being closed, just the underperforming ones. The parent company for the two has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was purchased by FYE's parent company; as part of the restructuring process they will be closing 341 San Goody and Suncoast locations across the US. Obviously, the ones to be closed are going to be the stores not turning a healthy profit, or the ones where operating costs (i.e. mall rent) don't justify the income. There may still be hope for your local stores yet.

rodan
2006-04-05, 03:58
Yeah, I got Hourglass of Summer from Suncoast last year...
But the one at our mall closed down.

So, who sells the PC games?

inuyasha9854
2006-04-05, 06:47
No hope at all - the closing signs are already up.

Spiritsnare
2006-04-05, 07:30
Stores under the Sam Goody or Suncoast flag in America are being closed down. FYE - a large chain (just like Sam Goody and Suncoast, which were owned by the same company previously), bought the parent company for Sam Goody and Suncoast, and are closing them all. Really annoys me actually - got some nice people at out local Suncoast.

Media Play, who also used to be partnered with Sam Goody and Suncoast, has had all of its stores shut down.

procyon
2006-04-05, 09:15
Its unfortunate that their latest titles are underperforming. I just picked up Ever17 from them at a convention, and have been slowly going through it. Its a surprisingly good read.

Asmadi
2006-04-05, 11:40
I would place it as more of a market problem than anything. The more conventions they go to bringing in copies to sell, the bettter they should do.

idofgrahf
2006-04-05, 23:39
they need to spend more money to advertise it and strike deals with stores such as Walmart, if you can get them to selve your item its pretty much guranteed to sell good. I mean I know of them because I check say jast often but your averge joe probably doesn't even know of its existance. Personally I would like to see Sakura wars translated and ported since its got game play as well as story and several licensced anime here it might do better.

Kefit
2006-04-06, 00:36
Yes, they need to put more effort into advertising, but not into places like Walmart.

I've had interest in this type of game for some time, but I had no idea who these guys were or what they were putting out until quite recently. I had seen a few of their products in Suncoast before, but had always been turned off by the DVD player format (in fact, this format confused me, as it made me have no idea what I was actually looking at - I figured it was a renai game, but weren't those for the PC or PS2?). Back in January I happened to read about Ever17 on this forum. I decided to give it a shot, and I absolutely loved it. Thanks to that I am now playing Hourglass of Summer, and enjoying it quite a bit.

Anyway, I guess they are hoping for casual anime buyers to pick up their product on an impulse off the shelves of Suncoast and the like, but that is never going to happen when Joe animefan sees stuff like Samurai Champloo or GITS on the shelves. These games are created for the same audience that enjoys moe/romance anime, and unfortunately those sorts of shows simply don't do very well at retail in the US. If those anime series cannot drive sales simply from being on store shelves, then these games sure as hell can't.

What I am getting at is that these guys need to make more effort to reach out to the more hardcore anime fan. As I said before, I had no idea that these guys existed until recently, and I consider myself quite knowledgable about both the US retail and online digisub anime scene. I know there are a good ammount of other people like me out there, and at this rate they will probably never even hear about Hirameki outside of fluke incidents like my own. If this keeps up, then their sales will never improve - they aren't going to have an audience for their games unless they takes steps to reach out and help create it. Presence at anime conventions is a good start (although their Sakuracon panel was rather...jumbled), but they are going to need to do more than that.

For instance, I've been thinking that somehow obtaining a KimiNozo license and then crosspromoting it with Funi's release of the anime later this year would do worlds of good for their sales, but unfortunately this idea is probably incredibly unrealistic.

procyon
2006-04-06, 10:47
At this point, I think word of mouth is probably their best bet. They seem to be showing up at the dealers room at anime cons the past couple years, which is a good start in getting the word out. Actually getting in contact with convention staff and offering to put on a couple panels, Q&A sessions, etc. about the genre itself would also be a good idea. It shouldn't be too hard either; conventions are always desperate for more content. They have their own community site, which is good, but they should have a staff person (or get some fan reps or something) on other boards (like this one), not to pimp their products, but to answer questions/do outreach.

Finding their stuff at retail is pretty hard, but with convention appearences and mail order (through themselves, and rightstuf and others), I don't think availability is a huge issue.

kouryuu
2006-04-06, 10:54
I have to agree, I think that's Hirameki's biggest problem, is getting themselves out to the fnas over here, I know I for one first saw them at Otakon, but back when they only had their lineup including Hourglass of Summer. I had no idea who they were or that they were selling Ren'ai... mainly because they can't get large name titles yet...

They should definately be putting on more panels or workshops at cons, and Advertise a little stronger than they are, at least at Cons. they need to let people know what they're selling in all honesty...

rodan
2006-04-06, 16:08
Phoenix Wright for the DS sold really, really well in the US, and to me, it was like a ren'ai game with lawyers.


Maybe if Hirameki strayed a bit further from Romance to a few action titles, then they could achieve the success they desire...


Anyone else thinking Fate/stay night would do well?

Shii(w
2006-04-06, 19:02
Phoenix Wright shows off the potential for American ADV, but Capcom already has all the resources they need to sell their games, whereas Hirameki is strapped for cash and spends close to nothing on advertising. They probably don't even have enough money to buy plane tickets for more cons. It's simply a question of getting the money to attract more customers, which is why they are literally begging fans to buy their games. I just got my copy of Ever17 and it certainly has the potential to be a hit; it's a sci-fi adventure, not a pure romance game as you suggest.

Personally, I think if they stopped using Xoops on their website, their fanbase could as much as double.

PyTom
2006-04-06, 19:13
Personally, I think if they stopped using Xoops on their website, their fanbase could as much as double.

Concur.

I also think it might help if they removed all of the legalese at the top of their site, so that it's possible to actually see the posts without scrolling down.

Of course, I'm not sure if the sort of people who post on their boards are the target market... They really need casual people to pick up the game.

Sir Alex
2006-04-06, 21:49
Phoenix Wright for the DS sold really, really well in the US, and to me, it was like a ren'ai game with lawyers.

Huh, what? I wish this was true, but the way I've always heard it was that Phoenix Wright's actual sales (in the US) were downright terrible, despite its glowing reviews. Everyone who played it loved it, but its print run was small and not many people picked it up...

Hmm, actual figures are hard to find. Some Googling turns this up:
http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=2853772#post2853772

procyon
2006-04-06, 22:05
Personally, I think if they stopped using Xoops on their website, their fanbase could as much as double.

Concur.

I also think it might help if they removed all of the legalese at the top of their site, so that it's possible to actually see the posts without scrolling down.

Of course, I'm not sure if the sort of people who post on their boards are the target market... They really need casual people to pick up the game.

Well, the people posting to their site are inherently the early adopters, so I would claim that they are the target market. They've entered a niche gaming market; I doubt it'll ever go mainstream. But I suspect that the niche can be just as profitable (?) as the other smaller gaming niches.

I suspect that they're in the unfortunate position that a large chunk of their target market (the more rabid anime fans, though people who like adventure games/IF would likely also be a viable market) doesn't even know that they exist.

Getting some reviews on sites that cater to these niches (someone mentioned the rpgfan review... I'm not sure if they instigated that or not, but thats the type of thing they should be doing) would help.

GreatSaintLouis
2006-04-07, 02:13
Huh, what? I wish this was true, but the way I've always heard it was that Phoenix Wright's actual sales (in the US) were downright terrible, despite its glowing reviews. Everyone who played it loved it, but its print run was small and not many people picked it up...

The sales were actually excellent for the game--so good, that it was hard to find a new or used copy NOT at riduculously inflated prices by mid-February. The initial print run was fairly small (I've heard something around 30,000 units, but that's just hearsay), but Capcom recently shipped a second printing of the game at the end of March. It's another one of those Disgaea stories, methinks, where the game ends up being a greater hit than was anticipated, and becomes exceedingly rare before a second print shows up from the publisher. Of course, with properties like Mega Man and Resident Evil, Capcom probably doesn't care one way or another how Phoenix Wright sells, but if an outfit like Hirameki can achieve similar word-of-mouth advertising and sales numbers, they ought to be doing pretty well.

Shii
2006-04-08, 22:37
I think I've figured out why Key asks so much for its games. Hirameki's copyediting skills are unfortunately subpar. If GP32 will remember the time he swapped "play" for "loadmp3" in my script, he'll be amused to know that Hirameki made the same slipup with "youth" and "Kid", turning sentences such as "I didn't want to leave you there" to "I didn't want to leave Kidere". If Key quotes some outrageous figure for Kanon, they will ensure that the licensing company has the money to pay for a superb translation of the kind Haeleth is producing, rather than a first-draft one. (Not to ridicule Hirameki's effort-- this is a novel-length story, after all.)

procyon
2006-04-08, 22:49
It took me a while to figure out what was going on with the 'you th' -> 'Kid' in the text. I knew there was some sort of search/replace error going on, but took me a bit to figure out exactly what.

A few other issues (largely some punctuation not mapping correctly) aside, Ever17 is a fair effort for the length and presumed budget/time constraints they were working under.

Never the less, errors like that don't reflect well on their company, especially since they are trying to essentially create a market. A patch that fixed these problems would be welcomed.

Edit: Looks like they also had a problem with 'Lemi' -> 'LeMMIH' ... one would think that they'd figure out how to refer to key things before starting to translate. At least they seem to be consistant through the script (or at least what I've seen... I've only cleared a couple paths through the game)

rodan
2006-04-09, 19:32
Hourglass of Summer had tons of slip ups and inconsistencies.
But they were just things like typing the wrong nametag and inconsistent localization of honorifics.

Nothing as hilarious as Search/Replace errors, though.