Thursday, May 11, 2017

DotEmu's Vita & Switch Games Interview

This interview with the French video game studio DotEmu's CEO Cyrille Imbert touches on the upcoming Vita release of Ys Origin, physical releases through Limited Run Games, and future titles. Many thanks to all involved for taking the time to answer these questions. While there is some overlap, head over to RPGamer for some chat about the console side of DotEmu's RPG releases.

Michael A Cunningham (Pocket-Console): First off, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Recently you released Ys Origin on PS4 and soon on Vita. How did that deal with Falcom come about? Did you approach them with that specific game in mind or what? If so, what was it about Ys Origin that made you want to release it on consoles? (Editor's note: I'm thankful you did, as I love Ys Origin.)

Cyrille Imbert (CEO, DotEmu): Haha, I am glad that you liked it. Ys is a great RPG series. We first started to work with Falcom on Ys Chronicles I&II that we adapted to mobile. We came to Japan and proposed them this mobile project which they accepted. Mobile was a new market for them and as we already had nice references like Final Fantasy or Double Dragon, it was not too complicated. When we decided to expand to the console market, we thought that Ys Origin would be a great way to start. We presented the project to Falcom and even if they are familiar with the console market, they liked our vision of promoting the series in new languages, like French or Spanish. There was also a lot of possibilities in terms of UI improvements, screen ratio, achievements, etc. Finally, Sony really helped us out as well, as our main point of contact there is a huge fan of the series.

MAC: Did you handle any re-translation for this version or was the XSEED PC release dialogue used in full?

XSEED was really supportive and authorized us to use the English version they did as a reference for other languages. We knew their translation was top-quality, so we thought it would be great to ask them. I am glad we did!

MAC: We are excited for the Vita version that's still on the way, is it still on track for a May release? What challenges have you faced in bringing it to Vita?

Yes, the release will be on May 30th as announced, and we are really excited! The delay is due to the fact that we made the mistake of working first on PS4. As it is a game from 2006, the optimization work in terms of performances was not too big. However, when we started to work on the Vita, we saw almost immediately that the performance optimization would take us a long time, as the device is made very different. We miss-calculated that. But the build we have in the office now looks and feels great and I can’t wait to see people playing Ys Origin on the go.

MAC: Will there be UI changes on Vita, as there were some tiny icons even on PS4? Will load times be comparable to those on PS4?

Yes, we adapted completely the UI and tutorials in all languages, to provide the best portable experience possible. Also, as we had to do a lot of optimization work for the PS Vita, the load times should be the same or even quicker than on the PS4 version. By the way, the PS4 version will most likely be patched soon so players can enjoy the optimization work we did for the PS Vita.

MAC: Any plans to work with Falcom on future ports? The company still has a few PSP games, mostly the Legend of Heroes games, that would be great to see ported to newer consoles or PC.

That would be great indeed, we are working regularly with Falcom for Ys Origin and Ys Chronicles and we would definitely love to continue to bring their other licenses too. (TLoH: Trails in the Sky would be very, very nice for example ;) )

MAC: Can you talk about the limited edition of Ys Origin that will be released via Limited Run Games? Just an art book included with it or is there more? Will the PS4 and Vita versions have the same limited edition content?

Unfortunately I can’t reveal much for now, as we are still working on it, but you will be hearing about it very soon. Yes, both collector versions should have the same content.

MAC: How has it been seeing your games released in physical format?

It’s great! Thanks to Limited Run Games we have the opportunity to actually have something that we can hold in our hands. It is a great feeling and I think we will do more and more physical editions with our upcoming games.

MAC: What has it been like working on games for Vita? Ys Origin and Windjammers both look like great additions to the system.

The Vita is a device from 2012. That implies a lot of optimization work, even for games that are old. So we need to spend more time and extra care for this kind of work. However, the final result is great: coming from the mobile scene, we love the idea of people playing these games on the go. 

MAC: How is Windjammers coming along? Do you have a release window for it yet? Will both versions hit at the same time and both have online play?

We are going to release big news for Windjammers by the end of May. So no definitive release window yet, but if everything goes well, players will be able to throw flying discs at each other this summer. We are aiming for a simultaneous release, but as we learned with Ys Origin, we prefer to be 100% sure before confirming anything. 

MAC: On the publishing side of things, you've recently released Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap on Nintendo Switch. Was the Switch release handled directly by DotEmu and LizardCube or did you have third party help? What fun challenges arose from working on the Switch release?

The Switch release/publishing and project management was handled directly by DotEmu worldwide but we got help from our friends at Kakehashi Games for the Japanese version (same for other platforms). As for the game itself, Seavens Studio handled the Switch port with a lot of implication from Lizardcube. And they did a wonderful job, given the time constraint. Nintendo really supported us on this one and we are very grateful, it was kind of a dream to be on a new Nintendo platform.

MAC: What should fans of handheld games look forward to as far as future projects from DotEmu? Any hints or teases?

As for handheld devices, we are now fully operational to go for the PS Vita or the Nintendo Switch. So when it will make sense, we will of course do everything we can to have our future releases there as well.

Pocket-Console and #TeamHandheld would like to thank Cyrille Imbert and the DotEmu team for their support of the Vita and Switch, and also for taking part in this interview.

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