The 4/1 2021 issue of Weekly Famitsu includes an interview with Nihon Falcom CEO and producer Kondo Toshihiro and Nippon Ichi Software CEO Niikawa Souhei regarding the partnership between Falcom and Nippon Ichi in bringing Falcom’s games to the Nintendo Switch.
The interview begins with Kondo saying that while Falcom should have developed Switch versions alongside the originals, this takes very long as they are a small company. As such, they focus on the original versions while leaving ports to partner companies. The schedule for work on new games is filled for years ahead, and they simply do not have any resources left over to work on Switch ports.
Falcom had received many proposals for localised versions, and Kondo says that amongst them Nippon Ichi Software and Clouded Leopard Entertainment felt the most “passionate”, and so Falcom entrusted localisations to them. Additionally, as both NIS and CLE have experience with the Switch, Kondo thought that leaving Switch ports to them would result in a faster job than Falcom doing it themselves.
Niikawa says that he had been asking Kondo to let NIS handle localisations of their games for a long time; since shortly after Kondo took his current position. Kondo says that this was not possible back then because their overseas sales were being handled by a different company at the time, but the situation changed and they ended up having to look for a new localisation company, and went with NIS for the overseas release of Ys VIII. After that, NIS proposed a Switch port, and Falcom entrusted it to them.
It is pointed out that CLE is also releasing Switch ports of Cold Steel games, and Kondo is asked about the background for this. He says that CLE’s CEO Chen used to work for Sony Interactive Entertainment, handling localisation of Japanese titles for Asia, and Falcom had worked with her then. When Chen went independent and started CLE, she contacted Falcom about localising their games for Asia, and they accepted.
The interview notes how CLE is handling the Switch ports of Cold Steel 1 and 2, while NIS handled the ports of 3 and 4, and asks if the three companies worked together to make this happen. Niikawa says this was not the case: NIS, figuring that players should be able to start with Cold Steel 3 and still enjoy the games, got the licenses for 3 and 4 first; CLE got the licenses to 1 and 2 after that. He says that it would have been odd to not have all four of the games on the console, though, and says that it was ultimately a good thing that CLE picked up 1 and 2.
Kondo adds that he was worried about starting with 3 on the Switch, thinking it would have been better to go in order.
There was a fan holding up a sign saying “Crossbell when” at an event he attended
Plans for future ports and localisations are discussed next. Kondo says that while most of Falcom’s games have been ported to multiple platforms, Nayuta no Kiseki was not, and they wanted to do it. He also says that they want to bring Zero no Kiseki to fans in North America, bringing up how there was a fan holding up a sign saying “Crossbell when” at an event he attended there, which made him feel that they ought to do something about that as soon as possible.
They want to bring Zero no Kiseki to fans in North America
The interviewer asks if Falcom is going to proceed with the current stance of developing primarily for the Playstation, with Switch versions being ports, and Kondo says that while this might change in the future depending on circumstances, that is the case for now. In any case, the staff who join Falcom do so wanting to work on their flagship titles, and so he feels that they should leave ports to other companies.
Finally, Kondo says that thanks to the partnership with NIS in the past 7-8 years, Falcom has been able to have more people both in and outside of Japan play their games, and they plan to work with their partners to continue to spread their games.
What Falcom games do you want to see ported or localised? Let us know in the comments below!