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Ryan Phillips on Hyperdimension Neptunia
The first two Hyperdimenion Neptunia games have come and gone (and now some of them are going for a lot of money online), but I can't stop thinking about them. There's also the matter of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, the forthcoming installment in the series. With all of that happening, I thought it was the perfect time to ask some questions about the series so far, and about its potential future.
To help make that happen, I got in touch with Ryan Phillips. He handles PR at NIS America, and he cheerfully answered all of my questions. I hope you find the answers as interesting as I did!
Q: How has the Hyperdimension Neptunia series performed since NIS America decided to localize the series? Is it doing about as expected, or has its success come as a surprise?
The Neptunia series has been really well received with the NISA fanbase, and it's also gaining more recognition in the RPG world. The title sold pretty well for us when it first launched in early 2011, and we’re really excited to see how Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory will do in spring 2013!
Q: Does the size of the audience for Hyperdimension Neptunia appear to be growing, or is it staying about the same?
The fanbase is definitely continuing to grow for the series. The characters really do have an appeal to them, and since they're based off of actual video game consoles, they carry a definite nostalgia factor as well. We have continuous Neptunia series avatar requests coming in on both our website and the PS Blog, so there definitely is a strong fanbase in the US and Europe. (By the way, new Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 avatars will be out next month on the North American PSN!)
Q: If enough people pester you for Xbox 360 or perhaps Wii U or Vita editions of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games, is that something you’d try to make happen? Or is that all up to Compile Heart?
Unfortunately, since we don’t do the development, compatibility for different consoles is something that will have to take place over at IDEA FACTORY & Compile Heart. We’d love to eventually see a cross-platform release of this series; however, it ultimately depends on the developers.
Q: There is a version of Hyperdimension Neptunia selling online that was published in the UK, but sealed North American copies aren't readily available at retailers like Amazon.com for their original MSRP. Is another North American printing in the cards?
At the moment we don’t have any plans to reprint the original Hyperdimension Neptunia for North America. If anything changes in regards to this, we’ll definitely let all the fans know!
Q: NIS America is well-known for its special editions, but finding those editions online is becoming increasingly difficult (especially where Hyperdimension Neptunia is concerned). Has anyone thought about increasing the number of copies that are made available near launch?
We recently have been doing more Limited Edition versions for our games, exclusive to our online store. The first Hyperdimension Neptunia Premium Edition was sold at retailers, but starting with Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, we began doing the NISA Online Store exclusive LE’s. We try our best to make sure all our hardcore fans are kept in the loop in regards to our inventory through our newsletter, since a few of the LE's actually completely sold out before launch! We’re currently playing with the idea of a Limited Edition for Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory for the NISA Online Store, but we'll have more news on that soon! As for increasing numbers, as the series gets bigger and bigger it’s something we can get into, but since larger retailers aren’t selling the LE’s, it’s difficult to print them in larger numbers currently.
Q: Judging by compiled scores on sites like Metacritic, it seems like fans like the Hyperdimension Neptunia games around half again as much as critics do. That seems like an unusual gap. What are gamers finding in the series that critics aren't?
Since the art of the series is done in a Japanese anime style, I believe a lot of the real hardcore fans really appreciate the visual appeal and personality of each of the characters. I believe that the connection with the art and ties it has to Japanese animation and the video game industry does help create a stronger bond with the series for fans. The series itself is improving in gameplay and in regards to game mechanics, so again, we’re really excited to see where the series is going on the critic side as well!
Q: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is headed stateside in the first quarter of 2013, but the game arrived in Japan this past August. How long does it usually take to localize a Hyperdimension Neptunia title?
Localization does vary from title to title depending on a lot of factors – however, on the whole, the average turnaround time is about 6 months to fully translate, voice, QA, and finally release a title for sale.
Q: What can you tell us about Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory that we probably don’t already know?
The funniest thing I’ve seen in the game thus far is the character Plutia brutally beating enemies with her teddy bear. It’s cute AND hilarious! There are several new CPUs, some beloved returning villains, the new EXE Drive for giant killer moves, the Scout system to find rare items and new dungeons, and the Flag system to change what Scouts find...as well as change the items available to collect! More news on all of this soon!
I'd like to thank Ryan for taking the time to answer my questions. Do you have a lot of questions about any other recent or upcoming games that you'd like to see developers or PR people answer? Let us know in the comments section below. Maybe we can ask them on your behalf, and maybe the people who respond will be as helpful as Mr. Phillips!
Interview conducted by Jason Venter
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