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Victor Ireland talks benefits of crowd-funded JRPGs

Head man of Gaijinworks says "sky is the limit" if this succeeds

Kickstarter is increasingly being used by game developers as a way to reach niches that are otherwise uncovered. For Victor Ireland of Gaijinworks (who is trying to fund Class of Heroes 2) it alleviates the problem of dealing with skeptical partners while trying to bring JRPGs to the US.

"We're actually in the publishing position, and we have no doubts," said Ireland. "The doubt for a niche localization publisher in this position traditionally comes in from either the Japanese publisher (doubtful of licensing or asking crazy license fees), the retailers (not interested in stocking adequate product, sometimes 1 per store or less), or the console maker, who must approve a product that will take up space on their retailer's shelves and may not approve it so they can reserve shelf space for more mainstream product."

"Kickstarter for a direct to fan physical publishing model solves two of the three, and a lot of discussion and a track record in the segment helps with the doubting Japanese publishers," he added. "One of our goals in getting this Kickstarter to the funding goal is to make it easier to convince them that this is a viable model, making ongoing and future negotiations for other products we're targeting easier."

Ireland admits that getting the original Japanese rights holders to buy into this plan is not easy, but he's optimistic for the future. "If we can succeed and get this to fund, it will help move publishers we're talking to off the fence and everything gets a little easier for the second time," detailed Ireland. "We could have kept talking to all of them to try to get a different game for another 6-8-12 months, but that would have been no guarantee of success, either, and the PSP was already fading in the US market. So we found a great partner in Acquire to get this done now and get the ball rolling. Its success is key to helping us start checking off other games in our long last of titles we want to do and making them a reality."

"Fortunately the Vita's PSP compatibility helps widen the market for PSP RPGs, and that's one reason we're still looking at PSP RPGs," he added. "There's so many good ones in Japan that need to come over."

Ireland hopes that this will lead to more projects in the future, though he admits, "The only negative in this situation is if we don't fund. That can make it harder for console JRPGs to do this. But if we get the fan support to fund? In that situation, the sky's the limit, because we can go back to all the Japanese publishers we're talking to or negotiating with that are 'on the fence' for other titles we and the fans we've heard from want and show them that the process works and there are fans out there for these titles willing to support them. We're starting with the title on our list with the smallest base, so if we can succeed in funding it, we can certainly get more support much quicker for other titles that are better known."

Find out more in the full interview on [a]list.

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David Radd avatar
David Radd: David Radd has worked as a gaming journalist since 2004 at sites such as GamerFeed, Gigex and GameDaily Biz. He was previously senior editor at IndustryGamers.
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