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[Interview] Natsume and Kiyoshi Sakai discuss Yumi’s Odd Odyssey

Posted on February 16, 2014 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS eShop, Interviews

With Yumi’s Odd Odyssey’s North American launch just on the horizon, we spoke with Natsume’s Graham Markay and Kiyoshi Sakai, one of the series’ original developers. Topics include the game’s digital-only release, returning to the franchise after it had been dormant for so many years, and more. We also asked Natsume about a few other things such as Virtual Console and Wii U support.

We’ve split up the interview into a couple of pages – you’ll find Markay’s comments below and Sakai’s remarks on page two.

Would a North American release of a Umihara Kawase game have been rational five years ago, before the advent of the 3DS eShop?

GM: Actually, we planned to release Umihara Kawase Portable for the PSP back in 2008. However, we ran into some red tape and didn’t end up publishing it in the end. However, we definitely felt the game would have been a modest success, especially among hardcore gamers.

How did Natsume end up publishing Yumi’s Odd Odyssey? Did Agatsuma reach out to you or did you reach out to the developer?

GM: We met with Agatsuma last year, and we both quickly realized it was a great publishing match.

Some may be curious as to why Natsume opted for a digital release as opposed to going with a dual launch at retail. Can you speak about this decision?

GM: The great thing about digital distribution avenues like the Nintendo eShop is that we can take risks on games like Yumi’s Odd Odyssey without having to spend a lot of money compared to the cost of a physical production runs. If the Nintendo eShop didn’t exist, there would still be a chance we would pursue a physical release of the game, but, again, the risk/reward factor would be much more costly.

Is Yumi’s Odd Odyssey still on track for February? Has Natsume decided on a price point as of yet?

GM: Hopefully…Yumi’s Odd Odyssey is on track for an end of February or early March release, and the game will be $29.99.

Does the North American digital download release of Yumi’s Odd Odyssey suggest more niche titles from years past will be considered for localization?

GM: Absolutely! We actually released a JRPG with an old-school design called Mystic Chronicles and a robot battling/programming game called Carnage Heart EXA on the PlayStation Network last year, so it’s definitely something we’re interested in!

Natusme has shipped quite a few games on the 3DS thus far. Can fans expect more announcements for the system in the future? Perhaps news regarding localization for the latest Harvest Moon title…?

GM: Yes, the 3DS has done very well for us in terms of sales. We will definitely be announcing more titles for the 3DS in the future!

Natsume recently said that more classic Game Boy Color titles are planned for the 3DS eShop as Virtual Console releases, and the company has shown interest in supporting the just-announced Virtual Console DS service for Wii U. Are there any particular titles Natsume is considering for re-release on the eShops?

GM: We believe our back catalog of GBC and DS titles is very strong, so, to speak frankly, we will try to get as many of our back catalog games as we can on the 3DS eShop and Wii U eShop!

Does Natsume have any particular thoughts about the Wii U in terms of supporting the console?

GM: We’re definitely fans of Nintendo, and if a title came along for it that we were interested in, we’d certainly publish it.

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