With the announcement of a PC port of the original Disgaea, Nippon Ichi Software joins the growing list of Japanese publishers and developers willing to port their games to PC (mostly through Steam). It also further shrinks the list of Japanese companies that have yet to do so.
It seems ever since Steam provided a more stable platform within PC gaming for publishers to support almost 10 years ago, there’s been a change in how Japanese companies approached the western PC market. One of the first signs was how the quality of Capcom’s PC ports leapt forward with games like Lost Planet and Resident Evil 5. More recently, even the niche companies like Compile Heart, Acquire, Idea Factory, and Nihon Falcom are putting their games were western PC owners can more easily get them. Disgaea in particular in my opinion is a huge win because as I went over in a previous post, tactical RPGs will probably find a more welcoming audience on PC than anywhere else in the western market.
By my (admittedly quick) reckoning, if NIS commits to putting its library on PC, that leaves Gust (the Atelier series), Vanillaware (Odin Sphere), and Atlus (Persona) as the last three significant Japanese game companies not releasing anything on PC in the west. Vanillaware is already talking about it.
Atlus is of course the big one. Its western division has published other developers’ games on Steam, but nothing from Atlus internal development is on modern PC distribution channels yet. The Persona franchise is probably the biggest among the “niche” Japanese RPGs out right now, to the point where many don’t consider it niche anymore (I still don’t think it’s hit thoroughly mainstream poularity yet). Persona 5 is honestly one of the main reasons I might get a PS4 in 2016.
I haven’t done enough research to actually figure out why Atlus hasn’t hopped on the bandwagon yet. People are probably hoping its new parent company SEGA will have an influence though. SEGA was one of the earliest Japanese supporters of Steam — mostly through its western-developed games but also through a lot of its Japanese ones. On the day the change finally does happen, I imagine it’ll start with older games like what NIS is doing right now. Maybe one of its older dungeon crawlers or something.
Outside Atlus I don’t know much about Gust to be honest. I haven’t played any of the developer’s games but I’ve looked it up enough to know Koei Tecmo owns it now, and KT has been making a hard push on Steam. One last niggling absence I’ve noticed are Namco’s fighting games. Fighting games have definitely seen growth on PC in recent years, but it’s pretty much just been 2D fighters (and Dead or Alive). Namco seems to be willing to see how everything will perform on PC except Tekken.
Now if we can just get Final Fantasy Tactics on Steam…
- A nice Clint Hocking interview from Gamesindustry: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-11-16-you-have-to-be-shipping
- A friend of this blog now has a new page: http://tmblr.co/ZtCYWy1y9LWiX