Here we are with yet another “mark your calendars” moment. While Square-Enix USA continues to ignore the potential of re-releasing their PS1 cult classics digitally, other companies like Gaijinworks strive hard to bring us the best content of the older generation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Gaijin, you simply must know one thing: its founder is Vic Ireland, ex-head of the now-defunct Working Designs which was best known for the top-quality English localization of cult RPGs such as Alundra and Arc the Lad. If you’re familiar with both titles, then you’re in luck! Turns out that both of them are being released for PSN this Tuesday! Such a poetic moment indeed. When it comes to Working Designs’ RPGs, there’s nobody better to talk to than the former president himself.
Vic had some interesting commentary about bringing classics such as these to fans:
It’s more a question of ‘is it worth the effort’? It’s a complete pain in the butt to get older titles licensed and ready for PSN. If they only sell 5,000 or 10,000 or something, it’s hardly worth it after everyone takes their cut. If we’re selling 20 or 30k units (which is completely reasonable for an RPG at these prices and with the PS3 installed base), and up, it makes sense to keep grinding away at the other titles we’re working on and maybe even get some PS1 content that was never localized translated for first-time release. There are lots of possibilities, but they all hinge on sales of these first few titles, since they don’t get a whole lot better than this. If these won’t sell for $5.99, nothing will.
A sad reality, but so true. I, for one, did not know that licensing and re-releasing PS1 classics is “such a pain in the butt” as Vic puts it. I thought the process is as simple as pie judging by the extremely crappy titles as of late. At least it’s much easier than a full retail release, right? Is it just hard from Gaijinworks’ point of view, or does this apply to all other developers? If it’s the former, then I can see Vic’s point. I’m assuming that all the catalog Working Designs’ published goes right back to the original Japanese developers since the company no longer exists. In that case, then Arc the Lad is owned by SCEI and Alundra is owned by Matrix Software (Final Fantasy III & IV DS, Nostalgia). Arc the Lad should be a struggle to re-release while Alundra shouldn’t take much of an effort since Matrix Software are a small-time company. Unless…the Japanese publisher of Alundra, which is SCEI, owns the rights. That would be screwed up! Either way, I would really like to be enlightened on the matter myself. Are PS1 classics so hard to make a reality…and if so, why? How come Square-Enix USA continues to pass up titles such as Front Mission 3 and Vagrant Story while Square-Enix Europe re-releases both without reluctance?
Personally, I’ll be going for Alundra on release day. Everyone raves on this forgotten gem while I regret never playing it. I heard it’s sort of Zelda-like in nature….my kind of game! As for Arc the Lad, I also skipped on that amazing compilation Working Designs’ released at the end of the PS1 era, so I’m not familiar with the series at all. Are these games any good? If they are, you better support the PSN re-release of the first one so Gaijinworks gets to the next installment! If you’re reluctant to get either of these awesome games, then consider how Working Designs literally worked their butts off to license and localize some of the best RPG games of the past generations. Their efforts ultimately lead to their doom as the process and politics for each game release were long and hard. Now, the spirit and effort of Working Designs returns under a new moniker and easier route with really cheap prices. Consider your purchases as donations to a decade worth of effort!
Source: NeoGAF (via Siliconera)