E3: Special Q&A With Victor IrelandGaijinworks isn't just a logo: they have products on the way.06.04.09 - 3:48 PM
When Working Designs called it quits
in 2005, it wasn't long after that Victor Ireland had announced a new company called Gaijinworks.
However, as fans have anxiously awaited new games from Vic Ireland and crew, all we've had to look at for quite some time is the logo, as that's all Gaijinworks' official site has offered.
Today, Mr. Ireland made a special appearance at the Hudson booth (a smaller subset of the Konami booth) for E3. I had the opportunity to speak with him about Gaijinworks, Working Designs, Miami Law, and plenty of other topics.
As has been confirmed many times, Gaijinworks did work alongside Hudson to provide the localized script for Miami Law. Though Victor said often in our conversation that it "isn't our kind of game," this DS graphic adventure with real-time mini-games features similar gameplay to Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Trauma Center. I asked Vic how, or if, he was able to incorporate his unique brand of humor into such a dark, modern, and realistic game. He said that, obviously, situational humor was out, but smart writing allowed for the occasional humorous jab, and that the original Japanese version was not an entirely humorless script in and of itself.
Hudson confirmed with us that they're still planning to bring Tengai Makyou ZIRIA, also known as Far East of Eden: Tales of Distant Jipang, for Xbox 360 to North America. They first confirmed this news with us three years ago, at E3 2006. However, with no news, we had assumed the project was canceled (EDIT -- June 10, 2009, we were contacted by Hudson and were told that "active plans" to localize Tengai Makyou ZIRIA do not exist at present). I asked Victor about any potential role in this project, but he couldn't confirm or deny Gaijinworks' role. He did tell us, however, that he is a big fan of the series, and that he LOVES the PSP remake of Tengai Makyou: The Apocalypse IV. Whether or not that means he's trying to bring that game to North America? Again, he wouldn't say. But he did make it clear that HE LOVES THIS GAME (the bold emphasis is his).
Mr. Ireland explained to us that Gaijinworks plans to operate in a variety of functions. In the case of Miami Law, they acted as a consulting firm for Hudson to help with localization. Vic said he's happy to provide this asset to other companies, but that this isn't the full extent of Gaijinworks' scope. They also plan to fully localize and publish games on their own, and possibly even do development as a North American game studio.
When asked about the possibility of bringing Working Designs classics to the PlayStation Network, or other similar services, Victor Ireland was hesitant to give any official confirmation. But they are definitely "looking into it," and the possibility is there.
Victor also confirmed with us that, presently, Gaijinworks has three projects ongoing, and one of them (which is apparently quite a big deal) should be ready to announce in the near future. At that time, Vic said, the Gaijinworks website will go from *just a logo* to a real site with content coverage and sneak previews of the games they're localizing and/or publishing, starting with Miami Law and the as-yet-unannounced title.
Finally, we couldn't help but ask Vic about XSEED's announcement of localizing Lunar: Harmony of the Silver Star for PSP. He couldn't give any "official comment," mostly for legal reasons, but he did say that he has hopes that XSEED will provide a good product and that the fans will enjoy this new iteration of the game.
So if you're an old fan of the Working Designs classics, and you hope to see that unique brand of dynamic translation back in your JRPGs, look no further than Gaijinworks in the coming months and years. They have plenty of products in the works, and even more potential projects in "discussion phase" at the present. Who knows what the future will hold for Victor Ireland's new company? Whatever happens, we'll be sure to keep you posted.
Update (06.10.09): After the show, Hudson has confirmed no active plans to localize Tengai Makyou: ZIRIA.