Interview: acttil, the new localisation company bringing us games from Japan

10 mins read
Recently, a small group of former NIS America staffers formed a localisation company of their own. acttil (stands for acceptance + creativity + teamwork + trust + innovation + love) is offering Japanese developers a full range of localisation and marketing services. With so many great games in Japan going unlocalised, we can’t help be excited with each new localisation company that emerges.

We sat down with one of the acttil co-founders, Nao Miyazawa, to chat about her vision for the company, get an idea of the kinds of games that we can expect from acttil, and find out why she left NISA to take on the risk of being a startup.

Digitally Downloaded: What inspired you to leave NISA and set up a publisher of your own?
Nao Miyazawa (NM): I wanted to do something new and different with the skills and knowledge I had gained during my time at NISA over the past eight years. I wouldn’t have been able to start a company all by myself, but fortunately for me Jack and Hiroko shared the same vision as I did, so we decided to do this together. We have unique skill sets, and we already know that we work great together as a team, so we are confident everything will work out. I know there will be a lot of ups and downs ahead of us, but I am ready and willing to take on any challenge!

DD: What will acttil do to set itself apart from the other localisation specialists?
NM: We are not only offering a full localisation service, but we can also handle the production and marketing sides, as well. In other words, you can expect us to handle the entire process, if needed.

DD: What kinds of games will you focus on bringing over to the west?
NM: We are not really focused on any specific genre at the moment, though our experience and strengths lie in the RPG genre. We are looking for something interesting, and something we can be confident that our audience will enjoy as well.

DD: How do you think your experience at NISA will help you with your new venture?
NM: Well, each of us has experience from A to Z when it comes to the publishing and business aspects of videogames. That being said, we were confident that we could start a new company without feeling lost. We will take one small step at a time as we build ourselves a better, brighter future!

DD: Localisation is a lengthy process – how do you manage this with a small team?
NM: We will do as much in-house as we can. When we have a big project that we cannot completely handle in-house, we will look for resources outside of the company. We know some people who have high-quality skills with translation and editing. We are confident we can offer quality localisations.

DD: What do you think will be the dominant trends in the Japanese games industry in the next year or two?
NM: It seems like many companies are starting to invest more in mobile or social networking games based on the current market trends. However, I have a high hopes for Japanese indie game developers who are making games for consoles and PC. I was following Bit.Summit, organized by James Mielke. It was inspiring, and I believe he took some remarkable steps forward for developers in Japan.

I once had the pleasure to work with Mr. Daisuke Amaya for the title Cave Story 3D while I was at NIS America. Being able to work with such an incredible individual was easily one of my most memorable experiences at NISA. He created an amazing game all by himself for PC, and he was able to provide a wonderful gaming experience to thousands of people. I went to GDC with him as a part of Cave Story 3D’s promotional efforts, and I was stunned and touched by how humble and nice he was! He was like a rock star at GDC. His fans surrounded him, asking for his autograph, and telling him that he inspired them to create videogames of their own. It was an awesome scene to witness. Anyway, I can’t say what will be the dominant trend in the Japanese gaming industry over the next year or two because I honestly don’t know. I don’t really enjoy trying to sound like I know things when I don’t… What I will say, however, is that I hope to see all the indie game developers out there get more energised and introduce more awesome gaming experiences to the world!

DD: A lot of fans of Japanese games would like to see the edgier games localised; the games that other publishers won’t touch for fear of upsetting the more conservative in the western games community. Do you see opportunities to take risks with these kinds of games at acttil?
NM: We want to bring products that we could show off and be proud of to our future children when we talk about what we did as acttil. That being said, Jack, Hiroko, and I unanimously decided as acttil members that we won’t work with any pornographic materials, or anything that sexualizes underage girls—or boys, for that matter. But if it’s not that kind of “edgier” material, and if we can be proud of the product, we are ready to take on an “edgier” game!

DD: You say that acttil will offer other marketing services to Japanese developers looking to localise their games. What marketing services specifically will they need?
NM: If any Japanese developers are looking for a marketing service in western regions, we will be able to help them with PR, social networking, promotional campaigns, advertisements, and events! We know how hard it is to be in Japan and try to market products all the way from there, so we want to help them spread the news about their games without facing language barriers, time differences, and other common obstacles.

DD: What would you like to see acttil grow to in the medium to long term?
NM: Before anything else, we would like to be able to survive our first three years! We are not currently aiming to make our company bigger; rather, we want to be able to sustain ourselves while bringing quality products to our audience.

DD: Finally, what games are you playing at the moment?
NM: I’ve been playing Persona 4 Golden on and off. I’m enjoying that game a whole lot! I’ve also gotten hooked on Candy Crush Saga for my phone… One of my friends invited me to the game, and I was sucked in instantly. Oh, I’ve also been meaning to play Virtue’s Last Reward. I got the game as a gift in January, but I haven’t been able to play it just yet. If the reviews are any indication, I cannot wait to find the time to sit down and play this great game!

Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk with us about our new company, acttil! It’s going to feel like a slow start, but we hope to have some cool announcements for you really soon!

This is the bio under which all legacy articles are published (as in the 12,000-odd, before we moved to the new Website and platform). This is not a member of the DDNet Team. Please see the article's text for byline attribution.

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