Post Mortem: Recettear

By Alec Meer on January 17th, 2011 at 2:00 pm.

Recettear, o Recettear. The out-of-nowhere translation of EasyGameStation’s Japanese indie shopkeeping/dungeoneering hybrid has done pretty well for itself, recently passing 100,000 sales with barely a whiff of marketing or promotion. While that’s just 10% of Minecraft’s paying userbase, it does proves that you don’t need to go mega-viral to make the creation and selling of indie games a plausible career choice. Given that milestone and given the recent announcement that Chantelise will be US translat-o-developers Carpe Fulgur’s next project, it seemed like a good time to chat to the team’s Andrew Dice about what happened, what he expected to happen, more about Chantelise’s when and why, and what game(s) they’re hoping to turn their attention to next. Go words!

RPS – Obvious but important question: how did you expect Recettear to pan out, from a commercial point of view, and what did happen?

Andrew Dice – The realistic expectation was that we’d sell something on the order of ten thousand copies in six months, and that was toward the “optimistic” end of the scale. We had a lot of reasons for suspecting this kind of number: we were a brand new company nobody had ever heard of, thus there was no pre-existing confidence in us, our product didn’t have any real promotional material beforehand, it was Japanese and therefore Weird in the minds of potential customers (and yes, Japanese games do often struggle in the Western market on principle a bit these days), and relatedly, the smallish group of people who follow indie games from Japan already are notorious for engaging in piracy (because there was no real way to get content otherwise), and the game had been out for a few years already. We anticipated a “piracy rate” of between 95% and 98%. Most non-online PC games have a piracy rate somewhere between 50% and 80%.

This might seem pretty pessimistic, but we knew from experience and watching the industry that this would be a hard road to hoe; there’s a reason both Robin and I were looking for “established” jobs before trying this as a last resort. We’d read about things like how The Oil Blue did, and we knew that, realistically, we couldn’t expect to sell many copies, especially if we didn’t get on Steam. So our expectations were low – if we could get 10,000 copies, we’d be able to continue, at least a bit. We expected less, though, and for the game to be nothing more than a portfolio piece.

Instead, of course, we broke six-figure sales during Christmas. I’ll admit I had one or two “la-dee-da, head in the sky” moments where I thought “gee, wouldn’t it be cool if we sold a hundred thousand copies of this videogame” but I immediately pulled myself back down to Earth because it was silly. You can literally count on both hands – without using all your fingers – the number of “franchises” (that is, individual games or games that became series) from Japan that’ve broken six-figures for the first time in the previous decade. It basically doesn’t happen anymore, and we were certain it wouldn’t happen to an obscure indie game, even with great results from Steam. That Recettear managed it – in the face of other franchises, from various countries, struggling – is still kind of staggering.

Two things contributed, I think. First and foremost was the demo version of the game. The entire idea of coming out with the demo first was basically taking a page out of the old id Software/Epic Megagames “shareware” days (the era I first started cutting my PC gaming teeth in, actually) of coming out with a strong product demonstration to get attention and to tempt people into buying the game by giving them a representative portion of it, and boy howdy, that has worked for us. While it’s a little hard to get perfectly accurate inforation at this point (with the demo available in so many places), but data from Steam and elsewhere points to the demo having a coversion rate of around forty percent. If you read the linked Oil Blue article from earlier, you’ll know that forty perfect is a completely ridiculous number for this sort of thing. Most game demos are lucky to manage 10% or higher. Clearly we hit the nail on the head with that demo, and the plan is to continue to provide such demos for future products – if a client doesn’t have such a demo already, we’re going to encourage them to make one.

Second was the great word of mouth we got from basically everywhere. I know some people accused us of going “viral”, but the only places we posted were on SomethingAwful, which is where Robin and I first met online, and I sometimes posted on NeoGAF, Penny Arcade and RPGamer, and always under my SpaceDrake nom de guerre. Everywhere else? That wasn’t us. We submitted the game for review consideration far and wide (hint to other indie developers: do this, send your game to as many places as you can) but all the discussion and good buzz was generated purely by people liking the demo and the game. Eventually it reached a kind of critical mass, seemingly, and we just kept getting more and more people talking about it.

For the record, as of now we’re a sniff away from 110,000 copies sold across all platforms, although this isn’t the kind of “milestone” we’d really trumpet on the main site. We are expecting sales to die down at some point, though, since the game does have to have some kind of market cap and I suspect we’re very rapidly approaching it.

RPS – You’re going full-time as a result, aren’t you? What are the practicalities there -how many people, how much breathing room have you got before you need to get another game out, and how will it affect your development of the next project?

Andrew Dice – We are, indeed, going full-time now. At this point we need only release a couple of games of even a quarter of Recettear’s magnitude of success to see us comfortably deep into 2012. We aren’t expanding the staff just yet – boy, do we get a lot of emails about this – mostly because the volume of potential work hasn’t yet reached the point where we’d actually need more staff members. In fact, I’ve admittedly been faffing about a bit on our current project over the holidays and we still plan on having it out relatively soon, with lots of room to spare in the rest of the year for other projects. There’s just no need for more staff yet – we can’t pay people to do nothing, after all – but if or when we need people, we’ll be sure and advertise it.

At our current burn rate, we’ve got enough money to pay everyone all the way to January 2012, and that assumes Recettear makes us NO money from this point on. Once we get another project or two out the door, we’ll take stock of the situation again, but at the very least we’re doing extremely well financially. And a small part of the money is going to go toward getting me moved out to the west coast so that Robin and I are in the same timezone. That said, our next project is actually not as text-heavy as Recettear was, so it’ll still be rather quick all told.

RPS – How did translating/republising Recettear go? Was it a straightforward project, or where you regularly encountering weird-ass stuff you hadn’t banked on?

Andrew Dice – Well, the entire concept was a bit “weird-ass” – common wisdom had said that what we did wasn’t really possible, taking an independent Japanese game and releasing it onto the wilds of the American Internet. That said, we had a pretty good idea of the way the process worked when we began the project, so there weren’t any truly huge surprises waiting for us. About the only thing that dragged on longer than I would’ve liked was work on the item list. A whole heap of factors contributed to this, from the item list’s staggering size to the fact that it wasn’t rigged for plurals initially (plurals as we know them not existing in Japanese) to delays caused by weather in the places Robin and I live in. The actual “publication” bit, getting distributors to nibble, took a bit longer than I would have hoped as long as was probably realistic for a new company with an unproven product. All in all, it went very well and smoothly – and, sadly, a bit boringly for the purposes of this interview.

RPS – What’s the key stuff you’ve learned during the process? And what would you do differently if you could do it again?

Andrew Dice -The main thing I’ve learned is confidence. All throughout the process of working on Recettear’s script, I was afraid there’d be backlash against any “changes” I made to the script. Our presumed core audience, mind, was going to include people who were already familiar with the game and I assumed that they’d pick through the script, line by line, looking for places I’d “failed”. I was actually mentally prepared for a huge backlash telling me I was a terrible editor.

With only a tiny number of exceptions, though (and only one who had any “problems” with the script) everyone who played the game seemed to love the English script. It was actually the single-most consistently complimented part of the game; even people who didn’t really “click” with the game otherwise loved the script itself. So I’ve learned to have a bit more confidence that I know what I’m doing and that I know how to write an appealing script. That’s not a carte blanche to start messing with scripts needlessly, mind, but I can go at future projects with a bit more confidence.

Now, what we’d do differently? Above all else, EXPLAIN THE DAMN KEYBOARD CONTROLS. This was our single biggest screw-up in the game and it’s the one that keeps me awake at night, wondering how many sales we lost due to this. The number one email in our support inbox is “the game doesn’t work! I press buttons and nothing happens!” when it turns out they didn’t check the config utility for the controls and didn’t grok that “z” was the main action button… and, in retrospect, why should they? It’s been a standard setup in JAPAN for years and years, but it’s unknown here. That was a serious screw-up, and it’ll thankfully be fixed in Chantelise on various levels. A bit late to salvage it in Recettear, unfortunately.

RPS – Some of the more, ah, set in their ways RPS commenters observed that the game’s art style meant they outright refused to play it. Did you encounter this mentality in terms of promoting the game, and to what extent might it have affected success?

Andrew Dice – Oh goodness yes. As I pointed out above, Japanese games these days operate under a kind of pall these days – there’s a lot of people who look at the art and country of origin and whatnot, identify it as FOREIGN and therefore STRANGE and DISGUSTING and they won’t play it just based on that, even if they’d enjoy it otherwise. It’s the same kind of logic that’s been used to… well, do a lot of things that are a bit outside the scope of an interview on RPS. We didn’t encounter it when talking to the media, but the reaction was a common enough sight on various parts of the Internet. We’d anticipated it so it didn’t sting too badly, but it was still a bit sad.

As far as how it affected success goes, it’s hard to say. I mean, it’s hard to complain in any way about selling one hundred thousand goddamned copies of a game, regardless of situation. On the other hand, we see Western-developed games like Super Meat Boy, Monday Night Combat or Amnesia, which are all thoroughly excellent games, by the by, ahead of us consistently in the weekly sales charts and we do have to wonder, a little, just how many people are passing us up due to the “eww, Japan” factor. Still, though: with 100,000 copies sold, obviously it isn’t that many people, and we hardly have any room to complain!

RPS – How has it worked out for Easy Game Station? A few people seemed to be moaning that they hadn’t gotten the credit/renumeration they deserved – while I personally have no idea whether that’s anything more than idle speculation, is there anything to it or are EGS pretty happy about how it all turned out?

Andrew Dice – EGS is pretty much thrilled with how things turned out. I actually haven’t seen much of any carping about EGS not getting proper credit – that’s actually a concern of ours and we do try to bring their names up wherever possible – but as far as “not getting enough renumeration” goes, I’ll point out again what I said in my blogpost: EGS gets the largest cut of each retail sale out of everyone involved. This was, in fact, part of our deal with them, making sure that they got the largest slice of the pie. Which they completely deserve, mind you. Obviously NDAs and the like prevent me from throwing around exact numbers here, but EGS gets plenty of money from each sale and we’ve made them asubstantial amount of money. So yeah, they’re thrilled with the way things are going and are eager to keep working with us.

RPS – How successful have you been in terms of getting the media to take notice? Have you observed any sneery or dismissive attitudes towards PC and/or indie gaming from anywhere?

Andrew Dice – It’s funny. We haven’t gotten any real sneering – I think we got one sarcastic email reply that might’ve been a sneer, but it’s hard to tell on the Internet – but there are some sites that just haven’t paid any attention to us, at all, even after we contacted them multiple times. I’ll be professional and not name names directly, but a few of the places that never seemed to want to talk to us struck me as odd because they’re otherwise supposed to cover “our kind” of software, the indie underground or otherwise offbeat stuff, and a few places just seem to want to pretend we don’t exist at all.

In general, though, the media has been great. We got a lot of attention from “specialty” sites like RPS (with its PC focus), RPGamer and RPGFan (with their RPG focus) and DIYGamer and IndieGames.com (with the indie focus). That’s another hint to aspiring new developers or publishers: go for the focused sites. They’ll be happy to report on stuff, so long as you have a product worth reporting on. It was that initial burst of attention that really began to propel the game forward toward success, so we’re very happy with the way things turned out. I just wish a few other places would, you know, return my emails, if nothing else.

RPS – Can you give any hints as to what your next game is? And is the studio going to remain focused on third-party Japanese titles or seek to branch out?

Andrew Dice – Well, obviously we’ve announced our next title already, Chantelise. It’s a bit of an older title from EGS, but it’s still an excellent dungeon-crawler and it deserves a release in the States and beyond. We actually have full, worldwide rights to it, the European rights passing from DHM Interactive (who closed down recently) to us. Yes, for our French fans, we know this begs the obvious question, and the answer is: we don’t yet know if we’ll include the French version of Chantelise in our release of the game, but it’s rather unlikely at this point. So we’ll be getting it out there, hopefully on Steam, for everyone to enjoy some time during the first half of this year. Probably the first quarter, but if I know anything about this industry it’s don’t give firm dates until a week before that firm date.

In general we’re going to remain focused on Japanese titles for now, since that’s what we’re set up to work on. We have a few more titles we’re looking at – Robin was at Comiket (the big Japanese indie shindig) late last month and brought home a few candidates for release. We’re also rather keen to work on Territoire, EGS’ upcoming multiplayer-enabled strategy gamem which was originally going to come out at this past Comiket, but EGS has pushed the game back a bit further to work on the game even more now that money is far less of an object, but obviously it’s a bit early to actually talk about that until the game is ready to go in Japan, so that’s a later-this-year thing at the earliest. There’s also a kind of side-scrolling, sort of Metroid-or-Zelda-2-esque multi-party-member thing called Fortune Summoners that we’ve been looking at (RPS first here, folks!) It’s even cuter than Recettear, to be sure, but the gameplay is solid and interesting. especially once you pick up all the party members, and the 2D graphics are gorgeous.

This one’s a bit of a pickle, though, because we’re actually having a devil of a time reaching Lizsoft, the team behind the game. Their lead man, a dude who goes by the nom de guerre MEL, hasn’t answered our queries and he also wasn’t at Comiket, which takes things from “kinda frustrating” to “rather worrying”; we don’t even know if he and the rest of Lizsoft are properly in business anymore. So if any of our more Japan-savvy RPS readers know of a surefire way of getting in touch with Lizsoft, we’d, ah, appreciate it.

We do have a couple other ideas we’re pursuing, but those are things we really can’t talk about just yet, I’m afraid. It’s enough to say that, should everything come together, we definitely have enough work to keep us busy for the entire year. And after that… well, in this business you don’t want to look TOO far ahead, right?

RPS: A few of those pesky commenters of ours have claimed that Chantelise isn’t as exciting a prospect for them as Recettear was. Should they have such concerns, or are you pretty confident that Chantelise can knock it out of the park in the same way?

Andrew Dice – Well, naturally I should be bullish and say that all of our games will be equal successes and are all heartbreaking works of staggering genius which everyone should play, forever. In the interest of brutal RPS honesty, however, I’ll admit that Chantelise isn’t quite as wildly innovative as Recettear was. It’s “just” a well-put-together third-person adventure game and doesn’t have any wildly new mechanics like Recettear had with the shop. Although the magic system is fairly cool – we’ll talk more about that when we’re closer to the release and have a demo out and whatnot. It does re-use a few graphical assets from Recettear (or, rather, the other way around, as Chantelise was produced first in Japan) but by and large it’s all new material and while it isn’t ‘high-def’ – the game’s designed to run on a GeForce 2, for crying out loud – there are some environments and scenes that I’m confident will impress.

It’s worth pointing out, perhaps, that since the game isn’t as “big” as Recettear, we are going to be asking less for it, we’re just not sure how much less yet. It’ll still be a fair price, however.

RPS: Thanks for your time.

, , , .

66 Comments »

  1. President Weasel says:

    I think he’s right about the keyboard controls being opaque and off-putting, however I also suspect that there’s a larger-than-usual crossover between the kind of PC gamer who would find Recettear appealing and the kind of PC gamer who will check the key config and/or the internets to find what key is the action button, in between getting frustrated and giving up. They’ll probably have lost sales because of it, but maybe not quite as many as he thinks.

    AS for the success of Recettear itself, I’d put that down to the game giving a strong impression of being made and translated by people who cared.

    • Tacroy says:

      Honestly, I’m the sort of person who, when confronted with an unexplained interface, mashes all the buttons. It just makes sense! After all, someone designed this thing to be worked with a keyboard; therefore, something on the keyboard will work it; therefore, I get to pretend to play the piano until something happens.

      It’s a learning experience!

    • sebmojo says:

      AS for the success of Recettear itself, I’d put that down to the game giving a strong impression of being made and translated by people who cared.

      Perceptive. I think you’re right.

    • Carra says:

      I just put in my gamepad and works great :)

  2. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    I am not gonna lie. The fact that the PC is my favored gaming platform has not played well with my inordinate fondness for Japanese games. Therefore, EGS can count on me as a loyal customer from here on out. Because I’m frankly not comfortable with piracy and buying straight from Japan is for the insanely patient.

    It also helps that Recettear was a darned good game, which says a lot about EGS’ taste for games to localize.

  3. The Great Wayne says:

    Hmmm, less than recettear ? But I bought the fantastic Recettear in a 4.50€ 5 pack on Steam. Less than that and it’d feel like a theft.

  4. mlaskus says:

    I wonder why people don’t seem to notice that Recettear is really a poor game when the initial novelty wears off. With extremely exploitable, illogical and uninteresting mechanics of running a shop and equally boring, grindy dungeon crawling. Is the idea of running a shop in jRPG so endearing to you to make the game mechanics irrelevant?

    • Archonsod says:

      Well see, I didn’t find the shop mechanics illogical or uninteresting. What you’ve done there is took your subjective thought processes and assumed they applied to the wider world. Never usually a good idea that.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I wonder why people don’t think exactly the same way I do about everything too.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      “L’Enfer, c’est les autres” Alec. :]

    • Zwebbie says:

      mlaskus: I can’t say I quite understand the love either. It’s charming and innovative, but I never picked it up again after I’d finished it. It’s an economy game, but there’s no economy; there are high and low price times for items, but they’re so extreme that the decisions associated with them aren’t exactly difficult (do I sell this piece of armour now that I can only do so for half price? Of course not, I’ll just wait a day). The different attitudes of characters are neat, but once you get to know them, all you have to do is always enter the right percentages for a guaranteed sell and an XP bonus.
      I think it’s a good proof of concept that a store running game could be fun, but it’s not a very good game once you’re familiar with its algorithms, because nothing is dynamic. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t worth the play at €5 / 1, though.

      I also like to think sometimes that the way you eventually see the characters as potential income givers whom you judge on the bonus XP percentage makes a nice, merciless point on capitalism (ho!).

    • mlaskus says:

      That was a bit uncalled for Mr. Meer. I asked why do you love the game, because it’s popularity really baffles me. Was it necessary to dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand that people have different opinions?

      I’m not going to write another wall of text on the matter of Recettear’s mechanics, Zwebbie summarised it pretty well. My main problem with it is, that it is so static. It takes but a few minutes to figure everything out and then it becomes just a mindless grind.

    • Gnoupi says:

      @mlaskus: to be fair, while you indeed ask a question, it is clearly biased.

      Your question is closer to “why do you love this while it’s so obviously flawed” than to “what makes you love it?”

      You don’t ask why he loves it, you ask him to justify how it’s possible to love it with so many flaws.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      I totally agree with mlaskus on the grindy nature of this game. I already posted this somewhere else on RPS: The game is much less interesting and enjoyable after you figure out how to increase your XP and the customers’ pocket money. The rest is grinding through the days until you reach the weekly deadline, milking everyone who steps into your store on the last day. The dungeons are just not rewarding enough to be a decent alternative to just buying/selling stuff, especially if you consider how long (and boring) they get lateron.

      I found myself being a little bit disappointed after finding out that Recettear is in fact not a real simulation. I would have loved to get some more depth.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “I wonder why people don’t seem to notice that Recettear is really a poor game when the initial novelty wears off. ”

      This is such a great sentence.

      I’m in awe.

      EDIT: Mlaskus: saying “I can’t understand why people don’t realise the game they’ve enjoyed is actually a bit nob” does seem to suggest you’re struggling with the concept.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Might I add, anybody who went into Recettear looking for a deep and rich economic simulation have to take a step back and meditate on wether it’s the game’s fault or their poor judgement’s if they ended up disappointed.

      Hell, you can’t even plead the ignorance here, Recettear has been reviewed on RPS long before most of us bought the title, so you knew what to expect beforehand.

      It’s a very good title, at a very low price. Complaining about replayability is really pushing it. No, this is not Civ V. How surprising.

    • mlaskus says:

      I admit, that was a pretty poor choice of words on my part.
      Let me try again.

      I don’t understand why this game enjoys such popularity, and overwhelmingly positive feedback, while apart from the original idea, I don’t see anything going for it.

    • Berzee says:

      >_>

      <_<

    • Stijn says:

      Well, Alec did write a WoT about it.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      @Wayne: Oh I read the WIT / review here, that’s what gave me the impression that the game is complex and not some simple buy/sell mini game. But that is what it is. Maybe I experienced some of its parts as more unnerving than the reviewer (was it Alec?) did. I did NOT ask for the unbelievably complicated and refined economy sim, but I was definitely under the impression that Recettear would be more than what it really is. Which doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any fun with it.

    • Wulf says:

      I loved Recettear.

      I think the picking on mlaskus is unfair and uncalled for based on that one sentence.

      What he had intended to say was ‘I found that Recettear was a poor game once the charm and novelty wore off, and I was disappointed. Did anyone else feel the same way?’ To me, it just looks like because he was a bit bitter about it it all come out wrong, and that can happen. The truth is, yes, of course, different strokes. Not everyone is going to end up disappointed with it.

      It was a fair question though, just asked badly.

    • Berzee says:

      Yeah, I liked mlaskus’s comment a lot. All of the comments calling his comment a bad comment offend me, because they demonstrate a total lack of understanding about differences of opinion on comments.

    • Deano2099 says:

      The reason people don’t realise Scarlet Johansson is dull in bed after the novelty of shagging Scarlet Johansson wears off is that:

      a) you’re still getting laid, and

      b) she still looks like Scarlet Johannson

  5. Shazbut says:

    Bonus points to Mr Dice for name-dropping Dave Eggers’ opus.

  6. SuperNashwan says:

    These guys are awesome for being so open about business, very interesting and good advertising for them. More of this please RPS!

  7. Tatourmi says:

    When translating into english you are not releasing it for the american market but for the English speaking market, and that sure represent a lot more people these days (Internet is international). Besides I am pretty sure that your typical customer, the indie gamer, is an English speaker, whatever his country of origin may be, mainly because he needs to be in order to be an indie-aware gamer. (message from a frustrated European indie lover)

    • Luk 333 says:

      Yeah, that caught my eye also. I’m from Romania, I bought the game and I have two other friends who bought it without any influence from me. Romania is not exactly a huge market for games, but we’re here buying your stuff. Anyway, I don’t want to sound too harsh. Carpe Fulgur is doing a great job and I like their open attitude.

    • Xercies says:

      That kind of reminds me that there are loads of games, indie games in particular that we just don’t get to see because we don’t get to see “Insert Country of Origins” games a lot, there are a load of for example french indie games I have become aware of through various sources that sound very much interesting and I do wonder if there is anything else like that from other countries that I just don’t see.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I’d wager that a lot more people around the world can speak English as a second language than Japanese. So I agree that translating it isn’t just for Americans. Plus, it kind of dismisses places like the UK and whatnot who speak English as a native language. They are people too.

    • phuzz says:

      mm, perhaps referring to it as ‘the english speaking internet’ rather than ‘The American internet’ would be more accurate.

    • Carra says:

      Yeah, “American Internet” caught my eye too.

      My native language isn’t English but there are tons of people who speak English as their second language. Most of Europe to start with.

  8. Jamesworkshop says:

    Recettear was a nice game, haven’t fully completed 100%

    keyboard was a joke even if you did know how to control it, much more natural with a controller

  9. Maxheadroom says:

    I guess im one of those 100,000 sales having bought it in an indie pack in the pre christmas sale.

    Still not installed it though

    • Mccy_McFlinn says:

      Mine’s installed but not yet played – should really get round to that…

    • Devenger says:

      Likewise, installed but not played. I’ll probably enjoy it, if I ever get round to starting it. Part of me is trying to save it for when I’m feeling really down and I need a cute, harmless place to take refuge in. Hmm.

  10. Persus-9 says:

    I like strange and I like foreign but there’s something about most Japanese games that just doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried several but after bouncing off Eternal Sonata I decided not to waste any more money trying to get into them since they obvious just aren’t for me. Thankfully, I changed my mind and gambled a few more pounds on Recettear and while I haven’t finished it yet I have to say I think it’s bloody brilliant. I think the problem is that even for those people like me who are willing to try a lot of Japanese games are love them or loath them affairs and after you’ve been burnt a half dozen times it’s easy to wonder why you’re bothering when you could just get something from closer to home that you can be almost certain you’ll enjoy.

  11. Ysellian says:

    So it will be quite some time till Territoire is going to be released. Shame, but at least it will be a more polished and better game.

  12. RadioactiveMan says:

    How many other fantastic Japanese Indie games are waiting to be discovered by an English audience? I don’t know, but I am excited to find out with Carpe Fulgur! Fantastic job with Racettear, gents!

    On the other hand, I am not super excited that the Carpe Fulgur guys are already warning us that Chantelise won’t be as groundbreaking as Recettear. Personally, I am really not keen to play a Manga version of Link or Fable (which is what this game sounds like…?). Such a game might only appeal to a narrow audience of Japan-philes. Has anyone played Chantelise who can tell me otherwise? The little I have found on the internet basically agrees with what Andrew Dice is saying here.

    I know this will sound demanding, but I want a game that is exceptional. The bar has been set high with Racettear. I understand why Carpe Fulgur is releasing Chantelise- they already have an established, positive relationship with the developer, so its pretty much a no-brainer. I hope that they use their success to reach for the stars, and not to develop a stable of “pretty good” games. However, I also don’t know how many gems are waiting to be uncovered. Maybe there are not many other games waiting that would have the appeal of Racettear.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m actually hoping to write more about Japanese indie releases (many of which don’t really need translation, thankfully) over at DIYGamer. I recently did a big article covering the enormous 18-game (and rising) Touhou series, which are primarily the work of a single, super-indie guy.

      http://www.diygamer.com/2011/01/touhou-guide/

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “On the other hand, I am not super excited that the Carpe Fulgur guys are already warning us that Chantelise won’t be as groundbreaking as Recettear.”

      Well yeah, but that’s like complaining that Link’s Awakening doesn’t have an ocarina minigame in it. Or that the first Metroid lacks a Scan Visor. Or that Wolfenstein 3D has no BFG 9000.

    • RadioactiveMan says:

      You are probably right Mad Tinkerer, but I guess I just have high expectations. For me its disappointing, regardless of the reason, if their next game is not as good as Racettear.

      But maybe my gripes are premature, and their future efforts will be fantastic :)

  13. malkav11 says:

    I don’t know about most people, but for me, Japanese does = weird, but weird = good. A game about randomly kissing insane people? Sign me up! A game about rolling the entire world up into a ball? Why won’t you let me preorder this, Gamestop! (really, they didn’t let me preorder Katamari Damacy, and then promptly sold out of it. I raged. Fortunately I don’t go there anymore.) Deadly Premonition? Hells yes.

    Of course, Recettear barely even reaches quirky by those standards, but that’s okay.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Exploding penguins! You missed those dood!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Technically they’re human souls in penguin suits, but yeah Dood!

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I would pay around £100 apiece for reasonable English language PC ports (hello, mouse support) of any of Nippon Ichi’s wonderful, wonderful tactical RPG games.

      Probably my favourite genre, and essentially nonexistent on the PC even though it’s by nature turn-based and chinstrokey. What’s going on?

  14. Lim-Dul says:

    I really like how professional everything I ever read by the Carpe Fulgur guys sounds. In a way it’s unexpected from SomethingAwful Goons. They sound like industry veterans to me already, only without all the marketing bullshit (yet?).

    • karry says:

      If only they WERENT two jackasses from SA, then i could actually root for them. There is not a single good person in that human garbage dump, and that’s a fact.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Did someone’s corporation in Eve get stolen by the mean Goon Swarm?

    • Oak says:

      Aren’t there thousands of active posters on the SA forums? Surely, a few decent people made it in there.

    • Carados says:

      Clearly the jackasses here are the two people who put out a game, and not the two people who came into an article just to insult thousands of unrelated people openly.

  15. MadTinkerer says:

    “It’s “just” a well-put-together third-person adventure game and doesn’t have any wildly new mechanics like Recettear had with the shop.”

    Well yeah but the number of third-person action adventure games currently available on the PC is ZERO unless you count Tomb Raider, and Tomb Raider is a completely different style of game to Chantelise. (For example: the Tomb Raider series is very platform-y with weak combat, whereas Japanese action RPGs tend to have weak platforming, at best, but great combat.) So heck yeah, I’ll take Chantelise over NOTHING.

    Same for Territoire. How many tactics RPGs are available for the PC right now? One: Grotesque Tactics, a game that tragically had almost all of it’s intentional humor mangled in translation and as a result has a whole lot of unintentional humor in it’s place.

    I am very much looking forward to more Japanese Indie Goodness, or J.I.G. for short.

    • Rhin says:

      oh my stars, the mere thought of a PC TRPG makes my heart tremble.

      But by “It’s just a well-put-together third-person adventure game” I hope it’s not just Recettear minus the shop.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Chantelise did well enough for them to make Recettear afterward, so I’m sure it’s worth playing. Plus, y’know, Half Life 2 didn’t make Half Life less good just because it had better character scripting & animation, etc.

    • drewski says:

      Is Grotesque Tacitcs actually any good? Steam keeps recommending it for me and I keep ignoring it because, dammit, I’m not your pawn Steam!

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Err, the “Tactics” part in the name of the game is a joke itself. They named it mostly for fun, not because there is any real tactics involved, or it is a defining trait of the game. In comparison to other games bearing “Tactics” moniker the tactics is very light. Actually the whole name (Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes) is kind of humorous, and with double meaning at least. Many of the jokes were lost in translations I agree, and I believe that many other were introduced accidentally, but the whole game was interesting enough for me to finish it.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I bought Grotesque Tactics because my feverish jones for Tactical RPGs goes almost completely unsated on the PC, and found it very poor. Everything feels clunky and awkward and takes a very, very long time, and as a result I didn’t get very far into it at all. I just don’t have the patience.

  16. Dozer says:

    Misleading post title, Mr Meer! It states the Recettear people had gone out of business!

    “Post Mortem” = “After Death” yet the focus of the article is how Mr&Mr Recettear feel fantastic and am still alive, are doing science and are still alive, still alive, still alive.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Yeah, at first I thought the devs or publishers went bankrupt. And then, that the game feels dead now. Which may be true, in some point of timeline, but not now.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It’s a standard phrase for retrospective analysis of a completed project.

    • Dozer says:

      Do you know what else is a standard phrase?

      What a shame.

  17. bill says:

    Surely they should give a little credit to RPS? If it’s true that you guys are the biggest PC only site, and you guys recommended it, i’d think at least half of those sales are down to RPS.

  18. CMaster says:

    For the record, I don’t like the art style of Reccetear (as seen from screenshots and videos) but thats nothing to do with hating japanese or foreign stuff. I just find that particuarly cutesy, distorted style inexpressive, ugly and overdone.
    There’s plenty of animé I like, but far from all.

    Oh, and the reason I haven’t even tried the demo is more to do with the comments from whoever did the first RPS WIT that it was mostly just another dungeon crawler, than dislike of the art.

    • anonymousity says:

      Yes, calling people who don’t like the art style of the game racists is a bit crass.

  19. Berzee says:

    I need to play this game more =) but for some reason if I start again I feel like I have to restart to remember my overarching shops-keeping plan.

  20. noisycricket42 says:

    The reasons I like the game are simple.

    1. The characters, both in design and writing are charming and entertaining.

    2. The shop element is interesting, and while it’s certainly not as complex and interested as it could be, it managed to keep my interest long enough to get through the main story, explore all the dungeons, and unlock all the character events.

    3. It’s cheap. Would I pay $50 (U.S.) for it? Probably not, but 20-30 is perfectly reasonable for the entertainment value I got out of it. I HAVE payed 50 for games that kept my attention for for a far shorter amount of time.

    In other words, is it the best game ever? No. Is it a fun, engaging game that’s worth what you pay for it? Absolutely.