Earnings Call: Recettear’s Follow-Up Revealed

Joyous tidings from Carpe Fulgur, translators/Western distributors of the ever-lovely indie shopkeeping game Recettear: they’ve only gone and sold 100,000 copies of the bally thing, without promotion or publisher and solely via digital distribution on PC. Oh, and they’ve cheekily revealed what the next Japanese indie title to pass through their Westernisotron will be…

Back to that 100,000 sales thingy – it’s a little more complicated than that, as this fascinating blog post (well worth a read by anyone either interested in digital business models or prone to wild pronouncements about Steam et al) reveals. Steam sales are all well and good for big turnovers and banner figures, but the lowered prices involved mean less profit. In Recettear’s case, “the lion’s share” of the money goes to the game’s original devs, Japanese outfit EasyGameStation.

On the other hand, the name’s out there, the appetite’s clearly out there, and long-term that could pay off well. Carpe Fulgur’s post reveals that the company’s at something of a crossroads, doing pretty well right now but weighing up all sorts of ways to bring in the big money. Sadly for us, that seems to include encompassing consoles, but hopefully these chaps will remember the platform that made ’em, rather than pulling a Double Fine on us. Schaaaaaaaaaaaaaafer!

So, two things in the offing: number one, the possible option of English voiceover for Recettear. Not something that especially concerns me – reading is fun! – but it is admittedly a super-texty game, while English dialogue might help lure in those players turned off by the evident Japanesiness of the game.

More concrete is that the next game will be Chantelise. It’s another EGS game, its title is another portmanteau, it appears to be a dungeon crawlery kinda thing, and from what I gather it’s set in the same universe as Recettear. Here’s some details on the Japanese release, including a link to a demo. Not that you’ll understand it.

We should have more info on what’s going down with Carpe Fulgur and Chantelise very soon.


  1. Merelia says:

    Aw, I hoped they wouldn’t do Chantelise since it’s a game that doesn’t interest me that much. Not to mention that has already been translated by somebody else.

  2. abhishek says:

    I just started (and completed) Recettear this past week. 17 hours spent playing the game over a stretch of 2 or 3 days. It was so addictive and so much fun. I haven’t been that hooked to a game in quite a while. The best part of the game is how the depth and complexity of the game is slowly revealed to the player, with new gameplay systems being introduced at almost every level up.

    I have to say, I’m also one of those who picked it up when they sold it as a part of the 5 pack for 5$, and I’m also one who thought “Hey, I get Recettear and 4 other games for 5$”. They really did goof up with that. I feel kind of guilty about paying only 1$ for a game that is so good and lasted me so long (and I’m not done with it yet!) but that guilt is mitigated somewhat because I gifted a 10$ copy to a friend. The thing about this game is, no matter how much you tell someone how good it is, it’s really hard to know whether they will like it or not. People seem to get put off so easily by this game, I don’t know why.

  3. stahlwerk says:

    Calling it now: Main character’s name is Chantalle, accompanied by (accountant/overseer) fairy Elise.

    Edit: And after discovering the english page behind the link I feel both stupid and vindicated.

  4. BooleanBob says:

    “- It means Carpe Fulgur is very secure moving into the coming year. Even if sales of Recettear were to come to a literal dead stop today, and we released nothing in the coming year, we’d still have enough money on hand to pay everyone their salaries, even after tax, with some left over. In September, we were in a good place but still in a “we have to release another game within a year or we’re smoked” position. Now we could take the entire year to work on something, if need be, and not worry. If we release another game or two and they do even a quarter as well as Recettear has, we’ll be set well into 2012 and we can begin to think seriously about expanding the scope of CF’s operations.”

    I’ve been a bit of a grump when it comes to Recettear in the past, but I’ll be damned if this sort of paragraph isn’t just endlessly heart-warming.

  5. pakoito says:

    I swear I’ve already seen Chantelise in English (and German, Italian, Spanish) in several dark places, community-translated.

  6. Dominic White says:

    Just a warning – Chantelise is a much older game than Recettear, which in itself was a couple years old when it finally got localized. They’re going to be pricing it accordingly lower, but don’t expect cutting edge anything out of this one – it’s a stopgap thing while EasyGameStation are finishing up their new game.

  7. Cinnamon says:

    I think that if people are driven away by the Japanese nature of Recettear then voice acting wouldn’t be enough. They would have to change the art and dialogue as well. Maybe a reskin of the game where you play a veteran soldier who has to open a shop in a war zone in order to pay off the debt he earned when he destroyed half the world in a murderous rampage.

    • 8-bit says:

      that sounds amazing, you could have a sarcastic robot sidekick and there would be a former military dictator you defeated in the past who could run a rival item store, it would be brilliant.

  8. Morberis says:

    Give me an error when I try to post will you! Lets see if you work this time.

    Edit: Double post…

  9. Morberis says:

    The game after that is Territoire, a SRPG


    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      It’s funny that you say SRPG (or that the site says that). Territoire is basically Civilization with animes. It’s pretty good from what I’ve seen in the demo.

  10. 8-bit says:

    I was actually wondering about how well it was doing since it was listed in the top sellers for games under £7 on steam for more or less the entire time the sale was on. Great news for them, and me since it means more games will be coming over here eventually.

  11. Memphis-Ahn says:

    I remember playing Chantelise aaaages ago, and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it as much as Recettear. I’ll still buy it though, if only to support Carpe Fulgur and make sure they bring us more goodies.

    Also, Mr. Meer has earned +1 respect from me for his dig on Schafer.

  12. Alexander Sargeant says:

    Dominic White has it right (I wont entertain myself with the notion of being the first person to make that rhyme), Chantelise is actually older than Recettear is. It’s still a pretty decent game, with the emphasis firmly on action, but don’t expect improvements exactly because Recettear hadn’t been made yet.

    That said, anyone disappointed with the dungeons should find that aspect of Chantelise a lot more entertaining. They also have a new game on the way called Territoire, a guide to which can be found here – link to blackguard.darkstargamers.com.

    Which is apparently a turn-based strategy game. Those EasyGameStation guys don’t settle on a specific genre apparently..

  13. Dominic White says:

    I really hope CF do have the chance to expand. 99% of Japanese indie games never see western shores, and each year there’s two large batches of releases, coinciding with the Summer and Winter Comiket market-conventions. I’ve noticed a large upswing in the number of full RPGs and other such language-heavy games, which make them an even harder prospect to import.

    Having a larger entity able to broker deals with these many Japanese indie studios, set them up on Steam (and other digital distro networks) and help their games reach a much larger audience would be great.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I completely agree with you. I probably wouldn’t have before I played Reccetear (and strangely enough I also enjoyed Eternal Sonata, apart from that blasted water temple! Why are water temples always such a bitch?). Before I played it I would have said all JRPGs are tosh, but now I want to try more indie Japanese games.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you liked Eternal Sonata, you really want to check out Resonance of Fate. Same developers, much more serious/cool setting (a clockwork arcology, and the three main characters are gunslingers for hire), and some new twists on the combat engine.

    • subedii says:

      I have to wonder how EGS feel about all this, making more money than they ever have before, on a title they released years ago that got a re-translation. With no major publisher support. And no marketing budget.

  14. Eclipse says:

    Chantelise is the previous game by EGS (so it’s older than Recettear), it’s nice but not really comparable to Recettear. It’s a Zelda-style dungeon romp, but with very small dungeons, more looking like arenas than dungoens actually, it has few puzzles too but nothing too complex, plays like a lightweight Ocarina of Time.

    It has a lovely story and any Recettear fan will like it as it has many many items and mosters from Recettear (or better, items from Chantelise were later used on Recettear).

    Chantelise was already translated and distributed years ago in Europe by DHM interactive, and you can buy it here (in english and other EU languages!) link to gamesload.gr
    Or watch a trailer here link to dhm-interactive.com

    The english version isn’t that bad but Carpe Fulgur will probably do a better job at translating the game.

    EGS is also working on a new game that looks like an interesting rpg\turn based strategy title, I’d love to see that one as the next project…

  15. justagigolo says:

    Going to second the notion of not doing English voice overs. I found the original voice acting of Recettear to be incredibly endearing and only added to the charm of the game.

  16. Hunam says:

    I love recettear, although I stopped playing it when I got to the bit where i have to rake in 200K in a week. I barely made the last few milestones! Now I’m scared… scared of failure!


    • frymaster says:

      if you “fail”, you go back to day 2 with all your inventory, shop layout, and merchant levels intact. So failure is good :)

    • Hunam says:

      Oh right, I assumed I’d see her in a cardboard box and that would be that, fail city, population me.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The fact that the game does not make this clear and also does not reveal that ALL of the dungeon crap(oh, such horrible, horrible combat..) is not even needed is it’s single biggest – immaturity and anime/manga nature aside – point of fail imho.

  17. frymaster says:

    Especially since we have a lot of data – and I do mean a lot of data – suggesting that people were buying the pack pretty much solely for the promise of “Recettear for $5″. Had we sold the game for $5 first and then bundled it into a pack, we’d have earned quite a bit more than we did. So lesson learned on that front.

    ie you can expect the next game to be discounted more, faster.

  18. Starky says:

    In Recettear’s case, “the lion’s share” of the money goes to the game’s original devs, Japanese outfit EasyGameStation.

    This reads as if it is a bad thing, yet the blog states “rightfully so” – which is right, the game developers should get the lions share, the translators/western publishers a fair, but lesser cut.

  19. malkav11 says:

    I personally hope they steer clear of English voice acting. Not only would it likely significantly increase costs, but in my experience it actively detracts from my enjoyment of the game. One of the things that anime distributors eventually learned is to offer original language tracks as an option for American release, to my great joy, but their gaming counterparts seem firmly stuck in the past on that count, with few exceptions. (Sakura Wars, for example, although that was a Special Edition (!) feature on the PS2 version only, on a second disc, a decision that rather baffles me.)

    Though, granted, on PC original language track is much less about Japanese games or anything anime-related, and much more about enjoying games with their original Russian (/Czech/German/Polish/whatnot) voice acting.

  20. RegisteredUser says:

    Quite frankly I believe that the kind of person that likes this kind of game is more interested in the japanese voices than the english ones, i.e. likely to be more japanimefied into asia geekdom that they would actively seek out japanese copies with subs in video and games rather than have english voices, which, to them, seem to be the devil.

    To me, the japanese voice acting of 99.5% of all movies/anime/series and games sounds like the same girl going “NaNiIiIiiIiIIIiIiIIi????!!?!?! Desudesu! *pantsuflash*”, so I am not one to say.

    Imho I fear that the “impact” in terms of refresh or added value of an english voice pack will approach zero, simply because those that have enough sense to run as far away from pretentious-Kawaii such as sounds-like-Racketeer-hurr-durr-tee-heerrr will not be tempted bac, due to knowing that the “6 year old in a grownup”-appeal writing will not have changed one bit with it, nor will the characters and overall game mechanism.

    So color me skeptical about that.

    Other than that, I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the more obscure yet utterly worshipped RPG (and other genres) classics from asia get a real, proper translation, so that actually fun and deep games which so far have not made it across, could end up exposed to western audiences.

    What I mean to say is, despite the game: good on CF, you go chaps!

  21. SuperNashwan says:

    Congratulations to them, it’s well deserved and not just because of the game itself. They’ve obviously got their heads screwed on right when it comes to getting exposure on a limited budget, wonder if they read Kieron’s article on using the gaming press? RPS must’ve made quite a difference to how many people knew about Recettear.

    • Dominic White says:

      Yes, they have read that. They’ve certainly got a much, MUCH better handle on how to do low-budget marketing than most indie outfits.

  22. olia says:

    lol, i just bought the game today for full 15 euro… and the main reason why i bought it is because it LOOKS japanese. english dubs will just cause me to turn off the sound. new, westernized front = i’d never buy it.