Special Feature: Nippon Ichi Software’s Upcoming Titles

I’ve posted about how Nippon Ichi Software has had trouble achieving the same success they reached during the PlayStation 2 era in several previous posts, an era where their original titles were nearly guaranteed to garner moderate sales at worst. This became tougher for them following that time, when no subsequent system captured the success of the PS2, though they could still depend on Disgaea to give them good sales. But even that became a problem after Disgaea D2 and Disgaea 5 sold less than previous installments — in Japan, at least. And though The Witch and the Hundred Knight did well in Japan, its sequel didn’t perform anywhere near as well.

They’ve since found success by developing smaller titles for platforms like PS4 and Vita in Japan, like htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary and Rose and the Old Castle of Twilight. But a good portion of their success now is coming from western territories, thanks to the Disgaea series maintaining its popularity here and expanding their output to PC. They’ve also recently achieved success on Nintendo Switch through Disgaea 5 Complete, which sold well thanks to NIS releasing it during the system’s launch window and attracting early console adopters — especially in the west. It’s why NIS president Sohei Niikawa confirmed that Switch and PS4 will be the company’s focus for titles in the near future.

Their recent success is why they held a special stream to show off upcoming software releasing between now and the end of the summer, hosted by Niikawa. This was presented similar to a Nintendo Direct, another hint at future strong Switch support.

The Knight will also get in some action in Your Four Knight Princess Training Story.

NIS started by showing trailers for already-announced games. There’s Your Four Knight Princess Training Story, a 2D action-driven RTS game where the player character has to train four princesses and help them defend their kingdoms. The game will release on March 8th in Japan for PS4, Vita, and Switch, following a delay from January 25th.

Also previewed was The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, the sequel to the adventure game released on PC and PS4 between 2016 and 2017 that takes place seven years after its predecessor. The game originally released for flip phones in Japan in 2005, but the game is being remade to be palatable for TVs and monitors. Both games are being released in one package for PS4 in Japan by NIS in what’s called The Silver 2425, which will release on March 15th. There’s still no date for when The 25th Ward will release for either platform in the west beyond a vague “2018” timeframe.

NIS also announced three more games, though didn’t give many details about them. First is The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince, a title whose idea was pitched by a female web designer employed by NIS that was chosen for a new game. It will serve as a spiritual successor to the aforementioned The Firefly Diary and Rose and the Old Castle of Twilight, in being a 2D hand-drawn game with platforming and puzzle elements. Its story will involve a monster who assumes the form of a princess, and her interactions with a blind prince. The gameplay clip shown during the presentation was extremely short, but gave the impression that it will be similar to prior projects of this type.

The second title shown was Project Nightmare, a tentatively-titled horror experience that will combine adventure gameplay with live-action footage. The development team got the idea for this project from other recent horror experiences, but is aiming to create a different kind of horror title with the presentation combination.

The final title announced was a high-resolution remake of the original Disgaea title. The idea behind this will be to upgrade its presentation to be on par with Disgaea 5 and D2, give those who haven’t played the original game another opportunity to experience it, and give it the kind of polish a new game would receive to make it worth reexperiencing for those who’ve already played it.

From Disgaea D2, but the remake should look like this.

Before the stream ended, the names of two more titles in development were “mistakenly” shown: A new Disgaea game, and a remake of another older project. A brand-new Disgaea game being in development is hardly a surprise, but the latter could be a remake of an older strategy/RPGs. There’s no telling what it could be, but I’m pulling for Soul Nomad and the World Eaters, since it’s the hardest game to play legally these days.

Again, all the titles are due for release by the end of the summer, but no platforms were given for the new titles announced. The first game will likely end up on Vita while the subsequent two could hit PS4, but at least two of them could end up on Switch. In fact, it would be a shock if the Disgaea remake didn’t make it to the system, after the company was impressed with Disgaea 5 Complete’s sales, and Disgaea D2 could come shortly afterward.

It shouldn’t be too long before these titles are formally revealed for Japan, and their platforms confirmed with them, but some could take a while to receive western releases. The gap between the Disgaea remake should be quick, but it could be a while for the other titles thanks to how behind NIS America is with localizations. For instance, The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 released in Japan in late-February last year, but is only releasing in western territories in late-March this year. This is especially the case with The Longest Five Minutes, which will finally release in western territories in mid-February after hitting Japan in late-July of 2016.

We’ll see for sure if they’re catching up when NIS America holds their event on February 9th. Though there’s a chance most of the above games won’t appear, the release dates for titles could determine whether they’re returning to a good schedule.

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