Joystiq interview: NIS America talks Disgaea 3's PS3 move

As we mentioned earlier this week, we recently had the opportunity to grill the folks at niche publisher NIS America regarding Disgaea 3, a game that represents not only the third in the company's most popular franchise, but also the first to be released on the PlayStation 3. It's a series we have enjoyed since its debut in 2003, but we wisely decided to keep our enthusiasm for the sequel in check – after all, the point of the visit was to find out exactly why NIS moved the series to the PS3, a decision that has summarily divided the company's existing fan base like a tsunami bomb.

To find out the what, why and how, we turned to company marketing guru Jack Niida for an explanation, and in the following interview he talks localization, the move to a new platform, and even the possibility of moving Disgaea to another console. For the complete scoop, read on.
%Gallery-4958% Recently you confirmed that the game would be ready for prime time this August. Has the localization process begun? How far along are you?

As you know, Disgaea 3 will be released in August and everybody in the office is working hard to meet the deadlines. We're currently in the translation/editing phase, which is the biggest part of the localization process. This usually takes us several months to finish and after this we move on to the voice recordings.

Disgaea 3 shipped in Japan in January. How has the game performed there since its debut? Has it compared favorably with other Nippon Ichi titles, the previous two Disgaea releases specifically, given the same window of time?

Disgaea 3 has done surprisingly well for us in Japan. Due to the install base of the PS3, the total number of games sold doesn't match up against Disgaea 2, but the sell through has been good. In fact, we were close to selling off all the copies shipped out, which is a great accomplishment during this short period of time. Hopefully we'll have the same results here in the states.

It's impossible to look at the game's screenshots without asking the 10 million dollar question, namely why bring this to the PlayStation 3? It looks like a PS2 game. Is there something fundamentally "next-gen," to pull a phrase out of the vault, about Disgaea 3 that you simply could not accomplish on the previous console?

Good question. It's simply because PS2 lacks the processing power and memory capacity to support Disgaea 3. Compared to our previous titles, Disgaea 3 contains the most memory intensive battle maps, character numbers, and battle effects. PS2 could not load the same amount of data on to memory and process it like the PS3; therefore, we decided to develop it for the next-gen platform.

Was the move more of a business decision, perhaps reflective of a feeling that the PS2 has one foot in the grave and it's time to move on?

No, not at all. In fact, if we consider the install base of PS2 and PS3, PS2 is financially a far less risky platform to release on. However, in order to provide our fans with the best gaming experience, we wanted to release Disgaea 3 for PS3.

Over the last year we've seen titles like Odin Sphere and Grim Grimoire really push the boundaries of what we can expect from in-game sprites, but from the looks of things, a number of Disgaea 3's sprites look as if they were lifted directly from the previous games. Is this accurate, and if so, why not take this opportunity to really go all out and redraw sprites for the series' third console outing?

Just to clear things up, the character sprites for Disgaea 3 take 3~4 times the amount of labor to create compared to Disgaea 2. We admit it's no 1080p level sprite graphics, but we are doing our best to improve the sprites.

Can you comment on the possibility on bringing Disgaea 3 to other consoles? The Wii, for instance. Given the PS3's limited install base, it would seem to make sense for NIS to reach as wide a market as possible.

Considering Disgaea 3's game capacity it is possible to port the game to other platforms. We currently don't have any plans on releasing it on other platforms, but if our fans voice their opinions we might consider a port.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.