NIS America Interview

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

NIS America has been a ray of light for the faithful RPG fan. They started off by releasing only Nippon Ichi strategy games (Phantom Brave) and quickly expanded into other RPG territory with Atelier Iris (a Gust developed game). I recently had the chance to talk to their Localization Coordinator, Steven Carlton about the localization process as well as some information on their upcoming games and what the future holds for the company.


For the obligatory first question, state your name and positions at NIS America.

Steven Carlton, Localization Coordinator.


First off, I wanted to thank you guys for doing what you do, otherwise we wouldn’t have these great titles out on these shores. What is the localization process like for these games, also considering they have a good amount of spoken dialogue?

Localization starts with translating the game. Then we edit those translations to try to better reflect the intent of the original Japanese text in the new English text. As you can imagine, this is one of the lengthiest parts of the localization process, and easily the most important for our titles. Once the text is set, the voices are recorded and inserted into the game. Then we move on to testing the game and then finally releasing it.


It’s great to see the amount of Nippon Ichi games making it out in North America. Are there any plans to continue publishing NI titles? (Perhaps we’ll see Blue Ocean Tristia, Eternal Aselia, or Rasetsu Alternative over here one day?)

Yes, we do have some NIS titles in our lineup, but they are all still under wraps.


Its been said that Phantom Kingdom was changed to Makai Kingdom for its release here so that people wouldn’t think it was a sequel to Phantom Brave. Is this true?

That is true. We had some confusion in Japan where people thought Phantom Kingdom was an actual sequel to Phantom Brave (Obviously no though).


All of the games you publish have a somewhat anime and Japanese feel to them. What have you done during localization to keep that feeling for American players?

We try to stay as faithful to the original as possible. We strive to capture as much of the spirit and tone as we can, in order to replicate an authentic gaming experience for American players. A major aspect of this includes capturing the personalities of the characters, especially in their dialog.


It was great to see you guys working with Gust on Atelier Iris, are you going to continue working with them in the future, perhaps on Atelier Iris 2?

With all the great success with Atelier Iris, I can’t imagine not working with them again.


Everyone at NIS seems to be busy working on Generation of Chaos for the PSP right now. How is it different working on the PSP?

For us the localization process is the same as any other game. The only change would be in the PR side. We will definitely struggle to get our preview/review builds out for the PSP.


Generation of Chaos is the first Idea Factory game we’re seeing over here, how was it decided which Idea Factory game you wanted to localize for your first venture?

Timing was the key. GoC for the PSP was the latest title Idea Factory had to offer at the time. Of course timing wasn’t the sole reason why we chose, but it definitely had a big impact on our decision making.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell gamers about your products or what else is currently going on at NIS?

We would like to thank Cosmos Gaming for this great interview opportunity. Please look forward to our PSP title and at mean time please enjoy Makai Kingdom.


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