Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's cheating a bit, but I've decided to update the blog by compiling the snippets of my current silly project, [Chronicles of John the Intern]. The blog will be updated every time a new chapter has been posted on twitter.

[Chronicles of John the Intern] is the mostly accurate* twitter telling of the trials and tribulations of our current long-suffering part-time employee. He is blissfully unaware that his activities are being monitored and run through the terrifying place that is my brain, but at the conclusion of his stint here I shall surely show him this soon-to-be classic body of work.

John, the intern. A new and temporary addition to the XSEED team, he is currently attending college. He is quite tall and good natured, and seems to enjoy spicy curry. Having only been with us a mere two weeks, he has not been fully exposed to the horrors of the XSEED office/atmosphere, but they are sure to take their toll eventually and will likely be evident in later tweets.

Because part of an intern's job expectation is to suffer. How they suffer is really up to us, and by "us" I mean me.

Now please enjoy...

[Chronicles of John the Intern]

Jul. 27

[Chronicles of John the Intern] The aged Toshiba struggled. He placed a hand on the screen gently, and implored it. "Boop-boop," it cried.

Aug. 1

[Chronicles of John the Intern] A furrowed brow. A weighty pause. A clattering of keys. The sound of Word crashing. A wordless cry.

Aug. 2

[Chronicles of John the Intern] Red and white logos ladder the screen w/ 140 chara blurbs on display. An eyebrow is raised. I think he's onto us.

Aug. 3

[Chronicles of John the Intern] The strawberry mochi recalls a birthday missed. O' heartless ball of rice. Why so delicious? A single tear.

*I promise at least 20% accuracy in the telling of his adventures. Probably.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Something... Something... Dark Side. Something... Something... Tweet

I've been meaning to do a blog about this for some time now, and recent events (our first ever forums have launched!) have returned it to the forefront of my confused animal brain. I am speaking, of course, about the recent canoodling between XSEED and that shape-shifting tart, Social Media.

With the recent spate (well, recent for XSEED anyway) of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, companies are finding new and frightening ways to slide their products into even the barest moments of your life. 140 characters and 4.4 seconds is all you need for a tweet. A Facebook action can be limited (but no less potent) to a single click of the “Like” button, and getting traction on Digg requires nothing more than a perfect storm of boredom and fast internet connections. We, too, hope to take advantage of your procrastinating ways by signing up for these communication sites, but which is best, and will they last?

Here at the XSEED office I’m pondering these things as we slowly but surely make headway into building a real community. I say “slowly” because every employee is usually inundated with actual ‘game’ work, and my shamefully Luddite heart rebels each time I have to learn the workings of some new service. Thus far, XSEED's glacier-like pace into the new world has produced a blog (hello!), several Facebook pages, a Twitter account, forums, and a brief moment of spasmodic seizures when it was suggested that we make a MySpace page before the fall of that mighty, image-flashing giant. It's hard to say what effect such media has had on our sales, but I do feel a kind of intangible sense of community starting to take form from the primordial ooze and, if twitter is any indication, it just keeps growing.

But... my hopelessly cynical outlook also cheerfully informs me that the conception, birth and death of a tweet can all occur within the time it takes you to refresh the page. A Facebook post may be buried instantly under the ever-present nuisance of 'Lil Green Patch requests, and forums may fail to catch fire and simply peter out in an embarrassing way. The only certain thing about these communication devices is that, much like the lettuce and tomato on a certain sandwich serve as an eloquent vehicle to propel the bacon into the mouth, XSEED needs these kinds of media to present our games in a way that reaches as many hungry gamers as we can. As we are not known for big-time marketing endeavors (due to our extremely limited resources), this little extra reach is essential.

So, if we may have a little back and forth on this topic (I shall duly post this in the forums and on twitter as well), what say you?

Is it (blog, Facebook, twitter, forums, etc) working? Which serves you best? Do you feel within hand-holding distance of XSEED now? Do you consider yourself a member of our community yet? Would you wear a “Pikkards: Nature’s Candy” t-shirt if one were made? Most importantly...

If we build it, will you come?

-Jess (Senior Editor, Community Manager, Bacon Enthusiast)

XSEED Facebook:
XSEED Twitter:
XSEED Forums:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

--- Diary Entry: 11/30/10 ---

I am alive. Mostly.

My eyes are bloodshot. They are ringed with dark smudges and seem to shine as if spritzed with a fine mist. My left hand spasms open and close, clutching blindly for a coffee that isn’t there. When darkness falls I am happy because then the light outside the curtains can no longer hurt my brain. I used to be an editor. I am now something that scares the homeless man who used to bother me on the bus.

--- Present Time: 02/08/11 ---

I am still alive, and to prove it, I have drafted a new blog entry. Whatever’s in my eyes, however, still makes “Flag-Hat Bob” hiss at me from a safe distance while on the Silverline Express bus.

The blog has been on hiatus for quite a while now because, well, there was The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and it does to people much like what a duck will do to an unattended crouton. Previously known as Sora no Kiseki and personally referred to as "THAT game," Trails in the Sky (a.k.a. TitS) (ha ha) has been an all-consuming project for the last ~9 months. Many things happened in those 9 months, but I honestly don’t remember much after June because my survival mechanisms kicked in and helpfully blacked out the experience. I’m told I did finish editing the game, but also that I nominated the cat for the “Special Thanks” section of the credits and once ate several pennies off the counter.

Trails in the Sky... What can I say? It's long. It's so long that many companies have avoided localizing it for years (the body count has always been off-putting for some reason). Conflicting reports put the total game text at ~1.5 million Japanese characters, but all 'I' know for certain is that I worked from home 11-14hrs a day, 6 days/week, lost 7lbs, cut off 18inches of my hair and used the XSEED twitter account to further the cause of bacon on more than one occasion. In the end we had to employ a total of 3 translators, 1.25 editors (myself, and Tom had to jump in the last month to help me finish chapter 4) and one or two other helpful Sora no Kiseki experts that didn’t mind spontaneous Instant Messages asking about whether or not certain characters would be at home saying things like, “Lo! I am hoist with my own petard!” I believe all the translators survived mostly intact, and Tom reports cheerfully from my left as I type this that he sort of misses TitS and also thinks he has Stockholm Syndrome. Our manager, on the other hand, does this kind of thing all the time and just laughs at our weakness.

Anyway, aside from the verbal meanderings of an editor gone crispy in the brain, what does this mean for the game? Well, I'm happy to report that 1) we finished, 2) despite the overdoses of coffee, ingestion of small change and frayed nerves, it's in English and makes sense (probably),

and 3) there's a wealth of material to dole out as we wait for its impending release date. So, here you go! Enjoy, speculate and anticipate as more Trails in the Sky news slowly makes its way out onto the Internets. (More blogs, Q&As, screenshots and facetious tweets to come!)

P.S. If you’ve enjoyed our suffering even a little, please pre-order the game! Did I mention that it comes with a shiny replica Bracer Emblem? ^_-

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky Pre-Order!

GameStop: Premium Edition

Amazon: Premium Edition

Premium Edition passionately red innards!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How To Do What You Love (If Your Love is Nerdy and Awesome)

Internet Blog Roundup Part. Thalatha

As seen on Siliconera's site in their recent devotion to all things dev blogs, Tom gives some friendly (and practical!) advice on how to get into the gaming industry. Take heart that your love for all things nerdy and wonderful could one day land you a gig at a crazy outfit like XSEED.


Greetings, Earthlings – and other Siliconera readers!

My name is Tom Lipschultz, and I’m a localization specialist at XSEED Games. I’m also XSEED’s resident Falcom fanboy, since long before getting this job…which makes it all the more awesome that I’m now the dude in charge of all the text you read when you play our Ys releases!

Which begs the question: How does one wind up getting paid for haphazardly throwing Castlevania references into games he loves?

Well…let’s find out, shall we?

First things first, you’ll need to learn Japanese (assuming you’re interested in localization, anyway). College classes are probably the best place to start, but there are also plenty of correspondence courses out there, too…and you should never underestimate the value of an import RPG and/or untranslated anime DVD! I learned half my Japanese through college, and taught myself the other half by playing an eclectic assortment of games including PopoloCrois Monogatari I & II, Xenosaga Episode I, Moon: Remix RPG Adventure and Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, all in Japanese.

Next, build up a portfolio. I did a two-year stint as an assistant English teacher in Japan through the JET Programme (an experience I would heartily recommend to anyone who wants to earn a living in localization – though I hear JET’s going the way of the dodo bird, so you might have to settle for an eikaiwa position (look it up!)), then a bit of freelance work through sites like while also fan-translating anime, movies and games on the side (51 episodes of PopoloCrois anime and the first Higurashi no Naku Koro ni live-action movie, among others).

I also lucked into a game design position at one of EA’s studios for a good, long while – which began as a Japanese-language customer service position for an MMORPG. So yeah, that probably helped matters a little! The lesson is, always keep your options open, I guess, since you never know how handy some seemingly unrelated bit of experience may prove to be in the end.

Finally, become very, very active in the gaming community. Write eloquently-written game reviews, post on message boards and email game companies like an annoying git whenever something new is announced that you’d really, really like to see one of them release (but make sure to use polite language, proper grammar and lots of compelling arguments as to why you think Game A would be a worthwhile investment for Company B – regardless of appearances, your emails ARE being read by someone, and if that someone is impressed with you, he/she/it WILL remember your name!).

Oh, and send out your resume. EVERYWHERE. Don’t be picky – just plop that baby down whenever and wherever you can! Staple it to prospective employers’ foreheads, if you must – just as long as you don’t draw TOO much blood in the process!

Eventually, you might just get lucky and have a company like XSEED Games take note of your crazy fandom for something they’ve recently acquired…and with all your other qualifications and such, they might just be like, “BRING US THIS MAN/WOMAN/OTHER!” And then in you go!

I count myself very, very lucky to have gotten where I am, and I hope my dedication to the Ys titles shines through. I was still getting my feet wet with Ys SEVEN, but I really fell into a good groove with Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys I & II Chronicles, and I really can’t wait for all y’all to play them, and review them and LOVE THEM AS IF THEY WERE YOUR CHILDREN. Because let me tell you, I’m really proud of my editing on them, and I think any and all Ys fans are going to be absolutely thrilled with how they turned out. And I hope to see more fans such as myself get hired by game companies in the future, because I think dedication makes all the difference between quality work and soulless corporate mash.

Felghana’s release is today, folks. Don’t forget to pick up your copy! I want to read some glowing reviews before the week is out…so get to it! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

Oath in Felghana PSP Blog a la Tom

Internet Blog Roundup Part. Dos!

Below you shall find localization expert and Falcom madman Tom Lipschultz waxing poetic about our most recent offering, Ys: The Oath in Felghana! It released Nov. 2nd in shiny Limited Edition, Standard and PSN downloadable glory. The blog he did for the game ran on the Playstation Blog site and may yet tip some fence-sitters over to the good side of the force. Read his words and be convinced!


Hello again, discerning PlayStation Blog readers! Localization specialist Tom here from XSEED Games, to talk to you a bit about Ys: The Oath in Felghana – sure to be the greatest portable gaming experience of 2010! Ys: The Oath in Felghana will arrive on UMD and PSN for the PSP this November.

Some of you may already be familiar with our previous release, Ys SEVEN, and may be wondering how Ys: The Oath in Felghana compares. Well … it’s hard to quantify, really! I’ve previously stated in a few interviews that Ys SEVEN is to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night as Ys: The Oath in Felghana is to Super Metroid, and I really think that’s the best way to explain it. One is a lengthy, chaotic, sprawling experience full of more items and abilities than you could possibly know what to do with; and the other is a much tighter, more streamlined affair, where every single item and ability has a specific purpose and everything fits together like a finely-crafted puzzle. Ultimately, they’re both very different games (despite obviously sharing numerous characteristics, not the least of which is protagonist Adol Christin!), and the preferred title between the two is going to vary quite wildly from person to person.

Me? I prefer Oath in Felghana (by a very small margin, mind you!). And to explain why, I’m actually going to be bringing the Metroid and Castlevania comparisons to a whole other level. Ever hear the term “Metroidvania game?”

Well, that’s pretty much what Ys: The Oath in Felghana is – more or less. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m NOT claiming it’s an open-ended nonlinear exploration-fest … but it DOES follow the basic structure of this much-beloved action subgenre: you explore your surroundings, find new items or abilities, and use those to push on farther than you ever could before. It’s all one map that’s constantly ballooning around you, allowing you access to places that were previously well beyond your reach.

The level design isn’t as labyrinthine as one would expect from a Metroid or new-age Castlevania title, but it does have that same sense of atmospheric wonderment—that lonely, haunting feel of being by yourself in a hostile land full of crazed monsters, with only your wits and your arsenal of special moves to get you through. You’ll find yourself constantly being taunted by treasure chests that are just out of reach – on a platform too high, too far, blocked off or otherwise rendered totally inaccessible to you … for now. And you’ll file that location away in the back of your mind, knowing that eventually you’ll find a way to obtain that distant treasure … some way … somehow …

And really, that’s the key to this game’s brilliance: its spectacular level designs. Every corner of Felghana is unique and well-conceived, with ample branching paths, pitfalls, puzzles and traps to keep you on your toes as you hesitantly turn the next corner, unaware of what horrors may await you beyond.

And oh, the horrors you’ll find! For those of you who started this series with Ys SEVEN, I implore ye take heed: Ys SEVEN is arguably one of the easiest games in the series, while Oath in Felghana is almost certainly one of the hardest. If you’re expecting a 1:1 correlation between the four difficulty levels in each game (and note that Felghana also adds a “Very Easy” and unlockable “Inferno” difficulty on top of the existing Easy/Normal/Hard/Nightmare selection), you’ll become well-acquainted with that Game Over screen, for sure.

For here in the depths of this forgotten lore, you risk a gruesome death with every new frontier you explore — and likely not one you’d ever considered before! But if these challenges you can overcome, the sense of accomplishment is … second to none! (Hey, it’s a half-rhyme. Half-rhymes count!)

If you’re worried that the game will be TOO hard for you, though … don’t be! As with Ys SEVEN, there’s an unlimited Retry feature that lets you challenge bosses as many times as it takes to conquer them, and even retry individual rooms until you can traverse them in one piece. It’s the perfect mix of cruel and merciful, making for a wonderfully satisfying (and amazingly non-frustrating) overall experience.

I don’t think I can possibly do justice to this game with a single blog entry, honestly. It’s truly one of the most perfect, flawless gaming experiences of the last decade, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not a long game, nor is it a complicated one. But it hits all the right notes, and is genuinely enjoyable from start to finish … and might just make you want to keep on playing it, over and over again, until you beat all six difficulty levels and conquer the infamous Boss Rush mode! Masterpieces like this are the reason I got into video games in the first place, and if you can only play one title this winter, I urge you to make it Ys: The Oath in Felghana. Unless you hate fast-paced action, thrilling exploration, genuine challenge (without frustration) and/or kickin’ rock music, I can’t imagine ANYONE being disappointed with this purchase … Especially if you pick up the limited edition, which is worth it for the soundtrack CD alone!

So go place your preorders! You wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on Super Metroid back in 1994, nor Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in 1997 … and you’re not going to want to miss out on Ys: The Oath in Felghana in 2010, either. Trust me! It’s THAT GOOD!

Oktoberfest Holiday Report

Greetings unsuspecting readers.

I am Jessica Chavez, an Editor at XSEED Games, and Siliconera foolishly granted me space on their site to ramble on about things marginally related to the products we put out. This is the blog that was posted on their nefarious site on Oct. 6, 2010. (My how time flies...)


If you can make it past this introduction, I promise you that you will find in-game secrets/localization-related chicanery, insider tell-alls of Oktoberfest and possibly some amusing doodles of our day-to-day struggles with office printer, DP-MCW210 B/W. I may even disclose what’s in the company mini-fridge, but I make no promises.


For the first post on this mini-blog I’d like to talk about dedication to the ‘craft’ and a recent pledge XSEED made to the fans. A few days ago, on our Twitter account, we declared:

“[Promise to the Fans] In order to bring RPG fans the most accurate tavern NPC dialogue possible, XSEED will be attending Oktoberfest. Steins in hand, we go the extra mile.” (@XSEEDGames)

We at XSEED are always looking for ways to improve our localization efforts, so for more accurate/faithful renderings of niche RPGs, for the fans, and for great justice, away we went…

We learned some useful tidbits from our completely non-scientific (and somewhat sacrificial, at least in terms of brain cells lost) research trip to Oktoberfest. Let me share with you our findings and how they may affect our future localizations of tavern NPC dialogue.

1. “Glug” and “Gulp,” the most commonly used drinking sounds, are in reality more like “Nnnghk” and “Gggghhgggghnnn…snork.” Expect to see these in our future games.

2. The most common phrases heard in a drinking setting were not, in fact, “Barkeep, another round!” or “*hic*,” but “Where did my bratwurst go?” and “Hey, I’m not done drinking your beer yet.”

3. Joyful declarations overheard at Oktoberfest that may soon make an appearance in an in-game tavern near you are, “I drank so fast it came out my nose!” and “This beer makes you look good!”

4. The sound of despair when someone knocks over your freshly purchased beer lies somewhere between a howl and a sob. (We’re still mulling over the exact spelling of such an utterance.)

5. In a nod to the ever-present depressed NPC sitting in a corner lost in his personal tragedies, a fellow editor at another company noted that his beer tasted of “Dirty, dirty shame.”

And in a wholly unrelated to localization observation…

6. Many members of Aksys games can be identified by their fashionable glasses, NISA always has a large contingent of beautiful women, and XSEED wins the spirit prize for having the most people willing to do the chicken dance.

So, what does this mean for our current games? Well, Ys: The Oath in Felghana’s already wrapped up, but I’ve been assured that NPC Randolph shall slur convincingly and meander verbally through other unpronounceable NPC names. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky is still underway, however, so expect a couple of choice lines to sneak their way in, and if you know any of the game characters well, I’m sure you’ll guess who is referred to as “Booze-Sponge.”

Next time on XSEED’s mini-blog: I will answer any localization/game questions you may have and reveal what’s in the mini-fridge. Also, feel free to submit any ideas for what you want to see in the blog. If left to my own devices, I will probably continue to wax poetic about random office/Trails in the Sky stuff and you’ll have to wait ‘til Tom (our translator extraordinaire and Falcom fanboy) to hear some really juicy Ys game stuff.



Jessica Chavez is a localization expert with a predilection for exaggerated statements and wearing expressive boxes on her head. For two years she has been an Editor at XSEED Games and is personally responsible for insinuating that the Knight in Half-Minute Hero did something inappropriate with a duck.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ys Seven Comes to PSP in August

Greetings from well beyond the “dangerous sea area” west of Canaan!

My name is Tom Lipschultz, and I’m XSEED’s resident Falcom nut (also, one of their localization specialists!). I’ve been bugging Ken at XSEED via email for years now to localize games from Falcom’s extensive catalogue of awesomeness, and was always really pleased with the detailed responses he’d send back. Our emails bloomed into entire conversation threads, and eventually, once XSEED and Falcom established their partnership, Ken offered me a job – which I gladly accepted!

Now, all your Falcom scripts are belong to me. Mwa ha ha!

Ys SEVEN will be the first game released as part of the XSEED/Falcom partnership (a.k.a. the GREATEST TEAM-UP EVER), and is currently scheduled to ship on August 17th, 2010. In North America, three versions of the game will be available: the UMD version ($29.99), the PSN download version (also $29.99), and of course, the faaaaabulous limited edition box-set version ($49.99), which will include the game on UMD, a ludicrously gorgeous cloth map of Europe (not our Europe, but Ys series Europe, which is pronounced “eh-ROH-pay”), a one-disc “Ys SEVEN Musical Selections” CD, and a 60+ page art book containing various works from Ys SEVEN, Ys: The Oath in Felghana and Ys I & II (as well as a brief cameo by some Ys VI characters).

Ys SEVEN will also be available in Europe, but only as a PSN download – and I’m afraid the price is yet to be determined. Sorry, European fans! (Europan fans?)

Now, the all-important question: Why should you buy the game?

Well, how about because it’s AWESOME?!?! Seriously, if you’ve never played a Falcom game before, you’re about to be blown away by this one. Falcom games – and Ys games, especially – are generally characterized by three things:
• Insanely fast-paced, action-packed gameplay (Turn-based? HA! Ys eats turn-based RPGs for breakfast, then regurgitates them and launches them at beings of ancient evil JUST BECAUSE IT CAN!)
• 80s power rock- and metal-inspired soundtracks, often performed in the studio by Falcom’s in-house band (I dare ANYONE to hear the riff at the beginning of Ys SEVEN’s main boss theme “Vacant Interference” and NOT get totally pumped for the battle ahead!)
• “Less is more” storylines, with a greater focus on fun gameplay and interesting, well-developed settings than on plot twists and epic ironies (Going along with the music, think of Ys as the rock opera to every other RPG series’ novella!)

With 9 playable characters (in parties of three at a time), 98 unique skills (84 of which have three visually and functionally unique variations apiece – and remember, this is an action RPG, so these skills aren’t just for show!), a robust crafting system (that’ll keep you scouring the landscape and searching every nook and cranny of every dungeon!), and a story that’ll easily last you anywhere from 30 to 90 hours (my final playtime was 72 hours, but I’ve been playing a lot since then to level-up my skills and craft the best armor for everyone, putting me well over the 80-hour mark, with tons more yet to do!), Ys SEVEN is easily the best portable game on the market… or will be, once it’s on the market next month!

Get yourself ready to finally play an Ys game straight from Falcom’s own studio (rather than a third-party interpretation of an Ys game, which is all we’ve ever gotten in English until now!), and put in your orders for the LE box a.s.a.p., since they may sell out once everyone in the world realizes this game is awesomeness incarnate and rushes out to buy it.