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!