Posted by Ross
Fri, 3rd Feb 2017
Hi everyone. I hope you don’t mind me using this week’s blog to conduct a spot of housekeeping.
We’ve recently discovered that our commenting system will soon be taken down, so we need to replace it. I’ve been doing a bit of research myself, but seeing as you’re the ones who actually make the comments, I thought I’d ask what you think. After all, there’s not much point in having a comments system if no one makes use of it because it’s too awkward to use!
At this point I should mention that, while I have been doing a bit of research on this, I’m well outside my area of expertise, so if you have something to say but think it might be too basic, then worry not because I’ll probably find it helpful. :)
Disqus seems reasonably similar to our current system, although there are a few differences, so if you’re happy with the blog comment system as it currently exists then it seems like a good choice. But, if you don’t like Disqus, or you’re not happy with the commenting system as it currently exists, then now is a good time to let us know.
That’s all for now, I’ll be back soon with more news from Ghostlight, but until then why not follow us on our Twitter and Facebook pages, our Youtube Channel and our Google + account, where we’ll be posting all the latest news from Ghostlight. You can also follow me on Twitter for a more personal take on all things Ghostlight.
Posted by Ross
Thu, 26th Jan 2017
Hi everyone. Thank you for the great response to last week’s Q&A blog. I’m glad so many of you found it interesting and that you’ve sent me some more questions to answer, without which part two could have been rather short. :) If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it in the previous blogpost.
Before I dive headfirst into the Q&A, I thought I’d just give you a quick update on what’s been happening in the Ghostlight office. We’re currently working on several PC releases for other publishers, which so far seem to be going pretty smoothly. We’re also getting closer to signing our next JRPG, we’re still waiting for all the paperwork to be completed before we can announce it, but it does look like I’m going to be able to tell you all about it soon (although I think I might have said that before.) :)
And now onto the Q&A:
Vazra asked us:
“What is the most satisfying part of the job?”
Good question! :)
There are lots of parts of the job I enjoy. From the excitement that comes with first signing a game, to seeing how the game gradually change from the first playable build, to the release build, or simply just hanging out and talking to you all on places like Twitter. :)
But the most satisfying part is seeing people playing and enjoying a game. Whether it’s from taking the game to a show, like I did with Flame Over and International Athletics and watching them play in person, or from seeing people enjoying a game I worked on online after release.
From the time when I saw one of my friends from university talking about how much they’d enjoyed Shadow Hearts: From the New World on Facebook, it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed.
FX102A has fond memories of our console releases and asks:
“Are you fully converted to a Steam Game publisher? Miss all your past PS2, PSP and DS releases.”
We are still actively looking to for games to release on console, and if the right game became available in our region and we can reach agreement on it then we would definitely be interested in releasing more console games.
Having said that, at the moment our focus is mainly on bringing Japanese console games to PC, through places like Steam and - of course – GOG. :) Between the games we publish ourselves and the games we port for other publishers, I don’t think there can be many companies out there with more experience in bringing Japanese games from console to PC, so it makes sense to take advantage of our strengths.
Valxal had two questions to ask us:
“I'd like to ask is what games would the Ghostlight team personally wish they could port to PC if it were possible.”
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’d love to have the chance to work on the PC port of an Atlus game.
“Another question is have there been any ports in the works that had to be cut short and didn't make it to Steam/other platforms? If so are you allowed to state which ones? I know that you probably can't disclose certain information but it'd still be interesting to hear!”
While we’ve had some tricky ports, such as the one I talked about in last week’s blog, we’ve always been able to complete and release every port we’ve attempted. Some of this is because we take a good look at the underlying source code before signing the game, but a lot of it is due to the hard work of our dev team, who seem to be very good at solving any problems that crop up in the porting process.
Badre asked us:
“Have there been any titles you wanted to port, but were denied or had difficulty in porting?”
We’ve always got a long list of games we’d love to work on should the opportunity arise but, as was the case when we were bringing over console games, you’re never able to get hold of all the games you’d like to work on.
While I can’t mention individual games, there are plenty of reasons why we may not be able to pick up a game we’re interested in porting. Sometimes it’s simply that we cannot work out a deal that suits both us and the Japanese company who’s game we want to bring to PC. It might simply be that we don’t feel we can justify meeting the price they want for the game, or it might be that someone else has also come in for the game and is willing to pay more, or there is another Western publisher that the Japanese company has an existing relationship with and they would rather continue to work with them.
Even when it’s possible to agree a deal, there can sometimes be issues that prevent us from porting the game. For example, I remember at least two instances where we were very close to signing two games, both of which I really liked the look of, but unfortunately the source code had been lost, so we had to pass them up. There are still occasions where the rights situation is somewhat complex, which can make it impossible for us to license a game.
Once again, thank you for all the questions. I’m very sorry if I didn’t get to use yours this time round. I hope you’ve all found this interesting and that it won’t be 5 and a half years until we do this again!
Finally, and I hope you’ll all forgive a little self-indulgence, but I’m in the process of booking a trip to Japan in September, so if any of you have any hints or suggestions for things to do out there - gaming related or otherwise - I’d love to hear them. :)
I’ll be back next week with another blog, and - remember - if you’d like your question answered in the upcoming part 2 of this Q&A, then please feel free to ask your question in the comments, or in any of our Social media spaces, such as our Twitter and Facebook pages, or our Google + account, where we’ll be posting all the latest news from Ghostlight. Or you can follow my Twitter account for a personal take on all things Ghostlight.
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Posted by Ross
Thu, 19th Jan 2017
Hi everyone. Welcome to the first Ghostlight blog of 2017. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year.
I thought I’d kick off this year by running a little Q&A on the blog, since we haven’t done one in ages (seriously I checked and it seems the last one was in 2011). For historical purposes you can find the previous Q&As here & here, a lot has changed since then but reading back through them certainly brought back a few memories.
Before I start answering questions, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to ask us the questions. This would be a rather short blog if none of you had. I am afraid that due to the number of questions I won’t be able to include all of them, so I’d like to apologise in advance if yours isn’t included. I’m hoping to come back to them in part 2 in the next few weeks, so if there’s anything you’d like to know about Ghostlight or our work than please ask in the comments.
And now for the Questions:
“How do you get the whole porting process done ? Is it you or the developper/publisher who makes the first step to make it happen ?”
A little while ago we wrote a blog on how the porting process works, which you can find here, the process hasn’t really changed since then, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you want to know how we work.
As for who approaches who, the answer is that it depends. When we first started out porting games to PC we had to approach the Japanese companies, as it wasn’t really something that had been done before. Over the many years of working in our beloved games industry, we’ve built up relationships with a lot of different partners so naturally we actively try to work directly with existing partners on new opportunities.
However, the success of our games as well as other publishers’ games on Steam seems to have caught the attention of more Japanese companies. This means that we are now getting the opportunity to work with clients that we have not worked with in the past, which is really exciting for us.
Securing new games can be a lengthy and difficult business for all the parties involved. When we’re not dealing directly with a particular partner, it’s all thanks to the hard work of our agents in Japan who help ‘grease the wheels’ and make everything happen. They also keep us abreast of what games might be available and of course use their knowledge and vast experience to give us the best possible chance of licensing any particular games that we may be interested in. Another factor that helps hugely when speaking to companies we haven’t previously dealt with, is our solid track record that we’ve built up over the last 10+ years as a reliable & trustworthy partner :)
A somewhat more recent development is that we’ve also found ourselves being approached by some Western publishers of Japanese games to handle the PC ports of their products. While I can’t go into too much detail at the moment, it’s certainly very flattering for us and it’s great to be recognised as quality conversion team :)
Vertic 90 asks:
“Will you be considering multi platform releases like Mac/Linux going forward or sticking with DirectX?”
I think that for the time being we are likely to stick to PC only releases rather than port games to Mac/Linux.
John Wiley also had two questions for us:
“what is the technically most challenging PC port you've done so far?”
I’d have to say that the most technically challenging PC port was Way of the Samurai 4. Some of you may remember the numerous delays to this game, most of which were caused by what turned out to be a problem in the sound engine which was behind many of the problems the game had in the months leading up to release. Fortunately, although it seemed to take a while to track down, once we did manage to find what was causing the problem it was fixed rather quickly, so we could release the game.
“which game are you most surprised /thrilled by that Ghostlight was able to license it?”
This is a tricky one for me as I’ve really enjoyed playing all the games we’ve released. But if I was forced to pick out a few highlights, then I’d have to say that from our PC lineup Way of the Samurai 4 stands out for me. Up until this point not only had all the games we’d ported been from our longstanding Japanese clients, but all of them (except Elminage Gothic) had been games that we’d also released on console in Europe, or were Laughing Jackal titles where I’d worked on the original console release. And not only was it our first time working with Acquire, but it was the most recent release in the Way of the Samurai series, and while I may have only had a limited amount of experience with the series I knew so many people both online and offline who were into it.
If I had to choose some favourites from our catalogue of console titles, then I’d like to pick out three in particular from our little run of games on the PSP namely “SMT: Persona 3 Portable”, “Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky” and “Fate/EXTRA.”
The Persona series was already pretty big when we picked up Persona 3 Portable, due to the PS2 release of Persona 3, which I’d bought, played and loved until I managed to lose a save right before the final boss which meant I felt the need to take a break. So to have the chance to play it again, and this time finally complete it (during office hours :)) was something I was quite excited about.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter, are probably already aware of my love for the Trails series, so it may surprise some of you to know that while I was the one who suggested we look into Trails in the Sky, I wasn’t particularly familiar with the series at that time. However, while performing the evaluation of Trails in the Sky, I completely fell in love with the game to the extent that I ended up taking the work PSP home with me so that I could complete it.
Last but by no means least is Fate/EXTRA, which is a very cool JRPG, with an interesting rock/paper/scissors style battle system. The game itself was an awful lot of fun, and is definitely worth checking out on PSP, but the thing that really got me excited was getting the opportunity to work on something in the Fate universe. While this was before the recent anime series Fate/Zero and the remake of Fate/stay night, I had really enjoyed the original Fate/stay night, and I remember being fascinated by the setting surrounding it, so having the chance to work on part of the Fate franchise was a really exciting moment.
Finally and unsurprisingly quite a few of you have asked about our plans for this year.
I’m pleased to say that it’s going to be an exciting year for Ghostlight. Not only are we close to signing a couple of new JRPGs, but we’re also looking at the possibility of bringing a cult console action game to PC. And we will of course continue to port games to PC for other publishers as well.
In other news I’d like to remind you all that the Humble Winter Sale is still ongoing, and many of our Steam games are part of it. So why not check out last week’s blog for details of all the great savings on offer, and then go take advantage of these great deals.
Once again thank you for all your questions, I’ll be back next week with another blog, and remember if you’d like your question answered in the upcoming part 2 of this Q&A then please feel free to ask your question in the comments. Or in any of our Social media spaces, such as Twitter and Facebook pages and our Google + account, where we’ll be posting all the latest news from Ghostlight. Or on my Twitter account.
Update: You can find part 2 of this Q&A here