Behind the Scenes Interview with Sekai Project

Sekai Project is a small company which hopes to bring more exposure to doujin creators around the world. Their projects include Moe Headphones Guide [Lunatic Joker], narcissu [stage-nana], Sakura Spirit [Winged Cloud] and more recently, the Grisaia trilogy [Frontwing]. We took the opportunity to interview them about their work.

Since the Kickstarters for World End Economica ep.1 and fault milestone one were so close together, did you encounter any difficulties in trying to market both?

Ah, yes and no. WEE and fault were definitely very different games with extremely contrasting backgrounds, with WEE being from a well-known storywriter and fault being a relatively newer project. The difficult parts were definitely in getting everything organized and having a decent idea of how things would end up. Truthfully, it was quite a gamble. But since then, I like to think that we’ve come a long way and learned a lot.

When you first started out, would you ever have imagined that Sekai Project would be so successful?

It was more of a hope than an expectation, but insofar as people supporting us, we’ve definitely had our expectations exceeded. I feel we’re still on the small side, in terms of how many people know of us, or how the publishing scene tends to operate in general (We get a lot of questions about MG or JAST’s games, for example). However, it’s a good incentive to get out there and interact with everyone, putting our best foot forward.

CLANNAD by default is an all-ages game. Was the decision to have this game come after Planetarian more of a KEY decision, your decision, or a combination of both? Was selecting CLANNAD also strategic to circumvent age-restricted issues?

When we went into discussions with VisualArt’s/Key, it was put on the table with the planetarian license as well. And with an offer like that, why would we refuse? So it was really less a part of circumventing and more of an unexpected bonus.

At Japan Expo, attendees were graced by recent quality goods made by KEY, which is part of Visual Art’s, a publishing company. Any possibility of perhaps, SAGA PLANETS goods in the future since they’re also part of Visual Art’s?

I would say that the possibility is there, but it’s something we’d need to look into and work out. Currently we want to focus on one thing at a time, so right now our time is going towards our releases.

Will age restrictions be a hurdle? KEY’s games have separate all-ages versions to circumvent this, but other companies likely have only one 18+ version of a game.

We are currently working on a solution to appeal to a wider audience. That’s all I can really say about that right now, haha.

Is all of the work done in house, including porting games to various consoles?

Yeah, to the point where we’re almost overworked, but that’s part of the fun of the job too. We obviously go back and forth with our partners on a case-by-case basis, but a lot of the work is on our shoulders. Our localizations are done entirely in-house by individuals we hold in high regard, and as far as porting games goes, we’re working on getting all of that streamlined right now, but it is done internally.

Why did you think about localising Lunatic Joker’s Moe Headphones Guide, and given how successful that was, would you consider doing more print-related work?

Since we were already on good terms with Tsukigami Luna, and we’re all pretty huge fans of his work, it was kind of our test-bed project. We learned a lot in the process, no thanks to a fair share of mistakes, but we definitely want to do other projects like it in the future.

Is there a lot of demand for visual novels in dual language, and how much work is it to implement?

There is! The most frequent requests are for Spanish translations, followed by French, and then German. The actual implementation isn’t too hard, but getting the translation itself organized is a bit of effort. Currently we’re focusing on JP -> EN before we branch out.

We noticed that you had a few Karory goods for sale at Anime Expo, was there a specific reason to that?

There was, it was mainly to test the waters. Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to do more things like it, but until then, just keep an ear out for what we’re doing next.

Which visual novels would you recommend for someone who hasn’t played one before?

Planetarian is definitely a good start, since it’s short and gets people not used to the genre something they can soak their feet in. Otherwise, I’d definitely suggest Sunrider if they’re mecha or SF fans, or narcissu for a more traditional styled visual novel. Both of these games are free, so they’re easily accessible to anyone with Steam. As for titles outside of our company, JAST’s release of 5pb’s Steins;Gate or MangaGamer’s release of innocent grey’s Kara no Shoujo (Warning: Adult content) are both really good too. True Remembrance is also a great game, and free. Look it up sometime!

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