Marcus Estrada, a poster on Cliqist, has taken a look at Sekai Project’s PlayStation Vita promises – and their follow-through (or lack thereof).
Sekai Project is a fairly recent entry into the localization and publishing business, but in the short while they’ve been here they’ve gained a ton of popularity bringing visual novels to the English speaking world. In the last few years they’ve even taken to promising PlayStation Vita ports via stretch goals on Kickstarter, but we’ve yet to see any fruits of that endeavor.
Time to take a look at what’s up with that.
World End Economica
The first of their Kickstarter titles in June 2014, and the first to be offered a Vita port, World End Economica was announced to come to Vita via PlayStation Mobile if the $100,000 stretch goal was hit. They offered a Vita tier on their Kickstarter (set at $30), and upon success of their Kickstarter it was assumed that work was being done porting to Unity.
A November 2014 update seemed to confirm this, however an update the following June (that was exclusive to backers) also seemed to imply they were just about to start the port. It was also announced that they would be releasing the trilogy as a single package.
In November of last year they announced that they were waiting for The Grisaia Trilogy to be approved before submitting another title. An update earlier this month addressed the Vita version once more, saying they’d “start working on console port” after their new localization team gets a look at Episode.01 and Episode.02.
I’m sure we’re all with Marcus at this point in wondering what the hell is going on, and that’s as far as this one’s gotten. Hmm.
fault milestone one -director’s cut-
With a Vita stretch goal set at $30,000, fault milestone one -director’s cut- took over three weeks to hit its mark – despite the initial goal for localization being hit almost immediately. A Vita tier was set at $10, and the game was said to be coming via PlayStation Mobile. The idea was promising, and people seemed excited.
Months pass, and through around ten updates we hear no word on the Vita version; that is, until the eve of the game’s initial launch (for the base goal PC platform). That night, Sekai Project founder Raymond Qian took to sharing the fact that the process of porting to Unity was underway – and that they were seeking PSN certification. This was the first time they announced they would be moving away from PlayStation Mobile.
In July 2015 they announced that they were pursuing two avenues of approach; one being to port the game to Unity, and the other being to bring their usual PC engine – Ren’py – to Vita in order to simplify (most) porting in the future. Unlike World End Economica, fault milestone one -director’s cut- would benefit this. They seemed to have a plan (or two).
October brought news that they were having a hard time getting games approved, and November brought a recap of previous events – noting that Grisaia came first (in pecking order) and had to be approved before they could address other Vita titles. They also noted that they were still in the research stages for bringing Ren’py to the playform (read: they hadn’t started actually porting yet).
An update earlier this month promised “some news about PSVita soon” but at this point it’s getting a bit late in the game. Hopefully soon isn’t just PR speak for “we’re still looking into it.”
The Grisaia Trilogy
With the campaign launched on December 16th, and funded at the Vita level by the 18th (despite it being $240,000) it’s clear that The Grisaia Trilogy was both the most popular, and the highest profit title Sekai Project would be attempting to bring. I say attempting, because they note that it was “pending Sony approval” – adding a $1 “waiting for information” tier instead of an official Vita one. Once the game was approved, they planned to add another tier that people could upgrade to. Interesting.
A few days before the campaign ended, Sony asked Sekai Project to reapply for PlayStation Network approval. They did, and kept taking $1 pledges – the approval hitting just over a year ago (as of this post) on February 7th, 2015.
Despite approval for PSN developer status however, they noted later in the month that The Grisaia Trilogy wasn’t approved for PSN release, and that they were only just beginning to explore the porting process. The time for locking down the backer kit soon came and went, and no upgrade tier was offered to Vita hopefuls. People wondered what the hell was going on.
At the end of May, Sekai Project announced that they would be porting the game to Unity if they could get approval. The start of October brought an announcement that they had cleared most of the obstacles on getting it to the platform, and November gave us a small announcement regarding getting their papers in order with Sony.
December brought the last significant bit of news however, as they announced they were working on a vertical slice (a working gameplay sample) for The Grisaia Trilogy in order to get approval. They reaffirmed they were working on that vertical slice in late January, and we’re still waiting to hear more.
Root Double- Before Crime * After Days- Xtend Edition
Announced with no PlayStation Vita version planned, Root Double was given the Vita promise after the fact – even despite all the issues they had with the other three games they’ve announced Vita ports for.
Fans asked, and Sekai Project ‘caved’ on the matter, adding a $225(!) tier for Vita hopefuls – dropping it to a less outrageous $50 when people complained and their funding seemed in trouble.
The game currently has “eventually” as its projected release date, and being that its got three barely started ports ‘ahead’ of it (we know Sekai Project doesn’t care much about order) that’s a pretty fair assessment of the situation.
As it is, it seems that Sekai Project has promised three games of their own volition, and one due (at least partly) to user appeal – none of which are likely to hit the platform any time soon. The three they came out with on their own were all 2014 Kickstarters, and have all since been released on their base platforms. None of them are even past the vertical slice (initial approval) phase on Vita, and most seem not to have even been started aside from research.
I wonder if anyone’s taking bets on release dates, ’cause I think I’d like to put some cash on 2020.
What are your thoughts?
PS; A big thanks to Marcus Estrada for the article this post is based on!