Christmas has just passed and 2012 is now only a week away. Gamers are thankful for so many great video games released this year and all the video game companies that bring them those games. If only there was enough time to play them all. At the end of 2011, games like Batman: Arkham City, Legend of Zelda: The Skyward Sword, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception amazed, took their places on many sites’ top list and winning prestigious awards.
There’s one award we like to pass out for 2011, and that’s the Nerd Reactor’s Video Game Company of the Year 2011 Award. To decide what company would receive our title of “Best Video Game Company of 2011,” contributing factors include fans/community involvement, stepping outside the box, and more.
So for 2011, we’re proud to have Nippon Ichi Software America take the Nerd Reactor’s Video Game Company of the Year 2011 Award.
Nippon Ichi Software America (NISA) opened in December 2003 after the success of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, which was developed by Nippon Ichi Software. NISA since then has released titles from other companies in Japan such as Gust, Idea Factory, Hit Maker, and even went back to release the much requested 2005 Sega title, Sakura Wars: So Long My Love (Sakura Taisen V), at the request of forum fans.
This year NISA released Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!, Hyperdimension Neptunia (which will be re-released at your local Gamestop), Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel, Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten (which received lots of praise and awards), Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland, Cave Story 3D and released Sony’s Bleach: Soul Resurrección in the U.S.
With their mascot, the Prinny, NISA has made its mark in the J-RPG market. NISA also opened a shop selling toys, figures, plushies of its prinny mascot, and apparel from its series. For the hardcore fans, the giclée prints were priced at about 300 bucks, and for those lucky to attend Anime Expo, they’ve opened a large booth selling all these items and special convention-only items.
Not only does NISA localize games, but it also releases anime series ever since Q3 2010. The anime series released under the company would be released in special editions that included outer cases and art books, keeping the original Japanese voice dialogue intact with English subs, a must for purists. NISA released some big name series like Toradora, Working!! (renamed Wagnaria!! due to licensing issues), Arakawa Under the Bridge, and Katanagatari when no other company would announce the release of any of those titles. It has already announced 2 new titles for early 2012.
As for listening to the customers, NISA is only one of 3 companies who have a forum dedicated to fans requesting games (the other 2 are Atlus and Aksys games). One of the big surprises was Sakura Wars in 2010 and the announcement of a deal with the company Imagepoch to release future titles for Western audiences. It wasn’t until August 2011 that NISA finally announced it would be releasing the highly anticipated Black Rock Shooter in the West for fans who have been going to multiple forums to get the game localized.
And what’s the company without a good team? These guys put in hours upon hours of work to get the games translated and have it up and running into the hands of gamers. Then again they do work for a company that releases tons of silly, parody and pun-filled games so…
“I am very honored to receive this award. It is the best award for NISA because no single title or person can make it happen. All of our supporters – the fans, licensors, vendors, and press members – are responsible for it. We greatly appreciate your continued support!” Haru Akenaga – President of NIS America, Inc.
For more info on Nippon Ichi Software America you can check out the NISA website, which has more information on current and upcoming games and anime. And while you are there, get on the forums and let them know what animes or games you would like to see localized.
And with 2012 right around the corner, we here at Nerd Reactor wish you a happy gaming new year.