Outside of Japan, and hardcore game importers, the name Koichi Nakamura probably doesn't ring a bell.
The unassuming Nakamura hit the limelight in the early 80s when as a high schooler he won Enix's national programming contest with Door Door. In 1984 he founded Chunsoft. While probably best known for the Fushigi no Dungeon series and their work on the first five installments of the Dragon Quest series, the company also worked on Pokemon games.
Now for the first time since the creation of the Fushigi no Dungeon series, one of the titles is coming to North America, published by Sega. I had a chance to sit down with Nakamura recently to talk about it. He told me that if Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer does well in the U.S. when it hits next year, they will start looking into making a Wii version of the game. They may also start digging through their 13-year-old library of Mysterious Dungeon games looking for other titles worth updating and bringing over.
I asked Nakamura if it concerned him that he was brining a hardcore role-playing game to a platform that has famously attracted a more casual gamer. He said he wasn't.
"Personally, I think RPG games are for people who play games more often, but there is quite a bit of difference between the U.S. and Japan in the gaming market. We don't have a lot of PS3 and 360 owners here so a lot of hardcore gamers play on the Wii and DS consoles."
"One of the reasons Wii games are considered so different is because of the Wii controller, but you don't have to include (motion controls) in Wii games or (stylus controls) in DS games."
He said that in Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer there are DS touchscreen controls, but that you don't need to use them to play.
Nakamura said he isn't too worried about how the game, which randomly generates dungeons and takes about 20 hours to play straight through to beat, will do in the U.S. when it hits here.
"If players like ninjas or samurai then they will like the game."