The plan!

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#1
So, to get the conversation started as a few people start to meander in from various locations, here are the main ideas that we had in mind. At this point, everything is open for suggestion and discussion, since it's mostly been the hypothesized ideas from TLS, and from the brief PM contacts I've had with our other site Admins, there are a lot of ideas as to what to look into for getting something like this established.

The good thing is that with so much SE game-related information being put out today, and more likely to be on the way fairly heavily over the next little while, this provides a perfoect opportunity for us as communities to speak up.

Here are some excerpts from the original thread that will start things off in the direction I'd like them to go.

Bombarding a customer support e-mail or something like that won't work (people tried it before with "Remake FFVII!" after the PS3 Tech Demo came along, and it didn't take a day before they set up an auto-response e-mail for that), but there may be a way. We know guys like IGN can actually get ahold of people at SE. They actually even get to talk to Nomura, Kitase, et. al. from time to time.

Heck, when EGM erroniously stated that they knew a FFVII remake was on the way (this happened back in 2005, if I remember right), within a couple of days IGN had a response about it from SE saying that it was bullshit.

So, I think starting with somebody like that would be the thing to do.

If we can get a large number of S-E game-based communities to get together, and say, "Look, S-E, we like you. We like you a lot, but you could be MUCH better at knowing what sorts of things we want. The key to understanding the Western audience is to have some form of communication with them, ESPECIALLY the ones who have been greatly drawn in by your past games. As of currently, you don't have any way to do this. Let's get this happening, and EVERYONE BENEFITS." the gaming community will want to listen.

Hopefully that means that the people who HAVE these connections will then USE them to get some momentum on the issue.

Overall, once we get everything decided on how exactly we'd like to phrase our requests, we're looking at the idea of by some method contacting some people on one of the bigger gaming sites. Whether or not that's individual e-mails from us as Admins of the communities, or as a group, that's one of the many things to be decided here.

We'd been contenplating the idea of getting a hold of Brian Ashcraft from Kotaku, because from everything he posts on the site, he's a decent guy, he's based in Japan, has connections in the gaming industry, and he'd make a good starting point for attempting to get our voices heard.


That all being said, the floor's open for discussion and ideas from all fronts.


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FaustWolf

Fan Power Advocate
#2
Great stuff! It was especially cool to find out that you established regular communication with Blizzard back in the day, X-SOLDIER.

One thing I've become interested in recently are efforts by Square Enix DLG (the Downloadable Games Dept)* to communicate -- albeit one way more often than not -- with English-speaking fans via Facebook and Twitter.

Obviously a marketing strategy, but I'm under the impression that devs post to these from time to time as well. I seem to remember that from around the time of Chaos Rings' release at least. Smaller Korean outfits who are busily porting games to the iPhone are willing to get much more hands-on with fans and lesser-trafficked game news sites through these channels from what I've observed over the past couple months; I wonder how Square Enix intends to develop its own social networking front going forward.


*They may run separate Facebook and Twitter accounts on a game-by-game basis too, at least for more high profile titles; I'll have to look into that further.

Links to Square Enix DLG's Facebook and Twitter pages are as follows for anyone not familiar with them (I inserted an extra space after "http" to break the links since I can't post external links here yet):

Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/SQUARE-ENIX-DLG/167831379364

Twitter
http://twitter.com/squareenixdlg
 
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Cat Rage Room

Great Old One
AKA
Mog
#3
Sorry for being late, guys. I'm the one who suggested this, so hey, gotta show up for the meetings, right? Although I'm leaving for Naval Basic Training for two months in less than a week, I'll trust you guys to keep it movin', yeah?

But yeah, this is definitely a good jumping off point. Brian Ashcraft is going to be on the board for our 'outside media guy', ultimately he's going to be the one that's going to spread our message to the four winds so everyone knows about it, and from everything I've heard he's a reasonable easy to reach guy. We're not quite there yet, but this is a good start.

The SE DLG is something I didn't know about, do you guys think that's a good avenue to keep open in terms of communication? I think we should keep that on the table. What about the people over at the FF Wiki? Did we contact them yet?
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#4
The SE DLG thing would certainly be something to keep an eye on, since it's exactly the sort of thing we'd like to see established for SE games in general. Perhaps when we're ready to move things into the final phase of this effort, we could send a message to them at the same time we contact Ashcraft.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#5
I fixed your links for you FaustWolf. You'll have to hit 5 posts before it'll let you add hyperlinks.
(Spambot security measures and whatnot.)

I didn't know about the SquareEnixDLG Facebook and Twitter. Marketing strategy or not, the real question is how far does it fall back into SE? Meaning that if it only goes as far as SE:NA, there's a minimal chance of us getting through to any of the Devs and people with say in Square Enix to actually have our opinions reach someone that could do something about them. If it falls back directly to SE, that's something else entirely, and it may end up being incredibly useful.

Either way, I'll see about looking into them when I have a little bit of spare time. Existing Social Networks wasn't something that had crossed anyone's mind yet. Thanks for bringing it up!


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FaustWolf

Fan Power Advocate
#6
No prob about the links, that's perfectly understandable.

DLG "updates from Tokyo, Japan" judging from their Facebook profile alone, but I suppose that's no surefire proof that dev statements don't pass through the NA office for translation first. Here's an example of a dev statement from DLG:
(In the attachment -- this link seems especially resilient!)

I seem to remember that Chaos Rings had its own Facebook page, so DLG might be a catch-all for smaller releases. I'll have to check around and see if SE is running any English social networking pages for the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, but for now I'm guessing they're testing the social networking waters with their mobile games division because they've got less riding on it for the time being.

What's really interesting, now that I take a second look at Oyamada's post, is that the comments are obviously unfiltered. I guess freedom of speech reigns on these things, but it might also suggest that the social networking accounts are that much farther removed from SE's regular communication network.

Just a curiosity for now; as Ariadne suggests, this is probably more important in the long term than for first contact.
 

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FaustWolf

Fan Power Advocate
#7
Huge apologies for the double post (hey! getting closer to posting links!) but are you guys interested in bringing in a bilingual English/Japanese speaker or two from the fan communities at some point? ZeaLitY (Chrono Compendium admin) has been working with a very high-quality translator for getting untranslated Chrono materials in English, and she'll probably be game for helping out here given her interests.

Let Ramsus or I know if you're interested; still hoping ZeaLitY will be able to join the party, though his schedule's hugely complicated lately.
 
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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#8
Hey, as long as the post's relevant, don't worry about it too much. We've got Hito to do our translations for the Ultimania content and such, but any help for a project like this would be more than welcome.

I know ZeaLitY's busy, but I'm hoping he gets a chance to stop in at some point.

Thanks for all the suggestions and reccomendations so far FaustWolf. It's greatly appreciated. :D


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#9
Richard Honeywood probably has contacts to some insiders, including Masato Kato. I've never actually tried to contact him, but his name's pretty damn unique and I recall being able to look him up before. We might be able to send him a letter or something (last I knew he lived in California). He was a translator for Square who worked on Chrono Cross and some other titles, and developed a pretty good working relationship with Tanaka and Kato, who remarked that the US translation of Chrono Cross was actually better and clearer than the original game thanks to their input. It's likely Honeywood still knows others at Square.

It'd be cool to get an interview with him on his translation work as well if we go this route. As a side note for the Chrono community, if we do get to Kato, that'd open the way for a mythical interview and would fulfill the #1 goal of the Compendium.
 

Cat Rage Room

Great Old One
AKA
Mog
#10
So far, here's our list of likely avenues.

-Square Enix DLG
-Brian Ashcraft
-Richard Honeywood

Is this right so far?

As a side note for the Chrono community, if we do get to Kato, that'd open the way for a mythical interview and would fulfill the #1 goal of the Compendium.
As a lifelong fan of Chrono and the Compendium, I'm personally on board with this.
 

The Dreaded Paw

Square Anthology Rep.
AKA
Paw
#11
I'm not sure about ease to contact or his relationship with people from Square, but one name that comes to mind is Jack Fletcher. He has done the English voice direction for all the single-player Final Fantasies (FFX-2 and FF Tactics: War of Lions being the only spin-off SE titles, I believe)

He has also done voice direction on numerous other games and anime, which makes me inclined to think he's pretty easy to get a hold of - if not extremely busy.

Just an idea.

EDIT: Based on Ali Hillis' (Lightning's English VA from FFXIII) remarks in an interview, Jack Fletcher is apparently very knowledgeable about the games he's directing. So SE does trust him with their work, at least.
 
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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#12
So, today Brian Ashcraft wrote up an article on Kotaku titled "Why Don't Foreigners Like Japanese Role-Playing Games?". The comments section is alight with lots of feedback, and I felt that this was close to as perfect an opportunity to address the issue with him, so I wrote up an e-mail and sent it his direction. Here's a copy of what was sent.


Inquiry in regards to Japanese Games and the Western Community. said:
Salutations Brian,

Recently I read over your article about the popularity of JRPGs: http://kotaku.com/5742666/why-dont-foreigners-like-japanese-role+playing-games and it brought to mind something that I had been working on lately, that I was wondering if you might be able to assist with.

For some background, my name is Pierce, and I typically go by the handle "X-SOLDIER" online. I run a Final Fantasy VII-based community over on http://thelifestream.net/ . Recently within our community, a topic came up that gained a strong following: With many game companies and developers, there is an pathway for communication with their fanbases that is quickly becoming more common, but not so with Japanese gaming gommunities and their Western Audiences. One of the biggest issues with JRPG's is that they seem to fall into a grey area in the global community. Often times the developers make changes with appealing to the Western Community in mind, that fail to do what they were intended, and I think that a portion of this could be contributed to the fact that they're being limited to their interpritation of what the Western communities want, rather than actual feedback from their users. Case in point that SquareEnix has a Twitter set up for it's Japanese fans, but the Western fanbase doesn't have a road of communication with them at all.

In the interest of seeing how the other SE-related communities felt, I began reaching out, and a number of them, and have already heard back from folks at places like http://www.seikens.com/ , http://www.chronocompendium.com/ , & http://squareanthology.com/ who were also intersted in the prospect of setting something like this up. We have been working together, and discussing the how best to approach a SE about establishing a route of Communication with its Western fans, because we believe that it would contribute to games that would appeal to Westerners, and fans of the genre, which would in turn generate better sales for them.

While we were initially going to wait on hearing back from more communities, before reaching out further, the article that you wrote provided what seemed like a perfect opportunity to address this inquiry through you, and get your thoughts. As someone who is deeply involved in the gaming community, and more specifically centered in Japan, I'd like to know if there are any suggestions that you could make towards accomplishing something like this, or possibly even any assistance that you might be able to provide in getting something like this established for SquareEnix. I figure that a step in the right direction from a big gaming company might reflect towards other developers as well.

Either way, thank you for your time, and I look forward towards receiving your reply.

Regards,

Pierce Arner (X-SOLDIER)
Again, sorry for not writing up a draft and posting it here earlier, but I figured that it might be a good idea to test the waters in what seemed like an ideal setting from a small scale, and then pending a reaction, we'll see if we can open up a stronger followup that is directly involving everyone.

That being said, I'd lke to discuss the logistics of actually contacting some of the other aforementioned folks, and seeing if there's anyone that would like to spearhead the initial efforts.


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X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#13
So, to bump this: Is there anyone else who would be intersted in reaching out towards any of the aforementioned contacts? (Been working LOTS of overtime all week, so my mind's been everywhere. Sorry about the delay).


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The Dreaded Paw

Square Anthology Rep.
AKA
Paw
#14
Does anyone who is part of this project happen to have IMDb Pro? I was looking up contact information for Jack Fletcher and Richard Honeywood and I've always noticed on IMDb there's contact info for people with a Pro account. I'm wondering how reliable it is, though.
There's probably a better, more reliable way to get this information, but I wouldn't know it. I'll keep searching, though.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#15
@ The Dreaded Paw: I do not. :\ Keep looking, and if you find anything relevant, please let me know.




So, in light of the recent closure of Midgar-Rock in addition to S-E's plummet in profits for 2010, I have to think that if we step up now as the Western Audience interested in giving them a hand, that someone will be more than willing to listen.

We're starting to get a good number of folks from the communities around here, and we need to start stretching out our arms, and seeing who we can contact, and start to make people listen.

I've been wondering if, since we've got a good number of folks on board with this, if we'd want to initiate something like a "Speak Up towards SE" type post across all of our sites frontpages. Anything that gets large scale visibility, or that we can start to show towards the more public-facing side of the internet would be a good move. If you guys are interested, I'll write something up tomorrow.



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FaustWolf

Fan Power Advocate
#16
So it'll be like, "3-2-1! News Update!" and then all the SE fansites will have a similar outreach message to Square Enix on their front pages? I really dig that idea.

Since it would be a synchronized effort, I'm wondering if any game news sites would become interested in running a blurb on it? Sounds like it might make a nice feel-good, grassroots effort story to me.
 

The Dreaded Paw

Square Anthology Rep.
AKA
Paw
#17
If we are doing this idea, we're going to need a lot more sites to join the cause. I do really like the idea, though.
Have we tried FFwiki? I'd also suggest FF compendium, but I think they're gone. I don't really know many places since I tend to find a community I like and stick with it.
Though not SE-specific, there's also andriasang, Creative Uncut, and other such places.

Also I was thinking about N4G. It's a good way to advertise, but I also would like to avoid centers of mass stupidity like that.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#19
So it'll be like, "3-2-1! News Update!" and then all the SE fansites will have a similar outreach message to Square Enix on their front pages? I really dig that idea.

Since it would be a synchronized effort, I'm wondering if any game news sites would become interested in running a blurb on it? Sounds like it might make a nice feel-good, grassroots effort story to me.
If we are doing this idea, we're going to need a lot more sites to join the cause. I do really like the idea, though.

That's precisely what I was going for, but I agree that we'll need some more places on board. Once we get enough sites, we'll set a day/time, and all have a news update, because that'll generate more positive news, and word through the internet travels fast, especially when it'll be popping up almost everywhere.

Have we tried FFwiki? I'd also suggest FF compendium, but I think they're gone. I don't really know many places since I tend to find a community I like and stick with it.
Though not SE-specific, there's also andriasang, Creative Uncut, and other such places.

Also I was thinking about N4G. It's a good way to advertise, but I also would like to avoid centers of mass stupidity like that.
I haven't yet. Does anyone have existing connections at any of those places? I'm more than happy to reach out, but if anyone has existing connections, I'd rather utilize those first. If not, I'll see about setting up connections. If you wouldn't mind just compiling some links for me, so I can go through, register accounts, and reach out, it'd be greatly appreciated, and then I can update them into the first post as they're made available, and respond.


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Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
#20
Doesn't anyone think it might be better to centralize this effort, and have all the sites sign it and report on it? That way, once it's out, other sites that do not directly contribute to it can do a news report on it, linking to the 'central' letter, and people / sites that want to sign it can err. sign it. Or show their support, you know, without going 'OMG WHERE DO I GO?'

Just a thought, off course.
 

GlitterBerri

赤橙黄緑青紺&#
#21
Letter to Brian Ashcraft
If he replies, it might be worth noting that we're capable of multilingual communication in case he thinks we're asking him to be our Japanese-English conduit. Square might also be more inclined to release statements to us if they don't need to hire a whole new person or divert an existing translator to the task of trying to deal with our feedback and requests.

By the way, do we have any names of Japanese Square employees with known webpages or Twitter accounts or other means of contact? I'd be happy to try sending a message to them in the hopes that one of them will take interest or forward our plight to the higher-ups.
 

X-SOLDIER

Harbinger O Great Justice
AKA
X
#22
Doesn't anyone think it might be better to centralize this effort, and have all the sites sign it and report on it? That way, once it's out, other sites that do not directly contribute to it can do a news report on it, linking to the 'central' letter, and people / sites that want to sign it can err. sign it. Or show their support, you know, without going 'OMG WHERE DO I GO?'

Just a thought, off course.
Also a well-made point. Opinions anyone? More specifically the other site admins.

If he replies, it might be worth noting that we're capable of multilingual communication in case he thinks we're asking him to be our Japanese-English conduit. Square might also be more inclined to release statements to us if they don't need to hire a whole new person or divert an existing translator to the task of trying to deal with our feedback and requests.

By the way, do we have any names of Japanese Square employees with known webpages or Twitter accounts or other means of contact? I'd be happy to try sending a message to them in the hopes that one of them will take interest or forward our plight to the higher-ups.
Will do.

Also - I don't know any, but this is a REALLY good idea. Does anyone else know of any? I might be able to look around for some if not, though I'm not sure of the best place to start.

I was chatting with my admin buddy on SCLegacy, and he says that life gets a lot easier if you manage to contact someone from within the company, even if it's a loose connection, it'll expedite the process significantly (at least, that's what they experienced with Blizzard).


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Strangelove

AI Researcher
AKA
hitoshura
#24
By the way, do we have any names of Japanese Square employees with known webpages or Twitter accounts or other means of contact? I'd be happy to try sending a message to them in the hopes that one of them will take interest or forward our plight to the higher-ups.
I think Shinji Hashimoto is behind the SE Members' Twitter account (http://twitter.com/#!/SQEX_MEMBERS_JP).

Takashi Tokita also has a Twitter account:
http://twitter.com/#!/Takashi_Tokita

The 3rd Birthday Twitter account often has messages from Hajime Tabata and Tetsuya Nomura, and they've used it to communicate with (Japanese) fans in the past, I believe:
http://twitter.com/#!/3rd_birthday

And perhaps the best of all (in terms of higher-up-ness, anyway), Youichi Wada himself:
http://twitter.com/#!/yoichiw
 

GlitterBerri

赤橙黄緑青紺&#
#25
Perfect. I'll see what I can draft up later today. Does anyone have recommendations for what they'd like to say?
 
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