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Amaterasu deal falls apart, two patches released

September 6th, 2011, by zalas
Posted in Press Release, Release, Translation , Tagged: , , , , ,

Amaterasu has announced the release of an English translation patch for âge’s MuvLuv Alternative as well as Liar-soft’s Shikkoku no Sharnoth, stating that they are giving up on the licensing deal with MangaGamer and citing, amongst other things, disappointment with âge deciding to offer MangaGamer Kimi ga Nozomu Eien instead. They will now proceed to translate AKABEiSOFT2’s remade version of A Profile and Liar-soft’s Forest after that. A representative of Katahane’s fan translation team also chimed in to say that disappointment in their dealings with MangaGamer also led them to releasing their patch. In response, MangaGamer has sent us a bilingual official statement regarding the matter, which is reproduced in the last section of this article. In short, they express disappointment in the turn of events and outline possible fallout from Amaterasu’s decision.

Amaterasu started working on MuvLuv and MuvLuv Alternative in early 2010 and released a full translation patch for MuvLuv at the end of July. Meanwhile, MangaGamer brought âge to Anime Expo 2010 to let them have a glimpse at the Western fandom in an attempt to persuade them to pursue expanding their properties overseas. In fall, Amaterasu started working on MuvLuv Alternative. Eventually, the translation group announced in January of this year that they were pursuing an official release of the MuvLuv series. After a leaked MuvLuv Alternative patch in late March, the group decided to “‘go silent’ for a short while” until the most recent announcement. They stated that going silent let them “avoid drama” as well as helped keep the Liar-soft negotiations a secret.

According to the group’s statement, they found out roughly a month after they instituted the silence policy that MangaGamer was unable to secure rights for the MuvLuv series and was offered Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Negotiations for the latter were said to be in progress during MangaGamer’s Anime Expo 2011 panel.

As part of Amaterasu’s announcement, they have stated their new policy towards working for official translations, stating they are more than happy to work on official translations of games they like for free as long as they can be shown “concrete evidence” that “a deal has actually been made [with the Japanese company].” They also state that they do intend to back out of deals if their finished translation isn’t released in a timely manner.

In light of this news, we asked MangaGamer for their thoughts on the matter as well as how this would affect their future game releases. In response, they sent us an official statement regarding the matter in English as well as one in Japanese. In their statement, they express disappointment in Amaterasu’s actions and concern about the state of current and title negotiations. They also hinted at current market issues in Japan as a possible cause for delay. Both statements are reproduced below:

We at MangaGamer are extremely disappointed by this turn of events given how we have been trying our best to extend a hand to fan translators to help bring great games to western audiences. We are doubly disappointed as what we discussed with Amaterasu in regards to the negotiation progress was said in confidence as a sign of trust.

To get facts straight, though:
1) For the time being there are major hurdles in negotiations for titles in the MuvLuv franchise, and this turn of events will definitely cause the companies involved in the Kima ga Nozomu Eien production committee to take a very serious look at whether they wish to continue negotiations that have been months in the making for a western release.

2) We had also approached Liarsoft in good faith, hoping to demonstrate that there was a viable fan base for their games in the west, and that said fans were willing to work with them instead of against them. With the market situation in Japan, they have been hesitant about making a decision. Since negotiations here are at a much earlier stage than Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, we are unable to assess how Amaterasu’s actions will affect their decision and their opinion of the western market.

Since not all the fan-translators we have worked with have taken such rash action, we continue to hold hope that we can still work with them in future. However, we do wish both fans and fan-translators would show more patience and more commitment to seeing games officially released than has been shown here today. Most VN companies in Japan are devoting 100% of their resources to surviving in a market where domestic sales have plummeted by 30%, and the western market is only showing slow growth.

We are committed to developing the market for Visual Novels in the west, even though it means diverting resources away from operations in Japan. Regardless of what happens, we will continue our efforts to negotiate with companies that fans have a strong interest in. We intend to see all negotiations through to the end, so long as the Japanese companies see there is an opportunity for licensing their games and are willing to continue talks.






EDIT: Amaterasu leader Ixrec clarifies over Twitter that they were more upset with the dearth of information concerning the agreement as well as receiving “blatantly false” information.


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  1. Pirkaf Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Many fans have already played Muv-Luv games anyway. KimiNozo is probably more attractive title for Mangagamer.

  2. Shii Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    “With the market situation in Japan, they have been hesitant about making a decision.”

    Wow, they must be drowning in cash in Japan if they are “hesitant” about profiting from a foreign license!

    These companies need to get their heads out of their asses ASAP.

  3. Miitan Says:
    September 6th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    The sad thing is, the only people who lose in the long run are the Japanese companies as if they don’t licence, fans will translate the games and release the translations for free and while some will purchase the game, many will not. On the other hand, if they do divert funds into a foreign language translation, they risk going bust. It’s a catch-22.

  4. Aaeru Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 12:48 am

    It would be great if we could get some inside stories about how some of these companies have come to the conclusions they have arrived at. It would do a lot to mellow the hate that has been building up among our fan community ever since the dawn of commercial releases. I honestly think it is more than just “getting heads out of asses”. What are they thinking, what are the hurdles, is it just mangagamer unable to prove the numbers?

    I just want to drag one of these presidents into an IRC channel and cross-examine them!!

  5. Fiohnel Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 12:57 am

    @Shii: According to this article they’re going in the red instead http://www.neechin.net/article/175/the-quagmire-that-is-game-licensing

  6. Shii Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Yes, that was sarcasm. Game manufacturers are acting like they only have a market in one country, and as a result they are creating only a market in one country, with piracy taking over the rest.

  7. random.idiot Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Sorry Amaterasu, but I see a lot a arrogance in your action. You need to understand that MG can’t release _anything_ unless the owner of the IP in Japan give their “go ahead.” And even then, they are bound by the restrictions the Japanese company place on them (if any).

    In this case, I believe that “Kima ga Nozomu Eien” was released before “MuvLuv” in Japan. This lead me to believe that “age” wanted to release their older title first, since if they released their newer title first, it might negatively effect the sale of the older title when it is released later. Plus the anime (“Rumbling Hearts”) have been released in the west, it won’t be wrong of them to believe that the release of “SHUFFLE” anime is what helped the sale of the game (even though it didn’t help that much with “Koihime Musou”).

    Also remember that MG have their own schedule, even if the title is ready to be released right now, it might be slotted for release _after_ the current scheduled title is released. They need to build some hype around the title before they release it, and this is a slow process.

    @Shii, I used to have a similar opinion to yours. But after reading the articles about the sales figures, I had to change my mind. VNs are not selling well in the west, but the Japanese companies have to spend money on engine porting, testing and debugging.

  8. random.idiot Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 3:32 am

    aaaa…. sorry, I clicked submit before editing the 1st line, “I see a lot a arrogance in your action.” should have been removed.

    sorry! about that. Asking companies to approach you instead of you approaching them isn’t arrogant. My bad.

  9. fuji Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 5:04 am

    I don’t understand why MangaGamer is so shocked at this.

    Ixrec originally said to his fans ‘I’ll release it if negotiations take too long’

    1. Release patch
    2.Wait years for something that may not be released while not contributing to the community

    And thankfully we’ll start seeing more releases from Ixrec and his team.

    I’ll also never admit my fuck ups and blame it on someone else.

  10. sacchinftw Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 5:22 am

    I didn’t read that so much as Manga Gamer shocked as it was dissapointment that Amaterasu decided to make that decision. It seemed more like Ixrec was shocked over the March earthquake actually affecting a company located in Japan…

  11. 187 Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 5:33 am

    please play the game of your country if you wish for world peace!

  12. ruth Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 6:07 am

    Based on the past I think this will definitely shock the committee member from age. The chance of future licensing beside ‘Kima ga Nozomu Eien’ will be extremely slim.

  13. Cicero Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Ixrec’s first fuck up was approaching MangaGamer in the first place. Interesting, though that when he first announced his decision to go “official” he gave the impression that he was directly communicating with age.

    Anyway it seems that he went into this without really understanding how licensing works or how many of these Eroge companies operate and ended up causing needless drama. I was actually doubtful that there were talks actually occurring, believing that this may have been one massive troll on the part of Ixrec.

    What we have here is some inexperienced kid (Ixrec) who has no understanding of how business works, diving into something he knew nothing about. Ixrec may be a good translator, with an excellent understanding of the Japanese language, however, it seems he has very little understanding of how Japanese business culture works with respect to the Eroge companies.

  14. Iris Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    4 assignments, 2 tests due next week. gg

  15. IceD Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 8:53 am

    @Cicero Still, we can’t put all the blame on him – he just tried to do his best; we all usually try that. The good thing is, he might finally catch a glimpse of the situation, learn from the padt errors and their next move will be more appropriate.

    As for the titles… MuvLuv is really average; KimiNozo will be a better choice for the western market. And if we’re talking about Liarsoft – their novels have a very big potential and could propably bring much more attention, as they are already based on motifs and schemes more closer to your average western reader; not to mention, they’re really high class, stylish works with exceptionally good writing and storylines. I have high hopes for them, although it will all depend on how MG will continue their talks with LS in the end.

    Liarsoft’s visual novels on the western market… No, this sounds too good to become true.

  16. X-Calibar Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Well, I pre-ordered Eien no Aselia when it got licensed in english, even though I already have the game. …Because, I want to see more good games like that released (plus the price is right).

    I’ll do the same for any Amaterasu releases, should they ever officially be released by anybody in english. I want to see more games like these. So I’ll buy to support what I want to see more of translated!

    …Why support? Besides giving something back to the original creators, official releases should give the games *a fighting chance* to spread to gamers beyond our very niche communities.

    …but for now… *loads up Sharnoth* :D

  17. Ste Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Honestly, I really don’t understand this behaviour.

    I am a small publisher and a translator, too. If somebody translates one of my publications and releases it – even for free – WITHOUT my consent, I’d consider it a totally unethical, unprofessional and improper act.

  18. jt Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    @Ste, that’s the whole point. You as publisher care only about your own owns and profits using copyright laws as a cover. Fan translators appreciate art and care about the whole world of readers appreciating art also. See? Nothing in common.

  19. anon Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    As a thought exercise, if you were supportive of your publication being translated and released, but another party that wound up with legal rights to veto the deal- say, Amazon, who handled your distribution in eBook format- did so… would you still consider releasing it without Amazon’s consent unethical, unprofessional and improper, seeing that releasing it in a legal fashion was an impossibility?

    Because that’s pretty much what Amaterasu did.

  20. fuji Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    “>27 minutes ago:
    >Regarding the multitude of articles written regarding our releases the other day, I have a significant correction to make.
    >Although we feel it is ridiculous to take a year or more to get a deal worked out, that is absolutely not why we gave up on the deal.
    >The reason we gave up was because we received very little information from MG during that time period.
    >And even a large portion of what little we did receive turned out to be blatantly false.
    >Whether we’re willing to wait a year or two simply wasn’t an issue after things got to the point where we couldn’t believe a word they said.
    >That is all. Resume the debate.”

  21. Sacchinftw Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    @anon #19
    Your analogy is missing one very important fact, Amaterasu doesn’t have rights to MuvLuv. It’s a false equivalency to compare a translation patch to a finished literary publication.

  22. anon Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I didn’t claim that Amaterasu had any rights. The false equivalency is in assuming age specifically did not consent to a MuvLuv translation. They *couldn’t* consent due to legal complications beyond their control, but presumably they were amenable to their game being readable in English or they wouldn’t have started negotiating in the first place.

    So was this act improper? Yes, if you’re a lawyer. Was it unprofessional? Maybe, but Amaterasu aren’t professionals. Was it unethical? Only if you believe that legal contracts are a higher moral imperative than the creators’ wishes, which we don’t know for sure and which had no bearing on this turn of events.

  23. Sacchinftw Says:
    September 7th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    The creator, who is a professional corporation, has to abide by the legal contracts they sign so whether or not they initially wanted to have their MuvLuv localized into English doesn’t negate their final decision not to. You’re saying that Amaterasu’s choice to release the patch is somehow done with age’s intention in mind, but clearly age’s refusal to do MuvLuv in the end is undeniable proof that it’s not.

  24. ReMeDy Says:
    September 8th, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Who could have known that a title called “MuvLuv” could create so much hate!

  25. Ymarsakar Says:
    September 11th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Economic depression tends to make companies stock up and refuse to spend their capital on any expansion or risks without guaranteed sufficient income.

    That’s exactly what the Western market is right now, a risk without any guarantees. Especially given that the economic policies of the US will soon develop into deflation/inflation cycle or hyperinflation.

    The issue in the Western market is that most of the people who read Japanese visual novels are doing so for the X rated content, rather than anything else. There is a huge potential in the Western market that is untapped simply because nobody knows just what exactly is in these visual novels and thus aren’t willing to pay good money for them. Like with anime, if all the titles that come imported are the low tier ones, then most Western consumers will color their idea of anime from those. It’s only when this lock is broken that companies like MangaGamer can have more power to explore newer options.

    Right now, MangaGamer’s negotiation position comes from securing a “free fanbase” translation, which essentially lowers the development costs (almost to zero) for the Japanese company and thus the only details remain the licensing cost. The Japanese company want a one time investment, a downpayment, but MangaGamer would be wiser to seek a royalty deal than a one time payment for the license itself. The Japanese companies find royalty payments riskier because if the VN doesn’t sell, they don’t get much of any royalty. The economic also makes them tend to hoard and become risk averse, so they keep the license, and rather than make some money off of it, proceeds to do nothing else with it. Amaterasu’s actions have the effect of making MangaGamer lose face and respect in the eyes of Japanese companies, for it shows that MangaGamer does not have direct control over fan translation groups. This lack of power will destabilize the potential free fan translation offered to the Japanese companies, raising the risks and thus raising the price of the license.

    Amaterasu has also lost influence with MangaGamer by their precipitous action.

    The only benefit from this is that word of mouth will spread the news about ML Alternative’s greatness, thus improving the reputation of future Japanese visual novels and altering the market demographics, but this will not come very soon. And America’s soon to be encountered hyperinflation must be experienced and over, before any such growth will begin.

  26. Aaeru Says:
    September 11th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    A lot of VN gamers in the West think it looks like this:

    “For goodness sakes it’s free money for the Japanese developers, just take it!”.

    I think it is not free money at all. When you are company composed of a team of 4 full-time employees and every minute is a battle to survive to the next, asking one of your employees to make long and egregious phone calls to the rights holder, to mangagamer, and working out all the kinks to get the thing into the form of a signed contract for a highly suspicious WESTERN release (wut?) is deceivably the Worse idea for any reasonable eroge studio.

  27. ReMeDy Says:
    September 12th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    @ Aaeru Then why dont they hire more employees? I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them if they don’t have a little bit of money to give out, considering I’ve read volunteers who were willing to translate and or proofread MangaGamer’s works for free!

    Fans want anime and erotic gaming to be a success, so they are willing to make some compromises to see that happen. Hell, I put in an email with MG a long time ago when MG was first created in response to their request for proofreaders, but they ignored me, despite a follow-up email.

    I just recently played the full translations of Remember11 and G Senjou no Maou, and I can say that based on their superb quality, that fan translators have a powerful leverage that can help MG in many ways, if they’d be willing to share assistance with them! If so many fans are willing to translate for free, then MG should work out a compromise to at least give fans a little for their efforts, at which point all they need to worry about is the licensing.

  28. random.idiot Says:
    September 12th, 2011 at 12:46 am

    In my biased and self serving opinion, the biggest problem that VNs have in the West is the lack of knowledge of their existence by the fans, or -as pointed above- a misconception on what they are. From my own experience, I was an anime fan for many many years, yet I didn’t know about VNs until some years ago and found out about JAST few years after that!

    I don’t know what the result would be should an anime site take a survey with it visitors and ask them to name two companies that release VNs in the west. But I honestly won’t be surprised if the surveyed name “Atlus” and “NISA” as the two companies.

    Right now, I believe that the best advertisement method is to target jRPG fans with a _free_ (as in free beer) VN. MG or JAST (or both) could license a short VN with the intention of releasing it to the wild for free. This VN will serve to show fans what VNs are. In the past someone tried to release a video that introduced VNs (don’t know where it is now), but no introduction video going to introduce VNs as well as an actual VN! MG and JAST could take this a step further and try to bundle this VN with a jRPG or anime release.

    A final note, I won’t read too much in the future of cooperation between fan translation groups and companies because of what Amaterasu have done. Look at NNL! It won’t surprise me to find MG working with Amaterasu some time from now!

    P.S. Another option is for the Japanese company to bundle the English translation with their console release. But for now, I think everyone will be waiting to see how Aksys’s “Hakuoki” release is going to do, which would be a console (handheld, PSP) release plus it is going to be an Otome title.

    P.S.S. I real find it hard to believe that less then a 1,000 VN fans exist in the West!

  29. Cicero Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Another problem that visual novels have in the west are the two localization companies. MangaGamer dispute having localized some good games appears to be a complete clown college operation. JASTUSA is little more than a side business to Jlist.

  30. ReMeDy Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I wish a fan would just start up their own h-gaming company and or translation business. Nephrinn, from Dark Translations, did translation projects for money and managed to score a few thousand dollars. It’s a questionable practice, and not enough to feed the kids, but hey, people ARE willing to spend decent money on specific translations. People were forking over +$200 to Neph for some translations, depending on game length.

    The problem is these companies keep sending cease and desist letters – even if the translations are free – yet the companies don’t do anything to release the game to the U.S.! If the company has no plans of releasing the game to the U.S. (ever), why send a cease and desist!?! Let the U.S. do there thing to provide publicity to the hentai gaming genre! Hell knows, the hentai genre needs all the U.S. publicity it can get!

  31. random.idiot Says:
    September 13th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    >30: ReMeDy

    you mean like “minori” vs “NNL”? the company can come about at some point of time and rethink their decision about a western release.

    Either way, I believe that companies are required to protect their IP even if they didn’t mind the translation. You see, they _need_ to maintain an image that they are going the extra mile to protect their IP. Especially if they have shareholders and investors interests to worry about.

    VisualArts/Key knows that there are some translations going around for their titles, but they have opted to turn a blind eye… for now. This doesn’t mean that other companies will want or can afford to do the same thing.

    yes, business is akin to politics!

  32. pondrthis Says:
    September 14th, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Totally unsurprising. Ixrec’s doucheliness was bound to come out eventually in negotiations. And by “negotiations”, of course, I mean Ixrec stroking his own ego while MangaGamer and age watch.

  33. Cicero Says:
    September 14th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Well this whole thing was bound to fail. You had an utterly incompetent localization company, a translator that thinks his shit doesn’t stink and an Eroge company that probably didn’t want to do a deal in the first place.

    I don’t blame age. It’s their property, if they don’t want to do a deal that’s their business.

    I don’t even blame MangaGamer. They have their heads so far up their asses now that it’s probably too late to right the ship. They’re slowly running themselves into the ground. Plus, it is abundantly clear their is no market for English translated Eroge. The market is working against them. The only reason why JAST is going to stay afloat is because the money is being made with Jlist. MangaGamer on the other hand will probably be gone within two years.

    I’ll repeat what I said in an earlier post. Ixrec went into this without any understanding of how business works, how negotiations work or how the Eroge companies operate.

  34. Bp Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I can’t believe people are bitching about the prospect of getting an English translation for KimiNozo. It’s IMO superior to MuvLuv.

  35. Anon John Says:
    September 15th, 2011 at 5:47 pm


    C&D are just a scare tactic for the overseas Eroge companies sending them. It is very unlikely that any Eroge company would be willing to spend funds to pursue legal actions overseas, it just costs to much for them to do.

  36. ReMeDy Says:
    September 19th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    @ Anon John

    Yea but the people translating them probably don’t have the money to fight a court fee, so it’s a risk I don’t think they can take, especially in this shitty economy. We’re approaching 10% unemployment rate as it is.

  37. Ymarsakar Says:
    September 24th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    25% is the real numbers, same as back in the Great Depression.

  38. encubed » News Archive » A translation for A Profile Says:
    October 6th, 2011 at 5:26 am

    [...] of A Profile on August 13, although he did not publicly announce that he was working on it until ending the group’s cooperation with MangaGamer at the beginning of September. He finished the [...]

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