Project Phoenix’s Director Explains Why it’ll be on PS4 and PS Vita and Not on Nintendo’s Consoles

With the successful debut of Project Phoenix on Kickstarter many have been wondering why the developer Creative Intelligence Arts is negotiating for a PS4 and PS Vita version of the game, but isn’t interested in publishing it on Nintendo’s consoles, and in particular on the Wii U. Even on our site we had quite a few commenters wondering about that. Last night I had a chance to interview the game’s Director and Producer Hiroaki Yura, so I just went ahead and asked him directly. Here’s what he told me:

(Update: the full interview is now available here)

The problem with Nintendo… You know, I like Nintendo and everything…but not a lot of people buy it. I know a lot of fans buy it, but there are so many restrictions with Nintendo, and also the fact that Nintendo in Japan does not accept indie games.

We think Nintendo is taking a wrong approach towards games like ours. I think maybe it has to do with the Kyoto culture…very old companies. Nintendo itself in Kyoto is not that old, because in Kyoto there are companies that survived for hundreds of years, and compared to them they’re relatively young, but in terms of video game industry they are very old. They have a set of rules that does not fit with the core values of our game, basically.

They have interesting hardware, but it ends at “interesting”. It’s not “exciting”.

Our main goal is not to publish on all consoles. Our main goal is to make the best game possible on the best platforms. The reason why we’re going to work on PlayStation 4 is because we’ve been asked by a very small publisher who wants to publish for PlayStation 4, and they’re passionate, and don’t want to influence our creative side. I agreed to that because they understood the intricacies of indie games’ development. That’s how it came to be with the PlayStation 4 and the Vita.

There you have it, straight from the lion’s mouth. Yura-san has a very clear vision of his game and of his development philosophy, and quite evidently it doesn’t fit well with Nintendo’s. Of course it’s important to remember that the deal for the PS4 and PS Vita is not finalized yet, even if Yura-san says it has a 90% chance of happening.

If you want to read the rest of the interview, you’ll find it here on DualShockers tomorrow (Friday) at 10:30 AM EST. Our chat lasted over one hour, so there’s a lot to learn about Project Phoenix. 

In the meanwhile, you can pledge your support on the official Kickstarter page. I heard quite interesting info about future stretch goals so you may want to help reaching them.

Join the Discussion

  • Furious Francis

    I’m a Nintendo fan and I understand, but I will say that the 3DS and Wii U benefit from having two screens a lot. Look at Fire Emblem Awakening, Shin Megami Tensei 4, and Kingdom Hearts DDD.

    • sherimae1324

      its impossible to do it on 3ds, since this game runs on unity and 3ds doesnt support that,. but atleast it could come to wii u too….

      but the dev explains it all and have to understand

      • Furious Francis

        True, I understand as well. There is nothing wrong with not having this game on Wii U. If I want it, i just have to get it on PC

      • Anti

        I don’t know if it’s really “impossible” since their Kickstarter page has mentioned plans for an iOS and Android version.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          iOS and Android support unity. 3DS does not.

          • Anti

            Okay, still feels like they’re giving a BS answer concerning the Wii U though.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            “the installed base is too small” and “nintendo doesn’t accept application from Japanese indies” are perfectly realistic answer answer. The installed base is indeed small and Nintendo indeed doesn’t accept application from Japanese indie studios.

          • skyblue

            The install base of the PS4 is small, it’s pratically zero….wait it is right now. The install base argument is laughable when devs use that as a reason to not put a game on something but will instead go with a platform that has no install base whatsoever.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            The installed base of the PSVita is already higher than the WIiU, and it’s easy to develop in paralel for PSVita and PS4.

          • Ritsujun


  • Anti

    They don’t want to release it on the Wii U, but they have plans for releasing this on iOS and Android? Really? It seems like they’re just playing favourites here.

    • islan

      It’s not them that’s playing favorites, but the consumer.

    • Justin

      Pretty much. Someone’s decided it’s not going on Wii U, demand from prospective backers be damned.

      • Giuseppe Nelva

        You know, developers can’t just put games on every existing platform just because a few dudes on the internet demand it.

        May want to keep the rampant entitlement at bay. No one has the duty to put games on Wii U, or any other platform. it’s their choice, and they made it with rather sound reasons.

        • Justin

          This is really sad that you go around to everyone bringing up cleary lapses in his argument’s logic — how dare anyone besmirch a game whose gameplay no one has ever seen! Is this a profession for you or a hobby? Trying to clamp down dissent on the Internet seems like a joyless exercise.

          I am far from entitled and you’d do wise to stop making derogatory remarks about total strangers. (Are you sure you’re a mod?) The game is developed in Unity and a week’s worth of work and 1,000 sales would probably be all it would take to get to break-even on Wii U. Nintendo may not be “exciting” but you are going to find more people there willing to spend the $25-$30 price this game seems to be shooting for than on an iPhone. But then with people blindly throwing money at them, maybe making the best game, reaching the right audience and turning a profit isn’t the goal here?

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Considering sales of games (of all kinds and prices) on mobile platforms, you’re not only completely wrong, but also blind to reality.

            Also, if you think a week worth of work would be enough to port a game to a console with a completely different architecture like the wii U, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

            Unity does not allow you to simply flip a switch and optimize a game for a different architecture automatically.

          • Justin

            You’re right: I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’m well read, and these guys do:


            This whole article is worth reading if you’re clueless about the Wii U, indies and Unity, but specifically the Forced dev estimated a port time of two weeks and necessary sales of 5,000 units to break even. That’s what Unity on Wii U is about. That’s why these PP guys don’t make sense.

            As for mobile, I’ve seen those numbers, too, and the sort of game that would work as a freemium title on a Samsung Galaxy screen is probably not what I’d sit down in front of my TV with a PS4 — or, God forbid, a Wii U — to play.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            You’re not as well read as you think if you compare porting a small arena game like Forced to a full fledged JRPG, which is a lot more complex and has a lot more moving parts.

            Porting isn’t something that happens at the flip of a switch, unity or not, and the more complex and bigger the game, the more time it takes to optimize, test and debug.

            And mobile gaming, even for larger games, is extremely popular especially in Japan. RPGs like Chaos Rings had massive sales.

          • Justin

            Sorry, I suppose you have the account of someone’s experience porting a large RPG in Unity to draw on?


            OK, well, how about the assumption that Project Phoenix will end up as a larger game than Forced? I assume you’ve played a build of the game, or at least seen the game in action?


            Just tell me that you don’t go around calling yourself a games journalist. Because so long as you understand you’re just a kid playing on the Internet, making non-sourced non-factual assumptions and treating industry sources like your best buddies, I’ll drop it.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Actually I have accounts of plenty devs porting different games on unity on different platforms to draw on. Talking to devs is my job.

            And considering that we know what Forced entails, and we’ve been told what Project Phoenix will entail, yes, it’s very safe to assume than the latter will be a much bigger and more complex game.

            The only one making non-sourced, non-factual assumptions and accusations here is you.

          • Justin

            I’ve read the Kickstarter. Nice try. I know what it says. I’ve also followed enough Kickstarters for some context. This thing is shaky. Many that hit the $1-million mark, as this most certainly will, are.

            Now, since you’re oh-so-informed, provide pertinent examples that relate to what porting this game would entail.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            You obviously did not read the kickstarter, as you went a tirade below on the developers’ salary expectations, when the kickstarter’s description pretty clearly says that they don’t require one.

            Nice try.

            I already told you what porting this game would entail. It would entail not only the optimization of the whole code to the architecture and memory structure of the Wii U (that includes a pretty different memory management that requires special adjustments), but also the playtesting and debugging of every feature. Those aren’t things you can ignore when porting to another platform.

            Mind you porting this game would also entail registering with Nintendo as an indie developer, a registration that Nintendo officially does not accept, as they don’t accept indie devs from Japan, things that you continue to ignore, quite evidently.

            So yeah, I’m much more inclined to accept the word of a development team with demonstrated experience like the one for Project Phoenix, than the word of a random no one on the internet that can do nothing else than throw accusations without any evidence.

            The only thing that’s shaky here is your argument. Scratch that, you don’t have one.

          • Justin

            Tell me and everyone else about your multiple accounts of developers porting in Unity. You say you’re a reporter. Report.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            I already did.

            And you’re evading the relevant points.

          • Justin

            You said I didn’t read the Kickstarter. I did. I’ll tell you right now with $100,000 in the dust they will pay themselves, the better to devote more time to the project. No one will blame them for it, but I think it will spiral out of control. I’ve said this already.

            Now, Giuseppe, you threw down the gauntlet of your journalistic integrity, and I’m calling you on it. Provide specific examples of developers who ported a game that would provide context on porting PP to Wii U.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            You have no authority to demand anything. You said they would have salary expectation, when the kickstarter openly and clearly stated that they don’t.

            So either you didn’t read it, or you intentionally lied. to prove a false point.

            Your question has no meaning, as I just demonstrated that the whole issue of porting the game at all is not feasible, as Yura-san correctly stated in the interview.

            You just choose to ignore it, because it completely demolishes your argument, and that pretty much concludes this conversation.

  • Robbyfishersora

    There goes a other game not coming to Wii U. It staring to feel like a normal thing now.

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    I think the issue Nintendo has is they’re trying to gain support mainly from Western developers so they shut out Japanese indies to avoid conflict of interest and allow other indies to jump on to show what Wii U can do so more can join in, and Yura-san isn’t okay with that approach so that would be the subliminal message he is trying to convey but obviously can’t for a number of reasons.

  • TheExile285

    I hope we are actually getting a Vita version and not a PS4 version with remote play support….

  • jamurjamban

    what about Xbox version.?
    but seriously, vita version will be awesome. . the graphic in OLED display will look stunning

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      I actually named Xbox in my question. He didn’t even respond to that part, which is telling 😛

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  • Malakym

    ‘Nintendo in Japan does not accept indie games.’

    …so, exactly what you told that other guy in the comments before.

  • Splintee

    So remote play will be possible eh. Right?

    • theodor70941

      why use remote play when the game will be released on the vita aswell as on ps4?

  • Nicholas Perry

    And phones are more exciting and powerful?

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      they sure have a much bigger installed base than the Wii U, and support Unity, while the 3DS does not.

  • Andrew

    I’m sorry. The game has almost $500k backing it already after 3 days, almost 5x the goal. It has a 9 minute video on kickstarter, but not ounce of gameplay shown.

    So, what I’m saying is, people are handing over a bunch of money for something they have seen NOTHING concrete of.

    Great idea guys. Enjoy your game by 2015, maybe? By then 3DS will have 20x the install base of Vita, and all 3 consoles will have user bases pathetic to Wii/PS3/360 because outside of core gamers, many casuals have left for mobile/tablet. Overall game sales are down. Can’t wait to see how developers react when all 3 systems are not selling how they hoped.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      You sound like a mad fanboy because they didn’t chose your console of choice.

      May just want to deal with it. the 3DS does not support Unity, and would require a large graphical downgrade anyway.

      I love my 3DS for some of its features, but I’m quite thankful not all games are made of it, so I can enjoy games that actually look good.

      • Justin

        He sounds like the voice of reason.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          Considering that you go as far as personally attacking the members of the staff, you sound like a mad fanboy too.

          • Andrew

            Who did I insult? No one. I’m stating a fact. There is no gameplay footage. NONE. Remember Aliens: Colonial Marines? And that had gameplay footage.

            As for RPGS, have you heard of a dev cycle for a Final Fantasy game, which apparently this game has people from working on? That’s why I realistically said 2015.

            And I have a gaming PC. I have a Wii U and PS3 and 3DS (and a lot of older systems). So I could play this game without problem if I want.

            But I don’t give someone money when they have no gameplay footage to show me. They are (currently) scamming everyone, and doing a heck of a job. So kudos to them.

          • Joe

            Actually, the game IS scheduled to be released in 2015, as per the kickstarter page. People are, or at least should be, aware of what they’re paying for here.

          • Andrew

            Thank you for bringing some facts with you. Even I missed that, I just took an educated (and clearly correct) guess on when the game would be released.

            Sadly, by the time the 30 days are up, more than a $1 million will be donated to a game many will forget they backed by the time it actually comes out.

            I love RPGs, but this one has borderline scam written all over it.

  • Anonymous917

    Well at least they were honest about it and didn’t beat around the bush. Personally I think the 3DS would have been a great option to port for; it has a fairly large install base in Japan.

    The decision to make it on the Vita baffles me though. The Vita is as much of a sinking ship as the Wii U is.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Not really. The Vita is doing very well in Japan. In fact most new JRPGs announced nowadays are for the Vita, or for the PS3/Vita combo, or 3DS/Vita, but the Vita is pretty much always there.

  • Justin

    This whole thing is fishy beyond the Wii U stuff. Members of the staff are routinely misrepresented. The guy listed as an L.A. Noire dev was just a game tester. Everything about this smells rotten.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      He’s not listed as a “developer”. As a matter of fact his title while working on LA noire isn’t specified at all. It says he worked on the game, which he did.

      So no, nothing is misrepresented (let alone “routinely”), and you’re just mad.

      The only one misrepresenting reality here is you, and I have to strongly advise you don’t.

      Maybe now you’re going to tell us that Nobuo Uematsu is just a carpet cleaner?

      PS: QA Analysts perform a critical role in the development of any title.

      • Justin

        It’s profound how I’m simply stating how things are, and you’re afixing motives and emotions to total strangers. I’m not mad. I’m just telling you that the big fish in games journalism are ignoring this story and there’s an opportunity for the little guy to break news. Instead you get defensive on behalf of your source — someone you know no better than I do. Your behaviour is unprofessional.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          Considering that you go as far as personally attacking a developer, it’s easy to notice that you’re mad. There’s nothing “unprofessional” in noticing it.

          And there’s no story. It’s that simple. There’s no misrepresentation whatsoever, as his role isn’t mentioned. It says he worked on that game, and he indeed did.

          So you may want to avoid spreading misinformation. It isn’t welcome here, in any form.

          • Justin

            Saying the second named guy on their “dream team” list was not a dev but a game tester is not an attack: it is a fact. It is certainly not a personal attack. He’s probably a stand-up guy, working cheap to try to break further into the industry. For all I know, he’s a total professional and nice dude. Heck, he probably doesn’t go on the Internet calling strangers “entitled” or “mad.”

            What it is, though, is dishonest. That coupled with the lack of any gameplay and their bizarre response to the Wii U says to me this thing stinks like green cheese. The lack of experience on this staff, coupled with the huge number of them, is a big red flag that this project could crush itself Broken Age style. None of these are attacks. They are legitimate concerns the starry-eyed RPG fans out there should hear.

            They won’t hear it from someone like you, of course, as you save the scrutiny and tough questions for your readers — a pretty backwards way of doing things.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Saying that it’s misrepresentation is an attack, as there’s obviously no misrepresenting information anywhere. That developer is nowhere listed as a “developer” for LA Noire. It’s said he worked on it, and he did.

            Let alone “routinely” misrepresenting, where you bring a single case, which is false. So you’re basically lying through your teeth, the funny thing is that you accuse others of being dishonest.

            The “lack of experience of the staff” is another attempt on your part to misrepresent reality, as most of them are professionals with several years of more of experience in the industry.

            Let’s move on to “huge” numbers of the staff, that includes a whole fifteen people, including musician and a community manager. That’s not “huge” at all. It’s a very small team for the moment.

            So yeah, they won’t hear it from me, because I’m not in the business of lying to my readers like you seem to be.

          • Justin

            How about the staffer whose only video game credit is as a violinist? Sorry, am I supposed to call out individuals, or are those personal attacks? I can’t keep up with what part of what I’m saying you don’t like.

            So let’s say there’s only 15 people on staff. Labour costs for 15 people at $50,000 average a year for two years is $1.5 million. Whoops, they don’t even have that yet. And that doesn’t include extra staff, hardware, possible software linceses, other equipment, and who knows what else. Juggle around the numbers however you want: if these people are really as experienced as you say they are (they’re not) they have salary expectations — fair ones, I might add, as they have bills to pay and lifestyles they’re accustomed to. If they’re inexperienced, I’m concerned they won’t have the flexibility with more than a dozen on regular staff to maintain a budget over two years.

            But I’m just presenting the logic I see things from and you keep up the so-called personal attacks. I hope your readers and/or bosses are seeing this.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Who would be the one whose only video game credit is as a violinist exactly?

            And you’re as usual misinformed. They stated very clearly that all of those people besides Steffen Unger are working on the project without requiring a salary, with the perspective or receiving royalties after launch as they do it mostly out of passion. You may want to check your facts before throwing accusations, because so far you didn’t bring one that shows that you’ve even done your homework.

            I’m quite sure most of my readers, and my bosses, appreciate my using my time to combat misinformative trolling.

          • Justin

            Hiroaki Yura is a violinist and that’s where all his experience is as far as industry credits are. You seriously don’t know this? I suppose he might be able to make a game but he’s about as qualified by resume to make one as an auto mechanic.

            Did you seriously not know this? And yet you say you are informed?

            These people will draw a salary or put out a D-grade product (or both). Mark my words. They’ve raised the cash, and now they will spend it, and things will spiral out of control. See: Broken Age.

            See Giuseppe, what you don’t get while you toss epithets like “misinformed trolling” is that nobody here knows who I am. You, meanwhile, have your first and last name, your photo, your history on the site and, if I’m not mistaken, your Facebook profile attached to every post, to stand on the Internet for eternity. That means this little episode, in which you come across as petty, insulting and woefully uninformed, will pretty much be stapled to every resume you ever hand out. Might want to be a little more thoughtful about how you represent yourself and your employer.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Hiroaki Yura is not just a violinist. He’s an orchestra director, and worked on quite a few different games as recording director for the whole soundtrack. That’s VERY different than just being a violinist.

            Did you seriously not know this?

            And don’t worry about me. I’m very aware and proud of what I say. I call you a misinformative troll because that’s what you are. You’ve come here and did nothing else than trying to misinform our readers with false accusations towards a development team, based on false and misleading information.

            The development team publicly stated that they do not require a salary, and you have no title or authority to deny that.

            You’ve been called on your falsehoods, and trying to threaten me on a personal level doesn’t intimidate anyone. It doesn’t intimidate me, and doesn’t intimidate my employer.

          • Jack

            Thanks for telling that pretentious troll where to go.

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