Infinite Combate Interview – Publisher Talks Bringing Visual Novels West and Keeping an Open Dialogue

With the western release of Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? – Infinite Combate on the horizon, we thought it’d be no better time than to reach out to publisher PQube and pick their brain about publishing the game in the west.

We were able to speak with Brand Manager for PQube Asia and Product Manager for DanMachi Anne-Lou Grosbois-Favreau about the publisher’s approach to visual novels, keeping an open dialogue with fans, and stand out features within the upcoming dungeon-crawling RPG.

Azario Lopez: PQube seems to be actively looking to publish a variety of titles, what was it about Infinite Combate that made your team want to release it in the west?

Anne-Lou Grosbois-Favreau: Well the answer is two-fold: we like to bring Japanese titles to the west, I would say that’s one of the things we’re well-known for, and we have a long-standing working relationship with MAGES., so we were happy to work with them again.
Secondly, DanMachi is a pretty current and popular franchise, so it’s really exciting for us to be able to work on it, especially being involved with the Anime Committee through MAGES.,

AL: Would you say that Infinite Combate is more for already established fans of the series, or can newcomers find enjoyment in the campaign?

ALGF: Luckily the game starts at the beginning of the first season of the anime, so fans of the franchise will be familiar with it, but find additional content to enjoy, and newcomers will not be thrown into a world they don’t understand, as the story starts and explains everything you need to know, alongside some comprehensive tutorials for all aspects of the dungeon-crawling and RPG elements.

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AL: What is the balance between dungeon-crawling RPG and visual novel portions throughout the game? Does one genre outweigh the other?

ALGF: I’d say it’s 50/50 content. There is an absolute ton of dialogue but also grinding dungeons to get materials to craft certain weapons too, as well as getting those points to go on dates after the story is over – it creates a good balance between the two.

AL: With the topic of piracy within the visual novel community always in discussion and visual novel publisher backing away due to never turning a profit. How do you approach releasing VN titles in the west on PC with the growing list of “fans” who simply pirate the game?

ALGF: I think to be honest, people who pirate games are people who generally would not buy the game anyway. It’s been proven before that those who do really like the game are likely to purchase it later, even if it’s on sale (but don’t ask me to quote the source for this, I just remember having heard that). Once a game has been ripped and put on pirate sites, it’s a very hard task to try and prevent it from spreading. Our titles have to be launched through Steam, so they’re not DRM-free, but it’s all we can do at this stage to try to protect the games.

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AL: You’ve had an ongoing dialogue with your fans about changes you need to make to release certain titles in the west on PS4. As a publisher, what’s it like to have that transparency with gamers, and has this approach been positive for your company?

ALGF: A little while ago, we had a redesign of the logo, and during that time, we had a brainstorm with the CEO about the keywords that represented PQube as a brand, and one of the main ones was ‘honesty’. It’s really important to us to be as transparent as possible. We publish niche titles with a niche audience who has very specific requests and priorities, and it’s our job to understand and respect those.

I personally believe that it’s the only way forward for smaller publishers to have that honest conversation with the public, to really engage with them and for them to trust us. Within the limits of what we are allowed to say, we’ve strived to be as transparent as we could and I’m certain that it’s paying off because we can see people on social media saying ‘thank you for telling us, thank you for not hiding it until the last second’ and they know that we won’t hide those changes that they care about, and in fact might go out of their way to support us or recommend us because of it. I think (and perhaps I’m wrong), that we’ve established ourselves as an honest company, especially as our small team replies personally on Discord and Twitter as clearly as we can about the processes of the industry.

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AL: Is Hestia truly the bestia?

ALGF: This is actually a controversial question from what I’ve seen on Twitter! However, our head of publishing Geraint Evans insists that Hestia is Bestia and therefore follow his lead at the Master Weeb of the company. She also has undeniable assets, although as a woman really it doesn’t matter to me, but I can understand the appeal…

AL: How long will the mane campaign take to complete? I only ask for those who want to get to the post-game date scenes, and it’s definitely not for my own knowledge.

ALGF: For the main campaign, it depends. There’s a lot of side conversations, side quests, and such that is entirely optional but will add several hours of content. Without, probably 20 hours. With 30+.
That’s up until the credits. After the credits you’ve got another 30 hours or so in the optional dungeons and date events that you need to work to unlock.

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AL: In terms of upcoming visual novels, your team has Root Film and Aokana coming up, is it safe to say that you have no plans moving on from publishing VNs in the west?

ALGF: We’re always on the lookout for opportunities from Japan, especially quality visual novels, so while we’re diversifying, we are definitely still looking for new titles like those, and maybe one day, even otome (speaking for myself, I would love some pretty boys or even, who knows, yaoi…).

AL: For those looking forward to Infinite Combate, what is your personal favorite system in the game, and is there anything you’d like to say to fans?

ALGF: I’m not sure it counts as a system, but I like the idea to have supports that come with me in the Dungeon, especially if all the gauges are full at the same time, you can land some satisfying wombo-combos of spells, and as the kids probably don’t say, that’s my jam.

To fans, I’d like to say thank you for sticking with us, for supporting our endeavors to bring various titles to the west, and for being really fun to interact with on our social media! We have a Community Manager but as I used to be the sole marketing person a long time ago, I had most of our social channels to handle and I still look at them every day and talk to the community all the time, and it’s very gratifying to have people who react positively to what we’re trying to achieve, which is not just a commercial aim, but to really build our own PQube space, and we wouldn’t be moving forward without our long-standing community!

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? – Infinite Combate will release on PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch on August 7 in Europe and August 11 in North America. The PC-via Steam has been delayed to late August.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.