Many publishers actively seek out the biggest licensed titles in Japan to bring to the west. However, this ends up leaving out some pretty important games created by smaller developers. Thankfully for us, Kagura Games has emerged to actively license these titles for the west and they have created a decent community of fans since they first launched.
We had the opportunity to interview the founder of Kagura Games, Rakushun, in an effort to get to know the doujin publisher and possibly get their published titles on your radar.
Azario Lopez: So let’s start this interview off with a simple question. For those who don’t know, Kagura Games has been around since 2010, but I, and perhaps others, heard a lot more about you in 2018, was there a change in your publishing style or have you continuously had the same goal in mind?
Rakushun: Actually, we started as a fan translation group on Hongfire about 9 years ago. Our first translation projects were Daiteikoku and Eiyu Senki as we wanted to concentrate on games with a focus on gameplay. Unfortunately, due to legal concerns back then, we had to abandon both projects. This was a big factor why we wanted to become official for several years, but for various reasons, the timing was never right until now.
AL: Beginning as a group of fan translators, do you feel Kagura Games still holds on to that core determinedness that fan translators seem to have when working on projects?
R: Definitely! We remain as passionate today as we did back then. And because of that to this day, we never use a fan translation without the consent and/or compensation of the original fan translators. We would rather redo the translation ourselves than to disrespect the hard work that they put into it. Because we were in that position before, we know and understand how that feels.
AL: The games you publish all have a similar retro appeal to them, among other things such as cute anime girls, what goes into choosing which doujin games to localize?
R: This is a really difficult question as there are a ton of factors to this. When we first started out, I was a big fan of Another Story’s Fallen ~Makina and the City of Ruins~, so that was the first game I wanted to work on. I was also a big fan of Acerola. Fortunately, both developers accepted us with open arms very early on. Since then, we were able to travel to Japan to meet various developers and make a lot of connections within the community, and that’s been a big force in our considerations for which games
we choose to localize.
AL: With adult games now being allowed on Steam, have you seen a more accepting western audience for these types of games or has it just been more of the same for you? Has their lack of communication with the removal of certain games off the store affected you?
R: Yes and no. Steam has changed a lot in the past year and a half. In the beginning, cat meme and watermelon mosaics with an offsite uncensored patch were okay until they weren’t anymore. And then for about a month after that, all adult games were illegal and were going to be banned from the platform. And then after a lot fan outcry, Steam backpedaled to the state we currently are in today. So while we appreciate and are really grateful to Steam for letting us on the platform; because of Steam’s history with going back and forth on the issue, we don’t entirely trust Steam either. So their conduct in the past has definitely affected our own policies on how we choose to release games on their platform.
AL: Does your team actively seek out lewd games to publish?
R: Yeah, we started out as fans of these types of games, we’ve always been really passionate about them, so it’s what we tend to concentrate on. Although, we’re trying to slowly branch out to other genres.
AL: Would you ever consider releasing a 2D fighting game with a roster full of characters from games you’ve published? I only ask because some of these characters are actually pretty memorable and I’d hate to see them used in only one game.
R: Yes! We’ve been in very preliminary talks with our developers about starting a “Kagura Universe” so to speak. And a fighting game might be a good start!
AL: As a publisher, what are your goals for the rest of 2019?
R: We’d like to start preparing to attend more conventions and selling more physical goods. We’re currently in the process of redesigning our website as well. But most of all, we’re trying to increase our release output for the rest of the year and going forward. We want to continue doing our best to keep our fans happy by consistently releasing new games that they can look forward to every month.
AL: Is there anything you’d like to say to fans who actively awake your games and also gamers who are just hearing about you now?
R: Thank you to everyone for supporting us up to this point, and we hope that you’ll continue to support us going forward as we have a lot of plans and great games in-store for you! And if you haven’t heard about us yet, please try out our games! Our first game, Fallen ~Makina and the City of Ruins~, or our second game, Treasure Hunter Claire, are a great start and introduction to us!
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