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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 23: Aram Jabbari of Atlus on the Business of Localization, Ratings PR and Demon's Souls

Tim Spaeth's picture

With Demon's Souls nearing release, it's all things Atlus! We welcome Atlus USA's Manager of PR Aram Jabbari to the show. Localization strategies, digital distribution, aggregate sites, and much more are covered, and we take our best shot at getting you some Persona scoop! The back half of the show brings some of the most in-depth Demon's Souls discussion around. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim "Tim Spaeth" Spaeth.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): Wii   PS3   Nintendo DS   PSP   PS2  
Developer(s): From Software   Atlus  
Genre(s): Role-Playing  
Articles: Interviews   Podcasts  
Topic(s): Business  

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i'm all for this website,

i'm all for this website, but the pimpage of demon souls has kind of got a bit ridiculous. in a "atlus will do us favours" kind of way...

Atlus A.R.A.M.

I'm surprised you guys actually asked the Coded Soul question. Appreciative, but surprised.

And I'm also surprised he gave a real answer. I mean, he did it in PR language, but it still answered the question.

Anyway I don't care about Coded Soul anymore. My fresh, delicious, deluxe edition copy of Demon's Souls awaits!

Well, we're not trying to

Well, we're not trying to shill and Atlus is not doing us any favors. It'd be pretty cool if they WERE, but they're not. Sadly.

The simple reason I've been pumping Demon's Souls so hard is that it's just a mindblowingly good game that is in very real danger of being completely overlooked this holiday season.

With all the bigger games hitting in Q4 with milions of dollars of advertising behind them, it's a sad fact that a niche, hardcore effort like DS has no chance at retail unless sites and critics like us get behind it and get the word out. This is a game i absolutely believe in, and with strong sales there might be hope of a sequel. (do want!)

If we don't pimp the game, who will? I don't know about you, but I feel no guilt hyping the game since I honestly feel like it deserves it, especially compared to all the other crap that's sure to be shoveled our way by Christmas. If we've been going on about it we'll have to ask forgiveness, but this is a pretty special case where more word-of-mouth can only be a good thing.

sorry, that's just my overt

sorry, that's just my overt cynicism. i think us cluey gamers are kind of conditioned that way given the nature of most gaming media coverage.

not the right "feel"

Hi Guys,

I got to chat with Chi a bit yesterday about the podcast. While I enjoyed what the regulars brought to the table, I didn't enjoy your guest as much. When you bring developers on the show, they bring a very interesting and personal perspective to the discussion of games.

Perhaps it is the nature of PR, but I never felt like I heard a real strong opinions (besides the "my game is great" examples). Too many of the comments were couched in "Let me give you an example" and then it lead to a discussion of an unnamed game or a vague example of a game mechanic that wouldn't translate well. I would have loved to hear Mr. Jabbari say, "You know what? That game completely sucks and we should have done a better job with 'x' aspect of that game." It was that frankness that was, in my opinion, missing from the conversation.

On the other hand, I thought that the GC staff did an outstanding job of telling why Atlus games were compelling, being frank about their pros and cons. It was the GC staff that made me want to run out and buy a PS3 and Demon Souls and geek out.

I don't want you to think that I'm looking for confrontational interviews or even those sort of hyperbole-filled-Peter-Molyneux type interviews. That wouldn't be enjoyable either. I think that a lot of what makes a good guest is their capacity to talk about both the good and the bad effectively.

In any case, I still enjoyed much of the podcast and I'm looking forward to whatever is next.

Thanks for the Feedback

Reactions to this interview have been interesting. No question, I had strong reservations about bringing a PR rep on. The title carries with it some baggage; would we hear only rehearsed, canned PR speak? Would we only get one side of the story, etc. And Aram was totally up front during our pre-interview that there were certain questions he couldn't answer. That comes with the territory. Believe me, we had no expectation of breaking news on Persona 5. Though we tried. :)

I think Aram did a really good job with some tough questions, and probably crossed the traditional "PR" line more than once. Nice guy, a smart and funny guy, and a hardcore gamer. I think it was Brad's enthusiasm for Demon's Souls, and the crew's insane passion for Atlus in general, that motivated us to have Aram on, fully understanding there'd be limits to how far he could go. But there's no question that Aram's excitement about the game, though occasionally couched in PR-speak, is genuine.

So, in general, do you guys like the interviews we do? There is no shortage of industry folks willing to come on; I think we could do an interview every show we if we wanted to (we don't, but we could). What kind of people would you like to hear from? Any "dream" guests we can pursue for you?

Boy wrote:

I'm surprised you guys actually asked the Coded Soul question. Appreciative, but surprised. And I'm also surprised he gave a real answer. I mean, he did it in PR language, but it still answered the question.

Hah! When we ask you for questions, and you provide them, we're going to ask them. :) I didn't know enough about Coded Soul to know that this would have been "surprising" to ask, and the guys didn't nix it, so of course I went for it.

Eaps wrote:

In any case, I still enjoyed much of the podcast and I'm looking forward to whatever is next.

Thanks. We're taking this week off as my wife had a tonsillectomy yesterday and I'm solo-parenting my 41 children. I think we're recording number 24 next weekend. We haven't settled on a topic, so fire away with your suggestions.

By the way, this month, believe it or not, marks the one-year anniversary of the podcast. Don't worry, we're not doing a "retrospective" again...although I do have a special treat I'm going to throw into the next show (assuming I didn't delete it).

Loved the Podcast

I just wanted to thank you guys for this podcast, it was heartening to hear someone from Atlus USA - PR or not - get a chance to speak about their games. They deserve credit for bringing unique games to a market dominated by shooters and sports sims, and was a bit more candid than most public relations reps I've heard in the past. I am a very long way from a JRPG aficionado, but Persona 3 and Persona 4 held an intangible charm and polish that seemed to have warranted more recognition than they got. While Aram's job is to proclaim the quality of his company's games, I also sensed genuine pride in his work. If nothing else it was nice to hear a voice attached to the publisher for the first time.

And Brad Galloway's review of Demon's Souls was perhaps the most fair assessment of the game I've seen. Having played the game earlier this summer and again since it's US release, I'm actually a little disappointed other sites aren't giving the game MORE press. I can understand the feeling you may have given it too much, but I look to critic sites to not just review the games I know about, but let me know of ones I don't. Thanks for telling people about a game and a company that may get overlooked in the wash of massive marketing campaigns this fall. It really is an amazing experience that more people should know about. To hear a podcast give it some airtime and not dismiss it out-of-hand as a few others have done is amazing. You definitely earned my respect for that.


Transcript to GC Podcast Ep 23 posted

You can read the transcript here.

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