- Xbox Wire Japan sat down with Kemco’s Managing Director Masaomi Kurokawa and International Manager Matteo Conti to learn more about the company’s history.
- Kemco has published a wide range of games, like Spy vs. Spy, Shadowgate, Drakkhen, Indra no Hikari, and Sanada Juyushi.
- The Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle will be available August 3, 2023, on the Xbox Store.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary next year, Kemco has released multiple games throughout its history on Xbox – it has continued to produce around 10 games each year since 2018. Recently they reached a significant milestone with the release of their 50th game on Xbox earlier this year. To commemorate this milestone, the Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle will be released on August 3, 2023, on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, which will collectively feature the history of Kemco’s games, especially RPGs.
For those who don’t know, Kemco began in 1984 with the founding of its predecessor, Kotobuki System Co., Ltd. Early on, the company developed and published game software, focusing on porting PC games in the ’80s and ’90s like Spy vs Spy, Shadowgate, Drakkhen, as well as original RPGs Indra no Hikari and Sanada Juyushi. Later, after roughly a decade of focusing on mobile gaming, Kemco returned to console gaming in the late 2010s. It was here they struck a partnership with ID@Xbox which led to them to start publishing their games on Xbox.
To commemorate the milestone of publishing their 50th Xbox title, Xbox Wire Japan sat down with Kemco’s Managing Director Masaomi Kurokawa and International Manager Matteo Conti to learn more about their development structure, as well as how the Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle came to be.
Cooperating with multiple developers to create a system capable of releasing RPGs every month, Kemco releases around 10 new games a year. How many development lines do you have?
Matteo: In the past, we have released many games for feature phones and smartphones. From then, we have continued to work with several development companies. Since we have been working with them on RPGs for a long time, it made it possible to shift and adopt tools that have evolved over the years to develop and port games more efficiently. In general, development time is short; from six months to a year, and we have multiple development lines to release one game almost every month.
Masaomi: This is something I always think about, but when other companies release a new title, their next move would often be to continue supporting the game for a year or more after its release with DLCs, major updates, and so on. Here at Kemco, such DLCs and updates come in the form of “new games”. Our approach is to keep publishing new titles, as if they were additions to a single game experience that players recognize as Kemco. This is the backbone to our reasoning of releasing a new game every month as much as possible.
Tell us about the process during the consideration and creation of the Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle, which includes 50 of Kemco’s games?
Matteo: Actually, we had not been too concerned about how many titles were released on Xbox until now. It all started when I had a chance to meet with a local member of the ID@Xbox team whom I had not seen in person for several years due to the pandemic. He said to me “Oh, by the way, Kemco is going to hit the 50-title milestone”, and that was when I was made aware and thought, “What? That many?”. As a company, we were mildly surprised.
Masaomi: This revelation led to Microsoft formally proposing the idea, and KEMCO deciding to take the opportunity. The 50-title bundle will be available for a limited period of 50 days.
What are the games that best capture the feel of the 50 titles in the bundle? Do you have a recommendation on where to start?
Matteo: While it’s very difficult to choose just one, we have chosen one title from each of the developers who have cooperated with us, which would be great entry points to learn their style.
First up is Overrogue from Exe Create Inc., which is a deck-building roguelite RPG that continues to receive a positive response from launch. Exe Create also produces many other titles such as the Asdivine series, but we think that Overrogue would be a great place to start.
Matteo: Next is Hit-Point Co.,Ltd. — which just recently released Raging Bytes, a title planned, drafted, and supervised by Jiro Ishii. While Raging Bytes is not included in the bundle, we recommend Gale of Windoria, a classical fantasy RPG that comes to life with the beautiful pixel art that Hit-Point is very well known for. Those who love pixel art from the 16-bit console era will surely enjoy it.
Matteo: World Wide Software’s Legend of Ixtona is a quarter-view simulation RPG. The graphics of the characters in this game are very beautifully drawn and are definitely worthy of your attention.
Matteo: In Rideon’s Blacksmith of the Sand Kingdom, you play an active role as an adventurer while managing a blacksmith’s shop. It’s a unique RPG, fusing together many systems, including a combat and exploration system. It’s one of the highly acclaimed titles.
Matteo: Asobox Co., Ltd.’s The Smile Alchemist is, as it looks, very relaxing and comforting, and is more of a simulation game than an RPG. It is a game filled with the fun of nurturing, collecting, and alchemy, which are the themes of the game.
Matteo: ArcticNet’s RPGolf Legends is a unique title that successfully combines golfing and the essences of RPGs. This title also received a very strong response.
Matteo: These games above are the distinctive titles that showcase each developer’s unique characteristics. If you are not sure which one to play from the Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle, we recommend checking out these titles first.
What kind of responses have you received from users regarding Kemco’s titles up to now?
Masaomi: As expected, since we have been making RPGs for about 20 years, fans seem to consider Kemco’s RPGs as a safe and solid choice. We don’t have titles that take dozens of hours to complete, but I get the impression that they are often chosen by people who want to play an RPG in their spare time. The response overseas has been similar, and people seem to have an understanding that we are a company that continues to release old-school, nostalgic JRPG-style game titles.
In addition to the six companies listed above, it appears that Kemco is also working with new indie developers to market other titles.
Masaomi: The Witch of the Ihanashi fits that description. We look at online reviews and talk to various creators we find at indie game events held around the country, and then proceed to work with those that we think sound interesting and are inclined to work with. Many indie developers only release PC versions of their games, so if they are interested in porting their games to console, we are ready to cooperate with them.
Any final words to the Kemco fans, as well as Xbox players who may be interested in picking up the Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle?
Masaomi: As the name suggests, the Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle includes 50 games, each with a play time of about 15 hours, which means a lot of time is required to play them all. Xbox gamers may originally have bought the Xbox Series X|S to play AAA titles, but we hope you will also enjoy playing Kemco’s games in between those titles.
Matteo: We will be releasing more and more new RPGs in the future, so I think it will be fun to compare those with the titles included in the bundle. I am sure that in the not-too-distant future, we will have released more than 100 games, and we will do our best to not run out of ideas by then, as well as beyond that landmark.
The Kemco: 50 RPGs Celebratory Bundle will be available August 3, 2023, on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.