Hudson Entertainment: Buzzing to the Future
Interviewee(s): John Lee, Director of Marketing, Hudson Entertainment
We just got an opportunity to have an interview with John Lee, Hudson Entertainment's Director of Marketing (pictured at right), concerning Hudson's past, present and future as it makes strides on DS and Wii with both new titles and Virtual Console games from Hudson's storied history. This is the first half of the interview-- to read the second half, please go over to HudsonEntertainment.com! We'd like to thank Hudson and Mr. Lee for taking time to answer our questions!
NINTENDOJO: How did the Hudson development team react when they first got to use the Wii remote?
JOHN LEE: Probably like most people. Initially with a bit of "What the heck is this?", then with an "ah ha" moment, and then with wild imagination of what could be done!
ND: How is Hudson approaching Wii as a software company?
JL: For the Wii, we wanted to take a look at creating new properties that took advantage of the new way of playing. In many ways, Hudson shares very similar philosophies with Nintendo. Our core focus is on making games that are fun and trying to innovate with new ways of playing. So the Wii, not to mention the DS, is really giving us a chance to roll up our sleeves and bring out the fun. It isn't about pushing typical next-gen graphics. We're focused on finding new ways to entertain people.
ND: Anything special or exciting you'd like to share with us regarding the upcoming Bomberman Land on Wii? Have you narrowed the release window for that game?
JL: It's currently in evaluation for the US market. One thing we are attempting to do is reestablish Hudson as a publisher again in the US market. This change is happening because of need and desire: desire from our fans who still love our games and remember the Hudson Bee as an icon and need from our side because we realized that over the years, because we worked with so many other publishers, we weren't creating a great long-term brand strategy for our games. Bomberman in many ways hasn't been given the vision that it needs to truly become a bigger brand in the US. So for Bomberman Land Wii, we want to be more strategic about it. We also have a Bomberman Land 2 DS and Bomberman Land PSP in the works as well. It makes sense for us to coordinate the launch of these titles so that we have a bigger launch event, which will generate better awareness. The first Bomberman Land game on the DS which launched late last year was a real sleeper hit. However, that doesn't sit well with me, because that means it won rave reviews, but most people didn't know about it or play it. If and when we bring this series to the US, we'll do a better-coordinated launch to highlight the Bomberman Land series.
ND: How do you feel about the sales of your Wii titles, both in North America and Japan?
JL: It's difficult for me to comment on this since I'm not fully in tune with how our projections are going for the Japanese market. It's also a bit early for us to comment on the US market as well, since Kororinpa: Marble Mania and Wing Island only just launched last week. Kororinpa: Marble Mania is getting some great buzz for its innovative and fun gameplay, so we think it will do particularly well. We do expect the games to do better in the US market than the Japanese market, as we had time to do more robust marketing to support the products. For Japan, because they were launch titles, they had to scramble just to get the games out on time.
ND: What's it like to have old series like Bonk and Bomberman find new life on the Virtual Console?
JL: Dream come true for me, actually! I love the classic Turbo games, and as any Turbo fan will tell you, we are always evangelizing how great that system was. We're always trying to bring more people on board. Now that these games are out on the VC, reaching a whole new audience, people are finally going, "Oh yeah, these games really are great!"
Now go to HudsonEntertainment.com for part 2! Learn about Hudson's Virtual Console strategies and more!
||M. Noah Ward
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"Death narrowly avoided, thanks to another friendly NPC."