“Bring me the horizon.”
Following in the wake of Moero Chronicle Hyper and Moero Crystal H, on May 12, 2022, eastasiasoft are set to release Seven Pirates H on Nintendo Switch, the revised and improved fourth instalment, of the Genkai Tokki series of games. Having recently had the privilege to reach out to eastasiasoft and discuss the game at great length, it is our honour to present to you our complete and uncensored correspondence.
So, strap yourselves in for another Miketendo64 interview, and in this instalment, let us begin by introducing you to Joshua Michael French:
Joshua Michael French takes the Lead:
Miketendo64: Before we dive right into the probing questions, we always like to begin by asking a couple of easier questions first. Therefore, would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Joshua: My name is Joshua Michael French, and I am the project lead at eastasiasoft. You might also know me as the founder of collector community SwitchCorps, which is most active on Twitter and other social media platforms.
Miketendo64: And now to follow-up, what is your role at eastasiasoft and what is the extent of your involvement with Seven Pirates H?
Joshua: As project lead on Seven Pirates H, I worked extensively on the English localization of the game as well as being involved in the porting process in cooperation with Idea Factory. I was key staff for the new Nintendo Switch version of the game.
A Pirate’s Life for Me:
Miketendo64: First and foremost, can you tell us a bit about Seven Pirates H? What is it and how does it play?
Joshua Michael French: At its core, Seven Pirates H is a traditional JRPG with 3D exploration and turn-based combat, but it’s also very heavy on fanservice. You take the role of a human girl who’s shipwrecked in the Monsupi Sea where humans rarely ever appear, and you gradually build a crew by befriending local monster girls.
You’re initially just sailing around the open seas discovering new islands and hunting for treasure, but the story gets more complicated along the way. The fanservice element is introduced by Otton, who acts as a sort of mascot for the Genkai Tokki games and is the only male member of the crew in Seven Pirates H.
He claims to be a legendary pirate who knows a secret technique called “Booby Training” that allows players to increase or decrease breast parameters and affect character stats in different ways. This is all visualized, of course, and plays double duty as a means of character customization.
Miketendo64: With Seven Pirates H said to feature a number of Quality-of-Life changes, would you be so kind as to run through some of the tweaks and cover how they improve over original gameplay?
Joshua Michael French: The Nintendo Switch version has been updated with HD presentation and rumble features for combat and touching mini-games. It also includes all prior DLC from the Japan-only PS Vita release right on the game card, each of which can be enabled or disabled from the main menu before starting a new game.
Miketendo64: What can you tell us about the seven pirate characters that Seven Pirates H owes its title to?
Joshua Michael French: The first is a human adventurer named Parute who gets shipwrecked on an island in the Monsupi Sea. There aren’t any other humans here, but she starts to befriend a few monster girls who become her ragtag crew.
Of course, in pirate fashion many of these start off as rivals or enemies, and uneasy alliances bring them together for some reason or another. They grow closer as they explore and fight together, but each girl has her own motives, unique personality, strengths and weaknesses.
Miketendo64: How does combat in Seven Pirates H compare to the turn-based combat as seen in other Genkai Tokki games?
Joshua Michael French: While previous Genkai Tokki games have also had turn-based combat, mechanics in Seven Pirates H will undoubtedly feel more familiar to JRPG fans. Otton still serves as a secondary meter to build up and unleash special attacks, but the main actions available to the girls will feel instantly familiar to most players.
Unlike Moero Crystal H, there is no male lead commanding the party. Parute is a combatant like the rest, but similar to Zenox’s meter in Moero Crystal H, the girls in Seven Pirates H can enter a state of arousal that boosts their stats temporarily and unlocks special skills.
Another difference is that all attack animations here play out in 3D with characters visualized, something that is only seen as character portraits in previous entries.
The “Ecchi” Factor:
Miketendo64: Ecchi games can often be hit or miss with various audiences and sometimes even put potential players off them, just because of their Ecchi nature. So, to not judge a game based on its ecchi nature, what delights, gameplay and content, can players expect from Seven Pirates H?
Joshua Michael French: The “Booby Training” mechanics are definitely the love-it-or-hate-it element here, but the touching mini-games are quite fun and often hilarious. As long as you don’t take it too seriously, there’s some great depth to explore by changing breast size, perkiness, height, softness, firmness and cleavage.
Not only are these parameters reflected in the way your character looks and jiggles, but no matter whether you’re increasing or decreasing them, it all levels up your characters and impacts individual stats in different ways.
So, if you make a girl’s breasts bigger, she might get more attack power, while decreasing size might make her faster and more agile in combat. There are other connected systems, like egg cracking to find rare items, arousal states during combat or Otton’s special cannon attack. It might sound silly, but it’s got much of the same appeal as classic JRPGs but with fanservice elements woven into well-loved mechanics.
Miketendo64: Being the ecchi centred series Genkai Tokki is, when bringing games like Seven Pirates H and Moero Chronicle Hyper to the Nintendo Switch, how much of the base game and dialogue must be censored out?
Joshua Michael French: None in the case of Seven Pirates H or its predecessor Moero Crystal H. Content is identical to the Japan-only original, plus we got to include all prior DLC from PS Vita.
Nintendo doesn’t censor third-party developers. They only expect you to get an approved rating from the local ratings board like ESRB or PEGI, both of which allow for the mature content that appears in these games.
Miketendo64: With it stated Seven Pirates H offers a lot of fanservice, could you elaborate on just how much fanservice is provided?
Joshua Michael French: A lot, more than most players will have likely seen in a console game. It’s a Japanese game, so you won’t see bare nipples or genitalia, as those things aren’t allowed in games under CERO restrictions. But within those limits, Seven Pirates H does about as much as you can possibly get away with.
If boob-rubbing mini-games aren’t enough, all the inuendo, naughty enemies, flesh-tone alternate bikinis and arousal animations will probably tip you overboard.
Perhaps my favorite touch to the character models is how outfits change shape as you grow or shrink characters’ breasts. They’ll have to unbutton more to compensate for a major size increase, for instance.
The eastasiasoft Trading Company:
Miketendo64: Having served as the publisher for a number of western releases to games Compile Heart has published in Japan, how involved is the localisation process and typically, how long does each game take?
Joshua Michael French: That usually depends on script length. A game like Seven Pirates H or our previous project in the series Moero Crystal H can take 4 to 6 months in localization, but there are many other parts to the porting and testing process that have to happen in tandem with it, making it a bit harder to define that time frame.
RPGs are also more involved than other genres because a lot of text appears in menus, the combat interface, item descriptions, character profiles and other places besides just a dialogue box, which is already quite a bulk to handle.
Consistency in terminology and even the naming of characters, places and items are important, and you have to recheck everything if multiple team members are working on different sections of the game.
Many things have to be rendered into graphic elements or into videos, so they can’t easily be changed late in the process and, of course, the main script itself needs to be as typo-free as possible.
Especially with fanservice-heavy games, western players can be sensitive to what changes might have been applied in translation from Japanese, too, though I can say with certainty that it’s all been handled faithfully here. I believe in preserving the original intent of the Japanese script.
Miketendo64: When deciding which games eastasiasoft are interested in bringing to western audiences, what is it eastasiasoft looks for?
Joshua Michael French: That’s a difficult question because what we look for and what’s available don’t always align. Generally speaking, we just want unique experiences with quality gameplay, and Japanese or Asian style is obviously the optimal match for our brand. But publishing isn’t like a buffet where you get to walk up and choose whatever you think will taste the best.
Besides loving the gameplay, themes and aesthetics of a game, a publisher also has to consider financial viability, project scope, licensing circumstances, marketability, brand identity and a multitude of other factors before pursuing a title, and even if all those things make sense, the partner developer has to be interested and agree to suitable terms. When it all works out on a game that we genuinely love like Seven Pirates H, it’s a perfect storm of conditions and occasional compromises.
Miketendo64: Initially known as Genkai Tokki: Seven Pirates, Seven Pirates H is the fourth instalment of the Genkai Tokki series, a series that includes Monster Monpiece, Moero Chronicle, Moero Crystal and Castle Panzers. With Moero Chronicle Hyper and Moero Crystal H already on Switch with Seven Pirates H to follow, are there any plans for Monster Monpiece and/or Castle Panzers to follow?
Joshua Michael French: No plans that we can confirm at this time. It’s no secret that we value our partnership with Idea Factory and would love to keep working on related or similar titles, but every game’s licensing situation is unique and means there’s no guarantee that one will work out the same way as another.
Miketendo64: Why settle for digital when you can go physical? With a physical, yet limited edition in the works, what’s included and where can our interested readers try to order it?
Joshua Michael French: The Limited Edition is available exclusively through our online retail partner Playasia and includes the game, a manual, soundtrack CD, sticker sheets, an art book and a numbered certificate in a collector’s box.
Only 4000 of these were to be produced, and they’re sold out now. However, you can still get the standard edition, which remains an open pre-order until we get close to release in May. There are a few other online stores like Video Games Plus that list the game, but these too are allocated from Playasia’s distribution.
To “Affinity” and Beyond!:
Miketendo64: What is your most favourite thing about getting to work on games like Seven Pirate H?
Joshua Michael French: For me, it’s a humbling and exciting experience to work on titles that might otherwise never see the light of day in the west.
Being able to work on Japanese games, or sometimes those from other parts of Asia, is hugely rewarding because not only do I get to see my creative impact on such releases but even more so it’s about seeing players in America and Europe get to experience those games for the first time. We make that a reality, and it feels very special.
As an added bonus, I have a personal affinity for mature content in games and love to explore the limits of such content on console, something that Seven Pirates H does very well.
Miketendo64: How often after release, do you personally play some of the games you have had the privilege to have worked on?
Joshua Michael French: Quite a lot, actually. My free time to play games seems more and more limited these days, but in the time that I do have, I often find myself playing personal favorites from our line-up.
Some of those include Seven Pirates H, Moero Crystal H, our Pretty Girls or Bishoujo Battle puzzlers, Crawlco Block Knockers, Empire of Angels IV, Xuan Yuan Sword 7, Omen of Sorrow, our latest Rush Rally Collection and more.
Miketendo64: Were you to compare Seven Pirates H to any other game you’ve worked on, or other RPGs out there, what games spring to mind?
Joshua Michael French: Of course, there are some similarities to Moero Crystal H, but this is a more traditional JRPG with full 3D presentation and not a first-person dungeon crawler. Also due to the same development teams behind this game, there’s some obvious Neptunia DNA.
Miketendo64: In a parallel universe, let’s say eastasiasoft were able to provide an English dub for Seven Pirates H. Off the top of your head, are there any talented voice actors out there you would love to have record lines and lend their voices to the game?
Joshua Michael French: Natalie Roers who does VO work for our showcase presentations would be an easy choice, as she has also played major roles in Fear Effect: Sedna, Sense: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story, the upcoming House of the Dead remake and many other noteworthy projects.
Dreaming the “N” Possible:
Miketendo64: Being the Nintendo site that we are, with the likes of WayForward working on Advanced Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp and Brace Yourself Games having developed Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda, if you had the chance to work on ANY Nintendo IP, which one would be your dream come true and, if you were in charge of the entire project, what kind of game would you like to make?
Joshua Michael French: I need a new F-Zero. I don’t need it reinvented, just with updated graphics and maybe a rebooted story. I imagine gameplay being similar to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Mute City or Big Blue tracks but faster, bigger and with a visual style closer to ARMS than GameCube’s GX. Perhaps Metroid would be a better fit for eastasiasoft, but Dread is near perfect as it is.
Miketendo64: At this point in the interview, we like to give our interviewee the chance to talk about or recommend other games they have worked on, or games they love in general. With that said, are there any games you’d like to give a mention?
Joshua Michael French: We’ve just recently announced a new original IP titled Otoko Cross, which is a puzzle series celebrating the style and subculture of Japanese “otokonoko” crossdressing.
This is my concept and a sort of directorial debut in its first entry Otoko Cross: Pretty Boys Mahjong Solitaire, and for this project, we’ve tapped into Japanese development resources, contracted fresh art, scripted voice work all in Japanese and generally taken great care in the theme’s authenticity.
I felt like it was time to diversify our lewd offerings and give the boys some time in the spotlight, and so far, reception has been tremendously positive ahead of its Steam launch. More platforms will come.
Miketendo64: After all is said and done with Seven Pirates H, what comes next for eastasiasoft? What else do you have lined up in the pipeline for 2022 and 2023?
Joshua Michael French: There are many exciting projects we can’t discuss quite yet, but we’re very excited about our upcoming retro beat ‘em up Fallen City Brawl, Nintendo Switch and PS5 releases for Omen of Sorrow, physical production for Rush Rally Collection and much more.
If you haven’t tried the Steam demo yet for Fallen City Brawl, indie developer Mike Wells, worked hard on updating it with new content and mechanics recently, and it’s a beast!
Miketendo64: Last question of the day, is there anything you would like to say, or any additional comments you would like to add, for our readers and your fans? The floor is yours.
Joshua Michael French: We truly appreciate all the love and loyalty that our communities have shown us over the years, from VitaIsland and their diehard support of an unfortunately neglected handheld we all held precious for the last decade, to the SwitchCorps community that has raised me up and continued to support eastasiasoft’s Limited Edition line-up in recent years.
We will continue to strive to bring new and interesting titles to our players worldwide, and with you behind us, we know that the most exciting times still lie ahead. Thank you!
And thank you Joshua, for the incredibly speedy answers. As a tidbit of trivia for our readers, between the time we sent off our questions to the time we received the answers, less than 24 hours had passed and it is our utmost pleasure to present it all to you now. We hope you enjoyed it and hope you look forward to the full release of Seven Pirates H as much as we do.
About Seven Pirates H:
Join young pirate Parute Kairi and pervy boy monster Otton in an adventure to locate the lost treasures of the Monsupi Sea! Determined to make a legendary name for herself, Parute sets sail with a magic compass and the aid of newfound monster girl companions, but what starts as a raucous romp across uncharted islands gradually reveals something more sinister. Through their colorful encounters with rival pirates and locals in need, Parute and company learn some unsettling truths about the king who governs these waters, all leading to a confrontation that could tear their adorable crew apart!
Seven Pirates H is a traditional RPG focused on exploration and discovery with a gigantic dose of fanservice thrown in! As Parute, you’ll command your party of monster girls in combat against naughty enemies, exploiting weaknesses to gain the upper hand in turn-based combat. Adventure across islands and ride Otton to reach secret areas, gather items and enhance your abilities as you level up! With the special “Booby Training” system, you can control the bust size of the all-female crew for stat boosts, bigger for increased power and defense or smaller for improved speed and agility!
- Discover a new stand-alone chapter in the Genkai Tokki series!
- Explore islands and their surrounding waters in search of legendary treasure.
- Take on naughty enemies in turn-based combat enhanced with Auto mode and other quality-of-life features.
- Play bust-enhancing mini-games to control the attributes of your all-female crew!
- Upgrade stats and skills, accept side quests and more as you brave treacherous dungeons.
- Enjoy colorful high-definition 3D presentation, fully voiced characters and loads of fanservice!