It’s been awhile, dear readers. I’ve been working on various things, but I feel this deserves special attention, given recent developments surrounding it. This post is a result of discussions of various fans and our investigation due to wanting to know whether this is a legitimate localization attempt or not.
On May 22nd, it was discovered through a now privately-set YouTube video that a company by the name E2 Gaming is to release the Taisho x Alice in English. Normally, this would be cause for celebration, but instead it raised questions and concerns for fans of otome games. The video itself was pretty low quality; images were stretched (see the header image for this post for reference) and the quality of the text left something to be desired.
The YouTube video linked their website, which at that time had nothing on their Taisho x Alice release. Instead, it showed that they had worked on various other games…but you could only view image galleries of them; there was no information on where to purchase their titles.
It also featured the following video of their appearance at a local convention:
At this point, myself and several other otome game fans made use of their Contact page inquiring about their Taisho x Alice project, to which I still have not received a reply. It was later discovered that E2 Gaming has a social media site: they only use Facebook. What’s interesting about their Facebook page is that the oldest post on it is made on March 15th to add their profile picture that featured key artwork for Taisho x Alice:
If you try to scroll to other entries they’ve made before that, you’re met with the “Earlier in 2016” text. If this was their first post, that text wouldn’t be there, meaning that they had other content that’s now not visible. I was hoping to find other news and info on their previous titles, but there was none of that information available on their Facebook page. Their following post on May 6th was to announce that Mardelas‘ song titled Phantasia will be the new “image song” for the English release of Taisho x Alice:
When someone inquired about the change of the game’s theme song, they were met with the following reply:
For the English localization, each game will have their own “image song” in addition to the game’s already-existing theme song, which seems quite odd. No other localized otome game has something like that.
It’s apparent that this project has been in the works for awhile if we go by what was posted. News of the localization of Taisho x Alice begins to be spread on Twitter, so people went to E2 Gaming’s Facebook page to try and get some answers; they posted visitor’s posts asking about the project, and it was around this time that things started to get a bit…odd.
Around the time where people were getting to post their comments and talking about it on other social media sites, E2 Gaming’s website completely changed; all information of the previous games they’ve supposedly worked on wasn’t visible anymore. You couldn’t access their previous image galleries, since now the site was dedicated ONLY to Taisho x Alice. Also missing from their main page is the convention appearance video. In its place was information about Taisho x Alice that lead to the story’s overview along with information about the game’s characters, which was taken from another site, Otome Jikan, without their permission:
Furthermore, their site had no copyright information for Primula, who developed the game:
This made a lot of otome game fans irate, and they began questioning even more whether this attempt was truly legitimate. People took to Facebook comments to tell them to credit Otome Jikan and apologize to them for using their work as their own, and…they were met with several responses:
Their website itself showed no credit to Otome Jikan, but their Facebook profile info section has the following:
The situation started to heat up not only because they didn’t ask Otome Jikan for permission to use their work, but because of their implication that if anything supports the game, it’s okay to do, which caused quite a stir. The person handling the E2 Gaming Facebook page lost their composure, which led to the following Facebook post:
Several comment deletions took place, while they praised fans who were eager for the game’s release. Some fans took to investigating ESquared, which apparently is a company that offers the services to help starting businesses. However, this didn’t stop people from asking them for more information and commenting on their localization attempt:
When told that they were too hasty with the announcement of the localization project, they replied that they were “excited” to get it going:
The low-quality video, the website which had suddenly changed, the rushed announcements due to their “excitement” while deleting several critical comments has already given E2 Gaming quite the reputation that isn’t a good look for them. Several sites like Rice Digital’s Blog and Chic Pixel took note of E2 Gaming while noting their concern, and discussion of E2 Gaming’s legitimacy continued on sites like VNDB. On that same note, the second post on that VNDB thread offers some interesting information:
As people aired their concerns and their anger towards them, a new post popped up:
Now it seemed to be a more official announcement that they have acquired the rights to localize Taisho x Alice games for PC.
Along with that, the previous statement that was posted was now edited out completely, which didn’t go unnoticed:
While people were trying to figure out if the person managing the E2 Gaming Facebook page was about to do another wave of content deletion, the following comment by E2 Gaming began to appear as a response to several people:
There are a lot of inconsistencies with this statement and what they’ve shown on the Facebook page alone. If they were only 48 hours into the whole localization project, how did they know what the new image song would be on May 6th? And what about their Facebook profile image which featured Taisho x Alice that was posted even earlier on March 15th? People started asking more questions and voiced their concerns:
As people asked more questions, E2 Gaming’s answers seemed to produce even more questions:
It sounds like the game will possibly not feature voice acting and…it’ll be crowd-funded? If they do indeed intend to start something like a Kickstarter campaign, it’ll be a huge uphill battle with how this whole ordeal got started.
While they did make it so the information on their site wasn’t exactly same as Otome Jikan’s, it mainly consisted of rewording a few things and omitting words:
Moreover, they haven’t issued a formal apology to Otome Jikan; the apology seen on their Facebook was written in a comment that people had to actually look for, otherwise they’d never discover it:
If they wish to give this project any sort of legitimacy, an apology really ought to made made in a Facebook post by E2 Gaming before anything else on their part is done. Whether that’s something they’ll do remains to be seen.
As discussions and evaluations happened between fans, it was discovered that E2 Gaming has made their rounds through conventions: they attended one in Portland, and another in New Orleans earlier this year.
It was also discovered that there is a Twitter account that links the E2 Gaming website on their profile info, but the account itself hasn’t been active since September 2012:
Also, if you search “E2 Gaming” on Facebook, you’ll find some results in which people appear to be promoting their work at conventions; they mention that they’re looking for beta testers for their games. But the most interesting result of the bunch, however, is this one:
Another page mentions E2 Gaming and their Taisho x Alice localization project: Babel Entertainment. This page focuses on artist/event booking and management.
As the discussion of E2 Gaming legitimacy continued for a few days, they made changes to their website once more. As of now, they have added Primula’s logo on their website:
They also added Primula’s name to the copyright info at the bottom of the page:
It seems they have been listening to select feedback and applying it to their site. But the size of Primula’s logo makes it look like they’re a joint company with Primula when they’re just localizing the game. They’ve also changed their Facebook cover image to include Primula’s logo:
As of this writing, they’ve made it so you can’t see what was posted before May 27th. They’ve also reposted their Mardelas image song announcement. It looks like they’re cleaning up what they began with, but it’ll take more than that to start anew.
If E2 Gaming are truly serious about localizing Taisho x Alice, they have their work cut out for them; this was a terrible start for them. The otome game community isn’t as big as the VN community, but we’re a passionate bunch about these games that we love to play. I’m all about supporting localizations, since it helps both publishers and game developers, but making an informed purchase is important as well. As a customer, there’s a responsibility to know where your money is going. With that in mind, I advise to keep watch on what’s going on here and make an informed decision on what you’ll support/won’t support.
About 15 hours ago, E2 Gaming updated their Facebook page with the following post:
It features almost the same information that Babel Entertainment posted regarding their musical guest that will perform an arrangement of Mardelas’ song “Phantasia.” It has a link to the event’s site, which is sponsored by E2 Gaming. Not too long after that, I saw the following tweet by Primula’s official Taisho x Alice Twitter account:
E2 Gaming also made a Facebook post about Primula’s statement:
So now it’s completely official: E2 Gaming is indeed working on the localization of Taisho x Alice.
There’s definitely a lot that went wrong here for E2 Gaming that harmed their progress as they went on. The most glaring mistake was the PR person they had on board, who essentially spilled the beans on the localization news too soon. What seems to have happened is that the person heading the project was out of the country, and the PR person thought they were free to talk about the project and prematurely announce what E2 Gaming was going to be doing. You all saw the result of that mess… Then the project lead got back from Japan, the PR person got let go, and now they have to try their best to work with what they have. It looks rough.
This, if anything, is a prime example of the result when someone who doesn’t abide by an NDA. Speak too soon about a game project that people really want, and they’ll get excited and want to know more about it. This is also an example of why it’s important to make sure you hire good PR staff. Social media is the face of the company, and how well it’s presented is how well people will take to it. It’s a place for information on a company’s product and it’s a place to connect with customers and fans. If you scroll back up, you can see what was and wasn’t done on E2 Gaming’s Facebook page, and how people reacted.
There is a lot of work that E2 Gaming needs to do from now on to make sure their localization of Taisho x Alice is in top shape. Personally, I like to support as many otome game localizations as possible to see the game genre thrive in the West, so I will look forward to whatever updates they may have on this project. It’s imperative for them to not repeat their PR mistake if they are to launch a crowd-funding campaign. They’ve got a long rocky road ahead of them, so let’s see how well they will handle it. Best of luck to E2 Gaming.
There was absolutely nothing in the booth; just the indication that E2 Gaming was supposed to be there, but for some reason wasn’t. This immediately prompted even more negative buzz for them, which isn’t something they really need, given that they’re to localize and publish the Taisho x Alice games in English.
E2 Gaming was also featured and advertised in the Supernova flyer:
We will play the “heroin” and experience this “visualy” captivating tale… They were obviously scheduled to appear at this Australian convention, but we don’t know what happened for them to completely skip it over. This would have been a chance to actually talk to fans in Australia and gain a bit more credibility, but their disappearance + spelling mistakes on their own ad space on the convention’s flyer makes it apparent that they still have many things to learn and think about before they push through with this localization project.
Speaking of lack of presence, their Facebook page has been inactive since their broadcast of their musical guest playing an arrangement of Mardelas’ song “Phantasia.” That is…until today. They responded to a Facebook comment on their page asking if they’re even around:
They appear to be hard at work and will have an update regarding the games posted soon. Personally, I don’t even know what to expect from this update. All I know is that I’ll be watching to see if E2 Gaming does give any amount of care to their work while translating and localizing these text-heavy games. More on this to come soon as they update with more information.
On August 6th, a Facebook user had been posting in the user comments trying to see if E2 Gaming would reply with more info as to what they’ve been up to. Well…it worked:
Weird to see that there’s “nothing new to report,” yet the translation for vol. 1 of the game is done…wouldn’t that be something very newsworthy to report? Once again, this information only appeared in the user comments and not in an actual post of theirs on their own page. This info is the sort of thing that people who are still curious about the game’s localization project want to know about, so why not put it more out there? E2 Gaming should really think of how to best advertise their own product as time goes on.
Well,we got our wish…kind of?
On August 16th, E2 Gaming finally posted an official update giving a few details of their localization project:
In this update, they announced that the first volume is essentially done, but it’s now going through QA. No release date has been given for volume 1. Then they go on to nullify their previous statement of this project needing a Kickstarter campaign; they managed to secure funds to release all four volumes. I always find statements like these…kinda odd. I always feel that if they didn’t know if they would have the funds, they should wait until they had some sort of confirmation before releasing a statement. This prevents any kind of “where did they suddenly get their funding from?” talk that I’ve seen around in Twitter.
E2 Gaming also mentions that all four volumes of Taisho x Alice will also be available in…Spanish? To be honest, I kinda saw this one coming, since they do seem to tour conventions in Latin America quite often, going as far to be an official sponsor for some of them. This will allow them to get their name a bit more out there in that region, along with giving Spanish-speaking otome game fans something to look forward to. My feelings on this are a bit mixed, because now I’m curious to see how their Spanish translation is like; is it of the same quality as the English translation? Is it going to be better than the English translation or worse? So many questions… Since my main language is Spanish, this just really makes me curious to see how well they do in their Spanish translation.
If anyone happens to be attending the Wizard World Comic Con Chicago this weekend, E2 Gaming will be there to hand out a promotional poster. …Will it be the same one as the ad in the Supanova Pop Culture Expo program? Let’s hope not! They will also be heading a panel on Saturday August 20th at 11:30am:
Additionally, in this update, they included a snippet of their translated text from volume 1:
…There’s a lot to say about this one. Let’s take a look at Cinderella first. …What is even going with Cinderella?! He has evolved into this being with 4 legs! I’m guessing that perhaps they pulled the sprite PSD file without realizing that it had multiple layers that detailed on Cinderella’s multiple poses. If that’s not enough to instill doubt, the text on this…it’s not only hard to read due to the file size, text font and color… but it also sports some errors that could have been edited prior to making this announcement. E2 Gaming, please hire someone who has a bit more knowledge on how to use Photoshop.
Voice acting is still not confirmed, which is something that everyone has been asking about. Also, with no release date for volume 1, it seems like they’re aiming to release all volumes in one go. Otome game fans still have a lot more questions and doubts…will E2 Gaming ease doubts in future updates? Only time will tell. Keep an eye on this post as I will keep updating it with recent developments.
There have been no real reports of what actually was talked about in E2 Gaming’s panel at the Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago, unfortunately. One can assume it was basically to introduce themselves, talk a bit about visual novels (I hope) and then promote their upcoming Taisho x Alice release. They did, however, keep people updated that they were to be handing out promotional posters of Taisho x Alice while they were there along with posting pics of their booth at the event:
At the end of the event, E2 Gaming posted on their Facebook page that they posted that they were happy to meet the otome game crowd while expressing that they will appear at more events in the future. Also, giveaways!
Several days after Wizard World Comic Con Chicago ended, E2 Gaming teased a pictures with the prizes they would be giving away in their first ever giveaway:
This is a pretty good move for them, because everyone loves giveaways! Not only does it get fans excited for it, but it helps promote the game plus cultivate some positive feedback through the interaction with fans. So what’s the giveaway prompt? What do people have to do to win these goods?
Simply state who your favorite Taisho x Alice character is and why. This…might not have been the best prompt, since not many people have really played the game yet. If you scroll through people’s entries, you’ll see some of “I haven’t played the game, but (insert character name here) seems cool!” responses. However, it wasn’t a bad interaction with fans: E2 gaming responded to several of people’s responses. What came as a surprise is how they handled picking winners:
E2 Gaming is being very generous here; it wasn’t just 1-5 winners…it was more like around 20 winners! That’s a lot of prizes to mail out! I haven’t heard from people receiving their prizes yet, but we’ll see as time passes on.
About a week passes by before they suddenly make an announcement of their presence in the event Oni-Con, but they do so by promoting the cosplayer that will be helping them at their booth:
This is…a weird way to announce that they’ll be at Oni-Con. They are promoting the cosplayer more than their actual product and that’s just weird. Will they be handing out promotional items to attendees that drop by their table? Is there a panel headed by them? No info of this available…but this sexy cosplayer will be there though!
E2 Gaming is no stranger to making questionable moves, but if they’re to appear in any other events or conventions, they need to get a stronger marketing team that knows how to advertise their presence. They seem to be improving bit by bit as they interact with fans and make more frequent Facebook posts. The more updates, the better, in order to drum up as much interest as possible leading up to the release of the Taisho x Alice games.
I’ll be looking forward to seeing how they do as they work on releasing the games.
(Read about E2 Gaming’s appearance at Oni-Con!)
Take one tiny step forward…and a billion more steps back! 😩 Whatever good will E2 Gaming has built, it has most certainly crumbled by now.
Let’s start with the fact that around early November of last year, E2 Gaming completely disabled the ability for Facebook users to leave a visitor post. If you go to their Facebook page, you’ll not only find that the ability to do so is now gone, but all of the previous visitor posts are completely erased. Unfortunately for them, a huge bulk of the otome game community already knows what went on in the visitor post section of their page, which you can’t erase unless you’re part of Men in Black. 😋
Around early December of last year, the winners from E2 Gaming’s giveaway started getting their prizes:
E2 Gaming made good on their promise to deliver the prizes to people! Sweet! That’s some good reputation for them that they desperately needed. But even so, their following post on December 29th of last year would dispel that:
Not only are they delaying the game from December 2016 to March 2017, but the quality in the text needs to be tuned up some. Here’s a closer look at the screencaps:
It’s not a bad start, but I hope they’ll have an editor handy! PhD degree or not, editing is a MUST. People started to express their concerns:
To which E2 Gaming replied:
Programming is indeed huge, but if the language doesn’t follow in the game’s story, then what’s the point in playing it? Proofing the translation work is important as well.
At this point, people were still wondering…why haven’t they set up other social media sites other than Facebook? Why only Facebook? Why ignore Twitter and Tumblr? It’s seriously cutting their visibility that they could use to try and market their product more. One person pointed this out:
As of today (May 9th), no Twitter account or Instagram account has been created to help market the game. What a huge oversight…
Several months pass by, and the month of March arrives. People start talking and asking about what’s going on with the game; why haven’t they posted anything yet? The end of March was looming near and E2 Gaming finally posted an update on March 22nd:
Oh boy…we’re hit with yet ANOTHER game delay! At this point, we’re no longer surprised by this and some of us had begun taking bets whether they’ll delay the game once more. If you notice their text…it has changed from their earlier promise of all four games to only the first volume of the game. They clearly bit off more than they could chew, and instead of letting us know about that, they just leave us with “TAISHO ALICE VOL 1 Release Update: April 2017.” Please note that by this time, there had been NO Steam Greenlight campaign created and marketed by them to get the games on Steam. How can they hope to release their game on Steam if they’ve never ever published on the platform before? Did they have enough funds from JLOP to help curb whatever it’ll cost to publish on Steam? Who knows at this point.
Fast-forward to the 30th of April, and we’re all wondering where Taisho x Alice is. They did say “April”, right? E2 Gaming makes a nightly post on April 30th with the following:
Yep, that’s right: ANOTHER delay! Hope people betting on this are keeping tabs on how many times it’s been delayed! The funniest part of this update is that they string us along until the very last day of April, to then tell in in the evening that the game’s delayed. People, of course, expressed their concern and disdain:
People are not happy with E2 Gaming. The bits of good will that they have built up had come crashing down through their lack of communication, game information and constant game delays.
But wait! A few days later, on May 8th, this lovely update graces E2 Gaming’s Facebook page:
Alright, there’s a bit to unpack here. What sort of PR move is it to announce a game like this? Also, if you read the “Where” part, it lists E2 Gaming’s website. This heavily implies that the game won’t be on Steam; there’s no Steam Greenlight page or a Steam page for the game. So what platform are they going to use? Itch.io? DLSite? There’s no info about that, nor the game’s price, nor any screenshots or trailers. There’s absolutely nothing except this post letting us know that the game will be released on May 9th. Which is…pretty weird, if you ask me. If there’s any sort of new game release, some media outlets would have written about the game’s release to get the word out and promote the game. But there has been…nothing of the sort. Also, it’s no longer clear if this is still for just Vol. 1 of the game or all volumes; they didn’t bother pointing that out.
Without Steam as their platform, they are losing on…well…pretty much all of their customers, I’d say. How can they hope to make any sort of profit if they didn’t publish where they initially said they would? With this whole saga going on from last year, people had become real wary of E2 Gaming; they lost a lot of people’s trust. And they totally had the opportunity to turn things around at so many points, but they didn’t.
People, of course, beging to talk online about their concern on how E2 Gaming is even going to sell the game. A lot of people have expressed that if it’s not on Steam, they won’t buy the game, period. And with all the talk, more and more little truths about E2 Gaming begin to make their appearance:
Here’s a site talking about the now-defunct Cure Rock Radio:
Additionally, here’s their old LiveJournal (yes, LiveJournal) site they used for PR, stating that JSHOXX is now the long-gone Cure Media USA:
If you look at Babel Entertainment’s page, you’ll see the JSHOXX logo on the upper right:
Babel Entertainment also did convention circuits years ago, while bringing in musical guests and fashion brands, which was ultimately not well received. All of this is pretty damning stuff for E2 Gaming… Jumping from one project to another with no bites, but now all of why they did everything they did becomes so very clear. They honestly did not know the market, underestimated the community and did not know how to properly PR because their focus was something completely and entirely different. Their lack of commitment to their craft even shows in their previous works. Will publishing Taisho x Alice be their success?
With everything that’s gone on, I personally doubt this game release will be a success. Taisho x Alice may be an AMAZING game, but just having a big game won’t be enough to make it a success in the West. Proper marketing and connection with the fans would have helped this release. E2 Gaming severely underestimated marketing and the power of word of mouth, especially in a tight-knit community like the otome game community. That mistake will likely cost this release. Will we see the other Taisho x Alice games? It depends on how well this one does….and I don’t see it doing too well, especially with the game not being on the platform they originally specified before, while also not knowing the game’s price or how we can even pay for the game. So many little unknowns about the actual game’s release…but there’s a lot that has happened and been uncovered by a lot of people to make this post an actuality.
The best thing one can do is inform themselves before they purchase a thing they may be interested in. There have been so many red flags from last year, and now even more so this year. I personally want to see the quality of the game itself, to see if E2 Gaming gave it more care than they did to the marketing side of things. I will be watching to see if the game see that 10am PST release on May 9th. It will be a very interesting day…
Until next time, see ya!
It’s been a rough few days, but we still like to enjoy ourselves!
This rings true for many of us…