Mike Engler’s humility surprises me. Not that anyone deserves an inflated ego, mind you. It’s just that as an editor, he’s been behind the localization of some of my favourite games. With a resume that lists works such as Retro Game Challenge and Muramasa Rebirth, it’s a wonder he could show any worry over the quality of his work.
But for Mike, a self confessed Localization Drone (as well as Text Monkey, and Text Magician), Aksys Games’ upcoming visual novel, XBlaze Code: Embryo, is a far cry from the projects he’s handled before. Not that he’s unprepared; Mike has had his hands in the BlazBlue series of fighting games, a world that XBlaze serves as a prequel to. Set 150 years before the BlazBlue games, players take on the role of Touya Kagari, a high school sophomore whose adventure unravels some of the greater mysteries of the BlazBlue universe. Even those unfamiliar with BB will enjoy this tale of multiple factions seeking out the power that created the universe. XBlaze is announced to release this Summer for the PS3 and Vita.
I got the opportunity to speak with Mike about XBlaze Code: Embryo, as well as some of his past work.
It’s great seeing Aksys continuing to release visual novel games with XBlaze Code: Embryo. Other publishers are joining in on the fun, so I’d like to know what you feel sets XBlaze apart from games like Virtue’s Last Reward and Danganronpa?
Mike Engler: Probably the biggest thing is that, unlike Dangan and VLR, which I’d consider adventure games, XBlaze is more of a pure visual novel. While there is a certain level of player interaction in XBlaze, it is far more subtle, with the results of the player’s choices not always immediately apparent until they get further into the story.
Another difference between XBlaze and its ADV compatriots is the presentation of the story scenes. They tend to be far more dynamic and play out more like an animated feature; with multiple camera angles used to give a sense of movement.
I have to add that all three games mentioned are worth playing, so grab them all for a couple of months’ worth of entertainment.