Talking as part of an in-depth Gamasutra interview
, Namco Bandai U.S. VP of development Roger Hector has been discussing his efforts to build U.S. internal development studios, revealing expansion, original IP, and Namco franchise re-imagining in its future.
As part of its Western focused initiative, company division Namco Bandai Games America is working with TV production group Gonzo on a games version of its Afro Samurai property with Samuel L. Jackson, but Hector says licenses are only part of the division's charter:
"Namco Bandai Games America is all about focusing on creating properties in both licensed and new IP that's going to be more targeted towards North America and Europe.
The kinds of things we're working on right now are things that will complement the brand image of what Namco's supposed to be all about, but it's going to be focused more on things that are primarily going to be sold here in the West."
But, says Hector, the division will also be revisiting classic Namco franchises, much in the same way that designer Toru Iwatani did with Xbox Live Arcade's Pac-Man CE
"We have completely new, original, never seen or heard before kinds of games. We are also interested in using the value in intellectual property in Namco owns. Not rehashing something, but more along the category of reinventing it. We have some pretty cool things that are in the pipeline in that regard."
Finally, Hector says the internal team currently tasked with Afro Samurai started off quite small, but has quickly pulled in a sizable workforce, including outsourced talent, which, he says, will also be used in creating new properties:
"There were a little more than a dozen people that represented the core development before it hit full production. Once it hit full production, we do employ some outsourcing, and we have a very large group of people internationally.
I have to mentally add it up, but the size of the team right now working internally is around 35. But we have some art outsourcing that's being done that comprises another very large group of people. So roughly speaking, I'm going to say there's close to roughly 70 or 80 people attached to the project."
You can now read the full interview
with Roger Hector for more on Namco's new initiatives, including more on its partnership with LucasArts on the forthcoming Soul Calibur IV
, and his long and storied career in the industry starting in the 70s at Atari.