Gamasutra: Natsume is known primarily as the U.S. publisher of the Harvest Moon series, developed in Japan by Marvelous Entertainment. But the company has much more to it than that.
First, there's the Japanese developer of the same name, which is not so much a parent company as a sister developer. Most recently in the U.S., Natsume Japan developed Omega 5 for XBLA, which was published by Hudson, not Natsume U.S.
Also curious is U.S. Natume president Yasuhiro Maekawa's very hands-on approach to development. Often he will come up with an idea himself, and hire a developer in Japan to realize his vision. Such was the case when he commissioned the young female-targeted DS game Princess Debut from classic shooting game stalwart Cave.
Perhaps most intriguingly, Natsume has gotten the license to release Afrika, a first-party Sony title, in the U.S. In this interview, we discuss with Maekawa all of these facets of Natsume, as well as the why and how of the Afrika deal, and how the company uses lower-selling niche titles as a market test for bigger ideas.
We also reveal here for the first time the cancellation of the U.S. version of the PSP action title Umihara Kawase, (to be Yumi's Odd Odyssey in the States) which had something of a cult following, and was to have a number of bug fixes and improvements over the Japanese original.