We caught up with CEO of PM-Studios, Michael Yum, in a short Q&A as we rushed to catch him before he boarded his private plane off into the sunset (kidding, we sent questions via E-mail) to follow up with the company and to pretty much congratulate him and the teams on the release of SUPERBEAT: XONiC launching on PS4 (today!). Amongst others, PM-Studios has published some of the most world renowned rhythm game titles for North America, and we wanted to dive in a bit more.
Michael Yum founded PM Studios in 2008 and worked closely with Pentavision/Neowiz Games to release DJMAX to players all over the world. He followed it up with the hit arcade sensation known as DJMAX Technika and now helps publish titles for consoles including SUPERBEAT: XONiC (PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One) and Deemo: The Last Recital (PS Vita).
How has the relationship been with Nurijoy and acttil in the release and early stages of SUPERBEAT XONiC?
PM: Its been an absolute joy and we couldn’t be happier. I think a lot of people already know but when Pentavision split up the developers went to many places and we actually have them in house here at PM. So for SUPERBEAT, we were actually co-developers. The art and design was handled by PM-Studios while the program, direction and content was handled by Nurijoy.
When choosing a platform to publish on, what does PM Studios primarily look for?
PM: We primarily look to see what system the game would play best on. So with the initial launch we focused on Vita. That’s where our players were. Now that the game came out and we saw how the players played we knew our core players liked the d-pad more than the touch screen. So it gave us an opportunity to port the game to consoles.
How successful would you describe PM Studios’ published line of rhythm games up to this point? Anything you wish you could go back in change?
PM: We are very proud of everything we’ve done so far. The market is very niche and the players are so loyal and hungry for more content so we are grateful to be able to be here and satisfy those needs. For us, it was probably Technika that was the most satisfying though. That game was so revolutionary at the time and it finally gave us a chance to come out and show who we are. I wish I could go back and change some patent laws lol. It limits creativity and freedom for developers and artists!!
For developers, what is the ideal way to approach and pitch their games to you?
PM: We are so small that we mostly look for them. So far its all been through friends and networks that we are involved in. If you have a game and need some publishing help, we would be honored to work with you!
Does PM Studios provide any creative feedback to developers before and after launch?
PM: It really depends on the title but most of the time we act as producers so we tell them suggestions from feedback that we get. Other than that, we try not to alter a developers vision.
Regarding the rhythm genre, what games have significantly stood out to you within the past 5 or so years, and why?
PM: Piano Tiles for its simplicity, Just Dance for its mass appeal, Groove Coaster because its just amazing, and the most recent Thumper. Thumper is so simple, so old school but so refreshing! I feel that game just got it all right in so many ways.
Does PM Studios have any input regarding the in-game music for the rhythm games published?
PM: No we leave that up to the dev team. Sometimes we offer some extra options like the most recent tie-ins. Im a big fan of crossovers so I love seeing games collaborating. For the new SUPERBEAT DLC, we did them all without Nurijoy. We did something special this time that I hope to see more of in the future for all rhythm games. Ill share that information here now with Bemanistyle first. I always felt that our fans were some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They seriously know more about the game than sometimes even us. And a lot of times, they are such big fans of the games, that they really want to be a part of it. So we felt it would be great to put some of our fans work into the game as DLC. It gives us a chance to give back to our players and make some of their dreams come true.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on any continuation of DJMAX Technika! Everyone is looking for a Techinika 4- has anything been discussed in the past (or present) that you can share?
PM: We are still all very close and I think its safe to say that the DJMAX IP still lives on. There’s the new DJMAX Respect coming out later this year and I’m pretty sure the folks at Neowiz want to keep it alive and running. I can’t say much because we really don’t know anything and it’s their baby. So we just wish the best for DJMAX at this point!
What about the Asia region for SUPERBEAT XONiC on PS4 and Xbox One? Will there be a digital or physical release at a later date?
PM: For Asia only the PS4 is currently planned and it will be for physical and digital release.
Any last words for our readers?
PM: Thank you so much for supporting us all these years. PM Studios and Bemanistyle have always had a special relationship and we truly appreciate all these years. All I can say is, we have a ton of surprises this year. This is our 10 year anniversary and we really want to emphasize the number 10 this year. So please be on the lookout for some special news.
We will surely follow up and keep a close eye regarding their tease on the 10 year anniversary news! Trust us, we’re left wanting more.