Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog Post: An amazing thing to see (Xenoblade/Last Story/Pandora's Tower)

Well, look at that, people do want these games! Years ago, Nintendo acquired Monolith Soft from Namco. They were the studio responsible for the Xenosaga series of video games, and under Nintendo, they released Disaster: Day of Crisis and, more importantly, Xenoblade, regarded by both Japanese gamers and importers as one of the best Japanese RPGs developed this gen. Xenoblade was released in Japan....last June, and has (finally) been announced for Europe for release. Nintendo of America has remained silent.

In other related news, Hironobu Sakaguchi (Final Fantasy) and his studio, Mistwalker, partnered with Nintendo to release The Last Story, another strong-looking RPG title that seems to have been developed with worldwide appeal in mind. Released in Japan at the start of this year. Sakaguchi recently let slip that there are plans to release it in Europe. Once again, Nintendo of America didn't say a word. Both games were absent from E3, as was any mention of Pandora's Tower, another Japanese game being published by Nintendo.

I've been complaining for years about these games being total no-shows, both on Nintendo of America's release calendars as well as in any of their press events. Each and every E3 when these games were ignored, (well, Xenoblade was technically announced at E3 as Monado: Beginning of the World, but since then has never been mentioned again by Nintendo of America) I would complain and beg others to do the same, but all too often, it felt like I was one of just a few. Others would tell me that Nintendo was taking their time to announce the games like they always do, and that it wouldn't be worth it to get upset about it.

Well, something happened: A Nintendo of Europe representative recently let it slip that Nintendo of America is not planning on releasing any of these games in North America. Whoops. It sure took a while, but it looks like finally, the gears have been set in motion.

Operation Rainfall was formed, a group dedicated to bringing attention to this issue and demanding North American releases for these games. Immediately a campaign was put under way. People are being asked to pre-order Xenoblade from (Where it's listed under its original title, Monado: Beginning of the World) and amazingly, it has become the #1 selling video game on the site. When was the last time a Japanese RPG has been the #1 selling video game on When was the last time a game with no planned release date has EVER been #1 at any retailer?

Needless to say, this turned some heads. Prople from both Monolith Soft and Mistwalker have tweeted their happiness at this campaign, as well as the spamming of Nintendo's Facebook page,  which has also taken place.  Operation Rainfall's encouraging fans to plan to send letters in to Nintendo of America via snail mail. This is all very exciting and pretty newsworthy, as it has gotten attention both in the gaming media as well as with gamres in general; Xenoblade's message board is more active than it has ever been, for example.

As a fan of Japanese games, I'm thrilled to see so much support being thrown behind these titles, especially considering the fact that the Wii is, for all intents and purposes, dead, mostly thanks to decisions like these. Nintendo of America comes across as both clueless and uncaring due to their handling of these RPGs from two of Japan's most acclaimed video game developers, and this perception of them can only be a good thing. In a gaming landscape dominated by casual games, first person shooters, and licensed garbage, it's more important now than ever to let companies like Nintendo of America know that there's still a market for quality Japanese-developed games. It's a hint that other publishers should take and certainly, Nintendo should learn from.

I encourage everybody who has an interest in buying Xenoblade to go ahead and preorder the game. If you live in Europe, especially, you should do this at your local shops or wherever you buy your games from. You're being given a great opportunity here and it's now, more than ever, important that we send the message across that there is a market for these types of games in the West. That way, we won't have to wait years to play Tales of Graces, we won't have to miss out on games like Valkyria Chronicles 3, and of course, we won't have to beg to play the latest games from the creators of Final Fantasy and Xenosaga.  Head on over to Operation Rainfall's Twitter page (or their Blogspot) and see how you can help. Now may be our last chance to get these games over to North American shores. Nintendo is apparently aware of this movement, and let's bug them till they announce frigging release dates already. It's been long enough, right? Let's do this.

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