Jul 072011

As you may know, games such as Pandora’s Tower, The Last Story and Xenoblade shall not be going to the Americas. Nothing unusual in that, they are cult RPGs and they often don’t leave Japan. The strange thing is while they won’t be visiting New York or Los Angeles, they will be coming to Europe. Maybe they like the Eiffel Tower better than the Statue of Liberty.

This does provoke an interesting question though, why did these companies decide not to publish in the Americas? Europe isn’t a thriving land for RPGs like Japan and has actually more similar tastes to the Americas than it does to the Land of the Rising Sun. So how come we will be seeing these titles over here in the UK, but not over the pond?

We're getting these great games, you're not. Who's independent now?

Maybe its because of the way foreigners see America. We see your teenagers as frat boy morons who will bully anyone who is slightly different to themselves and just play Madden and Call of Duty. I don’t know how British teens are seen by foreign markets, but I’m guessing not as badly as that. Also don’t blame us for these rather poor stereotypes, blame your tv programs and movies for that.

It could also be the extremist groups that prevented Pandora’s Tower from making an appearance. PETA has an annoying presence in America, and with the story revolving around a vegetarian having to eat meat to save herself, I’m sure PETA would make a big fuss and ask for it to be banned. Activision and EA are able to sweep away any controversial stories but Pandora’s Tower’s publishers aren’t so big so sadly, PETA’s voice would be too big and maybe ban Pandora’s Tower, which would mean big losses.

There are actually tonnes of captions you can think of for this.

Stranger though is why The Last Story is not coming to the USA. The game is being made by Hirnobu Sakaguchi. who made the Final Fantasy series. Tell this to any audience of any nationality and they will lap it up just because of the big name Final Fantasy is. Thats how the world works. It even has amazing graphics that also speak no language. Maybe its just the fact it is an RPG.

RPGs are a very cultish genre. This is because the stories are often complicated and when people want to relax, they want to be slogging through piles of text or poor English voice dubbing. Yes, sadly a lot of the smaller RPGs are poorly dubbed because the development studio can’t afford decent voice actors. They either overact or simply just don’t care. Sometimes it just easy to skip the story and pick up Call of Duty and gun down some Russian terrorists.

This rather than Xenoblade? And I though that Palin program was the most stupid thing you've done.

The casual gamer is also very important. In the UK, a lot of casual gamers didn’t just pick up the easiest RPG for kids (Pokemon) but they picked up Dragon Quest IX instead. This was because of timing the adverts very well, right in the middle of Britain’s Got Talent; and seeing how Nintendo can be clever, they appealed to the casual gamers. I’m not sure what the sales were like in America but if the publishers have seen good sales of RPGs in Europe, they should go to the effort of localisation for the European audiences.

So there are many reasons why the Americas won’t be getting this trio of possibly excellent games. These are of course very speculative and until someone dares to ask that question in an interview to the developers we won’t really know. Maybe with the right number of people petitioning you could still get these games. Hopefully you will. And hopefully PETA will cause such a fuss over Pandora’s Tower, they don’t need any adverts.

  3 Responses to “The Death of the American JRPG”

  1. So in other words, blame PETA for all of our woes.

  2. I like that opinion, and i think i can say i totally share it.
    I am a european (though not from the UK, but from germany), and i do not get it.
    From a business perspective, Nintendo is acting totally dumb.

    While an american release will require to translate the entire game into english, the European release requires to translate it into Spanish/Italian/French/English/German, and maaany more languages if they want to serve the even smaller countries. And once done, the only thing left for an american release would be to publish the already Voiced and translated UK Version of the Game.

    I simply dont get how Nintendo does not want some cheap money – and on top, they upset people who actually want those (probably good) games.

    I am happy that we europeans get those games, but at this point – considering an other System to play Dark Souls and Skyrim.. should have crossed many minds by now. sadly.

  3. I’m from the U.S. and when I picture UK teens, I always imagine the ones from A Clockwork Orange.

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