As I write this, I have The Last Story’s OST playing on my iTunes. I find myself wondering if I’ll ever have the chance to actually put some gameplay and a story to this, my favorite Nobuo Uematsu work since Final Fantasy VI, game from Mistwalker? With the seeming halt of Operation Rainfall (or at least roadblocked), things really are looking bleak, not only for my odds of playing it, but the whole campaign. If you’re one of the “hardcore gamers” that own a Wii, most likely you’ve heard of Operation Rainfall. If not, I’ll attempt to fill you in briefly as to not bore you with my wording of it as you can just go to the site and get the full story from the official site: http://oprainfall.blogspot.com/
Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower are three games that have some strong appeal to the “hardcore” (or “core” audience as we’ve become known by PR firms across the industry) audience. The former two are RPG’s from Monolith Soft and Mistwalker, respectively, and the third is an action game with some dungeon crawler and Zelda-lite puzzles to solve. While none of these games have sold huge numbers in their native Japan, they’ve sold well enough that The Last Story and Xenoblade have been found worth localizing for the European market. Pandora’s Tower is, as of this writing, not being brought to Europe.
Operation Rainfall came about in an effort to have all three of these games localized and brought over to every region. As of this writing, none of these games are currently on Nintendo of America’s release schedule. With different forms of attempts to get in contact with Nintendo reps world wide (more than the usual internet petition), Operation Rainfall has become one of, if not the most, most organized and sensible fan campaigns for having a game, or in this case, games, released. Unfortunately, most of the response to it has seemingly fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes. NoA’s immediate response was a fairly generic “thank you for being interested but it’s not in our plans at the moment” PR response. Operation Rainfall continues it’s organized campaign in spite of the seeming to have run right into a “no way, no how” wall.
Well, that wall may have developed a few cracks.
In a conversation with IGN, NoA president Reggie Fils-Aime said, “We will be watching very closely what happens in Europe. Certainly if there are business opportunities and positive consumer uptake from some of those titles, that will be great data for us to consider as we look at what to do with these titles.”
Now, in most situations, this wouldn’t sound promising, but considering the stance NoA took a few short weeks ago, it’s obvious this campaign caught the interest of at least one person over in Redmond, WA. It seems they might not be quite so oblivious as they at first appeared.
Why is this important at all? How does this affect you? Well, with Nintendo setting out to reclaim the “core gamer” demographic (who that is anymore is a topic for another time, but let’s just assume it means the “hardcore”) that they seem to have lost touch with this generation, releasing these games would show a sign of good faith in this demographic. It sets them up with a bit more of a positive light for the future.
There are some things to consider about Nintendo though. If they don’t think there’s a reasonable chance that they can sell x amount of copies, they won’t spend the time to release it. Nintendo has, to the best of my recollection and knowledge, not been in the practice of letting outside sources handle localization. These two practices might be something the Big N needs to change. And soon.
While certainly not selling the same numbers as blockbuster titles like Call of Duty, Madden, or Halo, some smaller companies are finding a happy existence and business model in bringing over titles that don’t sell huge numbers, but tend to sell enough to make a small profit by not releasing huge numbers. XSeed and Atlus are two of these companies that come to mind. While never hitting the huge numbers, these two continue to churn out localized versions of niche or sometimes oddball Japanese games that most larger companies, like Nintendo, would never bother with and still manage to meet their numbers.
Perhaps Nintendo needs to look into a similar, if not one of these, companies to handle the localization (I’m a bit biased towards XSeed, personally). I’m not the first person to think of this idea, by any means. But that fact alone should be hitting Nintendo that this is a business practice they may need to embrace. I know they’re not fond of handing over their properties to other people (Phillips CD-i any one?) but they have found some success with the little they do it. The Capcom handling of my beloved Legend of Zelda series gave us the Oracle games, the Link to the Past GBA port, and Minish Cap,and I would wager that no one can tell the difference in the change of hands.
In an age of financial turmoil across the world, I understand Nintendo’s hesitation on bringing these niche titles over. Perhaps this is a gamble Nintendo needs to take. They have managed to keep themselves in the industry for my entire existence, so they obviously have done something right, but as the audience that grew up with them grows up (myself included) themselves, they may need to reciprocate the faith we showed in them during the lean years to keep our dollars heading their way.
If anyone at Nintendo stumbles across this, please consider this my solemn promise to purchase Xenoblade and The Last Story on release day. Hell, I’ll even pre-order them at my local Gamestop. While I’m not the child that blindly follows you anymore, I am an adult who, while I have less time to play, still finds myself purchasing games I may never get a chance to sit down and complete, if for no other reason than to show my support. I don’t have the absolute blind love for you I once did over a decade ago, but I still have faith in your decision making. Not only that, I have more finances than I did a decade ago. I can put my money where my mouth is. Give me the chance and I’ll prove to you still have an audience.Source: 1up.com