Bandai Namco Producer Explains Why The Publisher Is Bringing So Many Japanese Games to the West

Just a few years ago Bandai Namco (it actually was named Namco Bandai back then) wasn’t exactly at the top of our list for the localization of Japanese games. Many of the publisher’s titles coming from the archipelago of the rising sun used to never come west, or to do so with extreme delays.

Nowadays, things have changed, and even titles that few would have expect to get a western localization like Sword Art Online or J-Star Victory VS+ are hitting the western shelves. Producer Koji Nakajima explains why.

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Majin-vegeta1189d ago

So...Namco theres this game caled Digimon:Cyber sleuth...yea you get my point.

Rockets121187d ago

So much this. Please Badnai

Baka-akaB1189d ago

Companies like NISA since the ps2 , and the success of a few games they themselves were hesitant about proves that actually the public was there .

Namco was just too timid about it , or was doing it the wrong way , like their past stance against dual audio

Yi-Long1189d ago

Agreed; there always seems to be a huge fear among producers/developers about a local product (movie, cartoon/anime, game, music, etc) not 'accepted' or 'understood' by a foreign audience.

And that fear will lead them to change the product, by dubbing it, leaving content out, changing content, etc etc. Which in most cases actually diminishes the quality and original unique charm of the product.

Asian movies are a HUGE example of this (most famous asian movies have been completely BUTCHERED for their western/international release, NONE of them for the better), but also games and manga/anime.

And in the end, the fans just want the original product. It doesn't matter if a game like Yakuza has content in it that's unfamiliar to us: that's part of the charm! It's supposed to have stuff we aren't familiar with, cause it's a completely different culture. And we like to experience new stuff.

They make these decisions out of FEAR that 'we won't get it', but quality will sell itself in these cases, and we will quickly embrace and love new experiences when they're good.

rainslacker1189d ago

What's strange is that the audience has always been in the west. But for some reason, many titles had to be localized by another party instead of done in house for a rather small sum compared to making a whole game. When you can localize a game for very little, and have an audience big enough to make back the money along with some profit, it just makes sense to localize games.

I could see it getting oversaturated, but NISA has come to the realization that the most niche of the niche will make them money, so they bring it out. They don't always go full out, sometimes not bothering to dub, but they do try their best to keep things in tact, and they have an extremely loyal following of fans...and it continues to grow.

Namco would only see the potential in games that were more known in the west, and outside of some legacy IP's popular on older consoles when localization was the only way to populate games, they almost never bothered.

ShinMaster1189d ago

Atlus has been great about releasing games in the West.

Sega has been slacking with Yakuza.

Yi-Long1188d ago

I disagree about Atlus: they seem to do dub-only. That means they exclude content (original voices) and dumb it down for the western audience.

Which is especially weird considering a large part of its audience is into manga/anime/Japanese culture, many of whom prefer to have the original Japanese voices (at least as an OPTION).

Baka-akaB1188d ago (Edited 1188d ago )

Atlus ... while i like them and they were indeed a driving force of the niche market , especially for jrpgs , in the west ... at a time everyone but NISA gave up ... and at a Time working Designs was dying , and Xseed didnt even exist ...

They are far from beyond reproach . They did have shady stuff like the complete butchering of Persona 1 (which they thankfully remade properly many years later on psp) .. and skipping one of the Persona 2 ps1 titles , back in the days .

Their behavior was very odd with the release of both Persona 4 Arena games , in some aspects .... Hell they basically lied for P4 Arena Ultimax . To the point that i'm no longer buying the next persona fighting games at launch , till i get verifications and the ok about its contents .

And they kept associating themselves with the worst possible studios to localize titles in europe like Ghostlight and Zen United .


They unfortunaly got a horde of unsufferable fans that would even argue against getting options like dual audio ... when it change nothing for them . Under the pretense that the "dub is good enough" .

or finding them excuse for things that essentially killed the player base for P4 arena , like region locking in the first title , the lies by omission about dual audio within the second game , and the mediocre eu launches years later

ShinMaster1188d ago

@ Yi-Long

Dual audio would be great. Fortunately, their dubs have been pretty good, no denying that. But a Japanese language option would be pretty sweet.

@ Baka-akaB

Well yeah, they did butcher the first Persona games over a decade ago. But got their sh*t together since then with Persona 3 and 4.
Sorry I wouldn't know anything about Zen United or Ghostlight. I'm not sure that's entirely representative of them anyway.

Lionalliance1189d ago

Now just Bring Digimon Cyber Sleuth here please!!

miyamoto1189d ago

This is why Bandai Namco is Japan's most loved publisher as of today and mine too.
Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Dark Souls II, SAO: Lost Song, J Stars Victory Versus Plus, Godzilla, Tales of Zestiria, Project Cars, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3,

Magicite1189d ago

And Square Enix. FF15 and KH3 are the most anticipated.

gokuking1189d ago

Why is there an image of PS4 tied to this? No where in that article is that platform mentioned, and in fact, all of the games mentioned in that article sold better on other machines.

Honestly, Bandia Namco's US/EU branches is making me mad. They've basically dumped Vita despite their games doing well. Claims Tales of Hearts R sold well. Doesn't localize Innocence R. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment becomes a shocking success. Ports Lost Song to PS3 and won't release in the west until PS4 port. Don't even get me started on God Eater 2 Rage Burst, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth or Ray Gigant. The Namco side is horrible, even in Japan for Vita.

Bigpappy1189d ago (Edited 1189d ago )

The title is more misleading than the pic. He does explain why they are brining so many games to the west, just this one (J-Stars).

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