Is Nintendo Purposely Avoiding Localizing Games with a Japanese Aesthetic to the West?

Xenoblade Chronicles. The Last Story. Pandora’s Tower. Fire Emblem: Awakening. All four are first-party Nintendo titles released to major fanfare (with the exception of Pandora’s Tower) in their home country of Japan. And yet, it took a massive social media campaign to essentially force Nintendo to publish these titles in the US and Europe.

But why? What thought process fuels these bizarre decisions to not localize popular games to the West? This article is hardly the first time the following idea’s been put out there, but this possibility is becoming increasingly likely with each game like Fire Emblem: Awakening not coming overseas. What is it that links these four disparate titles? What common trait do they share that makes them undesirable for localization? Perhaps the answer lies in the image of the central protagonist of Fire Emblem: Awakening. He looks like an anime character - in fact, so do the entire casts of all the Rainfall titles. It is a real possibility that Nintendo is purposely trying to not localize games with a Japanese aesthetic to the West for fear that they will be scorned by Western players due to their “anime” look.

Read Full Story >>
The story is too old to be commented.
sinncross2176d ago (Edited 2176d ago )

Fire Emblem will most likely get an English release, but seriously, Xenoblade, Last Story and Pandora's Story all failed commercially in Japan from what I have read.

It is no wonder Nintendo did not want to bring them over to English countries.

That said, it is definitely a good thing that they did/ are coming.

mike1up2176d ago

Xenoblade sold great in Japan... and Europe, that's why it made it Stateside.

Instigator2175d ago

Pandora's Tower is the only one that can be considered to have bombed. The Last Story outsold Xenoblade in Japan, but didn't perform so hot in EU, and Xenoblade has sold over 600K to date. Meanwhile Pandora's Tower is currently at 100K in two regions, and seems to have settled there.

mike1up2176d ago (Edited 2176d ago )

I remember, approximately 6 months ago, I told people on here that Fire Emblem was no longer USA bound. Thought I was crazy didn't you? Well, I told ya so!

However, the author's reasoning is flawed, Anime has done very well here. Infact, a lot of modern cartoons seem to have taken much from the Anime art style. Personally, I still think that the reasoning has more to do with sales... and arrogance.

The West is very arrogant. Why should Nintendo cater to the West? If a region constantly bashes your products with DOOM and gloom, then you would be hesitant to release products there.

Games such as: Fire Emblem, Pandora's Tower, and Last Story will likely go digital next gen. Avoiding retail entirely means much less risk for Nintendo.

2175d ago Replies(3)
maniacmayhem2175d ago (Edited 2175d ago )

Besides FF, many jrpg's don't perform successfully. The cost of localization, changing in-game items or in-game situations that wouldn't make sense outside of Japan, not to mention English voice recording.
All this is extra cost.

And definitely the cost is too much and no return is made.

I love jrpg's, i hope that the Japanese devs can just find it in their heart to appease the niche crowd here in the west that love them

catfrog2175d ago

lots of smaller publishers bring japanese games over with a limited run, selling only ~100-150k copies and make a profit. and some of them are pretty bad, but they still make a profit from the localization. maybe nintendo has better things to do, but its because of this kind of thing that i switched from nintendo to playstation as my main console. i wont be buying a wiiu for quite a while, i dont want to be seduced by nintendos few promises of games only later to be told that they wont be bringing games like xenoblade and TLS over.

customers shouldnt have to convince a platform holder to be able to buy their games, platform holders should be convincing customers to buy their game. nintendo has it backwards, and the fear of customers not being able to convince nintendo to bring over the kind of games that i enjoy makes me reluctant to purchase their platform until i there are sufficient amount of games that i feel i would enjoy.

Instigator2175d ago

"maybe nintendo has better things to do,"

But they really shouldn't. With Nintendo's notorious lack of third party support they shouldn't hesitate to bring over games that they themselves own the rights to.

I know that if I lived in America this last year with all the talk of them not planning to localize the RPG trio, I wouldn't be too keen on the Wii U when NoA refuses to fill the gaps with perfectly available games.

catfrog2174d ago


i agree, nintendo should have this as a high priority, but it seems they didnt, and thats exactly why im skeptical of wiiu supporting the kind of games that i enjoy.

im not buying hardware because it says nintendo on it, im buying it because i want to play games and if nintendo isnt going to bring these kinds of games over ill get a playstation, they've had smaller 3rd party devs supporting them with these kinds of games for years now and they only seem to be getting more support lately, which btw, im very happy about

ronin4life2175d ago

I really think we should wait until e3 before assuming FE isn't coming over...
I mean, 1 year we don't get a hand full of games at the exact moment we want to(even though we still got them, and they wouldn't't have come over at all if Nintendo Didn't want them to.) and we start assuming ridiculous things...-_-;

klecser2175d ago

Agreed. There is nothing factual about this article until we are certain they never get NA releases.

The article reads more like the author's perception of gamer prejudices than the reality. Anyone who likes strategy games generally loves Fire Emblem games because they have simple but deep gameplay. It has absolutely nothing to do with story or art style. I question whether the author has ever played a Fire Emblem game. It might give them perspective on how much some of us want that game. The protagonists could be cute animals and I would still get it for the quality tactical game play.

Lucretia2175d ago

for nintendo if its not some garbage like carnival games or zumba it has no bussiness in america fail

ronin4life2175d ago

If that truly was what they thought, then they would only think that way Because that is what works for the AMERICAN audience.
so... with the usa being a capitalistic free market and voting with their money, it would be OUR fault, not Nintendo's for giving us wat we "want" ^_^;

Lucretia2175d ago

true enough, still nintendo offered the wii as a toy to the average american, so they are the ones that dictate what games we get. it sucks