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.