The worrying return of Japan-only games

The past generation was great for Japanese gaming fans, especially in RPGs : the West (well… Europe mostly) came to know famous franchises such as Wild Arms, Final Fantasy Tactics, Persona, Fire Emblem, Disgaea, Tales of, Valkyrie Profile and many others.

The current gen had started really well, since we got Valkyria Chronicles, the Arland trilogy, Hyperdimension Neptune, Trinity Universe or Resonance of Fate pretty quickly. Recently however, some publishers’ cowardice is looming ahead and this Golden Age could very well end.

SquareEnix, which keeps doing bullshit lately, announced this week that Theatrythm would come to Europe. Great news, sure, but this decision crushed all hope that Final Fantasy Type-0, far more ambitious and anticipated than the former, could be translated at last. Indeed, if the 112’000 units of Theatrythm sold in Japan are enough to trigger the localization process, Type-0, which sold 800’000 units, should be at the top of the agenda. Nothing like that, and SquareEnix has been keeping an eerie silence ever since. Type-0 is thus about to become the ONLY Final Fantasy unavailable in the West (besides Ergeizh but this particular one is more than replaced by Dissidia). And don’t go asking for VersusXIII, because they’re not allowed to talk about it.

The same day, ImageEpoch pointed out via Twitter that they had no plans for an English version of their upcoming Toki to Wa, unless it « conquers Japan ». A rather difficult task given the falling volumes on that market…

Curled on itself like its mascot, Sega has dropped all plans to localize its RPGs. While releasing Sonic games at an abusing pace and putting tremendous effort in some westernized sh**, the fomer manufacturer actually stopped the Valkyria series before the end. They made it clear that Valkyria Chronicles 3 would never be translated, giving rise to the 2500-strong Gallian Liberation Front. Not much hope for their recent Shining Blade either, despite a strong start in Japan.

We can also remember that Capcom dropped the Ace Attorney Investigations series, because Miles Edgeworth’s last adventures never left Japan. The ageing western DS actually didn’t get much content, as Fire Emblem – Monsho no Nazo and Ni no Kuni were Japan-only as well. 3DS fares a little better : even if we don’t get Beyond the Labyrinth and Senran Kagura, there will always be Kindgom Hearts 3D and Fire Emblem Awakening, which is good to take. I have to give Nintendo some credit for its efforts, because they did the job to make Xenoblade and The Last Story available all around the world.

The situtation is not that bad, partly because the Tales of series is making a glorious comeback with Tales of Graces F and Tales of the Abyss. Still, if publishers start to erect barriers between Japan and the West again, based on the fallacy that those markets are opposed, gaming has much to lose.


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