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Xenoblade: Disaster Strikes Again

by Karlie Yeung - June 26, 2011, 4:39 pm PDT
Total comments: 23

Also known as Xenoblade Chronicles: The Chronicles. Will this game ever be released?

Recently there has been widespread uproar relating to the absent North American release of Xenoblade, following the confirmation of the European release in September this year. The game was released in Japan as Xenoblade on June 10, 2010. It is Monolith Soft's second game under Nintendo, the first being Disaster: Day of Crisis. In fact, they became a first-party Nintendo developer shortly before Disaster's Japanese release. Monolith Soft were also responsible for the Baten Kaitos series on GameCube.

The European status of the game is clear. The game was confirmed by Nintendo of Europe on March 31 in an unusually abrupt press release, revealing that Xenoblade Chronicles would launch later in 2011 with English and Japanese voice-overs and full English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish subtitles. Later on there was a contest on the game's microsite to vote for the alternative cover art for the inside sleeve of the box. The microsite also has the translated Iwata Asks for Xenoblade and the Japanese trailer.

The North American situation, though, is not so straightforward. Suspicion arose when the game disappeared from Nintendo's release list in the annex documents from the investor's financial briefing for fiscal year 2010. On April 26, the documents showed Xenoblade Chronicles with a European release in 2011, but no entry for the game at all in the listing for the United States. This was in contrast to the financial briefing results for the third quarter 2010, where it was listed as Monado: Beginning of the World (Temp) with a TBA release date for the US, and unlisted for Europe. You can check back as far as you like on Nintendo's publicly available investor's releases, all in English, Monado was first listed as a future Wii release for the US since March 2010.

Q3 2010 release schedule

April 2011 release schedule

Come E3, the game was not on the Wii release schedule. The game had already been demonstrated at the London MCM Expo at the end of May 2011. Nintendo of Europe wanted to show the game again at E3, but as Nintendo of America do not display games that they are not going to sell, the game never made an appearance. To us, this was solid confirmation that the game was not coming to North America, despite the lack of official word from NoA.

Monolith Soft's first Wii game met a situation not unlike this one. Disaster: Day of Crisis was localised and released in Europe, but Nintendo of America did not have any interest in releasing the game. NoA president Reggie Fils-Aime in particular has expressed a dislike of the game, calling the audio work "laughable" and saying that basically it is not worth $50. He went on to say that if the game performed very well in Europe, a US release would be considered. Otherwise, there would be no chance. Would a North American release for Xenoblade be contingent on European sales success, or is this a different case?

Disaster had a mixed critical reception following the release in Japan and Europe. Media Create charts show that it sold 14,310 copies in the first week of release. It is difficult to determine European sales, as there is no chart tracking for all countries, but Disaster failed to appear in the UK charts in the weeks following the release date. 

Why do Nintendo of America have no interest in releasing these core games to begin with? That's simple to answer, disappointing sales. It comes purely down to cost, and it's not worth the expense of publishing a game that is not going to sell well, and in terms of Nintendo's first party games, if it's not at least a million seller, it's disappointing. Sales for Metroid: Other M started at a very slow pace and if the audience for core games that are not marketable to the "Wii Sports families" is so small, then it is not profitable enough for these games to be released.

Reports have been posted that Nintendo's customer services have confirmed the game's release. We called them to find out what the situation was, and the representative who answered could only offer, "the game has been announced, but there is no release date listed for the title." While Nintendo's game counsellors are amicable, they only have whatever information is at hand. The announcement referred to could simply be the one made in March 2010. A game release that's in contention is not going to be made official by telling no one but their customer service callers.

If Xenoblade is a runaway success in Europe, then undoubtedly Nintendo of America will have to consider a US release. The same could be said for The Last Story, with a recently confirmed European release, and all of the other games that we are waiting for. It might be that Nintendo will re-evaluate publishing effort for these games to fill gaps in the release schedule now that developers are working on Wii U. After all, they have said exactly the same in regards to DS localisation.

And, while fan petitions have done little in the past for games such as Mother 3, Nintendo might have recognised recent efforts in a tweet promising "more updates to come soon", but this is so vague it could refer to anything.

Each game is different. For Mother 3, maybe it was too much of a translation effort. For Disaster: Day of Crisis, it just wasn't commercially successful enough. Maybe Fatal Frame IV is too violent to be appealing to the masses, and Another Code R was just not interesting enough. Judging by past games, a US release for Xenoblade is unlikely, but maybe this time it will be different.

Images

Talkback

EnnerJune 26, 2011

Great article on detailing the game's release outside of Japan.


Fingers crossed!

Retro DeckadesJune 26, 2011

That tweet is interesting. It could be amazing, or it could be another example of false hope. Hopefully we find out soon.

I'm a little surprised they actually responded on the weekend. I think it's pretty safe to say that the decision makers at least know about the situation.

Are we sure it's not a "OH GOD STOP SPAMMING US IT'S THE GORRAMN WEEKEND I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH THIS" situation right now?

I would expect them to not even be looking at the accounts on the weekend.

I wonder if they have a "new media coordinator." It has become a 24 hour job.

I can't wait to find out that the enthusiastic fans they're referencing were the ones at their StreetPass event.

They do, and I guess they do regularly update on Sundays, but they'd still have to have authorization for a situation like this. They don't really use the accounts to talk with people like some companies. Anyway, this is probably the biggest concerted consumer effort that Nintendo's had to deal with, particularly while being active in social media, so it'll be interesting to see the outcome.

They're probably busy working on thinking about making a decision about whether or not to figure out if Wii U should use two controllers.

DasmosJune 26, 2011

It's times like this I'm actually glad I live in a PAL territory. I think both EU/AUS & US consumers are used to not getting certain Japanese games, but it's amazing to see everyone get their panties in a knot when a game comes out in Europe and not the US.

To be fair, a lot of people had their panties in a knot about the possibility of not getting these games before they were announced for Europe.

DasmosJune 26, 2011

That's true, but now it's almost insufferable.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 26, 2011

Quote:

Another Code R was just not interesting enough.

Yeah?  Well, screw you, buddy!  :( :( :(

Quote from: UncleBob

Quote:

Another Code R was just not interesting enough.

Yeah?  Well, screw you, buddy!  :( :( :(

Yeah, good move. Insult Karlie. She's all-powerful, and could erase you from the history of the forums, but go ahead and pick a fight with her over a game that only you and six other people played.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorJune 26, 2011

It's not my fault NoA refuses to release it and there's only six people in Europe...

4-DJune 26, 2011

http://www.siliconera.com/2011/06/26/nintendo-of-america-take-notice-of-xenoblade-chronicles-fan-campaign/
http://wii.ign.com/articles/117/1179129p1.html


It seems the fans have gotten through  ::)  "United Nintendo Fans Push "Monado" to Amazon's #1 Bestseller
"
“Hey fans, we appreciate your enthusiasm. Look for more updates to come soon!” Nintendo of America @ facebook

ejamerJune 27, 2011

"Each game is different. For Mother 3, maybe it was too much of a translation effort. For Disaster: Day of Crisis, it just wasn't commercially successful enough. Maybe Fatal Frame IV is too violent to be appealing to the masses, and Another Code R was just not interesting enough. Judging by past games, a US release for Xenoblade is unlikely, but maybe this time it will be different."

Like rubbing salt in a wound.  Karlie might be telling the truth, but it still hurts.

Knew I could count on you guys to skip straight to the ending, and skip all of the meticulous research ;)

KDR_11kJune 27, 2011

Fatal Frame 4 was just a buggy, badly playable piece of crap. That's all there is to it. The game sucked.

You Americans are spoiled. Europe gets ONE major game that the US doesn't get and everybody freaks out.

CericJune 27, 2011

Quote from: KDR_11k

Fatal Frame 4 was just a buggy, badly playable piece of crap. That's all there is to it. The game sucked.

You Americans are spoiled. Europe gets ONE major game that the US doesn't get and everybody freaks out.

I'm fairly sure that is a sign of the Apocalypse.  Right their with Australia getting an Excellent Exclusive to that Region game, the non-dominate markets being charged Reasonable, cheaper prices for Nintendo Hardware and games, and NoA's Club Nintendo being fully comparable to Japan's with no excuses or caveats.

Quote from: KDR_11k

Fatal Frame 4 was just a buggy, badly playable piece of crap. That's all there is to it. The game sucked.

You Americans are spoiled. Europe gets ONE major game that the US doesn't get and everybody freaks out.

This isn't about Europe. Americans are upset about not getting the games. The only things the European releases have to do with it are that they remove the cost of localization as a possible factor and that the news of them brings the issue to the forefront, providing a forum for the bitching.

broodwarsJune 27, 2011

Quote from: NWR_insanolord

Quote from: KDR_11k

Fatal Frame 4 was just a buggy, badly playable piece of crap. That's all there is to it. The game sucked.

You Americans are spoiled. Europe gets ONE major game that the US doesn't get and everybody freaks out.

This isn't about Europe. Americans are upset about not getting the games. The only things the European releases have to do with it are that they remove the cost of localization as a possible factor and that the news of them brings the issue to the forefront, providing a forum for the bitching.

That's part of it, but it's also that Nintendo of America has created this huge dearth of new software on the Wii when they have perfectly good 1st party software that's already localized (or being localized) they could release over here but choose not to.  Yes, it's true that I think these games would bomb in North America through Nintendo's usual distribution methods, but NoA needs to bite the bullet and bring them over here anyway just for the sake of future core game sales on the Wii U.  These could even make a profit if NoA were to sell them online on a made-per-order basis.

Instead, Nintendo of America has chosen so far to abandon the Wii outside Skyward Sword and a bunch of B or C-list titles few care about like Kirby or Mario Party.

Retro DeckadesJune 27, 2011

Just came across this:

http://wii.ign.com/articles/117/1179287p1.html

Apparently, the latest Iwata Asks has him sitting down with the scenario writer and game director of Xenoblade.

As far as I can tell, the article has only been posted on NOE's website.

Retro DeckadesJune 27, 2011

Christ, there's also this:

http://wii.ign.com/articles/117/1179120p1.html

Nintendo will apparently be releasing a statement regarding Operation Rainfall.

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