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Wii

Operation Rainfall: Why Nintendo Should Support the Developers

by Pedro Hernandez - July 24, 2011, 4:45 pm PDT
Total comments: 10

Pedro looks back at the importance of the development houses in charge of these highly wanted games.

At last year's E3, when the 3DS was revealed for the first time, Nintendo presented the audience a video featuring all of the most prolific and important developers, all singing the praises of the 3DS’s technology. This year, Nintendo did the same thing with the Wii U. The message is clear: Nintendo wants second and third-party support. Time and time again they have mentioned how they want to create a stronger bond between them and the developers, all in hopes that this generates exclusive content for their systems. And yet, just recently, Nintendo said that they had no plans on releasing Pandora’s Tower, Xenoblade and The Last Story in North America.

This raises an interesting question: If Nintendo truly does care about second and third party developers, why are they denying North American gamers the chance to experience these Wii RPGs? Isn’t this sending mixed signals to the industry and companies as a whole?

These Wii RPGs are not made by some random, inexperienced studios that got lucky and made a game for the Wii. They feature some very important people, designers who spent a lot of hard work creating game Wii gamers, and ONLY Wii gamers could enjoy.

Let’s take a look at Pandora’s Tower. The title was developed by Ganbarion, best known for the popular DS fighter Jump Super Stars and its sequel Jump Ultimate Stars. They have also done work on many One Piece games.

Xenoblade was created by Monolith Software, a company founded by ex-Square Enix employee Hirohide Sugiura. Currently, they are a Nintendo first-party developer, since the development of Disaster: Day of Crisis, another title that never crossed the seas to America. The company’s biggest achievement to date is the Xenosaga series of RPGs, a sci-fi role playing game with a strong focus on story and character development.

Finally, we have The Last Story. The title was developed by Mistwalker, a company headed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, known for creating one of the most important RPG series after Dragon Quest: Final Fantasy.

So as you can see, these three RPGs are being worked on by some talented, creative and even beloved people. While they could have chosen the PS3 or the Xbox 360 as their platform, they decided to give the Wii its own RPG games. And Nintendo is throwing that opportunity away.

What am I getting at with this? If Nintendo is supposedly so intent on pleasing second and third party developers and convincing them to develop exclusively for their systems, why at the same time are denying Ganbarion, Monolith Software and Mistwalker the chance of having their games released internationally? Far more obscures games from lesser known companies have made it stateside and with a healthy degree of success; why are these Wii RPGs the exception?

Nintendo could even sell these games using the company’s rich history. For Xenoblade, they could advertise, “From the creators of the critically acclaimed Xenosaga franchise”, and for Last Story, they could say “The man behind the iconic RPG series, Final Fantasy, brings us a Wii EXCLUSIVE RPG like no other, The Last Story”.

Even if the games don’t sell as well as expected, this would show that Nintendo cares and appreciates the games being released on their system, and shows to companies that they understand the legacy these companies have, and to have their games featured on their systems is an honor. Not only that, it would give the Wii a much needed boost in its line-up, which is looking rather grim outside of Skyward Sword and Kirby.

Between an image that appeals mostly to casual gamers and families, as well as underpowered technology, Nintendo has been struggling to bring back third parties to their side. It seems that they realize this and have done everything to change this reality. But their decision to keep the Wii RPGs away from North American gamers is a contradictory decision. I get that there is a lot of money involved in this, but Nintendo can easily afford to take some chances, if it means that in the end, Nintendo gets the content they so desire.

Nintendo wins. Third parties win. Gamers win. Why does Nintendo have to make it so complicated?

Talkback

EnnerJuly 24, 2011

I expect there might be some gripes with the omission of Rhythm Heaven for Wii.


Looking back on Nintendo history, the company PR line(s) say a lot of rosy things but do different things. One thing that comes to mind is "The Third Pillar." I think we've been hearing promises from Nintendo that they will court the third parties since the Nintendo Gamecube. So far, not much has come of it. The Game Boy Advance and DS had no shortage of cool third party stuff, but I think that came from being the dominant portable console.


All I can do is hope that Nintendo breaks open the war chest a little bit and throw some money bags around to have more nice things for its systems even if the best outcome is a modest success.

But Rhythm Heaven is coming (very thankfully!). I have a feeling that Rhythm Heaven is Iwata's baby, and we wouldn't be getting it otherwise. I don't think the DS version sold particularly well, despite Iwata trying to jumpstart its introduction by highlighting it at GDC.

GewJuly 25, 2011

Can we reasonably assume that those of us in the NA market can expect the same attitude to prevail regarding JRPGs on the Wii-U?  :P:

Ian SaneJuly 25, 2011

Nintendo routinely screws up stuff that nobody else would ever screw up.  It's usually something you can't imagine HOW one could screw it up due to how obvious the correct approach is.  That's just how they are.

So you're saying "well Nintendo you say you want to do this but you're doing something that gives off the exact opposite vibe."  This isn't Nintendo being hypocrites.  They just don't get it.  If they knew this would piss of the core gamers they're trying to win back, they never would have done the things to lose the core gamers in the first place.  If they knew this would turn off other developers, they never would have lost those developers in the first place.  The whole problem Nintendo has created for themselves was completely avoidable.  You have to be so clueless to fall in the pit in the first place that there is no way you would know how to get out.

NinSageJuly 25, 2011

*sigh* ...

As an active member of Operation Rainfall (proof) I understand and support the spirit of this editorial.  However, it contains two key and crucial flaws ...

1. Nintendo IS releasing these games! Almost everywhere!  Thus Nintendo is making good with their third party promises.  Nintendo of America.

That's a foolish mistake that waaaaay too many "journalists" are making.

2. Nintendo wants developers to stop giving them "Dead Space spin-off rail-shooter" and start giving them "Dead Space ground-up developed for Wii and awesome like RE4"  before they really need to be focused on three niche JRPGs in an era where JRPGs are out of fashion.

broodwarsJuly 25, 2011

Quote from: NinSage

*sigh* ...

As an active member of Operation Rainfall (proof) I understand and support the spirit of this editorial.  However, it contains two key and crucial flaws ...

1. Nintendo IS releasing these games! Almost everywhere!  Thus Nintendo is making good with their third party promises.  Nintendo of America.

That's a foolish mistake that waaaaay too many "journalists" are making.

Here's the thing, though: Nintendo of Japan could rectify this issue in one easy step.  All Iwata has to do is call Reggie, tell him that he is going to release these games in North America whether he likes it or not, and the matter is settled.  That Nintendo corporate hasn't done so to me supports the premise of this topic.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterJuly 25, 2011

From what I read and heard, Nintendo has total control over all worldwide releases, so if they say that X game is getting in Japan and Europe and not North America, too bad, that's the law. This may have to do with the fact that Japanese companies are notorious for being strict and loyal to their beliefs. It's not like other companies where they compromise if it means the good for the company and more profit. In Japan (that I know of, of course. Someone feel free to correct me) it is all about the ideals of the company, lots of pride, therefore causing the company more harm.


This is what happening to Nintendo. They are doing things the way THEY see fit, hence why it is affecting them in the eyes of other companies.


At least that's how I see it.

Ian SaneJuly 25, 2011

If you correct a mistake it reveals that a mistake was made in the first place.  Another similar scenario is that if you use someone else's idea it reveals that someone else came up with a better idea than you did.  It's better to fail while stroking your ego than to succeed through humility.  I see that with tons of corporations and not just Japanese ones.  Hell, I see that all the time with individual people.  Surely you've met someone like that.  Well those people can end up running big corporations.

NinSageJuly 25, 2011

Yea, that can happen... but obviously that doesn't mean it always will.  Otherwise there would be no need for NoAnything, SCEAnything, etc..

CericJuly 26, 2011

Quote from: Ian

If you correct a mistake it reveals that a mistake was made in the first place.  Another similar scenario is that if you use someone else's idea it reveals that someone else came up with a better idea than you did.  It's better to fail while stroking your ego than to succeed through humility.  I see that with tons of corporations and not just Japanese ones.  Hell, I see that all the time with individual people.  Surely you've met someone like that.  Well those people can end up running big corporations.

  Yeah, I can think of a few that affect my life more than they should.

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