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?