In the realm of RPGs, we see a ton of unique and strange ideas that never leave Japan for whatever reason. Truth be told, localization is a risky gamble, and it's not always a risk companies seem keen on taking, especially considering how fragile the economy is at the moment. While I respect companies for playing it safe considering their financial woes, I cannot help but wonder what kinds of possibilities could be found if people were willing to take a chance and see if it pays off.
It's no wonder that Nintendo of America hesitated for so long before announcing Xenoblade, a game held by those who imported it as being one of the best JRPGs of this era. Of course they wanted to see where the reaction would go. It's hard for the company to see a possible success outside the safe bet of things like Mario and Zelda, which is a crying shame. Then again, Nintendo is not a company of risk takers, and it hasn't shown this type of spirit for a very long time.
I openly admit my dislike of both Mario and Zelda franchises as neither have done a thing for me since the SNES days, but when I saw the screenshots for Xenoblade, it piqued my interest in a way that the majority of Wii games have yet to do. There's something about having a big open world to play in, something we don't often see in Nintendo titles. Watching Nintendo Europe announce so many promising Wii titles showed me that it was willing to take chances — to show RPGamers that it was willing to heed their calls.
Last week, XSEED Games became the savior of many gamers when it announced The Last Story, and once again Nintendo of America was shut out as being the bad guy. However, it's hard to love a company when it isn't willing to show an interest in things beyond what is known to sell. How can people adore a company whose driving force is nostalgia? What if your passion isn't Mario or Zelda? What if it's an old school Final Fantasy throwback? Sometimes I feel like Nintendo of America thinks it knows what gamers want, but the reality is that it's been so out of touch that its old fans may feel they no longer matter as consumers.
This year, I hope to see more risks taken on the localization front. It's an achievement to see companies like Aksys and XSEED taking chances and having them pay off, even when they realize how risky the gamble may be. When I see projects like Corpse Party and Hakuoki: Demon Of The Fleeting Blossom, I'm overjoyed by the possibility inherent in things that manage to get localized, so why can't I see it more from my favourite genre? Why are we so afraid of taking chances when there's so much potential to harness? It's time to feel positive about RPGs again, and if companies like Nintendo of America are refusing to take the reigns and make its presence felt, than it's up to the little guy to stand tall and show us what kind of possibilities the big guys may be missing out on.