12 Games We Want Localized
Last week Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax was announced for North America on both PlayStation 3 and Vita. Fighting Climax features many popular anime characters and is made by respectable fighting game developer French Bread. This game coming to North America seemed unlikely at first given the licensing, but perhaps it shouldn’t come as such a surprise considering how many games are getting localized now compared to a few years ago. Localization white whale candidates like Final Fantasy Type-0 and Yakuza 5 are coming out this year, but there are still many we don’t know about. I reached out to the Game Informer editors and we made a list of games we'd like to see localized. The spectrum of choices ranges from old to new and while some of these may come out, others likely won’t.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth 2 (Capcom, DS 2011)
What is it? Ace Attorney Investigations 2 once again stars beloved prosecutor Miles Edgeworth and partners Dick Gumshoe and Kay Faraday as they work together to solve the mystery behind an assassination attempt on a president from a foreign country. The general gameplay loop remains the same as you investigate the crime scenes and interview the witnesses. A new “chess logic” system is introduced where you can choose to accuse someone if you believe you have an advantage over them.
Chances of localization – Moderate – The Ace Attorney series seems to have found its home between the Nintendo eShop and the iOS app store. In interviews with Capcom, localization has never been ruled out. While I expect the Great Ace Attorney will come first, an off year for the series could be filled by Ace Attorney Investigations 2. Nintendo has established a precedent of downloadable DS games in Japan with Advance Wars Days of Ruin, so it certainly is possible Investigations 2 could be released on the eShop.
Seiken Densetsu 3 (Square, SNES 1995)
What is it? Seiken Densetsu 3 is the sequel to Secret of Mana and features two-player co-op. The game has three main stories and which one you receive is determined by which of the six characters you choose to play as. You can customize the growth of your character further than Secret of Mana by choosing which stats to level up and by selecting new classes for your characters which provide unique skills and stat growth.
Chances of localization – Very Low – As much as we would like to have Seiken Densetsu 3, Square Enix largely neglects its back catalog that doesn’t relate to Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. It’s a shame considering Seiken Densetsu 3 has the potential to be successful.
Mother 3 (Nintendo, GBA 2006)
What is it? Mother 3 is the sequel to Earthbound on the Super Nintendo and the final game in the Mother series. Mother 3 stars Lucas as he attempts to prevent the Pig Mask Army from destroying the world. The combat system is unique in that damage isn’t inflicted all at once and the ability to attack multiple times is decided by hitting buttons in time with the rhythm of the battle music.
Chances of localization – Low – Despite how much Nintendo fans want an official release of Mother 3, it usually isn’t acknowledged by Nintendo directly – last year’s E3 mention being a surprise exception. While odds are low, it should be mentioned that the Virtual Console release of Earthbound was successful, remaining at the top of the sales charts for months. Plus the Wii U Virtual Console now houses GBA games, improving its chances a bit. A group of professional translators have localized the game as fans, and offered their translation to Nintendo free of charge in 2013, though nothing has come of that as far as we know. Should Nintendo attempt to release Mother 3, it has a platform established and an interested audience.
Metal Wolf Chaos (From Software, Xbox 2004)
What is it? In Metal Wolf Chaos you play as the president of the United States who must use a mech suit kept in the Oval Office to stop a rebellion led by your own vice president. While the menus are in Japanese, all of the dialog is in English already and is hilariously over the top in all the best ways. Surprisingly for a game so ridiculous, the mech-gameplay is competent and features a wide variety of weapons from rockets and machine guns to goofy weapons like deadly fireworks and explosive football launchers.
Chances of localization – Very Low – There is a market for Metal Wolf Chaos’ brand of overly patriotic insanity. Should someone decide to release it, most people would prefer the original voice acting preserved so only the menus would need translating. Unfortunately, companies aren't exactly pursuing the re-release of import console Xbox games and Microsoft (the original publisher) is unlikely interested in reviving Metal Wolf Chaos either.
Valkyria Chonicles 3 (Sega, PSP 2011)
What is it? Valkryia Chronicles 3 marks a return to the more serious style of the first game and follows a penal military unit called The Nameless. Unlike the first two games, the objectives you choose to tackle actually alter the story and ultimately the ending. The main strategic gameplay remains unchanged, but new systems are added such as Special Powers, Battle Potentials, and the ability to change any character’s class.
Chances of localization – Moderate – Valkryia Chronicles 3 is in an interesting position now. On the one hand, the Valkyria Chronicles brand has reentered public conscious after the huge success of the Steam release of the first game. However, Sega just announced it is significantly downsizing and many of their North American employees will lose their jobs by the summer. I don’t think anyone can be sure what Sega’s localization output will be going forward. Additionally, while companies like XSeed are content releasing PSP games digitally in 2015, I’m not sure how interested Sega would be to do the same. Valkyria Chronicles 3 might need to come to a more popular platform than the PSP/Vita before Sega pursues localization.
Up next: Visual novels, horror games, and more...
Terranigma (Quintet, SNES 1995. Published by Nintendo in PAL Regions 1996)
What is it? Terranigma is the third entry in the Soul Blazer Trilogy. The story follows a boy named Ark who must revive humanity and the planet Earth after a climactic battle between God and the Devil destroyed it. Combat is in real time and features an interesting magic system centered on one-time use magic items that you can craft.
Chances of localization – Very Low – Terranigma is in a unique position in that a English version does already exist. The Wii U Virtual Console doesn't have an imports section, but on the 3DS import games aren’t sequestered away as they used to be on the Wii. Given that two publishers would have to be involved (Square Enix and Nintendo) and that even Illusion of Gaia (the most popular of the trilogy) hasn’t been released on Virtual Console, it seems like Terranigma isn’t going to be a high priority anytime soon.
Kururin Squash (Nintendo, Gamecube 2004)
What is it? In Kururin Squash you control a constantly rotating propeller to navigate increasingly complicated obstacle courses. Crashing into objects or walls damages your craft so you have to be careful. The GameCube edition features power-ups for your craft, two campaigns, and various multiplayer modes.
Chances of localization – Very Low – Kururin Squash isn’t on many people’s radars and the Wii U currently does not natively support GameCube games. The series seems to have concluded with the release of the GameCube edition, so it doesn’t have any momentum right now. The recently released Roundabout, which acknowledges Kururin as an inspiration, is about the closest we’ll likely get.
Fatal Frame V (Koei Tecmo, Wii U 2014)
What is it? The fifth installment of the Fatal Frame series focuses on people’s fear of wet and damp places. It takes place in a large mountainous environment filled with lakes, graveyards, and haunted Japanese buildings. The Wii U Gamepad functions as a camera to reveal things you can’t see normally and as a weapon against angry ghosts.
Chances of localization – Moderate – Nintendo isn’t in much of a position to not release Wii U games and just because a localization hasn’t been announced yet doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Nintendo could align the release with the Hollywood film or closer to Halloween to increase sales.
Visual Novels - Fate/Stay Night, Little Busters!, and Chaos;Head
What is it? Visual Novels often stretch the definition of a video game because a majority of visual novels just ask you to read and make dialogue choices. Regardless, there are a handful we would like to see come west. Fate/Stay Night follows a young man who, against his will, is brought into the Holy Grail War where mages and heroes across history battle for the wish granting chalice. Little Busters! follows a group of friends who play baseball together and work together to overcome their personal traumas. Finally Chaos;Head is the first entry in their science adventure series and follows an unreliable protagonist caught up in a grisly murder mystery.
Chances of localization – High – Visual novels are getting official translations more often these days so all three have a good chance of coming eventually. Fate/Stay Night is considered one of the classic visual novels and has a wide audience established due to the popular anime adaptations of Fate/Zero and Unlimited Blade Works by Ufotable so someone will probably tackle it eventually. Sekai Project has been working hard on their translation of Clannad after their very successful kickstarter and will be pursuing more Key visual novels in the future so Little Busters! could be translated down the line by them. Finally, last year saw the official PC release of Steins;Gate (coming this year on PS3 and Vita) so Chaos;Head is likely going to be pursued by JAST USA.
Danganronpa Another Episode (Spike Chunsoft, Vita 2014)
What is it? Danganronpa Another Episode is a departure from the main Danganronpa games. Instead of the genre being an Ace Attorney-style murder mystery visual novel, it’s a third-person shooter with horror elements. The game stars Komaru Naegi, the younger sister of Makoto Naegi, who has been isolated from the outside world for half a year. You need to destroy the armies of Monokuma robots by teaming up with a returning character.
Chances of localization – High – Another Episode changes the genre of Danganronpa, but most people will want to follow the story regardless. Both Danganronpa games were very well received last year, so Danganronpa Another Episode being localized seems like an inevitability.