Dubbed the black sheep of the Rainfall titles, Pandora’s Tower may very well be the last big release on the Wii. The company making the game, Ganbarion, doesn’t have the pedigree of Monolithsoft or Mistwalker, didn’t have stellar sales like Xenoblade and The Last Story, and critical reception was pretty average. However its premise and association with Operation Rainfall might make it a cult hit.
The story follows a girl, Elena, who has been cursed and is slowly turning into a monster. A soldier for the kingdom Athos, Aeron, takes Elena away from the festival they were in so that the townsfolk don’t kill her. In the trailer, we hear what Aeron has to do to lift the curse from Elena. We also get a glimpse of the relationship focus the game has with Elena questioning Aeron’s acceptance and love for her.
Pandora’s Tower was originally set to release on March 26th. However, according to Amazon, it’s been delayed to some time between April 22nd-April 26th. A pretty far delay, but makes sense considering what’sgettingreleased this month. It hurts a bit, but a wise move nonetheless.
Just when you thought all hope was lost for Pandora’s Tower after the release of the Wii U, XSEED comes in to save the day. Previously, XSEED brought over The Last Story. Pandora’s Tower is an action RPG with heavy puzzle elements. The story follows a woman named Elena who, during a festival, succumbs to a curse that slowly starts turning her into a monster. Aeron, Elena’s love interest, takes her away to avoid being killed by the town guards. Mavda, a witch, takes them to a place called The Scar, with contains different towers attached by large chains. It’s here where they are toled that Elena must eat the hearts of the monsters Aeron kills to keep the transformation at bay. And yes, you see her eat the hearts, which rest assured look none too appetizing.
Pandora’s Tower is the third and final game left in the Operation Rainfall campaign to bring Nintendo’s JRPGs stateside. Of the three titles (the other two being Xenoblade and The Last Story), Pandora’s Tower was the black sheep of the bunch, receiving Average reviews and selling the least worldwide. Not having the acclaim of the the other two, begging for a U.S. release of this one looked hopeless. Even OpRainfall was caught by surprise. With the release of the Wii U, Nintendo had pretty much stopped support of the original Wii, making a U.S. release of this game even less likely. And now? Well what can I say? XSEED gained a whole boatload of respect from JRPG fans. And OpRainfall? Mission Accomplished.
Despite the somewhat shaky launch of The Last Story, XSEED sent out a press release celebrating the game as their most successful title ever. This prompted XSEED to go ahead to the production of a second printing of the game without the artbook in it and sell it for $30. Even better, the launch copies of the game (the ones with the artbook) that might still out there will now sell for $40. So if you haven’t bought the game yet, now’s a good time to get it, and you might even be lucky if you find those launch copies. Also, to all you Wii U owners out there. The game might like better if you have an HDMI cable. While the Wii U doesn’t upscale Wii games, its passing via HDMI might be somewhat beneficial and make things look less like an .mpeg on an HDTV.
Hopefully Nintendo’s seeing this. While a success for XSEED might not have the same definition for Nintendo, they don’t have to put their expectations so damn high to the point that it’ll be unattainable. And you don’t have to spend a crapton on marketing. So Nintendo, especially NoA, don’t be so damn stingy with the games in Japan.
The launch of the Wii U is almost upon us. Since its reveal, the latest Nintendo console has garnered the most skepticism since the reveal of the original Xbox. Almost every facet of this console has been monitored by both press and fans alike. “What’s the CPU?” “What’s the tablet gonna be like?” “Are the games gonna suck again?” Now, it’s our turn. What do we hope Nintendo does with the Wii U? What games, features and tablet controls do we want to see? Hit the jump to see what we speaketh.
Yesterday I got dressed and was ready to haul ass to Gamestop in the Hub of South Bronx to pick up The Last Story. I called the Gamestop to make sure it was there. As soon as I asked the question, I was immediately responded with “It should be here tomorrow.” And I mean he immediately answered me, like he was asked that already by someone else. Considering how pompous I feel, being a gamer of such refined taste as I in a neighborhood such as this, I thought I was the only one in the neighborhood to preorder the game. I mean, I was the only one that preordered Xenoblade here and I had to make a second trip some days later for the artbook. I also preordered The Last Story that first day too. Certainly I deduced that I was remembered.
But I digress. I equated this to Gamestop being up to their old shenanigans again. But just out of curiosity I checked to see if other gamers were having this issue. And lo and behold, I wasn’t the only one. In fact, this was affecting many Gamestops and other stores in the U.S. Confirmation of shipping delays came straight from XSEED’s Twitter. Even Canada was having issues. So if you didn’t get The Last Story yesterday, check today. But do call ahead to make sure. Looks like Gamestop’s off the hook… for now.
I want to cry. So… so much. While Nintendo of Europe has shown how awesome they are by being the bigger man by localizing the three games and giving them awesome collectors editions, they went one step further and created this. Exclusive to HMV, the box came with an artbook depicting concept art for all three games and left extra room to store your three games, Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower. Note that the box does not come with the actual games themselves, nor is this the Limited Edition box for Pandora’s Tower (it has its own LE).
You got this if you pre-ordered any version of Pandora’s Tower. Prota tipped me on this during a Spring Break hangout at the ol’ campus. I couldn’t believe it. Then he showed me it on Facebook. My jaw dropped into the pits of Tartarus. For a while, both links lead to missing pages on HMV. But the Limited Edition on has since returned (though whether or not you get the box with the game is still a mystery). While I thought that image you see up there was fake, this video proves that it does exists and that NoE are the kings of trolling the hell out of us American gamers. But hey, if you got the disposable income to get the box somehow, you can still put your NTSC games in there. I probably would.
I wondered about this since the beginning of March if people would be able to buy Xenoblade without having to Preorder. I already preordered the game, but I’m just curious since since Nintendo’s lack of faith in the game selling made it seem like one of those preorder exclusive deals. Thankfully GoNintendo had the answer, and the official word from Nintendo is that they “…can confirm the Xenoblade Chronicles will be available exclusively for purchase through U.S. Gamestop retail locations…Nintendo never stated that it will only be available to those who preorder it.” So going by their word, you don’t necessarily need to preorder to score a copy of the game. But then again, it’s best to preorder anyways to make the numbers look good ahead of time.
Now The Last Story, that’s a different… err story. While you can probably get away with not pre-ordering Xenoblade and pick up on-the-spot, XSEED will be practicing the Niche Publisher Limited Run scheme that has been successful so far for publishers like NIS America, Atlus, and XSEED themselves. In other words, The Last Story will have a limited run in the U.S. and XSEED will print copies close to the number of pre-orders that they get. So if you want to score yourself a copy of The Last Story, you’re better off preordering. Thankfully the game will be stocked “at any retailer that wishes to stock it.” So if you hate Gamestop, you can get it at another store, like Game Champ!
In a Nintendo Direct video posted this morning, Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed that The Last Story would be coming to North America sometime this year. Interestingly, XSEED Games will be publishing this title (after reports said that Nintendo didn’t want another publisher handling it). No word yet if XSEED will be using the build created for Europe or if they’ll be using American voice actors.[Update] According to Operation Rainfall (via the XSEED Forums), The NA localization will be based on the European version. So I guess this is another score for the Rainfall guys. There’s still one title left, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re good for now.
Reggie also revealed the winning art that will be used in the inlay of Xenoblade Chronicles if anyone’s interested. Maybe there will be one for The Last Story as well.
And finally there’s a trailer for Mistwalker’s The Last Story with English voices. Since the primary market for the PAL release is European (obviously), the voices here are British, just like Xenoblade. Of course I have no problem with it, at all. And they seem to fit even more too, especially for the Lowell character (uh, no offense), even though we don’t hear his voice. Regardless, The Last Story is scheduled for release in Europe on February 24, with Australia getting it a day before. And remember, Xenoblade graces our shores on April 6th.
In the midst of all the celebration of Xenoblade’s U.S. release confirmation, Nintendo has set February 24, 2012 as Europe’s release date for The Last Story. Hironobu Sakaguchi and his company Mistwalker are the makers of this game. The last major games they made were Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon, both Xbox 360 releases. The Last Story was release in Japan in late January of this year. No word yet on if The Last Story while join Xenoblade in coming out in the U.S., but I’m assuming Nintendo of America is going to see how this game performs in Europe before taking any action on it.
I Stand On My Soapbox is a series of editorials that cover more specific topics in the games industry and community. These articles are a little more extreme than normal editorials published here, and could just degenerate to outright ranting. Have fun and enjoy the show!
Over the weekend, the Wii community, and JRPGs as a whole, have been celebrating the confirmation of Xenoblade finally making it to the U.S. I’ve been listening to the music all weekend and have added some songs to my daily playlist. I’ve seen the trailer a lot, saw some gameplay footage, and watched a couple of early cutscenes in the game. I’m ready to preorder this baby this week (even though I really hate Gamestop, it’s my only choice. And no I have no means to pre-order from Nintendo). But in the back of my mind, I fear that this game may not sell well in the U.S. But this time, it cannot happen. It mustn’t happen! Continue reading →
Well guys, it finally happened. Xenoblade will finally be hitting the U.S. next year under the title Xenoblade Chronicles. This comes to us via a report from IGN in which an image from an anonymous Gamestop employee was shown to have Xenoblade in the release schedule. Soon afterward, images of Xenoblade Chronicles popped up on on Nintendo’s Facebook page. At 10:10AM PST, Nintendo posted on their Facebook page:
“It’s confirmed! Next year, Wii players throughout North America can wield the Monado blade and join the epic battle between the Homs and the Mechons in Xenoblade Chronicles. Like this post if you’re ready for an adventure on the surface of two frozen Titans!”
There are some out there that may feel a little manipulated out there after begging, pleading, and potentially boycotting all Nintendo products, and they have a right to be a little disappointed that Nintendo would dangle the carrot in front of gamers like that. But I think it’s time to put the pride aside and just be happy that we’re getting the damned game. The critically acclaimed game is set for release in April 2012.
This is in regards to his latest game The Last Story. IGN user “topsekret” posted a thread on the message boards talking about him having a backstage pass to the Distant Worlds concert in UCLA. Upon the shows conclusion, he met up with Nobuo Uematsu and Hironobu Sakaguchi, the composer and producer (respectively) of Final Fantasy and The Last Story. In his second paragraph, topsekret explains how he may have gotten the supposed answer we’ve been waiting to hear.
“During the signing I told Sakaguchi that I was really looking forward to The Last Story, but that unfortunately, it hasn’t yet been announced for a release in America. Sakaguchi hesitated for a second as if thinking to himself and turned to Uematsu and they said a few things in Japanese (I did hear him say “Last Story”). He then turned back to me and said ‘it will come out.'”
Normally, I would discredit something like this since this is coming from a message board. But then again, how do you think Operation Rainfall started? Still, take this news with a grain of salt. Even topsekret thought that Sakaguchi probably misunderstood him. But we shall see.
This is part of the second campaign they have prepared in trying to convince Nintendo to bring over Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower. As mentioned almost two weeks ago, Operation Rainfall was going to ready another mailing campaign in which they’ll send letters to Nintendo again the day Xenoblade is released in Europe. Since then, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said that they’ll “be watching very closely what happens in Europe… Certainly if there are business opportunities and positive consumer uptake from some of those titles, that will be great data for us to consider as we look at what to do with these titles.” It somewhat falls in line with what Operation Rainfall wanted to do in their second phase in regards to increasing awareness of Xenoblade in Europe to make it a success.
So what of Final Fantasy? Well, Operation Rainfall is telling its supporters to go and buy the original Final Fantasy on the Wii Virtual Console, which costs 500 Wii Points. This is to show Nintendo that there is still a market for JRPGs. I can see their logic in telling its supporters to buy Final Fantasy as it’s one of the most well known J-RPGs out there. However, the one main flaw I see in that is that Final Fantasy, as a franchise, is pretty popular based on brand recognition alone and is not very niche like the Rainfall titles. Plus, the first Final Fantasy has been on so many platforms already, people are bound to already have it on one of them (I have it on PS1). In a sense, Final Fantasy has that somewhat Mario-like transcendence of genre to the point that those who don’t normally play JRPGs still play Final Fantasy (either that or they have no idea that Final Fantasy is a JRPG). A better idea would’ve been to tell supporters to buy a JRPG from the Virtual console rather than a specific one. Maybe compile a list of what is considered a JRPG, like Breath of Fire II or Ys Book 1 & 2 for example, and let supporters choose. Now it may be problematic as numbers would be sporadic amongst many titles rather than it being condensed into one title, thus having those sales be attributed to regular run-of-the-mill sales. If they really needed to choose one title, Final Fantasy wasn’t the answer.
Fan movement Operation Rainfall has completed their initial three mailing campaign, which targeted Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower for NTSC localization. The last expected day that Nintendo would have received their letter was on July 27 (the campaign for Pandora’s Tower). Since then, Nintendo has released their release calendar(,pdf, pg 6) for the rest of the year, and still none of the above mentioned games were found on that list. To make matters worse, Nintendo has reported a massive financial loss in the last fiscal year due in part to poor sales of the 3DS and Wii (plus the massive drought occurring on the Wii). This might make the localizing of the Rainfall titles even more of a risk as now Nintendo is going to play in the safest of ways possible. Maybe that huge price cut on the 3DS might turn the tables, but for now, things are looking very gloomy.