Hi Japan, it’s me, Xeawn. How ya doin’ over there guys? Good? Good. Cool. Listen, it’s been a while since we’ve talked, ya know, because I’ve been trying to go easy on your gaming scene. It’s no secret how I feel about a lot of your games and xenophobic slights against the American gaming scene, but, I try to play nice, ya know? I’m nice like that.
It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the creepy moe/loli thing that’s really big in games and anime now. I didn’t even write articles about the two new Hyper Dimension Neptunia games, I haven’t brought up Ar Tonelico Quoga, I mean, by and large I’ve been pretty civil.
Despite the fact that every major studio is making crazy xenophobic statements except for pretty much Harada’s Tekken Team, I’ve let it go. Capcom blames America for Resident Evil being an action game, Team Ninja blames America for Ninja Gaiden 3 being abysmal, Namco Bandai blames America for Tales Of not performing well, Level 5 blames America for lackluster Layton sales, and you know what? I haven’t talked about that in a loooong time.
And, not all of you guys are making dreadful design and marketing mistakes and then blaming us for it. Keiji Inafune as well as the guys over at Game Arts are real quick to say that Japanese studios are producing a lot of lackluster games, or else are releasing stellar titles with zero marketing and then blaming America when they perform poorly. Inafune-sama, you’re awesome. You’re my hero. You know, aside from how creepy Soul Sacrifice is.
There’s also Grasshopper. Suda 51, Shinji Mikami and Akira Yamoaka are consistently amazing; I really have nothing bad to say to any of them aside from Platinum, what’s your beef with Christianity?
But I digress.
Tecmo Koei, Marvelous, Vanilla, Team Ninja, I’ve brought you all here today to discuss 2013. Japanese studios consistently say that games perform terribly in America, and pull out comments like “Americans don’t understand Japanese games”, “Our game failed because we tried to Americanize it”, “American’s have no interest in horror/RPG’s/adventure/whatever genre my game was that I made really poorly and or didn’t market”, or “We just didn’t hit satisfying numbers in the west”.
There are some games coming out for the Vita, a system that Japanese companies refuse to support despite Sony bending over backwards to show that they’re not the mean old man up on the hill that they used to be, that I am eagerly awaiting in America. Now, this public image turn around would be much easier if they would JUST FIRE JOHN KOLLER, but, I digress…
By and large right now I see the Vita as the handheld for Americans, which sort of concerns me because Call of Duty was handed to the worst possible developer for the Vita edition, and…well, it looks like “Generic military shooter I played on my PS1” rather than “CAAAAAAAALL OOOOOOF DUTYYYYY!!!!!”
To digress again real quick; if you’ve migrated here from the old website or you know me in person, you know I’m not woefully fond of military shooters. They’re generally well designed and great pieces of fantasy that like to masquerade as reality to make sales off of patriotism and the primal urge to shoot and or blow up things, but they’re just not for me. Shooters aren’t exactly my favorite genre, though I’m competent at most and in Halo I am Annie freaking Oakley with a pistol.
With that said, while I don’t particularly like Call of Duty (I’m a Gears of War man myself), I respect it. I respect its gorgeous graphics, testosterone filled fantasies, and complete and total detachment from realism while somehow convincing people that it’s a realistic shooter (I cannot think of a single human being who can run into a room by himself, slow down time like his name was Point Man, and shoot twelve guys that have assault rifles while being armed with nothing more than a pistol and true grit).
Looking at Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified, I do not see a game that I’m not fond of but will respect. I see an absolute mess from a developer that made an absolute mess of an already pretty messy series (Nihilistic; Resistance).
But, yes, from Uncharted to Call of Duty to Assassin’s Creed to Wipeout to Unit 13 (which is not…completely awful), to Ninja Gaiden (which sort of is in this port) to Silent Hill to Little Big Planet to Sound Shapes to Rayman and so on and so forth, it’s pretty much our lovely little action/shooting/racing/adventure system.
Japanese developers: Sony came through on their end and made the system exactly how everyone asked them too. Can you all let go of your beef long enough to support the darn thing?
And look, Tokyo Game Show is only like, ¾ of a day in and y’all are doin’ pretty darn well! We’ve got God Eater 2, Valhalla Knights 3, Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2+, Toukiden, Muramasa, and yes, for those of you who are into that sort of thing there’s Senran Kagura.
Now, discussing things with my sometimes rival and all the times partner in crime CainKarl, a big concern I have is the ridiculously unrealistic expectations the Japanese studios have of the system. Sega, to use an example, is ticked off that in one week the new Hatsune Miku for the Vita didn’t sell as well as the Miku that was the third game in the series on the PSP.
To reiterate, the Vita has not been out for a full year yet, and Project Diva F is the first game in the series on that console. The PSP had been out for two years when Extend, the third Miku game released. Somehow Sega is upset that in one week, Diva F didn’t top the year to date sales of Diva Extend on the PSP…and…this is somehow Sony’s fault? And worthy of you throwing a hissy fit and saying that you don’t think you’ll make any more Miku games? Real talk: that’s just foolishness.
But, even THAT isn’t what I’ve gathered you here today to talk about. What we’re here to discuss is the xenophobic excuses you make to not to release games in the west.
Now, Namco Bandai, sure, in the past because of policies that are…inane at best…and a myriad of words that I’m too nice to say, yes, lots of Tales games that we could have gotten were blocked due to that policy of “no direct ports in America”. BUT, you can’t just blame America for that. What about the five Tales games for the DS that you refused to bring over, hmm? I don’t know if it’s directly Baba’s fault, but when you go “I would love for you to play Hearts, it is the greatest game in the series and everyone in America should play it! By the way there are zero plans to bring this game to America. Maybe if Graces sells well we’ll bring a different game that isn’t Hearts over” it sorta makes you look like that cheerleader who flirts with you then goes to play kissy face with the football captain while you do her homework.
So yeah, Namco Bandai specifically, I’m still waiting on my Innocence R for Vita, but to stop digressing and finish this up: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2+, Toukiden, Valhalla Knights 3, Muramasa, God Eater 2, I want them. We all want them. And Japan will try to tell you there is no market and we don’t buy them and they bombed/will bomb compared to Japan.
I’m here to tell you that Japanese studios are lying to you through their teeth.
Let me drop a little math on ya:
Valhalla Knights overall series sales in America: 340,000
Valhalla Knights overall series sales in Japan: 240,000
Valhalla Knights 1 sales in America: 150,000 (not
Valhalla Knights 1 sales in Japan: 70,000 (not counting
Valhalla Knights 2 sales in America: 90,000 (not
Valhalla Knights 2 sales in Japan: 120,000 (not counting…you get the point)
Valhalla Knights Eldar Saga sales in America: 90,000
Valhalla Knights Eldar Saga sales in Japan: 10,000
Figures for Valhalla Knights 2: Battle Stance are not provided as that game only had a digital release in America, and the PSN/SEN doesn’t release those figures.
Oboro Muramasa, or Muramasa the Demon Blade figures in America: 290,000
Oboro Muramasa, or Muramasa the Demon Blade figures in Japan: 110,000
Tales of Graces F figures in America: 220,000 (Baba at first said they were terrible, then later said it was his fault for stealth releasing the game and not promoting it at all)
Tales of Graces F figures in Japan: 390,000 (really…not that great)
Gods Eater Burst figures in America: 30,000 (which is not great, but again, stealth release, no marketing, and the majority of sales were recorded to be on the PSN/SEN)
Gods Eater Burst figures in Japan: 550,000
Now, you’ll notice that I skipped Ninja Gaiden. That is because literally every Ninja Gaiden game that exists has come to America, so, I’m not worried. You’ll also notice that I skipped Toukiden. That’s because it’s an ikkitoussen (Warrior Worth a Thousand) game, and we’ve gotten all of those save for Saint Saiya and Strikeforce 2 in America.
You’ll also notice that I skipped Senran Kagura…honestly, I don’t think the gripping story and deeply moving character development are why you’re playing that game, so…yeah…the language barrier isn’t really an issue here…
The point is, God Eater aside we’ve consistently bought far more of each game than Japan. Don’t even get me started on how many more Mega Man games we buy…
The main problem is, for Japan the studios project a few hundred thousand to be a success, and for America they project a few hundred million. The reason they tell you is because there’s more Americans than Japanese so they expect us to buy more…but, is that really the truth? Let’s hop into my handy little time machine here and look at the way sales figures used to be in Japan and America for some of the top games, and how they’ve changed over time.
SNES Chrono Trigger sales in America: 280,000
SNES Chrono Trigger sales in Japan: 2,020,000
SNES Secret of Mana sales in America: 250,000
SNES Secret of Mana sales in Japan: 1,490,000
SNES Mega Man X sales in America: 50,000
SNES Mega Man X sales in Japan: 50,000
Tales of Eternia PS1 sales in America: 60,000
Tales of Eternia PS1 sales in Japan: 660,000
Now let’s move forward a bit.
Mega Man X4 America: 450,000
Mega Man X4 Japan: 220,000
Mega Man X5 America: 300,000
Mega Man X5 Japan: 200,000
Mega Man X6 America: 140,000
Mega Man X6 Japan: 160,000
Mega Man Legends America: 390,000
Mega Man Legends Japan: 120,000
Wanna see something really freaky?
Final Fantasy XIII combined platform sales in the US: 2,640,000
Final Fantasy XIII combined platform sales in Japan: 1,880,000
But I thought we didn’t like RPG games…or Mega Man…what about
Silent Hill combined sales in America: 3,650,000
Silent Hill combined sales in Japan: less than a million
Siren combined sales in America: 300,000 (and we didn’t even get two of the games!)
Siren combined sales in Japan: 180,000
But we don’t like horror games…
Also, did you notice how the games have consistently done worse and worse over the years in Japan until their numbers dwindled into next to nothing, yet they have stayed pretty bloody consistent or better in America? So…in truth…what’s really happened is…
The gaming market in Japan has tanked, but rather than blaming their own consumers, the developers are saying it’s America’s fault….when…in actuality what they mean is that…
Japanese gamers hate Japanese games, American gamers like Japanese games a lot, and Japanese studios are pissed off that American’s aren’t picking up the slack, so they’re making xenophobic slights at American gamers and holding Japanese games hostage, in Japan, where no one is buying them, to try to make us feel bad and buy a lot of them, to make up for the fact that Japanese gamers, hate and are not buying Japanese games…
Oh, one more game before I go:
Catherine combined sales in America: 340,000
Catherine combined sales in Japan: 230,000
I’m just sayin…