The Aftermath of Operation Rainfall

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Now that Last Story is out, we can safely all rest easy that at least two thirds of gamers’ Operation Rainfall†petition became reality. Weíre still waiting on Pandoraís Tower, but we got Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles. Last Story seems to have cult hit written all over it while Xenoblade proved itself as a work of art. Itís not often where I play a game nowadays and say itís one of the greatest games Iíve played. Those days died with the original PlayStation. Only Metal Gear Solid 4 had me adding a game in and bumping a game out of my top 20 greatest games ever played. Part of it is my inability to find greater games in this console generation, part of it is my age and responsibilities (we just donít have time anymore to play everything), part of it is a generational gap. Itís rare for this to happen, but when it does happen, itís awesome.

Thatís why Nintendo needs to take a good look in the mirror and not even feel satisfied by the numbers. Xenoblade nearly sold more than Europe and Japan combined and Last Story definitely will be on top 20 lists this holiday season.

Originally, we werenít supposed to see either of these games. At all. One employee at Nintendo tried to get these games into E3 and was subsequently whacked days later. From there we got a simple press release with Nintendo reverting to its old habits that got in in trouble in the first place: showing its arrogance and flexing the control it thinks it has on the industry since the Wii sold good for a year. Except they forgot this isnít 1985 anymore, that means they have competition and Zelda raps donít sell Zelda games.

Believe what you want about JRPGs dying. Nintendo couldnít even do a special mail-order for the games, or a limited North American release with Xenoblade since it was already translated in Europe. Here was a novel idea† that came from yours truly when the bombs dropped: take advantage of modern technology and let us download the damn thing. †To deny gamers even a shot at the game just spoke arrogance. Nintendo probably wants to pat themselves on the back with all the jack they are raking in for the discs they finally put out after fans had to do everything for them.

Nintendo, you can go ahead and stop patting yourselves on the back before you even start. Donít feel good for something you should have done much earlier. Maybe now you know when a good game with a reputable developer that has shown decent sales with past titles in America is a good fit for America. Especially when itís already translated to English. Iím pretty sure everyone else does it.

Easiest. Decision. Ever.

By the way, they arenít there yet. Pandoraís Tower isnít here and Iíll believe Operation Rainfallís success when I see it (though they did a hell of a job). They have to get Pandoraís Tower out here, oh and find a way to translate it (OH NO!) and market it (UH OH!).

What Iíd like to know is what idiot thought Nintendo shouldnít have released Xenoblade and Iím talking before the mob got involved. You mean to tell me you had to wait until gamers made fanposts showing Nintendo the middle finger, Amazon.com presales to rising to No. 1, and thousands of letters/phone calls to make the decision? Operation Rainfall shouldnít have happened. †If you showed us you learned from your mistakes with Sony, you would have brought the games out two months after their Japanese release.

This is why people are so reluctant to work with Nintendo. Itís not a demographic issue or the fact Nintendo is the biggest competitor on a Nintendo system, itís because you donít know what youíre getting with your game. Why should developers develop for Nintendo anymore? Especially when Microsoft and Sony open shop across the street asking you to bring your games to their system. If your game is exceptional (and Xenoblade Chronicles† is pretty damn exceptional) Sony would probably do something to make it work, because those are showcases for a system. †Iíd hate to think what would have happened if Katamari came out on a Nintendo console first.

Itís understandable that JRPGs are dying due to lack of original storylines and people refusing to mix old with new. I get that. What I donít get is how such an incredible game like Xenoblade gets no assistance from Nintendo bringing it to American shores. Hiroshi Yamauchi (then Nintendo President) throwing the gavel on Square in a press conference for future games on Gamecube isnít exactly the same as a game slapped with universal praise sitting on Japanese and European shores because Nintendo is convinced no one will buy it. Nor did they want to find a way to get the Ďfewí that would the game-especially when it was already translated.

No, theyíd rather release critically panned games like Mario Party and have them sell even less. I donít know if itís an ego issue, if itís monkeys in marketing or what it is, but it needs to stop.

And donít give me this ďthey are a businessĒ excuse. RPGs sold like crap in the US until Final Fantasy VII came along and Sony published that. Granted, they forked over millions for marketing, but the dudes in the marketing chair knew how to make money and took the jump.† FFVII was one of those games that at the time, you knew was something someone down south had to experience. The marketing certainly helped, but at the time gamers deserved to experience FFVII if they wanted to. Gamers deserve to experience Xenoblade.

Yes, we should be happy and not be complaining-we got what we wanted. Iím sure gamers havenít forgotten what they had to do to get them. Nintendo made bringing an already translated game as difficult as possible and exhausting for everyone. Iím wondering whatís going to happen when they pull this again, everyone is out of Bawls and Mountain Dew for all the letters they wrote.

Nintendo, donít you dare smile like a father giving his kid the Christmas present he begged for all year. Donít feel proud for ďFinally bringing itĒ or ďMaking it work.Ē You basically did what you should have done, way later than you should have. What you should do is learn from this blunder and know that when you have brilliantly made games is to bring them to America. Sony would, Microsoft would, and itís why Sony kicked your ass with the original Playstation. Pull your head out and stop releasing what you think gamers should like and give them what they want. They shouldnít have to tell you this. †You make money, people buy your box, discs, swag whatever and you make crazy coin out of it. I better not start hearing about how Xenoblade Chronicles was a chore or that you had to get behind closed doors and have a sit down with the five families to make a decision. Donít you dare tell us about the strain it was to get these games and make gamers happy. Weíre buying the games, not your BS. Consider this a warning.

Easiest. Decision. Ever.

Author: Pat Holloway View all posts by
Patrick Holloway is a video games journalist with a wealth of knowledge about the industry. When he's not reading up on every news bit on the internet about the gaming industry he's lifting weights. He likes grilled salmon sushi.

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