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Your Letter Writing Campaign Paid Off: Xenoblade: Chronicles Is Coming to America [UPDATED]

All it took was months upon months of acrimonious petitioning, but finally, Nintendo begrudgingly agrees to release another Wii game in North America.

UPDATE: While it may go without saying, we checked in with Nintendo about whether Xenoblade: Chronicles would come here featuring the same translation that accompanied the European version.

"The game will be based on the version that launched in Europe," said the company in a statement.

That leaves some wiggle room for some changes, but don't expect any drastic differences.

--

Finally, after months of fan petitions, angry emails, and at least one article outright endorsing hacking the Wii for the sake of just getting to play one single, measly video game, Nintendo has finally thrown its hands up in prostration and acquiesced to the demands of its fans: Xenoblade: Chronicles will, in fact, be coming to North America.

Get ready to finally don this sweet techno vest and slay some stuff in 2012.

The release was announced officially via Nintendo's Facebook page, initially teased with a few images of the Japanese role-playing game's central characters, followed by an actual, honest-to-god announcement of an April, 2012 release date. Earlier rumors of the game being a GameStop exclusive have yet to be confirmed, but one way or another, Xenoblade is headed to the States.

This marks at least a partial end to the Operation Rainfall saga. Rainfall, for those unaware, is a dedicated group of Wii owners bent on bringing Xenoblade, alongside RPGs The Last Story and Pandora's Tower, to North American consoles. However, Xenoblade always seemed to be the top priority here, with numerous intense pleas for an official North American release seemingly falling on deaf ears at Nintendo.

Nintendo's reluctance to bring these titles out in America was never anything short of baffling. Given the exceedingly paltry Wii lineup this year, an extra critically-acclaimed RPG or two might have helped pad the coffers a bit, especially given that Xenoblade had already been localized for the English language upon its release in Europe, thus negating those extra costs.

Bizarre timing aside, at least Wii owners can rest easy knowing that once they finish Skyward Sword, they now have at least one more excuse to keep their Wii plugged into their TV for the next four months, before eventually retiring the thing to the plastic storage container that contains all their other discarded consoles of yesteryear. Sort of like a retirement home for consoles, really, except with more tangled wires and less of that old people diaper smell.

Alex Navarro on Google+
209 Comments
Posted by UsbCable

I really hope it sells well since most of the letter writers already picked it up, I didn't so I'll get it for sure. With this, Skyward and FF: Crystal Chronicles which I got on black Friday, I guess I'll finally play my Wii now that it's towards the end of it's life cycle and all.

Posted by nmarchan

@maskedarcstrike said:

Will definitely pick this up more than likely, after reading what some other have people have said I'm excited to hear it exempts itself from many of the tropes of JRPGS. For instance I've heard you can fast travel anywhere, you don't have to turn in side quests once you have completed them.

Plus I've heard that it has an immense amount of exploration with gorgeous scenery.

I dunno about Last Story, I heard it has a much more linear design choice as far as exploration is concerned which isn't really my type of thing.

You can't fast travel everywhere, just to specific points. However, there are a TON of those points. Basically any place of interest will have a quick travel point. So, you can fast travel ALMOST everywhere, essentially. the opening city has about five quick travel points inside it, and the dungeons have quick travel points inside as well. And most sidequests don't require a turn-in. If a dude says "I need you to kill five of these", once you kill the fifth one it just pops up the quest completion window wherever you are. MOST of the time. I'd say about 5% of quests need you to physically bring something back to the quest giver.

Posted by Neferon

Amazing! Hurray for all my american fellow-gamers. Get this if you are even remotely interested in j-rpgs, it will not disappoint :)

Posted by MonkeyKing1969

Let us be clear here the reason this game is coming to America is not fans. It is coming because Project Rain fall brought up the topic and had solid reason why it SHOULD come....and then podcasts/shows on G4, IGN, GameSpot, etc bitched about it repeatedly.

This was not a triumph of the fan base coming together. Nintendo made clear they DID NOT CARE or trust in the fan base ground swell support. This is pure cold calculation that the "movers & shakers" in the industry from game media outlets were making too much of a stink and were not going to let it go. The take away from this is to make the game media care.

Posted by Nemuel

I didnt really understand the fuss about this game, its ok but nothing more.

Posted by KillerFly

The way 8-4 talked about The Last Story on their podcast made it sound really cool. I hope that eventually comes over as well.

Posted by Hailinel

@MonkeyKing1969: You don't know any of that.

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Posted by Boiglenoight

Pre-ordered. Game is great.

Posted by AlexW00d

Shame it will probably sell awfully and Nintendo will never listen to the loudmouth minority again.

Edited by vinsanityv22

"All it took was months upon months of acrimonious petitioning, but finally, Nintendo begrudgingly agrees to release another Wii game in North America."

I love the way Alex writes:) He GETS it. I mean, jesus christ - how DARE a first party video game publisher has to STOOP to the point where they have to RELEASE ANOTHER GAME for THEIR OWN CONSOLE. Aw shucks. Reggie can't just print money anymore, now that the Kinect has effectively stolen his bread-and-butter (the kind of morons who bought 29 million copies of Wii Play. Case in point, only 300k copies of Wii Play Motion were sold). Now he's got to suck it up and come down and actually greenlight a game that GAMERS have been asking for. One that's expensive to localize (nevermind the fact that NOE did it for you lazy b*stards up in Washington at NOA), and not easy to market. Well, not to soccer moms and grandparents who are still playing Wii Bowling, anyway.

My point is, thank you for writing this story with the trademark Navarro-approved thick layer of snark. Reggie's an asshole - easily the worst president of NOA's short history, and one of the worst presidents of any gaming company ever - and any story about NOA's doings these days should not be written with respect. He certainly doesn't show us gamers any; he just expects us to come running back to lap up anything with "Mario" or "Zelda" in the title, even after a year without releases? Go to hell, Reg'.

Posted by Sticky_Pennies

I don't want to sound like a bastard, but even though I have a Wii, it really would look better in 720p. ):

Posted by teh_destroyer

Merikuh.

Posted by MidgardDragon

@Romination said:

And then no one buys it because everyone imported it from Europe.

I already played it but I'll still buy my copy to support the release of quality JRPG's in the US.

Edited by MidgardDragon

@Sticky_Pennies said:

I don't want to sound like a bastard, but even though I have a Wii, it really would look better in 720p. ):

If you insist on 720p just play it on the Dolphin Emulator. Regardless it still looks amazing on a small HDTV with component cables played via Wii. Game is beautiful as all hell.

@Nemuel said:

I didnt really understand the fuss about this game, its ok but nothing more.

I can only assume you're either not a JRPG fan or have not actually played the game. This game rivals the scale of Skyrim (and even outdoes it in some areas like the ending) and every single part of it is quality.

Edited by HerbieBug

Yay!

I mean, I don't own a Wii, and won't, but in principle, in the event that I had a Wii or easy access to one, I would have been incensed about the lack of US release, and would be elated at the possibility of this problem being corrected.

Posted by HerbieBug

@MonkeyKing1969 said:

Let us be clear here the reason this game is coming to America is not fans. It is coming because Project Rain fall brought up the topic and had solid reason why it SHOULD come....and then podcasts/shows on G4, IGN, GameSpot, etc bitched about it repeatedly.

This was not a triumph of the fan base coming together. Nintendo made clear they DID NOT CARE or trust in the fan base ground swell support. This is pure cold calculation that the "movers & shakers" in the industry from game media outlets were making too much of a stink and were not going to let it go. The take away from this is to make the game media care.

if fan brouhaha swells to a level that games media's ears are perked, games media takes up the cause (usually), and brouhaha builds to critical mass. Without fan brouhaha, games media would never have joined the cause. Games media is an extension of the fan base, I will not accept an assertion to the contrary.

Posted by Shnowmon

Just picked up a Wii (yeh, I know its late) heard this was a great game, looking to be a great start for my new library.

Posted by Little_Socrates

I'm gonna guess that this late announcement may have been to pad reviews for Skyward Sword. Go back and look at how many reviews for that game start with something along the lines of, "The last major game for the Wii is also maybe the greatest." I remember at least two or three, and I stopped reading reviews after a point.

Posted by YukoAsho

Well, I'll certainly pick it up if I can be bothered to get out of Skyrim, but no, I'm still not buying the Wii U.

Posted by NMC2008

Let's see if it sells now, I am seriously doubting it will sell well.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates said:

I'm gonna guess that this late announcement may have been to pad reviews for Skyward Sword. Go back and look at how many reviews for that game start with something along the lines of, "The last major game for the Wii is also maybe the greatest." I remember at least two or three, and I stopped reading reviews after a point.

That really has nothing to do with it. Most every major review source has already published their Skyward Sword review. New release announcements can't magically change that text.

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Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel said:

@Little_Socrates said:

I'm gonna guess that this late announcement may have been to pad reviews for Skyward Sword. Go back and look at how many reviews for that game start with something along the lines of, "The last major game for the Wii is also maybe the greatest." I remember at least two or three, and I stopped reading reviews after a point.

That really has nothing to do with it. Most every major review source has already published their Skyward Sword review. New release announcements can't magically change that text.

Exactly. Holding off this announcement kept everyone stupid-pumped for Skyward Sword in certain areas of the Internet because it was the Wii's "swan song." If it weren't, people might rather be cynical. It hasn't affected my opinion of Skyward Sword, though. I always thought the Wii was kind of dumb anyways, though it has some excellent games on it. Skyward Sword is slick so far, and wouldn't work on another console, so that's cool. But certain sources that might be more critical are maybe glossing over things (not intentionally, mind) because this is the promise of the Wii and now we can be done with the device FOR GOOD.

...or not.

Posted by Oni

@Olu said:

My greatest giant bomb dream is to see endurance run of this game one day. A man can dream

God this would have been so much better as an ER than Chrono Trigger, and I love Chrono Trigger. But it's a newer game, which is more interesting, and it's fucking huge.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel said:

@Little_Socrates said:

I'm gonna guess that this late announcement may have been to pad reviews for Skyward Sword. Go back and look at how many reviews for that game start with something along the lines of, "The last major game for the Wii is also maybe the greatest." I remember at least two or three, and I stopped reading reviews after a point.

That really has nothing to do with it. Most every major review source has already published their Skyward Sword review. New release announcements can't magically change that text.

Exactly. Holding off this announcement kept everyone stupid-pumped for Skyward Sword in certain areas of the Internet because it was the Wii's "swan song." If it weren't, people might rather be cynical. It hasn't affected my opinion of Skyward Sword, though. I always thought the Wii was kind of dumb anyways, though it has some excellent games on it. Skyward Sword is slick so far, and wouldn't work on another console, so that's cool. But certain sources that might be more critical are maybe glossing over things (not intentionally, mind) because this is the promise of the Wii and now we can be done with the device FOR GOOD.

...or not.

Uh, no.

People were pumped for Zelda because it's Zelda. Nintendo doesn't need to resort to silly tactics like that to maintain interest in Skyward Sword.

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Posted by evanbower

Wow, I really can't believe it. Awesome! Thanks whiners!

Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel: Less so in the critical community. They get their sales either way, of course. It's a theory, and I only think it "may" have happened. There's few other logical reasons for holding back something that would earn them such good will with the community, and I doubt that OpRa actually was what sold them on the idea.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel: Less so in the critical community. They get their sales either way, of course. It's a theory, and I only think it "may" have happened. There's few other logical reasons for holding back something that would earn them such good will with the community, and I doubt that OpRa actually was what sold them on the idea.

"Less so in the critical community?"

What are you talking about?

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Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel:

I think he's saying that the general sentiment for Zelda/Nintendo in general has been, "Oh boy, another fucking Zelda game. Let me guess: they're gonna do the same thing that I loved in 2003, right? Whoopie." (I'm not saying that I agree with this logic (you should know how I feel about that crap by now); I'm simply outlining it.)

Posted by Klaimore

Nintendo doesn't know that this whole time they were getting trolled and no one is going to buy the game! Muahah

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

I think he's saying that the general sentiment for Zelda/Nintendo in general has been, "Oh boy, another fucking Zelda game. Let me guess: they're gonna do the same thing that I loved in 2003, right? Whoopie." (I'm not saying that I agree with this logic (you should know how I feel about that crap by now); I'm simply outlining it.)

That's a lot of words you're inserting into his mouth.

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Posted by gike987

@NMC2008 said:

Let's see if it sells now, I am seriously doubting it will sell well.

Especially since most of the letter writes have already imported the game from europe.

Posted by Hailinel

@gike987 said:

@NMC2008 said:

Let's see if it sells now, I am seriously doubting it will sell well.

Especially since most of the letter writes have already imported the game from europe.

That doesn't mean that people that imported it won't buy the U.S. version.

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Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

I think he's saying that the general sentiment for Zelda/Nintendo in general has been, "Oh boy, another fucking Zelda game. Let me guess: they're gonna do the same thing that I loved in 2003, right? Whoopie." (I'm not saying that I agree with this logic (you should know how I feel about that crap by now); I'm simply outlining it.)

That's a lot of words you're inserting into his mouth.

Still, King's got it somewhat right. It's not quite so virulent or cynical, but I think that perception is there. For some people, that's fine, but I feel like everyone was waiting for the Zelda game to compare to Ocarina of Time or make a similar leap forward. To enhance hype, you tell people it'll be the last great game for the Wii. The cynical nature of the press and fanbase is then geared towards "Man, I wish there had been more great games on the Wii" instead of "Man, they just told me Zelda is great again; am I gonna fall for that again?" Going in with high expectations, Skyward Sword is set to fulfill, if not exceed.

P.S. Please don't talk to me about the quality of Ocarina of Time; I legitimately think that game is innovative and poor. Even if fans are finally starting to fade off Ocarina, many critics still seem to hold it as the standard for Zelda.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

I think he's saying that the general sentiment for Zelda/Nintendo in general has been, "Oh boy, another fucking Zelda game. Let me guess: they're gonna do the same thing that I loved in 2003, right? Whoopie." (I'm not saying that I agree with this logic (you should know how I feel about that crap by now); I'm simply outlining it.)

That's a lot of words you're inserting into his mouth.

Still, King's got it somewhat right. It's not quite so virulent or cynical, but I think that perception is there. For some people, that's fine, but I feel like everyone was waiting for the Zelda game to compare to Ocarina of Time or make a similar leap forward. To enhance hype, you tell people it'll be the last great game for the Wii. The cynical nature of the press and fanbase is then geared towards "Man, I wish there had been more great games on the Wii" instead of "Man, they just told me Zelda is great again; am I gonna fall for that again?" Going in with high expectations, Skyward Sword is set to fulfill, if not exceed.

P.S. Please don't talk to me about the quality of Ocarina of Time; I legitimately think that game is innovative and poor. Even if fans are finally starting to fade off Ocarina, many critics still seem to hold it as the standard for Zelda.

The "Last Great Game on the Wii" hype was entirely media generated. Nintendo made no such claims. And it's absurd to think that they held back on the release of Xenoblade for the express purpose of one marketing point for Zelda. It's tinfoil hat-level crazy.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

The "Last Great Game on the Wii" hype was entirely media generated. Nintendo made no such claims. And it's absurd to think that they held back on the release of Xenoblade for the express purpose of one marketing point for Zelda. It's tinfoil hat-level crazy.

Perhaps they didn't make such claims because they didn't need to make claims (the media was making these claims, after all). If it isn't tinfoil-hat crazy, then it's a fairly smart business maneuver.

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel said:

The "Last Great Game on the Wii" hype was entirely media generated. Nintendo made no such claims. And it's absurd to think that they held back on the release of Xenoblade for the express purpose of one marketing point for Zelda. It's tinfoil hat-level crazy.

Perhaps they didn't make such claims because they didn't need to make claims (the media was making these claims, after all). If it isn't tinfoil-hat crazy, then it's a fairly smart business maneuver.

No, it's not, because holding back the announcement of a game that people are clamoring for for the express purpose of promoting another game as the "last great game" on a platform is about the most fucking retarded thing that they could do. It doesn't help Zelda, it doesn't help Xenoblade. There are myriad other ways that they could promote Zelda effectively without committing to such a fucking stupid move.

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Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel: I'm still with Video_Game_King. I definitely think it helps Zelda. They still promoted Zelda in all the other effective ways you mentioned. I'm not saying I actively suspect ill-will from Nintendo, merely that it may have happened for that reason. I think it's smart business, and we're getting the game anyways, so who cares? All I'm saying is I can't come up with a better reason to pretend we weren't getting Xenoblade and set up an antagonistic relationship with a group of shockingly devoted Wii fans.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel: I'm still with Video_Game_King. I definitely think it helps Zelda. They still promoted Zelda in all the other effective ways you mentioned. I'm not saying I actively suspect ill-will from Nintendo, merely that it may have happened for that reason. I think it's smart business, and we're getting the game anyways, so who cares? All I'm saying is I can't come up with a better reason to pretend we weren't getting Xenoblade and set up an antagonistic relationship with a group of shockingly devoted Wii fans.

Who says that they were pretending? They may very well have had no inclination to release the game in the U.S. and are in fact doing this because of Operation Rainfall. They are, after all, only selling the game through Gamestop and their own website. About the only way that one could guarantee getting a copy at release would be through a preorder. This isn't a widepsread release like you'd see for Zelda, which, once again, Nintendo has no need to resort to trickery in order to market.

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Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel: Given the choice between OpRa = success and Nintendo doing what they can to pad the most recent Zelda title (a game with RIDICULOUS expectations, concerts around the world, 25th anniversary, etc.) I side with Nintendo emphasizing a popular title by deemphasizing a much smaller one. Besides, forcing people to devote themselves to buy Xenoblade Chronicles by having them campaign for months? Also helps Xenoblade out a bit; it can't be Rayman or Dead Space Extraction that way.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates said:

@Hailinel: Given the choice between OpRa = success and Nintendo doing what they can to pad the most recent Zelda title (a game with RIDICULOUS expectations, concerts around the world, 25th anniversary, etc.) I side with Nintendo emphasizing a popular title by deemphasizing a much smaller one. Besides, forcing people to devote themselves to buy Xenoblade Chronicles by having them campaign for months? Also helps Xenoblade out a bit; it can't be Rayman or Dead Space Extraction that way.

You act as though those factors don't actually serve to promote the game. It's the 25th anniversary of Zelda, they have a concert series going, they released a 3DS version of one of the most popular games in the series earlier this year, they have Robin Williams and his daughter promoting Zelda. Nintendo has not exactly been slacking when it comes to marketing Zelda. Once again, no trickery was required. You're being paranoid.

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Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel: I think you misread me. I'm saying those factors contribute to my statement that they've already gone to ridiculous lengths to promote Skyward Sword. Why not add in one JRPG that ultimately will benefit from the OpRa press that otherwise probably wouldn't have sold super-awesome? Even if they never released Xenoblade Chronicles, that probably costs less money than the concert series. Effectively, they get to double dip on Skyward Sword being the "swan song for the Wii" and Xenoblade Chronicles being "the game the people fought for."

Again, the idea that OpRa suddenly "broke through" is crazier to me than the idea that Nintendo decided to use a JRPG that isn't Final Fantasy to promote Zelda. The only way to make something even more overhyped is to tell the consumer base it's the last time they'll be seeing it. That's why Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the biggest opening a movie's ever had, and why Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight managed to beat Spider-Man 3 before that. Hell, that's why Spidey 3 was able to beat Dead Man's Chest. Let's just say it certainly doesn't hurt.

And no, don't ask me how two Twilight movies are bigger than the second Pirates of the Caribbean when neither of them is the finale. It baffles me too.

Posted by Hailinel

@Little_Socrates: Because there's no correlation between the games. There is nothing that links Xenoblade to Zelda other than the fact that they are both Nintendo games. It would be like saying that Nintendo announced a U.S. release date for Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land after the release of Super Mario 3D Land in order to promote Super Mario 3D Land. There is no correlation to base that off of. There is no causation. It is a logical fallacy.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel said:

There is nothing that links Xenoblade to Zelda other than the fact that they are both Nintendo games.

*comes back in to play devil's advocate* What about this? Kinda sounds like free advertising, at least to some extent. *leaves again*

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King: That is not being a devil's advocate. That is throwing in a link without context.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel:

That merely makes it poorly playing devil's advocate :P.

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

That merely makes it poorly playing devil's advocate :P.

Even so, it's a flawed argument. Operation Rainfall has been using a similar tactic for other Wii releases (up-voting core games on the Nintendo Channel, etc.). They're not doing it to promote Zelda, they're doing to to gain attention for Xenoblade and the other games.

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Posted by Video_Game_King

@Hailinel:

Their intentions are not very relevant, since their campaign, you know, promoted Zelda and everything. It plays into what @Little_Socrates: was saying, even if I can't word it properly.

Posted by Hailinel

@Video_Game_King said:

@Hailinel:

Their intentions are not very relevant, since their campaign, you know, promoted Zelda and everything. It plays into what @Little_Socrates: was saying, even if I can't word it properly.

How does it promote Zelda to encourage people (who almost certainly already know about Zelda, given the campaign's audience) to go to Zelda-specific forums or discussions (full of people also already well-informed about Zelda) and mention other games? Who exactly would this be promoting Zelda toward?

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Posted by Little_Socrates

@Hailinel: It doesn't promote knowledge of the title, it promotes excitement for the title. Get a group of people together at a midnight release for Halo Reach and they're sure to talk about Black Ops. Get a group of people together to say there should be more good games for the Wii and they'll inevitably talk about the one great game they know is coming. Their cynical nature about the number of games will distract them from being cynical about the one game they do have. It's brilliant, and again, I don't really care as I wasn't that pumped for Skyward Sword and it ultimately gave a consumer group a lot of confidence in themselves. But it definitely promoted Zelda, intentionally or no. I've been getting Zelda promotions for WEEKS on Facebook as a person who joined the OpRa FB group to see what's happening.

Posted by RichieJohn

We've still got Last Story coming next year so hopefully the US will get that too.

I'm still hoping for Trauma Team in Europe! Probably not going to happen now.