I think e3 2011 was the final straw for Nintendo Fanboys. We were told earlier in the year the company had big games planned for the Wii; what we got was Mario Party 9, Fortune Street (which, I am kind of looking forward to) and a few games we already knew were coming. And while it was nice to have Rhythm Heaven Wii confirmed for a US release, the complete lack of three big, new titles apparently sent an angry shockwave through the internet.
And thus Operation Rainfall was born.
For those who haven’t been following the phenomenon, the premise is simple: spam Nintendo with as many Facebook posts as possible, as well as a coordinated letter campaign for each of the three games Nintendo fans want. First up is Xenoblade Chronicles, which was released in Japan last year and is scheduled for an EU release in September. Originally titled Monado: Beginning of the World, the game has been teased by Nintendo of America since it was announced at e3 a few years back. Reoccurring appearances in the company’s yearly reports helped fuel the idea that this game was destined for a US release, the same way we’re getting Kirby Wii after all these years. But we never got a firm release, instead we had to sit back and watch as the company announced casual game after casual game, sequel after sequel. When asked about Xenoblade’s potential release, fans and websites were given the runaround.
A letter mailing campaign for the game is scheduled for next month. But instead of waiting until then to show Nintendo how much they want to pay the company for this game, Operation Rainfall got smart. Monado: Beginning of the World has an Amazon.com listing. Once people remembered that, preorders for the game shot it to number one on the video games list. Amazing for game that we many never get and probably the smartest move I’ve seen any campaign like this make. I know I’ve reserved my copy to help the cause.
The other two games in the campaign are The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower. Neither (I believe) have been announced for the US nor shown at e3. But both are ripe for an America release. The Last Story, for those who don’t know, was created by the father of Final Fantasy. That alone is a huge selling point. Pandora’s Tower on the other hand may be the harder sell. It didn’t get great reviews from Famitsu (visuals are underwhelming); but with the type of action going on in the game, it has the feel of a title made for a western fan base.
Part of me can understand Nintendo being hesitant to release these games. Other, non-top tier titles from the company haven’t exactly blown up the sales charts (Sin & Punishment: Star Successor). And with new IP’s struggling across all home platforms this generation, it is safer to stick to what you know will sell. But that type of thinking will also keep a company from finding the next big thing. Nintendo is a company obsessed with giving gamers new ways to play, but they also need to give us new games.
One comment I’ve read repeatedly in forums is that Nintendo is not releasing the game to keep competition away from the upcoming Dragon Quest X. It may be the dumbest argument in this conversation. We have no idea when DQX is coming out, we haven’t seen a single screenshot of the game and it could possibly release in the US after the Wii U launches. Xenoblade, on the other hand, could be on store shelves before the end of the year, with no other RPG competition on the Wii. It should have come out earlier this year when the system was lacking serious core-gaming support.
Speaking of the Wii U, Nintendo claims that game will bring back the core gamers. How, by finally releasing Pikmin 3? By letting 3rd parties port games to the system months after they’ve been released on the 360 and PS3? Right now, there is no way to trust that Nintendo will actually be courting core gamers with the next system; that they’ll become the Nintendo of Gamecube/N64 days. If NoA won’t release these three, core titles in the US, we can’t know that we’ll receive anything other than the next Mario/Zelda/Kirby title on the new system.
That’s not to say Nintendo doesn’t release any core titles anymore that aren’t part of the company’s premiere line-up. Just look at the DS. The only four games announced for the system at e3 are core titles (yes, Layton is a core title) that have been stuck in Japan for months, or even years in some cases. I will be picking up each of these titles, but I don’t want to wait until after the Wii U launches to finally get my hands on Xenoblade/Last Story/Pandora’s Tower.
I just think Nintendo fans are tired of seeing trailers for games come out of Japan only to miss out on the game here in the US (Fatal Frame 4, Day of Disaster, The Last Window, Takt of Magic, etc.) Nintendo needs to realize that we’re a more connected world than ever before. If you mention a new game from Nintendo in Japan, America will hear about it seconds later and want it.
Anyway, I applaud the efforts of Operation Rainfall and will do my part to make sure these three games get released in the US. Keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight.