Japanese Role Playing Games are a dime a dozen – in Japan. In the West, the general consensus is that only the best of the best get released, and only then after huge wait times that can span months or even years.
And then there’s Australia.
Some of the better JRPG’s that are produced in the Land of the Rising Sun are fondly known as the Tales series. Games like Tales of the Abyss and Tales of Symphonia eventually get released outside of Japan, but again – at a delay. The problem seems to lie in the huge amount of text the games involve which has to be localised in English for North America, and up to 20 languages to launch in Europe.
But while that’s the easiest to comprehend, Hideo Baba says that localising games for a Western audience involves much more work than some may think. There’s a lot more marketing involved for a start, since the Western gamer is less accustomed to playing RPGs (on the flip side, games like Call of Duty require a lot more marketing in Japan than they do in the West), but there’s also technical things that need to be considered, especially with online services and in game content.
It seems that sometimes it’s just the case that the next game is being worked on while the first game is still being localised. It’s a pretty bad problem and one that requires a much larger investment that publishers are willing to fork out, given the profitability of RPGs in the East.
Hideo Baba says the team are working on this problem, though. You can see the community interview with the producer below.