OPINION: Make No Mistake; “X” is Coming to the West

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

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January 23rd was a wonderful day for Nintendo fans. The Nintendo Direct that featured global news was tailored to each individual region that aired it. Many didn’t realize this initially and assumed “X” was a title destined to stay in Japan. I can’t tell you how many worried folks I personally helped convince to approach this title’s fate in the west with confidence.

We reported on a celebration of MOTHER 2 that remained exclusive to Japan and was not seen during the other broadcasts. A clip of Monolith’s “X” was posted via Nintendo of America’s Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and other means. While this game’s reveal didn’t cause as much of a stir as something like The Wind Waker HD to the majority of Nintendo fans, the fact that “X” was even shown during the Nintendo Direct—much less saved for last, and dubbed “important” by Iwata himself—is an implicit nod to the efforts of the Operation Rainfall campaign, in my opinion.

That’s all well and good. Up until a certain point, I was ready to release a Roundtable in which members of our staff reacted to the news and discussed what this game could be this evening. Instead, my attention has been drawn elsewhere…

Monolith Boy

For those of you who didn’t know, Nintendo released their Financial Results Briefing for 2012 earlier. I recall reporting on similar phenomenon. Perusing the document led many to dissent when…a certain game was missing from the list of announced titles outside of Japan. I don’t know if I should name names or try to put this panic upon any individual(s) in particular, so… I’ll choose not to do so.

But, the fact of the matter is, someone with some degree of influence said that Nintendo had “un-announced ‘X’ outside of Japan” via social media, simply because it was missing from this document. Some immediately called for Operation Rainfall to be active again. The meager amounts of people who follow me were asking for our personal response to this matter.

I am not speaking for Operation Rainfall as a whole with this editorial; I am speaking as Jonathan Higgins, former rabid Nintendo fanboy, former “jump on obscure podcasts and promote Oprainfall because damn it I want to play some XENOBLADE CHONICLES!” I’ve worked behind the scenes with these folks since February of last year. I may not have been here in the beginning, but I promise you there are few among us who think as critically about Operation Rainfall’s “success” as me.

Xenoblade sold “quite well” according to Nintendo of America. XSEED localized The Last Story, and it became their best selling title to date. Hell, XSEED was met with so much success when it came to The Last Story that they announced Pandora’s Tower, a game many of us assumed was far too obscure to ever see a release in America. Regardless of what the masses believe Operation Rainfall accomplished, I think every one of you reading this right now have proven to Nintendo and other publishers that fans of JRPGs have a definitive, loud voice…one that can be heard despite the genre seen as suffering in many peoples’ eyes.

Peoples’ panic at the lack of “X” in this financial document may have been incited by folly, but… your worry is actually a good thing. The reaction to this news, an outcry for support, confirmation, what have you… that just further proves what I just got done saying. People want “X”. The several hundred-thousand views on the trailer via Youtube suggest that…people really, really want “X”.

Monolith Mech

And that’s why I know Nintendo is going to give it to us. I don’t need an armchair analyst’s mind. I don’t need to know what these financial documents do and do not signify, or what people speculate that they signify. I see Pandora’s Tower is missing from their list of third-party Wii games coming out this quarter—does that mean this document damns that game as well? If you want my personal take on what these documents mean, you won’t find it here. I can’t claim to know as much as my peers who are far more experienced with analyzing this data than I am.

But—if you take nothing else away from what you’ve just read: Don’t panic. Because Xenoblade Chronicles was a renowned success, because Nintendo went way out of their way to publicize “X” when it was shown one week ago across the globe, and because of how much faith I have that the ideas and efforts of Operation Rainfall got through to certain publishers and developers…

Everything’s going to be fine.

…Now. Watch the trailer one more time, and go back to “anticipation”. It suits every one of us so much better than worry.