By Jeff Neuenschwander / December 24th, 2015
oprainfall is proud to present our annual lists of Most Anticipated Games. Just like last year, we will be publishing one per day as we move closer to 2016. Today, we have Editor-in-Chief Jeff Neuenschwander.
Three years ago, we had our first lists of most anticipated games for the following year. But unlike other contributors, I opted to do a list of games that I hoped would get a localization… Well, “hoped” might be too light of a word — “predicted to come” is more like it. And to varying degrees of success, games I wanted to come over came. All five of the games I wanted the first time have released in the major western regions. For the second year, I’ll be 4 out of 5 once Dragon Quest VII releases in 2016. And as for last year’s list, it is currently 3 for 5 (4 for 6 if you include Dragon Quest VII).
So before I get into this year’s hopefuls, here are the games that have missed out the last two years for one reason or another.
Exstetra (2014 Wishlist)
This one was a stretch from the beginning with FuRyu needing outside help in order to publish their games in the West. XSEED was out of the picture due to poor sales of Unchained Blades, which released as an eShop exclusive and received mixed to good reviews, so they’re out (but that’s okay because they’re hard at work on bringing over some great text-heavy games we’ve been wanting). But it’s still not out of the realm of possibility. Atlus has been doing well in publishing lesser known titles, both from Japan and the West (which is good because a lot of us were worried that wouldn’t be the case after being bought by Sega Sammy). As a matter of fact, they brought over another FuRyu title just this year in The Legend of Legacy. So if someone were to bring it over, I’d put money on Atlus.
I’d also put Aksys Games in there as well. They’ve been bringing over some interesting games, including the latest Langrisser game, which will bring the series back to the West next year for the first time since the Genesis. They also released a rather under-the-radar collect-a-thon in Moco Moco Friends, which our own Justin Guillou probably convinced me in his review to buy… when the price is right.
So yeah, I could see either Atlus or Aksys taking care of this. Let’s hope it happens…
Beyond the Labyrinth (2015 Wishlist)
…because this ain’t happening. This is another victim of Konami jumping out of the console pool for some quality time in the casino. I’m not holding my breath for this one. And even if it comes out, I probably won’t buy it (new) because, to quote a great wordsmith of our time, “F*** Konami.”
Atelier Rorona 3DS (2015 Wishlist)
I won’t be holding my breath on this either, but I would still like to see it. The problem may be from the usual publishing suspects being too busy elsewhere to give the proper energy to this game. But it seems odd that neither wants to do it. Koei Tecmo seems like they want to push out every original game and remake in this series and I’m sure NIS America would love to have another crack at it. Oh well…
Now, time for the big show.
Monster Hunter X
I’m gonna be honest, I haven’t played much of this series. The only game I’ve played so far has been Monster Hunter Tri. Although, that’s probably because I don’t have a Wii U and the controls on the old Nintendo 3DS kinda suck. But I think that will change if I get a New 3DS.
So why do I want this? Because I want to see this franchise succeed over here. I want Monster Hunter to become a name people recognize over here for great gameplay. It’s got a chance. The last three western releases each had over half a million (if you combine the 3DS and Wii U MH3U ports). Monster Hunter X could — and should — get there as well. Besides, the best way to make something more accepted is to have more of something, not hide it somewhere far away.
…And yes, that was a dig at Koei Tecmo.
You might be familiar with this. This is a physics-based series with RPG, strategy, and co-op multiplayer elements. The first game released on iOS and Android worldwide last year. And just last week, it had a 3DS game release in Japan.
Anyway, the game looks pretty good and seemed to get some good scores from critics (Famitsu has it at a 33 out of 40, making it the best game on the 3DS that week). And the gameplay looks like you’re bouncing around like a kid on a sugar high… or a pool ball on a table… or a puck in air hockey… or a super ball in a rubber room, whatever. Frankly, the battles look like mayhem — and that’s my kind of physics.
Could it come over? Well, it’s possible since Nintendo distributed the game for the developer. It might take a Super Mario Bros. edition, a la Puzzle & Dragons Z… or perhaps, since it is the 30th anniversary next year, a Legend of Zelda version for the lead-up to the release of Zelda Wii U. It’s not out of the realm of possibility.
7th Dragon III Code: VFD
Why not? Neverland got to have its last game released in the West. Why shouldn’t Imageepoch?
Here’s the thing though: there have been two 7th Dragon games already, but we have yet to get any of them — which is unfortunate since I hear the first game was pretty good. So the chances of us getting the third game in a series when we haven’t seen games 1 or 2 are a bit slim, to say the least.
But there is still an outside shot of us getting any of them. Remember, SEGA has said and done a number of things this year which could result in these games coming over. For one, SEGA has said that they want to rebuild trust with gamers. The SEGA Games CEO has stated that’s he’s been taking cues from Atlus in placing quality above time frames. And they’ve been working on making sure more gamers have a chance to play their top games (see PC ports of games like Sonic Lost World).
But bringing Sonic Lost World to more people is simple. Bringing 7th Dragon west, that’s the true litmus test as to whether SEGA has changed or if they’re just paying lip service so that fans will buy the next big Total War or Sonic game. They bring this over, and we’ll know that they’ve turned a corner.
If not… well… at least they’re not Konami.
If we’ve learned anything from Level-5 — or even modern Nintendo console gaming in general the past few years — it’s this: it is never too late to localize a game. Think about it. Ni no Kuni was originally passed over on the Nintendo DS only to come over on PS3 and be such a success that a new game was announced for the entire world. Weapon Shop de Omasse was never going to come West, but found a way over. Fantasy Life, Little Battlers eXperience, and Inazuma Eleven all released in Japan long before finding the West — heck, it took Inazuma Eleven almost the time of a full generation before coming to North America.
And now you look at the line-up and see games that will almost assuredly come over — and, in a way, Yo-Kai is why. The game did such gang busters over in Japan that Nintendo not only helped bring over the game but made a full push to support the franchise with special events leading up to the release of the first game.
Which is why I think Time Travelers will finally find a way West. It’s a well thought of game that I’m sure would find an audience over here… or at least enough of one to justify the cost.
The Snack World is coming (if it weren’t, they wouldn’t have made a trailer with English actors) and it will probably make Yo-Kai money. Yo-Kai Watch will see sequels localized. Layton 7 will find a way over. But somewhere in there, I hope they find time for this game.
Theatrhythm Dragon Quest
…Here we go again. Another chance to rail against Square Enix over the lack of Dragon Quest… because I shouldn’t send all my rage to Konami.
Okay, so the Square Enix line-up out west includes two Dragon Quest games already as well as four Final Fantasy games, Star Ocean, Neir: Automata, and ports of Rise of the Tomb Raider. Would it be possible to squeeze in one more game?
I get the feeling that this is more of a “when” rather than an “if”. How quick of an “if” will probably depend on sales of the 3DS remakes that are finally coming over. And I’m willing to accept that logic this time rather that with Dragon Quest Heroes because it’s a more apples-to-apples comparison. You would be getting potential sales figures of a game from sales figures of games within the franchise that released on the same console. Simple as that.
And who knows? Perhaps if Dragon Quest VII and VIII do well, maybe Theatrhythm isn’t the only game we get. Maybe we also get the PS Vita’s Dragon Quest Builders. Or Dragon Quest XI. Or Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3. Or, dare I say, the elusive Dragon Quest X.
Hey, if you’re gonna dream, dream big.
And those are the games I’m hoping will make it West. As for games I’m looking forward to that have already been announced…
Fire Emblem Fates
Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King 3DS
Bravely Second: End Layer
Final Fantasy Explorers
Project X Zone 2
…By the way, when is A Hat in Time releasing in full?
7th Dragon III Code: VFDA Hat in TimeAtelier Rorona 3DSBravely Second: End LayerCapcomDragon QuestDragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten PastDragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed KingExstetra. Beyond the LabyrinthFinal Fantasy ExplorersFire Emblem FatesKoei TecmoKonamiLevel-5Monster Hunter Xmonster strikeNintendoProject X Zone 2SegaSquare EnixTheatrhythm Dragon QuestTime Travelers