With all of the hoopla over Nintendo's generous heaping of announcements earlier this week, an upcoming game's arrival on western shores has been shoved aside for more pressing matters, like whether Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker's original toon-shading looks better than the upcoming HD remake (answer: yes).
But woe to the Wii owner who forgets Pandora's Tower. Localization fiends XSEED have wrested control of the game from Nintendo, who published it in Japan and Europe; the game will finally release stateside on March 26 for MSRP $39.99.
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Why is this important? Most people assume the Wii is dead and buried. That the little white box has finally succumbed to the weight of all that dead skin (read: dust), and crumbled back into the earth from whence it came. Here's where Lee Corso comes in and says, “Not so fast, my friend!” (Sorry; I miss college football season already.)
The Wii sold 475,000 units in December 2012. That's an astonishing number given that its HD successor released the month before, and since the last year with a healthy, consistent release schedule of Wii games was 2010. Niche gems like Rhythm Heaven Fever and annual juggernaut Just Dance notwithstanding, compelling games just aren't being released for Nintendo's old system anymore. Yet half a million new homes now have one next to their TV.
Granted, many of these were likely bought for small children (a new holiday bundle included Skylanders), or folks who finally broke down and coughed up the budget price just to try that Wii Bowling they'd been hearing about for five years. These might not be the same people interested in Pandora's Tower, a grisly Action-RPG developed by Ganbarion.
The plot centers on one man's quest to keep his beloved alive. He does this by killing monsters, ripping their hearts out, and feeding the demon flesh to his cursed ladyfriend. Kirby, this ain't.
But XSEED is willing to take a chance. They already took one gamble by bringing over Hironobu Sakaguchi's The Last Story after Nintendo of America passed; last fall it became XSEED's most successful title ever. Operation: Rainfall, the grass-roots organization devoted to bringing a trio of Nintendo-published games (including Xenoblade: Chronicles) over to America, has finally had their last and final wish granted.
More can be done. With the Wii U slow out of the gate, and a surprisingly agile Wii still plugged in across the land, might a few more Japan-only titles follow? Development for the upcoming slate of new consoles by Microsoft and Sony will be expensive and time-consuming. With current systems having a giant install base, savvy localizers could swoop in and sell unique titles at a budget price to a huge swath of curious gamers waiting for the next big thing. Let's cross our fingers and hope Fatal Frame 4 and Captain Rainbow follow Pandora across the pond.