TSM Episode 37: A Return to Class

He wrote the tunes.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Produced 2012.03.04

Chris ‘Sabin’ Privitere of RPGamer joins an already over-stuffed podcast panel to discuss Persona 2 on the PSP, Assassin’s Creed in the American War of Rebellion and Mutiny, the Binding of Isaac, the closure of Sony MMOs, and updates to Final Fantasy XIV.

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17 comments on “TSM Episode 37: A Return to Class”

  1. We put the ASS in class.

    Or rather, we take the CL out of class.

    YOU DECIDE.

  2. A Return to (Cl)ass

    Also, I haven’t had a chance to listen, but I do hope Chris’s singing was left in, so that future generations may find this podcast and weep. And laugh.

  3. About Reggie and any control he might have: I don’t think he honestly has much. A general out-of-touch quality usually emanates from Japan about America. You’ve said it before, Lusi, that JRPGs being unreleased in America makes little sense considering they usually sell better than in Japan. I believe you said this on an old podcast, I can’t remember which. So I don’t think they aren’t being sold here because Reggie’s looking at the numbers and not liking what he sees. I think it’s because Japan knows Japan, and not much else. I always feel like it comes as a pleasant surprise to high profile Japanese game/anime/manga creators when other countries like what they do. Case in point: “American” difficulty levels in Fire Emblem and other RPGs. Because clearly we’re all so dumb, we can’t handle the real game. This trend has actually been reversed, lately. But I think it still sends the message that they put a lens over America when they try to sell us things, and that lens is a bit out of focus.

    I DO think that NoA isn’t trying very hard to convince HQ import these games over. NoE, however, clearly makes their case for import much better. That’s how I feel it to be, anyway.

  4. Now that I’m done listening: Great podcast! Chris’s accompaniment always seems to add something hilarious to this show. I await your use of this comment as a springboard to further insult Chris. :P

  5. @Mel: It is true that JRPGs sell better in America than they do in Japan. There is a much larger buying population here, and it is astonishing that this is not a significant motivation for them to localise games.

    Also, Reggie Fils-Aime is a dunce. I still think this is his doing. The man is a grinning, beeping spectre, and I consistently have to remind myself that he is real, and not a practical joke being played on Nintendo by Sony or Microsoft.

  6. That description of Reggie just reenforces my idea of him as, more or less, a figure head for Japan. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Reggie and who ever heads NoE both have a person they report back to in Japan who isn’t Iwata.

    Like Chris said, this would be the traditional way things are handled and Nintendo corporate is a prime example of the traditional Japanese corporation. We ARE still getting these games, and I will be buying them from Gamestop. (I stopped raging against Gamestop. With digital distribution, they’ve become a slowly self correcting problem. Look at GAME in the UK…)

  7. Hm, perhaps my wording made it sound like I was happy with the way they runs things. Regardless of how, though I believe “how” is important, the bottom line is this: Someone is sorely, sorely mistaken. If it’s Reggie in the US or if it’s Iwata or some other contact in Japan, change needs to occur if we’re ever to receive all of those games we want most.

    The best way to fix a problem is to address the real source of it. To quote you again, “Japan is the country tradition wrought”. And we both know that wasn’t just your way of speaking highly of the country.

  8. @Mel: I am pleased to hear you are not happy with the current state of affairs!

    I think someone is mistaken, but I do not think we can finger Iwata for that, given that if NoJ were that adverse to releasing games elsewhere, they would adopt a policy in Europe that is the same as that being followed in America. Also, from what I understand, the release of third party titles in overseas territories is something that is generally pursued by the developer and the overseas department: that is, a release of The Last Story in America would be between Mistwalker and Nintendo of America (as it seems to have been, in point of fact).

    When I look at Nintendo pre-Reggie, and Nintendo post-Reggie, I can see a significant difference in their American focus, both in terms of marketting and in terms of the games we have received. This is certainly worrisome, because Nintendo of the past were hardly models of unfettered releases: quite the contrary, there was censorship, bully-marketting, and refusals to release perfectly excellent JRPGs. Yet, I would argue that, since the Wii, Nintendo has become even more negligent in releasing significant titles here, instead choosing to dump a deluge of shovelware and Facebook-style crap games on us, for which they charge more than either of their competitors, whilst delivering far less.

    Now, this pricing system and the immense egotism which lies behind it certainly originates in Japan, but I believe that the initial failure to get The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles here is far more to do with NoA than NoJ, given the ease (no, not even ease: but regularity) with which Europe was delivered these titles. When I look back at things like the refusal to re-release Mother 2 on VC, and the refusal to translate Mother 1+2 and Mother 3, despite widespread demand for these titles, I see a mentality endemic in the Nintendo system. Did it originate with Fills-Aim? No. But is he a champion of it? You betcha. He wants Nintendo to be the next Zynga, and he is doing his level best to make it so within the range of his control.

    The man is a gargoyle. He is pulling NoA down by degrees and, once he has achieved that, I hope he gets the sack and never works again. Though the reality is that he will simply move on to some other company, and he has so much money that he could live luxuriously forever in any case.

  9. “…if NoJ were that adverse to releasing games elsewhere, they would adopt a policy in Europe that is the same as that being followed in America.”
    My theory behind this is that the exec at NoE is probably making their case of an import better than NoA. You can add “inept” to the list of things I meant to say of Reggie. But I still don’t see him as directly trying to impede certain game’s progress here. As far as how things are run, developer-to-publisher-wise, I think you’re right. Mistwalker had to go through NoA. But if NoJ doesn’t give them the go ahead, what’s NoA to do? Again, I may be wrong here. I actually like your perspective on it, chiefly because I hadn’t considered it before but also because it simply points out that this is STILL a problem with Nintendo!

    “When I look at Nintendo pre-Reggie, and Nintendo post-Reggie, I can see a significant difference in their American focus, both in terms of marketting and in terms of the games we have received.”
    I think something to consider here is that both Reggie and Iwata got into their current positions at Nintendo around the same time. Within about a year of each other. Iwata’s Nintendo is very much the one responsible for that whole “address the casuals, blue ocean, grandma gaming” mentality that has been the impetus for all that shovelware, unfortunately. It’s brought some good ideas, and his reasoning for changing gears like this is because of a general decline of gaming in the aging population of….yup, Japan. The Wii was principally a Japanese business move meant to revitalize their market and secondarily an attempt to break out of the doldrums of the Gamecube.

    “Did it originate with Fills-Aim? No. But is he a champion of it? You betcha. He wants Nintendo to be the next Zynga…”
    I have a distinct feeling that a Japanese company this old and storied (and one I’d wager Yamauchi still has a hand in) would probably never give full authority to an American or any foreigner to the degree you’ve described. Any rotting of good faith and littering of their games library with filth is simply sequel to what they did with the NES and SNES only then they had developer support because they were the only game in town. Once that ebbed, the N64 happened. Nintendo is a company that has long proven to easily get high on its own farts. This time, it’s just a new coat of paint and some younger facing breaking the wind.

  10. @Mel: “Nintendo is a company that has long proven to easily get high on its own farts.”

    This.

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