Japan's vigorous game development industry puts out quite a few games that are never translated into English. Some of them are unlikely to see popularity or success on this continent, but others simply beg for translation. Here is a crop of interesting games that haven't yet been announced for translation, along with their chances of crossing the pond. Hopefully they'll be coming to machines near us over the next couple of years.
Nobunaga's Ambition is a series of tactical games that involve taking over ancient Japan. Pokemon x Nobunaga's Ambition is a crossover tactical game that involves taking over ancient Japan... with Pokémon. Wait, what? It sounds crazy at first, but what Pokémon player hasn't wanted to put those cute little gladiators to the test in some real combat? Honestly, this game sounds far more interesting than Pokémon Black and White 2, which is just more of the same thing we've been doing for ages. Bring it over, Nintendo, we want to smash some shogun with a Snivy!
Chances of Localization: So-so Most Pokémon games and spinoffs come to North America, but Nobunaga's Ambition has never been translated before. Sadly, Nintendo may be unsure if this crossover has an audience here.
NAMCO Bandai's Tales series has a small but rabid fanbase in North America, and for good reason. These action RPGs are known for excellent combat systems and entertaining characters. Tales of Xillia is the latest flagship game in the series and features attractively designed characters that come to life with lovely cel-shaded graphics. It's been out in Japan since last summer, and reviewers there report that the combat system is accessible and fun, continuing to improve on the tried-and-true Tales system. There's an audience hungry for quality JRPGs on the PlayStation 3, so this one seems like a no-brainer to bring over.
Chances of Localization: Very Good Most of the major Tales games come out in English, and Xillia has received an excellent reception in Japan. NAMCO Bandai can be slow at translation, however, so don't expect it anytime soon.
Originally known as Final Fantasy Agito XIII, Type-0 is an ambitious, serious portable RPG. It features a group of students in a military academy when their kingdom is invaded by a hostile foreign force. The combat system is real-time and allows the player to switch freely between playing three party members in order to build up combination attacks. The game is said to be massive, spanning two UMDs on the PSP. Unlike the mixed reception that the main series Final Fantasy games have been receiving lately, Type-0 has been highly praised by most reviewers.
Chances of Localization: Possibly on Vita Normally, Final Fantasy games are a given for translation, but it's unusual these days for one to come out in Japan before it has been confirmed for North America. Rumor has it that Square Enix is considering a Vita release of the game in North America, so we'll have to see.
The original Little King's Story was a cult favorite on the Wii, with a wicked sense of humor and a healthy dose of dark satire hiding behind the cute childlike graphics. In the game's Vita sequel, King Corobo has grown from a wild-eyed child into a smug-looking teenager. He'll still be training peasants up into an army and tossing them at enemies, but his world is looking considerably less crayon-colored. We're looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble the not-so-little king gets into this time around.
Chances of Localization: Near-Certain LKS Vita has been announced for localization in Europe already, and Konami is likely to announce it for North America in the coming months.
(3DS, Vita, PSP)
This portable adventure game is developed by Level-5, known for the Professor Layton series and recent Dragon Quest games. It's set in a future Tokyo, during the time period just before an unspecified disaster. The game's heroes are quite varied, ranging from an up-and-coming news broadcaster to an unemployed, recently dumped man who has taken to acting like a costumed hero. The central mystery in Time Travelers revolves around a gigantic tower in the middle of Tokyo that acts as the city's power source. Time Travelers has an interesting premise and an intriguing cast, and it looks gorgeous.
Chances of Localization: Anybody's Guess Many of Level-5's games come out here, but adventure games aren't known for their popularity in the English-language world these days. Time Travelers seems like it would appeal to gamers who enjoy things like the Persona series, though, so who knows?
Date: February 28, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*