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On NCL, NOA, and Starfy

by Nick DiMola - May 22, 2009, 3:46 am PDT
Total comments: 19 Source: IGN

Up until now, everyone had resigned to the fact that NCL had control of the brands and truly made all of the calls as to what stays in Japan and what goes.

Considering the first Starfy title was released nearly 7 years ago, it begs the question, how long has NOA been making these calls? Not only that, but what other game series has it barred from release in America?

Of course, Disaster: Day of Crisis immediately comes to mind, considering that it was even released in Europe. The same goes for Trace Memory Wii, Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, Doshin the Giant, and Kuru Kuru Kururin.

I have to wonder what eventually made Nintendo of America cave on allowing the title to come to America (Rhythm Heaven too). When I originally imported Starfy, my immediate reaction while playing was "Wow, I can't believe they haven't brought this over yet." It felt accessible, fun, and very much like Kirby, a series that has thrived in America for many, many years.

Though Nintendo clearly makes a number of great business decisions, they also make a number of poor ones. Given all of the complaints during the GameCube era regarding droughts and lack of great software, you'd think an obvious choice would be to bring some of these Japanese titles to America to fill the gaps in the lineup, and possibly establish new, strong brands.

Given the release of Rhythm Heaven and the impending release of Starfy, let's hope we are witnessing some sort of trend where NOA, NOE, and NCL product listings are more congruent.

Talkback

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 22, 2009

Yeah, it's definitely a shame that other games in the series have been shafted. NoA might of not scene any sales potential, but Nintendo has published games that seem far worse than Starfy(not trying to say that the Starfy series is bad). Sometimes I hate the decisions that Reggie and co. makes, Doshin the Giant would of been a good release during a drought. But yeah Starfy could of been a great established series if Nintendo took a risk, and marketed it heavily during the GBA days. The platformer genre has never been an obscure genre for portables so I don't get why North America and Europe got to miss out on a great series. 

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorMay 22, 2009

Stop saying things about Trace Memory Wii not getting a US release.  That's lies.  Lies, I tell you.

::hides in a corner::

I'm confident that if this Starfy game does well the earlier games will come...to DSiWare.

TheBlackCatMay 22, 2009

Is it official that trace memory is not coming to the U.S.? 

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusMay 22, 2009

Quote from: TheBlackCat

Is it official that trace memory is not coming to the U.S.? 

Nope, UB is just being paranoid. I think that Nintendo would publish it in America since they published Trace Memory for DS and Hotel Dusk.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 22, 2009

But would their SALES prompt the decision to localize Another Code Wii considering the behavior of NOA?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterMay 22, 2009

To a certain extend, I understand why Nintendo didn't release Tingle in the US. He's a very hated character in the US due to blatant homophobia and intolerance of annoying Japanese characters. In other words, it would have been a game no one wanted.

But everything else? Not so much. Starfy would have been a solid hit thanks to being a classic platformer. Disaster, even with its issue, was very American so its absence was weird. While I do remain hopeful that Trace Memory Wii will happen I am disturbed by the fact that it received an European release first before the US, leading me to believe that Nintendo is using Europe as a dumping ground for games they believe might not sell in the US.

Ian SaneMay 22, 2009

In theory a game being "too Japanese" is not a bad reason for rejecting a game.  Some games just wouldn't be marketable in North America.  But Japanese games are popular here so it's got to be the really oddball exception that is seen as unmarketable.  Starfy doesn't look any more Japanese than Kirby or Mario.  People expect oddball goofiness in platformers.  So why is this game no good and Kirby and Mario are?  You got to be consistent here.  NOA should really ask themselves "is this really any more Japanese than anything else we've already had success with?"

CyrianMay 22, 2009

Don't forget Fatal Frame 4.

PeachylalaMay 22, 2009

Quote:

Though Nintendo clearly makes a number of great business decisions, they also make a number of poor ones. Given all of the complaints during the GameCube era regarding droughts and lack of great software, you'd think an obvious choice would be to bring some of these Japanese titles to America to fill the gaps in the lineup, and possibly establish new, strong brands.

The GCN didn't exactly set the sale charts ablaze, even though it was the most profitable out of all the systems last gen. The only new franchise that was successful and also started on the GCN was Pikmin. Besides that, nothing else was that successful in terms of sales.

In terms of respect, the only Nintendo company that ever got my respect was NCL. NOA and NOE can suck it for all I care.

StratosMay 22, 2009

I really do hate the lack of parity in region releases.

We still haven't gotten ASH, Soma Bringer, Fatal Frame 4 and others.

I do hope Another Code Wii comes here. It would be ridiculous to not as they already brought one over so the brand has already been established.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorMay 22, 2009

Quote from: Flames_of_chaos

Quote from: TheBlackCat

Is it official that trace memory is not coming to the U.S.? 

Nope, UB is just being paranoid. I think that Nintendo would publish it in America since they published Trace Memory for DS and Hotel Dusk.

I'm not being paranoid!  Mr. Jack made an allusion in his post about TMWii not being released stateside.  I just told him to shut up. :)

There were dry times during the GameCube era, but Starfy was always a portable series, and the GBA was hardly lacking for 2D platformers. I could understand NOA thinking it was too similar to their other games, but Starfy never struck me as being particularly Japanese in style. (Note: I haven't actually played any of them.)

Based on Starfy 4 for DS, I don't blame NOA for rejecting this series, but I've heard that is the worst entry in the series.

To be honest, though, I feel like this is more NOA not caring to figure out a new marketing angle. Atlus is able to sell VERY Japanese games in America--NOA clearly doesn't feel it can, or isn't interested in trying to do so.

KDR_11kMay 23, 2009

Come on, Stratos, noone will ever get release parity with Japan. Complaining about US<->PAL differences makes sense but Japan ALWAYS gets more than the rest of the world by a gigantic margin. There's so many Japan-only games that you can't even remember them all. For example you weren't demanding a US release of Chou Soujuu Mecha MG there :P.

I only played the first game, it didn't seem out of place in the platform genre. Can't complain about kiddyness or japaneseness either, it doesn't seem that much different from Spongebob.

Maybe they thought that it was too much like Kirby, and since Kirby was already established, there was no point in bringing over a Kirby clone.

There is always a point in bringing over a Nintendo-made platformer.

KDR_11kMay 23, 2009

Quote from: Lindy

Maybe they thought that it was too much like Kirby, and since Kirby was already established, there was no point in bringing over a Kirby clone.

Which is kinda silly since Starfi has almost nothing in common with Kirby, the only really shared attribute is the cuteness.

NinGurl69 *hugglesMay 24, 2009

Starfy has more personality than Kirby.

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