Long gone are the days where titles upon titles would be unreleased within Western Culture; Or are they?
When I was growing up with video games, I always remember reading in magazines that certain titles would not be receiving European releases; The harsh reality must've been that Europe just wasn't into the Asian market of video games, titles such as Terranigma, Seiken Densetsu 3, Bahamat Lagoon, Clock Tower and Fire Emblem; But is that the case nowadays? Games such as Final Fantasy XIII had no trouble selling in both Europe and the States, sure, it received negative feedback, but none the less sold like hot cakes.
Game series such as Koei's hack and slash Dynasty/Samurai/Orochi Warriors still sell and whilst it might only be to a smaller niche market, sales are sales; Obviously this came into the release of Koei's online version announced just a short while back.
But what about the other titles that don't receive the fan base and sales that they deserve? Monster Hunter for example, whilst an amazing series suffers a lack of sales, even in it's latest iteration on the Nintendo Wii sales weren't as high as other Western games or even the more popular Eastern games, the PSP versions share a similar fate, but still manage to receive praise for being one of the top games for the PSP.
Some gamers might be unaware, but there is also an online version of Monster Hunter, currently only being hosted within the Eastern part of the world, but what stops developers from releasing amazing online titles such as Monster Hunter Online to the Western audience? Is it a lack of sales? Or maybe the audience in Asia is merely much more enthusiastic and the Western audience is merely seen as a waste; Koei and SquareEnix obviously did not think so when they released Dynasty Warriors Online, Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy IX.
Tecmo released Monster Farm Online (Monster Rancher Online) back in 2007 to the Eastern audience only, three years later the servers were switched off due to a lack of interest; Maybe this issue could have been solved by opening them up to the Western market? Translating it for the Western audience might have just been worth it, but who knows.
Maybe as the Western audience we merely dislike challenge? Games such as WoW and Guild Wars boom because of their simplicity to begin with and once you've reach the higher levelled area, you should have gained enough knowledge whilst going through these games to play competently, games such as Monster Hunter and Rancher feature much more difficult game play aspects - Is this what puts Asian developers off from releasing more games to us? Recently Monster Rancher DS was released in the US; Two years after the Japanese release.
Europe doesn't even get a release date and poor old Australasia can stop right there too.
Recently we were lucky enough to receive Recettear, a life sim-shop JRPG; Thankfully a studio picked the game up and translated it for those of us that speak English and got it released on Steam, this game sold so well, and formed a massive fan base giving hope to all Eastern based Indie developers.
Maybe there's a light out there for all of us that enjoy JRPGs and Asian developed games, maybe one of these days the Xbox360 will get more than 10 sales in Japan and Tenchu, Lost Planet, Monster Rancher and any thing outside of Square Enix's JRPGs will start selling in the West...
But here's hoping.