When I first decided to support the fan movement Operation Rainfall back in summer 2011, I understood that it was like a promise to actually buy the games I was asking for if they should happen to get released in North America. I have so far made good on that promise, having pre-ordered and purchased both Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story. While I’m still working my way through both of them, I’m enjoying them immensely. In fact, it would be fair to say that these games have gotten me back into RPGs.
A few weeks ago, Operation Rainfall wrapped up its campaign with a final push for the one targeted game to still be without a North American release, Pandora’s Tower. At this point, it seems increasingly unlikely that Pandora’s Tower will make it across the ocean, but all things considered, two-out-of-three is pretty good. There are different ways to measure the success of a fan campaign like Operation Rainfall. Whether or not the games they campaigned for actually saw release is one. Another would be to measure the amount of influence they actually had. This is debatable.
If hearsay is to be believed, it was the retailer GameStop that approached Nintendo of America about helping to pay for the publishing of Xenoblade in exchange for making it a GameStop (and Nintendo Store) exclusive. I can see Operation Rainfall playing a part in this, as I think GameStop is far more likely to react to fan demand than Nintendo, itself.
XSEED Games, on the other hand, has denied any influence from Operation Rainfall in their decision to publish The Last Story. Not out of any discrediting of the fan movement, mind you, but rather it was simply the case that, unbeknownst to the general public, XSEED was already pursuing the publishing rights even as Operation Rainfall was just getting off the ground.
Would Operation Rainfall have had any influence if that wasn’t the case? Well, XSEED’s lack of interest in publishing Pandora’s Tower may answer that question.
Still, the bottom line is that two games that North American fans wanted to play (without having to import, pirate, or mod their consoles) were made available in their region. Even just a year before, it seemed a real possibility that Xenoblade and The Last Story would stay out of reach. Simply being able to play these great games is a victory.
But influence and game releases aside, there’s an even greater success here that isn’t being recognized as much as it should be. Recently, with the announcement that Bayonetta 2 will be released exclusively for the Wii U, the ugly side of the gaming community reared its wretched head. Fans of the original were enraged that not only will they have to buy a new console to play the sequel to one of their favorite games, but a Nintendo console at that. (It’s hard to imagine the same anger if the game were announced for a new Xbox or PlayStation, even though buying a new console would still be required.) Responses ranged from simple immature spewing of foul language to irresponsible death threats being made against the developers. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time gamers have responded in this fashion, and it won’t be the last.
But it should be noted that this is not how Operation Rainfall responded last summer after Nintendo made it clear that there were no plans to release Xenoblade, The Last Story or Pandora’s Tower in North America. Rather, the reaction was cool-headed organization and mature communication. There was no foul language, no boycotts, no death threats, no antagonism of any kind. They set a great example for how fans should act, and it’s what they deserve recognition for. It’s why they’re a group that I’ve been proud to support. This is the better side of the gaming community, and that’s Operation Rainfall’s biggest success.
After slogging through the muck that is the Internet gaming community, there’s nothing like a cool, refreshing rainfall.