Editorial – After the Rain

Xenoblade Chronicles Artwork

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.

Xenoblade Chronicles Box Art

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.

The Last Story

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.


7 thoughts on “Editorial – After the Rain

  1. I have to completely agree with you, Nester. Operation Rainfall has shown that not all fans react in an immature manner, and that being polite and professional can lead to results (as debatable as the influence actually was on Nintendo, XSEED and Gamestop). I’m proud that we were a part of the movement and both of us have done what we said we would do. I was ruminating this morning at how amazing it is to have The Last Story IN MY HOUSE in English and without needing to mod my Wii to play it. It was very satisfying. So yes, kudos to Operation Rainfall for showing the gaming world how to better cope with discontent. The Bayonetta 2 reaction has been embarrassing to watch, that it has. Be thankful to have a chance to play it at all, folks!

    1. Nester

      Yeah, for a long time, Xenoblade and The Last Story were games I was really hoping to get, and now, when I look over and see them sitting on my table, I feel really fortunate to have them. It’s still mind-boggling that Nintendo originally had no plans to bring them over.

      Too bad about Pandora’s Tower. I was legitimately interested in that one, and would’ve put down the cash for it, as well. But if you’re looking for a substitute, might I recommend Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers? 😉

      1. You know, I’ve seen Crystal Bearers used for cheap. I suppose I should pick it up tomorrow if I see it at the used game shop I am taking my games to. I’d like to see if it’ll appeal to me. 🙂

        1. Nester

          Actually, now that I think of it, if you didn’t like the controls in Skyward Sword, I’m not sure how you’d take to the liberal use of motion control in The Crystal Bearers.

          On the other hand, if you enjoyed the exploration in Xenoblade, Crystal Bearers has a very similar appeal.

          1. Well, the major problem I had with Skyward Sword was less the controls and more the approach Nintendo had towards its players. I understand that Crystal Bearers is more free with its approach, which I would appreciate. And I do love the exploration in Xenoblade. So I think I’ll give it a try if it’s still there. 🙂

  2. I actually have to disagree with you. I remember quite clearly after Nintendo made their whole, “We never say never” statement, the fans just exploded. It was extremely shameful, but I do give OR credit for staying the course and remaining level headed.

    1. Nester

      Yes, there was outrage from fans, but I was speaking specifically about Operation Rainfall. It was always their intention to run a positive campaign.

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