Just a few years ago Bandai Namco (it actually was named Namco Bandai back then) wasn’t exactly at the top of our list for the localization of Japanese games. Many of the publisher’s titles coming from the archipelago of the rising sun used to never come west, or to do so with extreme delays.
Nowadays, things have changed, and even titles that few would have expect to get a western localization like Sword Art Online or J-Stars Victory VS+ are hitting the western shelves, much to my joy. Bandai Namco’s localization policies are absolutely unrecognizable compared to what they were like in the past.
I’m sure I’m not the only one curious to hear the reasons behind this change, and there’s probably no better person to ask to than J-Stars Victory VS+ and One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Producer Koji Nakajima.
That’s exactly what I asked him during a recent interview, and believe me, the temptation to word the question as “Who are you, and what did you do with the real Bandai Namco?” was quite strong.
We’re actually not really sure if Bandai Namco has changed. Actually, you guys might have changed. What I mean is that actually there are more and more people who like anime contents and are also big fans of Japanese comics.
The reason why we are releasing this kind of titles is because there are actually more fans all over the world. Speaking of J-stars, as you know there are several challenges to publish this game overseas, but what we believe is that as long as there are fans, now it’s really time to answer their voices.
I strongly believe that this will be a really good move to release J-stars overseas.
And I couldn’t agree more. Once upon a time we had to rely on NIS America, Atlus and Xseed to be able to play most titles strongly rooted in the Japanese gaming culture. The entrance of a publishing giant like Bandai Namco in that market can only bode well for those of us that love this kind of titles.
Unfortunately there are still a few publishers (I’m looking at you, Sega) that really need to up their game on this front, but hopefully Bandai Namco will help setting a new trend.