Namco Bandai shifts development focus to Japan

December 15, 2010 / 07:56 AM EDT / (@salromano)

Namco Bandai has announced its focus to shift development of new titles back to Japan, after its recent attempt at developing titles in the west proved unprofitable.

“We found the quality and development speed of titles made for us by the overseas studios to be lacking,” Namco Bandai President Shukuo Ishikawa said in an interview with Bloomberg in Tokyo yesterday. “Foreign studios can still propose and develop games, but our Japanese staff will control the process more closely.”

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is a good example in this situation. The game, although it received fantastic reviews, only sold an approximate of 335,000 units worldwide. The company’s expectations for the Ninja Theory-developed game were much higher.

Namco Bandai earns more than 70 percent of its revenue in Japan, and wants to increase western sales to half of its total by March 31, 2016.

Let’s start by localizing Tales of Vesperia (PS3), Tales of Graces F, and Tales of Xillia, then, eh?

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  • Anon.

    dam… i really need some “Tales of” on my ps3 :(

  • Chainermike

    It’s so refreshing to see them say this, usually all you hear from Japanese game makers these days is how they plan to westernize all their games to make them marketable here. If that went on for any longer i was afraid the traditional jrpg was soon gona fade away and all id be seeing anymore would be FPS :P

  • Yuri4prez

    They are doing it to themselves. Instead of wasting money on Dead to Rights and Splatterhouse, they should be bringing the games that fans are screaming, begging, and pleading to get in the US and EU territories like

    Tales of ANYTHING!!!!!!

    Instead, we just seem to get “Tales of NEVER GETTING IT! HAHAHAHA”

    • http://www.di.fm Spicy Chicken

      Hmmm, well to me, Splatterhouse was at least an interesting remake, no need to lump it with ‘Dead to Rights’, however other than that I completely agree.

      Ignoring a sizable number of people that want a game brought over while continuing to release generic games that sell significantly less is just silly, period. I mean, damn, there was at one point an online petition for a remake of Ace Combat 3, this time with it’s full (Japanese) anime storyline intact, did Namco listen? Did they do ANYTHING!?! Hell no.
      They could have even done it on PSN, would’ve been perfect, in fact, just release a localized version of Ace Combat 3, full storyline this time, in English… or just give us Tekken 2!?! Not even Tekken 3, no no… Tekken 2!?!? Seriously!?!?! Fans around the world asking for a faithful localisation of an existing PSOne title, and you give them a re-release of a game that well… nobody needs. Thanks… O_O

      I get that it’s more complicated for them than it is for us and that they have various factors to consider but come ON… there was a reason Namco (yes, before they were Namco Bandai, or Bamco as some call them) were such a huge force several years ago, and that’s because they stayed true to their roots. There was something special about almost everything they did at one point, and you got the feeling the creation of their games was fueled more by excitement at creating something cool and special to ‘them’ then it was pandering to some pre-conceived mainstream western audience.

      In other words, they weren’t trying to be western or Japanese for that matter, but rather, they were being themselves, which was actually the best solution anyway. After all, would you want your favourite artist to do what they thought you wanted? Or would you want to see their own vision and imagination brought to life?

      Bottom line, release some damn Tales of… games, it’s seriously bad business not to, and hopefully use this new initiative to do what you used to do best, which is making great games that sell on the value of the fun they are to play and the scope of their artistic vision, not some horribly unnatural attempt to pander to the fickle whims of the western world. (After all, why the hell do you think people want the Tales of… games so badly?)

      Oh, and Ace Combat 3 with full storyline on PSN, and let people KNOW it’s coming. You’d be surprised how much interest it’ll generate…

  • http://vikifanatic.deviantart.com/ Mistral

    They did this to themselves. Why are they so stubborn about it? Sure, JRPG gamers like me may be niche, but we’ve only stayed so niche because not everyone gets exposure. They need to take some necessary risks, and I hope it’s a push in the right direction. :/

  • Zero

    Enslaved released in a competitive market. It’s not easy for a new ip to go against games like that.

    I think most people just waited for Brotherhood, or went with Lords of Shadow.

    Despite that, I wouldn’t be surprised for Enslaved to be one of those games that sells a lot of copies over time. Thinking it would be a blockbuster success was a little bit silly.

    Ignoring the western fans that post on facebook and twitter is not going to help, you expect to profit when you purposely ignore consumers who are pleading with you to sell a product to them? …

    • Yuri4prez

      True, I really like the new Castlevania, but I still think Enslaved came out better. A lot of people missed this one exactly for the reasons you mentioned.

      As far as Tales go, it is truley sad that there are soo many people begging for the game, and Namco just turns the other way and makes another Dead to Rights game lol

  • http://blogeadorsolar.blogspot.com Palitococo

    Bring it Tales titles to us and keep developing rpgs.

  • FAUNA

    YES! Japanese companies should ALWAYS KEEP DEVELOPMENT IN JAPAN (NO MORE WESTERN OUTSOURCING OR TRYING TO ‘WESTERNIZE’ GAMES!). Japanese games are always better (it’s all about asian art & heavy stylization). ENSLAVED is an INCREDIBLE VISIONARY ART MASTERWORK (NINJA THEORY is one of the best western developers). PLEASE SUPPORT IT & BUY A (NEW) COPY, because you’re missing out & these are the kinds of games we should be demanding…

  • http://myanimelist.net/profile/PrinceHeir# PrinceHeir

    they can either localize one of the three PS3 Tales games, make a God Eater Console version or make another Namco X Capcom game.

    i want some crossover JRPG’s too.

  • Faize RoughKnightz

    Hopefully this will mean good news for Tales games.

  • Blades64

    I’m sorry but they can keep their Enslaved. I tried the demo for it anyway, and it was crap to me. Ninja Theory is getting crap from everywhere, and I don’t in the least bit care, because I think they deserve it. First they shafted Heavenly Sword (calling it a stumbling block and complained because it only sold 1.5 million worldwide). That game had HUGE potential and I really liked it. They just needed to fix a couple things and make a sequel…

    Namco is getting crap because of the lack of Tales games, therefore Ninja Theory is getting crap too. And don’t even start up on the whole DMC thing…

    In my opinion, they deserve it…keep the games developing in Japan and bring them over here.