Was Operation Rainfall a Success?

With the announcement of The Last Story coming to North America, Operation Rainfall’s work appears to be almost done. Their third and final objective is Pandora’s Tower, which is launching in Europe about the same time North Americans will get their hand on Xenoblade Chronicles. On the surface it appears their grass roots movement has been a success: Operation Rainfall supporters made their presence known to Nintendo and pushed Nintendo with American fan power to get the titles out here… right? Honestly, I have a feeling NoA hardly considered Operation Rainfall and its supporters when making their decision. Chances are, they were thinking about Europeans.

It’s no secret that that the North American and European markets tend to overlap a lot more than with Japan. Just look at this week’s Media Create sales figures for Japan, where the Xbox 360 was successfully outsold by the PlayStation 2. No, not PlayStation 3. Two. The second iteration. In fact, when NoA was asked about Xenoblade Chronicles, much like most of their other previously unlocalized titles that hit Europe, Reggie gave his typical response of watching to see “what happens in Europe.” And sure enough, that’s probably why we’re seeing NoA actually take the step forward. While Nintendo of Europe hasn’t announced any official numbers, Xenoblade Chronicles sold well enough that the initial shipment quickly dried up. That alone is a good indication that the title had some demand, at least enough to catch NoA’s attention. The Last Story’s localization is possible probably due to the fact that the audiences for each title are nearly identical.

So, does Operation Rainfall deserve any credit? It’s hard to say. There are a lot of loud fan bases out there. Nintendo’s very own Mother series quite possibly has some of the loudest ones. I’m sure we all know that first hand because… Well, just look at how many Mother marathons we’ve had. Despite how loud these fan bases get, rarely do things go their way, especially with large companies who only support a one way form of communication: from themselves to their consumers. I highly doubt a flood of letters asking for Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story did much in terms of getting NoA to take action.

If anything, where Operation Rainfall played a roll was raising awareness of Xenoblade Chronicles to European consumers. A lot of gaming press sites overlap between the European and North American regions, so I’d imagine it’d be hard for Europeans to ignore the sudden uprising of fans screaming at Nintendo via the internet. Would Xenoblade Chronicles have sold as well otherwise? Who knows. But it’s hard to deny that many European gamers – who may have had no idea what Xenoblade Chronicles was – suddenly knew about the title, along with two other releases.

At the end of the day, I doubt those behind Operation Rainfall care all that much about the impact they may or may not have had on Nintendo. The goal was a stateside release of all three titles. Even if we miss out on Panodra’s Tower, it’d be hard to be completely dissatisfied at the end of the day with two quality titles hitting North American shores.

8 thoughts on “Was Operation Rainfall a Success?”

  1. Oculin you do know that it’s XSEED that’s bringing The Last Story to North America not NoA right?

    Because I think it’s clear that Rainfall didn’t work. Xenoblade Chronicles will suffer a case of being released too late now that Nintendo is most likely going to bank on the Wii U from this point onwards (doesn’t help that anyone who was THAT interested in Xenoblade has probably already imported it… and even then the game sold pretty badly), I don’t think that The Last Story will do well considering I don’t think that any of Sakaguchi’s solo output hasn’t been all that special critically and commercially and Pandora’s Tower was probably made to show that Ganbarion can make stuff that isn’t animé (If you want to know how well this game does in the UK, Look up the sales of Sin and Punishment 2 and cut a zero off).

  2. Not to mention that NoA took the easy way out with Xenoblade Chronicles- only selling the game through their website and their exclusive retail partner, in both cases only printing enough copies to cover preorders with a few extras.

    They’re not willing to take a risk on any of these three titles- XSEED bought the publishing rights to The Last Story in North America and assumes any loss, and with how few copies are being made of Xenoblade Chronicles(in a direct relationship to the number preordered) the risk of loss is minimal, including the fact that costs are being shared with GameStop, the aforementioned partner.

    In a business sense- the Wii is already dead to NoA; they want the work to be done by third parties so they can focus on the Wii U and 3DS, so unless XSEED wants to bring over Pandora’s Tower as well or Xenoblade Chronicles does well enough that another exclusive retail partnership looks tempting, I doubt it’ll see NA shores.

  3. If it were any company other than Nintendo, I would agree that XSeed publishing it would mean nothing from Nintendo’s standpoint. But this is something that happens once in a blue moon for Nintendo. The last time I ever recall them handing their property to another publisher was with Atlus and the 2002 release of Cubivore. Who knows what the deal is between the two behind the scenes, but they’re taking a risk allowing another company to step on their property, something their usually over protective of.

    For Xenoblade, shared between GameStop or not, they see that the title could have potential here to make a profit. Something that couldn’t be said before the European release, as it sounded like NoA had no intentions of localizing it. Like I said, the market for Xenoblade is small and the fact they went with a game stop exclusive release + online site orders is a clear indication of their knowledge of that.

    1. I think it’s more likely that GameStop was the one who approached Nintendo about localizing Xenoblade, which would not only explain why they have the semi-exclusive, but also why Nintendo backed out of all the Amazon.com pre-orders from last summer that pushed it up to the top of the sales charts. (That’s how Operation Rainfall got started, remember?)

      Also, XSEED’s Tom Lipschultz has, in fact, said that it was XSEED who approached Nintendo about The Last Story. (I wonder if they’re developing a business relationship, because when XSEED localized Solatorobo last year, they were able to use Nintendo of Europe’s English translation.)

      You would be right that Nintendo, itself, probably wasn’t listening to Operation Rainfall, but it’s likely that these third-parties were, and thus they were the ones to respond to it by getting involved. If that’s the case, then you can’t say Operation Rainfall had no effect, as GameStop and XSEED may not have approached Nintendo otherwise.

  4. The Japanese take so long to make and localize a game already and this was just for WII. Games are even bigger now with HD… It’s kind of scary because of how powerful the WII U will be… how long will it take a game to be developed for the U? If games like Skyward Sword take 5 years? I do believe Rainfall was a success at least North Americans will finally be able to play these two great games this year. I hope that Nintendo gets on the ball this next gen and releases more great games like this but a lot earlier not 6 years after there system came out. If this game came out in ’07 then obviously it could of had a lot more potential to sell more copies but it’s 2012 now. The WII has been digging its grave waiting to jump into it right when the U releases. One Zelda game does not make up for the dryspell over the last couple of years Nintendo. Making us beg for you to bring and localize some of the WII’s best games is messed up.

  5. “Even if we miss out on Panodra’s Tower, it’d be hard to be completely dissatisfied at the end of the day with two quality titles hitting North American shores.”



    Also what are these two high quality titles? I only see Xenoblade and The Last Story 😛

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