Way back in the old days, my compadre Plagiarize and I used to debate Nintendo vs. MS/Sony in the console wars. A long-time Nintendo nut, he was very excited about the new DS and the upcoming “Revolution” console. Having seen the DS and read a lot about the Revolution’s just-announced motion controls, I stated they were toys, not real gaming consoles. Gimmicks as opposed to real game-making technology.
Now the Revolution is the Wii, and I’ve been proven mostly wrong. Why mostly? Because Nintendo is apparently dead set on the Wii being nothing more than a casual game delivery system intended for people who don’t normally play games.
The latest evidence? Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, the fourth game in the series, was released in Japan last year. The Suda-51 designed game was intended to revitalize the franchise by using the Wii’s excellent FPS-style controls to work the Camera Obscura. Word from Japan is that the game does just that, some saying it’s the most entertaining entry to date.
We’ve been waiting for word of a North American release ever since. It was assumed. I mean, here we have a tried and true franchise that has had at least minimal success in the English-speaking world. The development is done; all that you’d need would be a decent localization, and every penny it makes beyond that budget is gravy.
It’s not to be, however. Tecmo has announced that Nintendo has decided not to release FF4 in North America. Nintendo has publishing rights so it’s their call, even though the company behind the game, Tecmo, is very unhappy with that decision.
Since just about anything released on the Wii these days makes cash, one would think this would be a sure thing. Apparently that doesn’t matter to Nintendo, and that leads to some very troubling questions. Could this decision be a sign from Nintendo that they want to stick to ‘non-core’ games? Is this indicative of the choice to steer future Wii titles away from serious Mature-rated content and towards yet more family-friendly shovelware? As one person who commented on the original article at 1up stated, if they renamed this Scary Photograph Mama, then Nintendo would publish it in a second.
Let Nintendo know what you think about this decision. Go buy some of the very worthy horror titles out there for the Wii and demonstrate that there is an audience for Fatal Frame.
In the meantime, while I really enjoy my Wii, it’s starting to resemble a $250 toy more than a real game console.
– Mr. Dark
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