Staff Roundtable: Operation Rainfall
Could Operation Rainfall Revive the west's dormant love for the JRPG?
Today Xenoblade Chronicles is available for purchase in the US thanks, in part, to Operation Rainfall. To mark the occasion, a few members of the PixlBit staff began a dialogue concerning the future of the movement and if it’s at all possible that Operation Rainfall could revive the west’s love for the Japanese RPG.
Jesse Miller: Operation Rainfall sure has come a long way, hasn’t it? It seems like forever ago the movement began its outreach program to Nintendo of America; hoping to demonstrate that there was a market for Japanese RPGs in North America. With Xenoblade Chronicles amazingly being released today in the US (yesterday in Canada) and with The Last Story making its way to our shores in June it’s hard to say they weren’t a resounding success.
While the movement still has work to do – Pandora’s Tower is the last game on their hit list – there is a question that this whole thing brings to my mind. Could Operation Rainfall help to rekindle the west’s love for the JRPG? More importantly, could it revive what has become a niche genre here and put it into the forefront of the gaming community’s collective consciousness as it was in generations past?
Vic Roman: I definitely hope it can revive some JRPG love. I actually think a lot of JRPGs are cheesy and don't translate to English without a lot hitches. Recently I've been playing Tales of Graces f and it has a lot of flaws and a huge lack of innovation, but I'm still loving it. I'm hoping that Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower can help push forward a genre that seems to be stuck living in yesterday. That's the only way it will become a mainstream genre in the west again.
Angelo Grant: I think we have to look at why Operation Rainfall was a success first before we determine if it's the cure for the disease. I honestly think the reason it worked was it performed a function normally reserved for publishers, namely, they promoted the game.
When was the last time a JRPG actually got a clever, aggressive marketing campaign? I honestly don't even know. People keep calling JRPG's niche' but when I was in high school, everybody I knew was playing Final Fantasy VII and loving it, and that was one seriously Japanese game. All I really think that needs to happen in order for a Japan developed RPG that is fundamentally unique, like Xenoblade and The Last Story to enjoy success is for publishers to get them public attention. That's really all Operation Rainfall did.
So the answer to the question for me is yes, Operation Rainfall can help revive the genre, provided publishers learn from their example.
Jon Lewis: I know personally, Operation Rainfall is just one of the movements that is resurrecting the JRPG. The localizations of the games in the Tales of series are a big deal to me as well.
As far as what the games Xenoblade and The Last Story can do for the genre, I hope developers look at these titles and see that there is a way to break the mold, yet be completely true to the genre. I still have yet to see how it pans out in both games, but I've heard good things across the board, so its safe to say that their efforts were not in vain.
As Angelo stated, I definitely think Operation Rainfall can help as long as publishers and developers learn from what they have done.