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Nintendo's  Xenoblade Chronicles  Finally Comes To America
Nintendo's Xenoblade Chronicles Finally Comes To America
December 2, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

December 2, 2011 | By Eric Caoili
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Bolstered by rave reviews in Europe and a fan campaign for its U.S. release, Xenoblade Chronicles for Wii will finally arrive in North America next April with a limited release via GameStop and Nintendo's site.

Xenoblade Chronicles is an open-world Japanese RPG from Baten Kaitos and Xenosaga series developer Monolith Soft. Nintendo acquired a controlling stake in the company from Bandai Namco in 2007, and made it a first-party studio.

When the Wii game released in Japan last June and in Europe/Australia several months later, it received critical acclaim in both regions (92 average on Metacritic) for its real-time combat system, modernization of the JRPG genre, and other achievements.

Despite enthusiasm for the title, Nintendo of America said in June that it had no plans to bring Xenoblade Chronicles to the States. NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime later admitted the company was watching its reception in Europe closely.

Gamers hoping to convince NOA to localize Xenoblade Chronicles and other titles launched an "Operation Rainfall" campaign shortly after the Japanese release that entailed emails, calls, and Facebook/Twitter messages posted to the publisher.

Though Nintendo now intends to bring Xenoblade Chronicles Stateside, distribution will be limited, available exclusively through GameStop retail locations and its own website. It has not explained why the game will not receive a wider release.

It's a similar strategy the company took in 2006 with Indieszero and Toshio Iwai's Electroplankton for DS, a quirky music game with limited appeal. Nintendo also sold Skip's Chibi-Robo! Park Patrol for DS exclusively through Wal-Mart in 2007.

While Nintendo's first-party release slate for Wii in 2012 still appears slim with just this and Rhythm Heaven Fever, two other Operation Rainfall-supported RPGs remain that are announced for Europe but not the U.S.: The Last Story and Pandora's Tower.

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Ujn Hunter
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Thank you Nintendo for allowing Direct Orders from your website. I have no interest in giving any money to GameStop and that would have been a deal breaker as much as I wanted to buy Xenoblade.

Jeferson Soler
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One down, two to go! Also, I'll be buying the game directly from Nintendo.

Andrew Esswein
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Go America

William Collins
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Buying directly from Nintendo to spark a trend of them selling titles with less mainstream appeal/cult followings? I'm guessing they'd save on marketing costs and the like. Hmmm, I smell something ...

Jeferson Soler
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So do I! With a strategic maneuver like that, it may boost Nintendo of America's confidence on releasing The Last Story, Pandora's Tower, and any other Nintendo game that has a cult following and that may sell big with the help of low cost marketing and limited release.