Operation Rainfall: Could there still be hope?

UPDATE: I questioned the OpRainfall crew about the info on Twitter and they responded: “It is from a person in Nintendo in a position to know the info posted. No more info at this time.” Not enough to help me sleep at night, but I’m aware that all “leaks” have to remain anonymous. Other sources suggest that the contact was traced to a Nintendo server, but I was unable to confirm this.

I’ll get this out in the open right now: this rumor reeks of the stench of typical fake leaks. “Oh hey, my buddy who works for Nintendo told me __________.” I don’t really have a strong opinion on whether or not this rumor is actually true, but I got a tip from a staff member and because of how intense this issue is I couldn’t be a self-respecting news editor for a Nintendo blog if I just sat on it. So I decided to let it simmer a bit and weighed it with all that I know about the current situation.

Apparently the guys at Operation Rainfall were informed by a Nintendo insider that a North American localization for Xenoblade Chronicles was actually completed about a month ago, with The Last Story trailing close behind. However, Nintendo of America does not currently have any specific plans for the games, as was reported on their Facebook page a few days ago. The source was unable to confirm whether Pandora’s Tower will join the other two RPGs.

Again, I have no real idea whether or not this source is legitimate, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have my suspicions.

I want to stress that if you are involved in any way with the campaign and preparing to send letters to Nintendo of America HQ, I am by no means suggesting that you cease and desist. Until an official announcement is made, I suggest considering these titles still “unconfirmed.”

There are a few things that, after giving them some thought, make sense if Nintendo of America is working on these titles but isn’t ready to announce a solid release for them yet. The first dates back to E3. Nintendo reps allegedly said that the two games didn’t appear at E3 because there were no plans to release them, but I’m not sure it’s quite as cut-and-dry as that. Consider that about half of the floor space Nintendo could have devoted to Wii was actually reserved for Wii U, leaving only about sixteen or so demo stations open for Wii demos. Cut that number in half given that most of those were Skyward Sword kiosks, and that leaves only a handful of space for other games. And do you really think that Nintendo’s going to give the spotlight to already-released games? No, they’re going to show off the never-before-seen stuff.

That’s all good and well, but why wouldn’t there be plans for the game even if they didn’t want to show it this year? Simple: Nintendo America’s release calendar isn’t finalized for any of their games yet. We don’t have a solid date for any of the still-unreleased titles that appeared at E3, on either the Wii or 3DS side. Naturally the ones they showed at E3 are going to get priority, which means that Xenoblade and company get the shaft… for now, at least. Nintendo of Europe doesn’t seem to be quite as bound to E3 hype-stroking as the American branch, so they can release things as they please.

Let’s not forget that even though Nintendo of Europe made similar comments about The Last Story getting localized a few months back, the game’s now confirmed to be on its way there, so it’s not as though denial necessarily means the doors are closed. Oh, and one more thing: Iwata’s commented on how Nintendo needs to ensure strong holiday sales this year:

Well, of course, no single entertainment device can enjoy eternal popularity. And when it comes to Wii, we have to understand that any potential sales are going to be affected by the seasonalities much more than before. If we cannot sell as well as we expect to during the holiday sales season, it’s going to be a grave concern for us. But right now, I think it’s premature to say, in terms of the current sales, what the one-year sales will be like.

Nintendo knows Wii needs to kick butt this holiday if they’re going to make up for the slow start the 3DS suffered this year. Iwata also recently talked about how long delays between announcement and release can impact sales, so perhaps they’re waiting to announce the RPGs to avoid that sort of decline. What better way to accomplish this in the states than by putting out a surprise holiday announcement for titles fans had almost given up on? Even if this won’t necessarily boost hardware sales, it’ll at least help in the software department.

Now, I said that I didn’t necessarily have an opinion on whether or not this information comes from a real source, and that remains true. I have no idea who told the OpRainfall guys about this and can’t vouch for the veracity of the information in any way, shape, or form. Even if the game has been localized, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be released – it’s happened before. Just bear all that in mind. My thoughts are just musings about why we might not have heard anything until now, not any sort of declaration that I think these rumors are true. At the same time, I don’t really think the movement is trying to dupe anybody either…at least I hope not. Goodness knows credibility is hard to come by on the Internet.

Source: Operation Rainfall, Mercury News via IGN

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