Namco Bandai reins in Western development

Publisher cites overseas flops as reason Japan staff will more directly oversee game creation going forward.

by

In November, Namco Bandai laid off 90 employees within its US base of operations. At the time, the Japanese publisher also indicated that it intended to scale down its development efforts in the West, moving the bulk of work done at its San Jose, California, studio back to its home region.

Splatterhouse's reception could be considered as gruesome as a two-by-four to the back of the head.

Speaking with Bloomberg this week, Namco Bandai president Shukuo Ishikawa offered more insight into the company's decision to rein in its Western game development activities. And according to the company president, the primary impetus for the move was a growing dissatisfaction with games created overseas.

"We found the quality and development speed of titles made for us by the overseas studios to be lacking," Ishikawa said. "Foreign studios can still propose and develop games, but our Japanese staff will control the process more closely."

Bloomberg specifically called out the sales flop that was Clash of the Titans (which was actually developed by Japanese studio Game Republic). The critically lambasted Clash of the Titans sold 250,000 units through October, a figure that came in far below Namco Bandai's projections of 700,000.

However, Namco Bandai has also been plagued by titles it had a hand in from start to finish. Most recently, the publisher received a weak critical reception for Splatterhouse, a game that gained notoriety after Namco Bandai dumped the game's Western developer, Bottle Rocket Entertainment. Other Western-developed Namco Bandai games included Ninja Theory's well-regarded Enslaved: Journey to the West and Afro Samurai, which spearheaded the publisher's Surge initiative to court gamers outside of Japan.

Discussion

115 comments
S0mEGuY12
S0mEGuY12

Here's the thing. We didn't want no damn effin Clash of the Titans from you. We don't want any movie based game. We also didn't want Splatterhouse from you. The game looked bad the first time I laid eyes on gameplay vids. What we DO want is what you're GOOD at making. JRPGs. Bamco is giving us crap we DON'T want or even asked for, and they're not giving us the stuff we DO want, such as the Tales series. Vesperia did extremely well for a Tales game, and made 360 sales skyrocket in Japan. Now we have this new Tales of Xillia game. Trailer impressed me to hell but guess what? I hear it's not going to be localized, which isn't surprising. If they think they're going to do well with games such as Splatterhouse and COTT, then they're wrong. They're flopping because of those very titles. They want to save money so they don't localize their famous games, and yet they develop these failures, and don't even sell half of their predicted sales as mentioned in the article. They could have saved money from not developing these games at all. MARKETING FAIL.

jknight5422
jknight5422

How can they blame Clash of the Titans? All movie-based games are flops. It's always a dumb idea to make them anyway. I can't imagine "Japanese control" of the games making them any better. Worse in fact. Just make it a policy to AVOID MAKING MOVIE-BASED GAMES.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

the people want Tales games, bring the damn tales games here then. on a side note, i get the feeling JRPGs would do a helluva lot better if they marketed them better, like commericials, put them in more game magazines, advertise it. they don't do enough advertising over here, cause most the games i play, i can go up to most people and ask "have you heard of 'insert title here" and they respond "no" make games your good at making and advertise better, and your incredibly likely to get better sales.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

sounds to me like they are afraid to blame themselves for making crappy games.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

If they just released more Tales games here they would be fine.I mean everyone saw how ToV did right?I mean just send the ps3 edition to us and instant sales.Bring your jrpgs out here you numbskulls i mean really.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

About the only games I buy from Namco are Tekken and Soul Calibur. Most of the rest don't interest me at all......

clqtte
clqtte

A lot people here said Tales games,that's way to go.

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

@Warlord_Irochi: Tru-dat. But Symphonia still has the #1 place in my heart for "Tales of" games.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

1) bring Tales games over her 2) release in both 360 and ps3 to please everyone 3) They actually sell 4)??? 5)profit

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@NColdhardt If I you mean that I must compare "Destiny" and "Abyss" (for example) with "Symphonia" and Vesperia" (idem), well... indeed; the last two menctioned are far better in general. As a personal opinion i must also say: There is no "Tales of " with a combat as satisfying as "Vesperia" Cheers :)

youngsexynerd
youngsexynerd

an u dont even have took like anime to like jrpgs, i dont watch much anime an jrpgs are my favorite type of games, tales of symphonia is one of my favorite games ALLTIME! an vesperia was 2nd to that, very good games! an i agree they need to do more marketing for these types of games, like they did for ff13 they did good marketing that game!

youngsexynerd
youngsexynerd

yeah i think all these japanese companys need to go back to their roots an start creating good jrpgs again, thats wat us americans realy want!!!!

Rhatik
Rhatik

you know what would boost bandai namco sales a freeroam open world DRAGONBALLZ GAME like GTA or {PROTOTYPE}

jarvool
jarvool

@ AnonYc I agree. It seems that the tales game are actually some of the better quality JRPG's out there this gen. Most others I don't even want to get into because of bad localization, shotty voice acting, cliche plots etc... I didn't want to even start star ocean because of the aforementioned reasons. White knight chronicles seemed to be a disappointment. other than that we're really left with ff13, vesperia and maybe resonance of fate.

nbba2
nbba2

Bandai, if you are reading this please release .hack//Link in English. We .hack fans are all waiting for it and promise to buy it. On december 17 we will start a special campeign for the localization of the game on the dothackers.net website. If you like .hack and would like to see the last game in English please join us!

AnonYC
AnonYC

Tales series doesn't do as well as it could in the west because of the lack of marketing Namco does. There are anime fans out there, fans who would love games like Tales of the Abyss, or Tales of Vesperia. However they can't love a game if never hear of it.

santinegrete
santinegrete

I want to make up for my angry post before. Here's an idea Namco: Do a localization without dubbing if you want it cheap (saves on actors) and experiment that WE WANT IT RIGHT NOW. I'm sure some anime enthusiasts can enjoy it that way. And I'm not half bad with it if the translation is well done and complete. Hell, english isn't even my first language. If some others disagree with this, they have all the right to do so, but also they can read :P

thingta42
thingta42

I really want that tales of Vesperia movie to be released and dub over into the west. Since it explaines alot of the backstories to the characters and it shows Yuri as a knight, which was only ever lightly touched apon in the game. And what about the ehanced port of ToV on the PS3? and Tales of graces on the Wii which has also been ported or is getting ported to the PS3 also. Seriously whats going off here Namco? three Tale games and a movie we're missing out of here.

Ovirew
Ovirew

I think Namco should focus on their core strengths, the franchises that come to mind when we think of Namco. I want to see some modern takes on classic Namco. Make Pac-Man a household name again and make him rival Mario for popularity, give Dig-Dug and Mr. Driller new games with modern concepts, create a Galaga game in 3D with a story and scary alien spacecrafts, give us a Katamari game that redefines instead of being a complete re-hash of the other Katamari games. Tekken 6 was fairly popular so keep that series going and one-up Street Fighter. And enough people here seem crazy about Tales games so, make some more of those. For the love of all that is good, stop making stupid games based off of anime franchises like Naruto and Dragonball. Make real games Namco.

kuraimen
kuraimen

Namco should have released Tales games on the west a long time ago. What the hell are they thinking?

oneligas
oneligas

Enslaved was cool but i guess no one else play it

pikastar
pikastar

Hmmm here is a thought, how about releasing the Tales games in the US? That's the kind of games many people want coming from you Namco.

thingta42
thingta42

After spending 250+ Hours on Tales of Vesperia i want more of it. Like i said ages ago, Namco are doing some silly things, they're making games no one wants to play *Cough Splatter house & Clash of the Titans* Yet the games people actually want such as More Tales games released outside of Japan, or that Tales of Vesperia movie which still Hasn't been dubbed, Heck even Soul Calibur V. Namco just doesn't seem to be intrested in doing. So like i've said before, Please Namco release more Tales games, ToV was my firsst one and really gotten into the series, but at this rate im gonna loose intrest if i don't get to play one within my lifetime.

animemaster0x70
animemaster0x70

localise some taiko no tatsujin games here(without taking out the japanese songs this time) and we`ll start talking.

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

No.. Seeing more and more people being laid off in the game industry is very disheartening when I am going into the field myself.

dipsetboy17
dipsetboy17

they keep publishing/making terrible western-oriented video games and they keep flopping. when a Japanese video game company tries to become something they are not, they lose their touch with the real fans and supports and slowly disappear. bring your tales games overseas and other Japanese games and you'll be fine.

sebetai
sebetai

I really wanted Tales of Graces. wonder if tales of the abyss will get an American 3ds release?

triggercy
triggercy

Christmas wish letter for Namco Bandai Dear Namco Bandai, Please localize the tales games for me this christmas. Its ok if its late for a month or 2. Just localize it.. Thank you... lol

triggercy
triggercy

I can't stop drooling whenever I think of Tales games.. I want to have them!!! for G sake please! Im tired of FPS everywhere!

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

@Warlord_Irochi: Check the old "Tales of" titles and compare them to the current ones. They're incomparable, quality wise.

penpusher
penpusher

hope this doesnt affect enslaved 2 ever appearing...

FLOWZMENTAL
FLOWZMENTAL

@thebloodytenth wrong company Dynasty Warriors is a Toei (Koei/Tecmo) game.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@NColdhardt All the companys seek profit, but Namco bandai is not one of those going for profit only. Just check the "Tales of" tittles.

NColdhardt
NColdhardt

@tjoeb123: By commercial, I meant that they make games for the sake of profit only. Look at the past Namco Bandai games, how many of them had online play, co-op or customizable characters? If they took out those aspects and stopped listening to people about the game's asthetics, they'd make better games. It's what most companies are doing nowadays. Like Square Enix and the newest Final Fantasy - they tried to make a game that would appeal to younger audiences and ended up producing (forgive me for saying this) crap.

Ongpower
Ongpower

It would seem that Namco's strong points are its anime based franchises. Perhaps they should consider that a part of their plan to localize it more for their fans. But it's true, though, they are having a hell of a time marketing to those that are unfamiliar with such games and anime, thus Japan's failed attempt to cater to Western gamers.

shesmycain
shesmycain

I don't mind seeing localized version of gundam games too.

thebloodytenth
thebloodytenth

This kind of self deception will not serve Namco Bandai very well. While I love a lot of Japanese games, Japanese are struggling like hell with the effort to combine creativity and mainstream compatibility....a couple of their games are innovative, but they dissapoint from a commercial point of view, or they do well commercially (at least in Japan) but it gets franchised to death....like their latest project Dynasty Warriors 213 - The Return Of Ghandi.

Ongpower
Ongpower

Tales is a great franchise to make more in demand here in the West. BUT. I think Namco's business approach is of the mainstream Western market. But their problem is that they are trying to compete with titles such as Call of Duty and God of War but the Japanese style of gaming is different than of the West. I think Japan's strength is in it's eccentricity of gaming and also they are a powerhouse of RPG's. I was surprised to see Sengoku Basara localized but at the same time they should really focus on their strengths and not try to make Western games but just great games in general. Kojima for example.

macca366
macca366

Localize Tales in the West, geniuses.

taxonomic
taxonomic

@rome_tx You better not, guy.

Shadownk
Shadownk

never liked their games, not even Tales series... Japanese games are generally weak in terms of story and gameplay

rome_tx
rome_tx

Namco will never learn. (i really need to change this avatar) lol

Legend002
Legend002

Seeing how big FPS is in the West, it is no wonder they keep their Tales game to themselves. Who can blame them, really?

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

They got caught sleeping on the job, and want to blame someone else. Give us the Tales games, and stop trying to be like Square-Enix. You don't need to branch out into different genres, just keep working on the ones you do well.

jasonharris48
jasonharris48

Hey Namco Bandai instead of publishing crap like Slaughter House how about releasing some of your Tales titles which aren't bad games what so ever.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

Namco wants to die because everyone wants Tales game, but instead they make western games that sells nowhere near Tales levels the hell are they thinking

JD_Escobar
JD_Escobar

as long as tekken is unaffected im gd, tho soul calibur 5 would also be good for the western market, but there rpgs do need some work

Krystyan68
Krystyan68

I haven't cared about any Japanese title in a long time, until they can come to grips with an industry that has passed them by big time, this won't change.