"It Was My Own Fault," Fired Nintendo Employee Says
"You believed in me and supported me and trusted me and I've failed you."
Nintendo of America has reportedly fired an employee following his appearance on a podcast last week where he talked about the company's culture and business practices. The employee in question is now-former Nintendo localization editor Chris Pranger, who confirmed his departure on Twitter.
"As some of you may have heard, yes, I was fired yesterday," Pranger wrote. "Yes, it was ultimately my own fault. No, I did not see this coming."
Pranger--who joined Nintendo in 2012--appeared on the Part-Time Games podcast on August 3 (listen to it here), and talked frankly about his job as a localization editor at Nintendo's Treehouse division.
One comment in particular that appears to have caused a stir is what Pranger had to say about the business considerations behind the localization process. Specifically, he called out the people who say to Nintendo, "Why do you hate money?" when Nintendo chooses not to localize a Japanese game.
"People think that obviously they're right; and what they like or dislike has to be the norm," he said. "Why would it be otherwise? The classic, 'Why do you hate money?' 'Why do you hate money, Nintendo?'. But it's like, what are you talking about?
"Yeah we do want money, which is why we know it's a colossal waste if we ever try to localize that in this current market," he said about Captain Rainbow specifically. "Because, look at you people, you don't make up a big enough group."
Generally speaking, people don't understand just how expensive it is to localize Japanese games. There are costs involved in the areas of translating, localization, marketing, and voice acting in some cases. Put those figures together, and you're looking at a "colossal cost," Pranger said.
"People don't like finding out that their fanbase is actually too small to justify the cost of the thing they want" -- Pranger
One Japanese RPG that made its way to the West was Xenoblade Chronicles, which Nintendo of America decided to localize after a fan campaign. Pranger said Xenoblade Chronicles is not a big money-maker for Nintendo.
The game only made it to the United States "by luck," he said, noting that it was "guaranteed to not sell enough" copies to justify the costs associated with the localization process. Nintendo of Europe "took the fall" and ate the costs for its localization, Pranger claimed.
"People don't like finding out that their fanbase is actually too small to justify the cost of the thing they want," he said.
It is unclear which comments in particular Nintendo reportedly took issue with. A Nintendo representative told GameSpot, 'We have no comment on this topic other than to wish Chris the best in his future endeavors."
In a now-deleted Facebook post written at 4 AM, captured by NeoGAF, Pranger completely owned up to what he called a "stupid judgment call" that ultimately cost him "far more than [he] could have imagined."
He said he's spent the last week "in a miserable place" once news stories from his podcast appearance started appearing on Nintendo fansites and elsewhere. Pranger never thought one instance of poor judgement would get him fired, but that's exactly what's happened.
"I've lost the only job I really knew or ever intended to know. Since leaving high school, I've had a singular goal in terms of a career," he said. "It got me through college and pushed me through the difficult time immediately after college where I learned just how crippling it was to have an English degree in the job market. I applied for six years straight for my job. Even before that, I'd made my entire identity around my hope to one day have this perfect job. I was mocked here and there as 'Nintendo Boy' from maybe middle school on, but I thought that if I succeeded, it'd all be worth it. And now it's gone and I honestly don't know how to handle myself.
"I look around my house and see images of my son and feel such intense shame and crippling sadness," he added. "How do I share this part of my life with him? How do I cope knowing that I've failed him? Even before this I'd been struggling to want to provide better for him and my wife, knowing that due to my student loans, I wouldn't be entirely debt-free until I turned 40. That's not a hyperbole either. I'm just now barely under $100,000 in student debt and my last payment is scheduled for the same year that I turn 40.
"I'm so sorry to everyone. I've failed you. You believed in me and supported me and trusted me and I've failed you. I've failed me."