Following in the footsteps of Tales of Phantasia: In-App Purchases Edition for iOS, Namco has decided to release Tales of Hearts: Rebutcherization for iOS as well. Namco, pls. Stahp.
What are you doing? There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin. Usually, a developer doing a multiplatform release will release the game for all platforms at once, instead of piecemeal, one at a time. Doing this makes it seem like an afterthought cash grab. Which is what it is, obviously, considering how ludicrous the idea is to begin with. Are you seriously trying to release a game that requires precision button controls with many button functions for a touchscreen device? Are you at least going to fix the ludicrously broken plot and the disgustingly lazy animations? (I bet they didn’t.) Are you going to at least preserve the integrity of the game by making sure there aren’t obnoxious in-app purchases? (Because there’s such a great precedent for that in Phantasia: Witness the Miracle Orb, an item that will revive your party and buff you in case of a wipe at the low, low price of 170 yen!) Speaking of which, why are you releasing two of your products back-to-back? I know this is a typical Namco pattern, where you try to undercut your current product by hyping your next product before the first one even comes out, but can’t you space it out a bit? What was the rush? Are you scrambling to try to copy Square-Enix, as is usually the case these days? Here’s a hint: a turn-based game with menu controls is a lot more playable on a touchscreen than a real-time action game.
I know I might be sounding overly cynical, but there’s a good reason: since Namco claimed they didn’t localize Hearts R because no one has/wants a Vita, and everyone has an iPhone/Android device, Namco might actually decide to localize this version of Hearts, God forbid. I sure hope it sells well if they do, because it’ll be a deathblow the overseas Tales market can’t take if it doesn’t.
In other news, I have been informed that Absolute Zero Translations has claimed that they are collaborating with us on Tales of Hearts: Translator’s Cut, and that they in fact have been all along, ever since March 2010. I am not sure from where they got this delusion that they are translating Hearts, but nothing could be further from the truth. For one, if they were really translating Hearts for that long, how come they have so little progress to show for it? Psh and hogwash, I say.
So, what should Namco be doing instead? If you ask me, they should be coordinating with the overseas branches to produce localized versions of their big titles concurrently with the Japanese releases. They did a great job of that back with Vesperia, and I guess Xillia/Xillia 2 isn’t that bad, though Xillia 1 English came out after Xillia 2 Japanese. But look at your favorite rival, Square-Enix. Emotional Meltdown Overdrive Returns: Hallway Simulator 2013 is coming out what, next month in Japan, and February in North America? That’s how it’s done. It kind of lets the excitement from Japanese players, Western importers, and domestic localization players overlap a bit. … Or wait, maybe the whole idea is to get importers to buy the same game twice? I see how it is. Tricky, that!
Until next time, and keep an eye out for Tales of Link, hitting western iOS shores in 2015!