It’s just been announced via Twitter that Dynasty Warriors VS will not be coming to 3DS outside Japan. There’s no reason given, however we do know that Dynasty Warriors VS didn’t do very well in Japan, selling a mere 10,000 copies in its first week despite the heralded appearance of Samus and Link as bonus characters. Who cares, right? The game bombed, why do we care? Doesn’t that justify no western release? Absolutely not, and here’s why I think Tecmo-Koei are blowing a good opportunity.
It’s as simple as this: THERE IS A MARKET FOR IT HERE. You may remember this article about Samurai Warriors Chronicles selling extremely well in Europe, to the point where it exhausted its entire shipment and ended up selling for twice the retail price on eBay for a short while. It was criminally undershipped, and Tecmo-Koei themselves admitted they underestimated demand for the game. By the way, I did find a copy of the game after all in a local store (happy ending!) and it’s very good. So anyway, now we’ve moved on from that, what’s their solution this time around?
Not releasing Dynasty Warriors for 3DS AT ALL! Wow, that’s a great way to avoid shortages! Why are they making the same mistake? First I want to address the “risk” issue.
“Oh gee Grubdog, the game MIGHT BOMB in the west too!”
IT VERY WELL MIGHT! However… the game is DONE, it’s already been made, it IS a bomb already! Translating it into English will not sink the company! The risk factor is slim to none. It’s far more risky NOT localising it based on it’s potential.
It’s not just a normal Dynasty Warriors game. The draw of Samus and Link is much stronger in the west, based on the fact that Metroid and Zelda are struggling franchises in Japan (Tecmo of all people should know this after Other M) and noticeably more popular in the west. The mere attachment of Link and Samus, however small it may be, is the reason people here are talking about this game. Reading the comments on various websites about this story, people care. It’s a small sample size, but I can say without a doubt it would sell more than 10,000 copies in Europe and America. That’s an easy goal, and Link agrees.
Let’s go way back, because Link doesn’t appear in many odd non-Nintendo games. Let’s look at the huge draw Link had in Soul Calibur 2; the GameCube version was the highest selling version on all three home consoles at the time, despite the console itself being a huge flop and having nowhere near the userbase of PS2. It got HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of free sales, ONLY because it had Link.
Japan did not share the same enthusiasm for Link, and this is the basis of my case. Soul Calibur 2 sold roughly 1 million copies in the US and 100,000 in Japan (just the GameCube version). That’s a 10 time increase which is not normal for this type of game when you compare both countries. So take that boost, and add Samus. Then add European sales (I can’t find any data for SC2 there). Suddenly the market for the game is a little less risky – in fact it’s bad business to ignore something with so much potential.
So I’ve made my case on why I think this is a bad call, but WHY has this happened? Are they just lazy? Maybe the game is bad; it did get lower reviews than Samurai Warriors Chronicles in Japan, and I heard some bad impressions of the demo. Samurai Warriors Chronicles was an abnormally good game for the series, Dynasty Warriors VS might not have lived up to those expectations. It’s feasible, but being crap never stopped Tecmo-Koei from releasing a game before, and I can’t judge a game I haven’t played.
Here’s what I think happened: they asked Nintendo to publish it. Nintendo, sick of doing all the leg-work for lazy third parties recently (Dead or Alive Dimensions), said “no, sorry, we have our own games right now”, so they gave up and cried all the way home, taking their game with them. It’s a crazy theory but it’s all I’ve got, and I would like to be proven wrong. That’s it, rant over. This is a game I would have bought, so I felt a duty to question this decision, but perhaps they did me a favour by saving my money. We’ll never know.