Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Forum | deviantART | tumblr. | Google+

Questions or Suggestions? Contact Us

Until Xenoblade Chronicles


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #32 ☆╮

Location Profile: The Bionis Leg

The Bionis Leg is the second open area in the game and is of course on the Bionis Leg. This is probably the most well known area for those that have yet to play the game, as it tends to be featured a lot in images. The area is huge, consisting of two separate levels. Gaur Plains is the wide field the party will first see when they enter onto The Bionis Leg. There are many kinds of enemies here, and at many different levels. Explorers should be cautious as there are some enemies in certain areas that are well over level 50.

Did Operation Rainfall Work?

Please read the following articles and see what they have to say about it.

Operation Rainfall Interview with 3DS Buzz

The interview Operation Rainfall's co-leader Ryan Tyner did with 3DS Buzz has been posted on their website. Check it out, and like, share, and comment on the article.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

~ ☆ Group Discussion ☆ ~

Here is a question for all of you, the followers of Operation Rainfall. It has been a long time coming, and we have had quite a lot of success on our journey since the very beginning. It all started on the IGN message boards with original poster 'themightyme' starting something that was lying dormant within us all this time, and with the original push on Amazon with their Monado listing.

We are at a bit of a turning point, and we just wanted to hear what everyone feels about Operation Rainfall and where it is going.

So, to everyone: What do you think about Operation Rainfall's direction? Where do you see it headed? Do you want to see it grow, or should we enjoy our success and games, and move on? 

It is really up to the community to figure this out. There are a few people among the staff who have contributed incredible amounts of time and energy for this project. What they need is more community support. Are there more willing and able people to help carry the Operation Rainfall torch into the future?

Our work is definitely not over. If we want to see Pandora's Tower, then we have to work together like never before. This discussion is more about the direction that everyone feels Operation Rainfall needs to go during and beyond that point.

This is mainly a discussion to get an understanding about everyone. What they want to see, and more importantly, what everyone can contribute to help carry this 'organization' further. No longer can Operation Rainfall be carried on the backs of a few; it must be held up as a group, as an organization, and as a cohesive body of members who are willing to support it. 
This is a chance for everyone in the community to voice their opinion. This is for everyone to open their mind about what they want to see with this movement. Let out your opinions and views. Don't worry if your idea is good, bad, too practical or too ambitious. 

Thanks for participating in this movement. Now, it is time to ponder a little bit about what we all can do. Please comment.

GameSpot Review of The Last Story

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #33 ☆╮

Character Profile – Sharla

Sharla is a 21-year-old playable character in Xenoblade Chronicles. She wields a rifle that uses 
ether energy, which she uses to great effect for defensive and healing purposes. She is sometimes referred to as “medic” in-game.

When you first meet her, Sharla lives in Colony 6 with her younger brother Juju. Sharla is a clear thinker, able to keep a cool head in a bad situation. She hates the Mechon for everything they've done in the past, vowing to “scrap each and every last one” of them.

✤ EBGames Canada Now Accepting Pre-orders For The Last Story ✤

Great News for Canadians! You can now pre-order The Last Story from EBGames!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Operation Rainfall Interview with Ars Technica

The interview Operation Rainfall did with Ars Technica has been posted on their website. For those unfamiliar with Ars Technica, they "are a publication devoted to technology that caters to technologists and IT professionals". They have a large reader base and this was a great opportunity for our campaign, so check it out, and like, share, tweet, and comment on the article!

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #34 ☆╮

Art Symbols

The pictures of Arts that go in the Battle Palette tell you about the Art. Pink attacks are capable of inflicting break, green can inflict Topple and yellow can inflict Daze. Red Arts are just general attacks, purple inflict status effects. Blue Arts are to be used on your own party members, and orange are Auras.

EB Games to include exclusive art book with Xenoblade Chronicles Pre-order.

Good news for our Canadian friends, you will also be getting the exclusive art book when you pre-order Xenoblade Chronicles from EB Games.

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #35 ☆╮

Live Quests. On very rare occasions in Xenoblade, you might stumble upon a live occurring quest while exploring the world. What this means is that if you are at the right place, at the right time, in the right conditions, you might trigger a quest. It will pop up and tell you the details and has to do with a situation occurring close by such as you have to save somebody being attacked by a monster. These appear to be quite rare but none the less, are a nice touch.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rumor Xenoblade Chronicles may be available through pre-order at Gamestop.

Though this might be just a rumor I hope you all take this into consideration, remember we're telling you to pre-order for your own good. We are not forcing you, but it wouldn't hurt to do it just in case whether this rumor is true or not.
Just to clarify - even if the rumors don't prove true that Xenoblade is pre-order exclusive, there is no guarantee that you will get the game right away. Recent launches of niche titles (such as Tales of the Abyss 3DS and other JRPGs) saw only 2-3 copies on store shelves. The people that missed those copies ended up having to look to eBay, with copies going as high as $80-100.

Even if you aren't the type of person to typically pre-order, it is still HIGHLY recommended.

Remember that you do not HAVE to pre-order with GameStop, there are other alternatives, such as Nintendo's own online store.

You don't want to be that person looking for Xenoblade used hoping it will go down only to find it holding it's value for years, and missing out on one of the most critically acclaimed RPGs of this generation. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #37, 36 ☆╮

Quest Log.The Quest log can be accessed from the menu and is used to help you keep track of quests. You can check new quests, current quests, as well as completed quests. You can also select different categories so that you can check only new quests, or only current quests, or quests in specific locations.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Amazon puts up a Tentative Boxart for The Last Story

Amazon puts up a tentative boxart for The Last Story.

Never happier to see that XSEED logo!

List Of English Voice Actors For The Last Story

We found this from a post on GameFAQS
Apparently it lists all the English voice work done in The Last Story

Zael - Jack Ryder
Calista - Alix Wilton Regan
Yurick - Colin Ryan
Syrenne - Kelly Wenham
Mirania - Montserrat Lombard
Lowell - Derek Riddell
Asthar - Tom Goodman Hill
Therius - Daniel Curshen
Arganan - Peter De Jersey
Jirall - Blake Ritson
Zangurak - Nick Boulton
Zesha - Josh Cohen
Zepha - Antony Byrne
Outsider - Jo Wyatt
Ariela - Maria Darling
Warren - Lizzie Waterworth-Santo
Kentis - Antony Byrne
Horace - James Daniel Wilson
Meredith - Jo Wyatt
Zoran - Rupert Farley
Yurick's father - Tim Watson
Zael's mother - Louiza Patikas
Jeffery - John Voce
Narrator - Chris Fairbank
Lazulis Knight - Andy Buchan
Lazulis Guard - James Barriscale
Citizen - Nigel Pilkington
Sorceress - Maria Darling
Dagran - Nico Lennon

Nintendo Confirms Artbook Included with Xenoblade Gamestop Pre-orders

UPDATE: This includes EBGames as well

Nintendo Confirms Artbook Included with Xenoblade Gamestop Pre-orders

"Xenoblade fans! Hint, hint: a collectable artbook is included with every Xenoblade GameStop pre-order. Treat yourself to eye candy."

They just posted this on their wall. Make sure to like, comment on, and share their post.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

✤ Amazon is Now Accepting Pre-orders For The Last Story ✤

✤ Amazon is Now Accepting Pre-orders For The Last Story ✤
UPDATE: Fixed Link
They have the release date listed as June 19

Limited Edition Teaser Trailer for Europe

GameStop taking The Last Story Pre-orders for June 20th

We got reports that GameStop is accepting pre-orders for The Last Story to be released on June 20th. We then called a local GameStop and confirmed this to be true for ourselves. The game is not listed on Gamestop's website as of yet.

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #40, 39, 38 ☆╮

Reviving Characters
You won’t find any Phoenix Downs or Max Revives in this game! Instead, reviving characters requires you to sacrifice a bar of your Party Gauge. The Party Gauge can be filled by using moves correctly (such as using Back Slash from behind) and by combining certain Arts. It may be wise to avoid using a Chain Attack in a difficult battle, as you may need to revive a party member instead.

A party member who loses all of their HP during battle will be automatically revived at the end of it. There are also Gems in Xenoblade that increase the amount of HP recovered when you revive a party member. Some Auras will grant HP just before a party member is knocked out or incapacitated.

In the image, nobody needs to be revived, but Reyn has low HP indicated by the red highlight on his picture. In the upperleft corner is the Party Gauge used for a variety of things, including reviving characters. The party has three bars which means party members could be revived 3 times, if not used for something else.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Help Us Write The IGN Wikis!

►► Dear Operation Rainfall Members:

Do you like to write?

IGN has opened up a special opportunity for us to promote Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower. This week, IGN will be opening up wiki pages for our three games. IGN takes these wikis very seriously, and all work will be moderated. If the content looks good, the staff of IGN have offered to promote these wikis as part of the main site. 

☀ More promotion = hotter games = more sales = Nintendo bringing more games.☀
(As an example, see the Mass Effect 3 Wiki:

Leveraging the power of IGN's large user base and the detailed information we have about the games, we are seeking the help of you, our fellow fans to help us fill in these wikis with content. 

If you are interested in helping us out, please send an email to or you may also join the group directly here: . The wikis are open to the public, but the staff of Operation Rainfall are working together to try to get the job done quickly and efficiently, so feel free to either join or us, or if you prefer, you may work solo. Remember that all changes will be moderated.

IGN is a huge site, and we are grateful for this opportunity that has been extended. Thank you in advance to all who wish to help us with this massive project.

Nintendo Power Xenoblade Feature

Xenoblade Chronicles is featured in the March issue of Nintendo Power, be sure to check it out!

Phase V, Mission 1: The Last Story Party Time!

We've revised our plans to contact Nintendo of America on Friday. Go ahead and call them up, email them, or leave them a message on Facebook & Twitter saying "thanks!".
Let XSEED Games know how excited you are as well!
And if you live in Australia, Europe, or South Africa... BUY THE GAME - it comes out THIS WEEK!

For complete information about the mission and our plans for this Friday, please click below:

American Version TLS Based Off Of Europe Version

From The XSEED Forum:!!!!!!!! 

FAQ: Will XSEED use Nintendo's European localization or start from scratch with the original Japanese version? 

ANSWER: "There will be no translation specific to the North American version as it will be comparable to the in-game English text of other territories.

Media Coverage of The Last Story American Reveal

News about The Last Story coming to the NoA Region is all over the internet. Check out each of these articles and like, comment on, and share with your friends. Let these websites know there is a huge interest in this game so they continue coverage of The Last Story!

Reversible Cover Winner and Xenoblade Dated

Nintendo of America has also revealed the winning reversible cover for Xenoblade and has also confirmed that date of April, 6th

The Last Story Is Coming to the Americas!

Reggie Confirms The Last Story for US!!!!!!!!

Revealed in Nintendo Direct at around the 10m30s mark.

Out this year, and Nintendo has partnered with XSEED to make this possible.

Europe Getting Limited Edition Pandora's Tower

From NoE's Twitter

A limited edition Pandora's Tower out in Europe on 13th April includes steel book casing & 32 page artbook

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Last Story Limited Edition Unboxing Video

The video is in German. The unboxing starts at roughly 2m 30s. If you are in Europe or Australia, hopefully this gets you excited and if you're in the US, try not letting it get to you too much ( you can cry a little bit).

Monday, February 20, 2012

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #42, 41 ☆╮

Finding The Next Destination Made Easy. In Xenoblade Chronicles, you won't have to wander around aimlessly searching for the next destination to continue the story. There is almost always a yellow arrow at the top of the screen that acts like a compass, pointing to the next destination, and also telling you how far away that location is.

GAME Changes Some LE The Last Story Preorders To Standard

To all those who in the UK who preordered The Last Story Limited Edition from

Looks like the site is downgrading some of the Limited Editions to the Standard Editions without notification! Log in and check your account, making sure it still says you have the Limited Edition pre-ordered.

VGChartz Weekly US Xenoblade Pre-order Numbers


This Week

Rank #-------Weeks Left--------- Pre-orders Up-----------Pre-orders Total
09 -----------07 -------------------3,036 --------------------112,462

Last Week
Rank #-------Weeks Left---------Pre-orders Up------------Pre-orders Total
12 -----------08 -------------------2,859 ---------------------109,426


Note: VGChartz may use speculative information to come up with their numbers and should not be taken as fact.

Pondering a North American release for "The Last Story" - Part 4 (FINAL)

Before Xenoblade Chronicles was announced for North America as a GameStop exclusive, I had completed the first draft of an article.   An article, that upon said announcement, I had believed to become obsolete. The article in question detailed the various alternative means of distribution that Nintendo of America could take to release Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower stateside.  My intention was to not only show how the games could be released, but to show means of release that would benefit Nintendo in ways outside of just profitable game sales.  With Operation Rainfall’s sponsorship of “The Last Story month”, I have decided to revisit the themes of the article as a 4 part series focused entirely on The Last Story.  In order to bring about discussion of the points I raise, I have also organized a short roundtable with other members of Operation Rainfall to close out each article.  These 4 articles will be released as a series over the course of “The Last Story month”. 

            What do Lexus and Adult Swim have in common?  They are both alt brandings of larger parent companies that act as if they are independent companies.  Lexus was introduced in the late 80s as a way for Toyota, who at that time was known only for making affordable cars, to sell their higher end Japanese cars in America.  Adult Swim is a programming block on Cartoon Network that has since taken on a life of its own, being run like its own network.  It even has its own broadcast watermark, website, and staff.

Currently Nintendo of America is having trouble reconciling the differences between their blockbuster moneymakers and their smaller niche titles.  The problem seems to be image more than anything else.  Nintendo of America wants to be seen as a blockbuster company, and anything that doesn’t sell at high rates hurts that image in their mind.  This has seemingly made Nintendo of America wary of niche, but profitable, titles that could sell as few as 100,000 copies in a single territory.

 Count Arganan: living in poverty and squalor
            The solution to this conundrum is an alt branding.  We know that small publishers like X-Seed can prosper on sales of 100,000 or so units without large titles to fall back on.  So if image is the only real concern, then why not consider a bold move?  Create an alt branding; a separate division that is run as if it wasn’t Nintendo at all.  Allow them a budget, and let them make their own choices about which ignored Nintendo games they might localize or what independent titles they might finance as an exclusive.  Consider it an experiment.  If it works, Nintendo can diversify and expand without tarnishing the image they wish to cultivate, if it does not work, absorb the division and write it off as a failed attempt at pursuing a different market. 

Ryan, current Co-leader of Operation Rainfall
I love this idea and I wonder why Nintendo hasn’t thought of something like this themselves. They are always purchasing 3rd party software companies that make niche titles and making them a part of Nintendo. They did it with the makers of Xenoblade; Monolith Soft. What I am saying is that it is obvious Nintendo can see the value of niche titles and when they purchase these companies, they are essentially purchasing niche title makers. So why is it that they haven’t considered a way to market these games? Seems like an alt branding is the perfect solution. Operation Rainfall Studios anyone? Ha.

Mike D., Editor for The Nintendo Enthusiast, former Operation Rainfall PR Staff
This is an intriguing idea. As Ryan said, Nintendo tends to buy studios that make games that Nintendo themselves don't seem to have the market cornered on (Monolith Soft for their RPG expertise, Retro Studios for their more Western sensibilities). It makes little sense for them to buy a large development studio and then limit their prospective audience.

On the other hand, they seem to be a conservative lot in Kyoto, so I'm not sure if they would ever consider such a risky move. But I never thought I'd see Nintendo collaborate with Team Ninja on a game, either...

Alex B., Editor for The Nintendo Enthusiast
This is the idea that has bugged me the most since I first saw it floating around the IGN Wii Lobby. If Nintendo keeps making games with limited audiences (Captain Rainbow, Another Code:R, Zangeki no Reginleiv, the OP Rainfall trifecta), then why the hell haven't they established a small publishing house that takes care of marketing and distributing these games? If Nintendo is simply unable to give their trust to publishing houses like XSEED or Atlus, then why don't they make their own already?

If they would only do this, then there wouldn't have been a need for Operation Rainfall to begin with, and all of us fans of strange things would be ever happier. Frankly, Nintendo aren't the only ones with this problem; just look at Namco over there, refusing to localize the vast majority of the wildly loved "Tales of" franchise. It's truly maddening, and I hope it's something Nintendo is looking to address with the WiiU, even if only by digital distribution methods.

The Nissan Skyline 350GT... known in America as the Infiniti G35

Richard, current Co-leader at Operation Rainfall
This could work in theory.  Nintendo would be able to keep their image of being a blockbuster company while having “Mini-Nintendo” do all the obscure titles.  The only thing I see keeping them from doing this is it would cost lots of money to start up a company to do that, so why not just save the money and release the games themselves for less money?  Also Nintendo isn’t above releasing titles that aren’t going to sell lots of copies (Wii Music, the Wii Zapper with Link’s Crossbow Training).  In fact they’re just about to release Rhythm Heaven Fever which is probably not going to do as well as Xenoblade Chronicles, though I would love to see them both do really good since they both catch my eye.  So really nothing is stopping them from releasing other titles other than…laziness? Who knows! That’s what makes this whole thing frustrating.

Chris, former Operation Rainfall PR guy
I do not like this idea.  Maybe at the end of last generation where Nintendo was floundering after the Gamecube.  Back then Nintendo had a big time brand recognition problem.  I still think back to two obviously non game-savvy people in best buy knowing that Xbox was Microsoft, Sony was Playstation, but had no idea what Nintendo was before they settled on Panasonic.  Gamers knew what Nintendo was – or at least what Nintendo used to be.  But between the N64 and the Gamecube the broader market was really only aware of what the Game Boy was.

But now that we’re in 2012 Nintendo has reestablished itself in the market in a huge way.  It cannot be overstated how far they have come.  Are there still people who believe that Nintendo is “teh kiddeh”? Sure, but Nintendo does not need to hide itself behind a shadow brand in order to fight off that image.  Not when they just worked so hard to get back into the market.  That’s just letting the forum trolls win.

What Nintendo needs to do is release a variety of games, including niche games, and convince their shareholders that not all games are created equal.  This is a far more crowded gaming market than last decade.  Not every game is going to be a blockbuster – but fortunately for Nintendo they have a stable of franchises to pay the bills.  That gives the Big N flexibility to create new IPs, to release or publish more niche titles.

You don’t reach back out to the “hardcore” audience by saying, “we have HD graphics so you can play your favorite shooters.”  You reach back out to the “hardcore” audience by creating a wide variety of gaming experiences for them to experience.  Give them something to sink their teeth into, rebuild credibility with them, and given time the perception of the Nintendo brand will change.  Look at the reception to Eternal Darkness, and to a lesser extent the deal bringing RE4 to the Gamecube.  The reception was largely “I want to see more of this from Nintendo.” But they never followed through, and they lost the momentum.  This next generation is a perfect opportunity to follow through.

Marko, current Co-leader at Operation Rainfall
What I think a lot of people don’t understand is that Nintendo already does this to a certain extent, yet all remaining under the “Nintendo” label. Nintendo owns several development studios, has several localization houses based around the world, and even has several marketing offices. They all have their own name and branding, yet once all is said and done, all the consumer sees on the box is the word “Nintendo”.

Chris hit the nail on the head. Nintendo does not need an “alt-brand”. Nintendo needs to realize that this isn’t the same market condition that existed with the NES, SNES, N64, or even GameCube era. Video games are considered a legitimate form of entertainment, and to some, even an art-form. Nintendo needs to embrace that idea and continue creating the same quality titles they have always made. Hire a larger localization staff? Maybe. Outsource localization and publishing to third parties? Maybe. Split into an alternate brand? Did it work for Qwikster?

"If they would only do this, then there wouldn't have been a need for Operation Rainfall to begin with, and all of us fans of strange things would be ever happier." - Alex B., Editor for The Nintendo Enthusiast
Tyson, Co-founder of Operation Rainfall
Did it work for Qwikster? No. But it did in fact work for Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura.  Success I would feel depends on execution and purpose.  Qwikster overcomplicated the lives of it’s consumers by dividing a service in half.  The purpose behind the move was perceived as, and most likely indeed was, born from greed and opportunism.  To me, an Alt Branding isn’t about changing your image, it is about retaining your image while expanding beyond it.  This last idea has, however, turned out to be the most controversial.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Make your voices heard during “The Last Story” month; Is this the best way to release “The Last Story” in North America?

I would like to thank Ryan, Mike, Alex, Richard, Chris, and Marko for contributing to this roundtable discussion.  We at Operation Rainfall would also like to thank Nintendo, Monolith Soft, Mistwalker, AQ Interactive, and Ganbarion for making the games we are so passionate about.  Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to, supported, and covered Operation Rainfall since it’s inception last year.  Keep fighting!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Operation Rainfall's Policy On Importing

With the release of The Last Story approaching in Europe, it is that time again to remind people about our policies on importing. Operation Rainfall as a campaign cannot support the importing of games for two reasons. One, Operation Rainfall is about getting games localized. Two, in order to play an imported game one has to modify their console to play it, and modding violates Nintendo's policies. If you mod your Wii, they will not fix it.

However, even though we cannot support it as a campaign, we will not condemn it either. We know many people have imported these games because Nintendo of America is not telling us if or when theses games are coming.

This is our policy: If you imported then that's fine, just don't try to encourage others to do it as well. This means no sharing importing links or having conversations on our wall about importing. Also, while we won't look down on people who say they imported, we cannot allow talk about modding or piracy. Please leave such talk off of our wall.

Thank you
Operation Rainfall Staff

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Last Story Character Profiles Week 3

Contact Nintendo of America February 24th

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #45, 44, 43 ☆╮

Skill Tree Examined. The Skill Tree can be used to link skills gained between all the different team members of your party. There are 5 skills each team member can share from another team member. So, if there are 6 team members in your party, this would mean you have an additional 25 skills you can use. Some skills cannot be shared.

Skill linking is dependent on the affinity level between characters as well as how many affinity coins you have received. Affinity coins are gained from defeating bosses and unique enemies. The more useful abilities cost more affinity coins. In the image, the player cannot select the skill they want because it reruires 7 coins and they only have 6 left of 64. They need to unequip a skill which will free up the coins.

The shapes represent what kind of skill can be linked, different shapes mean different kinds of skills. When a shape has a yellow border, you have the required affinity level so the shape is unlocked. In the image, Shulk has maxed out affinty with Reyn and Sharla, but has very little with Riki or Melia.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NintendoGamer Review of The Last Story

NintendoGamer has posted their review of The Last Story. They give the game an 85 score stating "Lively combat and fun scenario design plaster over the narrative cracks. Not the glorious last hurrah we’d hoped for, but as fun as Wii games are going to be in a dry 2012." 85 is a great score

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The First 10 Minutes of The Last Story in English

This video shows the first 10 minutes of The Last Story. Obviously you should avoid if you are trying to stay completely in the dark about the game, but after watching it, there really aren’t any major story details given other than what has already been shared by Nintendo and shown in the videos.
Thanks Courtenay for the heads up!

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #47, 46 ☆╮

This tidbit has nothing to with the game, but it does have to do with the Xenoblade Chronicles game disc. Xenoblade Chronicles comes on a dual layered dvd game disc. Other games that run on a dual layer disc include Smash Brothers, Metroid: Other M, Metroid Trilogy, and Sakura Wars: So Long My Love . Every Wii is capable of reading these discs obviously, but we just wanted to inform everybody in case that information is relevant to them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

╰☆ Xenoblade Chronicles Tidbit of the Day #49, 48 ☆╮

Character Profile- Riki (Minor Story Details)

Riki is a member of the Nopon race. The Nopon live in Makna Forest inside and around a giant tree. Riki believes he is the legendary Heropon spoke of in the Nopon legends. Riki is not very knowledgeable of the world outside of the forest, but for what he lacks in knowledge, he makes up for in bravery and ability.

Though small, Riki is quite capable in battle. With his high HP and healing ability, he is a welcome addition to any team. Riki also has some of the most useful skills in the game. You can share these skills with your other party members providing you build up your relationship levels with Riki.

Pondering a North American release for "The Last Story" - Part 3

Before Xenoblade Chronicles was announced for North America as a GameStop exclusive, I had completed the first draft of an article.   An article, that upon said announcement, I had believed to become obsolete. The article in question detailed the various alternative means of distribution that Nintendo of America could take to release Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower stateside.  My intention was to not only show how the games could be released, but to show means of release that would benefit Nintendo in ways outside of just profitable game sales.  With Operation Rainfall’s sponsorship of “The Last Story month”, I have decided to revisit the themes of the article as a 4 part series focused entirely on The Last Story.  In order to bring about discussion of the points I raise, I have also organized a short roundtable with other members of Operation Rainfall to close out each article.  These 4 articles will be released as a series over the course of “The Last Story month”. 

            This current generation for the XBOX 360 and the Playstation 3 saw a renaissance of HD remixes of classic titles.  From major hits like God of War at retail, to digitally distributed gems like Beyond Good and Evil. Nintendo’s competition has been able to avoid droughts by clever use of their digital distribution platforms.  On Nintendo’s own standard definition console, we even got a decent number of previously unlocalized titles on the Virtual Console service.  So isn’t it then feasible to imagine a future in which the Wii-U’s retail lineup gaps are punctuated with downloadable titles that were previously unavailable in certain regions?  “Disaster: Day of Crisis”, “Zangeki no Reginleiv”, “Fatal Frame 4”, and “Another Code R” make up only a minority of the completed Wii titles Nintendo never published in the Americas.  Does it make sense to petition and fight for every one to receive a full localization? No, it does not.  But perhaps another option could be made available with the Wii U’s rumored superior online infrastructure and storage capacity/methodology.

            Let us consider the benefits of Nintendo releasing titles like “The Last Story” by digital distribution.  The first and most obvious benefit is the cost. The game is fully localized, and without any production or shipping, the cost of distributing the title would be as minimal as the countless apps released for smart phones and tablets.  Second, and most importantly, the title would be a great showcase for their upcoming digital distribution service. Remember World of Goo? Could there have been a better game to showcase the kind of small, simple, and yet wonderfully unique and well crafted titles that Nintendo wanted their Wiiware service to represent?  Similarly, a digital port of a title like “The Last Story” could be Nintendo’s way of saying they are now ready to deliver large scale content on a digital platform. 

 Here, Dragan fondly remembers what Avenue Q taught him the Internet was for.

            I personally believe that digital distribution is our future.  It is the way music has already gone, it is the way movies are already clearly headed, and it is even the way games have gone on the PC and Smart Phone/Tablet markets.  Services such as Valve’s Steam and EA’s Origin are already in place and are popular, offering full large scale games through digital distribution.  Sony is offering their entire retail lineup on their Vita handheld by digital distribution as well.  Current generation consoles such as the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 already have fairly large digital titles, as well as Demos of retail games.  The most relevant example was the announcement and showing of Ubisoft’s “Ghost Recon Online” as a downloadable title for the Wii U.  So the Wii-U will already be home to large scale downloadable content.  Why not some of our missing Wii titles? Why not “The Last Story”?

Ryan, current Co-leader of Operation Rainfall
I agree with Tyson that the Wii U and the “Nintendo Network” is the perfect platform for releasing “niche” titles like The Last Story that might otherwise not get localized due to costs.

I am all for digital distribution of console video games. It is extremely popular on the PC, and if done correctly, if can be successful on consoles as well. Tyson makes some great points on how digital distribution can lower the cost of games. The current problem is that games being offered on PSN and XBOX Live are being sold at retail price. Lower the price of digital games by $10 or even $20 dollars and only the most dedicated collectors will be looking for retail copies. I’m not saying that this is realistically going to happen anytime soon. As long as there is a larger market for retail, digital games and retail games will cost the same.

Mike D., Editor for The Nintendo Enthusiast, former Operation Rainfall PR Staff
I agree that the Wii U could be a fantastic venue for Nintendo to release their more niche titles, but I'm not sure if digital distribution is the place we should look. The U will be fully backwards compatible with Wii games, but not GameCube discs; therefore, I imagine we'll see digital distribution of GC games, but not Wii games (which, for most, will be easy to find used at cheap prices). So where does that leave The Last Story?

Why not as a remastered HD launch title for Wii U? The console will already be a magnet for HD remakes. Since third parties seem a bit skittish to compete with Mario or Zelda at launch, Nintendo could launch a game that most certainly won't be competing with Ninja Gaiden III or Killer Freaks. It seems that we're all a little more apt to roll the dice on launch games (Red Steel, anyone?), so why shouldn't Nintendo see exactly what type of audience The Last Story has when their shiny new system is getting its greatest exposure?

Alex B., Editor for The Nintendo Enthusiast
All the points I read above me are great, so I want to try and bring a few of them together:
Tyson argues that with Ghost Recon, the WiiU is already going to feature retail-size content on its digital distribution service, and that this digital distribution helps Nintendo overcome some of the distribution costs associated with retail games (I'm assuming disc pressing, packaging, shelf space, etc); Ryan argues that the prices of digital games should be lower than retail, like in the PC (Steam, Origin, GOG); Mike argues that the best way to approach a release of The Last Story is as an HD remake set for the WiiU's launch, when it won't interfere with bigger Nintendo titles or 3rd party efforts.

I can imagine a near-perfect scenario based on these things: The Last Story gets released as a digital, HD remake during the WiiU's launch window. Initially, it's price will probably be $50 (and I'm sure I and many others would buy the hell out of it), but within time it could drop steadily and continue to get good sales, like Steam's digital releases do. The Collector's Edition could still be offered through retail, or at least the way Collector's Editions do on Steam, with extra artwork and soundtracks included.

Digital Distribution and Streaming platforms are on the rise, is the end of retail games nigh.

Richard, current Co-Leader at Operation Rainfall
I might stand alone on this one, but I hate the prospect of a digital only console future.  Sure it works on the computer with services like Steam and but computers also tend to only need to be upgraded and can still play legacy games.  With consoles it’s not that simple, every 5 or so years we have a new console making the older console obsolete.  Recently we’ve seen that backwards compatibility isn’t that important to the companies as it used to be.  The PS3 is still selling well, the Wii just dropped it with its current incarnation, and the Xbox 360 has a very limited selection of games you can play from the original.  My fear is if it were to go all digital, would they support the content of an older console well into the future?  With a physical product I don’t have to worry about that since I can just pop the disc in and play the game.  Digital I have to depend on the company if I were to delete the game and want to play it again at some point to download it again.

I also don’t really like HD remakes so much, but that’s just my personal opinion, I like owning the original versions of games.  However, technically if they skip out on the wii version to do an “HD remake” of The Last Story and release it here, then it’s not much of a remake since it never existed in North America prior to that, it’s just a release.

Chris, former Operation Rainfall PR guy
I agree with Richard that there is a danger of digital distribution only in an environment that does not support backwards compatibility.  But as an avid Steam user there is another angle that makes me more open to digital distribution on consoles: the future is coming sooner, rather than later, and whether you like it or not.

This isn’t to say brick and mortar stores are going to go the way of the Dodo.  Instead, the issue is piracy and Digital Rights Management (DRM).  Recent US Court of Appeals decisions have created the following law: if a piece of software says you cannot redistribute it, then you can’t.  As a result, you do not in fact own the software -- whether it is the digital code or the physical disc.  Instead, you only own a license (have permission) to play the game. 

In other words, publishers now have a legal pathway to obliterate the used game market in the United States: via digital distribution + DRM.  That’s right: you would be paying $50 only for permission to play a digitally distributed edition of The Last Story.  Sure, Steam and GOG are more palatable systems because they are centralized, have a bunch of sales, and have a number of high quality releases.  But the rules are still the same.  Publishers have flocked to these services in order to control who gets their software, reduce costs, and help the bottom line. 

Will pirates continue to find ways around DRM and ignore DD services like Steam? Yes, obviously.  But in case you have been living under a rock, changes in how we get games are already happening.  This is the direction all digital media is going.  Nintendo already needs to shape up its digital distribution strategy.  Yesterday.  They charge too far above what the market is willing to accept for the software they offer.  They never offer discounts to drive business.  They have nothing telling a Wii user what new/discounted/hot DD games are available when they turn on their console.  How are people going to purchase games from a service they know nothing about? What incentive do they have to buy from Nintendo’s service when they can get games cheaper from other services?

Digital distribution is a great avenue for Nintendo to release games like Xenoblade and The Last Story while minimizing financial risk to them.  I would hate to see them miss the boat and get left behind next gen – because they already have this gen. 

Marko, current Co-Leader at Operation Rainfall
While not a fan of digital-only, I most certainly understand the issues of expense versus profit. If it is more feasible from a financial standpoint to release a game digitally-only, rather than retail, I’d definitely accept that over never seeing the title in any legitimate form in my region. PC has done digital distribution since as long as the internet has been around, and 360 and PS3 both have excellent online infrastructure in place, along with a solid marketplace where retail or retail-quality games can be purchased.
Microsoft and Sony have shown that consumers are willing to spend retail prices for digital content, which involves none of the expense of packaging and distributing a physical disc. If digital distribution means I have a much higher chance of seeing titles previously seen as “risky”, then bring it on. That future is looking pretty bright.

"PC has done digital distribution since as long as the internet has been around, and 360 and PS3 both have excellent online infrastructure in place, along with a solid marketplace where retail or retail-quality games can be purchased." - Marko, current Co-Leader at Operation Rainfall
Tyson, Co-founder of Operation Rainfall
The business of multimedia art is most certainly in flux, even the very concept of “owning” an album, a movie, or a game has changed.  While some of us struggle to give up the hard copies we have come to associate with ownership, others eagerly anticipate the day in which all of our content is soft.  I feel that once everything does go the way of digital distribution that two important changes will occur.  First, we will have fewer barriers between our content and those who made it.  Second, there will no longer be a suitable excuse for the current game of regional releases that large companies play.  We will take a giant step towards a “world market” for content. 

Make your voices heard during “The Last Story” month; Is this the best way to release “The Last Story” in North America?

I would like to thank Ryan, Mike, Alex, Richard, Chris, and Marko for contributing to this roundtable discussion.  We at Operation Rainfall would also like to thank Nintendo, Monolith Soft, Mistwalker, AQ Interactive, and Ganbarion for making the games we are so passionate about.  Last, but certainly not least, we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to, supported, and covered Operation Rainfall since it’s inception last year.  Keep fighting!


Pondering a North American release for "The Last Story" - Part 1
Pondering a North American release for "The Last Story" - Part 2
Pondering a North American release for "The Last Story" - Part 4