Tales of Grace f boss Hideo Baba has explained why Japanese titles are often brought to Western audiences so late.
Tales of Grace f launched in Japan in December 2010. Almost two years later, Europe will see its release on August 31st. Hideo Baba hopes to avoid these large gaps between releases in the future.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Baba explains why the title took so long to make it to Western audiences, and that he'd "like to release future Tales games at the same time, or nearer the same time as Japan."
According to Baba, requests from US or EU branches need to be made first "before we can decide to bring something to the Western markets."
Localising games is a long and difficult process, especially with RPG's that will have a lot of text in need of translation.
While there was initially no plans to localise Grace f for the western market, the game's success in its native Japan led to a post-release about face. Baba said that he hopes Namco Bandai will know which titles it will want to localise from the very beginning because, "our Japanese team need to keep working creating new titles. While we were finishing Tales of Grace f we were already starting [next series entry] Tales of Xillia. So we're always really busy."
Baba explained that fan requests are also important when deciding which titles to localise as "the end users of the games are the fans, and our local branches hear them through Twitter or Facebook and take it into their decisions."
While Baba wants to accommodate Western audiences, he is determined that the series will still be a JRPG. "JRPG is the best genre for the team," he said. "We're not going to create an open world game like Skyrim." Baba concludes that when Western RPGs come to Japan, they are not modified for Japanese audiences, "so we won't change our games outside of Japan."