Petitions and fan demand like the one for Xenoblade Chronicles do not influence what the company releases stateside, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told Siliconera in a recent interview.
Specifically addressing a question about the efficacy of Operation Rainfall—a campaign designed to convince Nintendo to localize Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower—Fils-Aime made it clear that while the company is aware of such things, it does not factor into Nintendo of America’s business decisions.
“I have to tell you—it doesn’t affect what we do,” Fils-Aime told Siliconera. “We certainly look at it, and we’re certainly aware of it, but it doesn’t necessarily affect what we do. I’ll give you an example. I mentioned earlier that our head of product development had a bet on [Pokémon] X versus Y—we also had a bet around localizing Xenoblade.
“I wanted to bring [Xenoblade Chronicles] here. The deal was, how much of a localization effort is it? How many units are we going to sell, are we going to make money? We were literally having this debate while Operation Rainfall was happening, and we were aware that there was interest for this game, but we had to make sure that it was a strong financial proposition.
“I’m paid to make sure that we’re driving the business forward—so we’re aware of what’s happening, but in the end we’ve got to do what’s best for the company. 100,000 signatures doesn’t mean 100,000 sales.”
In the end, all three games Operation Rainfall petitioned for release wound up coming to North America, Xenoblade Chronicles published by Nintendo in 2012 (two years after its Japanese release and a year after its European release) while The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower were localized and published by Xseed Games in 2012 and 2013 respectively.