Whenever a game developed in Japan gets released, it usually gets released in Japan first, and then in America, before finally getting released in Europe and worldwide. Because I live in the UK, where I have to wait for the EU release date, I’ve always wondered why this is the case?
Sometimes, for whatever reason, games that were made in Japan often don’t get released in Europe for a long time if they get released at all. For example, many of the newer Shin Megami Tensei games don’t get released in Europe until a few years after they were already released in America. Shin Megami Tensei IV, for instance, was already released in America in July 2013. In Europe, however, we have to wait until some time this month before it gets released on the 3DS eShop. This isn’t the first time we had to wait. The first Devil Survivor game on the DS never came out in Europe. However, it did get an enhanced port on the 3DS, which came out in Japan and America in 2011. Meanwhile, in Europe, we had to wait until March 2013 before it came out. Devil Survivor 2 would later be released in Europe on the old DS a few months later, never mind the fact that it already came out in America a year and a half earlier. Given the fact that the old DS could play imported games, why on Earth would Atlus release Devil Survivor 2 in a region where:
- The DS is now obsolete
- You could import the American version of the same game anyway
It’s not just the SMT games. Many other JRPGs suffer the same problem with releasing games in Europe. The older Final Fantasy games were never released in Europe until they were remastered for later consoles such as the PS1 and the Game Boy Advance. The first real Final Fantasy game to be released in Europe was Final Fantasy VII, which came out two months after its American release, but the odd thing about it is that they didn’t change the title for the EU release, leaving European gamers to wonder what happened to Final Fantasy I through VI. A lot of JRPGs never got released to Europe at all. One example is the critically acclaimed Chrono Trigger (one of many games I must play before I die), which was released in Japan and America for the SNES in 1995, but to my dismay, the original version never got released in Europe, not even on Virtual Console. It did eventually get released in Europe on the Nintendo DS. There are also tons of other JRPGs that never released in Europe for unknown reasons, such as Xenogears and Lufia & the Fortress of Doom, which never made it to Europe at all, or the Fire Emblem games, which never made it outside Japan until 2003.
It’s not just JRPGs that take longer to get released in Europe. The original Mega Man wasn’t released in Europe until 1990, three years after it was already released in America. Europe would always get the Mega Man games last, and it would always be in the same year as the next Mega Man game had already been released in America, until Mega Man 6, which wasn’t released in Europe at all until it arrived on the 3DS eShop last year. Speaking of Mega Man, the Mega Man-inspired Azure Striker Gunvolt was released in America three days ago, but as of now, no European release date has been confirmed. I’ve read various GameFAQs boards where people express their frustration with the lack of a revealed EU release date.
My point is simple. Why does Europe keep getting screwed over when it comes to Japanese games? Seriously, we usually either get them much later than the rest of the world does, or we don’t get them at all. Even worse is the fact that Nintendo still uses that outdated region-locking practice on the Wii U and the 3DS, making the wait even more frustrating. If Pokémon X and Y could get released worldwide and make tons of money, then maybe it’s time to start releasing games worldwide, or at least stop unfairly screwing over us European gamers who always have to wait much longer for games to come out.