Hideo Baba has confirmed Namco Bandai keeps an eye out for fan demand before moving to localise Japanese releases.
Speaking to Eurogamer, the Tales series producer said the publisher waits for a consumer base to develop before beginning the expensive, laborious work of localisation.
“We have to receive requests from our US or EU branches first before we can decide to bring something to the western markets,” he said.
“The voices from fans are very important. 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.”
Tales of Graces f hits PlayStation 3 in Europe at the end of August, a serious delay from its December 2010 Japanese launch. Baba said he hopes future western releases will come closer to their Japanese equivalents.
“I’d like to release future Tales games at the same time, or nearer the same time as Japan. When Graces f began development we didn’t have a plan to localise it.”
Tales is a well-received and long-running JRPG series which has only been patchily localised; hopefully the success of recent entires will inspire Namco Bandai to work localisation into the plan somewhat earlier. The latest entry, Tales of Xillia, arrives in the west in 2013, more than a year after its September 2011 Japan launch; if it does well we may see Xillia 2, which hits Japan in November.
Namco Bandai is establishing a reputation for responsiveness to fan requests, having greenlit a PC port for Dark Souls and changed its mind on DRM solutions.