This is going to be a short post utilizing mostly comments.
Do you remember this piece of news?
If you’re waiting for Atlus and Team Persona’s bizarre erotic horror-arcade puzzler Catherine to be localised, you may have to wait a little longer: Atlus’ US PR has told BeefJack, very apologetically, there are currently no plans for a North American release.
“Catherine is a Japan-only game and there are no plans for a NA release at this time. Sorry about that!” reads the statement.
That was on 2/24/2011 this year.
On 3/1/2011, Atlus had to backpedal and make their announcement. Now, I know a lot of people are likely to jump to conclusions and say ‘this is a result of fan backlash, though!’
…no. No, it wasn’t. The kind of legal wrangling to bring something over to NA can take weeks, or even months. Atlus was already in the process of bringing it here. I just think they were forced to play their hand early and announce it sooner than they intended because of that reaction.
Michael Cunningham, with RPGamer had a great editorial on the subject of the PR meaning behind the infamous ‘no plans for’ statement that you hear a lot from marketing and public relations teams all over the United States.
The first response most people are giving is that Atlus lied. I’m not going to say they didn’t, because that’s exactly what it is. It is also the same PR lie we hear in the industry daily. So why did they reply with the comment? Until a publisher is ready to announce a game on their own terms, they don’t confirm anything. So when asked about a game in this situation, most will reply like Atlus did and say they have “no plans at this time” or offer a “no comment.” PR replies that state a company has “no plans” are often taken to mean a game is not coming, while those “no comment” statements are even taken to mean a game is coming, but the publisher just cannot talk about it. Here’s a quick lesson to anyone who doesn’t know. Anytime a company states that it “has no plans at this time,” they are not really telling you anything. Whether they have plans or not, this allows them to swing either way and be safe. I’m not going to defend Atlus’s comment, but it is something we see all the time. I wouldn’t doubt the company taking a policy where the PR team will no longer reply to any questions like this ever again.
Now, why is this important? Because look at Nintendo’s official statement to Operation Rainfall:
Thank you for your enthusiasm. We promised an update, so here it is. We never say “never,” but we can confirm that there are no plans to bring these three games to the Americas at this time. Thanks so much for your passion, and for being such great fans!
From one person who works close to a corporate level marketing team to a bunch of fans… take this to heart. This is exactly what Michael was saying above on such a topic. I think someone close to Nintendo, or Nintendo themselves, will release one of these games sooner or later. Why?
Because of this.
Nintendo filed to trademark The Last Story on 1/13/2011. The Federal Trademark Registration changed this over to “Notice of Allowance Issued” today. 7/15/2011.
It took the US government seven months to grant Nintendo the rights to use the trademark they registered. And it’s very un-kosher to make an announcement before you have the rights to use the name. (EDIT: I mis-read the date when skimming the page and failed to notice it was 2010… but see my comment on such below.)
Like I said above:
The kind of legal wrangling to bring something over to NA can take weeks, or even months.