In September 2018, I asked Twitter followers what Japanese video games – new or old – they wish would get official localizations. The response was so enormous that I decided to tally up all the votes and share the results here. Let’s see which games came out on top!
MOTHER 3 is the conclusion to Shigesato Itoi’s MOTHER RPG series, known as the EarthBound series outside of Japan. You play as multiple characters across multiple chapters. It’s filled with the series’ unique personality and humor, yet still manages to deliver a moving story.
There’s no doubt that my involvement with the fan translation helped skew the votes toward MOTHER 3, but I’m pretty sure it would be ranked very highly regardless. I actually wrote all about the history MOTHER 3 hype here a couple months ago.
Whenever people voted for the Dai Gyakuten Saiban games, they always wanted both, never one over the other.
These Nintendo 3DS games take place during Japan’s Meiji period and the UK’s Victorian era. It stars Phoenix Wright’s ancestor, who’s on a mission to become a defense attorney. He travels from Japan to England, and teams up with Sherlock Holmes and other characters to solve crimes. The games includes the classic investigation and courtroom scenarios.
I recently finished playing the first game, and it was a lot of fun. I felt it breathed some new life and ideas into the series. I forget why, but I also remember feeling surprised how it just… sort of ended. I’m hoping the second game picks up where it left off and rounds out the full story.
This is the Nintendo DS sequel to Ace Attorney Investigations, a spin-off of the main Ace Attorney series. It stars Miles Edgeworth, Dick Gumshoe, and Kay Faraday who investigate crimes together. Although there’s no courtroom scenario in these spin-off games, Gyakuten Saiban 2 uses a new “logic chess” mechanic during the interrogation scenarios.
This is a samurai-themed Yakuza spin-off game that takes place in the mid-1800s, during the fall of the Tokugawa shogunate. Yakuza characters play as important people in Japanese history in a perfect blend of goofy substories and a serious main story based on real-life events. The game was released for the PS3 and PS4.
I played through this game earlier this year, and it is by far my favorite game in the entire series so far. The battle system is incredibly fun, and the game features all kinds of side activities. You can own your own home and farm, craft weapons and items, adopt pets, learn to cook, sing samurai karaoke, do drinking games, play strip rock-paper-scissors, build your own samurai army, race chickens, and so much more.
Basically, if you liked Yakuza 0 at all, you have to play this one too!
Seiken Densetsu 3 is a Super Famicom action RPG that Square released in 1995. Fans outside of Japan sometimes refer to it as Secret of Mana 2. The game features multiple characters to choose from, each with his or her unique storyline separate from the main story events. The game saw a Japan-only re-release on the Nintendo Switch in 2017, but has yet to receive an official translation, despite clamor from fans.
Live A Live is a Super Famicom RPG that Square released in in 1994. The game features multiple characters, each with their own short chapter. Each chapter has a unique storyline unrelated to the others, but eventually they all tie together into a big, final chapter. I have fond memories of this game and really enjoyed how it felt like a big collection of small RPG vignettes.
This is another samurai-themed Yakuza, released for the PS3 in 2008. This one takes place in the 1600s and places Kiryu in the role of Miyamoto Musashi, the legendary swordsman who wielded two swords at once. The game was a best-seller in Japan, but never saw a translated release. I haven’t tried this one yet, but it’s on my to-play shelf.
Shin Megami Tensei if… is an RPG that Atlus first released for the Super Famicom in 1994. It’s a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series and focuses on a high school that accidentally get sucked into a demon realm. The game has seen many re-releases and ports in Japan, but has never received an official translation.
Nintendo released this Fire Emblem game for the Super Famicom in 1996, about seven years before the series saw its first release outside of Japan. The story takes place in the same world as previous entries and spans two generations. The game itself established some of the mechanics used in future Fire Emblem games.
Moon: RPG Remix Adventure is a Playstation RPG released by ASCII Entertainment in 1997. It’s an inventive game that parodies standard JRPGs and gets a little crazy when the game goes inside another game in the game. Despite being such an obscure game, this is a title I see mentioned a lot whenever “most wanted translation” topics get brought up.
Captain Rainbow is a Wii action-adventure game released by Nintendo in 2008. A large part of the appeal is that the game focuses on secondary Nintendo characters like Birdo, Little Mac, and the guy from Golf for the Famicom/NES.
Whenever the topic of “most wanted localizations” comes up, I regularly see these two RPGs in the Trails series mentioned. I’ve never played them myself, but it makes sense: Ao no Kiseki is a sequel to Zero no Kiseki, which itself is a sequel, so it’s like a big chunk of the series is currently missing.
This successor to the popular Phantasy Star Online MMO was first released in 2012. It’s been released for Windows, Vita, PS4, Switch, and more. There was a teaser trailer for an official Western release in 2012, but it sounds like the project was canned shortly after. Still, the Japanese Switch release in 2018 has fans hopeful for an officially translated version someday. Apparently there was an English release produced for Southeast Asia, but support for it ended in 2017.
Unlike other entries in the Dragon Quest series, Dragon Quest X is an MMORPG. It was first released in 2012 for the Nintendo Wii, but was later ported to the Wii U, PS4, 3DS, PC, and more. Despite the heavy push to release the game on as many platforms as possible, the game has never been translated and released outside of Japan, besides a Chinese version of the PC release.
I played Dragon Quest X for a while last year, but it was the weird 3DS version that actually streamed all the video data over the Internet. It was an okay enough experience, but I think it’d be nice to play it with big, crisp graphics and in English with English-speaking friends.
There have been on and off rumors about Square Enix publishing a Western release, but every time I see an article about it, it feels a lot like all the rumors about a MOTHER 3 translation. The latest rumor I heard was that they might try to turn it into an offline game and package it that way, but who knows.
For fun, here’s a list of some of the games that didn’t quite make the top ten. Some people listed multiple games from the same series, so I’ve lumped them all together here.
|Sakura War series||14 votes|
|Valkyria Chronicles 3||14 votes|
|Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade||13 votes|
|Super Robot Wars series, especially Alpha and Z||13 votes|
|Yakuza PSP games||12 votes|
|Shining Force 3||11 votes|
|Fire Emblem: Thracia 776||11 votes|
|Ganbare Goemon series||10 votes|
|Dragon Quest 11 3DS||10 votes|
|EX Troopers||10 votes|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner||10 votes|
|Bahamut Lagoon||9 votes|
|Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PSP)||9 votes|
|Dragon Quest Slime Morimori||9 votes|
|Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem||9 votes|
|Shin Megami Tensei 1 & 2||9 votes|
|Marvelous: Another Treasure Island||8 votes|
|Tales of Destiny 2||8 votes|
|Famicom Detective Club series||7 votes|
|For the Frog the Bell Tolls||7 votes|
|Namco X Capcom||7 votes|
|Tales of Innocence R||7 votes|
|Tales of Rebirth||7 votes|
|Sailor Moon Super Famicom games||7 votes|
|Dragon Quest Monsters games||7 votes|
|Tokimeki Memorial series||7 votes|
|Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3 & 4||7 votes|
|Fate/Extra CCC||7 votes|
As I mentioned above, I’m sure that my own interests and my followers’ interests might’ve skewed the results a little bit, so I’m curious to hear what other game translations might be in demand.
If you have any games on your localization wish list that weren’t mentioned here, share in the comments. And who knows, maybe someone out there will eventually see this post and realize “hey maybe we should translate so-and-so game after all”.
Incidentally, I held a similar poll a while back about swear words in video games. Check out my article on the topic here!