Over the past few years, Operation Rainfall helped raise interest in three noteworthy role-playing games that were good candidates for Western localization: Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower. All three are available in North America today. Now the community aims to encourage two specific publishers — Sega and Konami — to consider localizing their Japan-only games.
The website entered into a partnership with Language Automation, Inc. (LAI) as of June 5. The company, which specializes in game localization, is allowing the Operation Rainfall community to vote on a number of games and will then show the results to Sega and Konami. If either publisher chooses to release one of the titles in the West, LAI will offer it a discount on the localization fee.
LAI has worked with both Sega and Konami before, which is why they were chosen. As Operation Rainfall points out, however, community votes are only "ammunition" to help convince the companies that there is Western interest in certain games. There's no guarantee that Sega or Konami will choose to pursue localization.
So far, Operation Rainfall is happy with the response to its polls. Of the two Konami games up for consideration, fans have shown strong interest in both Genso Suikoden: Tsumugareshi Hyakunen no Toki (PSP), a turn-based role-playing game outside of the main Suikoden series, and Beyond the Labyrinth (3DS), a Tri-Ace game with a unique rock-paper-scissors battle system. Each title has gained more than 4,000 votes.
As for Sega, Yakuza 5 (PlayStation 3) is leading with over 5,000 votes, and Valkyria Chronicles 3 (PSP) is in a close second. A PSP RPG called Shining Hearts has only a little over 1,000. And HD remakes of the first two Yakuza games (PS3/Wii U) are in last place with less than 1,000 votes.
It'll be interesting to see the final results and whether Operation Rainfall and LAI can persuade Konami and Sega to localize these games, but I'm hoping they do. I'd especially love to see Beyond the Labyrinth (pictured) or Yakuza 5 come to the West.