Five games we’re begging to get a Western localisation

Posted on June 7, 2024

Video games are more global than they used to be, thanks to the growing industry. More than ever, internationally developed games are getting the funding and support to be released on the same date worldwide. We, the consumers and gamers, reap benefits from this: official localisation is better than ever, and we’re getting more games than we could ever dream of. Still, my mind wanders to the games in the West that could’ve been. Here are five games we’re begging to get an official Western localisation.

Yes, we’re aware most of these have fan translations if you know where to look. Still, they deserve that public eye treatment.


Mother 3

Developer: Brownie Brown, HAL Laboratory
Release Date: 2006
Platform: Game Boy Advance

You knew this was coming so let’s get it out of the way first. Never has a game been so requested to be localised and made available in the West only to fall on deaf ears.  Every Nintendo Direct people are in the comments begging to be able to finally get a taste of it. To add insult to injury, Mother 3 has been ported to several Nintendo consoles now via the Wii U Virtual Console and the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack. But not here. Not for us.

Mother 3 and the entire series that came before it is an incredibly influential RPG franchise. The storytelling and creative turn-based battles have gone on to inspire later cult classic releases like Undertale and Omori. The best time to make Mother 3 available in the West was yesterday. The second best time is now.


King’s Field

Developer: FromSoftware
Release Date: 1994
Platform: PS1

Before Elden Ring, there was Dark Souls. Before Dark Souls, there was Demon’s Souls. Some might not remember that the tried and true formula of tough and arguably obtuse Action RPG combat, which stemmed from Japanese developer FromSoftware, originated from King’s Field on the original PlayStation. King’s Field is set in the Medieval period in the first-person perspective, exploring a dead King’s underground graveyard as an adventurer on the hunt for their missing father. The original King’s Field was prior to the dual analog scheme we know in controllers today. This means you had to cautiously comb rooms, using the L1 and R1 buttons to pan looking left or right. The early 3D visuals are unmatched; creepy and all the right amounts of funky. Simply put, there’s nothing like some of the quirks and charm that come with the PS1 era of games. Even modern games know this and replicate this.

Making an official localisation of this one would admittedly be tricky. For instance, King’s Field did eventually come to the West, with the second release of the series being considered the first. Yet the need for that original release is palpable and real. Some might propose a remake of this game to have it maintain that modern feel and be palatable next to FromSoftware’s recent library. I say no. I say this game is no more than a port, finding a way for this game to function on modern hardware and then leaving everything else alone. The jank. The weird. It’s all needed as a welcome revisit but also a piece of history to remember what started the insane, twisted love for the Soulslike.


Black Panther: Like a Dragon 1 & 2

Developer: Sega, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, Syn Sophia
Release Date: 2010 & 2012
Platform: PSP

The Like a Dragon franchise (previously named Yakuza in the West) is in an incredibly good place. It’s taken a long time, but releases are now concurrent globally. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving than Kiryu, Ichiban and friends. Still, one big omission that has never been revisited in the franchise is the spin-off pair of games in Black Panther: Like a Dragon (1&2). Yes, we’re cheating here but if you’re doing one you might as well do the other. The duology kicks off with Tatsuya Ukyo, a street punk who accidentally kills a member of the Tojo Clan. Taken before the patriarch of the deceased member, Ukyo has two options: be turned in to the police for murder or win ten matches of an underground fighting circuit known as Dragon Heat. Ukyo picks the latter. The follow-up again follows the same street punk and more of his adventures with Dragon Heat. Despite also getting a television adaptation, the game has never left Japan or the PSP.

This one would probably need the modern remake treatment à la the Kiwami games if only for its untapped potential. We’ve seen Kamurocho look gorgeous and in high-definition for countless games at this point. What’s one more? Black Panther: Like a Dragon also follows the same template as the mainline games, offering plenty of activities and minigames to sink your teeth into. It’s all the goods it needs to be, just not available on current consoles. The only reason we haven’t mentioned Like a Dragon Kenzan, the sequel to the already remade and localised Ishin is because that feels more like a matter of ‘when’ than ‘if.’ That mobile game? They can keep that one.


Tales of Rebirth

Developer: Namco Tales Studio
Release Date: 2004 (PS2) & 2008 (PSP)
Platform: PS2 and PSP

Tales of Rebirth isn’t the only game in the Bandai Namco series to have never made it to the West, but it’s one of the ones that stings the most. I mean, just look at that art! Rebirth has a striking character and environment design that just looks painterly, aided by the choice to represent 2D character sprites in 3D background, something we’ve seen in recent titles like Star Ocean: The Second Story R.

If you’ve ever played a Tales game, you just know you’re in for a journey with some pure vibes. In a post-Sea of Stars world, players’ want and love for cozy, vibrant RPGs are at an all-time high and a remake, remaster or port of Rebirth would more than satiate eager fans. This is the only game on the list that doesn’t yet have a fan translation, meaning you’re pretty out of luck if you’re not Japanese-speaking. Maybe one day we’ll all get to experience Rebirth’s majesty… One can hope.


Ace Attorney Investigations 2

Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 2011 (DS) and 2017 (iOS)
Platform: DS and iOS

Ace Attorney is perhaps the most beloved and popular visual novel to ever grace our screens. Almost twenty-three years since the franchise debut, we’ve fallen in love with Phoenix Wright and friends across ten entries. Except one. Ace Attorney Investigations 2, the sequel to the Miles Edgeworth starring spin-off, has never left Japan. It hurts a bit too. On all metrics, it seems to have been quite the well-received game. Returning is the spin-off’s fashion of breaking the game’s five cases into two sections: investigating a crime scene for clues while taking testimonies and rebuttal, the period where you’re poking holes in alibis and stories as you work to unravel the mystery. While this functions the same as all Ace Attorney games, the difference is there are no courtrooms. You are tackling these events as they happen there at the crime scene and trying to get to the bottom of it, Columbo style.

With The Great Ace Attorney finally making its way across to the West back in 2021, it’s not unlikely for Ace Attorney Investigations 2 to also make the leap. However, time will tell and for now, our poor hearts will just pray.

There you have it. There’s our list of five games we want to receive an official Western localisation. What tops your list? Is there anything we missed?