Nintendo of Europe have revealed a release date for upcoming Nintendo 3DS role playing game Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. The game, which was announced at E3 earlier this year and was already set to release in December in Japan, will launch on December 4, 2015 alongside fellow Nintendo exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles X. The game, which is a crossover of the Mario RPG and Paper Mario series, also got a plot synopsis.
“When Luigi accidentally opens a mysterious book hidden away in Peach’s Castle, he gets more than he bargained for when characters from the Paper Mario universe spill out of the pages and start running amok. Players must take control of the terrific trio of Mario, Luigi and Paper Mario to defeat Bowser and Paper Bowser and bring the Paper Mario characters back to their original world.”
No North American date has been confirmed, but the title was previously touted as a 2016 release at E3 and if that remains the case, it marks the second notable game Nintendo has released in Europe before North America of late. The other, Yoshi’s Woolly World, hit store shelves in PAL regions in June of this year, but is only now reaching North America.
It’s strange, because usually this is the other way around. While most games release in all English speaking territories in the same week (give or take a few days depending on local market practices), specific companies such as Nintendo and Atlus have an irritating tendency to delay the European release for no apparent reason. While game’s like Persona 4: Golden and Shin Migami Tensei IV do originate from Japan and require an English localisation for western releases, it still makes no sense when Persona 4: Golden releases in Europe three months after North America or Shin Migami Tensei IV more than a full year after the American release.
Some could argue, probably correctly, that a smaller company like Atlus can’t afford the production costs of a worldwide release and so must stagger the launch by region. I’ll cede that point, though it becomes a little less excusable since their acquisition by Sega, but Nintendo is a huge company with a lot of money. Why delay a game so arbitrarily? When Yoshi was pushed, many thought it was a move by Nintendo of America to prop up their fall line up, which has been left pretty barren following the delays of Star Fox Zero and The Legend of Zelda but a delay into next year like Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam appears to have received hides no such logic.
This isn’t the first time Nintendo has been so bizarrely inconsistent. The company dawdled on the European release of Kirby and the Rainbow Curse earlier this year, releasing it in PAL regions about three months after America and for some weird reason deciding to rename it Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush. Let’s not forget the infamous outcry over Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower for the Wii, which received an English release in Europe but were scheduled to skip North America entirely, a problem that could not even be solved by importing thanks to Nintendo’s irritating and archaic policy of region locking it’s systems. Nintendo of America eventually caved following a high profile petition and huge fan outcry but the fact that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing it is at best puzzling and at worse dismissive of it’s customers.
So why in this globalised world, in the year 2015, is this still the case? You could argue that minor tweaks need to be made to localisation when a game crosses the Atlantic Ocean, but I don’t buy it. People are smart enough to figure out that color and colour mean the same thing. So what else? Money is no object for a company as big as Nintendo, though it does offer an explanation for some of the smaller developers problems. My personal theory is that Nintendo of Europe and Nintendo of America simply don’t coordinate. While international companies like Sony have plenty of cooperation within their regional offices, Nintendo has always struck me as a company whose left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Again, this is pure speculation, but I can think of no other reason.
Nintendo in general has had a hard time adapting to the new, modern gaming landscape. It dragged it’s heels on high definition, it dragged it’s heels on multiplayer and it continues to insist on shoehorning gimmicks like the Wii U gamepad into it’s systems. It creates consoles vastly underpowered compared to their competitor’s, apparently oblivious to the fact that this virtually guarantees a drop off in third party support after games become to much for a Nintendo system to handle. Perhaps this archaic release practice, which was extremely common in the ’80s and ’90s (even in the early years of the ’00s), is just another indicator of gaming’s godfather’s inability (or perhaps refusal) to enter this new globalised world.