Over the last few years we’ve seen Natsume express interest in the localization of Medarot games on the Nintendo 3DS. Unfortunately, that interest has yet to materialize itself in the form of western video game releases. Natsume has stated on more than one occasion that was by no fault of their own. While their answers left room for speculation, they never elaborated on the exact reason … until now. In an interview with video game podcast Fragments of Silicon, Graham Markay, Director of Operations at Natsume, discussed a whole host of topics, including a few Medarot fans will want to hear the answer to.
Cutting to the chase, Markay explains why we haven’t seen new Medarot games in North America and Europe:
[…] not every game that’s made in a particular territory, such as Japan, is always made with a worldwide release in mind. Another thing to consider is that we’d have to use Rocket Company’s engineers and programmers in regards to localizing a game. Even if we were to translate it, they’d have to be available. We reached out to them and told them we wanted to do more. We had a great time back in the day on the GBA releasing those four Medabots games, and on the Gamecube. Unfortunately, the stars have not yet aligned. Hopefully there’s a game that they have time to partner with us on.
[…] I would’ve loved to have brought [Medarot 7 and Medarot 8] over to the US. It just doesn’t seem like the right timing now. Then that begs the question of when would be the right timing. Maybe when their team frees up, but then when’s that going to be? When we’re free, they’re free, is it still going to be viable for the 3DS market at the time? We haven’t given up. It’s not like they reached out and said, “Hey, we need A, B, and C to make this happen.” We both looked at our calendars and unfortunately they were involved with something and weren’t available at the time.
Markay then confirmed that the localized Gameboy Advance Medabots titles, AX and An RPG Adventure, would be headed to the Wii U Virtual Console. As per the norm for the Virtual Console, link cable features won’t be available. While he didn’t specify an exact release date for the Medabots games, Markay said that the first of Natsume’s GBA titles will hit in the beginning of June. We’ve gotten a few hints this was happening, but this is the first time we’ve received some form of a release window.
Of minor interest to Medarot fans, Markay discussed the differences between the US-based Natsume Inc. and the Japanese Natsume Co., now known as Natsume Atari. The latter developed the majority of Medarot video games prior to the Nintendo DS entry in 2010. Markay states that the US company was originally a satellite office to the Japanese software developer. It gained operational independence when the decision to shut down the US branch was changed due to restructuring. The two aren’t entirely unrelated, as Natsume Inc.’s CEO, Hiro Maekawa, sits on the board of Natsume Atari. While it’s of no relevance to current Medarot titles, Markay explains that “if something [Natsume Atari develops] fits with Natsume Inc. then we’ll take care of it.
This news leaves Project Rising Beetle’s localization campaign in an interesting position. For the past three years we’ve been campaigning primarily towards Natsume Inc. and now we’ve learned that they’re not the problem. It was easy enough contact Natsume; they have a presence on social media, have been upfront with us and share a common language. Contacting the Japanese side won’t be as easy. Language and geographical barriers aside, they seem to be significantly less open.