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Blood, Sweat And Kanji: The Hurdles And Rewards Of Localizing Niche Japanese Games

Japanese games were hard to ignore at E3 this year.

Japanese role-playing games dominated the PlayStation Vita bar at Sony's booth, with titles like Valhalla Knights, Dragon's Crown and Ys: Memories of Celceta taking up nearly half the rows of demo units. The words Dark Souls 2 seemed to bubble excitedly on attendees lips. And in the tidal wave of upcoming western and European big guns — a new Call of Duty, a new Battlefield, Dying Light and The Division among them — titles like Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3 earns spots as major conference announcements.

However, these Japanese games still appeal to a somewhat niche audience — most developers and publishers still consider these games to be tailored to a smaller, less "mainstream" audience in the west. So if the sentiment exists that these games don't have broad, widespread appeal, why bother to localize and bring them stateside?

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