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How did Sonic Boom get a Japanese release?


PKGaming

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Man, I would really love to talk to a Japanese Sonic fan one day and ask them how they view Sonic and what they think Japan's general opinion on him is. From what I've heard, Sonic isn't very popular in Japan at all. Sonic games never sell well over there, and I decided to go on Nico Nico and search for Sonic videos. The most viewed Sonic video on the site couldn't even reach a million views. So back when I heard that Sonic Boom was gonna be Western only, it made a lot of sense to me. Makes sense to make a Western only Sonic franchise since Japan doesn't care. But....apparently they ended up localizing Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric in Japan anyway with a full voice cast and everything, because of fan demand. If Sonic is so unpopular in Japan, then how did that happen? And even though this isn't Sonic Boom related, I'm also surprised that they released Sonic Runners in Japan first and still hasn't officially released it in America or Europe, even though they're the countries where Sonic's most popular while Japan is not. 

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"Fan demand" doesn't necessitate large numbers from a certain region.  It could simply mean they've gotten a lot of letters about it from a percentage of the, however small, already established fanbase in Japan.  We live in an age where the Japanese fans can see what we have and potentially want it, just like we often do with them.  It makes sense that during the initial hype for Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric that the Japanese fans would ask for what was at the time considered a huge shift in the Sonic series.  I am curious to see how it was received in that country, though, since Japan seems to have more of a tolerance for the things that might be more tedious to western audiences.

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We do know the Famitsu scores for Sonic Boom, at least: RoL (or "Ancient Treasure") got 6/7/6/7, and SC ("Island Adventure") 6/7/7/7.  Another reason to localise it might have been to plug a significant Sonic-shaped gap in the release schedule; Sonic may not be popular in Japan, but Sega must still want him to remain relevant.

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My guess would be 'desperation'. 

 

When it was obvious that Rise of Lyric was a steaming heap of ass and that everyone hated it, they probably realised that they needed to cast the net as wide as possible to try and sell more than five copies.

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Considering the "foreign appeal" of Sonic's western style is probably what appeals to the small fanbase over there to begin with, Sonic Boom kind of has that to max.  With that consideration, I imagine they figured they'd make enough sales to justify spending the money on the Japanese voiceover being created.

 

 

Honestly the only thing I find truly sad about it is that the result was Chikao Ōtsuka's final role as Eggman being part of such a lame game. =C

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I don't know why, but I always saw Sonic as a very Japanese creation. I guess his design is supposed to appeal to Westerners, but I kinda saw him as one of those energetic hero characters in anime with the crazy spiky hair...only in animal form. And then you got Shadow who's basically the dark, brooding version of the hero with crazier hair, which is a trope you see all the time in Japanese stuff like manga and games. 

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Sega of Japan has an extensive localization business (as do many Japanese publishers) from english to Japanese. And I guess SoJ has more money to blow for local business (pure uneducated guess).

 

As for how it received, I follow this Japanese news site/blog (think of Kotaku), and there is stigma of Sega being notorious of dissapoiting overseas fans.

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I think the only reason why they decided to release both games in Japan suddenly is because money. The games were already selling like shite overseas, might as well get more and release it in Japan too. =/

 

And yeah, it's very sad that this was Otsuka's last voice acting role ever. Does anyone know who his replacement is yet?

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The bigger question is how did Japan get Sonic Runners back in February, while America and Europe are still waiting? It didn't take Japan long to get Sonic Boom announced for their localization, so why is it taking nearly half a year later to release a tablet game which is clearly ready for English release, considering how the English language is an available option on the game?

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I don't know why, but I always saw Sonic as a very Japanese creation. I guess his design is supposed to appeal to Westerners, but I kinda saw him as one of those energetic hero characters in anime with the crazy spiky hair...only in animal form. And then you got Shadow who's basically the dark, brooding version of the hero with crazier hair, which is a trope you see all the time in Japanese stuff like manga and games. 

 

Well, Sonic's basic design is very much in the tradition of Western characters such as Felix the Cat or Mickey Mouse, and his general personality is meant to appeal to Westerners, but I can see where you're coming from. I mean, he does have a multi-tailed fox for a sidekick...

 

We do know the Famitsu scores for Sonic Boom, at least: RoL (or "Ancient Treasure") got 6/7/6/7, and SC ("Island Adventure") 6/7/7/7.  Another reason to localise it might have been to plug a significant Sonic-shaped gap in the release schedule; Sonic may not be popular in Japan, but Sega must still want him to remain relevant.

 

What exactly do those scores mean? Is each number "out of ten", and the different numbers are for various categories (graphics, gameplay, etc.)? And relatively speaking, how good a score is that?

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What exactly do those scores mean? Is each number "out of ten", and the different numbers are for various categories (graphics, gameplay, etc.)? And relatively speaking, how good a score is that?

 

Four reviewers, each giving a score out of ten.  I don't intend to look up an exhaustive list of Famitsu review scores, but whenever I do see them, it's pretty rare to see 6s or below.

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Japan has a noted history of being very tolerant if not enjoying things that are more tedious to American consumers.  Case in point, Barcode Battlers were a bit of a flop in the western market (and yet, companies still tried to cash in on it for many years to come) , due to lack of clarity and just being a poorly designed product in general.  Japanese consumers, on the other hand, found themselves enjoying the strategic elements of it and liked experimenting with the different results from different barcodes.  In general, Japan has also a much larger market for minimalism in games, which is why dialogue heavy games and visual novels very rarely make a break-through in the mainstream market in America.

 

Minimalism (though not in a good way) and tedium make up a pretty good portion of Rise of Lyric's gameplay, so it doesn't surprise me that they would rate it higher.  It really might explain the quality of recent games, where even the better titles seem to suffer from some odd quirks that bring the experience down a little. (i.e. the inability to easily move in four cardinal directions that's been trending since Unleashed)  But you would think since Sonic is mostly targeted towards the west, they would focus on western reviews.  Plus, the lack of popularity for the franchise in Japan, one would think, would be an indicator that Japanese review scores are not a viable source of information about their brand.  Like, if it's really that good, but it's not selling, you would think there would be a reason for that.  Maybe.

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As I recall it's a trend that many Japanese gaming companies have been struggling with lately, to the point Youtubers like GaijinGoombah were calling for Japanese developers to spend more time in the West to get a feel for what the right game for a western audience would be like.

 

Lo and behold, that's how we get things like Sonic Adventure. I think he might be onto something!

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  • 2 months later...

As I recall it's a trend that many Japanese gaming companies have been struggling with lately, to the point Youtubers like GaijinGoombah were calling for Japanese developers to spend more time in the West to get a feel for what the right game for a western audience would be like.

 

Lo and behold, that's how we get things like Sonic Adventure. I think he might be onto something!

Aww, that would be so cool. I'd love an Adventurey-feeling game even if it wasn't officially an Adventure game. I was desperately hoping Boom would be the next Sonic Heroes since I always had a soft spot for that game, but... yeah.

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Sega of Japan has an extensive localization business (as do many Japanese publishers) from english to Japanese. And I guess SoJ has more money to blow for local business (pure uneducated guess).

 

As for how it received, I follow this Japanese news site/blog (think of Kotaku), and there is stigma of Sega being notorious of dissapoiting overseas fans.

Sega of America's very infamous for not bothering to localize Japanese games with a strong fanbase like PSO2 (it's basiclly Sega's Half-Life 3) and especially Yakuza (We had to ask Sony to make Sega localize Yakuza 5 and we're still doubting that Sega would localize Yakuza 0 and Yakuza Kiwami without outside influence).

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Yeah, they pulled the plug on Valkyria Chronicles 3 and Phantasy Star Portable 2 Burst infinity coming to the West despite us getting the prior games...VC3 likely didn't happen cause folks here weren't exactly fans of VC2 (them turning the main setting into some school environment was rather...... stupid). I have no idea why PSP2 Burst Infinity never made it over here.

Not to mention they seem to afraid to bring over the Puyo Puyo series over here without trying to reskin it in some way and call it something else.

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  • 1 month later...

It's simple. Don't all of you remember how he made it clear the franchise was meant to stay in the west and only for the west? Plus you've got the footage of him playing the first titles and pulling his hair, even though maintaining a smile.

Feel bad for him really... Sucks having your own company go over your head.

Sonic BOOM was never meant/intended for Japan OR to appear in Japan but somewhere along the way SEGA jumped over him like E.T. on a bike.

Edited by Chris Knopps
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It's simple. Don't all of you remember how he made it clear the franchise was meant to stay in the west and only for the west? Plus you've got the footage of him playing the first titles and pulling his hair, even though maintaining a smile.

Feel bad for him really... Sucks having your own company go over your head.

Sonic BOOM was never meant/intended for Japan OR to appear in Japan but somewhere along the way SEGA jumped over him like E.T. on a bike.

Could you link that footage? I don't recall it. I do remember those preview videos and Iizuka spoke on them.

I think it came out there because there was no main Sonic game coming out that year. I don't think they expected it to be that bad. So far Japan's had more info on Boom in total. They've had more PR for Fire and Ice at the Sonic Thanksgiving event and we just got a pre-E3 trailer.

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It's simple. Don't all of you remember how he made it clear the franchise was meant to stay in the west and only for the west? Plus you've got the footage of him playing the first titles and pulling his hair, even though maintaining a smile.

 

I remember him running his hands through his hair which looks like he had his head in his hands which was a funny to point out at the time.

I Certaily don't remember this being him saying that he was totally against the game... can you elaborate on that one please?

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