Microsoft will make a number of Xbox One announcements at the Tokyo Game Show, which kicks off 19th September and runs till the 22nd. Alas, it seems a new first-party Japanese role-playing game won't be among the offerings. Woe unto the disciples of Blue Dragon. Woe unto the followers of Lost Odyssey.
That's according to Studios boss Phil Spencer, replying to a query about an interview with Eurogamer. Microsoft loves role-playing games, he told the site, and is confident that Xbox One will play host to a healthy selection, but feels a first-party effort (Western or Japanese) at console launch would be impractical.
"RPGs for me personally, that's the genre I grew up playing, starting with the old Ultima series," observed Spencer. "Those are games that are in my heart. When we launched 360 we invested in Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon with Sakaguchi-san. Those were really important games from us.
"RPG games take a long time," he went on. "You want to make sure those games are great. Lionhead's taking Fable in an interesting direction and we've been playing that game for a while. That's a ton of fun.
"RPGs specifically, we showed The Witcher 3 at E3, but I know what you're asking. You're asking about the more traditional RPG. I know you will see those games come to our platform. There's just nothing to announce right now."
Spencer later Tweeted the following:
@bosjbug @aarongreenberg Quote was we won't be announcing a first party JRPG at TGS. I believe we will have Xbox One announces.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) August 27, 2013
Japan is a tough nut for Microsoft to crack - the Xbox 360 has made little headway there, and the Xbox One won't arrive till 2014, months after its launch in the West. Roundabouts the Xbox One's reveal, outgoing Interactive Entertainment Business president Don Mattrick told OXM that the firm remains "committed" to Japan with Xbox One, adding that Microsoft would build on its existing "investment".
Microsoft Japan CEO and president Yasuyuki Higuchi has suggested that translating the console's TV and broader entertainment vision for a Japanese audience may be tricky. "[Xbox One] is geared towards a Western lifestyle, and we're looking at whether or not to launch it 'as is' in Japan," he observed in July. "We're still figuring out how to deal with things like music and video services in each country. To be honest, [releasing it in Japan] as is would be difficult."
The same needn't apply to the console's games, however. "Specifically about the Japanese market - and I'll be at Tokyo Game Show in a month - the Japanese development community remains incredibly important to us, and we're continuing to invest there," Spencer reassured Eurogamer.
"We're having great conversations with people. We're not announcing anything, but I can say both RPGs and specifically the Japanese developers are really important to our ecosystem. I know Dead Rising 3 isn't an RPG and is being developed in Vancouver, Canada, but I'll just say the relationship with the publishers and developers in Japan is something we'll continue to invest in as important."
What do you think of Microsoft's approach to Japan right now? I think Spencer should fire the Exclusivity Cannon at Monster Hunter.