Jetsetter: Wii U sales jump 685-percent in the UK

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We’ve had some wildly conflicting emotions over the past couple of months. On the one hand, there are scads of exciting import only games either out now or on the horizon. This column exists because of the long history of games like Yakuza 5 and Phantasy Star Nova staying trapped in Japan. It’s great that these treasures are out there, waiting to be plucked up by intrepid importers. On the other hand, those two examples are entries in game series that have traditionally been released internationally, which means that many publishers are still content to not bother localizing games outside of their native shores when they may only be played by a small audience. That’s bad for people who might want to try something different but aren’t willing to try imported games.

Then again, you never know when strange games will come to the U.S.

Square-Enix announced it’s localizing the PlayStation 3 exclusive Drakengard 3 for release in 2014, a sequel to a decade old PlayStation 2 series that was only kind of popular in its native Japan. Maybe the niche isn’t dead at all, just dormant. What else is coming out abroad that may end up as just an importer’s delight?

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Square-Enix brings (almost) the complete Dragon Quest series to iOS and Android.

These are tough times for Dragon Quest fans. The grandpappy of all JRPGs enjoyed a western renaissance last decade. Starting with the release of Dragon Quest VIII on PlayStation 2 in late 2005 – the first game to ever bear the series’ original name in the U.S. – Square-Enix brought an unprecedented number of the role-playing games across the Pacific. Dragon Quest V and VI got their first ever English releases on the Nintendo DS, and side series like Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime even got localized. As this decade’s unfurled, though, the series has disappeared. Nintendo 3DS games, like the grand remake of Dragon Quest VII and the brand new Rocket Slime 3, have been ignored by Nintendo and Square-Enix alike, and even bigger games like Dragon Quest X, the MMO for Wii, Wii U, and PC, are practically mythical outside Japan.

There is some new hope for the series. Square-Enix announced this past week that the vast majority of the core series is going mobile. Dragon Quest I through VIII is coming to iOS and Android soon. This marks the very first time Dragon Quest VIII will be released on a platform besides the PlayStation 2. It’s great that more people will get to play one of the finest RPGs ever made, but the game’s grand vistas and dungeons may be wasted on such small screens.

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The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD gives Wii U a big boost in the UK.

Things have not been going the Wii U’s way anywhere on Earth, as we’ve discussed numerous times over the past year, but Nintendo’s latest console has done especially bad in the United Kingdom. Sales have been downright terrifying. Asda, a British retail chain, went as far as to stop selling Wii U altogether. Leave it to a classic series to save the day for Nintendo. Wii U sales are up a whopping 685-percent in the United Kingdom according to Nintendo. It’s all thanks to the newly released The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, which debuted as the number 4 best-selling game in the U.K. last week. Evidence suggests that software really has been the sticking point with Nintendo’s latest system. It’ll be interesting to see if future releases like Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 will help maintain the console going forward.

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