TR Member Perks!

The now former United States localization editor for Nintendo, Chris Pranger, announced he had been let go after comments regarding the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles and localization costs. Pranger, a Nintendo Treehouse employee, spoke briefly about the cost of bringing Xenoblade Chronicles to the North American region during a Part Time Gamer podcast last Monday. Pranger said on the stream that translating Xenoblade Chronicles for English speaking users is largely a waste of money, and spoke directly to fans of the series. He defended his position, saying, “And they just say the classic “Why do you hate money? Why do you hate money, Nintendo?…And we’ll be like “Yeah, we do want money, which is why we know it’s a colossal waste if we ever try to localize that in this current market, because look at you people. You don’t make up a big enough group.”

Xenoblade Chronicles is a popular RPG in Japan and has a growing base in the United States, but is not as well known as other Nintendo titles. The localization effort is likely a part of the growing desire to promote Nintendo’s Japanese titles to Western regions, with Nintendo of Europe deciding to eat the cost for localization in the case of Xenoblade Chronicles. Apparently, Nintendo executives took issue with Pranger’s open commentary on the issue, and he announced on Twitter and Facebook that he had been fired.

https://twitter.com/TheChrisPranger/status/631852330133028864

Pranger offered more details on his Facebook, clarifying that it had been directly because of the podcast. It was since made no longer accessible to the public, largely because it was personal and emotional in nature. He started the post clarifying the reason he was fired, “As many of you have probably seen, I am no longer at Nintendo. I was terminated this week due to a podcast appearance I made last Monday. It was a stupid judgment call on my part and ultimately it cost me far more than I could have imagined.” Nintendo has not yet commented on Pranger’s status. At the time Xenoblade Chronicles 3D was released in the West on the New Nintendo 3DS, the series had sold more copies in the West than in Japan.


Kindra Pring

Staff Writer

Teacher's aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.



  • Jesus Zamora

    So the game sells more in the west than it does in Japan (as the Wii version did) and it’s a waste of money? Yeah, Nintendo was right to fire this tool.

  • Wow, an exec saying basically “you guys aren’t worth our time and money” is pretty damn insulting. Even if it IS a net loss for Nintendo to localize the game you can’t have that kind of attitude towards your customers. Firing him over some comments on a podcast seems harsh, but it quickly to put to rest any bad feelings fans may have had about the buying the game.You just can’t go on the internet and insult your customers.

  • Audie Bakerson

    A pretty stupid comment to make, but there’s been far worse out of the treehouse recently that has gone untouched like Amtower particpating in the attempt to unperson Jontron for daring to critize Saint Anita.

  • Doc Hammer

    I get where the guy was coming from, but it probably would’ve been wise to be less candid about it and lead with some sort of earnest regret that not everything that they would want to do for fans was fiscally possible. You know, just generally be less of a dickhead.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    The game sold more sure, but with localization how much money did Nintendo make off of the Western Version? This guy may have a point. With the way other smaller Japanese devs that make niche titles have half given up on physical copies if localized games this Chris Pranger may be right about costs.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    Its not really insulting customers if he is right though. A lot of people complain about Nintendo localization, yet when stuff like Operation Rainfall convinces Nintendo to localize, people don’t back up their words with a purchase.

  • Kev Lew

    In a year ending with few major international releases this was a silly thing to say.

    Honest certainly, maybe even true, but Nintendo will earn more by maintaining international support through this niche but popular JRPG title than if the project was declared japan only and snubbed international Wii U owners.

    Sometimes you take the small hits to keep an audience happy to wait around for the other £50-£60 games you are releasing sporadically (good as 1st party but the Wii U was poorly marketed and tried to use the tablet gimmick to heavily for third party support to be interested).

    Personally I bought the Wii U last November because it finally reached a price point and game threshold I was willing to buy in at, if international support ceased I would be happy with my purchase as it stands but would likely never touch a Nintendo console again. This would be my first and last Nintendo console (played friends N64 and owned an original game-boy, otherwise the few titles I liked not been worth the investment price).

    As is, it is highly likely that I will be pre-ordering this title and booking a day off work for delivery last game I pre-ordered was splatoon, and before that the Defiance MMO over a year ago (wanted the car and it looked interesting).

  • Haze

    personally it’s a shame because at least he was being honest and direct with the audience but clearly that goes against the big N’s usual policy of keeping everything a mystery

  • Crizzyeyes

    Except that he is. Stating that “you’re not worth our time and money” when “you” is the target demographic is an insult, regardless of context.

  • phagette

    I guess I would take personal offense to his comments considering I bought a Wii U exclusively for XCX, and I’d be mad as balls to hear even a tease of its cancellation… and I’m glad Nintendo sees the bigger picture of keeping its current customers happy. It’s not about how many copies a game will sell, it’s about brand loyalty. You can throw money until your arms hurt but you can’t buy a history of consumer loyalty. THAT shit has upkeep.

  • Mr. Oshawott

    As harsh as this may be for some, Nintendo made the right decision sending Chris packing. That comment about Nintendo “losing money” for localizing Xenoblade Chronicles and localization in a general sense was pretty insulting, even if it may be true to an extent.
    It also doesn’t help that he probably violated his Non-Disclosure Agreement during the midst of his tirade.

  • Casey

    Unless this was part of an NDA, he should not have been fired. Full stop.

    That being said, it’s idiots like this that keep games like mother 3 from coming out here. They make these blanket statements like this and send companies in the wrong direction.

    He’s cut from the same cloth as the idiots who said Bravely Default would never sell here in the U.S.

    Well, guess what? It came out and sold EXTREMELY well. So well that Square had to take a step back and go “Woah… JRPG’s actually sell in the U.S.!” They probably regret having nintendo publish it and take all that extra money.

    It was the same idiots who said Capcom needs to westernize their ip’s like devil may cry and make games that appealed to the “western” gamer.

    So we got schlock like Dark Void, and a game that would have been good if it had
    been called ANYTHING but devil may cry. Oh and “my wife is my arm”, Bionic Commando.

    These companies need to take these”analysts” or more appropriately, these readers of tea-leaves and just fire them en-masse. They’re constantly telling them that X game won’t sell and that the people LOVE friggin final fantasy 13 enough to sit through two sequels.

    Good riddance.

  • Lordlundar

    It sucks, but it’s not surprising. Most employment agreements that are signed tend to have a section about public disclosure. These tend to boil down to “unless you work in PR, saying ANYTHING about internal policies or messages publicly WILL get you fired.” This is largely an execution of such a section in the agreement.

  • Keirnoth

    Personally, I would prefer they just left the Japanese voices for the localization. I’m not sure how much more voice acting licensing fee is for Japanese voices, but that would at least save them having to resort to using shitty in-house VAs.

  • Arbitrary

    “Except that he is. Stating that “you’re not worth our time and money” when “you” is the target demographic is an insult, regardless of context.”

    You have to be a truly pissy, little person to be outraged about an insult when it is 100% true.

  • Arbitrary

    Yeah! Fuck honesty!

  • Arbitrary

    “It’s not about how many copies a game will sell, it’s about brand loyalty.”

    Because fanboy allegiance is a good thing that should be encouraged by humanity.

  • Arbitrary

    “That comment about Nintendo “losing money” for localizing Xenoblade Chronicles and localization in a general sense was pretty insulting, even if it may be true to an extent.”

    It’s amazing how you can be entirely in agreement that he was correct, and still find it “insulting”.

    Christ; your kind is insufferable.

  • Mr. Oshawott

    If you were to spend a bit of time hearing the Podcast, you would find out that the way Chris Pranger stated his viewpoint came off as condescending and confrontational to customers. A person with an negative characteristic like Mr. Pranger isn’t what anyone would want representing his/her company.

  • Dane Smith

    This is a good example of using a platform like Kickstarter for the localizations. If the execs are so iffy about a title, make the fans put their money where their mouth is and prove it. http://techraptor.net/content/kickstarter-localizations

  • morzinbo

    “Hey guys, I have an idea! Let’s translate like 1 out of every 100 games that comes out of Japan and then lambast the market for not jumping all over it! This totally makes a lot of sense!”

  • morzinbo

    are you just here to insult everyone?

  • Casey

    Yes! One hundred percent! Konami said there was no demand for a 2-d castlevania. We got the bloodstained kickstarter and boom. Whattya know? There WAS interest! Enough interest to make it the most funded game on kickstarter… at least for a while.

  • Dane Smith

    I can only imagine how many games are just waiting to be brought over. I’m not a dev. I don’t like to use the phrase “they don’t like money,” but I’m curious why so many of the big companies don’t/are not winning/are iffy about kickstarting a game for localization?

  • Casey

    I can guarantee you part of it is pride. Going to kickstarter to them is begging for money. Another part is probably that they just don’t know a lot about kickstarter and therefore avoid it.
    You also have normal delays and nonsense that comes with working on video games that the public never sees such as failing cert. If one of these localizations were funded on kickstarter and they had to delay it for one of the numerous and boring reasons companies do, it could lead to bad press.

    Another possibility is that kickstarter takes a share of the money and they’d rather get it all.

    In the end, the right company could pull it off, but its gonna take a brave company to cross that line first.

  • Dane Smith

    Having worked in Japan before I do know, at least where I worked, they are pretty rigid about the order of things. Still, seeing how crazy Shenmue 3 got funded, it should give hope.

    I think there is a divide, and sadly I was not specific enough about it in the article I linked, between the big names and the new names. I would have zero trust issues if Square, Konami, Atlus, etc, kickstarted a localization. I get hesitant when it is a big name ‘person’ and their small company like Inafune. Mighty #9 was announced years ago and it is still not out yet. I think so many people backed the name of the person versus the reality of the company.

    I’d love to see GaijinGames (aka Working Designs) use the Kickstarter method since they were so instrumental in bringing over so many niche PS1 titles back in the day.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    I don’t think that’s the issue. Its the cost of making physical copies of games in general. Its gotten to a point where localizing a title with potential “cult status” is not worth it for Nintendo to do. There are A LOT of Vita games that are digital only to avoid that cost and its mainly companies like ATLUS that have a rep for porting interesting stuff well.

    What’s also an extra setback is that in this specific situation, Xenoblade Chronicles requires the “New 3DS” to be played. Its also the only game that is as such currently. So XC is a title with a loud cult fan base on a handheld with a low install base. I can see his point. Nintendo’s view on localizing things in general is very dated. They’ve caused a lot of strife for new IPs and locking them down.

  • RockstarRepublic

    He’s kind of right, Nintendo has become associated with garbage ware in the west, though the 3DS manages to retain its market (probably due to lack of quality competition). Nintendo should take a note from what a lot of other Japanese publishers are starting to do and that is release both on PC and on console. Also, screw the localized voice acting, people just need the subs. That should make up for itself quite easily.

  • アコール

    NDA is NDA. You sign it, you break it, you eat it. You knew the consequences when you signed those documents before you started working at Nintendo, now you pay the price.

  • Doc Hammer

    Yeah man! Fuck those customers, they need to hear the hard truths.

    Or, here’s a thought. You could just be tactful. That’s not being dishonest, it’s just being respectful. I don’t think he said anything worth getting fired over either, because he definitely wasn’t as stupid as you.

  • Zack

    Really?? Where did you hear that?! Please link me to the article/video!

  • Audie Bakerson

    It was on his Twitter. He retweeted and voiced support, vowing to do the same, for the current Halo writer, blocking any of his followers that followed johntron..

  • Jesus Zamora

    Problem is that this isn’t a “smaller Japanese dev.” This was an internally-developed Nintendo game (Monolith Soft is wholly owned). It’s the same reason we see Neptunia titles being released here by Idea Factory – Having your own western branch cuts on licensing costs.

    There was literally NO REASON AT ALL for Nintendo not to release Xenoblade Chronicles (or the other oprainfall games, but especially this one), other than pig-headedness.

  • Alex Romero

    And it’s 100% true because, you, Saint Arbitrary the blessed, patron saint of all videogames in the universe, says so, right?

  • Alex Romero

    Your mom made a terrible mistake when she didn’t use that coathanger during her pregnancy.

    Hey, I’m just being honest. You have no right to be offended.

  • Alex Romero

    Are you just here to defend your boyfriend?

  • Alex Romero

    Yeah, fuck fanboy allegiance!

    Being a hater, on the other hand, makes you better than Jesus Christ!

  • phagette

    I meant for preventing fanboy outrage, since that’s the only way Nintendo learns. :^)

  • chaoguy

    Only info I’ve gleamed from (amateur) research:
    – Pic related on Amtower not liking Jon Tron. I can’t find anymore context than this. (Archive: https://archive.is/sffPE)
    – Allison Rapp (@mnemsynekurai) uses the IGDA/Anti-GG Twitter Blocklist.

    Since we don’t know the context (yet) I’d say don’t take ANYTHING as gospel until you’ve seen it with your own eyes.

    As for the story itself, he should be fired. We know it’s an illusion to pretend everything is running as planned and they love all IPs equally, but outright saying that to a popular IP is a shot in the foot. You could have done that to movie tie-in shovelware and the only people that would have been pissed would have been investors.

    There were also interesting comments made about the localization/translation process itself. Some of them could spark interesting debate. Is it worth doing another article from this on translation and localization?

  • Blank Generation

    lol butthurt. He’s right and you know it. The market would be well served by more people being as upfront about issues as Chris Pranger.

  • Alex Romero

    “He’s right and you know it because he agrees with me!”