Could J-Stars Victory Versus Be Localized? Very Unlikely
The biggest question going around the internet when J-Stars Victory Versus was announced (as Project J Versus) wasn’t whether or not Bobobo or Vegeta would be included. It wasn’t whether we’d have 40 characters or 100. The biggest question floating around was the question “Could J-Stars Victory Versus Be Localized?”. Tons of arguments for and against the idea have been brought forth, and today i’d like to bring forward my opinion.
It is Very Unlikely. Why? Let’s get right into that.
The first argument people hold up is that Namco Bandai has been Localizing all of their games recently. While this is partially true, when it comes to this game there is something that separates it from the others. Most other games published by Namco Bandai come from one license. Examples of this are the Ultimate Ninja series, which struggled to get the Goku Costume DLC for Naruto Storm 3, even though the rights to the Dragon Ball Z and Naruto games both belong to Namco. Now, with Dragon Ball Z we see Goku wearing the Sage Mode costume, and I can’t help but think that it was rather easy to do because the license has been used before in such a way, that made it doable for both games.
In Japan, doing crossover games isn’t quite that hard. The easiest way to describe it is to get companies that want to make a game together, have them talk, and eventually, with some hard work and negotiating, a game is made. The publisher pays off the license holders, and the game is released to the public. In America however there are quite a few issues with this. Licensing in America is quite different, and getting one License to mix with another has always been a problem when it comes to porting games over. The biggest games used in arguments against possible localization of J-Stars are Jump Ultimate Stars, and Jump Super Stars. These games are very similar to J-stars in the way that they use a large cast taken from Weekly Shonen Jump, throw them in a fighting game, and have them all go at it. If these games can’t make it to the states, then how is J-Stars?
A more recent problem that is getting more light is showcased wonderfully in an issue with the game Starry Sky. Starry Sky’s creators wanted to bring the game to the US, but during an interview they said that one of the main problems with doing so is the voice cast and licensing fee’s. “We have talked with companies about Starry Sky since we know there are many fans who would love to have this game released for English-speaking fans to enjoy. Sadly we did not get a good response from the companies in question.” According to “Payne went on to explain that the problem with the game is its “all-star cast” featuring famous voice-actors, whose inclusion would require a significant licensing fee, adding that he felt a release without the Japanese voice-overs would displease plans.”
People say that all Namco would have to do is translate the Menu’s and port the game over with English Subs for the speech, but this game with Japanese Voice overs, is having trouble being brought over to the US do to the cost of having to pay all of the voice actors again. Not only would Namco have to pay the voice actors again, and their licensing fee’s, but there are other fee’s they have to pay. The big Elephant in the room is Project X Zone. Everyone brings up Project X Zone when you argue that J-Stars will probably never see the shores of America.
For the uninitiated, Project X Zone is a game developed by Banpresto and Namco Bandai Games, that uses characters owned by Namco Bandai Games, Sega, and Capcom. This game was thought to be impossible to bring to the US, but it made it. Even since then people think that any crossover game should be easy to bring over to the USA. Let’s look closer into how this game made it to the states. We know that the rights for each character in Project X Zone had to be re-negotiated. This process may have been hard if it weren’t for Banpresto. Banpresto is known best as a Toy maker. They have the rights to most of the characters in the game. If Banpresto has a figure or a statue for a character, they have the right to use them.
Now many people think great. Banpresto has a collection of J-Stars toy’s to mark the 45th anniversary that has most of the J-Stars cast, as well as other characters, but the issue then lies in whether or not they are able to take these Licenses from Japan, and create new licenses in America or Europe or Australia. Below is a list of license holders that Namco Bandai may have to pay to see the game ever reach the US.
English License Holders:
Weekly Shonen Jump
Namco Bandai Games
Below is a list of franchises in the game that currently do not have licenses in the US, and thus would have to be created for the game’s release here.
No English License for:
Hell Teacher Nube
Chinyūki -Tarō to Yukaina Nakama-tachi-
Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar
Kuroko no Basket
Neuro: Supernatural Detective
With all of this, it is still likely that some characters would be excluded from a US release, and most companies have a problem with releasing an incomplete version of their game, with missing characters. Namco Bandai may decide to leave certain characters out, like they did with Tales of Vesperia on the Xbox 360 in the US, Removing Flynn from the main party, and Patti altogether, however cases like this are rare for this company and it seems like they’ve been trying to avoid such a situation.
So could J-Stars Victory Versus be localized? It isn’t completely impossible, but it is however, very, very unlikely.
Below is a list of sources used when compiling this article.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J-Stars_Victory_Vs (To find the full list of series, and each of their respective US License holders, or lack there of)