In 2008, Square Enix announced to the public a brand new game on the PSP as an addition to the Fabula Nova Crystallis series. This little dandy was none other than Final Fantasy Agito XIII. As always, Western audiences were confident that this lovely title would make its way beyond the borders of Japan. With it being an addition to the mythos of both Final Fantasy XIII and Versus XIII, it made perfect sense for the portable title to makes its way to the hands of devoted fans, right? Flash forward four years later, and still this highly praised game has not entered the hands of half the world.
Why would Square Enix do such a thing? Could it be, just like Capcom's Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, that the prices of overseas shipping and translation outweighed potential revenue? If so, then why send us The Third Birthday and a port (not remake) of a Nintendo DS game that is, at best, obscure to anyone outside of Japan? When looking back at the choices Square has made in regards to the now named Type-0, it becomes difficult to tell if they are being overly cautious or if they have lost confidence in their fans.
After the mixed reception of Final Fantasy XIII, Square Enix made the decision to create some separation between their PSP title and the Fabula Nova Crystallis name, hence Agito XIII being renamed Type-0. This was understandable, of course. Besides, changing a name would not change the game. In fact, the game sold so well that Square announced plans for not one, but two sequels to keep their new franchise going. Anyone observing from the outside would figure that this would increase the chances of the game coming overseas, but Square seems to have left the West out of their plans. Many are left to scratch their head, wondering why Square doesn't want their pockets full of euros, pounds and dollars.
Could it be that Square Enix believes that all things XIII have left a bad taste in our mouth? Then why make Final Fantasy XIII-2, speak out against cancellation rumors surrounding Versus XIII, and announce Final Fantasy XIII-3 (excuse me, Lightning Returns)? The fact that they do not jump on the chance to make money is not only unusual, but concerning. Remember, this is the company who not only uses practically every new system to re-release every Final Fantasy made, but who also made two (debatably three) movies as the ultimate cash-in disguised as fan-service. Granted, Advent Children was, and still is, a good movie but that is beside the point.
Money aside, what does this say of their devotion to the fans? After a poor release of the MMO, Final Fantasy XIV, Square not only apologized, but brought in Naoki Yoshida as the new producer who gave a whole new meaning to the word humility. They continued to put action behind their words by not only granting one year of free play, but Square Enix recreated the entire game as an apology to the community. Now if Square was willing to recreate a massive online game and lose so much money to try and gain people's favour, why on earth can they not spend two months on localizing a PSP game that they know will sell?
If they fear the excitement of the game has left us, they would be wrong. The visuals in the screen shots alone are enough to fill the most casual Final Fantasy fan with excitement and anticipation. When you take into account that there are twelve playable characters, each with unique weapons and a playable summon, you just may pass out on the floor because you forgot to breathe. Did you enjoy Crisis Core like the rest of the world? That is what the gameplay is based on. However, the red cherry on top of this delicious Final Fantasy sundae is that this monster of a game is on not one, but two UMDs. That is approximately 4 gigabytes of Japanese goodness. If Square Enix thinks that does not appeal to the West, then one has to question if they have become the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand. This is exactly the type of game that got fans into the franchise - it's baffling to understand why it's the one game Square Enix refuses to release.
Some of you may be asking if there is still hope for a western release. I say, yes. As mentioned earlier, Square Enix uses new systems as opportunities to release previously unavailable games. Some have suggested that the game could be made available via PSN for the PSP or even PS Vita. Despite Square's recent habits, by their history, Type-0 will make its way to the western parts of the world, but probably after Versus XIII.