By David Radd

Operation Rainfall famously was an attempt by fans to get Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower published in the U.S. It was enough to get the official attention of Nintendo of America . . . but that did not result in the games being picked up for the U.S. Fortunately, a positive reception in Europe ensured that both Xenoblade Chronicles and The Last Story have gotten tapped for U.S. release, though in the case of The Last Story, Xseed will publish and not Nintendo. This is a unique opportunity and Xseed Games’ Executive Vice President Ken Berry realizes it. We got a chance to talk to him on the eve of the game’s release and discuss releasing a late generation Wii title and what sort of early reception the game has gotten so far.

When Nintendo declined to publish The Last Story in the U.S. and it fell to Xseed, did it feel like the company was handed a great opportunity?

Ken Berry: It absolutely felt like we were handed a great opportunity. We would have never imagined just a year ago that we would have an opportunity to publish The Last Story.

Did fan demand from things like “Operation Rainfall” help Xseed decide that there was an audience for The Last Story in North America?

Ken Berry: We did know that fan demand was out there, but there was never a question of if we wanted to publish it — the question was always if we could publish it. We already knew the gameplay was solid and that it definitely had sales potential in North America, so we didn’t need much more convincing.

Has there been a sense of The Last Story being “something special” for Xseed, given the great heritage of the people who worked on it in Hironobu Sakaguchi and Nobuo Uematsu?

Ken Berry: We’ve been fortunate to have worked with a lot of great game creators before, but this is Xseed’s first time working with Sakaguchi-san, who is often credited with being one of the founding fathers of the entire RPG genre. To have Uematsu-san also on the project as the composer is just icing on the cake as they are both legends in the field.

Knowing that Sakaguchi-san and Uematsu-san were both involved made it such a special project that we still would have wanted to publish it even if it was a direct sequel to E.T. from the Atari 2600.

What sort of reception have you already gotten to the pre-order bonus?

Ken Berry: Pre-orders have been great from the day we announced the game, but they really ramped up when we announced that all launch units would come packed with a bonus art book in a special custom case at the same price. We actually had to limit the number of launch orders we take as retailers kept increasing their orders beyond their forecasted numbers over a month ago when we first started manufacturing, which is definitely a good problem to have.

How are you looking to promote the game? Will there be online ads, trailers, point o–sale items?

Ken Berry: Like most of our releases the marketing budget will be limited so you won’t be seeing any TV commercials, but we are definitely promoting the game with print ads in Nintendo Power, online ads, trailers, and signage/ads with retailers. But no matter how much marketing we purchase, the most effective will always be word-of-mouth so hopefully the fans that have been supporting us for months leading up to the release will be pleased with their purchase and that they will continue to talk about post-launch too.

The Last Story utilizes a variety of unique systems to an RPG, from cover and real-time strategy to online co-op and competitive play — how will you look to educate players of these unique elements?

Ken Berry: Luckily for us the game had already been released in Japan and Europe, so there was already a lot of press coverage in North America even before we picked up the publishing rights. Thanks to this the fans were mostly very well-versed in the battle system already, but most of the details can also be found on our newly launched website at

Are you worried that Wii games might no longer be as engaged with their system, especially given that the Wii U is right around the corner, or do you expect them to rally around one of the last major releases for the system?

Ken Berry: We definitely feel that the core gamers that play RPGs are the most likely to follow the best games regardless of the system, so hopefully that will hold true for The Last Story’s release on Wii. I know some people have started counting out the Wii already, but hopefully this release will show that there is still a lot of impressive things that hardware can do when the right game is running on it.

Ken, thanks.

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