Digimon World Re:Digitize and Why Namco Bandai Won’t Let You Have It

30 Jun

I am in physical pain whenever I see updates on Digimon World Re:Digitize. It’s scheduled for release on PSP on July 19th in Japan. In Japan. Nowhere else. And not to be a Negative Nancy, but it probably won’t be seen outside of it. The North American and European branches of Namco Bandai appear depressingly uninterested in Digimon. Since Digimon World Re:Digitize is celebrating the series’ 15th anniversary and has very strong ties to the first Digimon World on PS1, this breaks my little monster-loving heart.

My childhood was speckled with virtual pet key chains. I never had a Tamagotchi, but I had a whole bunch of gadgets in the same family. There was the Dinkie Dino and that weird egg-shaped one that my mom wrote my name on (and then I got mad and rubbed nail polish remover on it until the permanent marker was eaten off), and the crappy blue one that came from a home goods store.

The blue one was the worst. You selected a typical pet to “raise”, but all you did was play minigames. They never grew into new forms, but did age and die after a while. The dog stayed a dog, the rabbit stayed a rabbit. Even my child-self was put off by the false claims that were printed on the packaging. That’s not what it’s all about, Home Goods Store! It’s about feeding, caring, raising, and watching as they evolve.

*does not actually produce explosions

The Digimon virtual pet* was my absolute favorite. You took care of a monster (that could grow into one of many cool, stronger monsters) that fought other people’s monsters! Ingenious. My sister had one too, and we’d battle each other all the time. I didn’t know it then, but Digimon was created as a “boy’s” Tamagotchi; that was the birth of it all. The Digimon anime, games, and cards were all born from the blooping virtual pet. So when I got the first Digimon World on the PlayStation as a reward for good grades, I was totally ecstatic.

It was exactly what I’d expected after spending so much time with the Digimon virtual pet. The special thing about Digimon World was the way you raised your monster. The game was created before the anime, so it took its inspiration from the Tamagotchi. Your Digimon aged, died, and was reborn as a baby. You had to feed him, let him sleep, and make sure he had bathroom breaks. He could get overworked, sick, or injured. Some people thought it was a pain in the butt, I’m sure, but I loved keeping an eye on my little buddy and watching him grow.

Digimon World was focused on caring for your companion, paired with RPG elements that fleshed out the game. You explored the world, rebuilt a city by recruiting Digimon, and battled your way to the top. And I loved that. Digimon World filled a very particular niche. For someone who liked monster raising games a whole lot (and thought Tamagotchis were the bomb), it was perfect.

Then there was Digimon World Re:Digitize on the PSP. They said they were listening to the fans. They said that they were going back to the playstyle of the very first game.  And, my god. They did. They really, really did.

holy crap holy crap holy crap

A city that needs rebuilding! The battle system! Jijimon! Those mood bubbles! You even have the training facilities back! And those tournament charts! It’s basically a Digimon World 1 remake!

Siliconera’s coverage of the game is driving me crazy. It’s so much like the original, but has cool new touches. First of all, there are a heck of a lot more Digimon. Anime characters make cameo appearances–nothing major, but you get to battle them, which is neat. Your dearly departed Digimon can be summoned in battle to fire off some devastating attacks. And Suzuhito Yasuda, the dude who did the fantastic art for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, is here making stuff look extra awesome. Check out the cover art!

I especially love the Agumon flopped on the main character’s head.

So when can I buy it in English?!

When can I…

…when can I buy it?

Namco Bandai hasn’t published a Digimon game in the States for about five years now. I didn’t realize how long it’d been since I last played Digimon World on DS. Taking a look at their website depressed me even further when I discovered that they don’t even have a Digimon-specific section anymore. The site search engine yields some old press releases, but nothing else.

The last few Digimon games released in Japan weren’t brought over here, either. Will Namco Bandai treat Re:Digitize the same? Another thing working against the game is the fact that it’s on PSP, which is now on its very last legs. I feel like many PSP games don’t get brought to America just because the system isn’t as successful here as it is in Japan. Could this be remedied by a digital-only release, compatible with PS Vita?

In this 2008 press release, look at how highly they speak of the series.

Digimon has proven to be as notable a franchise in the gaming community as it has with anime enthusiasts,” said Todd Thorson, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “We are thrilled to be developing the newest chapter in the dynamic Digimon universe and are sure that Digimon World Championship will appeal to all aspects of the series’ enormous fan base when it is released this summer.”

Ow. That hurts. I have a nagging feeling that they don’t feel this way anymore. Do you care about the “enormous fan base” at all, Namco Bandai? Are you shying away from your Pokemon rivals? Digimon World Championship wasn’t particularly well-received, so now you’re just going to stop with the Digimon games altogether? Come on.

Don’t even get me started on .hack. The two PS2 sagas sold millions of copies worldwide, but Namco Bandai still didn’t with bother .hack//Link on PSP. English speaking audiences will never know how the story continued. .hack//Versus (PS3) also appears to be staying inside Japan. The company is caring less and less about niche games as a whole. I wish that issue was less common than it is.

More than anything, I want my negative feelings to be wrong. Perhaps with enough exposure and enough fans pining for it, Digimon World Re:Digitize will find itself translated into English, be it by Namco Bandai or someone else.

So, please. Tell your friends about it. Digimon World on the PlayStation holds a special place in a lot of gamers’ hearts, and if they knew about Re:Digitize, I’m sure they’d be on board.

EDIT (2/1/2013): Here are further resources on the wonder that is this game. It doesn’t look like it’ll be localized, but it’s an easy import AND an English patch is in the works! Buy the game to support the series and be patient–we’ll get to play it in English even if Namco Bandai shoves us to the side, thanks to the enthusiasm and skill of fellow fans. Give them time, and be sure to give them your thanks and support!

22 Responses to “Digimon World Re:Digitize and Why Namco Bandai Won’t Let You Have It”

  1. Tex Killer July 1, 2015 at 10:06 PM #

    So… the english translation is out.
    It has been out for a week now. 🙂

    Just click on the blog link on the post!

  2. Anonymous December 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM #

    But the other game may not be the same as this game right here.

    • Mat Bars December 6, 2014 at 8:03 PM #

      This post is ancient, Digimon All-Star Rumble already came out and whatever game you’re talking about never came here.

  3. A stranger on the phone December 2, 2013 at 10:10 PM #

    I hope it comes out soon, I have been looking for some other games that are not Japan language.

    • Mattwo December 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM #

      I should actually point out that digimon has been off of digimon america’s website for a while now, Will probably return when they start advertising the digimon fusion and power rangers super megaforce toys.

    • Mattwo December 2, 2013 at 10:14 PM #

      Ooops did not mean to reply to you

  4. gamershenshin3333 September 27, 2013 at 3:50 PM #

    I didn’t know how big the game actually was, support, you’ve got my support!

  5. Mattwo June 26, 2013 at 5:34 AM #

    I mean english patch means jack…

  6. Mattwo June 26, 2013 at 5:33 AM #

    Englis version means jack if you don’t have custom firmware until emutating PSP games is prefected…

  7. A big, big, BIG fan of digimon!! January 23, 2013 at 3:23 PM #

    OMG!!! I didn’t Know about this game until today and I just exploited in happyness when I first saw it!! The best games of all time is the first digimon world and now a remake!?! You can absolutly count on me to try to get this game translated to english! In fact I Will try to contact Playstation and ask them to make the game in english! Omg!! I’m so happy to see this game and would be so sad if they not make a english version on it… I will try my best to make this happened!

    • Michelle February 1, 2013 at 2:04 AM #

      It’s great to see enthusiasm about this game isn’t dying 🙂 Do whatever it takes to make your voice known, even if it seems small or hopeless. I’d like to think every comment matters. Enough isolated ones will come together and make a difference!

  8. Jessica October 3, 2012 at 12:14 PM #

    Omg i totally agree with what you said. All of it. Its exactly how i feel and think. I hope and pray there are enough people out there in europe and the u.s. that cry out for this game and they actually make it happen

    • Michelle October 11, 2012 at 10:10 AM #

      I hope so. I am trying not to lose faith. D; But really, as soon as my semester is over…if this game isn’t out in English/there are still no announcements, I’ll have to import it. It’s a shame…
      Thanks for your comment!

  9. Tony Williams September 27, 2012 at 11:22 PM #

    I really want an English release for this game too. There might be a way to make it happen. Key word being MIGHT. There is a petition on Facebook about getting this game and I believe one or three others localized. If we spread the word about this then people might sign it. Another way could be to rush namco bandai with a ton of digimon emails.

    • Michelle September 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM #

      I agree. We need as many people as possible to let Namco Bandai know that there is still a big English-speaking fanbase =/
      I pop them an email every so often, but organizing a bunch of fans would be way more effective.
      I mentioned a Facebook page and one petition in the comments below. If you give me the link to the others, I would gladly add my signature.

      • A big, big, BIG fan of digimon!! January 23, 2013 at 3:28 PM #

        May if somebody could mail Namco Bandai about the Facebook page he Will see How many of the english speaking countries that want the game 😀

        • Michelle February 1, 2013 at 2:02 AM #

          I would hope so. Over 6,600 likes on that page now! That’s a heafty number for a fanpage.
          What really drives me crazy is that there was a fanpage to localize Project X Zone, too…

          It only has half the numbers of the Digimon page, and Project X Zone has been announced for localization. Still no sign of Digimon.

          I feel like this company is slapping me in the face.

  10. Jon September 21, 2012 at 7:57 AM #

    I, for one, am completely on board with an English release! Digimon is my time favorite series. At first i want a big fan of world one hurt after playing for a little i feel in lover with it.i say we start a petition to get it over here! Psp ps visa vita i don’t care! Digimon is just awesome period. On a side note i also agree with . Hack link… so happy to play it then they candle production WTF

  11. Cameron June 30, 2012 at 9:32 PM #

    I agree completly with everything you said. Though i have pre-ordered the Japanese version anyway. Would rather play that than not play it at all.

    • Michelle June 30, 2012 at 10:30 PM #

      Glad I’m not the only one. I think I’ll be importing the Japanese version, too…I can’t pass this game up without feeling empty inside.

      And thanks for commenting. =)

      • Cameron June 30, 2012 at 11:36 PM #

        No problem. You can import quite cheap off of play-asia.com.

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