Five Tantalizingly Untranslated PSP RPGs

These last-gen stragglers may never make their way to English-language territories, and they may never see new life on the Vita... but they should.

Article by Bob Mackey, .

While the 3DS has recently proven itself as a real RPG powerhouse, just a handful of years ago, Sony's PSP held the same distinction. It might be hard to remember, but before we were joining our Wii Us and 3DSes in unholy unions for some co-op Monster Hunting, the PSP once had a monopoly on all things related to this popular brand, which in turn encouraged developers to hitch their respective wagons to Sony's money train. Thanks to the PSP's debilitating piracy issues, coupled with Japanese-developed RPGs losing traction in the West, many of these titles never saw an official English release, despite the talent and/or brand associated with them.

Of course, there's no reason these games couldn't eventually resurface on the Vita marketplace -- after all, the screen on that thing makes PSP-level graphics look amazing again. Discounting unimportant factors like profit, feasibility, and interest, I'd like to present five Japanese-developed RPGs for the PSP that would be more than welcome on the underappreciated Vita.

Final Fantasy Type-0

What is it? Once part of the somewhat disastrous Fabula Nova Crystalis: Final Fantasy XIII initiative, Final Fantasy Type-0 eventually emerged in Japan in October 2011 as an action-RPG in the vein of Crisis Core. While it's only a spin-off, Type-0's non-existence in English feels like an anomaly for Square, who isn't shy about putting their emphasis behind the Final Fantasy brand, even if the game in question isn't worthy. Plus, The 3rd Birthday got preferential treatment over this?

Why didn't we get it? At the time of Type-0's release, Square had been going through some pretty dire financial woes, so pulling out of the PSP market made sense. Seeing as they never made most of their catalog available for download, it's not like anyone really noticed.

Will we ever see it in English? After a few years of hopelessness, a Type-0 localization is now at least remotely possible. And we may even see the game in an improved HD format, at that.

Grand Knights History

What is it? A Vanillaware game -- and without all of those controversial character designs. Grand Knights' lush watercolor backgrounds, expressive sprites, and stirring Basiscape soundtrack all seemed to indicate Vanillaware intended to end the PSP's twilight years with a bang.

Why didn't we get it? Tragically, we almost did, until XSEED had to call off their plans to localize the game for a very common reason: Vanillaware had moved on to developing Dragon's Crown, and couldn't spare any localization reprogramming help from their tiny team. So really, the only enemy in this scenario is practicality, and how it tends to ruin things that "would be cool."

Will we ever see it in English? Not likely, but in the coming years the PSP will likely see the same amount of support that the fan translation scene gave the Super Famicom in the late '90s. So if you play it in English, it'll be years from now and in a law-skirting manner.

Valkyria Chronicles 3

What is it? In 2008, Sega released Valkyria Chronicles, an excellent strategy RPG with an art style that oozed rustic charm -- and then no one bought it. Assuming that the original's quiet dignity and general avoidance of stereotypes stood in the way of profit, the sequel quickly dispatched with both of these qualities, wrapping great gameplay in a package that played out like My First Anime. Sega tried to return the series to its roots with a more serious and back-to-basics approach with part 3, but far too late in the PSP's lifespan (2011) to really make a difference.

Why didn't we get it? Well, diminishing returns between Valkyria 1 and 2, and the fact that Sega doesn't take a lot of risks these days. Take, for example, the fact that they haven't announced an American launch for Phantasy Star Online 2 -- you think they're going to jump on an even less-known RPG series?

Will we ever see it in English? Considering Sega's dropped the Valkyria series from their scalded hands like an oven-fresh pizza, probably not.

The Last Ranker

What is it? Directed by the creator of Etrian Odyssey, with music by Yoko Shimomura (Kingdom Hearts) and a script by Kazushige Nojima (every Final Fantasy for the last 15 years), The Last Ranker combined some of the heaviest RPG hitters of Japan at the time. And from Capcom, too, who seemed to shy away from this genre after quietly smothering Breath of Fire in 2003.

Why didn't we get it? A likely story: The Last Ranker's 2010 release date came just after the PSP's initial freefall, making it far too late to slave over a product that would only be enjoyed by pirates and a small minority of honest RPG addicts. With no established brand to stand behind, The Last Ranker would have died an ignoble death in the harsh world of late-aughts PSP retail.

Will we ever see it in English? Not unless you do it yourself. And if you do, can you send me a copy for research?

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (PSP)

What is it? The PSP remake to an RPG Atlus original released stateside in 2000, Eternal Punishment acts a sequel to Person 2: Innocent Sin, which didn't see an American release until a PSP remake in 2012. Confused yet? In recent years, Atlus has devoted resources to re-releasing games that never saw official translations, so the existence of an English Eternal Punishment must have seemed much more enticing than budgeting an American PSP release for late 2012/early 2013. For the record, Atlus made sure that Eternal Punishment could be playable on the PSP -- you'll just need to download the PlayStation version from PSN.

Why didn't we get it? Innocent Sin always stood as much more of a "white whale" for Atlus fans, so it's easy to see why a localization for it took precedence over working on the inevitable remake of Eternal Punishment. Plus, Atlus had shifted gears to Vita development by Eternal Punishment's May 2012 Japanese release date, meaning their focus had shifted to more Persona-related matters.

Will we ever see it in English? Yes, if you don't mind grabbing the original from PSN -- it won't have any of the shiny new content, but you'll find the core game isn't all that different.

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Comments 19

  • Avatar for ldave #1 ldave 4 years ago
    From all of this I mainly would love to play Final Fantasy Type-0 and Valkyria Chronicles 3, both of them look very interesting.
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  • Avatar for touchofkiel #2 touchofkiel 4 years ago
    Would love to see FF Type-0 someday. And an HD version of Crisis Core. (I was also thinking the same about KH: Birth by Sleep, but that was just announced, so there's hope yet!)
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  • Avatar for Shadowfire #3 Shadowfire 4 years ago
    Grand Knights History sounds glorious. This is a travesty.
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  • Avatar for jeffcorry #4 jeffcorry 4 years ago
    Boy. I'd love to see Type-0 and Valkyria Chronicles 3. I loved VC 1 & 2. I just wish...and wish...Oh well. Perhaps it is for the best...I have a seriously huge backlog.
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  • Avatar for Wellman #5 Wellman 4 years ago
    Square Enix and most of the companies that made these games probably could easily port the games over to the 2/3DS. The only issue would be that at least with Square Enix, they wouldn't do that unless Nintendo handled the localization like they have done with most of their portable releases for the past few years.
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  • Avatar for makine #6 makine 4 years ago
    Replace Last Ranker with Sol Trigger.
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  • Avatar for TPaulBuzan #7 TPaulBuzan 4 years ago
    The 7th Dragon 2020.

    A brother can dream, can't he?
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  • Avatar for alexb #8 alexb 4 years ago
    It's sad to see that even the biggest Japanese companies are just deciding not to compete and pulling back into their shells. Kids coming up now and especially a little while from now are not going to know Japanese games outside of Mario, Sonic, and a few others here and there. As somebody who grew up in the glory days of the NES, SNES, and PS1, it's a practically unthinkable situation. A tragic combination of market realities and Galapagos Syndrome in action.
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  • Avatar for Bla1ne #9 Bla1ne 4 years ago
    The best thing about RPGs is, out of any genre, they're the ones that age best. Because they're not about graphics, and their gameplay never gets outdated, it doesn't matter all that much if you play them years later. What's most important is the story, and a good one is timeless.
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  • Avatar for carlosplays #10 carlosplays 4 years ago
    Great article. Would love to play all of these!
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  • Avatar for jeffk #11 jeffk 4 years ago
    The RSS feed teaser text calls it Persona 2: Eternal Publishment. Is that a Game Dev Story-type sequel?
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  • Avatar for Mega_Matt #12 Mega_Matt 4 years ago
    I really wish Suikoden I and II were brought over here. It would be nice to play II with a better translation.
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  • Avatar for Mega_Matt #13 Mega_Matt 4 years ago
    I really wish Suikoden I and II were brought over here. It would be nice to play II with a better translation.
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  • Avatar for Shadowfire #14 Shadowfire 4 years ago
    For most people it would be nice to play Suikoden II at all. That game is insanely rare.
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  • Avatar for MissDeviling #15 MissDeviling 4 years ago
    >> FF Type-0

    Do NOT tease my heart like that. :'(
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  • Avatar for brionfoulke91 #16 brionfoulke91 4 years ago
    I would love to see all of these games! I hope fan translations can pick up the slack someday!
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  • Avatar for easter #17 easter 4 years ago
    Atlus is still the Vita's best friend, along with partner in crime Aksys, at least for those of us in the West.

    Squeenix has all but given the finger to the Vita thus far, preferring 3DS and mobile. At least they grudgingly released Chaos Rings on PSM recently.

    I just picked up Tactics Ogre and FFIX the other day on PSN. Amazing games. The likelihood of seeing something of that quality on Vita from Squeenix in the near future is...dire.
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  • Avatar for jessedylanwatson26 #18 jessedylanwatson26 4 years ago
    I want all of these, but Last Ranker sounds the coolest to me!
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  • Avatar for Thumbscar #19 Thumbscar 2 years ago
    Waaaaaaant! Also Soma Bringer, always wanted to try that one.
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