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A Brief Chat With Tyson Gifford of Operation Rainfall
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A Brief Chat With Tyson Gifford of Operation Rainfall

by Jake ValentineMarch 20, 2012

Recently, we previewed the upcoming Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles, one of the targeted games of a movement known as Operation Rainfall.

Also recently, we had a talk with one of the original founders of the movement, Tyson Gifford.

Jake: Well, let’s start from the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your movement and, specifically, why you chose to target Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower.

Tyson: Operation Rainfall began on June 22nd, 2011 in a thread on the IGN Boards Wii Lobby.  Our idea was to look toward what fans of TV programs at risk of cancellation (Star Trek, Veronica Mars, Jericho, etc.) had achieved, rather than a traditional, and historically unsuccessful, online petition. There had been discussion of what we could do to get these games for quite some time, but nobody was committing to any organized effort until then.  So, from it’s very inception, Operation Rainfall had these three games in mind.  In fact, you could say that the movement to get these 3 games in North America preceded Operation Rainfall itself.  If you were to ask why these three games were on the radar of Operation Rainfall‘s founders, I would answer that it was merely a matter of taste.  Those of us who started Operation Rainfall were all starved JRPG fans.  It is also worth noting that we knew Xenoblade was bound for Europe and Australia.  The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower were also likely to see release in these English-speaking regions, making North American releases for the titles a realistic and reasonable request.

Jake: So it’s safe to say that this is the same group of people that, say, enjoyed Baten Kaitos during its run on the Gamecube, which was also a joint effort between Monolith and Nintendo. Did it surprise you then that Nintendo of America wasn’t so willing to bring Xenoblade Chronicles stateside? I mean sure, Baten Kaitos didn’t sell all too well, but not only does it have the Xeno-series name involved, but you could argue it shares more similarities to Tales of Symphonia, which was far more popular.

Tyson: Definitely, while I cannot speak for everyone, I know that a lot of the staff and supporters of Opertaion Rainfall are HUGE fans of the Baten Kaitos series.  Personally, I have been a fan of Tetsuya Takahashi since Xenogears, and have followed him and his staff as they moved from Square, to Namco, and finally now, to Nintendo.  I have already invested close to 230 hours into Xenoblade Chronicles and would rank it in my top 10 games I have ever played.  A lot of gamers looking for a quirky niche game will be absolutely floored by the scope and polish on display.  But when it comes to Nintendo of America‘s reluctance to publish the titles we are supporting, the bigger shock for me was The Last Story. Having Hironobu Sakaguchi on-board for an exclusive is a big deal.  Nintendo of America’s timid approach to the title genuinely surprised me.  Though I suppose, we are indeed late in the Wii‘s life, and at this time the biggest obstacle to all three of the games we support is the declining interest in the console itself. Thankfully, with the announcement of The Last Story being published by niche specialist X-Seed, Nintendo has set a new precedent in their willingness to let another publisher handle a project they seem to have deemed too risky.

Jake: It was, indeed, a pretty big shock when you consider that NOA seemed to be all set to bring American gamers the first six Final Fantasy games, including FFIII, which had never been released outside of Japan until 2006. Do you guys think that they’re possibly playing things a bit too safe? I mean, there was a significant number of downloaded copies of Xenoblade Chronicles. There’s obviously a pretty big demand for this game, and it’s coming to a console that, you could argue, has the most loyal fanbase between the big three.

Tyson: I would say that Nintendo is one of the most conservative video game publishers, and that in turn makes them a bit risk averse (atleast fiscally).  The biggest problem seems to be the one size fits all approach they have had towards software distribution.  Thankfully, with the GameStop exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles, and the 3rd party published The Last Story, Nintendo now seems willing to take a different approach with some of the games they would normally look over.  While they are currently only doing this for these two games, in each case they have set a new precedence.  With the GameStop exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles, they are trying their hand at the low risk retailer exclusive.  With the X-Seed published The Last Story they are trying their hand at the low risk 3rd party outsourcing option.  We hope that both methods are wildly successful, but as low risk options, neither requires the kind of sales we would normally associate with a successful game to be profitable.  Managed expectations is the phrase of the year, if the returns exceed the cost, they have a profit.  As long as a game is profitable it is worth releasing, even if it doesn’t set the world on fire.  That being said, I do not think that the torrent downloads of Xenoblade Chronicles would have evenly equated to additional sales, had no download been available.  Piracy is easy, VERY easy, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if only a tiny fraction of those who downloaded the game will ever play it at all.

Jake: Let’s take a look at Pandora’s Tower. Is it safe to say that it’s the, how do I put this, niche title out of the three and possibly the biggest risk?

Tyson: I would say that’s fair, the title is from a lesser known developer who previously worked on manga license games, it simply doesn’t have the pedigree of the other two.  Though I would also like to say that the game was not merely tacked on as some seem to think it was.  Pandora’s Tower is a uniquely dark game for the Wii, a game more likely from Atlus than Nintendo.  I think that gamers who want to see more titles like Eternal Darkness on Nintendo systems in the future, should really consider the dark story of Pandora’s Tower.  Thankfully, like the other two games we are supporting, Pandora’s Tower has been fully localized for English-speaking countries by Nintendo of Europe. So if the game gets a similar low-risk release, it could still be quite profitable for something so niche.  Operation Rainfall is planning a month of coverage for Pandora’s Tower in order to give it the attention it deserves.  During this month, visitors to Operation Rainfall‘s various outlets will be treated to a plethora of content.  You can expect art, desktop wallpapers, full articles with roundtables, video profiles, and more.  We are currently ironing out just when this month will occur, as our schedule of coverage is a bit crowded now with the upcoming North American release of Xenoblade Chronicles.   I would urge anyone who writes off Pandora’s Tower as the tag along of the group, to actually take the time and look into the title, especially if you like dark themes in your games.

Jake: How do you think the fan response to bring forth these games stateside will affect the Wii U‘s lineup of games? I mean obviously, you guys aren’t going to call it a day if Pandora’s Tower comes stateside as well, right?

Tyson: Most of all, it is the way in which Xenoblade Chronicles (a retailer exclusive)  and The Last Story (3rd party publisher) are being released that could make an impact on the kind of games we will get on the Wii UNintendo has now set a precedent of their willingness to explore alternative means of distribution for niche titles.  This could, hopefully, mean an end to the huge rift in game releases, between what Japan gets and what America gets.  Beyond the potential for more localized Japanese Nintendo games, I think that the three developers most heavily involved in these games have gotten a bit more attention noiw, then they had before.  As such, and for example, we could see much more attention granted towards Monolith Soft‘s upcoming Wii U title.

Jake: Have you guys ever considered trying to get some of these niche games that were released to fanfare on other consoles onto Nintendo‘s? I mean obviously, the processing power of the Wii isn’t on par with the Xbox 360 and PS3, but I’m sure some Nintendo fans would love to get their hands on, say Catherine.

Tyson: We have to be very careful when picking our battles, asking for a game like Catherine is a bit unrealistic.  Personally, I would love to get my hands on Catherine, but the amount of work to make a Wii port possible is beyond what a grassroots campaign like ours can realistically request.  Many of us were excited about Tales of Graces when it was announced for the Wii, but we never got word of a North American release.  Then a PS3 version of the game was made, and now that version is coming to North America INSTEAD of the Wii version.  We would love to have Tales of Graces on the Wii but Namco Bandai has explicitly stated that they have no interest in releasing the earlier version, and that the updated version would not be able to run on the Wii.  So, like with Catherine, asking for a Wii version is just not a realistic request.  Perhaps the Wii U is a more likely possibility, though I should clarify that we have had no discussion towards such a campaign.

Jake: What does the future have in store for you guys? I mean, Nintendo is going to be launching a new console this year and, as we all know, you need some really good games to help push consoles. Any Wii U games you guys are looking forward to, whether they’ve been announced for America or are currently on a Japan release?

Tyson: In the near future we have 2 big events planned.  First, we have a 10 day countdown to Xenoblade Chronicles starting on March 27th, and ending on the 5th of April, the day before the April 6th North American release date.  Then a week later, on Friday the 13th, we are launching a month long celebration of Pandora’s Tower, which releases in Europe on that day.  We are hard at work preparing for these events, so please look forward to them.  After E3 we will begin discussions about what games we will add to our campaign.  Many people are excited about this, and want us to jump immediately into it, but we will not have a clear picture of what we should be supporting until updated release schedules are unveiled.  We have no plans yet in regards to Nintendo’s Wii U console, though considering our relationship with the developer, we are obviously interested in the Wii U title that Monolith Soft has been teasing.

Jake: Thanks for the time (and patience with the technical issues). We’ll be at PAX and E3 this year, hopefully we can see you there, though I’m sure you’ll have your hands full promoting the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles. 😉

Tyson: Thank you for your coverage.  I am not sure if any of us will be in attendance at either PAX or E3, but we are certainly looking forward to them.

For more about Operation Rainfall, you can check out their brand new website.

About The Author
Jake Valentine
Jake Valentine
Born in Boston, residing in Cincinnati, and playing far too much Magic: the Gathering.
  • Tanlaithial

    This shit rocks!

  • juanmelk

    I really hope they keep doing stuff like this for future Nintendo titles.

  • Abbey Spencer

    i want the controls for the two traditional and standard controler with nunchuck
    itll support me choose my b’day present (sept 23rd 2011)

  • Harriett Legler

    I am quite thrilled for each games, but I want to know if the special editions of the two games will be obtainable in NA and for how much.

  • Pizzaboycc

    Thanks for the post.

  • Amie Wolken

    Loved the interview!

  • http://thegamefanatics.com Eugene

    Great Article! If they put in Limited editions, it may attract more fans as there are gamers that love bonuses such as soundtracks, artbooks and even a steelcase for storing the game! That’s why I’m importing a copy of the limited edition game from Europe for the extras and an Aussie copy for extra support and the backup artbook!

    As an Aussie gamer (and major supporter of Operation Rainfall of Australia), we gamers and fans of RPGs have to show our support by offering them with our money without the need to lead to piracy. I know we can’t get rid of piracy, but we can convince them to buy the physical copy if they have enjoyed their “imported” copy! Even though we didn’t really brought the games here, we have shown Nintendo that we want the Wii to finish off with a bang but not with two or three titles as we want to remember a console having great third party titles! We can’t just let Nintendo make the same mistake last year with their losses again do we? All we did last year is buy Wii points online and downloadable content… Q1-Q3 was nothing in 2011! Even though they may be a hit or a miss, they still can make a profit from the sales rather than no profit or worse, make another loss again!

  • Melisa Klenke

    Really hope Pandora’s Tower makes it stateside.

    • http://thegamefanatics.com Eugene

      If you want Pandora’s Tower to make it stateside, buy Xenoblade and The Last Story, that way we can increase the chances of seeing Pandora’s Tower be localised stateside!

  • Kelli Shanklin

    1.Brandon acquired a ebook for his birthday and read 76 pages in 4 hours. Later, he go through 85 pages in 5 hours. Does his studying comply with a direction variation? Explain.

    2.Solve 3x > -6 for x.

    x > -18

    x < -2

    x -2

    3.A piece of audio is made up of m measures. If every evaluate has 3 beats, how a lot of somme beats are in the piece of music?

    3m

    3 + m

    m divided by 3

    m

    4.Which is an equivalent type of 6/8

    12/14

    2/4

    1 1/3

    18/24

    5.During a dry month, it rained 2 1/3 inches, which is 7 2/3 inches much less than the average. Take Into Account the subtraction equation you would solve for the regular month-to-month rainfall. What operation ought to be done on each sides to solve the equation?

    Add 2 1/3

    Subtract 2 1/3

    Add 7 2/3

    Subtract 7 2/3

  • blarg blarg

    I am writing a paper on the pandora myth, my thesis is on how it symbolizes knowledge. One is when prometheus steals the fire and is punish, and how pandora’s thrist for knowledge led her to opening the jar and dooming mankind. I have been looking for what people like Carl Jung or Joseph Campbell have to say about it but with no luck. Any talk about knowledge in general will be of use. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Joe T

    Xenoblade Chronicles is coming out the Friday and im one of the many pre-ordering it! I plan on using a Classic Controller with it but while looking at its page on the Gamestop website I noticed a link to the “Classic Controller Pro” which has grips and slightly more buttons. Now im worried that the game will only work with the Classic Controller Pro. Is this true or will I be able to play with the normal classic controller?

  • Motordom

    Like old school FFs, Chrono Trigger/Cross…
    Is it comparable or entirely different? Even so: better; worse; alike… I don’t know. Worth buying?
    Any ideas?
    Thanks :)

  • Benihana

    1.Brandon received a book for his birthday and read 76 pages in 4 hours. Later, he read 85 pages in 5 hours. Does his reading follow a direction variation? Explain.

    2.Solve 3x > -6 for x.

    x > -18

    x < -2

    x -2

    3.A piece of music is made up of m measures. If each measure has 3 beats, how many total beats are in the piece of music?

    3m

    3 + m

    m divided by 3

    m

    4.Which is an equivalent form of 6/8

    12/14

    2/4

    1 1/3

    18/24

    5.During a dry month, it rained 2 1/3 inches, which is 7 2/3 inches less than the average. Consider the subtraction equation you would solve for the average monthly rainfall. What operation must be done on both sides to solve the equation?

    Add 2 1/3

    Subtract 2 1/3

    Add 7 2/3

    Subtract 7 2/3

  • Adam

    In the summer I can use full hot and cold and my bath is comfortable. In the fall, it takes less hot water and more cold. In the winter it takes more hot water and less cold.

    Why is this?

  • unbleevable39

    How to dress like a hot nerd for a Halloween costume?
    I’ve got a Halloween party soon and I’m planning to dress up as a “hot nerd”.

    What kind of things should I be wearing? And what kind of extra accessories (apart from nerd glasses and a bowtie) could I use?

    Anything creative? Nerdy/hot? :)

    thanks in advance!

  • andresumoza

    PLEASE DONT BE MEAN! I HAVE HAD THE FLU AND HAVE NOT BEEN IN SCHOOL. HELP ME PLEASE!

    1. Plants and animals live in:
    (Points : 1)
    trees.

    available universes.

    habitats.

    spheres of influence.

    2. A geographic area, the plant and animal life that lives there, and the natural processes that sustain them are known as a(n):
    (Points : 1)
    ecosystem.

    platform.

    system of operation.

    universal influence.

    3. Arrange the following levels of organization starting from the smallest and going to the largest.

    (Points : 1)
    Answer Potential Matches:
    : 1
    1 : Biosphere

    : 2
    2 : Habitat

    : 3
    3 : Ecosystem

    : 4
    4 : Biome

    4. Imagine that you are an ecologist who must determine whether an entire biome is being threatened by human activity. What might you do to determine this?
    (Points : 1)
    Identify indicator species

    Examine the biome as a 1 x 1 meter grid

    Set up barometers and rain guages

    Measure soil pH

    5. A _____ is defined by types of ecosystems, whereas a _____ is defined by types of weather.
    (Points : 1)
    biome; climate zone

    climate zone; biome

    habitat; biome

    biome; habitat

    6. There are _____ types of biomes.
    (Points : 1)
    four

    seven

    few

    many

    7. Match the biome name in column 1 with the description in column 2.

    (Points : 1)
    Answer Potential Matches:
    : Tundra
    1 : Many trees

    : Desert
    2 : Grasses and trees

    : Savannah
    3 : Fewest plants

    : Rain forest
    4 : No trees, cold

    8. Can the middle of a city, with no undeveloped areas, be considered an ecosystem?
    (Points : 1)
    Yes, since a ecosystem is by definition the relationship between people and the environment

    No, because there would only be organisms such as rats that live among people

    No, since a ecosystem is by definition an environment in its natural state

    Yes, if you are studying organisms such as rats that live among people

    9. What is one way in which an ecosystem can affect a culture?
    (Points : 1)
    Cold waters increase the amount of dissolved oxygen.

    Earthquakes cause rocks to move and open up new areas for nesting.

    A lot of rainfall can lead to extensive plant life.

    The types of animals affect the kinds of images and stories in literature.

    10. The _____ people developed a culture that depends on longboats because they live in a chain of islands.
    (Points : 1)
    Welsh

    Bedouin

    Fijian

    Russian

    11. Match the ecosystem element in column 1 to the cultural characteristic it most likely affects in column 2.

    (Points : 1)
    Answer Potential Matches:
    : Hot weather
    1 : Conservation and hospitality

    : Scarce food
    2 : Climbing skills

    : Many lakes
    3 : Use boats for trade

    : Tall trees with fruit
    4 : Scant clothing

    12. Russia is located largely in a _____ biome.
    (Points : 1)
    boreal

    desert

    savannah

    chaparral

    13. Near your home, most of the changes to the landscape in the past 500 years were probably brought about by:
    (Points : 1)
    global warming.

    plate movement.

    people.

    weathering.

    14. Put these ecosystems in order of least biodiversity to most biodiversity.

    (Points : 1)
    Answer Potential Matches:
    : 1
    1 : Northern California redwood forest

    : 2
    2 : Amazon rain forest

    : 3
    3 : Alaskan tundra

    15. Which are ways that humans can lower biodiversity as they interact with the environment?

    Check all that apply.
    Driving cars

    Replacing forests with farms

    Strip-mining hillsides

    Using large amounts of paper

  • Xbox360king

    My friend and I are planning a trip to Santa Barbara and/or San Diego and we want to spend a night or two at a hot springs spa, or at least stay somewhere less expensive and hit a day spa with hot springs. Any suggestions? We’re also heading to San Simeon to see the Hearst Castle . It’s a “girlfriends getaway” to de-stress from our jobs & families! We’re going during winter 2009.

  • supernerd567

    A bath is filled up with hot water, say 42 degrees C. A volume of cold water is added, taking the temperature down to 38 degrees C.

    As a proportion of the water that is already in the bath, how much hot water (42 degrees C) will be needed to bring the whole bath back up to 42 degrees C.

    If you could show your working and explain any laws you are using that would be great.

  • sick_mick_101

    I want to have a hot tub installed in our not-yet-built deck. I want the hot tub edge flush with the deck surface – ie sunken. I want enough space for 7 – 8 adults and I don’t want a noisy system. I can’t enjoy the outdoors when I hear motors whirring!
    What should I know to choose a good hot tub and to have it installed flush with the deck surface? Thanks in advance for your tips/experiences.

  • stingerms

    I can’t even enjoy myself in the shower because the hot water runs out after about 10 minutes, then I’m left there to freeze. I’m used to taking 30 minute hot soothing showers! I just got out of the shower and was only to shave one leg because it got too cold. Does this mean I have a crappy hot water heater or what?

  • Travoiz

    I have been growing a thai ornamental pepper plant for a while and ive picked lots of small peppers (less than an inch big) and dried them. I have under 20. I want to make a mini batch of hot sauce with them but im not sure how..

    They are super hot (50,000+ scolenes) and you can tell just by biting into one (OUCH!).

    So does anyone have any good hot hot recipes for my peppers?

  • Lachlan

    Do you know any game that have huge/open world with great meadows, lakes, mountains etc. Also the genre of these games must be RPG or MMO.

  • sakyue1993

    How many different combinations of hot dogs can I make?
    I make hot dogs. I have 12 different toppings.Including a plain hotdog how many different types of hot dogs can I make?