What Japanese games could get localized in 2017?

It’s a new year and time for new games! So what titles are on the horizon for Western fans? We’re breaking it down, as usual, with looks at the localizations we’re most likely to see announced in the next few months.

First, of course, a few ground rules:

It needs to be released or releasing shortly in Japan, but not announced for North America. There are too many projects that aren’t yet done in Japanese, and plenty of those that will definitely make it over just haven’t been announced yet.

It needs to be on a platform viable in both regions. For now, that means 3DS, PS4, Switch, PC and Vita.

Okay, onto the contenders!

Goodbye! BoxBoy!

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Nintendo
Why we may get it: The first two BoxBoy! games were well-received in the West (especially by us), and this end to the trilogy is backed by a retail release and Qbby amiibo in Japan. Could we see the same thing here, or even just the digital release?
Why we may not: Niche amiibo releases have worked out poorly for franchises like Chibi-Robo, so Qbby may not make the trip with a physical edition in tow. We’re confident in the eShop game at least, though.

Kenka Bancho Otome

Platform(s): Vita, PC
Likely Western publishers: Spike Chunsoft
Why we may get it: If this poll and its results meant anything, we’ll see its top vote-getter in the West. There’s demand for otome games, and it makes sense that someone would step up and supply more.
Why we may not: Online polls speak much less loudly than actual sales, and it’s possible the company may find the close-second finisher, the more general-audience visual novel 428, to be a more appealing next step.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana

Platform(s): PS4, Vita
Likely Western publishers: XSEED
Why we may get it: XSEED has worked to localize the series for years, and its Steam success has served to reinforce those efforts. With all those games often showing up well after their initial releases, it’d be enticing for XSEED to showcase something a bit newer.
Why we may not: As we’ve said before, this year’s PS4 port will be the likely target, but we’ll see.

Etrian Odyssey V

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Atlus
Why we may get it: We’ve been lucky enough to see all Etrian Odyssey games to date, and hopefully that means it sells well enough to continue Western releases. As an internal project, that’s easier to accomplish, and oh, right: the games are usually quite good. Besides: a struggling series would be more likely to skip an Untold release than a pillar entry.
Why we may not: We predicted this the last time we made one of these lists, and we still haven’t heard anything. We still think it’s on the way, but you can never be totally sure until it’s announced.

Princess wa Kane no Mouja

Platform(s): Vita
Likely Western publishers: NIS America
Why we may get it: This top-down action-RPG is visually appealing and charming, and NIS America has rarely shied away from localizing the full extent of its release catalog.
Why we may not: It’s the Vita in 2017? Something’s gotta give eventually, and “niche new IP” wouldn’t be a bad bet. (Still: PC ports are always possible!)

Sega 3D Classics Collection 2

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Sega
Why we may get it: We didn’t make up that name — the game known as Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives 3 has an English Miiverse community name that suggests it’ll follow Archives 2 to America.
Why we may not: We saw a lot of copies of the previous game on store shelves. Was that simply overestimating demand beyond reason or a sign of poor general sales?

Monster Hunter Stories

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Capcom
Why we may get it: Stories is meant as a more welcoming entry into the world of Monster Hunter, with a JRPG-like approach rather than the exacting combat of the core series. Capcom is still looking for ways to broaden its fan base in the West, and getting into the “kid-friendly JRPG” market is a popular and generally successful move over here.
Why we may not: Monster Hunter doesn’t have the cultural relevance over here, and rather than building out a long-term plan, Capcom may instead opt to preserve its niche presence and nurture that rather than taking a big swing while many of its franchises are running into financial problems.

Miitopia

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Nintendo
Why we may get it: It’s a seemingly-mass-market game using its characters with the widest appeal, and references to it already exist in English versions of Miitomo.
Why we may not: The 3DS is heading out and the Switch is heading in, and the game could be a casualty of that transition. Also there’s that thing about Nintendo not thinking people want RPGs.

Musou Stars

Platform(s): PS4, Vita
Likely Western publishers: Koei Tecmo
Why we may get it: We generally get all the Musou games these days, and this one has the star power and budget to be more marketable than most.
Why we may not: Opoona is in it. You know, Opoona from Opoona? Yeah! That great little dude. So sometimes the world is unfair and deprives us of more Opoona.

Yo-kai Watch 3

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Nintendo
Why we may get it: Nintendo and Hasbro continued the Yo-kai blitz for another year, releasing the two-edition second game and accompanying toy suite last fall. If they sold well enough, why not keep the train rolling — especially with an edition with a more American setting?
Why we may not: Those may not have sold well, and the 3DS has a ticking clock.

Puyo Puyo Chronicle

Platform(s): 3DS
Likely Western publishers: Sega
Why we may get it: It’s a cool little game on a viable system, and Puyo deserves a Western resurgence.
Why we may not: It’s not exactly built for newcomers, its RPG structure means a larger localization budget is needed and Puyo is best when more geared toward multiplayer competition.

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