No Export for You/Video Games

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Game Company Specific Examples

These examples are sorted by company name.

  • Subverted with the games created by AliceSoft. For many years, their games wouldn't make it to the US due to their controversial nature. AliceSoft even blocked off their website from being viewed by any and all foreigners. However, in the late 2010s they relented, with several parts of their flagship series Sengoku Rance getting published in English via MangaGamer.
  • There is no Atlus Europe, meaning their games usually take a much longer time to come to Europe than the States, and usually don't get translated to other European languages than English either. Their in-house games aren't TOO bad off, as other companies pick them up sometimes (Like Nintendo with Trauma Center), but the games they license for translation from other companies like the Summon Night or Super Robot Taisen for the Game Boy Advance? Yeah, Europe never got those.
  • Any Bemani series that isn't Dance Dance Revolution or beatmania; an American installment of Beatmania IIDX didn't sell too well (releasing it shortly after the release of Guitar Hero didn't help), and the less said about Beat'n Groovy, the better.
    • A Wii version of pop'n music was produced and even got an American release ... but it was turned into a motion controlled game using just the Wii Remote and nunchuck. Thankfully, it did share a similar art style to the actual series. But even worse, it even spawned an arcade version; the American version was only tested as a redemption game (and had a very unfitting logo), but a Japanese version was released under the name "HELLO! POP'N MUSIC"
  • Bethesda's earlier Elder Scrolls installments ended up becoming this in Japan after the fact. After Microsoft released the Xbox in Japan, American Gamers received the third installment, Morrowind. Xbox sales tanked in East Asia, and the powers that be had a case of And You Thought It Would Fail. However, without Region Coding on the console, Japanese gamers could still play Morrowind in English via Import Gaming. Interest in the game spread by word-of-mouth, turning the game into a Sleeper Hit on both PC and the handfull of Xbox consoles in Japan. Eventually, the fandom created sites with Instructions, Walkthroughs, Explanations, Resources, and Plot Overviews in Japanese all the way up to complete fan translation patches. Bethesda eventually noticed the publicity, and made sure to create a Japanese localization of Oblivion and later Fallout 3...And the Fandom Rejoiced.
    • Oblivion also follows First Installment Wins over in Japan, as it is the installment where most Japanese started playing. Westerners usually exercize this trope over Morrowind or Daggerfall. Because of this, Oblivion was sometimes less well received in the West.
    • Of course, after playing the localization of Oblivion, and what will likely happen after the Japanese release of Skyrim, a war broke out among the fandom over Subbing Versus Dubbing sure to entertain any English-Speaking fan of Japanese video games and-or anime.
    • Skyrim also managed to get a perfect score from Famitsu, THE only western game to do so.
  • Every Cave shoot-em-up after DoDonPachi has gotten an Asia-only release; if you want, say, Mushihime-sama or Espgaluda on the PS2, and live outside of there, expect to shell out at least the equivalent of US$70 (unless you are an extremely good bargain hunter). Then again, shoot-em-ups are a niche genre here in the United States.
    • There were plans to bring a couple of the games to XBLA, but Microsoft rejected.
    • Cave has recently been trying to avert this, as they've given some of their games some form of English release (Death Smiles, Guwange), or at the very least have made them region-free (Mushihimesama Futari, EspGaluda II Black Label), making importing them much easier. Western fans are much appreciative.
      • This continued even in the face of Aksys (who published the US version of Death Smiles) saying they're not interested in publishing additional shooters for the US. Deathsmiles IIX actually recieved a US release - in the form of the unedited Japanese game (Japanese Achievements left intact) available over Games on Demand.
      • Even when Cave could find no willing publishers for an American release of Do Don Pachi Resurrection, Rising Star Games made their European release of the game compatible with American consoles, in a bizarre inversion of the usual situation (usually, Europe's the one importing from America).
  • Subverted with visual novel producer minori, who were very adamant in the early 2010s about not releasing anything outside Japan, while openly berating fan translators, filing C&D forms, blocking foreign IPs and throwing in some xenophobic remarks along the way. Eventually, they enlisted their former nemesis, the fansubbing group No Name Losers, as their official localization team. minori's current homepage
  • Monolith Soft: The three Xenosaga and two Baten Kaitos games released in North America aside (the former of which, as mentioned earlier got screwed in Europe in particular). This means Americans will probably never get to see the Xenosaga side games/DS remake, Disaster, and Soma Bringer among things, even when there's been some pleading by the fans for them to release SOMETHING.
  • Nintendo often withholds things both from America and Europe, particularly 3rd-party games that didn't already have a huge fanbase in those regions beforehand. In particular:
    • The original Super Mario Bros. 2, which was deemed too hard for Americans. Instead, they retooled a similar game called Doki Doki Panic and released that as a sequel. Fortunately, the original eventually became available in the SNES game collection Super Mario All-Stars, and eventually anyone who wanted to play the original 8-bit version ended up able to do so on the Wii using the Virtual Console. However this was partially a decision by Nintendo of America because the then chairman disliked it and thought it added little to the series. (Though, it really didn't -- it was basically a Mission Pack Sequel made by people who didn't think that the original was hard enough.)
    • As a result of the above, Doki Doki Panic has never gotten a proper release in the States.
    • Nintendo also chose not to import Rhythm Tengoku, a fun, original Rhythm Game from from creators of the Wario Ware series, seeing as the GBA was dead in the water by the time it came out. The DS version got localized, though, and can be found as Rhythm Heaven, with a few more entries like the 3DS sequel also getting localised.
    • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! and its sequel also never came over due to the extreme difficulty of localizing foreign concepts. In an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, a Gaiden Game using the same engine using local music was used instead, and the result was the critic- and fan-favorite Elite Beat Agents. This got flipped around Elite Beat Agents then became popular for importers in Japan due to that game having similar problems with importing and localizing certain concepts. The trade-off was that the Agents became unlockable in the second Ouendan game.
    • The Fire Emblem series was released only in Japan for 13 years, until Marth Debuted in Smash Bros and proved there might be a market for the series after all. In fact, they didn't even plan to let Marth and Roy into the international release of Melee at first; According to the Fire Emblem wiki, Nintendo of Japan originally intended the two protagonists to only be playable in the Japanese version (which they were included in to promote Fuuin no Tsurugi(Sword of Seals, aka "The One With Roy")), but they were popular enough during the localization process that Nintendo of America decided to leave them in. Had they not, Americans might still not have Fire Emblem. Then again, considering some of the contents in the series (such as latter two SFC games featuring incest as a recurring theme), it's probably a good thing they waited with localising the series; Nintendo's notorious censorship board would have had a field day with the series had Nintendo brought the earlier Family Computer and Super Famicom installments over when they were still new in Japan.
      • This causes a bit of confusion with some of the nods to Sword of Seals and Mystery of the Emblem present in Blazing Sword and Shadow Dragon respectively. Everyone also wondered what would happen next; because Fuuin no Tsurugi wasn't ever localized, people thought that the next Fire Emblem game would be about Zephiel being the antagonist thanks to the ending showing Zephiel being approached by Yahn.
      • It seems to be happening again. New Mystery of the Emblem has been out in Japan for years yet Nintendo has refused to give even a rough estimate of when the rest of the world might see it. Fan translators to the rescue once again...
    • Nintendo received some backlash over their decision not to localise Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandoras Tower in North America, leading to an Internet Counterattack known as Operation Rainfall. Americans were particularly annoyed by the Xenoblade situation due to the game not only having come out in Europe and Australia (for once), but with a full translation and dub of Xenoblade Chronicles available. Eventually the operation bore fruit, with Chronicles coming to North America April 2012 with a limited print run, and XSEED Games publishing The Last Story in the same region.
  • Many Limited Special Collectors Ultimate Editions of Square Enix games seem to never, ever leave Japan, no matter how successful the original version was overseas. One of the worst examples is Kingdom Hearts 2: Final Mix + , which adds several boss fights to the original game, as well as a new Form. It also included a full-3D remake of Chain of Memories, though that was released in America as a standalone title (but not in Europe). Part of what makes the Kingdom Hearts example so notable is that much of the plot either loses its impact or doesn't make any sense without having played each game's Final Mix version. For example, Terra's final battle with Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep only makes sense if you've played the Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts II and fought the Lingering Sentiment, while the extra scenes in the Final Mix version of the first game foreshadows the existence of Xemnas and the Nobodies. The Final Mix version of Birth By Sleep includes an extended final level that ends with Aqua finding the Castle of Dreams in the world of darkness. Since the next game isn't out yet, it's unclear what the significance of the new ending is, but it's pretty much a given that it'll be vital to the plot.
    • Worst of all, the superspecial happy-extra-stuff Japan-only versions of Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XII are subtitled "International + Final Mission" and "International Zodiac Job System", respectively. Yes, it's Japan-only, and titled International. The intent is to give Japanese players the American and European versions (with some additional changes), hence the name; but still, it rankles.
    • In an unusual case of Europe getting things that North America doesn't, many of the features of Final Fantasy X International, such as the Dark Aeons, appeared in the European release of the game.
    • It should be noted, however, that almost all of these above-listed games were released for the PlayStation 2. So this may have more to do with Sony's licensing policy, which, for an Updated Rerelease, requires a certain amount of new content before it can be given an international release.
  • In the era before the Square Enix merge, it was very rough to be an Enix fan. Their localization firm the US, Enix of America, abruptly closed shop in 1995 simply because Enix of Japan had no interest in localizing their titles in the US anymore. One particularly odd case was the Enix game Terranigma, which got swallowed up in the aftermath. Enix allowed Nintendo of America to publish Terranigma's predecessor, Illusion of Gaia, stateside, but when it came time to release Terranigma, they wouldn't allow it. Clearly this took Nintendo by surprise, as they had been running previews of the game in the company-owned Nintendo Power before the closure. The game was still translated to English for a European release via Nintendo, who localized it for the rest of Europe as well...just not in the United States. Pretty much every American that's played this game did so running a ROM of the PAL English version. Enix left a few more games stranded in Japan until they got a clue and started up another publishing house in America just to get Dragon Quest VII out the door.
      • A lesser theory about Terranigma not being released outside of Japan and PAL was because it would have come at a rather awkward time - it was released in 1995, and by the time it would have been translated and released in America, it would have either been a) hampered by a short run because the Nintendo 64 would be released in a couple months or b) had to compete against the Nintendo 64 and probably wouldn't have had as much advertising as previous SNES-titles have. Even when Terranigma was released in PAL territories, the Nintendo 64 was right around the corner.
    • On the upside, Dragon Quest has gotten a new lease on life in the United States in recent years: not only was Dragon Quest VIII released in the U.S. with its original Japanese title (as opposed to "Dragon Warrior", which was really something that was because of trademark issues with a pen-and-paper game named "Dragon Quest"), but the DS remakes of Dragon Quest IV, V and VI have all been announced for the U.S., with VI being announced for the U.S. before it was even announced for Japan, and the best news of all is that Dragon Quest V and Dragon Quest VI were indeed never before released in English. Considering Enix's previous track record of crappy localizations and generally being incapable of recognizing the United States as a viable market, the merger with Square is probably the best thing that ever happened to them.
      • However, the Square Enix merger led to the translations for Dragon Quest Monsters: Caravan Heart and the PlayStation 2 Dragon Quest V remake being lost in the shuffle, which some of us are still bitter about.
      • The Dragon Quest IV localization also inexplicably excised the additional 'party talk' available in the game which was added to give much needed characterization.
      • Also, certain titles like Dragon Quest Monsters Joker 2: Professional probably won't see release outside of Japan.
    • Before Crisis Final Fantasy VII - it's been almost five years, no word at all about an international release. It's particularly annoying since an ad for this game was included in the North American DVD of Advent Children, and there was promise of it being released sometime in 2006. So even a spin-off to one of the most successful games of all time is not immune to getting the No Export treatment. So as for you Turks fans... sorry about your mistake of not being born Japanese.
    • And finally, one of the company's most infamous oversights in this regard: Seiken Densetsu 3. For many years, it was the one and only World of Mana game not to be released outside of Japan[1]; unfortunately, many fans of the series who have played it via emulation or importing believe it to be the best of the series. It finally received an international release via a compilation of the first three games through Nintendo Switch eShop, and a 3D remake in 2020 under the English title Trials of Mana.
    • Romancing SaGa series aside from the remake were never released outside of Japan. Square Enix has already released a remake of SaGa 2 (Final Fantasy Legend 2), but it has yet to reach US Shores for some reason. And with SaGa 3 remake already released, there still no signs of overseas release. Either Square Enix thinks the SaGa series is killing the company (due to its inconsistent reception on home soil), or they see Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy as a bigger asset for the company.
  • Namco Bandai, thanks in large parts for their treatment of English-speakers with the massive Tales (series) (more details further down) and plenty of their lesser intellectual properties, also has clear shades of this.
  • When Telenet Japan's subsidiary Renovation Products was bought out by Sega in 1993, the planned North American releases of several SNES games were canceled: Neugier (as The Journey Home), Psycho Dream (as Dream Probe), and a port of Arcus Odyssey.

Game Series Specific Examples

These examples are sorted by series name.

  • Although the Ace Attorney series is known for its high-quality localisations, some entries still suffer from this:
    • Ace Attorney Investigations was never released in any language other than Japanese and English, despite getting released in the UK and the other Ace Attorney games getting translations to German, French and other European languages. A German group of fans were in the process of creating a Fan Translation, but the group's latest update was made in 2013 and featured a beta version that did not cover the entire game, so a full translation may very well be Vaporware.
    • Nobody outside Japan is getting Ace Attorney Investigations 2. Capcom has kept the door open for a release some other way, but it seems more a token gesture than anything else. [2] Fortunately, there is an English completed fan translation of the game subtitled Prosecutor's Path, and a Spanish mostly-finished patch available for those who can get a copy of the original game.
    • The second pair of spinoffs, Dai Gyakuten Saiban: Naruhodou Ryuunosuke no Bouken, have never been published outside of Japan either. Capcom have not given any clear answers for why they wouldn't get translated, although there are theories floating around that it has to do with the game drawing much more from Japanese culture and/or with the games using plot elements and characters from Sherlock Holmes which haven't entered the public domain in the US.
  • Another Century's Episode, a game series that is basically an action-based variation of Super Robot Wars, faces far too many roadblocks for licensing here, not least of which is the whole Macross thing...
  • For over half a decade, the Atelier series was completely unable to leave Japan, despite the first two games handily breaking six-figure sales volume and becoming a cult hit in Japan that inspired nearly every JPRG that followed to have some form of Item Crafting. Reportedly, despite its success in Japan Sony has never had any faith that the series will appeal to American gamers, despite titles such as Harvest Moon doing well here. Only when the series made some changes to be more like a standard JPRG with Atelier Iris did it finally manage to cross the Pacific courtesy of Nippon Ichi Software of America - in 2005, eight years after the series debut in Japan. America has gotten (almost) all Atelier releases since, but even with a PS2 re-issue of the first two games, none of the first five, Item Crafting-based Atelier games have ever crossed the Pacific.
    • The Alternate Universe manga of Atelier Marie & Elie managed to come over in 2008 - seven years after its own release. It almost wasn't sold in shops, and ended up having its fifth and final volume canceled. Atelier fans mean it when they say the franchise is cursed in the West.
    • It's been nearly two years since Atelier Lise was released in Japan and it shows no signs of coming over as well. There are, however, probably rather good reasons for this and nobody is complaining too loudly about this one.
    • And it appears as though the "proper Atelier" curse is at last being broken. Whether or not Americans see the earlier games outside of Japan, however, remains an open question.
    • Probably not. But anyway, with reasons that are quite obvious, some fans of the series are pretty unsure about the localization; mainly because of the various issues regarding the translation. It's probably a sort of emotional unsettling due to variants appearing in what society has accepted as the norm eg. Name changes, term changes, etc. But at least we're getting a localization, right?
    • When the first Alterier Iris game left Japan, it caused an interesting case of Seinfeld Is Unfunny - we had already seen the sequels that developed the Item Crafting stuff more - obviously the first game that did that would look like "Just another JRPG".
  • The Sega Saturn port of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night was never released outside of Japan. Enhance improvements and many new features were added in the Saturn version. Unfortunetely, the Saturn version suffered from Porting Disaster since the system couldn't be properly coded which results include long loading times along with other problems which may be why this wasn't exported.
  • Baten Kaitos Origins, the prequel to a cult classic Gamecube JRPG, was never released in Europe.
  • What's that? You want a Bleach game for the PlayStation? Sorry, the company has released a total of thirteen Bleach games, with plans for a fourteenth, and not one of them has been released in the United States.
  • In yet another Capcom example of this trope, the Breath of Fire series has had this in practically every flavour listed:
    • Breath of Fire III's re-release for PSP never made it Stateside due to Sony Entertainment USA rules requiring a minimum of 20% new content. Europe got it, though, and fortunately the PSP is NOT region-locked. For identical reasons, the game is not available via Playstation Network in North America.
      • It has been rumoured, in fact, that it's precisely this reason why Breath of Fire IV has never been re-released.
    • No less than four spin-off games based on Breath of Fire IV, including two complete side-stories, are Japan-only due to being released only on the BREW smartphone platform.
    • The Windows port of Breath of Fire IV not only was never released in the US (being Europe, Japan and China only) but was based on the severely Bowdlerized international version--yes, even in Japan, where the original Playstation version of the game had been released uncensored.
    • Speaking of this: Breath of Fire IV's international release was the subject of severe, 80s-to-90s Nintendo Guidelines-esque Bowdlerization (including an outright Aborted Arc due to the last part of Fou-lu's story arc being cut out due to a silhouetted decapitation; this despite a Blood From the Mouth Vomit Indiscretion Shot that was kept in completely uncensored that was itself the result of a Fantastic Nuke).
      • In addition, in the international release of Breath of Fire IV one of Scias' abilities (a "scan" ability) was dropped from international versions under the rationale it'd take too long to translate from Japanese.
    • Pretty much all Expanded Universe material for Breath of Fire fits under this trope, including not only the soundtracks but the official artbooks, no less than two Novelizations , four separate ComicBookAdaptations, and no less than four other anthology and/or 4-koma collections.
      • The most recent Comic Book Adaptation--a manga adaptation of Breath of Fire IV published by Mag Garden--is the sole example that has ever made it outside Japan officially (there are licensed Chinese and French translations). Still nothing in English, though, aside from a Fan Translation and no official announcements that an English-language licensee might be interested...
  • Even though Chibi Robo for the Game Cube and the DS sequel Chibi Robo: Park Patrol have been released worldwide, the New Play Control edition for Wii and the other DS game Okaeri Chibi Robo Happy Richie Osouji have never seen the light of day outside Japan.
  • Chocobo's Dungeon never came out in the United States, butChocobo's Dungeon II kept its numbering.
  • Double Subverted with Chrono Trigger on Europe. The SNES version wasn't released, nor the PS 1 Porting Disaster. But the DS version Updated Rerelease was, after 14 years. Which would've been great if it wasn't for a small detail: This version has a new, depressing ending that acts as a Sequel Hook to Chrono Cross! And Chrono Cross has never been released on Europe! Yes, Square Enix managed to find a way to screw Europeans even when giving them something new, that deserves a round of slow applause.
  • Three Contra titles were released in North America but not in Japan. The Stinger? Said games are Contra Force, a game which had no reason to have Contra in its title to begin with (and was even planned as an unrelated game titled Arc Hound), and the two Appaloosa-developed games, Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure, which were considered bad to begin with.
    • Contra 4 was not released anywhere in Europe. The reason given was that, apparently, European gamers are unaware of the Contra brand, due to the previous games being released as Probotector and Super Probotector. So, in that case, why was the game not released over here as Probotector 4 or something?
  • After Cosmic Fantasy 2, Working Designs was planning on translating other games in the Cosmic Fantasy series. Nothing came of these plans.
  • The Densha de Go! games have not seen release outside Japan. There are some possible cultural reasons why a simulation of driving Japanese commuter trains wouldn't translate, but try telling that to some people.
    • Not quite. The developer released the PSP games in Hong Kong and Taiwan... Untranslated, with the only Chinese-language material being a simplified manual. Also, its spiritual successor, Railfan got a release in Taiwan with the installment featuring the new Taiwan High-speed Rail. On the other hand, though the first Railfan game featured the Chicago L Brown Line, it was never released there. Or anywhere else in America, for that matter.
  • The first DJ MAX Portable game was a Korea-only release. But when people outside of Korea started importing the game, Pentavision took notice and released an "International" version with English text, though that version was met with some negative receiption due to its poor attempts to censor songs and its replacement of one song with a completely different song, and it was still a Korea-only release. DJ MAX Portable 2, too had English- and Japanese-language options, and its internet ranking site acknowledges countries outside of South Korea. Despite this, the game was still Korea-only, which suggests that Pentavision wanted to release the game overseas but just didn't have the budget for it yet. Recently, Pentavision has been working with PM Studios on DJ MAX Fever, an American release, and DJ MAX Technika, an arcade Gaiden Game that will also be getting an American release, in their efforts to recognize their non-Korean fans as well as to keep American arcades in business.
  • DJMAX Fever, unlike its Korea-only predecessors, was released in the US only. Somewhat negated by Fever being a carbon copy of Portable 2, with its playlist being a mix of Portable 1 and 2's.
  • The Eggerland series (made by Hal Laboratory, of Kirby and Super Smash Bros. fame) is mostly Japan-exclusive. The original two MSX games were released in Europe, but once the series moved to the Famicom they lost it. Eventually a game called Adventures of Lolo, a compilation of puzzles from previous games in the Eggerland series, was released in America and Europe (but not Japan), seemingly as an introduction to the series. Adventures of Lolo got two similarly international sequels (which were also released in Japan with different puzzles) and a Game Boy installment released in Europe (with a lot of extra puzzles over the Japanese version), but the more recent PC games were once again Japan-only.
  • A good three-eights of the Front Mission series never made it out of Japan. (Two-fifths not counting Gun Hazard, roughly half counting Online and 2089 [either the two cell phone games or the one DS compilation thereof].) What's even worse is the Continuity Lock Out from not being familiar with all the games...
  • Due to being a violently Japanese game series having risqué gags (Ebisumaru, anyone?) in its Super Famicom entries, almost none of the Ganbare Goemon games were ever brought to America except for the first SNES game, one of the Game Boy games and two of the Nintendo 64 sequels, with another of the GB games appearing in a Game Boy Color collection in Europe. Even though the N64 entries became cult classics thanks to creative changes made to the dialogue, an offbeat sense of humor and foreign charm(having Goemon Impact certainly helped), the series failed to catch on.
  • The 2009 Ghostbusters game was never released in Poland, save for PlayStation 2 and Play Station 3 versions.
    • Long before that, New Ghostbusters II for the NES was only released in Europe and Japan, skipping North America entirely.
  • The G Generation games, essentially an all-Gundam Super Robot Wars, have never been localized, even though licensing issues wouldn't be a problem.
    • Voice Acting for the console side ones is a problem, lack of interest in the handheld ones prove to a problem.
  • For a long time Gothic 2's expansion pack (Night of the Raven) looked like it would never see the light of day in the United States, the same goes for the various Spellforce expansions. Aspyre later picked up the US distribution rights and released gold versions of both games with their expansions.
    • Also, the first Gothic had a Easter Egg-ish rock concert, which was cut from export versions due to copyright problems.
  • The first and fourth Growlanser games, allegedly the best of the series, have not seen release outside Japan.
  • Like Gundam? Too bad. The most fluid and action-packed Gundam games never make it out of Japan. This includes the Gundam Battle series (Royale, Chronicle, Universe), and alternate-universe What If games like Ghiren's Greed.
  • THE iDOLM@STER in any form. Surprise surprise, it's Namco.
    • Oddly enough, the Idolmaster-themed skins for Ace Combat 6 are available stateside...
      • And The iDOLM@STER Gamertag icons also made it over. Yet the games that would make people care about the skins and icons didn't make it over. Once again: Namco appears to hate making money.
        • Especially since there's a MASSIVE fanbase (well..., not as big as say The Simpsons or SpongeBob SquarePants, but it's pretty big) over here Stateside. It's never hit over here, and people are crazy about it. Some even go as far as to purchase a Japanese 360 and a Japanese version of the game, just so they can play it.
        • It will never be brought outside of Japan, due to the money cost. Translating all the songs - generally changing the meaning, finding voice actors - which don't fit, not to mention trying to take out the touching you do to increase the girl's affection for you.
          • Which isn't as much of a problem as would be thought. Most fans would prefer the voice acting, at least for the songs, to be kept the same, just with subtitles. Finding voice actors for the communications would be the hardest part, and the games after 360 don't really have the touching mini-games.
  • Similar to Super Robot Wars, it is highly unlikely that the DS game Jump Super Stars and its sequel, Jump Ultimate Stars, will ever see the light of day outside of Japan due to the sheer amount of licensing that would have to be done to cover every single series represented. Thankfully, the DS is region-free, so importing it to play isn't too big of a hurdle. (Same with Super Robot Wars W and K).
    • The kicker in all this? It seems like Viz is using appearances in Jump Ultimate Stars to justify translating the original manga. It's one thing when hot properties like Black Cat start appearing in America. But when series like I''s and Ichigo One Hundred Percent made it over? It's now pretty much down to everything that isn't old (Space Adventure Cobra) or too culturally particular (KochiKame) as to what doesn't get translated.
    • Some manga titles never seen the light of day overseas and will lead to Marth Debuted in Smash Bros.
  • More proof that Namco/Bandai loathes you: the Mr. Driller games. Three of them (Mr. Driller Ace, Great and Drill Land) never saw the light of day outside of Japan. On top of this, these were arguable the best games in the series.
  • As big as Mega Man is in the West, it's bigger in Japan. Here are some of the things we never got:
    • Super Adventure Rockman, a PS 1 visual novel of sorts.
    • Rockboard, a collection of Mega Man-themed board games for NES.
    • Rockman and Forte: Challenger from the Future, which was never released, due to the Wonderswan not coming stateside.
      • The SNES game it was based on, Megaman and Bass, was never released in America either until the GBA port in 2003.
    • Rockman EXE 4.5: Real Operation, where the GBA becomes as much like a PET as possible via the BattleChip Gate accessory (we never got that either).
    • Since Boktai 3 was never localized, a lot of crossover material in Battle Network 6 was removed for the international version.
    • The Mega Man Battle Network remake/Star Force crossover Rockman.EXE: Operate Shooting Star shows absolutely no signs of leaving Japanese soil.
    • Rockman Megaworld, a Mega Drive compilation of the first three Famicom games with 16-bit graphics and sound, was in fact released in Europe as Mega Man: The Wily Wars. The American version was only available via the now-defunct Sega Channel, meaning that the game was Lost Forever once the service was discontinued.
    • Europeans, however, never got Mega Man 6, and the compilations for the original and X series were only released in America.
    • Rockman Strategy, an officially licensed PC game featuring Zodiac-themed Robot Masters was only released in China and Taiwan.
    • Luckily, UDON is bringing over the original Mega Man (Rockman Megamix, to be specific) and ZX manga, as well as the Rockman Complete Works art book (split into a book for the classic series and one for Mega Man X).
    • They've also brought over the Kubrick figures of Mega Man and Proto Man from Japan, complete with the accompanying Be@rbrick figures.
    • Japan and Europe got Battle and chase, a racing game with Mega Man characters tacked into it. There were ads in gaming magazines for it in the US! The game was ported in the Mega Man X collection, though.
  • An official (but partially translated) English version of the original Metal Gear for the MSX2 was available in parts of Europe (particularly in the Netherlands), but not in America (which only got the NES port). The original MSX2 release of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, on the other hand, was only released in Japan. Both games were later remade and ported to the PS2 and included in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Subsistence, where they finally got proper English translations.
    • In contrast, Snake's Revenge, the NES sequel to the first Metal Gear, was released in North America and Europe, but not in Japan.
  • Capcom just doesn't like localizing games much... the Monster Hunter series is another good example. There's about a 50% chance that they won't port a given game in the series. Monster Hunter 2 never saw the light of day overseas, though they have localized all the PSP games, which are generally just remakes of previous titles with a lot added/changed, including the second game (though, the PSP versions don't have online play, and they pulled the plug on the original game's servers, leaving Tri as the only online option for westerners). By far the most painful for MH fans, however, is the refusal to localize Monster Hunter Frontier, the MMO of the series.
  • PAL territories never got Monster Rancher, but Monster Rancher 2 was renamed Monster Rancher over there.
  • Jaleco made two failed attempts at international versions of their Ninja Jajamaru-kun games: Jajamaru Ninpou Chou as Taro's Quest, and Ninja Jajamaru: Ginga Daisakusen as Squashed. Neither made it past prototype stage, and only Maru's Mission for the Game Boy was exported until the original Ninja Jajamaru-kun was released on the Wii Virtual Console.
  • Like its cousin Fire Emblem, Intelligent Systems' Wars series dates back to the original Famicom Wars for the Family Computer in 1988, followed by Game Boy Wars in 1991 and Super Famicom Wars in 1998, none which saw official English releases. Ironically enough this was inverted with Advance Wars for the GBA, which marked the series' English debut: the North American version was released in 2001, but the Japanese version, Game Boy Wars Advance, was canceled due to the unfortunate timing of the 9/11 attacks and was not released in Japan until 2004, when it was included in a two-in-one bundle with its sequel Game Boy Wars Advance 2. The second DS game in the series, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, has yet to see a Japanese release.
  • The most recent One Piece Wii fighter, Unlimited Cruise episodes 1 and 2 have currently been released pretty much everywhere, except for America. Europe has both eps and even Australia has the first ep, but no such luck for America yet. America got the immediate prequel, Unlimited Adventure, for the same system, which makes this just weird.
    • Inversely, the previous One Piece fighter, One Piece: Grand Battle, was released only in America.
    • Not true. This troper lives in the UK and had One Piece: Grand Battle for the PlayStation 2.
  • Pokémon has a few of these, most notably the original Pokémon Red & Green due to the fact they couldn't change the Japanese text into English because the source code was fragile, dolling up Blue due to it being an Updated Rerelease and having a newer code. But, they are usually due to a better version coming out. That still doesn't explain why the sequel to the Trading Card Game didn't come out outside of Japan; it even introduced a female playable character.
    • Additionally, My Pokémon Ranch, while available in the US, is locked out of the Japan-only update which makes it compatible with Platinum. The update also adds a slew of new features, none of which stateside fans will probably ever see.
    • The Wii Ware versions of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Especially irksome because, for once, in these games, you can evolve in the middle of a dungeon. Yep, you don't have to beat the game (or in Time/Darkness's case, essentially beat the game TWICE and recruit really hard legendaries) to evolve, you can evolve right in the middle of a mission! ...If you live in Japan, that is.
  • Rumors of an American release of the Sakura Taisen date sim/strategy game series appear about as often as rumors of Duke Nukem Forever. Sakura Taisen came out first, but only the fifth installment made it across.
  • A Shadowrun game for the Sega CD was released in Japan only, probably because in 1996 the system was already fading fast.
  • If you're a fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series, you might as well just give up and learn Japanese. Half of the titles never make it out of Japan, most likely because of its cult status (here, at least) and mature subject matter (part one of Persona 2 involves the resurrection of Hitler. No, really.) It doesn't help that some of their more recent games have been released very late for the PlayStation 2 console and won't see Stateside for fear that they're too far behind (it's a miracle we're even getting Persona 4 at this point). Meanwhile fans can cry over never getting to see games like Persona 2: Innocent Sin, three of the four Devil Summoner games, Shin Megami Tensei If..., most of the Devil Children games, Shin Megami Tensei I and II, and a host of mobile phone games (though thankfully the fan translations are thriving.)
    • At least every flagship Mega Ten, Devil Summoner, and Persona game has stated to come stateside after the success of Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. Mega Ten fans at least have that much solace, unlike many of the above examples. (I'm looking at you Tales!)
      • However, if you live in Europe, you will be lucky to see anything the Persona games and feel privileged for it... Fortunately, the DS at least is region-free.
    • It turns out, Persona 2 Innocent Sin didn't come stateside due to the Christmas Sales season. The PSP remake has been released in April, and has even censored Hitler, Nazis, Swastikas, and 'Gay student council member' to Fuhrer, Imperial Soldiers, Iron Crosses, and 'Student council member that sounds like a girl', leaving nothing to stop it from coming over.
  • The Silent Hill franchise has numerous spin offs that haven't been released in the US, including an arcade game that was released in Europe, but not the US. Thankfully, most of the products aren't important, with the exception of The Book of Lost Memories, a trivia book that answers many questions about the series.
    • The arcade game has been seen in Australia.
  • The Nintendo 64 rail shooter Sin and Punishment is an interesting case. The game was developed with the intention of shredding Nintendo's kiddy image and an American adult audience in mind, and was even dubbed in English. But by the time the game was finished (around 2000), the Nintendo 64 was waning in sales, and the game was relegated to Japan only, with English dubbing and Japanese subtitles. When Sin and Punishment finally got a North American release via Virtual Console, the subtitles remained in Japanese while everything else that was in Japanese (such as the menus) were translated to English.
    • Luckily, Sin and Punishment 2 is definitely coming out in America due to its popularity on Virtual Console.
  • StarTropics, Which was never released in Japan, and the sequel Zoda's Revenge was North American-exclusive.
  • Most Summon Night games have never, and will never, be released outside of Japan despite their popularity. Notably this includes the 3rd Swordcraft Story game, as the first two were among the few to get released.
    • Neither will the anime, novels, or drama CDs.
    • Hardly a surprise. It's another Namco series, afterall.
  • The majority of the Super Robot Wars series will never be seen outside of Japan, other than through Fan Translations, due to the multitude of trademark/copyright issues involved. Indeed, that's the reason the Original Generation games were made: to produce something with the flavor of the series which can actually be exported without an army of lawyers covering its rear.
    • Yet half of those aren't coming out in the US, either, because Sony Computer Entertainment America requires all games for their consoles to have an English voice track. Namco Bandai is unwilling to put the games out with a dub of low enough quality that they'd be financially viable, and Sony Computer Entertainment America is apparently unwilling to buckle on this rule. So we're further limited to handheld games only, which just leave Original Generation, Original Generation 2, and Endless Frontier.
    • If SCEA didn't let companies release games for the PS2 in America without an English dub how did Sega release Yakuza 2 stateside even though its dub was entirely in Japanese?
    • As ever, however, the fans are taking care of it, slowly but surely. Aeon Genesis has released translation patches for 'SRW 1, SRW 3, and Alpha Gaiden with patches for Alpha, Judgment and Lord of the Elementals (Masaki's story) in the not too distant future.
    • Also, due to general lack of region encoding, games released on Handheld systems (Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, or PlayStation Portable for example, with a total of 8 games between them (4 GBA, 3 each for the others)) can be imported and played on local versions.
    • Hopefully it would be averted with the upcoming The 2nd Super Robot Wars Original Generations (if it can be localized), since SCEA got the English voice track requirement lightened recently.
  • If you are a fan of the Tales (series), Namco hates you. It's always a total crapshoot over whether any given title will ever be localized. For starters, out of 4 versions of the series' first game, Tales of Phantasia, only the GBA port came overseas, and that version was widely considered the worst technically and the translation much disputed (and partially Misblamed by people who have never actually read the original script). The worst part is that other companies (such as Atlus) have in fact offered to localize Tales games for Namco, but Namco, with the sole exception of the aforemention GBA Tales of Phantasia and NGC Tales of Symphonia, adamantly refuses.
    • Namco has released six cell-phone Tales games, but, of course, they haven't seen the light of day outside Japan.
    • Tales of Rebirth, both the PlayStation 2 and PSP versions. Because it's 2D.
    • There's also the Playstation 2 special edition of Tales of Symphonia, which was similarly abandoned in Japan. Symphonia, we should point out, is by far the most popular and best-known Tales game in the US, beating out a series of Playstation and Playstation 2 releases despite being on the less-successful Gamecube. This may have something to do with one of the exceptions to the "Namco doesn't let other companies help them bring Tales games over" rule- apparently Nintendo funded the localization of the GCN version. Presumably this included an exclusivity deal (which would only apply in Europe and America).
    • The real Tales of Destiny 2, both in its PlayStation 2 and PSP incarnations, also never came over, partly due to sales of the two previous games, and partly because it was in 2D and Namco was dead set against releasing 2D Tales games in North America.
    • Tales of Vesperia's Play Station 3 port also doesn't seem to be coming. The reason is very unclear: at first voice actor Troy Baker announced being called to record some new Artes, increasing hope, only for Namco to announce that Vesperia had an exclusivity contract with Microsoft. Later it was announced that the contract was only temporary and had already expired, so there was another reason for keeping Vesperia PS3 in Japan. As of August 2011, there is lots of speculation about why is that so, but no solid reason.
    • While we're talking about SCEA/Namco's aversion to 2D games, Tales of Destiny's remake.
    • They also left their Tales DS series in Japan with no explanation.
    • In an interesting inversion, the Updated Rerelease of Tales of Graces for the Play Station 3 will be released internationally, while the original Wii version will play this trope straight.
    • While Europe has been getting most of the recent releases (that came out in America, that is), they didn't get many of the old Tales titles - namely, Destiny, Legendia and (the original PS2 version of) Abyss. Due to problems with Sony of America's porting policies, they did get the Eternia port (though not the original PSX game), while the same can't be said for US fans.
    • The Smash Bros. clone/competitor Tales of Versus has been released in Japan as of July 2009. And despite filling a trademark in the West soon after the release, there was no English release announcement ever since.
    • Other lesser known titles, such as the rest of the Tales of the World series (including the Radiant Mythology series, which only had its first game localized), the Phantasia sequel Summoner's Lineage and the Tales of Fandom series, are also restricted to the land of the rising sun.
  • Mother 3, and the fact that Nintendo somehow thinks that people don't like EarthBound (the fact that Earthbound was a financial disaster probably did little to help that). Sadly, while many have thought this might change with the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (after all, Melee finally got Fire Emblem to start coming over), Nintendo has mysteriously never localized Mother 3, repeatedly denied any work or interest in it, and never even offered a reason why. That, of course, didn't stop the fans from taking care of it.
    • Fans of the Super Smash Bros. series outside North America and Japan (and a large amount in North America) don't really know who the two characters from the Mother series are. Mostly because, of the three games, only EarthBound ever made it to the US, and no further.
    • To the point where Nintendo Power has joked about it. One preview jokingly refers to the cover game as being Mother 3 (ignoring the fact that the ball on the picture is coloured a lot like Sonic, the glowing sword embedded in it resembles a Dragon Needle), but immediatly says that they're just kidding.
      • The most reasonable hypothesis for why Mother 3 won't be officially localized is because the game is a landmine of licensing issues (see an excerpt of the changes needed to localize Earthbound for a comparison), particularly in its use of musical excerpts and audio samples of everything from the Adam West Batman TV show to Space Invaders. Since author/producer Shigesato Itoi refuses to alter the game to remove those references and Nintendo refuses to override him due to Itoi's fame, they're left with either trying to placate dozens of license holders... or just block the title from leaving Japan.
    • However, the music excuse is a very poor one now because, according to the Happy Video Game Nerd, Nintendo officially released Mother 3's soundtrack on iTunes. Many viewed it as a slap in the face.
    • The long-missing first game in the series was even localized, but never released because it was near the end of the lifespan of the NES. The compilation, Mother 1+ 2, also wasn't localized, because of the unpopularity of the second game in the US and the trouble of rereleasing the third one.
  • Fans of Wrestling Games have long lamented the lack of such games that make the transition from Japan to the U.S., which leaves WWE's licensed games as very nearly the genre's sole representatives in North America. In particular, Spike Entertainment's Fire Pro Wrestling and King of Colosseum franchises have garnered very vocal cults of Import Gamers, but the former has only seen very limited North American release of only the most recent games, and the latter has yet to cross the pond at all. To be fair, with those two series in particular, there are a few licensing issues; King of Colosseum is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of several prominent Japanese wrestling federations, while Fire Pro Wrestling is... the same, with international promotions thrown in too, only with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.
    • The problem is the vast bulk of the roster is Japanese wrestlers with only a handful of American wrestlers. Since Japanese wrestling has a very small audience in the west, most companies feel it's not worth the effort. Heck, Agetec only managed to port Fire Pro Returns by waiting two years after the game's Japanese release and releasing it in the US and Europe as a budget title. It also should be noted the GBA games sported a larger number of western wrestlers than usual, and the US version of Final Fire Pro added even more (at the expense of the Manager Mode).
  • More proof that Namco utterly hates you: Xenosaga I&II for the DS never saw release outside of Japan.
    • Not to mention Xenosaga: Pied Piper, the spinoff cellphone game that explains Ziggy's past. However, the game script has since been translated and posted online.
    • Xenosaga: A Missing Year was promised to be translated and released by Namco... but wasn't. No big loss though, since it only explains why Shion didn't just quit Vector but joined a terrorist organization actively working to cripple the company, where Doctus comes from and who/what she really is, and why Shion's suddenly developed an intense disgust for her father, you know minor plot points. Much like Pied Piper, a fan-based translation is available online.
      • Furthermore, in Europe, only Episode II was released. A low-quality 4 hour long DVD comprised of the games key cutscenes from Episode I was packaged with Episode II as a recap, while Episode III was not released at all.
  • Rumors have cropped up recently about talks that the third installment in the Playstation Portable Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Tag Force series would not be released overseas...despite the curious phenomenon of the series to come out in the west several weeks before it hits Japan. Some speculate that, if true, this decision was made to correspond to other rumors that 4Kids has refused to translate the fourth GX season, instead jumping straight to the next series Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the commoners...
    • Luckily, it seems that Tag Force 3 will, at the least, be released in Europe. And since the PSP is region-free... well, it's not the best solution for the North American fans, but it's there.
      • It's also finally been all but confirmed to be released in North America, as well...but with no release date, unfortunately. The rumor about GX Season 4 being dumped for 5D's is pretty obviously confirmed, by now.
  • Falcom's Ys RPG series went through a long spell of this. By the time Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys was released for the TurboGrafx-16 CD, NEC was no longer supporting the format outside Japan. Ys IV: Mask of the Sun and Ys V: Kefin, the Lost City of Sand also remained in Japan, even when they were both remade for the PlayStation 2. By the time Konami localized Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim for PlayStation 2 and PSP, enough opportunities had been missed that the sequel number was dropped. Fortunately, Atlus and Xseed localized most of the subsequent games and remakes; Ys: The Oath in Felghana was Remade for the Export, and Ys Seven, Ys I and II Chronicles, and Ys Origin have all been localized as of June 11, 2012.
  • Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes had a North American release on the Turbo CD, but its first sequel was only released in Japan. This messed up the sequencing of the series when the Gargarv trilogy of Legend of Heroes III, IV, and V was Remade for the Export.
  • Unfortunately Valkyria Chronicles III will never see the light outside Japan as a PSP game. There is a slim chance it may be available as a download for the Vita, however.
  • Over half of the Kunio-Kun games for the NES/SNES/Game Boy were never released outside Japan, a fact disguised to a good extent by divergent localizations. American Technos did, however, decide on a series title: Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge (the localization of the Kunio-Kun game Bikkuri Nekketsu Shinkiroku! Harukanaru Kin Medal) threw in a teaser for Crash 'n the Boys: Ice Challenge (Ike Ike! Nekketsu Hockey Bu: Subette Koronde Dai Rantō). American Technos also planned, but failed, to release Soccer Challenge (Nekketsu Soccer League) and Diamond Challenge (Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari).
  • Infogrames' series of Smurfs videogames for the 8-bit and 16-bit game systems hardly saw a release outside Europe, with only a few exceptions.
  • The Starfy series until 5 (The Legendary Starfy) was never released outside of Japan for apparently being Too Japanese. Even then, The Legendary Starfy was never released in Europe.
  • The original Spyro the Dragon trilogy, despite having been released as a whole in the Northern American Playstation Store within a single month (that is, one game per week), have yet to be released on the European one. The situation with the PS One Classics in Europe is so bad, the high request actually caused Ross Mc Grath of the European PS Blog to write a post entirely devoted to the Classics alone and how long it takes before one of them is released on the European store, mostly blaming it on technical issues and legal reasons. He also once commented that, on that regard, "there has been some progress [with the Spyro games] but it's not that notable". We could assume that the "legal reasons" have something to do with the music composed by Stewart Copeland, but even then, the fact the (thankfully) entirely re-released Crash Bandicoot trilogy still includes the Spyro demos - with music and all - instantly josses that option entirely.
  • In Japan, all four Valis games were released on the TurboGrafx-16 in one form or another. But North America didn't get the original Valis IV or the superior remake of the first game on the TurboGrafx-16; only the inferior SNES and Genesis versions came over.
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin, a popular Nintendo franchise in Japan. The only game in the series that made it outside Japan was the first one, but it only got a European release, it was never released in America. However, Kururin's stick-like vehicle appears in Super Smash Bros Brawl, thus leading to a lot of confusion from American gamers.
  • Monster World IV was not released outside of Japan...until May 2012, when it saw release on the Wii Virtual Console with an official English translation.

Game Specific Examples

These examples are sorted by game name.

  • For most of us, the puzzle game Wario's Woods was the final NES game. But Japan released another NES game that never saw release outside of Japan: the fourth and final installment of the Adventure Island series.
  • Alien Soldier, originally released in 1995, had a limited release in the U.S. as a Sega Channel game before the service was discontinued, turning it into a lost classic until its inclusion on the Wii Virtual Console in 2007.
  • All Points Bulletin will not be available in Australia. The reason for this, however, is not Moral Guardians, but cost of renting local servers from a company that has effective monopoly on it.
  • Altered Beast got an In Name Only remake for the PS2, which never got released in North America but did get released in Europe.
  • Arcana Heart 2 never saw the light of day outside of Japan. This may be more due to the fact that the PlayStation 2 version of said game wasn't a very good port, however. Arcana Heart 3, on the other hand, does subvert this trope...unless you're an Xbox 360 owner in North America. To be fair, Aksys pushed for a 360 release, but ultimately couldn't because the game weighed in at over twice the size limit for a 360 downloadable title (The game's at least 2GB. XBLA titles usually don't exceed 800MB).
  • As the page quote mentions, the one decent Back to The Future game, Super Back To The Future II was Super Famicom only. Seriously, what? A game based on an American movie doesn't come to any English-speaking country? Instead, we got the shitstorm of LJN garbage that so infuriated The Angry Video Game Nerd. Maybe they thought western audiences wouldn't go for the Super-Deformed look the game had.
  • Battle City was never officially released in North America, though it was common on bootleg NES multicarts.
  • Battle Golfer Yui is a Sega Genesis game released exclusively in Japan around 1991 because of its poor sales in Japan, but it received a Fan Translation in 2017 by Supper and filler.
  • Battle Tanx seems to be a gloriously fun romp around a post-apocalyptic wasteland blowing things up. OK, so it was ignored upon release, but it would still make sense to release it outside America to drum up sales, right? If you believe that, you're not a manager to 3DO.
  • One version of Black Matrix was considered for US release back in '99, but was passed over, for some reason.
  • Blaster Master 2 for the Genesis/Megadrive was produced by European developer Software Creations, and never released in Japan.
  • Blood of Bahamut for NDS published by Square Enix.
  • Boktai had a third GBA game in Japan. English-speakers have to settle for the ROM and the fan translation patch.
  • Captain Rainbow (probably thanks to Birdo, who's particularly flaming in this one), though hopes remain for a European release.
  • Clock Tower: The First Fear was never officially released outside of Japan (probably because of the violence. It was a pretty scary game, especially for the SNES). There was an Indy version that simply translated the text to make it easier to play by Americans. However, its sequels all made it over. This made certain lines in the second game, the only direct sequel, a bit confusing. Nobody knows why Dan is a significant name because the game only shows him briefly in the opening and doesn't say his name.
  • Cubivore was not released in Europe.
  • Dead or Alive Dimensions won't be released in Sweden, Norway, or Denmark due to concerns about the game's Figure Mode raised by a blogger who "aimed for [Nintendo's] heart, and by accident... hit [Nintendo] in the stomach." They could have edited Figure Mode out of the localized version, but they panicked and decided not to release the game in those three countries at all.
  • Poor Ryo Akiyama, who appeared in Digimon Tamers, has gotten some flack from the western fanbase because he doesn't seem to make any sense as a character without his backstory... Which comes from a series of games on the Wonderswan. The Wonderswan never went anywhere beyond Asia, and the only offical English version of the first in this series of games was only released in Hong Kong and other English-speaking asian countries. The same applies for the other Digimon games on that system and the AU mangas.
  • Disaster: Day of Crisis was localized to Europe. Not to America, though. It seems Reggie doesn't appreciate the campy nature of the game.
  • "Doctor Who The Adventure Games" While it is being released in the US for Windows, all we Mac owners will be left out in the cold.
  • In 2010, a series of PC and Mac games based upon Doctor Who were released in the UK for free download. The games were not initially available outside the UK until a commercial version was issued in July 2010. However, the company chosen to distribute the commercial version has said they will not be making the Mac version of the games available outside the UK.
  • Donkey Kong Land 3 was originally released only in America and Europe. A few years later it finally got a release in Japan, but it was a Game Boy Color version, which other countries didn't get.
  • Anyone in Europe remember Doshin the Giant? I heard it was released out there.
  • Dr. Mario 64, a massively Updated Rerelease of Dr. Mario, was initially only released in America despite its predecessor being a pretty popular game all over the world. It was later included on the collection Nintendo Puzzle Collection for the GameCube - which was only released in Japan.
  • In the Earth Defense Force series, the first two games were only released in Japan as Chikyuu Boueigun, and Europe as Monster Attack and Global Defense Force.
  • Evil Twin: Cyprien's Chronicles has only been released in Europe.
  • Despite having four major versions, being massively popular in its home country, and even making a showing as a featured tournament at the Evolution 2010 World Fighting Game Championships in Las Vegas, Melty Blood remains a Japan-only item.
  • Excite Bots was only released in North America.
  • Fatal Frame 4 was released in Japan with a counterintuitive control scheme (on the Wii, no less) and some game-breaking bugs. The game remains in Japan because Nintendo refuses to release the game worldwide without changes, but Tecmo refuses to make said changes without additional pay. The fact that the previous game reviewed and sold only slightly better than the plague overseas probably isn't helping matters, either.
    • Fatal Frame 5, a remake of the best-selling second game in the series, has been announced for European and Australian releases... but not American.
  • Unless Squeenix is playing it very close to the vest, the DS remake of SaGa 2 (Final Fantasy Legend II) outside Japan, is this.
  • The vast majority of games based on the manga series Fist of the North Star never saw release outside of Japan. The only games released outside of Japan were the second NES game which was called simply Fist of the North Star, a fighting game for the Game Boy, the Fighting Mania arcade game, two games for the Master System and Genesis that were stripped of the license and rebranded for sale on the international market, and of course, Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage. The Other Wiki has many, many others, including three Dragon Quest-style RPGs (two of them for the NES), a line of typing games, a line of fighting games, and finally a line of pachinko games.
  • Forbidden Siren - First game was released in Europe first, then released in America with the british voicework. The second game never made it to America and stopped in Europe.
  • Forbidden Siren 2 saw Japanese, Australian and European release, but never made it to North America, probably because sales for the first game were, to say the least, abysmal.
  • Freshly Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land in America. Need you ask why?
  • Despite being released in Japan, the third Fullmetal Alchemist game, Fullmetal Alchemist 3: The Girl Who Succeeds God ((鋼の錬金術師3: 神を継ぐ少女, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 3: Kami wo Tsugu Shōjo) was never released in North America. At the time, short sales of the other two games' caused this. However, there doesn't seem to be a lot of reason to keep it from coming out as of Brotherhood's release in 2010/2011, since it was considered to be the best game of the three RPGs.
  • Three Godzilla console fighting games have been made by Atari/Infogrames, and the third one especially, Godzilla Unleashed, is regarded by fans as the best Godzilla game of all time. So it's a bit of a puzzle why only the third game was not released in Japan, Godzilla's home. The Japanese fans are a bit pissed off about this, especially as it contained several of the films' Ensemble Darkhorses who have never been playable before.
    • On the other side of the pond, the second Super NES Godzilla game and Street Fighter clone (Kaiju Daikessen) never left Japan, and even worse, it was actually set to be released in North America as Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters, but wasn't mentioned afterwards. Which is unfortunate, since it was the first truly good Godzilla game on a mainstream console.
  • Guilty Gear is well known for having a few revisions of one of its games. At least two of them did not make it over seas though: Guilty Gear X Plus (Yes, GGX got an Updated Rerelease as well) and Guilty Gear XX Slash, which introduced A.B.A and Order-Sol. Since their overseas debut was Accent Core, a slight Marth Debuted in Smash Bros effect ensured.
    • Actually, A.B.A. debuted in Isuka, which DID get released overseas.
    • Also of note is Guilty Gear XX #Reload which was only released in the US on the XBox.
  • Another game in limbo is Mobile Ops(or Gundam: Operation Troy). Namco/Bandai still have it as TBA for American release but have not said a word about it. Truly a bizare case since the game was desgined with Western audiences in mind.
    • After the poor sales in Japan and general dislike by even Gundam Fans in general, they decide it would only ruin sales.
  • A few Hamtaro games fell into this category as well: The first Hamtaro game (which is little more than a virtual pet game with a love meter and mate compatibility meter built in) is only available in Japanese. Likewise, the first Hamtaro DS game got a Japan-only release as well. To a lesser extent of things, fourth Hamtaro game, Rainbow Rescue, got an European and Japanese release, but no North American release.
  • Harvest Moon Back to Nature For Girl will never be released outside of Japan in its original form[3]. More Friends of Mineral Town is essentially an enhanced 2D port of this game, and the PSP release Boy and Girl combined both versions of Back To Nature.
  • Hey You, Pikachu! didn't get a European release. One UK source speculated that it could have been because localising the software to recognise the myriad British accents was unfeasible.
  • The Itadaki Street video game series published by Square Enix is also in this same boat. While the latest title has the excuse of being a cell phone title, the others are on systems perfectly accessible to Square Enix fans outside Japan.
    • Square Enix finally started breaking this with the Command Board in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, which is essentially Itadaki Street with the game's characters, and they're finally localizing a full standalone game for the Wii in the form of Fortune Street.
  • The sound novel version of Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl, called Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl The First Summer Story may be released outside of Japan despite the fact that too many people don't like sound novels (a problem Higurashi no Naku Koro ni also has with their "much better then the anime" sound novels) and due to the fact that the anime wasn't even dubbed. It was just translated with English subtitles onto DVDs.
  • On another inverse case for Nintendo games, Kid Icarus's sequel, Of Myths and Monsters, wasn't released in Japan either until its re-release on the 3DS Virtual Console.
  • The 2 sequels of Kid Niki were only released in Japan.
  • Spartan X 2, the sequel to Kung Fu for the NES, was to have been released in the West as Kung Fu II, as in this full-page advertisement.
  • The NES version of Legendary Wings was planned to be released in Japan, but only came out in America.
  • Namco's Legend of Valkyrie, originally released in Japanese arcades in 1989 and on the TurboGrafx-16 in 1990, finally got a US localization in 1997 on Namco Museum Vol. 5. The franchise also had several other installments that were never exported at all.
  • In Japan, The Legend of Zelda Four Swords Adventures came with a bonus game, called Tetra's Trackers, (Early versions were called Navi's Trackers) set in the Timeline of The Wind Waker. The game was about Tetra, using ancient Hylian magic to split Link into four and play a game with him. The game was a Multiplayer, using the Gameboy Advance as the controller and screen for the individual players, and the TV-screen as a status-check. In order to not have the players permanently look at the TV-screen and lose time, Tetra, The King of Red Lions and Sue Belle were fully voiced (This was before Midna) and would tell the players what was going on right now. Presumably because of said Japanese voice-acting, the game was never released outside Japan, much to the dismay of Tetra Fans who wanted to hear her talk.
    • It was because she voiced the players' names based on their input. It was apparently too hard to do with English so they scrapped it.
  • Lunar: Eternal Blue had its Complete remake on the Sega Saturn and an Updated Rerelease on the PlayStation like the first game, Lunar: The Silver Star, did; the former wasn't exported because by the time they were released in Japan, the Saturn had lost all notoriety in the states, so fans only got the PlayStation version. This isn't too tragic though, because the Saturn version of The Silver Star had abysmal sales in the states, so Working Designs made a smart move.
    • It also isn't entirely WD's fault because they were under Sega at the time the first remakes were coming out, and the then-CEO had a staunch policy of what games to release.
  • Love Plus, a popular Dating Sim developed by Konami for the DS.
  • Mario's Picross had an SNES version and a sequel to the Game Boy version that never got released outside of Japan. However, most of the puzzles are available for Wireless Download through Picross DS.
  • Nexon hates Europe. That is all.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has an interesting spin on this trope. The series came out in America and Europe, as did The Movie. However, the video game detailing the passage of time between the series and the movie (as well as three other Martian Successor Nadesico games) was never released outside Japan, meaning that for many people, it was a little jarring to find that the series' war had ended offscreen, and Ruri was suddenly the main character.
  • Metal Combat: Falcon's Revenge was never released in Japan because the Super Scope was even less successful there than in America.
  • Oddly enough, Metal Wolf Chaos was never released in the US -- despite being fully voiced in English, with the game's main character being, you know, The President of the United States. In a Humongous Mecha, no less, fighting armies led by his evil Vice President with iconic American locales like the Lincoln Memorial and Statue of Liberty as a backdrop. Exactly why Microsoft wouldn't release this in the States is a mystery.
    • Cultural sensitivity might account for that, seeing as how the game is practically an over-the-top parody of militant Eagle Land, some Americans might not appreciate it. Of coure, the rest would think it was Crazy Awesome.
  • Monster Party, a characteristically weird Japanese "parody" game, was advertised in Japanese magazines but somehow never released in its home country.
  • Moon Crystal was advertised for a forthcoming U.S. release that never happened.
  • Mortal Kombat 9 isn't being released in Australia due to the Moral Guardians not giving it a rating and not allowing it to be sold.
    • However, they are planning to introduce an R-18+ rating for games, so this could end up being averted... we shall see.
    • Also, the game has not been released in Japan, and there are no plans to do so.
  • The Movies expansion Stunts and Effects was only available in certain markets, notably Australia and Asia. Because Microsoft bought Lionhead Studios up before they could launch the games in other regions.
  • Musou Orochi Z is explicitly never being released outside of Japan, despite the two games it's derived from making it to the US and Europe. As something of a compensation, they added some of the features of it to the overseas PSP version of Warriors Orochi 2. Which is great for everyone who has a PSP, and doesn't mind playing a game that was designed for next-gen systems on it.
  • Speaking of Capcom crossovers (yay chaining), Namco refuses to export Namco X Capcom for no apparent reason because they're pricks (again) but unless you're a sucker for repetitive gameplay, you may agree. The main reason seems to be that they believe most Western players won't recognise half the cast, because their games weren't released here (somewhat ironic considering Tatsunoko vs. Capcom)... Oh well, at least there's a (somewhat too accurate) translation patch.
  • In another prime case of Capcom giving its Western fans the proverbial middle finger: remember that awesome Professor Layton / Phoenix Wright crossover the internet exploded about? Well, unless Level 5 pulls something out of its ass, yeah, we're not getting that, either.
    • Level 5 DID take over localization and they ran a poll about which (of ten current Japan only games) were people most interested in. Not only did PW vs PL win by a landslide, they had to beg people to vote for something else. Not confirmation, but they at least know people are interested.
  • Nanashi no Game for NDS published by Square Enix and its sequel.
  • There are vehement arguments all over the web over whether or not Bandai/Namco is going to pull this with Ultimate Ninja 5 or not; the amount of people saying we (the USA) will get it and those who say we won't are equal in number, with no official clarification in sight.
  • The Playstation 2 remake of NiGHTS Into Dreams was only released in Japan. Considering the reception and sales of its sequel, Journey of Dreams, a release in other territories does not look likely.
  • Nintendo Puzzle Collection is Japan-only, although two of the games in the collection were ported and localized to the N64. Thing is, Panel de Pon was Pokemon-itized and stripped of its 4-player mode, and Yoshi's Cookie wasn't one of those two.
    • Nintendo Puzzle Collection was intended to be given an international release if one circa-2003 Nintendo "upcoming releases" pamphlet is to be trusted. The ESRB also rated the game too. It was later silently axed, and the Japanese remain the only one with access to it.
  • The Japanese version of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle came with a variety of bonuses including a mini-soundtrack, a book of official artwork, a short comic book, and a ten minute animated movie. These bonuses have yet to be released anywhere else. What makes this a particularly infuriating example is that the game in question is far more popular in the west than in Japan.
    • Offset by the fact that the US version contains more gore due to Japanese media watchdogs becoming more sensitive to violence as of late.
  • Japanese Inversion: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (mostly because it's a sprite-swapped Puyo Puyo), the Vectorman games (the second even being North American-exclusive), and the Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast (Japan only got the Saturn version) weren't originally released in Japan; they have all since appeared in the Compilation Rereleases Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gems Collection (in the Japanese versions of both compilations as well).
    • Sonic Gems Collection itself is a Game Cube-exclusive in the States. Both Japan and Europe got a PlayStation 2 version.
  • Psycho Fox, a Japanese-made game openly based on Japanese mythology (except in the retitled Brazilian version), was never released in Japan.
  • While Sonic Generations will be available world-wide, SEGA has announced that there will be a Collector's Edition set that contains DLC, a "History of Sonic" Documentary, an art book with never before seen artwork, a ring replica, a 20th Anniversary Soundtrack compilation, and a statue featuring both Modern and Classic Sonic. The kicker? It's exclusive to Europe and Australia. What makes this more infuriating is that the Sonic franchise was primarily inspired by and influenced by American and Japanese Pop Culture.
  • Parodius Da (tr. It's Parodius), a parody of the wildly popular Gradius, was released in Japan and Europe, but for some reason, not America. The Europeans changed some of the bosses to be more kid friendly, so there was no reason they couldn't do the same in America. It might have been the fact that one of the bosses was a giant bald eagle wearing a red, white, and blue hat (The developers were Japanese nationalists? I had no idea!), but there was no reason they couldn't have changed it like the Europeans did.
  • The rare (used copies can cost up to 50 dollars) Cult Classic Planescape: Torment is getting a re-release...UK only. Sadness.
  • Policenauts, Hideo Kojima's Spiritual Successor to Snatcher, was announced for the Sega Saturn in America in 1996, but was ultimately canceled. In one interview, Kojima reveals that his team were working on the American localization, but they were unable to lip-synch the English dialogue with the FMV cut-scenes and gave up on the project (you can read the interview here in Japanese). Since then, Kojima has unintentionally (?) teased western players by including footage of the game in Metal Gear Solid, as well as expies of the game's cast in the form of Meryl Silverburgh in the first Metal Gear Solid, as well as Jonathan and Ed in Guns of the Patriots. A Fan Translation of Policenauts was completed in 2009.
  • Princess Crown is one ugly case. Created by an early Atlus team who would evolve to become Vanillaware (of Odin Sphere and Muramasa the Demon Blade fame), the game saw two releases (a Sega Saturn one and a PlayStation Portable one), none ever released outside of its home country. The game is also somewhat the spiritual antecessor of the fairly succesful Odin Sphere (having a similar gameplay structure and themes), making the fact that no one localized the PSP version particularly annoying.
  • Otomedius seemed like it would go the road of Parodius. But Otomedius Excellent has broken the trend by announcing a US release some time in 2010 (although it's been delayed to 2011).
  • The second Puyo Puyo game was given two Dolled Up Installments for non-Japanese players. Other than that, only Puyo Pop Fever and the GBA game Puyo Pop have been released outside Japan.
  • Raiden DX.
  • Ever heard of Rendering Ranger? It's a SNES action game developed by Manfred Trenz (of Turrican fame) and Rainbow Arts, and a really great one for the matter, with stages alternating between on-foot action and shmup, so well programmed that there's no slowdown even in the most crowded situations. A definitely "western" game that found a publisher only in the Japanese division of Virgin Games - and to add insult to injury, they produced it only in limited quantities.
  • Resident Evil Code: Veronica rerelease, Code Veronica X never made it to the Dreamcast outside of Japan. Only the Playstation 2 and Gamecube versions made it overseas.
  • Retro Game Challenge had a sequel that was released only in Jpaan.
  • Australia, for what seems to be no reason at all, hasn't, and seemingly will never get Rock Band 2. Of course, it's importable, but remember you need instuments. This is particularly dumb on Harmonix's part, as the market here is being eaten up by their direct competitors, Guitar Hero.
  • Thanks to Ascaron going bankrupt, the expansion to Sacred 2 may never be localized in the U.S.
    • There is a way around it though, thankfully. The International version is easily bought online and it does allow the expansion, or the International "Gold" edition with everything is now out as well. All perfectly legal.
  • Secret of Evermore never came in Japan, probably because it was, too, uh... too "westerner"?
  • Shienryu Explosion, aka Steel Dragon EX in Europe, never saw and probably never will see the light of day in the US, although its predecessor was exported as Geki-oh: Shooting King on the PSX.
  • Shining Force III is a particularly cruel example. The game is composed of three separate discs or Scenarios, following a different protagonist in each one. Only the first Scenario ever received a localisation; the players from Europe and America basically only ever got to see one third of the story.
  • Sigma Harmonics (Nintendo DS) published by Square Enix. Never saw the light of day outside of Japan. Hackers who tried to translate the game blame the game's complex encrypting that involves the oriental reading way, that is, from right to left.
  • Nintendo DS's Soma Bringer, created by Monolith Soft (of Xenosaga fame) was very hyped when announced, but never saw a release anywhere outside of Japan. A good fan translation is around the internet, though.
  • The one English-language version of Sorcerian was an IBM PC port that seems to have been largely ignored when Sierra released it way back in 1990. Since then the game has been repeatedly remade for a host of platforms in Japan. The most recent remake for IOS Games was erroneously listed on iTunes as having English text.
  • Spyro: Year of the Dragon, the final game in the original Spyro the Dragon trilogy, was not released in Japan.
    • Neither were any of the new trilogy (A New Beginning, The Eternal Night, and Dawn Of The Dragon), for that matter.
  • Crash Bandicoot was an extremely popular series in Japan; being one of the few popular western game series there. However when the characters got a full-on redesign for the seventh gen games, those games did not release there. It's an odd case, since they could have made specific models for them like they did with many of the other games. Crash continues to have games in Japan, albeit in the style of the PlayStation games.
  • Certain Strawberry Shortcake games fall oddly into this category. The Game Boy Advance game Ice Cream Island Riding Camp and more recently the PC Port of The Sweet Dreams Game for the PlayStation 2 received Europe-only launches. Also, The PlayStation 2 release of The Sweet Dreams Game never got a NTSC/J release dispite the show's extreme popularity in Asia- Sony assigned the NTSC/J block to the region dispite the fact that much of the population can't speak Japanese. The latest case of the franchise is the iPhone game. For some reason it is only sold in North American iTunes Stores and nowhere else.
  • Star Tropics was never released in Japan.
  • Star Wars the Old Republic No export for, well.. anyone outside of North America and select European countries.
  • The NES version of Strider was planned to be released in Japan, but only came out in America. It was actually developed before the arcade version and even had a tie-in manga in Japan that more or less followed the same story (as opposed to that of its arcade counterpart).
  • Super Mario RPG is a subversion... but damn, it did take time. It got released in Europe by VC, but a bit late: TWELVE YEARS after its original release! Oh, but it has a Europe-exclusive feature, yeah... a "choose your language" option? No, no, the word "bugger" was the only thing that got changed from the original script because of its meaning in British English!
  • The American NES version of Star Force (which was a different port than the Japanese Famicom version) advertised both in the manual and on the game's ending screen that Super Star Force was "Coming Soon!" In spite of this, Super Star Force was never released outside Japan.
  • In typical Smilesoft fashion, no game in the Telefang series has ever been officially released outside of Japan, much to the dismay of non-Japanese fans of the games.
  • Senran Kagura, a Nintendo 3DS Beat'Em Up, is poised to follow this, despite what the game's producer will tell you. The gratuitous Fan Service seems to border on ridiculous, and became the butt of many jokes when the game's producer said that the game has a big chance in other countries. He even says that the game will teach the meaning of "Moe" to Americans. It's kind of funny.
  • Tetris the Grand Master. What makes the series even harder to acquire outside of Japan is that it's arcade-exclusive (unless you count the tragedy that is Tetris: The Grand Master ACE for 360). Furthermore, the demand for it is very low (because all Tetris games are the same, so why bother with this specific subset of games?), so a TGM cabinet in an arcade is very rare--the third TGM game, for instance, is only publically available in two arcades in the entire non-Japan world.
  • Capcom was having trouble bringing Tatsunoko vs. Capcom in the US primarily because of licensing issues with the Tatsunoko Production characters. That's just the US - imagine if Capcom tried to bring it to Europe, where even more of the characters are licensed differently. They finally managed to do it in the US [dead link], with Europe coming along the way, making this a succesfully Defied Trope. Sure, one character is missing, as are the character theme songs, but we get five new ones and online play too!
    • They were to include Phoenix Wright and Franziska von Karma, but localizing issues with some of their special moves prevented them from appearing in any version. Not entirely sure, but I believe it had to do with the "Objection!" move being impossible to localize. Specifically, in Japanese that "Objection!" is only a few characters long, but in English, at ten characters long, the move became nearly impossible to dodge (since collision with with word itself does the damage). Took Phoenix Wright from being a run of the mill character to being incredibly overpowered. They ultimately found a solution to Phoenix Wright's "Objection!" problem after the game's release, earning him a spot in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
      • Many fans consider this excuse to be complete bull, suggesting that syllabes could've been used instead of the letters. Ob-jec-ti-on-! Or even something like "Object-it-on!" even if that sounds more like something Viewtiful Joe would say.
  • Tenchi Muyo!! Ryo-Ohki has in-continuity novels and doujinshi that are not available outside Japan. Consequently, many non-Japanese fans disliked the third OVA series for introducing lots of "new" characters (who actually had appeared earlier in those novels/doujinshi), leaving less screentime for the characters from the first two parts of the OVA.
  • The Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven PSP port, featuring many extras, seems to never get out of Japan as well. Which is odd, considering how Wrath of Heaven is one of the most popular Tenchu titles.
  • Famously, Tobal 2 for the PlayStation, since the first game flopped in the US. Rumor also has it that Square had problems with translation and formatting the English text.
  • Wario Ware Twisted, due to some unknown health and safety controversy got a release literally every other major region in the world except Europe. Then, since the Mona Pizza video toy in Wario Ware Touched requires the usage of said game to unlock, it also meant that unlockable (which was apparently music from Wario Ware Twisted) also couldn't be gotten in Europe.
  • For a while, Wolfenstein 3D could not be legally obtained or even owned in Germany. Later Wolfenstein games manage to avert this by removing Nazi references during localisation.
  • Want to play the most-subscribed MMORPG in the world or the official sport of South Korea? If you live in Japan, too bad. Because Blizzard virtually never exports its games to Japan. Some Japanese gamers get around this, though, by going on to the US servers, where they don't seem to get IP blocked.
  • Xenogears has never been released in Europe.
  • Yo-Jin-Bo had an English release of its PC version, but no release of its PlayStation 2 version with extra obtainable characters and even more endings.
  • With Nintendo's announcement that they'll co-publish Samurai Warriors' Wii-exclusive third installment with Koei, the highly anticipated, Norse Mythology and High-Pressure Blood-fueled sword fighter Zangeki No Reginleiv (from the masterminds behind Earth Defense Force 2017) will most likely never come out in America. There's still hope for Europe, though...
  • Zeldas Adventure was said to have only been released in Europe - one of the reasons it would be so sought out after; other than the fact that it can't be emulated.
  • You'd think that someone would get on the ball and finally release Zero Wing in the United States for a console. But to this date, the console versions have never come out in the United States, and the only place the infamous Good Bad Translation can be found is in the very limited release European MegaDrive version.
  • The Great Giana Sisters is a Cult Classic game well-known for both being a blatant ripoff of Super Mario Bros. Commodore64, and for its Crowning Music of Awesome. It was eventually remade for the Nintendo DS, but only released in Australia. It's apparently supposed to have had a North America release, but so far no one has been able to find any copies online or in stores.
  • Aerobiz: the third installment of the game series (called Air Management in Japan) was only released in Japan. This could be due to it being a Sega Saturn console game and thus meeting the fate of many others for that console.
  • Devil World was one of the few early first-party NES titles not to be released in North America. Nintendo of America was known to have a policy against showing crucifixes, and this game is practically based around them.
  • Naughty Bear was released only in Europe and North America. If you live in Asia and have a Xbox360, you are out of luck. To add insult to injury, both the North American and European releases of the game are actually cross-compatible with the other region's consoles... just not with Asian region consoles.
  • You like Harvest Moons Awesome Music? You want to buy soundtracks for it? Too bad, Japan keeps them all. Back to Nature: For Girl was released only in Japan however thankfully it was updated and released on the GBA and later straight up ported to the PSP, it's since became one of the more popular titles in the franchise.
  • Mario Super Sluggers for Wii was never released in Europe or Australia.

Genre Specific Examples

These examples are sorted by genre name.

  • Cute Em Ups in general. Though the occasional one makes it to North America, most of them don't get released outside of Japan, and the ones that do usually only make it to PAL regions. This was especially true in the 1990s, when such games as Super Fantasy Zone, Parodius, Pop'n Twinbee and Keio Flying Squadron 2 were released in Japan and Europe but not the U.S. (This is probably for the same reason that American versions of video games don't get the cute packaging the Japanese versions have.) Hopefully Parodius will be released on the US Virtual Console...
    • While Parodius hasn't made it yet, two other entrants in the genre, Fantasy Zone and Twinbee do have entries available on the Virtual Console. So there's hope yet that the series will leave this page.
  • Good luck trying to find any side-scrolling shooters in the US.
    • Bullet Hell shooters are even rarer in the US, some of the few to make it were of course Ikaruga(Gamecube and XBLA), Chaos Field(Gamecube), Giga Wing and Mars Matrix(both Dreamcast), and the Castle of Shikigami series(the first game was renamed Mobile Light Force 2; Mobile Light Force 1 was the name of the US PSX version of Gunbird).
    • And the countless doujin shmups, which are nearly impossible to get outside japan unless you pirate.
    • Rockin' Android are trying their best in bringing as many shmups over as possible.
  • No importing RapeLay for you! Despite being a rather under-the-radar sandbox-style 3D-ero (a.k.a. "Hentai") game from 2006, It was recently imported intentionally by several American feminist organizations specifically to be offended by it -- groups that are now working with far right protesters in Japan to pressure the Japanese government to ban "Abuse Games". Amazon and other importer-friendly stores have banned the sale of the game, retail markets in Japan are working at pulling it from shelves, and even the maker has purged their website of all mention of it.
    • The bigger catch? Much like the proposed anti-Lolicon rules that would plant an automatic R-18 rating (read: no one under 18 admitted) on certain works (thankfully, Doraemon won't be among them), the preliminary proposed regulations about "abuse games" are vague enough that they would ban about 30-40% of the ero market. A complete accident, of course.
    • Illusion doesn't release any of their games outside of Japan -- they even have an apology on their website. Many of their more mainstream Dating Sim games are actually kinda fun to play and have huge modding communities outside of Japan. Even games like RapeLay or Biko (a "stalker game") are interestingly bizarre (bizarrely interesting?) examples of that piece of Japanese culture. They have even released a couple of RPG and Brawler style H-Games. (Not to mention the company's mastery of the art of Jiggle Physics.) Regardless of title, if you want to play them, outside of travelling to Japan to buy them, you have to rely on either ambiguously legal imports or torrents to get them. In fact, you can be charged with a felony for possessing it.
  • Any Dating Sim or dating-based Visual Novel. So many successful anime have been based off of these games that Americans will never see (e.g. Fate/stay night, Tsukihime, etc.) However, J List has already translated a few of the series that saw a dub. But a series with english voice acting is without a doubt out of the question
    • J-List and Peach Princess sell the games, JAST and G-Collections translate/port the games. They have to be picky about their selections since neither company could conceivably handle even a fraction of the total number of games out there, having to limit themselves to only a small selection of the most popular titles. Those of us who do like these games can only cross our fingers that either of those companies has the resources for our favorites and be thankful for the handful we get, sometimes years after their Japan releases. So far, only a couple of Type-Moon or Key Visual Arts game have seen partial fanlated versions, with no official translations in sight, causing many a tear to be shed.
      • J-List only carries porn it seems. Try this: the next time you see them at a convention, ask them for a title. If they ask you to be more specific, tell them "it's not porn". The answer you will most likely get is "nope, don't have it".
    • Dating Sim fans can rejoice with the rise of MangaGamer, a company dedicated to doing right by them by releasing not only cheap H-games but also some of the better and more well known titles, including SHUFFLE!, Da Capo and even Higurashi no Naku Koro ni! Still no sign of Tsukihime, Fate or any Key games yet, but Type-Moon and Key both demand a LOT of money for those licenses and MangaGamer aren't yet big enough to afford properties of that level.
    • THE founder of the non-H Dating Sim genre, Tokimeki Memorial, is a notorious case of this, Konami having always refused to release the series outside of Japan (except for the Chinese market) on the (not that unreasonable, especially in The Nineties; less so nowadays) grounds that it's too Japanese culture-based and a Widget Series : case in point, their attempt in 2007 at an American-based adaptation of sorts, Brooktown High, bombed royally (Although one's could say they missed the point by using ugly 3D models instead of anime graphics and uninspired script and characters; the lack of promotion didn't help either).
  • Many great Famicom/NES Shoot Em Ups, including Recca, Crisis Force, and Over Horizon failed to make it out of Japan.
    • Over Horizon was also released in Europe through,only not in North America.
    • And then there's Eliminate Down an awesome Shoot'Em Up game for the Sega Genesis. Never released outside Japan, of course.
  • Many Korea-only massively-multiplayer online games require you to enter a South Korean residential registration number to register and play. Want to brute-force a number or get a friend living in South Korea to register for you? Don't. Using someone else's number is a felony; you can end up paying the equivalent of 8,000 USD or serve 3 years in prison, so you're sore out of luck.
    • Using SOMEONE ELSE'S number, yes. If you make your own that doesn't correspond to anyone else's (The Other Wiki tells you (almost) all you need to know to do that) nothing will probably happen if you're not actually in Korea. And even if you do use someone else's, enforcement is ridiculously lax; their president's registration number is said to have been used at least once on just about every site that requires this number (even ones that a president... isn't expected to frequent).
    • Ditto for some European ones as well, this one is due to region license. You cannot play any European-based MMORPG in Asia and Oceania. No worries though, since for many of them there is usually a US or local based publisher with their equivalent servers (I am not counting private servers mind you).
    • The Korean version of each game usually gets the cool new content first (being the core version). Whether each area, class or item set then percolates to other other regions eventually is up to the developer, which is extremely frustrating when said content includes balance changes that players of foreign versions have been howling for since launch day. On the flipside, regional providers (particularly in Japan, China and Taiwan) may develop a ton of original content that never returns to Korea. 'course, it never gets anywhere else either.

Platform Specific Examples

  • A lot of Sega Saturn games were only released in Japan due to the poor reception of the console at the time. This is actually due to Corrupt Corporate Executive Bernie Stolar screwing things up with his Five Star Policy (aka Sports Fanatic Policy). In fact, it's not surprising if all the Sega Saturn games mentioned on this page are No Export for You because of him.
  • Take a look at this list. Compare the number of entries for Japan compared to NA or Europe. Hell, some of the stuff on there came out in those regions the first time! Some are understandable (Samurai Shodown got a Compilation Rerelease), but Xenogears has already been localized! The Virtual Console isn't quite as bad, but it's still got some missed opportunities on there (such as Fire Emblem).
    • Europeans like actually do receive PSOne Classics on a regular basis... Disney licensed games. It's quite like SCEE refuses to rerelease the games that made their fortune back in the nineties.
  • iTunes not only does not sell music, movies and TV shows to people in most countries outside the US, Europe and Japan, but certain apps also do not see release in those same markets. Epic Citadel is not available to most Asian iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch owners, and neither is a handful of other apps. The developers and Apple all cite piracy as an excuse.
  • Towards the end of the SNES lifespan, Squaresoft didn't believe it would be worth the time to localize their games onto a dying system. Thus, if you live outside of Japan you'll have to settle for a Fan Translation of Bahamut Lagoon or Treasure of the Rudra. Western audiences also got screwed out of the spiritual predecessor to Chrono Trigger, Live a Live, which was released in Japan over six months before Chrono Trigger. Of course, Europe also got screwed out of Chrono Trigger, or anything Square pulled out in the SNES, until those games got ports years later.
  • In addition to the Windows Marketplace example mentioned above, Xbox Live and Zune are not available outside of the 1/3 of the world they've launched in. Thankfully, Microsoft turns a blind eye to import gamers on Xbox Live by not bothering stores that sell point cards online and not requiring users to set a billing address if paying for content by point cards. However, sadly the same can't be said about Zune, thanks to Executive Meddling by the RIAA and MPAA and their European and Japanese counterparts.
  • Owning a TurboGrafx-CD or Turbo Duo was a great incentive to import games from Japan, since TurboGrafx-16 CDs and Super CDs (unlike HuCards) were compatible across regions and many of the titles that were supposed to be released in North America never were. Perhaps the most notorious is Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, which finally saw international release in 2007 as Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles for the PSP, and was also later released in the US and Europe on the Wii Virtual Console (using the dub from the PSP version). The PC Engine Super CD version of Gradius II also found belated international distribution on the Virtual Console; Gradius Collection for the PSP was the first North American release of any version of that game. Other Turbo CD games whose NA releases were not to be, besides those mentioned above, included Far East of Eden 2, Image Fight II, Military Madness 2 (i.e. Neo Nectaris), Rayxanber III, and the Compile shooter Spriggan.
  • The Bandai Wonderswan was a Japan-only console. There were rumors that it would get an American release before the new millennium, but those rumors proved to be false.


Other

Music / Soundtrack Changes for Foreign Releases

  • Sonic CD, when it was being released in the United States, gained a "Special Edition" soundtrack composed by Spencer Nilsen that completely excised the original one by Naofumi Hataya (Europe, meanwhile, got Hataya's soundtrack). Sounds fine, right? Except this is the only soundtrack America has gotten ever since then. The PC version used Nilsen's soundtrack in all three regions, and the version in Sonic Gems Collection only uses Hataya's soundtrack in Japan (Unless you're using the PlayStation 2 version and you're still able to change your PlayStation 2's language to Japanese). Crossovers are odder in the issue: Although hacking has hinted that both soundtracks would have their theme songs usable on Super Smash Bros.. Brawl's Green Hill Zone, only Nilsen's soundtrack is represented in the the final release (though there is an explanation for that one; see the point below); meanwhile, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (which itself seems to be No Export For The Japanese so far in spite of its roster) only have Hataya's soundtrack represented (For the latter, there is the justification that Sumo Digital is a British developer.). The 2011 rerelease finally breaks this down with the option of choosing either soundtrack in all three regions.
    • That being said, the Japanese soundtrack in the 2011 release had its lyrics removed, supposedly due to copyright issues according to the rerelease's lead developer Christian Whitehead (the opening movie is set to "You Can Do Anything", but without words, for instance). The US soundtrack still has its lyrics intact. This is also most likely why "You Can Do Anything" was Dummied Out on the Super Smash Bros. Brawl disc.

Gaming-Related Bonus Items

  • This trope can also apply to franchise that generates cool trinkets later on (posters, cards, etc.) Generally, Japan usually gets all the good stuff (examples like a SNES shaped classic controller for the Wii, the official soundtrack to Super Mario Galaxy, etc.) while no one else gets it unless they manage to import it.
  • And speaking of the sweet trinkets, Club Nintendo, a club from Nintendo, allows its Nintendo fans to register their games on Nintendo's website to earn points. Saving up for enough points earns them free gifts and if the people save up a certain amount of points, they can reach gold or platinum status, which earns them a free gift at the end of the club's year. Even though Club Nintendo finally came to North America at the end of 2008, Japan generally still has the cooler stuff, such as a golden Wii Wheel.
    • To be fair, the European version wasn't much good -- everything you could redeem from Club Nintendo Europe was a download of some description. Feelies would only happen rarely. Games even more so.
    • And for Europe, theirs is the only Stars Catalogue so far to allow you to convert your Stars to Wii Points.
    • If you live in Asia outside Japan, Australia, New Zealand or South Korea, No Club Nintendo For You!

Game Hardware

  • The e-Reader and cards for GBA. The e-Reader itself was released in only Japan and North America, was quickly discontinued in the latter due to bad sales, and therefore many of the cards for it only came out in Japan, including roughly three quarters of the additional stuff for Super Mario Advance 4.
  • Nintendo seems to have a very bad habit of making add ons or other features that never see the light of day outside Japan. Just look on the bottom of any console and you'll likely find some kind of expansion port on it. The Game Cube had a DVD add on that would let people play DVD movies for example.
  • Japan had an addon for the Super Famicom, the Satellaview. It allowed downloadable content over a decade before this became common. Nothing for it ever got to the States. Two notable games that were released for it include Radical Dreamers, the first sequel to the incredibly popular Chrono Trigger, and a port of the original The Legend of Zelda game, known as "BS Zelda".
  • Wii Channels
    • The Wii in Japan also has gotten a channel or two that has never been released anywhere else, such as the Fortune Channel TV Listings channel, possibly due to technical or logistical differences between Japan and western nations.
    • There's even a channel where you can order food!
      • Which is justified in that in Japan it's piggybacking off of an existing centralized ordering system. In America or any European country they'd have to set one up from scratch or try to unify existing systems.
    • And it continues with The BBC iPlayer Channel, which is available in the UK and nowhere else (as is the case with every platform it is on --- this is because of British TV license laws).
    • The Wii Shop is still unavailable in a handful of countries. Thankfully, Nintendo turns a blind eye to import gamers by not bothering stores that sell point cards online.
  • Because of the Virtual Boy's failure and shame in Japan and North America, the console was never released in Europe.
  • Many different console looks are Japanese only, such as the orange Game Cube (oddly, the matching controllers were released in the US).
  • The Super Game Boy 2 peripheral was released only in Japan which features link cable connections.
  • The Pocket Station was a hand-held console produced by Sony which never seen the light of day outside of Japan and was planned to be released overseas. Upon playing it, you can transfer data from the memory card slot to a designated game and receive useful items, features, and 100% completion. One notable game with the PS function is Final Fantasy VIII which has Chocobo World. It was referenced in the localized versions, but was Dummied Out unless you import a PS from Japan. Fortunately, the PC version included the program.
  • The Amiga CD32. All of it. And all because of an injunction that blocked all imports to the United States of Commodore products over failure to pay a patent royalty. This injunction turned out to be the Creator Killer for Commodore, as the United States would've been a key market in selling the Amiga CD32 to put the company back in the black.
  • The Nintendo 64DD, delayed for years and finally got a release in Japan in which the games and consoles were shipped with a subscription mail order. While it was a major failure, it did mean players received things like "Mario Artist" (a new version of Mario Paint) and an F-Zero X expansion pack.
  • The MSX never caught on in North America, and many MSX games weren't released even in Europe.
  • When Rock Band 3 was released, Canadian airwaves were bombarded with ads and reviews praising the pro mode that lets you learn guitar for real. Unless you were one of the few people lucky enough to snap one of the ultra rare pro mode controllers sent to a western Canada store, you are still flat out of luck getting anything BUT the game disc as eastern game stores were denied all but a small handful of Wii version keyboards. To this day, guitars and drum kits are still unseen on shelves and cannot be obtained outside of making an international postal order.
  • The many games released in Japan for i-mode cell phones can't be obtained in other countries, unless and until they get Remade for the Export (like Kingdom Hearts coded).
  • The Wii does not get Gamecube backwards compatibility in Korea. Nintendo decides to reimburse Korean Wii owners with reduced prices at the Wii shop.

Other

  • While most Europeans and Americans lament the non-export of various Japanese titles, think of the South-East Asians stuck with Japanese consoles who lament the non-release of American and European titles in their region.
  • The Japanese Sega Master System got an FM synth card that was never available with Western models, even though most of the same cartridges were released internationally with the FM soundtracks intact. However, some Master System games that supported FM sound weren't even released in Japan, since Sega discontinued the console so soon and abruptly in its native country. Wonder Boy III the Dragons Trap was one of these games; while Japanese players did receive a Game Gear port and the altered TurboGrafx-16 version, they could get the FM synth music only by importing cartridges until the Compilation Rerelease came out much later.
  • The Famicom Data Recorder was only released in Japan, which is why Excitebike, Lode Runner, Mach Rider and Wrecking Crew for the Nintendo Entertainment System have nonfunctional "Save" and "Load" features. Manuals hinted that "potential product developments" might enable these features, but they never happened.

Guide Books/Tie-in Materials

  • While guide books are released for most popular games, Japanese guidebooks can give phonebooks a run for their money in terms of page count. Best example would be the Ultimanias released by Square for their games, new and old, from Final Fantasy to Tactics Orge - Bradygames' guide book for Final Fantasy X is a lightweight compared to the THREE Ultimanias released for the same game in Japan (NOT including the International version). And there are art books that which concept art, production team notes, interviews...
  • Tie-in materials also tend to frequently get left behind, namely Light Novels, CD dramas, and manga. Canoncity issues aside (e.g. Retcons, Executive Meddling), most tend to either help further flesh out the worlds and character backgrounds or be the artists/writers' takes of the games are set in. Occasionally, some of them do make it out, but not all - Devil May Cry had a total of four light novels, two CD dramas for the anime, and two manga volumes, but neither the two-volume novelization for DMC4 that had details that aren't in the final release nor the CD dramas were never released outside Japan.
  1. Well, unless you count that cellphone game
  2. (However, if they turned out to have intentions to change the system, it wouldn't be the first time a company did so -- Rising Star Games, the European publisher of the Harvest Moon series, didn't get around to releasing the Nintendo GameCube game Harvest Moon: Magical Melody in its region until its system's successor, the Wii, had already replaced it, resulting in a port to the latter for that region and later in North America by the publisher there, Natsume.)
  3. Due in no small part to the rage-inducing fact the game ends once you get married. You don't even get the series-standard Playable Epilogue