Nintendo employee fired after podcast remarks on localisation, fans
"Why do you hate money? Why do you hate money, Nintendo?"
An outspoken Nintendo employee has found himself out of a job following an impassioned podcast appearance where he critiqued elements of his role.
Chris Pranger had worked at Nintendo of America's Treehouse localisation division for three years when he agreed to appear on the Part Time Gamers podcast.
Pranger's appearance on the podcast's 3rd August episode, included a discussion on how fans react when Nintendo decides not to localise certain titles. As you might imagine, fans are not happy when these situations occur.
"They just say the classic, 'Why do you hate money? Why do you hate money, Nintendo?'," Pranger said, mimicking a stereotypical video games fan voice.
"And it's like, 'What are you talking about?' We're trying to make... obviously it has to make calculated risks, but at the same time, one of those risks... and I mean they'll bring up games that are very Japanese games, like Captain Rainbow for instance.
"They'll bring that up like, 'Look how many people want this. Don't you want money?' And we'll be like, 'Yeah, we do want money, which is why we know it's a colossal waste if we ever try to localise that in this current market, because look at you people. You don't make up a big enough group.'"
Captain Rainbow is a bizarre Japan-only superhero adventure published by Nintendo for the Wii. It never saw release in either America or Europe.
But Pranger also discussed the case of Xenoblade Chronicles, Monolith Soft's Wii role-player that has since spawned a 3DS remake and Wii U sequel. Its release in North America was long in doubt, although it eventually launched following a concerted fan campaign and - likely more importantly - Nintendo of Europe decided to take the plunge and translate it first.
"You look at something like even Xenoblade Chronicles," Pranger said. "People love that game, you know, within a certain group. That game is not the type of game that just pulls in enough to justify the costs on that.
"So that's like, we got it in the States by luck, that [Nintendo of Europe] decided, 'Oh, we'll take the fall. We'll localise that.' Okay, 'cause someone is going to have to eat the costs somewhere, because that game is guaranteed to not sell enough to justify how big that game is. You know, hundreds of hours, all voiced. That's a lot of money that goes into that.
"And people are like, 'Why do you guys hate money?' We don't. That's why you literally can't make everything. And people don't like finding out that their fanbase is actually too small to justify the costs of the thing they want."
Pranger's comments were picked up by NeoGAF and debated at length. While many fans agreed with the points he made, others disliked the tone he used to mimic Nintendo fans.
Less than a week later, Pranger announced he had been let go by Nintendo.
He followed this announcement with a public post on his Facebook page where he reflected on what had happened. It makes for difficult reading:
For its part, Nintendo has responded with the following short statement:
"We have no comment on this topic other than to wish Chris the best in his future endeavors."