Journey to The West
We got a bit of a strange one from the Rumor Mill this time, folks. RPG Maker Fes, the 3DS version of the popular RPG Maker game development software, might be headed over to Western regions. While not officially announced, Gematsu has discovered that the game was given a rating by the Australian Classification Board with NIS America of Disgaea fame being listed as the game’s publisher. The game works much like any other RPG Maker variant: wannabe developers can make their own titles using the game’s assets and upload them online for the world to see. These games are shared via a free RPG Player from the Nintendo eShop, allowing users without the game to download a variety of player-created titles.
I’m genuinely curious as to how this might play out if it comes across the ocean. RPG Maker is one of the most popular game development tools around these days given its relatively low bar of entry and surprisingly high quality (see Corpse Party, One-Shot, and To The Moon to see what I mean). Being able to take it on the go could help kickstart a new generation of game developers in the West, and there’s obviously enough demand for it in Japan to fuel its overseas potential.
On the other hand, it’s a bit tricky to say whether or not Western audiences will take to it as easily as Japan did. Details are kind of scarce as to exactly how the game download feature works, but as it goes through the eShop exclusively, it more than likely means that any games available are going to be free all the way through. This may not seem like a bad thing, but most people who currently use RPG Maker tend to want to at least get some kind of profit off of how much work they’d be putting into it. As well, having it be limited to 3DS play only locks out any chance of sharing the games outside of that console (unless developers feel like making their games over again on the PC). I think it’d work in NIS America’s favor to market this as a RPG Maker Lite kind of game, something for aspiring developers to dip their toes into before jumping into the deep end that is VX Ace and co.
NIS America will be hosting a press conference on February 17, 2017, though whether or not RPG Maker FES will be on the docket is up in the air.