10 Story Games That Never Left Japan

10 Story Games That Never Left Japan

The Tales series is a relatively popular Japanese RPG series that has been around for about as long as its three main competitors, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Shin Megami Tensei. With Tales of Symphonia putting the series on the Western map and the highly successful sales of Tales of Arise, a series once considered niche has steadily gained mainstream notoriety.

RELATED: The best JRPGs that never left Japan

Despite the series’ recent rise in popularity, the Tales series has been known among enthusiasts to have many titles sold only in Japanese markets. This list will showcase many of the primary and spinoff titles that remain exclusively in Japan to this day.


10/10 Tales of the Tempest

Caius and Rubia rush into battle in Tales of the Tempest

Originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2006, Tales of the Tempest is one of the many Tales games that have never been localized outside of Japan. Interestingly, this title is notable for being the only Tales game to transition from a Mothership title (mainline game) to an Escort title (sidegame).

The transition from a main title to a side game comes from its poor sales in Japan. With its poor popularity and low reception, it goes without saying why Tales of the Tempest had no chance of being localized.

9/10 Tales Of Phantasia (PSP Version)

Karse and Chester fight a boar in the forest in Tales Of Phantasia

Although it was the first installment of the Tales games, Tales of Phantasia would not find itself in Western stores until late into the Gameboy Advance’s lifespan. Unfortunately, the enhanced PSP version (released six months in Japan after the GBA version in North America and Europe) would not see a similar global release.

With added voice acting, a character system, new battle sprites and animated cutscenes, it’s truly a loss that this version of Phantasia couldn’t find its way to a more international market. As of today, it is unknown why the PSP version of Tales of Phantasia never received a localization.

8/10 Tales Of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X

The Heroes Of Narikiri Dungeon X With The Heroes Of Tales Of Phantasia In A City

A remake of the non-localized Game Boy Color version of Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon, Narikiri Dungeon X for the PlayStation Portable would later share the same fate as its originator. This title also included an enhanced remaster of the PSP version of Tales of Phantasia, titled Tales of Phantasia X.

As this is a two-in-one title of a portable Tales game, it came as no surprise to many Western fans when this installment failed to get the green light for a global release. Why this particular game never received an official translation is anyone’s guess.

7/10 Tales Of Destiny: Director’s Cut

The Heroes of Tales of Destiny pose on the cover

The original Tales of Destiny is famous for being the first game in the Tales series to be released in North America on the PS1, so it’s a wonder why the remake, Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut, never left Japan’s shores.

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Not only does Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut retain its original plot with enhanced graphics and additional gameplay mechanics, it also includes an exclusive side story dedicated to Leon, one of the game’s main characters. Unfortunately, there is no way for Western fans of the franchise to experience this gem of a remake without importing and relying on translation scripts.

6/10 Tales of Destiny 2

The main characters on the cover of Tales Of Destiny 2

The direct sequel to Destiny, Tales of Destiny 2 is another non-localized title that has confused some hardcore fans. Since neither the PS2 nor PSP versions are translated, this game serves as one of the many leading pieces that players must import if they wish to experience the adventures of Stahn’s offspring, Kyle Dunamis.

With Bandai Namco remastering some of their older Tales games like Tales of Symphonia, fans are hoping that the company will eventually give the Tales of Destiny duology its own remakes.

5/10 Tales Of Rebirth

Water color of the tales of rebirth heroes on the cover

Next on our list of Tales games that never left Japan is Tales of Rebirth. This title was Namco’s attempt to spice things up with the franchise’s battle system by using the new “Three-Line Linear Motion” that many international players did not experience.

Unfortunately, even with the high sales of Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube, which gave the series some global notoriety, its success was not enough to convince Bandai Namco to see a profit in a potential localization of Rebirth. This is made even more apparent by the fact that North America and Europe never saw the release of the game’s PSP port.

4/10 Tales Of Innocence R

The three main heroes on the cover of Tales Of Innocence R

Like many of its predecessors, Tales of Innocence and its remake would continue the unfortunate tradition of portable Tales games not hitting the shores of the Western world.

Negotiations for an international release were reportedly discussed between former Bandai Namco producer, Hideo Baba, and Bandai Namco Games America, which unfortunately fell through. Baba eventually stated that the decision not to localize the “re-imagine” version of Innocence R was due to the PlayStation Vita’s low sales in the West.

3/10 Tales Of VS.

All the heroes and villains who strike their combat positions in Tales of VS.

Tales of Versus is a fighting game spinoff released exclusively in Japan in 2006. The game itself features an original story with a cast of 35 characters from previous Tales installments. With the gameplay taken and inspired by Super Smash Bros., Tales of Versus is one of the many spinoffs that has unsurprisingly slipped through the fingers of gamers worldwide.

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As usual – with the exception of Innocence R – it is unknown why the makers of Tales of Versus refused to localize what was most likely a missed opportunity to expand the Tales fanbase through the use of a fighting game.

2/10 Tales Of The Heroes: Twin Brave

Lloyd keeps Jude and Milla at bay with his material blades in Tales Of The Heroes - Twin Brave

Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave stands out for being Bandai Namco’s first attempt at a Tales game with Dynasty Warriors-like (musou genre) game mechanics.

Since Tales spinoffs are notorious for never being localized, it’s no surprise that this title remains elusive to most Western aficionados of the franchise. With many different titles such as Fire Emblem Warriors, Hyrule Warriors and Dragon Quest Heroes tackling the hack-and-slash genre, Bandai Namco definitely missed a prime opportunity they could have exploited to drive the popularity of this sub-genre to the international market.

1/10 Tales Of The World Series

From left to right, Tales Of The World Radiant Mythology 1, Tales Of The World Radiant Mythology 2, And Tales Of The World Radiant Mythology 3

With the sole exception of Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology (released in North America and Europe in 2007 on the PSP), none of the other Tales of the World games have been released globally. This subseries is unique for being one of the earlier crossover spinoffs featuring the heroes and villains of the various Tales games.

With around ten installments existing, Bandai Namco could have used this series as an opportunity to introduce old and new fans to Tales characters from titles that had yet to be released worldwide. Some fans even speculate that it is because of the appearance of characters from the non-localized games that Radiant Mythology’s sequels did not receive official translations.

NEXT: Tales Of Arise was originally intended to be a brand new IP

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