Microsoft Japan announces cancellation of a game that never existed

In today's Xbox Live Arcade update, Torchlight, a colorful dungeon crawler originally released on the PC in 2009, went live for console gamers. And even though it had been expected to launch in the US and Japan on the same day, it turns out the game was never planned for Japan in the first place - something that wasn't announced until today.

In a message released on the Japanese version of today, the company announced that Torchlight had been canceled. A Google translation of the statement cites a "bug" for the game's axing, adding, "We apologize for the inconvenience."

However, Travis Baldree, president of Runic, the game's developer, has a different story. He reportedly said there was never even a plan to release a Japanese version.

"We're not privy to the decision making process in providing the game in Japan - but it was not due to bugs in the translation because the game has never been translated to Japanese. Since there was no existing Japanese version of the game, the complexity of a new translation combined with the randomly generated naming scheme for Torchlight made it beyond the scope of the project," said Baldree.

We obviously don't know what went on behind the scenes, but to a casual observer it almost looks like the Xbox Japan team just reached out today and asked, "Hey, what's the deal with Torchlight? Isn't it supposed to be released today?"

That's probably not what happened, but it certainly suggests that there are some communication issues when a localization project which never existed is cancelled. Anyway, Torchlight was released today in the US with no issues.

Update:Microsoft has issued the following statement, confirming that Torchlight was not cancelled due to bugs:

"We made the decision to not launch 'Torchlight' on Xbox LIVE Arcade in Japan due to localization complexities; not due to bugs. We apologize for any inconvenience."

The company did not respond to the developer's claim that a localized version was never planned.

[Source: Japan (Google Translation), Joystiq]

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Mar 9, 2011