Will Rhythm Heaven be the same in the USA?

By Spencer . August 8, 2008 . 10:30am

rh.jpgI put Steal Princess down to start Rhythm Heaven. The first three stages were shown at E3 fully localized with English instructions. In the fourth stage players control a monkey that claps along to a singing pop idol. Nintendo doesn’t have to worry about a cultural barrier since American Idol is huge. The potential issue is the lyrics because the singer sings in Japanese.


Rhythm Heaven can appeal to their causal market and to core Nintendo fans so I don’t think Nintendo will risk releasing a game with Japanese sings. At the very least Nintendo will have to adapt the idol game with English lyrics and a new English singer. I haven’t got too far into Rhythm Heaven yet, but I’m wondering how much of the game Nintendo will have to change. The difference shouldn’t be as great as Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan, but Rhythm Heaven will have to go through significant localization when/if it comes out. Would you mind if Nintendo Westernized some of the games?


At E3 I was told the plan was to release Rhythm Heaven this winter, but the date on Nintendo’s page is TBA. Hopefully, they don’t can it at the last minute like DS Air aka Jet Impulse in Japan.


Images courtesy of Nintendo.

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  • K

    Screw that leave the Japanese lyrics in and they better not can it.

  • They localized Ashley’s theme for Warioware Touched!, so I’m assuming this is going to be exactly the same process. Keep the song, but change the lyrics to an English version vaguely resembling the original.

  • Neo Yor

    I hope they don’t localize the lyrics. From the videos I watched so far I liked the lyrics just the way they are (although I dont know any japanese, but I dont think that’s important)

  • Nabe

    You purists and animephilies will always have the option to import the original Japanese version if Nintendo does switch the lyrics to English, which they will.

  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl had two versions of Ashley’s Theme so I don’t think it will be a problem.

  • I actually look forward to the changes since I`ll be playing it twice anyway.

  • seiya19

    It´s a japanese game… and personally, I want to play it as it was originally intended by the creators, not what some random editors think is best for western gamers.

    I don´t understand why some people can´t embrace, or at least accept the fact that as a japanese game, it´s supposed to be influenced by it´s culture, just like US games or from other countries are. Disrespecting its original form, is like disrespecting the game itself in my opinion.

    It´s a shame that for those of us that think this way, we are most of the time forced to choose between a “westernalized” game, or playing the original one without understanding it (or learning Japanese… which is no piece of cake as far as I know). I´m always thankful for those publishers that have enough respect for the original game and/or for those gamers that think like me, like Atlus, NIS or Aksys to name a few.

    By the way, I don´t think that language is really important in music, but the music itself is. I never agreed with the idea of a song being translated to other language, because if you do that, it´s clearly not the same song anymore (and I´m not even refering to when the singer is not the same). The importance of the lyrics in a song is its sound, and the meaning doesn´t matter music-wise.

    PS: It´s the first time I hear about Jet Impulse… looks great…

  • John H.

    Do not forget: While Ashley’s Theme from WarioWare Touched! was localized, the original WarioWare game had two unmodified Japanese songs.

  • Dave Silva

    “It´s a japanese game… and personally, I want to play it as it was originally intended by the creators, not what some random editors think is best for western gamers.”

    The decisions don’t come from the translators. Sometimes the choice to change these things comes from the marketing department.

    Please, leave us translators alone. It’s not always our fault. :P

  • seiya19

    @Dave Silva

    Well, when I wrote “editors”, I didn´t mean just translators… After all, there´s several localization issues in gaming aside language. But yes, you´re right, and I´m aware that translators/editors are not the ones that choose the direction of the localization (at least, most of the time). I blame those who make these decisions…(and people, they´re the worst…)

    Maybe I´m wrong, but I even think that most translators out there would agree with me (hopefully, you´re one of them), and like I mentioned before, not all publishers do the same.

    I´m sorry if my comment offended you, or other translators out there. May the force be with you…err, I mean…good luck to you guys.

  • Personally, I would like to import a version of Rock Band localized for Japan. I also got a little bit excited when I heard elite beat agents might get localized for Korea and the prospect of hearing new new korean music in place of drab U.S. pop. These sort of mashups can, or rather could, be brilliant going the other way.

  • tealovertoma

    “It´s a shame that for those of us that think this way, we are most of the time forced to choose between a “westernalized” game, or playing the original one without understanding it (or learning Japanese… which is no piece of cake as far as I know).”

    While I agree that it would be nice to have a third option, I personally think it’s totally fair to have those 2 choices. At least we *can* import it now, thank god (or Nintendo) that the DS is region free. This game’s language barrier is about as small as it gets and I’ve had no problems with it whatsoever. If you want to play it in Japanese you’re gonna have to go through a few minutes of extra trouble, it’s as simple as that. Not completely unfair.

    I do agree that it’s better to play a game as an original, but let’s face it, not everyone’s gonna like the catchy Jpop and most people are gonna want to know what they’re singing in the game. They’re going to want to make this game as accessible as they can for the American market. It’d be nice to have an option in the option screen, I suppose, but music simply takes up too much space on the DS (as far as I’m aware of, anyway).

  • seiya19


    While it may be true that this game is probably not hard to play in japanese, my comment was not just meant for this one, but for every japanese game. An RPG for example, would be a much different case…and sadly, most JRPGs released in the US still force you to listen to dubbed voices instead of the original ones (aside other changes).

    Besides, let´s not forget that we don´t know yet what will be changed for this game (if anything). It could be more than just a song…

    The argument of people not liking the J-pop song doesn´t work for me… If it were that, then I could say that there´s probably several people that wouldn´t like the replacement song either, or that you never know which song would appeal to most people.

    And like I said before, in terms of music, language doesn´t matter much (and the meaning could be seen through subtitles). After all, there has been several songs in different languages that have been popular in the US before (or other countries). I don´t know why people assume that because a song is in japanese, US people won´t like it. And this localization is not only for people in the US, but for people in Canada and Latin America as well, and it could even be used for Europe.

    Just like a movie is not changed to appeal to a different culture (aside dubbing, which is always optional and secondary), I think that games (which I also consider a form of art) shouldn´t be changed either. And I don´t see much western games that are changed to appeal other cultures, just a few exceptions (which are mostly for Asia, but not for Europe, Latin America or other countries).

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