Good news: Monolith Soft’s excellent open world Wii RPG Xenoblade Chronicles appears to have been reprinted. Bad news: the game is still a Gamestop exclusive in America, and Gamestop is price-gouging the crap out of the rare title.
It’s weird to think that a few years ago, Nintendo believed that North American audiences had no interest in Xenoblade Chronicles: fans had to petition the company for months in order to get the game released here, and when the game was released, it only got a very limited print run and was only sold at Gamestop. Demand for the game quickly out stripped the limited supply that Nintendo created, and now complete copies of Xenoblade routinely sell on eBay for anywhere between $80-$100. Copies that come with the pre-order bonus art book will cost you even more than that.
Fortunately, it seems like the game has been reprinted: the game is back in stock on Gamestop.com and the store finder on the site is showing that many of my local stores have additional stock of the game as well. Even though the game is apparently not as rare as it once was, Gamestop seems to be taking advantage of the situation and is charging $90 for copies of the game — almost double the game’s original MSRP. It’s not unusual for eBay sellers to inflate the price, but it is really surprising that a major retail chain would try to cash in on the game’s rarity in such a way.
As always, Gamestop isn’t exactly behaving in the best interests of their customers (there’s a reason why I buy all my games from Amazon nowadays,) but with that said, I think Xenoblade Chronicles is worth it at almost any price — its blend of Western RPG influences and traditional Japanese RPG presentation and structure works amazingly well, and it’s definitely one of the most polished and innovative Japanese RPG’s of the last five years. It’s probably my favorite RPG of the Wii/PS3/360-era, so if you have the means to pick it up, you should definitely give the game a chance.
Hopefully the high demand for Xenoblade Chronicles will convince Nintendo of America to give its upcoming Wii U sequel a quick localization… and a full print run, so we can avoid situations like this from happening again.