Well this is a bit disappointing. After we praised Aksys Games’ decision to ship Virtue’s Last Reward with dual languages – English and Japanese – it turns out publishers Rising Star Games are only including Japanese voices in the European version of the game (with English subtitles).
This was a decision likely driven by the need to maximise profits in respect to the quantity of units of the game produced. As previously noted, we were surprised that Aksys were publishing the game with a dual voice track given its game card format on Vita and 3DS.
Including two voice tracks would up the size of the game cards (for example, from 1GB to 2GB) which Aksys Games publish Virtue’s Last Reward on – of which they purchase from Nintendo, rather than a cheaper wholesale price.
Rising Star Games clearly worked out that following this would not be cost efficient for them – that is, revenue from any extra sales gained from choosing to release with dual voices would not offset the extra cost in publishing from doing this.
We spoke to Yen Hau from Rising Star Games at the London MCM Expo this time last year regarding a somewhat similar issue - the lack of Japanese voices in Rune Factory 3. Yen mentioned publishing the game with only one voice track was due to the same reasons mentioned above.
The move to ditch the English dub will upset many, we’re sure, but in consideration of the general Visual Novel fanbase and their preference for Japanese voice acting, we think Rising Star Games have chosen the ‘best’ voice track to keep, at least from a sales standpoint.