Why One Of Nintendo's Smash Hits May Never Leave Japan

Yoshio Sakamoto is visiting San Francisco's Game Developers Conference to talk up the latest, he says greatest, take on Metroid. But that's not the game he's carrying around with him to show off at dinner.

Instead of talking up Metroid Other M, Sakamoto is showing off Tomodachi Korekushon, or Friend Collection, to his dinning companions. The DS game, which hit Japan last June, has players using their Miis to interact with one another in a very Sims like game.

Meeting with Sakamoto earlier today, I asked him why the game hasn't yet been brought to the U.S. After all, the game has already sold 2.9 million copies in Japan. Was it, I asked, because of fears that the game might not be as big a hit in cultures other than Japan.

"I certainly feel that I would like to take on the challenge of bringing Friend Collection to the United States," Sakamoto told Kotaku. "One of our biggest hurdles is finding a really good speech generation plug-in for English. It's something that works really well in Japanese, and represents a lot of the charm in the game. Unless we get that element squared away I don't know we would be able to proceed."

Unlike the Wii version of the Miis, the Miis of Tomodachi Collection can speak and will tell you what they want during gameplay.