Uh, you know, I was thinking it would be nice if we had something like Grandia 4...
Or Legend of Dragoon 2...
I miss GameArts...
What made some of those games special were the characters, settings, and the battle systems.
I was thinking... Compile Heart & Idea Factory are cheap developers, yet they're able to get their crappy games out west (which I sort of enjoy in my own masochistic way). The 3D graphic quality is good enough, and the presentation of plain visual novel textboxes is simple and straightforward.
We can adapt that to other games -- we don't need full CG cutscenes, as long as we have likeable characters.
The problem is that the battle systems of Cross Edge, Agarest, Trinity Universe, and Neptunia just plain suck, so much so that it's a chore to get through the battles and dungeons.
Get somebody from GameArts or someone who knows how to make kickass battle systems on board. Or if you're willing to partner with a western developer maybe you can ring up some local independent studio in California -- uh, I dunno, Nicalis maybe? Actually, I would prefer if you hire an excellent western writer as long as you keep the anime graphics.
So my proposal is this. Join the know-how of Compile Heart / IF in how to make games cheaply (I think they're using a low-cost engine for the PS3), but grab some talent from one of the better JRPG devs back in the day to do the battle mechanics, then put the project up on Kickstarter or some other crowdfunding site. I'm sure NIS devoted fans would love to see more new JRPGs for the HD consoles but ones with less moe sensibilities that cause them to generate an automatic FAIL in most of the western game review sites (The usual "Oh, Japan! I facepalm." syndrome)
A JRPG tailored for the west can happen -- and I don't mean Final Fantasy XIII. Though it's from Sony, Legend of Dragoon did it right -- I believe that's a JRPG that sold more in the west than in Japan.
I know you're hesitant because of the failure that is Last Rebellion, but that game showed me that it's very possible to make a low-cost PS3 JRPG. The things lacking are excellent world design, well-written characters, and innovative mechanics. You can practically get those from the passionate indie devs next door. Let them do the pre-prod for the game before passing them to the Japanese devs.
The reason I'm writing this is I really fear for the Japanese games industry especially right after the earthquake. They need global sales more than ever, but they can't seem to get on the right footing. When a company fails to sustain itself through original IP it does the next best thing -- work-for-hire. So I propose something that is NIS America's own original IP, made in collaboration with other western indie devs, then outsource to Japan for the bulk of the work.
I was planning on buying a new car, but I'll seriously give at least $20,000 of my own savings to this endeavor.