localization Archive

Dragon Quest VIII Localization Dev Logs

While doing research yesterday, I found the localization development logs for Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King on The Cutting Room Floor. The logs are fascinating because you can see the back-and-forth between the people working on the project. Here’s an example of the devs trying to come up with a good description for a weapon while keeping it within the 18 character limit:

// ALTJ, jul12: I don’t like this wording, but “A weapon that puts enemies to sleep” is way over the limit.
// ALTJ, jul20: This appears to refer to the dream blade.
// WILL, jul22: How about the more ambiguous, “a sleepy weapon”? Or is that too obscure? Or even “a boring weapon”!!!??? It might make people think!
// MORGAN, jul25: I really don’t like “sleeper”. I would prefer “a sedative sword”, “a tiring weapon”.
// ALTJ, jul27: Changed.
a tiring weapon

You can find the whole log over here! It’s pretty long, so I recommend reading it during some lunch breaks or something~

Stop Poisoning my Pies!

I’m on day ??? of organizing our big folder full of localization pics. Some game series have so many localization mishaps that I’ve given them their own folder. Most recently I added Breath of Fire, Ace Attorney, Harvest Moon, SMT, and Persona. And there’s also a Mario folder, not because those games have a lot of mistakes, but because it’s surprising when a mistake slips by the editors and QA team at Nintendo.

Below is my favorite pic of the day. I don’t know what game it’s from, but holy goodness gracious, that sounds like a horrible ailment. What an awful person!

Come to think of it, a non-poisoned marsupial pie doesn’t sound all that appealing.

Let’s Organizing!

A new year is the perfect time to scrub through all your files and put things in order. Right now I’ve taken on the monstrous task of organizing Mato’s big, unruly “Localization Pics” folder. It’s full of images he’s been dumping in there for years, and most have file names like DNw8ZYSWkAEBD55.jpg

I’d like to share my favorite pic from today’s organization session:

Imagine working at Sega and being the one who has to fix this and then tell people about it, haha.

Berseria is Hit by the Tales Curse

There’s a weird thing that happens with Tales of [fill in the blank] games. The main story is localized and voice-acted very well, but then you run into weird typos and strange wording in the “lesser text”. That’s what I call the stuff that NPCs might say to you, or the text in sidequests that aren’t necessary to complete the game. What you get is a game that seems like it was translated by two different companies – which is probably the case for Tales games.

I call it the Tales Curse.

Our buddy Ian Burch collected a bunch of examples of weird problems found in the sidequests near the end (or postgame?) of Tales of Berseria. I’ll be putting together a gallery of them all sometime, but here’s a look at one of my favorites from the bunch:

Ah, hmmmm. …. hmmm【・ヘ・?】

Another Ys VIII Localization Goof Discovered

I’ve been having a good ol’ time playing through Ys VIII on the PS4, getting screenshots of the localization mistakes before the game gets patched next month. Then other day, @DigitalEmelas pointed out that the French on the back of the North American Vita version of Ys VIII has nothing to do with the game and doesn’t make sense:

The French text in the black bar in the middle says these two lines twice:

Je suis desolé de vous quitter, mais je dois acheter un chapeau.
I am sorry I have to leave you, but I must buy a hat.

Je vais demander à ces paysans qui viennent au-devant de nous, si le chemin par où ils ont passé est mauvais.
I shall ask these peasants who are coming towards us, if the road by which they have come is bad.

Mike Fahey over at Kotaku did some research and found these two phrases on Omniglot’s list of “assorted ‘useful’ foreign phrases”. He asked NIS America what the heck happened, and they admitted that the weird French text up there is placeholder text that never got fixed before going to print. The box also claims the game has cross-platform play, which it doesn’t.

Somebody at NIS America goofed up pretty hard on this one! Every reprint of Ys VIII on the Vita will have the correct French on the back, so I rushed out and bought one of the last copies of the first printing in my town to preserve a bit of gaming history.

Despite all these weird problems, Ys VIII is really fun.

Let’s Play Yakuza 0 with the Localizers!

Mato & I finished Yakuza 0 over the weekend. It’s hands-down one of our favorite games of all time. A few weeks ago, two of the main localizers played through the first 2 hours of the game and streamed it live. They gave lots of commentary and behind-the-scenes info on why certain localization choices were picked. They also answered questions from viewers. Watch the archive, it’s fascinating!

They did a second stream this past Friday, but the archive isn’t up on Youtube yet. UGH! This game is so good ;_;

Is Ys VIII’s Localization Really That Bad?

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana’s English localization is apparently so bad that Japanese game sites are talking about it. People made such a stink that the President and CEO of NIS America issued a statement apologizing for the lack of localization quality and promised to have it re-edited and patched by late November.

So I wonder, is it really all that bad? I’m about to find out!

We gotta beat this game before they release the patch next month. Wish us luck! And don’t worry, we’re taking screenshots along the way.

A Puzzle’s Difficulty Changes in Localization

So, Breath of the Wild is a great frickin’ game. I’ve been playing the English version, and Mato recently beat the Japanese version. The writing is superb, but I ran into a shrine puzzle at the beginning of the game that stumped me big time:

I found the shrine on Dueling Peaks. Since I was at the beginning of the game, I thought, “Cool, there must be another tall mountain on the other side of the world that looks like this one’s twin. I guess I’ll find it later.” Then I took a picture of the puzzle and left. It didn’t occur to me to check the other peak of Dueling Peaks. I had the shrine locator turned off, so I never got any beeping hints that one was nearby.

After Mato beat the game, I asked if he solved this shrine, and he said, “Yeah, it was easy. The other shrine is on the other peak.” “On Dueling Peaks?” I asked. Mato was confused. “Is that what they call it in English? It’s called Twin Peaks in Japanese.”

Twin Memories. Twin Peaks. Ohhhhhhhhh…..! Oh. It makes sense now! Perhaps I’m just a dum-dum, but I have a feeling that if they’d kept the Twin Peaks name, I would have made the Twin Memories connection a lot sooner (or at all!).

Did you run into trouble with any hints while you were playing the game?

Localization Advice from Taiwanese Indie Devs

Mato showed me an article on Gamasutra about how a small indie game studio based in Taiwan localized their first game from Chinese to English. The game is called Detention and it looks like something that’s right up my alley:

It’s a point-and-click horror game set in 1960s Taiwan during the time of martial law. The indie studio, called RedCandleGames, knew from the beginning that they wanted to localize their game for English-speaking players. Because the game is filled with so many culturally specific things, this turned out to be harder than they thought at first. They had to change the level design, teach the players about religious rituals for solving puzzles without an info dump, and decide whether to transliterate a creature’s name or coin a new term entirely.

The entire article is fascinating, since they constantly kept the player in mind when they were making the game. Read the full article here!

Detention is available on Steam. Here’s the official site for more info.