In Which I Dwell on PAX East

I had the opportunity and motivation to go to PAX East this year – one I think I took full advantage of, more so than either attendance of Prime thus far – and it was a blast. Took first place in an Earth Defense Force tourney (thereafter referred to as “The Blue Guy” due to my stylish DQ9 shirt and Junpei hat), my team took 3rd in a 64-team League of Legends tourney (my main account is lv 24/30, indicating I don’t play enough to deserve it) and overall had a great time.

I’d apologize for not covering it yet (after all, it’s been three whole weeks!), but honestly I doubt enough people read it who care.  Might sound a little crazy, but this is more an outlet for myself – writing on my own interests – than out of a particular desire to share, which is a nice enough side effect.

So anyway – PAX East.  Far and away the coolest part of it was meeting these people – one in an unofficial capacity and the other set in an official one.  I went to Kajiya productions’ localization panel Friday night.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the translation for Phoenix Wright (Roger Wright?), and Tactics Ogre is nothing short of fantastic – but the best part of the panel was that someone was talking about it.  And the panelists argued that was the best thing we could do to help them – spread awareness of the importance of localization.

Talking about localization has been a hobby of mine for awhile. Doing it’s another, but while I enjoy doing it in a fan-capacity (re: three projects nearly complete in five years), I like it all the more so in commercial games. I may have not at all known what I was doing back in 2008 – it’s a meandering article – but the localization of some games, especially Revelations: Persona, have captivated me since their release: What brought about these bizarre decisions? How did they make the game feel so natural, despite the translation’s crazy premises (aside from the decision to change portraits, sprites, and text to claim to take place in the USA, it’s not a bad translation)? How does one work on an actual game?

Thankfully the Kajiya guys came in to speak to the last two.  One – know your audience. The Atlus translation team didn’t bother to do jokes literally, instead adding movie references and other such nonsense.  Two – generally, much the same way fan translation happened, at the time.  Text files.  More recently that’s changing, and most interestingly the most recent effort they did used the now-defunct-or-getting-there Google Wave. It sounds like there’s a market for something like Wave but more geared towards translation – but what would I know, I’m just a measly programmer. Said market’s probably pretty small.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, this was a really cool panel to go to. I’ve already thanked those involved twice, so I’ll go ahead and link to the youtube videos of the panel instead. I guarantee the panel wasn’t sideways when I saw it.

Among the interesting trivia:

  • FF7 was done in around three weeks by a bilingual employee of Square who wasn’t familiar with writing (one of the big issues; to be able to localize, you need to be able to write).  Its justified mocking here was the main reason Square started forming an actual localization team.  Off course that makes sense.
  • The names in Phoenix Wright were decided upon collaboratively. The translator, Alexander O. Smith, put together lists of first and last names for Capcom to pick from.  His original top choice for the titular character was Roger Wright for the double pun on his original name, Naruhodo (“I see”).
  • One of the biggest issues in localizing FFX and FFXII (I think the former had more issues in this dept., personally, old man) was that there was no budget/tech to modify lip syncs for the language.  Thus there is a lot of people saying “yep” and “nope” in FFX – the fastest to say – and in FFXII, there is a good deal of dialogue crammed in wherever the speaker’s mouth is offscreen.
  • Finally, we missed out on something really big.  The implication was that the Kajiya guys were working on a project that got canned.  I’m open to speculation – Mother 3, SaGa2 (ha, only I care about that) and Xenoblade would’ve been my guesses.  Some major project that never made it stateside.

1 Comment »

  1. Seho Said,

    April 13, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

    Go Team Metal Slime!

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