A good while back a reader asked about a strange line in Suikoden for the PlayStation. I haven’t played the game myself but I hear it’s full of interesting translation choices, so this is my chance to dig a little deeper into the game!
First, the question was about a line in the English version. Basically, a short cutscene begins with a party member named Kirkis saying:
After returning from Dwarves’ Village
That’s it, there’s no punctuation and none of the other characters respond to his strange outburst at all. Fans seem to be curious about this line, why it cuts off, and why it sounds like Kirkis is suddenly narrating the game.
The answer is pretty simple: this strange line was intended as a developer note for the localization team, but some sort of formatting or technical mistake caused it to be included as standard text in the game. The result is that the first line of the scene has the developer note, which pushes every line in the scene down one “slot”:
|Genso Suikoden (PlayStation)||Suikoden (PlayStation)|
|Japanese Version (basic translation)||English Version|
|Kirkis: W-what’s that?||Kirkis: After returning from Dwarves’ village|
|Gremio: I’m not really sure.||Gremio: W-what’s that?|
|Valeria: Isn’t that in the direction of…||Valeria: I don’t know.|
|Gremio: N-no! It couldn’t be…!||Gremio: That direction is…|
|Valeria: We were too late…||Valeria: It couldn’t be…|
|Kirkis: No! This isn’t possible! Let’s hurry, [Main Character]!||Kirkis: Too late!|
From this it’s clear how all of the English lines gets pushed down, which causes each character to say a line that’s not intended for them. This ultimately leads to the final line getting cut from the scene entirely!
Off the top of my head I don’t know how common this problem is in other games, although I do know it sort of happened in EarthBound’s localization too – some internal developer text wound up being included with the main script. It’s been “skipped over” in the final release, but the text is right there and accessible if you’re technically-minded:
|EarthBound (Super NES)|
Anyway, hopefully this solves the mystery of this strange scene in Suikoden. And if you know of any other games that have internal developer notes mixed in with the main text like this, let me know! I love this sort of crazy stuff 😛