David R. asked a good while back about some stuff from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It’s been a long time coming, but I didn’t forget!
Anyway, here’s the question:
I’ve read some stuff on Gamefaqs regarding the localization of the last-released Metal Gear title, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and apparently the Japanese version is a little more serious than the English version which goes for a so corn-ball its awesome sort of thing. The scene I’ve seen compared the most is the Jack the Ripper scene. But there’s one codec scene where they mention a “DOOMP” which is an obvious pun.
Also, a character named George talks with an accent I assume is Guyanese, and I wanna know if there’s an equivalent in the Japanese version.
Asking for a full comparison of a Metal Gear game might be a bit much especially since you’re working on RPGs right now, but I figured I’d ask you about this. I’d look forward to an MGS comparison in the future though, even if it’s just comparing cutscene dialogue.
TL;DR What’s going on with the Japanese versions of the DOOMP scene and the way this annoying kid talks?
Taking a DOOMP
This apparently takes place after where I left off in the game, so finding it in both versions took a little time. First, here’s the full English version of the scene in question:
And here’s the particular line in question:
|Japanese release||English release|
Okay, so let’s take a look at the text side-by-side!
|Japanese Version (basic translation)||English Version|
|Doktor: That appears to be the maintenance area for unmanned gear.||Doktor: Ah, this would appear to be the UG maintenance area.|
|There might be a terminal somewhere for inputting mission parameters to the unmanned gear.||You should find a terminal there — something they use to upload mission parameters to their UGs.|
|Raiden: And with that we could access the lab’s server?||Raiden: And something I can use to access the lab’s main server?|
|Doktor: Possibly. But we could really use a springboard.||Doktor: Perhaps. But first you need to take a DOOMP.|
|Raiden: Don’t worry. I can jump pretty high.||Raiden: I… Wait, what?|
|Doktor: That isn’t what I mean. I’m referring to a hacking springboard. It’s a programming thing.||Doktor: A DOOMP? A digital-optical output mounted proxy. You’ll need one to interface with the terminal.|
|A Tripod or the like will do. I’m very familiar with their inner workings, after all.||Most any UG should suffice — a Tripod or the like.|
|Raiden: I’ll look for one. But how do I make a springboard out of it?||Raiden: I’ll see what I can come up with. How do I use it?|
|Doktor: Simply connect to it directly.||Doktor: Simply connect to it.|
|You can then use your communications capabilities to take control of the Tripod.||You should be able to use your communications outlay to control the proxy UG.|
|Raiden: I’ll give it a shot.||Raiden: All right, let’s give it a shot…|
So where the DOOMP joke is in the English script, it looks like the Japanese script has some fun with a word for “springboard” or “step stool” or “stepping stone”. To this, Raiden replies that he can already jump pretty high.
Since this game was developed by a Western studio (I think? Or am I thinking of a different game?) I don’t want to assume that the script was necessarily set in stone in Japanese first, so I’m not really sure which joke came first. If anyone can shed light on the details, though, let me know in the comments!
In any case, the Japanese script doesn’t have a bathroom joke. In fact, I’d be kind of surprised if it did here, since it seems like the trend among some Japanese games lately is to avoid and/or remove references to feces and urine. Even MOTHER 2’s re-releases made a few changes to remove these things specifically (example). I’ve often wondered if it could be a CERO thing, but I haven’t looked into it yet.
How George Talks
Anyway, the next question David had was about how the George character speaks in both versions of the game. We’ve actually taken a look at a line of George’s before – the infamous Ninja Turtles reference line!
The question this time is if George speaks with such a heavy accent/dialect in the Japanese text. The answer is no.
First, here’s a look at George talking in both versions of the game. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you can probably tell that George isn’t speaking in any unusual way:
I’ve found that in general, Japanese entertainment doesn’t really use foreign accents as much as we do. There are some exceptions (especially with things like radio DJs and announcers), but it’s pretty rare. That’s actually a huge article of its own, so I’ll need to sit down and research it in detail someday. There are other ways that the Japanese people stereotype certain foreign speech styles, but they don’t apply in this situation.
So George doesn’t talk in any odd way in the Japanese version of Metal Gear Rising. It looks like the localizers opted to do a lot of research and hard work to make him sound more authentic in English, though, which is why he sounds the way he does in the English version of the game. The localizers for Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker often did the same thing too… sort of. That’s another interesting topic for another day, though.
To be honest, I really appreciate the attention to detail and the hard work the localization team did, but more than anything the end result just felt way too heavy in Peace Walker and in Metal Gear Rising for me, to the point of genuine annoyance that pulled me out of the experience. I never said anything about it before because I thought I was just a crazy jerk that hated fun, but it sounds like maybe I’m not the only one after all. In a way, it kind of reminds me of how recent Square-Enix localizations sometimes go a bit heavy with the Shakespearean English too. But I can understand why some might prefer this heavy localization style over a more straight localization; I guess it’s just a matter of personal taste. Kind of like how some people prefer lots of salt and pepper in their food while others might prefer just a dash of it or none at all.
Whew! Anyway, hopefully that clears up questions about DOOMP and George! All this writing and research is partly why this update’s taken so long to come out!
Also, I’m really curious to know how this DOOMP thing and George’s speech style was handled in other translations of the game. If you know, let me know in the comments!