Localization Roundup #11

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It’s time for another roundup! This is where we share small things don’t need dedicated articles, but still deserve attention. Some of this is old news by now, but it’s still good stuff!

1. Seiken Densetsu 3 Finally Released Outside of Japan

I was completely blindsided by this news when I saw it on the 2019 E3 Nintendo Direct:

Collection of Mana is now available to purchase on the Nintendo eShop (gotta wait until August for the physical edition). It includes all three games in the Seiken Densetsu series, which are known in English as Final Fantasy Adventure (Mystic Quest in Europe), Secret of Mana, and Trials of Mana. This is the first time Trials of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 3) escaped Japan with official localizations in English, French, German, and Spanish.

Not only that, but a remake Trials of Mana is in the works, too. Here’s some gameplay footage of that during the Nintendo Treehouse Live event:

RPG Site was at E3 and had the opportunity to interview the series’ producers about the Trials remake and the release of the original game in English. Masaru Oyamada had something interesting to say about the decision to localize the third game:

Oyamada: So around when the Switch launched, we got word that it would be possible to play Super Famicom titles on it, eventually. We had also been hearing from Japanese fans, for a while, that they wanted us to release classic games like Seiken Densetsu 3 on newer hardware. As for releasing the game worldwide, since Seiken Densetsu 3 hadn’t been localized previously, it posed quite a challenge for us to release Collection of Mana in the West. But, when we first showed the Trials of Mana remake, which is what we were working on first, to the Western team, they expressed a strong interest in releasing the original version as well. That’s what spurred us on to extract to code from the original Seiken Densetsu 3 and take on the task of localizing it.

So the Trials of Mana remake was in production before they decided to localize the original. Neat! Read the whole interview here.

This collection’s release also inspired Mato to do a Wanderbar plugin for Final Fantasy Adventure. We’ll be streaming a live translation comparison of it starting tomorrow, July 20, here!

2. Metal Gear Solid Translator Shares His Story

Jeremy Blaustein, translator of Metal Gear Solid for the PS1, wrote an article on Polygon detailing what it was like to spend six months inside the mind of Hideo Kojima. Read the whole thing here.

He explains such things as:

  • The extensive military research he had to do to prepare for the translation
  • How stressful it was to get the game’s massive script translated in such a short amount of time (and by himself!)
  • His method for getting the English lines to work well with the cinematic timing of the cutscenes
  • The military jargon he added to make the characters sound like professional soldiers
  • The “flavor” and “flourishes” he added to flesh out the characters
  • Kojima’s ultimate dislike of those flourishes
  • A comparison of a few lines from the original Metal Gear Solid translation versus Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes (which received a more literal translation)
  • He loves that his translation of “What is a man?!” in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night became a huge meme

Read more Metal Gear LoL articles here!

3. Dai Gyakuten Saiban Fan Translation Released

One of the most anticipated fan translations is finished!

Dai Gyakuten Saiban (The Great Ace Attorney) is on our list of most wanted official localizations. It’s a spinoff game of the Ace Attorney series starring the ancestors of Phoenix Wright characters teaming up with Sherlock Holmes and friends. The Scarlet Study team picked up Capcom’s slack so that people outside of Japan can enjoy this game as well.

Go here for steps on how to apply the English patch to the 3DS or Android version. And yes, they’re already working on Dai Gyakuten Saiban 2!

4. Game Companies/Devs Poke Fun at Localization Changes

Speaking of Ace Attorney, the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy was released in April and the official Ace Attorney twitter did some celebrating:

This is, of course, a reference to this classic comic strip commenting on the funny localization changes in the Ace Attorney games.


The devs of Alex Kidd in Miracle World also recently acknowledged the Japanese-food-turned-burger localization change in their game:

This picture is from a massive interview they did on the Japanese site Game Watch for the most recent Sega Ages release. They added a “Hamburger Mode” as one of the game options, in which Alex is constantly munching some burgs in the corners of the game. There’s another option where Alex is eating a rice ball instead.


I recently picked up the Switch version of Dandy Dungeon and happened to run into a rice ball/donut/hamburger joke there, too:

This whole game is very weird and full of humor; I’ve been liking it a lot. It was originally released on mobile with annoying free-to-play attributes, but the Switch version gets rid of all of that for a seamless experience. Read more about the Switch version here!

Do you know of any other game companies or developers poking fun at the localization changes in their game(s)? Please let me know!

5. What Changed When Shovel Knight Went to Japan

Let’s keep this rice ball train running and look at the changes that were made for Shovel Knight’s Japanese localization.

Since the game was heavily inspired by classic NES games, Shovel Knight did sort of a “reverse localization” for the Japanese version, taking inspiration from Famicom and Famicom Disk System games and how they were changed for the NES. Adding rice balls as a random item in the food shop was a neat nod to the old days, and they also animated some of the scenery, edited character portraits to make them look a little more “anime”, changed the coins to make them look more like yen, and even gave the sleeping Shovel Knight a little snooze bubble.

Read about all the changes and the reasonings behind them here!

6. More Karakuri Funniest English

Lots of blasts from the past in this roundup, so let’s close things out with another Karakuri Funniest English video! This was translated by Mato way back in the Sexy Beam Translation days.

Do you happen to have a Karakuri Funniest English video? Let us know! They’re so hard to find and we’d love to be able to translate new ones for people to enjoy 🙂


That's all for this roundup. If you find anything that’d be a good fit for future roundup articles, let me know on Twitter or in the comments!

13 Comments
  1. As a side note, and one you might aware of already, Seiken Densetsu 1 was originally going to be released as “Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest” in Europe. The name got changed shortly before release, presumably because Square had second thoughts about Europeans’ first encounter with the franchise being a game that played nothing like the other entries.

    Reply
    1. Contemporary review that uses the original name:
      https://i.imgur.com/OYz6EL8.jpg

      It spends half its time detailing the history of the Final Fantasy franchise, but is clearly written by someone unfamiliar with the fact that there were Japan-only games at the time (aside from “Final Fantasy III”, which is “so hot it’s not even been released in the US yet”), so you get gems like “Oddly enough, Square chose to make a sequel to the Game Boy game rather than the more popular NES original”.

      Reply
      1. It really doesn’t help that “Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest” in the US is a totally different game, basically presented as baby’s first RPG.

        Reply
        1. As the article puts it:
          *Final Fantasy – Mystic Quest (GB): This game is actually called Final Fantasy Adventure in the US, but here in Europe they’ve renamed it Mystic Quest. It’s far more similar to Zelda than the earlier FF games, and that’s presumably the reason it was released here in Norway.
          *Final Fantasy – Mystic Quest (SNES): This game, on the other hand, is called Mystic Quest in the US too. The game is made for younger Nintendo gamers that might not be able to handle too complicated RPGs.

          Reply
  2. You linked to the wrong polygon article about metal gear! Looks like they came out around the same time, so it’s understandable. The one written by Blaustein is here:
    https://www.polygon.com/2019/7/18/20696081/metal-gear-solid-translation-japanese-english-jeremy-blaustein

    Reply
    1. Whoops! Thanks

      Reply
  3. Also, not sure if this is something you necessarily WANT to attract attention to, but there’s been some recent drama involving a series of PC98 game translations turning out to be a mix of rewritten machine translation and just plain made-up nonsense. The fact that the translator had set up a Patreon and was making over $70 a month didn’t exactly help matters. He went completely radio silent after people started pointing this out.
    https://vndb.org/t12562

    Reply
    1. Whoa, I hadn’t heard of that at all. I’m kind of interested in seeing how the translations turned out now.

      Reply
      1. There’s some examples linked in that comment thread.

        But here’s an example that should give a general idea of how accurate this stuff is:
        クーガー: はははは! ゾンビとは上手い言い回しだ。いや、人間には試した事がないんで判らないが… ま、試したら犯罪になってしまうからな。わしは科学者であって医者でないのだから。
        Cooger: Haha! Yes, zombie is a good word. That is why the serum cannot be announced. If it were to be used on humans…

        Reply
  4. That last lady in the Funniest English video nicely reminded me of how directly the ‘dentist’ joke about wrecking cars translates into Japanese…

    Reply
  5. I don’t know if that count (being a western game) but in Creepy Castle (by Dopterra), the game make fun of the Pokémon anime localization by having both the Donut and the Rice Ball food having the same descripption text, you know, that infamous line from the anime. XD

    Reply
  6. Holy cow, Maddie Blaustein’s brother is the one who translated SotN? That’s a very awesome family.

    Reply
  7. I’m glad Trials of Mana finally made its way here all these years later, but its battle system has aged terribly. Registering inputs of any kind is an exercise in tedium and enemies really shouldn’t still be allowed to hit so hard when you’re fully geared and well-leveled. Legend of Mana improved on Trials in every way, whether haters like to hear that or not.

    Reply

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