Tales Team Understaffed for Consistent Localization

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

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Tales of Symphonia Chronicles

Tales series producer Hideo Baba recently took part in an interview with Siliconera’s Cheng Kai regarding the Tales series, including the upcoming Tales of Symphonia Chronicles. One of the topics that was brought up was the localization process. More specifically, which titles are chosen to be brought to international markets and which ones end up getting glossed over. Hideo Baba states that the main reason why games like Tales of Hearts and Tales of Innocence weren’t released internationally is because the studio is currently understaffed.

So when considering which titles can be localized to be released in the Western market, our first priority are the flagship titles, such as Tales of Xillia. After that, our second priority are remake titles or all-star titles.

Because the number of development members we have on staff is very limited, it’s not possible to localize every single Tales title. So we have to pick and choose when deciding which parts of the Tales series we would like to bring out to the rest of the world outside Japan.

Hideo was also asked if any mobile titles like the upcoming Tales of Link would see an international release. He stated that it’s possible, but it won’t be easy.

There is some possibility that future Tales social or SNS (social network services) titles on the iOS and Android platforms may be released overseas. But I think, if we want to do that, we would want to release the game at the same time [all over the world] – not only in Japan but also simultaneously overseas.

The current existing [smartphone] titles are developed in conjunction with companies like GREE and Mobage, so it is very difficult for Namco Bandai to decide to release these kinds of existing social titles in Western markets.

You can read the full interview for yourself here.

About Kyle Emch

Kyle has been studying music at college for about three years now. He's played the piano since he was 6 years old and has been recently been learning how to write music. He has followed the Operation Rainfall movement on Facebook since it started and was happy to volunteer for the website. Just don't mention Earthbound or the Mother franchise around him.

  • James McEneely

    I’m not saying this is an excuse to not localize Tales of Hearts R.

    I’m just saying that if you’re going to not localize the game for the West and instead port it to iOS, you’re probably gonna not have enough people to port it to the west.

  • zeezee

    If that’s their excuse, then they’ve been understaffed since Wolf Team made the very first release on the Super Famicom.

    The biggest problem seems to be the bone-headed decisions by their we3stern offices about bringing it over on an *exclusive platform* every single time, in spite of having multiple platforms for the Japanese releases. Seriously… Who does this kind of thing anymore?

    Phantasia – No releases on the SFC, PSX, and PSP outside of Japan.

    Destiny – No PS2 release outside of Japan.

    Symphonia – Western Gamecube-only release (until now) in spite of a Japanese PS2 version as well.

    Rebirth – No PSP or PS2 release out of Japan.

    Vesperia – Western X360-only release in spite of a Japanese PS3 version as well.

    Innocence – No western release for either the DS or PS Vita.

    Hearts – No western releases for DS, Vita, or IOS.

    Graces / F – No Western release on the Wii for either version, which was the stupidest thing ever.

    And this doesn’t even count the spin-offs ans sequels.

    So that’s about 8 of the total 14 main games (more than half) where western gamers have been shafted. I have several Tales games, but I stopped caring about the series (around Graces) because I could never count on Namco Bandai to localize the damn things with the same consistency as the Japanese releases.

    • James McEneely

      Actually, the reason for Vesperia on PS3 is a Microsoft issue, not a Japan issue. Microsoft held the rights to the translation script, and wanted the all the new content on the PS3 version as DLC for the XBox version. Namco didn’t want to re-translate the game. As for Graces, as I recall, the Wii version actually had a critical defect ON THE DISC ITSELF, resulting in a recall on the physical discs.

      Also, the same reason Vesperia didn’t make it over was the reason the PS2 version of Symphonia was never localized.

      On the plus side, at least we’re getting the Symphonia compilation and Tales of Xillia 2.

    • Johnson Cameron

      Well that just means people have to start buying Tales Of Xillia 2 and Tales Of Symphonia on launch day in order to have more Tales games for localization.

      I just hope, they can put it in the PSN store for download on the PS4. I know that would be a longshot but it would be nice to be able to play it on Next gen console via digital download.

    • Pyrotek85

      They’d have to port it, since the instruction set is different (no cell processor like in the PS3). Otherwise you’ll have to wait and see if you can play it through the gakai streaming thing they have planned.

    • Johnson Cameron

      Exactly what i thought. It’s sad because my PS3 had a breakdown a few months ago, and i debated whether or not to wait for a PS3 and buy a PS4 or buy a PS3 and wait for a PS4.

      If i am not mistaken Gaikai will be an emulation of the PS3 and will run PS3 games over the cloud right?

    • Pyrotek85

      That’s my understanding but I haven’t heard any details really. Probably what they’d do is have you insert the ps3 game disc (or check your psn account if you bought digitally) to verify ownership, and then let you steam. I don’t think they’ve said if it will be part of their subscription service or a separate charge.

  • Jason Honaker

    Well, starting with Graces f, the series seems to be getting more popular (at least I hope that’s the case). Hopefully if the series can grow its fanbase, Namco will beef up their staff to start getting more of these out over here. I really wish the Vita would have done better so we could get the 2 Vita titles 🙁

    • James McEneely

      Actually, the series as a whole is insanely popular (in Japan, at least. Granted, the fans in the west are the same way). It’s just that Hideo Baba is a malicious troll (his exact words are that, “Tales of Hearts is the best Tales game, but I’m not going to localize it for the west.”) and the preconceived notion that JRPGs suck because they are not Call of Duty/Bro Games.

    • Pyrotek85

      Was that the one he said he wanted all Tales fans to play?

    • James McEneely

      Knowing Hideo Baba, probably.

    • Pyrotek85

      Pretty sure it was (one of the Vita remakes anyway) and of course I’m thinking to myself ‘then localize it this time around!’ lol.

    • Jason Honaker

      Should have been more clear–I meant in the west. It seems that the Tales series is getting more popular here w/the release of Graces f and Xillia 1 & 2. At the very least, at least Hideo Baba and Namco are now actively trying to grow it w/all the recent Tales events and the collector’s editions we now are getting here in the US.

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      That’s because there is far less competition in the JRPG market than their used to be. (And I’m not bashing the Tales series, I’m a huge fan, I’m just looking at it logically.) Honestly the Tales series is the closest thing we have anymore to a mainstream JRPG series, the only exceptions that come to mind are MAYBE the Disgaea games which are amazing but appeal to an entirely different audience, (The strategy market). Final Fantasy WAS the big name, but considering the ‘debatable’ quality of their recent titles and the fact that their releases are FAR from being consistent really leaves close to no stable competition for Tales, thus explaining the growing popularity.

  • Gumm

    POSSIBLE SOLUTION: Get help from Namco Bandai Games America and Namco Bandai Games Europe.

    • Xx_Kares_xX

      Or talk to Xseed… I’m sure they’d LOVE to get their hands on something as popular as the Tales games to translate and produce over seas.

  • Xx_Kares_xX

    Then… hire more employees? Stop making so many shitty spin-offs? Stop making so many ports? Most translation teams are very small as it is… this seems like a whole lot of bullcrap to me. They don’t HAVE to hire voice actors for english localizations, yes it’s nice, but for their smaller projects that they don’t think will do as well it’s certainly not necessary.

  • Thanatos2k

    You can say you only localize the good ones, but then how does that explain crap like Tales of Symphonia 2?