XSEED Games Interview – Bringing Japanese Games West and AMA

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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XSEED Games Executive Vice President, Ken Barry, recently took part in an interview on the challenges of bringing Japanese games to western shores. In the interview, he was asked a handful of questions about the issues and roadblocks they routinely encounter in localization. One of the major ones that comes up is the problem of text. There are a number of cultural issues here, mainly differences between cultures.

For example, he mentions that their parent company, Marvelous recently released a new game in Japan for PlayStation Vita. It is called NetHigh and ran into several roadblocks to localization. Their hopes of localization fell when they realized most of the game’s puzzles “were based on Japanese puns and wordplay using written kanji characters which often have multiple meanings”. They also saw that the game displayed a lot of text reading from top to bottom, rather than left to right like we’re used to. These issues sealed the NetHigh‘s fate of not being localized to western markets.

There are other cultural differences at play that must be considered as well. For example he stated in the interview that:

“the Japanese culture is much more tolerant of sexuality while graphic depictions of violence are frowned upon, whereas here in the US we are very tolerant of violence but much more conservative when it comes to issues concerning sex.”

That may sound like a small detail, but it is a major headache when you’re localizing video games! He also says the Japanese culture has an affinity for “cute and innocent-looking things”. This tends to often get combined with sexuality in Japan, too. That can result in things that are sometimes shocking for people in other cultures.

As for types of adjustments are needed to make these games work in western markets, Ken says there is no one thing. You have to consider everything and figure out how to best immerse the player in this world whose author is from another culture. He points to the Senran Kagura games as an example, saying:

“all our Senran Kagura games have only the Japanese voices in them because not only were we extremely lucky to get them, but also because we weren’t quite sure how the sexual nature of the content would be received in the West when first bringing over the series years ago. Seeing something lewd happening onscreen and hearing a girl say something in a different language while the sub-title “Don’t touch me like that” appears is very different from hearing a girl in English verbally expressing her objections.”

This interview is an interesting look into the world of localization. It highlights that it’s not the mundane, simple job some people may think it to be. It is a big job and somebody’s got to do it. Also, in addition to this interview, the post has an AMA announcement:

“–AMA coming up!–
But that’s not all! If you’re looking to learn more about the intricacies involved in this process, make sure to tune in today, Friday, at 6PM UTC. We’re holding an AskMeAnything session with XSEED’s Localization Producer, Tom Lipshultz, right here on the forum!”

Lastly, you can read the full post/interview here.

 

 

SOURCE

 

 

 

About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.




  • Mr0303

    XSEED are absolute champions.

    The point about games based on words with double meaning and puns is quite interesting. I guess these types of games are impossible to localise without losing some of the meaning and appeal.

  • azariosays

    I like how the title makes it look like it’s an exclusive interview.

    • Guest

      I like how bad journalists who live in glass houses throw stones.

    • azariosays

      yea, i’m bad *casual eye roll*

    • Guest

      Don’t you have a job to be pretending to do at DualShockers? Those names and words aren’t going to misspell themselves.

    • azariosays

      That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy reading oprainfall “guest”. I don’t understand why you say pretending. I’m not even being combative. I just thought they got a good-sweet interview with XSEED, but it was just a story I wrote about hours before.

    • “Guest”

      I never said it didn’t. Read and enjoy to your heart’s content.

      And I say “pretending” because it seems like you occasionally have somebody else write for you. There are times when your articles or reviews are quite good, but the majority of the time, they’re sloppy and then some.

      You can also pretend like you’re not being condescending towards your old stomping grounds. Doesn’t hurt my feelings.

    • azariosays

      I can assure you that no writer on DS staff is writing for anyone and if they were they would get complete credit for it.

      I respect oprainfall and I still talk with a few of the writers on staff. so I think your concerns are coming from the wrong place.

    • Guest

      Who said anything about it being another writer on DS staff?

      This is your typical style though – make a seemingly benign statement that’s totally covering your snark, then play innocent – “Who, meeeee? Couldn’t be!” And I’d wager you and I have different interpretations about what respect entails. But whatevs. It’s a free country, right? You keep doin’ you. 🙂

  • Panpopo

    I am glad someone asked about Shadow Hearts, but unfortunately the response was what I expected.

    • Miqubi

      I think that comment also shot down the few hopes of those who were asking ghostlight for it :/