Nintendo and Monolith Discuss Localisation of Both Xenoblade X and 2

Friday, June 16th, 2017

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An interview with Kotaku has revealed some interesting tidbits about the Wii U exclusive Xenoblade Chronicles X, the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles 2 on the Nintendo Switch, and Nintendo’s localisation process. The interview was with the CEO of Monolith Soft, Tetsuya Takahasi, Nintendo’s Genki Yokota as well as Reggie Fils-Amie, the CEO of Nintendo of America.

When Takahashi was asked about his thoughts on the changes to Xenoblade Chronicles X, he said:

“In terms of Xenoblade Chronicles X, there’s been a few different changes that were made to the game, but my personality is such that I’m not a stickler for products that I’ve already made, so I don’t really mind what the final product turns out to be in that sense. I really didn’t mind much at all, actually.

As a developer, I do feel like it’d be ideal to be able to adjust the content so that it’s culturally acceptable, whether it’s in the US or in the EU. For example, there was a discussion about the breast slider. Jokingly, I said, ‘Well would it help if we had a crotch slider for the male?’ Obviously it was a joke, but they responded obviously it’s not gonna work out. I do realize there’s a cultural difference between what Japanese people think and what the rest of the world thinks.”

When asked for his feelings on whether he is being censored as a developer and whether he is okay with that, he said:

“I think what’s important is that we make sure that the end user who actually plays the game doesn’t have a bad experience. If that change is going to help alleviate that, then I think we should definitely make it.”

The interview also confirms that Nintendo of Europe are handling the localisation of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 as they did with the original game. Nintendo of America localised Xenoblade Chronicles X.

Yokota states that all three companies are communicating about localisation decisions that may prove to be controversial. He elaborates further by saying that:

“When we have costumes or clothes that we have a little concern with, we share it with NoE and NoA and they’ll say, ‘No, no, that’s fine’ or ‘You’re right, that’s an issue.’ If it is an issue, we’ll go back and say we’ll say, ‘We adjusted it this way, what do you think?’ There’s a lot of back and forth in that sense. Rather than compromise, it’s like we’re all aiming for the same goal, of being able to provide a good experience for everybody in all regions. And we’re aiming to have a game that has very little difference between the regions.”

Fils-Aime also had this to say on the subject.

“The creators are always involved in anything that happens in the localization process. In terms of what gets localized, there’s a simple collection of words that we use to define how we think about this: It’s ‘cultural relevance’ and ‘understanding of the ratings and ratings implications.”

He also said that a character’s age may push the game to an M rating, making it harder to sell. He says that it is “clearly is not in the best interest of the developers or the business for that to happen.” Elaborating further, Fls-Aime said that Nintendo of America’s Treehouse localisers travel to Japan about “every two months” to work with the Japanese developers of the games that they are localising. Additionally he said:

“It’s during those meetings that they discuss the localization process, what’s being evaluated. I am extremely comfortable with the process. And again if you look at our executives that are involved, Nate Bihldorff and members of this team, they have deep relationships with the developers and everything is being done with the best intentions of the content showing itself the best way it can.”

Nintendo note that as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is coming out at the same time around the world, this allows the devs to talk about possible localisation issues during development rather than post-release, as was the case with previous titles. Yokota had further comments.

“We’re really building [the game] as we’re in discussion. Whereas for the past title, the Japanese version had already been pretty much close to completion when this [localization] discussion started. For past titles, because the Japanese version was done, our challenge was then to figure out what it is we need to do to make sure this game is made available in overseas, as well as, we’re able to sell this product. In that sense, I was open to making any changes that were necessary to make sure everybody can enjoy this game.”

The full interview can be read here.

About Joseph Puntschart

A university student who loves niche games and desires for them to be more fairly represented in the world. Favourite games include Persona 4 Golden, Super Mario Galaxy, Kingdom Hearts II and IA/VT Colorful. Hopes that one day a Japanese publisher will take the risk and make a Yaoi ecchi game. Think Valkyrie Drive with guys and you're on the right lines.