Watercrown Productions

Current Status: A Little Peeved.

by on Aug.04, 2008, under Reviews

First, the good news: Breath of Fire 2 is nearing completion and the betatesting will hopefully begin in earnest in a month or so.

The bad news is, I’m still finding bugs, and every time I think I’m done I turn around and find another. The bugs are getting squashed nonetheless, though, and I’m even fixing stuff that d4s left broken.

And the just plain news: I like translation. Of course, if this weren’t the case, you wouldn’t be here right now. No, what I mean to say is that I have a deep respect for good writing in a translation, and all my work on fan translation is my own, possibly quixotic, attempt to stand with the greats. Square-Enix’s recent Final Fantasy localizations have been art, pure and simple. And once upon a time, I saw Atlus as an exemplar among U.S. publishers. They not only picked up the games no one else would touch, they gave them excellent English translations. Fluent, natural dialogue, stellar voice acting, the works. Okay, so they flubbed on a few demon names in Shin Megami Tensei, and I keep hearing how awful Magna Carta turned out, but they’re still good, right?

I stopped thinking that in August 2007, when Persona 3 came out. Apart from star performances by Vic Mignogna and Liam O’Brien, the localization of this game is an absolute trainwreck, with a crappy stilted script full of meaningless untranslated Japanese and some genuinely ear-bleeding voicework provided by the team’s support crew. This kind of garbage cannot be excused – I thought we left it behind years ago – and I refuse to tolerate it.

Now Persona 4 is on its way this December, and judging from Atlus’ hostile reaction to my criticism of their pathetic work on Persona 3, they’re set to repeat their idiot mistakes all over again. I’m well aware that this is coming far too late to be considered a “preemptive strike”, and the odds of actually making Atlus see reason are pretty much nonexistent, but I’ve started an online petition aimed at making Atlus understand that if they’re aiming for “cultural accuracy”, they should produce something that won’t make their audience slap their foreheads and groan as all the characters recite lines that sound like nothing any sane English speaker would utter. It’s goofy when Japanese characters pepper their speech with mangled English, and it’s no less goofy when people facing the end of the world sound like they’re reciting fansubs verbatim.

Read it – sign it – spread the word.

Even if we can’t change anything, we can always point to this and say “hey, it’s not our fault Persona 4 came out another trainwreck”, right?

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