Ys VIII’s PC release slips to 2018 to allow for total re-translation

Ys VIII

It would seem that ‘measure twice, cut once’ isn’t just good woodworking advice. NIS America’s localisation of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa Of Dana, the latest in Nihon Falcom’s long-running action-RPG series, has now been judged so wobbly by the publisher that they’re delaying the PC release to allow for a complete ‘from the ground up’ rework of the English script and voice track.

There is at least some silver lining to this particular cloud. NIS America are going to be detailing the process through regular blog posts, the first of which details their reasoning behind the decision to push the PC release back, now with no fixed release date in sight.

If all had gone to plan, Ys VIII would be out by now. NIS America delayed the PC version a day before launch in September without explanation while the console release went ahead. A month later, following complaints from console players, NISA said they accepted the localisation was bad so they were reworking it and that’d handily be complete in time for the PC launch later in 2017. It seems their estimate was optimistic at best. The new localisation is now expected some time “early next year” and NISA are holding the PC release back until that’s finished. A shame, but it looks like it’ll be time well spent given the bizarre state of the original localisation that console players are currently having to wade through.

The degree of trouble that NIS America have had localising the game seems especially strange considering the relative ease with which previous entries have been localised¬† by fans, initially, and later small publisher XSeed. With NIS’s resources, it seems like it should have been a walk in the park, but instead they appear to have even mistranslated parts of the script that were already in English.

It’s a shame, because the Ys series could do with a little more love and attention in the west, and especially on the PC, where developers Nihon Falcom have persisted even when the bottom fell out of the Japanese PC gaming market. They’re fast, loud and entertaining action RPGs, owing more to loot n’ levelling-filled metroidvanias such as Symphony Of The Night than our Diablos and similar.

While recent games in the series have increased the amount of dialogue, thanks to switching to a more party-based dynamic, the stories themselves tend to be straightforward and optimistic fantasy fare – video game comfort-food. Adol Christin (protagonist for most of the series) is a particularly pleasant throwback to simpler times. A hero utterly devoid of angst, inner conflict or moral quandary; He wanders into a new land, befriends the locals, finds out what ancient cosmic evil is threatening them and runs off to stab it with a smile.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is still taking preorders on both Steam and GOG for ¬£45/$60, although given the current situation you’re probably better off waiting to see what happens.

15 Comments

  1. Towerxvi says:

    See, those screenshots make me want the console version. I mean, let’s be honest- the writing is probably going to be mediocre *at best*, right? So what would I prefer- another Japanese game with too-earnest melodrama, cliched plot beats, and cookie-cutter characters… or that glorious mess? Seems an easy choice.

    Actually, my only worry would be that there wouldn’t be enough quality mistranslation like Mephorashmoo.

    • Pich says:

      If you’re just gonna belittle an entire country you can go fuck yourself.

      • Towerxvi says:

        Dude, chill. I didn’t mean to imply Japan was any more or less likely to produce good writing than anywhere else. Just that it produces a very certain flavor of it- and because their games are more likely to be story-driven, it’s one we’ve seen a lot of.

        And yes, a lot of it is kind of bad. But that’s true of game writing no matter where it’s from.

        • notponies says:

          Someday I hope a cultural studies professor or some such expert does a comprehensive study of all the Japanese game storytelling tropes comment sections like to gripe about to explain where they came from and why they exist.

          The closest we have is “otakus took over the industry” except there’s been complaints about Japanese game storytelling for far longer than we’ve known about otakus and about otakus having a distinct impact on Japanese media.

          (And there’s always the question of what English tropes do Japanese gamers complain about.)

    • Addie says:

      I’d say that it’s better to say clever things with simple words than to say simple things with clever words, so if an overly-straightforward translation ruins your entire story, then it wasn’t a very good story. And yeah, better to have a translation with some style and character, even if it’s wonky (Ted Woolsey’s Final Fantasy 6 is a classic; it’s also what Zero Wing is best known for) than to have something smoothed out to blandness.

      Angry Illiterate that replied first seems not to appreciate that melodrama, cliche and stock characters are the story basis of many of the greatest action films of all time – the mark of a master is to make something great from the simple ingredients. It belittles nothing.

      • Eight Rooks says:

        There’s a difference between “ruins your entire story” and “…you want me to pay actual money for this?”. I’ve read the fan translations for several of Jin Yong’s Condor Heroes novels, and while the strength of the man’s storytelling still shines through I’d be more than a little angry if an actual publisher expected me to pay full price for them in that state (they’re not yet available as official ebooks, FWIW). Videogames are no different, good storytelling or otherwise. The article makes it sound like NISA are blameless little puppies trying to fix an inexplicable mistake, but as several other commenters have pointed out, given the ample precedent it seems far more likely they got greedy and their chronic laziness finally came back to bite them.

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          Wait, what? I’m pretty sure I actively snark on NISA for managing to somehow foul up something as basic as translating English into English.

          That’s a real Situation FUBAR kinda deal.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      If it’s like the other Ys games, a poor translation may make the game impossible to complete without a walkthrough.

  2. SquarePeg says:

    But I like all your bases are belong to us “Engrish” translations.

  3. Blake Casimir says:

    Should have let XSEED have it! :/

    • Pich says:

      Hearsay is that Falcom went to NISA because they offered a simultaneous release on Console and PC. Since that clearly went down the drain i seriously doubt they’re gonna get the job again in the future.

  4. vorador says:

    Its funny because (as far as i know) the reason Falcom choose NISA instead of their traditional western publisher, Xseed, was because not only NISA paid more upfront for the license, but also promised simultaneous launch for PC and console, something Xseed was unable to promise.

    Well, so much for that.

    I doubt NISA will handle another Falcom game.

  5. Titler says:

    I’ve been watching this closely as Ys on the Sega Master System was the first RPG I ever played; I’ve since played every PC version except for the not officially released Ys 5, so I was really looking forward to this one too.

    Rumours are though it wasn’t just the translation that was a problem, but people in the beta test apparently leaked that performance was absolutely bobbins too… unplayably so on PC it was hinted. Ys has never been very plot heavy, and the SMS translation was infamous for even getting the main characters names wrong, Adol become Aron, Dark Fact becoming Dulk Dekt etc, but as the games have always just been simple stories designed to just get the action moving, it didn’t matter. Performance however would be crippling to the actual gameplay, and suggests to me the real reason they’ve delayed it, and now delayed again.

    Still, I can’t say it excuses the delays or helps inspire confidence; the price they were charging was already responsible for sticker shock when compared to every other PC release of Ys, and to cancel it a day before launch, and then not saying when the new date would be was seriously unprofessional. They are also running pre-order DLC, which to be fair will still be free for a week after launch, but again… it all adds up to a terrible look for Nihon.

    Shame really, the few reviews out there have generally been excellent.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    Speaking as a professional linguist, writer and editor of game text and translations, this is popcorn time for me. omnomnom…

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