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Oh, Working Designs and your wacky translations!

sonicmj1

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Dec 2, 2007
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Sega1991 said:
I'm a fan of localization. I think there are a lot of games (and anime!) out there that try and preserve the original intent of the language they are translating from so much that no matter how much you try and "clean it up", it comes off as stilted, awkward, and unnatural. Word-for-word translations are bad news.

I think over-localization is definitely a slippery slope, though. On one hand, you have something like Samurai Pizza Cats, which to my understanding, had a good 75-80% of its dialog completely re-written from the ground-up for it's dub, and was definitely better off for it.

For a slightly more recent example than Samurai Pizza Cats, Duel Masters, which had a brief run on Toonami, seemed to get the same treatment, which basically turned the show into a parody of standard anime dueling-game conventions. Almost like Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged, but an actual show.

I definitely enjoyed it a lot more as it was dubbed than I would have if it had just been brought over as a stale Yu-Gi-Oh imitation.
 

Night_Trekker

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Jan 27, 2005
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I just ordered Alundra 1 due to this thread.

Nekofrog said:
My only real problem with the localizations of WD games was the Bill Clinton and the Rock references (the latter case directly quoting the Rock with "Do you smell what the Rock is cookin'?!"). It'll be really tough to introduce some of these games to my kids when they have no idea who the Rock is.

I believe this is called "child abuse".
 

Quixzlizx

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Jul 6, 2006
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vireland said:
They weren't translations. They were localizations. We NEVER aimed for translation, and that's what set our work off from everyone else, and I think, showed other companies how to do a jRPG for US audiences. Console packaging, localization, manuals, pack-ins, pre-order premiums - ALL of that came in or up after Working Designs.

Dialogue being spun out of thin air is what set your work apart from everyone else? Were the storylines even the same as the original versions, or were they localized too?
 

Kintaro

Worships the porcelain goddess
Jun 10, 2004
27,926
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I had a certain appreciation for the jokes and humor in past WD games. Then again, I was teenager or even younger when I played the bulk of their games. So the jokes appealled to me more. These types of localizations wouldn't fly with me now that I'm 30 though.

I hope GaijinWorks will take a more mature approach with their future games. Not saying they can't be fun, but they can't go as far as they used to.
 

Dragona Akehi

Retired
Jun 5, 2004
15,259
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To this day I can't believe that "Sucking Diek" managed to get through SCEA censors. I still wonder who Vic bribed/got drunk to sign that one over.

I still wish WD had translated Grandia. What could have been. :/
 

vireland

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Jul 21, 2004
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Kintaro said:
I had a certain appreciation for the jokes and humor in past WD games. Then again, I was teenager or even younger when I played the bulk of their games. So the jokes appealled to me more. These types of localizations wouldn't fly with me now that I'm 30 though.

I hope GaijinWorks will take a more mature approach with their future games. Not saying they can't be fun, but they can't go as far as they used to.

Well, I think that if you followed the trajectory of WD localization you'd notice that the frequency and location of humor in the games as well as overall tone gradually got more consistent. There was humor in Arc, for example, but since Arc 1/2 was darker, it had less and it was tucked away from the storyline-driven stuff, unlike Arc 3 which was lighter overall and had a more "typical" WD translation. And since I wrote almost every US version and edited them all, it comes down to my sensibilities, which I would hope have refined a bit in 20 years of this job.

But I'd still do another Diek page. That was a double entendre too perfect to pass up, and like true love, THAT doesn't happen every day.
 

RedNumberFive

Banned
Oct 6, 2006
9,555
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chaostrophy said:
I guess I'm the only person that likes Vay...that game gets so much hate but I enjoyed it, and really love its art style.

My only experience with Vay is via the iPhone port, and I must say that my experience has not been good.
 

vireland

Member
Jul 21, 2004
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RedNumberFive said:
My only experience with Vay is via the iPhone port, and I must say that my experience has not been good.

The SEGA CD version is quite a different experience. Different music, way different text, different difficulty, some different events.
 

Yaweee

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Feb 3, 2008
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Quixzlizx said:
Dialogue being spun out of thin air is what set your work apart from everyone else? Were the storylines even the same as the original versions, or were they localized too?

Basic quality is what set them apart, accurate or not. Lunar 1 came out late '93, while Lunar 2 came out early '95. What localizations were even close in quality at that time?
 

cress2000

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Jun 23, 2007
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Yaweee said:
Basic quality is what set them apart, accurate or not. Lunar 1 came out late '93, while Lunar 2 came out early '95. What localizations were even close in quality at that time?

Ted Woolsey was one of the few who gave a damn. I don't know about Vic/WD, but Ted had to work within serious scheduling and cartridge space constraints. :/
 

Yaweee

Member
Feb 3, 2008
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cress2000 said:
Ted Woolsey was one of the few who gave a damn. I don't know about Vic/WD, but Ted had to work within serious scheduling and cartridge space constraints. :/

Yes, the Woolsey FF6 is one of the only contenders to WD's work out of that era, but that was still over a year after Lunar 1.
 

Kintaro

Worships the porcelain goddess
Jun 10, 2004
27,926
0
0
vireland said:
Well, I think that if you followed the trajectory of WD localization you'd notice that the frequency and location of humor in the games as well as overall tone gradually got more consistent. There was humor in Arc, for example, but since Arc 1/2 was darker, it had less and it was tucked away from the storyline-driven stuff, unlike Arc 3 which was lighter overall and had a more "typical" WD translation. And since I wrote almost every US version and edited them all, it comes down to my sensibilities, which I would hope have refined a bit in 20 years of this job.

But I'd still do another Diek page. That was a double entendre too perfect to pass up, and like true love, THAT doesn't happen every day.

Admittedly, during WD's later years I stopped picking up the games because the deluxe editions were too rich for my blood and my the time the prices dropped, my interest had moved on.

Don't take what I said in a bad way. I honestly didn't mean it that way if it came across. It was the times and it was my age. :lol

Looking forward to seeing future works should they be on systems I own. ^^
 

djtiesto

is beloved, despite what anyone might say
Jul 26, 2004
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Holy shit, I played through MKRE back in college, didn't realize the game had stuff like that in it... though I am playing Lunar 2 PS1 ver currently, and there is some funny stuff... like Ronfar mentioning how he doesn't want to fool around with a bartender since he doesn't wanna contract herpes or something.

RIP WD :(
 

ShinAmano

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Dec 7, 2006
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chaostrophy said:
I guess I'm the only person that likes Vay...that game gets so much hate but I enjoyed it, and really love its art style.
I liked it a lot. I was a whore for anything WD at the time though.

My buddy picked it up on his touch and it looked pretty good from the quick look he showed me.
 

charlequin

Banned
Oct 19, 2005
26,635
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U K Narayan said:
Gaijinworks should publish Seven and Venus & Braves for a US release.

:(

Night_Trekker said:
I just ordered Alundra 1 due to this thread.

\o/

Quixzlizx said:
Dialogue being spun out of thin air is what set your work apart from everyone else? Were the storylines even the same as the original versions, or were they localized too?

:/
 

Shouta

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Jun 6, 2004
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Quixzlizx said:
Dialogue being spun out of thin air is what set your work apart from everyone else? Were the storylines even the same as the original versions, or were they localized too?

All the stories are pretty much the same as the original. That stuff doesn't change much for WD games.
 

HouseofGlass

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Jan 10, 2009
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Yaweee said:
Basic quality is what set them apart, accurate or not. Lunar 1 came out late '93, while Lunar 2 came out early '95. What localizations were even close in quality at that time?

I agree that there wasn't any competition for the level of quality outside of Woolsey but it's still sort of disappointing that they would take liberties with the dialogue (Not that I think they spun the entire story out of thin air or something, I know it was just some lines). I mean, I guess there's really not much to say except that I wish they had matched their drive and passion with more desire to stay accurate to the source. They still deserve a lot of praise but I don't feel they deserve to have all criticism deflected regardless of when they were localizing.

RevenantKioku said:
People will sometimes, when toasting, say "Let's say cheers in Itallian!" and then say "Chinchin" which means penis.
And by sometimes I mean I've heard it a lot. But what the fuck do I know, I talk to real Japanese people.

Yo I think you missed the point of my joke, which was insult by exaggeration! It didn't have anything to do with praising Japan, whose sense of humor I in fact insulted! I guess it was my fault for claiming Japanese humor was less childish when in reality you could probably find jokes like the Alundra one at any junior high school worldwide. It speaks an international language. And I talk to real Japanese people too every day while I continue living in the country so I guess we have to tie there!
 

sixteen-bit

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Aug 16, 2006
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I bought Working Design's Silhouette Mirage for PS1

What was the big idea with fucking up the game balance? I liked the Saturn game.
 

Yaweee

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_dementia said:
I bought Working Design's Silhouette Mirage for PS1

What was the big idea with fucking up the game balance? I liked the Saturn game.

Something to do with a major retailer's no-questions-asked return policy, and needing to make the game difficult enough to not be beaten in a few hours and returned. Or at least that's what Vic said in a semi-recent thread? I could be confused.
 

vireland

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Jul 21, 2004
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Yaweee said:
Something to do with a major retailer's no-questions-asked return policy, and needing to make the game difficult enough to not be beaten in a few hours and returned. Or at least that's what Vic said in a semi-recent thread? I could be confused.

Pretty much it. At the time there was a no-questions-asked return policy by EB and Gamestop that was killing titles like shooters and the like with returns. People would get to the end and just call it a free rental and return it. SM was super easy, and meant to be replayed, but that didn't mesh in that environment, so we had to make it harder to give it a chance at retail. I've said it a million times to the fanboys, but Maegawa-san said he liked our changes, so it couldn't have been TOO bad.
 

ixix

Exists in a perpetual state of Quantum Crotch Uncertainty.
Sep 3, 2007
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I imported the Saturn version of Silhouette Mirage after playing the Playstation version, loving it, and hearing on the internet that the Saturn version was better.

It wasn't the first time the internet lied to me, and it sure as hell wasn't the last.
 

vireland

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ixix said:
I imported the Saturn version of Silhouette Mirage after playing the Playstation version, loving it, and hearing on the internet that the Saturn version was better.

It wasn't the first time the internet lied to me, and it sure as hell wasn't the last.

The only thing that's 100% indisputable is the fact that the US Playstation version we did had better video quality than the Saturn version OR the Japanese Playstation version. the Saturn version had UGLY Cinepak, and the Japanese PS version had recompressed UGLY cinepak since they didn't re-encode from the source, but rather the already-Cinepaked video. Having done quite a bit of Saturn stuff, I recognized the Cinepak artifacts immediately and asked for the source video to recompress for our Playstation version.
 

Fuu

Formerly Alaluef (not Aladuf)
Nov 22, 2007
19,598
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I'm not surprised all the screens on the OP involve lines spoken by Umi. She can be quite the trash talker in the original manga/anime too so those jokes do fit the character.

To me it's a necessity that localizations take some liberties, mainly when regarding jokes and references (last game I played that left me very satisfied whit this was TWEWY).
 

B.K.

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I need to hunt down a copy of Vanguard Bandits. I wish I hadn't sold that game.
 
Aug 6, 2006
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On topic: I don't really mind the jokes... I mean yeah, the Clinton joke in Sega CD Lunar is kind of questionable because of how quickly it gets dated, but in general making games funnier is just fine. Working Designs made good translations. :)

vireland said:
Pretty much it. At the time there was a no-questions-asked return policy by EB and Gamestop that was killing titles like shooters and the like with returns. People would get to the end and just call it a free rental and return it. SM was super easy, and meant to be replayed, but that didn't mesh in that environment, so we had to make it harder to give it a chance at retail. I've said it a million times to the fanboys, but Maegawa-san said he liked our changes, so it couldn't have been TOO bad.

Not a bad idea overall, but I think most people would agree that Exile: Wicked Phenomenon and Vay went a bit too far with this and the result was not just a much harder game but also a bunch of frustrating grind... but otherwise it worked.

Oh, and ever since I played it I've thought that it was really, really stupid that Silpheed: The Lost Planet on PS2 saves... but only your highscores. You have to leave the system on for a game in progress, even though you have infinite continues. Games have been doing that since the NES days though, and I think it was stupid then too... why the heck not just give me passwords if I have infinite continues? :( On PS2 though, it was kind of ridiculous. I'm sure that's the way the original Japanese version did it, but it was annoying. I mean, leaving the SNES on is easy, it makes no sound. But a PS2 (original model) has a loud fan in it, it's kind of a pain. Oh well...

The game's not as good as Sega CD Silpheed either, unfortunately. Decent game, but coming from Treasure, it definitely could have been better. At least it was kind of short though. Silpheed on Sega CD was quite long, and had no saving and limited continues... now that's a hard game to finish. (The original PC Silpheed game was also long, but let you save...)

Heavenly Guardian on PS2 did the same thing, but there it was even worse because they taunt you with a "Level Select" menu option... that you can only unlock by beating the game in one sitting. The game's long, too, not short like Silpheed. Now that's evil! (Decent game, great classic style stuff, but the difficulty and horrible lack of a save system nearly ruins it really... and see same issue about 'leaving the PS2 on is annoying'.) UFO published it, it'd have been nice if they'd just let you unlock the level select as you beat the stages... oh well.

Both Sega CD Lunars are absolutely amazing though, among my favorite JRPGs. I have the PSX version of the first one and that's great as well. Popful Mail is also very, very good... challenging, but always really fun and worth the effort. :)

As for Silhouette Mirage, I'd love to play it now, but only saw a copy of the US PSX version once in the last few years, and it was like $30 or more and I passed. I did get Lunar SSSC at some point last year for $40 (with all four discs, the manual, and the map, but not the case), but that was from a place that's always buy-2-get-1-free with used games, so I got a couple of others too, and I knew I'd like Lunar, while I haven't actually played Silhouette Mirage before so I was less sure. Probably should have gotten it, though... oh well. I will sometime for sure.
 

vireland

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A Black Falcon said:
Not a bad idea overall, but I think most people would agree that Exile: Wicked Phenomenon and Vay went a bit too far with this and the result was not just a much harder game but also a bunch of frustrating grind... but otherwise it worked.

Well, Exile Wicked Phenomenon was an accident, and the Wind Elemental of Vay was accidental to a lesser degree. I did love the Gold Vortex we added, though. Very old-school D&D type thing you never see in games these days.
 

CO_Andy

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To this day i still do not understand why Working Designs couldn't localize Grandia. The game IS Lunar 3, or as about as close in-essence if there ever were a game.

It's well-known the Sony localization is terrrrrrrrrible, but is it possible Sony had gone out of its way to outbid WD to get the game?
 
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vireland said:
Well, Exile Wicked Phenomenon was an accident, and the Wind Elemental of Vay was accidental to a lesser degree. I did love the Gold Vortex we added, though. Very old-school D&D type thing you never see in games these days.

Yeah, how did that Exile thing happen anyway... what is the story I'd heard, nobody had gotten to that point or something and so it wasn't noticed that partway through there's suddenly a massive, required grind mountain? That sounds wrong, I'd think it'd have been tested.

... On that note, given how horribly the Turbografx in general, much less the CD or Duo, sold in America, those games sure must not have sold well... I know that Wikipedia claims that several million TG16s sold in the US, but also that that's way, WAY too high. But I imagine that's why you moved to Sega CD.
 
Jun 3, 2005
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charlequin said:
I hope your sadness is displayed due to the fact that Namco never considered either of those games for localization.

Look at Fragile, though! If that has a chance now, then who's to say that Seven and Venus & Braves don't.
 

vireland

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Jul 21, 2004
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CO_Andy said:
To this day i still do not understand why Working Designs couldn't localize Grandia. The game IS Lunar 3, or as about as close in-essence if there ever were a game.
It's well-known the Sony localization is terrrrrrrrrible, but is it possible Sony had gone out of its way to outbid WD to get the game?

I don't know the ins and outs, just that Sony was willing to pay WAY more that I was. The funny thing was that at TGS after Grandia came out, Game Arts was wondering what happened because tiny WD's LUNAR sales destroyed giant Sony's Grandia sales. They asked if I could give them ideas to increase sales after the fact. It was cute that they thought I had a magic wand for that kind of stuff post-event. There was no fixing it at that point.
 

vireland

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Jul 21, 2004
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A Black Falcon said:
Yeah, how did that Exile thing happen anyway... what is the story I'd heard, nobody had gotten to that point or something and so it wasn't noticed that partway through there's suddenly a massive, required grind mountain? That sounds wrong, I'd think it'd have been tested.

... On that note, given how horribly the Turbografx in general, much less the CD or Duo, sold in America, those games sure must not have sold well... I know that Wikipedia claims that several million TG16s sold in the US, but also that that's way, WAY too high. But I imagine that's why you moved to Sega CD.


Well, the TurboDuo (which is all I cared about, doing CD games and all) sold less than 20,000 units. The add-on TG CD drive was that or less. It was really bad, but for the size we were then, we were regularly selling through to 50% or more of the installed base which is incredible and we'll never match that again.

On Exile II it was an issue of limited number of modifications because we weren't doing the game reprogramming, Telenet was. It was a small number of tries. And on the second-to last time, we had it *almost* right, so we added like +1 to the monsters, but it was like that scene with the fat guy in Meaning of Life where the waiter gives him that one wafer and he explodes. That +1 exceeded some limit internally and made the monsters exponentially harder rather than incrementally. Since it was our last "fix" and we had production discs, I thought we were screwed and had made an unwinnable game. Fortunately, with some time and special strategies, we found out you could finish it. We made one of the hardest games ever - by accident.
 

Solune

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U K Narayan said:
Gaijinworks should publish Seven and Venus & Braves for a US release.

I wish SOMEONE would bring these titles over.

U K Narayan said:
The only Working Designs games I ever purchased were RayStorm and RayCrisis. :/

I have purchased every ps1 and ps2 release of WD, I would've followed them to the ends of the earth.
That said I wish I bought a Sega CD at the time (I was/still a Nintendo fanboy) and gotten Shining Wisdom, and I only learned of Rayearths awesome localization now.
 

djtiesto

is beloved, despite what anyone might say
Jul 26, 2004
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vireland said:
Well, the TurboDuo (which is all I cared about, doing CD games and all) sold less than 20,000 units. The add-on TG CD drive was that or less. It was really bad, but for the size we were then, we were regularly selling through to 50% or more of the installed base which is incredible and we'll never match that again.

On Exile II it was an issue of limited number of modifications because we weren't doing the game reprogramming, Telenet was. It was a small number of tries. And on the second-to last time, we had it *almost* right, so we added like +1 to the monsters, but it was like that scene with the fat guy in Meaning of Life where the waiter gives him that one wafer and he explodes. That +1 exceeded some limit internally and made the monsters exponentially harder rather than incrementally. Since it was our last "fix" and we had production discs, I thought we were screwed and had made an unwinnable game. Fortunately, with some time and special strategies, we found out you could finish it. We made one of the hardest games ever - by accident.

Any survival tips? I don't think I even got past the first stage in it :p
 

Android18a

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Were any WD games released in the UK/Europe?

I seem to remember old import issues of Gamers Republic and EGM having loads of RPG coverage, most of which never seemed to even get preview mentions over here, let alone an actual release :(

Is Lunar that good?
 

Llyranor

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vireland said:
I don't know the ins and outs, just that Sony was willing to pay WAY more that I was. The funny thing was that at TGS after Grandia came out, Game Arts was wondering what happened because tiny WD's LUNAR sales destroyed giant Sony's Grandia sales. They asked if I could give them ideas to increase sales after the fact. It was cute that they thought I had a magic wand for that kind of stuff post-event. There was no fixing it at that point.
Maaan, Grandia with a WD localization would have been awesome!
 

vireland

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Jul 21, 2004
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Android18a said:
Were any WD games released in the UK/Europe?

I seem to remember old import issues of Gamers Republic and EGM having loads of RPG coverage, most of which never seemed to even get preview mentions over here, let alone an actual release :(

Is Lunar that good?


Psygnosis did our Alundra localziation (plus added other languages).

SEGA did our Dragon Force in Europe. We did a really cool transformation of the SEGA logo into the Dragon Force logo on the splash screen for them as well.

SEGA also, I hear, did some naughty stuff with Shining Wisdom for Europe they didn't pay us for.

That's it. Two legit titles, one partial illegitimately.

I do know that our LUNAR versions were amongst the top European imports, though.
 

Yoritomo

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Wow. Just got back from the mall after having visited Console Game Exchange (they specialize in older games). Every WD title they had was priced at $100+.

I suck at selling anything though. I just can't part with it. It'll all just stay in it's sealed plastic container.

Just checked ebay. Radiant Silvergun is still by far the most valued I have. The WD stuff seems to hover in the 40s.
 

vireland

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djtiesto said:
Any survival tips? I don't think I even got past the first stage in it :p

The biggest one is not to try to assault the worst monsters. Just let them hit you in the back, which will throw you backwards (which is really forward since your back is turned). It's an easy way to clear impossible rooms with those dragons that shoot lightining.
 

Sapiens

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Thanks for being so candid, Victor. It's always a pleasure to read your posts. I wish more industry vets could be like this.

Don't worry about the trogs who take this stuff too seriously, though I know you don't.