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Author Topic: Vic Ireland on translating im@s  (Read 11580 times)

Daverost

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2012, 05:37:37 PM »
Sony Computer Entertainment of America does not allow a game to have a retail copy if it does not get an English dub (if Japanese voices were present), forcing PS3iM@S 2 to be sold only on the PSN/SEN Marketplace if it were to ever receive a translated version.

I'd be okay with this. It cuts printing and distribution costs while providing a universally available distribution, which in all honesty makes the idea a lot more attractive to potential publishers and cuts down on the price for consumers.

I wouldn't mind seeing iM@S2 and Umineko get this kind of treatment because I really don't care if either has a dub in the first place.

Setsuna

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2012, 08:35:05 AM »
I'd be okay with this. It cuts printing and distribution costs while providing a universally available distribution, which in all honesty makes the idea a lot more attractive to potential publishers and cuts down on the price for consumers.

I wouldn't mind seeing iM@S2 and Umineko get this kind of treatment because I really don't care if either has a dub in the first place.

Except by doing so, it damages the business case, and in turn means there's less projected (and actual) sales to make.

Like it or not, most people actually like listening to people speak in their own language, and the lack of that option can cripple its audience in the US. (Europe not so much, but that's because the European market is made of a lot of languages, and well, they're sort of accepting when a game isn't in a slavic language, for instance.)

But for most part (as I said, I linked an analysis) the problem is that licensing is what costs you an arm and a leg. (song licenses, which are sold on a song by song basis. This is why you don't see the songs in the Asian PSN). You can't get around those, and this drives the cost of it up.

It's ironic, but dubbing it is actually relatively cheap. In fact, it can be quite a bit cheaper to dub it yourself than to license another languages' sound track.
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Elixir

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2012, 10:49:11 AM »
Quote
"The move back toward boy and girl bands it on the upswing again with groups like 1 Direction"

So, Vic, have you played through iDOLM@STER, 2, or the PSP games?

It's a time management, competitive rhythm game. The premise of the game is broken down into categories: lessons (mini-games), auditions and festivals. That aside, there's also the communication segments "visual novel" I guess, which raise "memories" that can be used in the auditions and festivals (as an advantage). All of this consumes time, but is unique, and the series is really a wonderful concept. Nothing like it has been seen in the west, although it does have some similarities to Atelier and Persona in the time management and social link regard.

I've been a member of project-imas.com for a long time, I improted a Japanese 360 just for this series, and I've pretty much played them to death and back. The western fanbase is not big, but apparent, and if it were to be localized, it would need the original Japanese songs, voice actors, and basically everything left in Japanese barring the text.

That's right, this means you'll have to go through and acquire the rights to Asami Imai, Rie Kugimiya, and other voice actors, as well as most of the songs, although practically all of them are developed in-house at Namco Bandai Japan. Though, if it were to be localized, wouldn't it be done by Namco of America?

I actually recall one article (sorry, I don't have it off hand), where the producer of iDOLM@STER considered a western release, but the target demographic is so vastly different that it simply wouldn't be worth the time and resources. A similar situation is happening here, with this dream. There was even someone on Youtube (Japanese user "sugio0089") who attempted to subtitle the mass majority of the communication events in iDOLM@STER into English. I would recommend checking out his work - he hasn't done anything in over 2 years, but the videos he's uploaded is basically what the English-speaking fanbase would want in a localization.

I already wrote this as a comment on the site, I'm too lazy to add anything more.

Additionally, Class of Heroes is terrible.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 10:51:18 AM by Elixir »

furix

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #33 on: April 18, 2012, 10:26:09 PM »
Honestly, the more I think about it, the more ok I am with idolm@ster staying in Japanese only, even with my limited knowledge on the language.

Also, yes, Class of Heroes is awful.


ninjamitsuki

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #35 on: May 07, 2012, 08:59:41 PM »
I'm a huge Lunar fanatic and I love what Working Designs did to the Lunar series, and am happy to hear the man in charge of that former company is interested in licensing, but I'm against westernizing iDOLM@STER too much.

However, if they get Jenny Stigile in here somehow I might approve. ;)

Really, if there was a dual audio (english and Japanese voice options) thing and the songs stayed in Japanese I'd be fine. But Working Designs did great job with the English translations of the Lunar songs (I actually prefer them over the Japanese ones), so I'm not too worried as long as we have an option for Japanese... And of course JENNY JENNY JENNY in English!

Honestly, I'm glad that it's the guy who was in charge of Working Designs that's into this. It could be much, much worse. Sure it won't be faithful to Japanese, but Working Designs is no 4kids. Their "localization" was top notch, including songs.  Might be sad to see it on something like iM@S, but the handling of songs in Working Designs games was very well done, and the people behind Working Designs really knew how to treat their customers well. But that was probably what caused their demise... They were TOO awesome to last.



And isn't the character designer for iM@S the same one that did Lunar?

I'd honestly love to see a Working Designs-style (I know this is Gaijin Works, but these are the same people behind WD so whatever) localization of iDOLM@STER provided there was dual-audio. It'll let me experience the game in a whole new way, and their writing is top notch.

But seriously. GIMME JENNY STIGILE.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 12:36:05 AM by ninjamitsuki »

Treemotan

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2012, 03:42:21 AM »
I apologize for the potential length of this post, though I would like to offer my own thoughts on the matter.

Now, I'm not very familiar with Vic Ireland or the games he's had a hand in licensing. I'll clarify that right now. However, the majority of the debate here seems to be centered around the concept of an English localization of iM@S itself, which is where I certainly can contribute.

I've read through this thread prior to joining, and people seem to have very heated opinions on the matter and I may be buying trouble by going against the general consensus. While I'm certain most of you are sane, rational, individuals, I have been in similar conversations on other forums and my reception was less than warm.

Ah, but I ramble. I suppose I should actually get on with my point now. I apologize if I natter or repeat points. I'm rather tired at the moment.

Personally, I am not against a localization of iM@S. I do not mind if they are given English voices and the songs are translated and re-dubbed. I do not mind if there are age and name changes. I do not mind if there is a setting change.

Why? Because that's probably what it would take to make the series successful in an American market. So long as the personalities and stories of the characters remained untouched and they actually do a good job with the dubbing and changes, I'll be satisfied at the end of the day. Business-wise, it's much more lucrative and viable; and, providing the dub job was actually good, it can leave you with a brand new experience just as good as when you play the Japanese version of the game.

Now, someone mentioned that they should just translate the in-game text and not bother with dubbing. This, my friend, is known as corporate suicide. While the current iM@S fanbase and the anime/manga fandom as a whole certainly won't mind, it wouldn't exactly blow over well with a whopping majority of gamers. This is what the licensers are concerned with. When a company decides to localize a foreign title, they try to do so in a way that makes it appeal to a wider audience than a small niche representing the initial fanbase. It all boils down to profits; if they can't make the game appeal to as wide an audience as possible, they probably won't even cover the expenditures in actually localizing the game. In all reality, the chance of an English-text localized release of the game is even lower than that of a full-on localization, simply because there'd be close to no profit to be gained from such a business venture.

I'm fully confident that iDOLM@STER could definitely be successful over in the States, despite being very outside of the mainstream, popular genres such as shooters and platformers. Of course, this all depends on how it's handled, though I feel that Westernization will occur whether they utterly botch it or not. The fact of the matter is that the general populace tends to be more accepting of things when they emanate their own culture and values. That's fairly basic human behavior: people associate with what they know. Why is it that everyone assumes that resetting the game in America is a bad thing? If everything else ends up turning out good, why is it such a bad thing? Will it really prevent you from enjoying the game? Take a look at the Ace Attorney series- there's a nice example of Westernization done "Wright" (sincerest apologies, I couldn't resist), in a genre you wouldn't expect to be successful to boot. The characters and stories remain intact, merely the language, setting, and names have changed. And it's done very well. I feel that iDOLM@STER can experience that same kind of success, if marketed and dubbed well enough.

Someone also mentioned the possibility of replacing songs entirely. . . Simply translating and dubbing them would actually be cheaper. New songs entirely would require having someone compose a brand new score and a lyricist crafting up lyrics from scratch in addition to the normal recording costs. In other words, not a good idea. While it'd take some extra effort to get the lyrics to meld right, simply translating the original lyrics would be the much more fiscally-conscious decision. This is why dubbing anime back in the 80's and 90's was so expensive- it wasn't possible for them to separate the Japanese voices from the other audio, and thus studios had to literally do everything but the animation from scratch.

JNiles

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2012, 06:41:34 AM »
I'm quite certain that a localization of IM@S would bomb in the States no matter what.  But I notice no one ever talks about an issue with the music itself- even if you completely redid the lyrics to fit in a comfortable number of syllables and changed the pitch of the singers, a lot of the songs are not structured in a way that the American ear is accustomed to.  (I can't really speak for other countries)  The songs don't flow properly by our standards.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing- I would not bother with IM@S songs if they sounded like everything else over here- but I don't think they will work for a large, commercial audience.

It's not a scientific standard, but if you heard the song on the radio and had no prior knowledge of where it came from, would you do a double-take?  Then it probably wouldn't belong in an American release.  And if they all were like that, then it would certainly fail.

I did a quick runthrough of the IM@S PS3 list, and here's what I think would sound okay, on music alone, based on whether it "sounded Western".  Your perception may differ.


Me Ga Au Toki or Kosmos, Cosmos - dance music
My Best Friend - off-Broadway musical
Smoky Thrill - tropical number or early-20th century number (flappers?)
Honey Heartbeat - the chorus is awkward, but the rest can be rapped (badly) over
Ai Like Hamburger - off-Broadway or a commercial jingle
Kyun Vampire Girl - disco beat/groove
Nanairo Button - I would put someone like the Carpenters on this.  Seriously, a male/female duet.


Treemotan

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2012, 03:55:17 PM »
Now, I don't think it'd bomb entirely. It certainly wouldn't be a smash hit, but it wouldn't completely bomb. While it's true that the overwhelming majority of Western gamers tend to favor the blood-and-violence fare, it's naive to say that games focused on social interaction with characters haven't made a presence for themselves overseas. The Ace Attorney series (Investigations and Gyakugen Kenji 2 aside) literally has you spend nearly the entire game socializing with characters in one way or another to obtain information or evidence. The Persona series, while also containing turn-based RPG gameplay, is primarily a social game via the Social Links players make, and is quite similar to iM@S in terms of the social aspect. Catherine is both a puzzle and a social game (less so than Persona), with the social interactions of the player determining both Vincent's own beliefs and potentially the fate of others trapped in the Nightmare. Heck, Harvest Moon even implements some very rudimentary elements of dating and marriage within the game. I could go on with others, but the main point is that these games have had a fairly good amount of success in the West, and the States are more exposed to these type of games than one would assume at first glance.

Secondly, depending on how much they play up the actual romantic aspect of the game and how they advertise, they have a good chance of obtaining a nice periphery demographic in casual female gamers. "Casual" here meaning "doesn't really play a lot of games, but may play a few depending on what they are". Rhythm and dance-themed games have become fairly popular with this demographic, so certainly the dressing up and performing of idols and the rhythm game aspect would appeal to them, I think. The whole concept of teen pop stars seems to appeal to them as well, as far as personal observation can tell me.

As for the music itself, I suppose you have a point. But in the same vein, you would have people that listen to it and just label it as "pop". And in all actuality, the scores of A-pop and J-pop can be surprisingly similar, depending on the song. Structurally, they share many of the same elements and the only difference really lies in how it's phrased and how the lyrics are set up. The languages themselves probably have to do with this, with the actual scores being written to suit the language.

JNiles

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2012, 04:55:47 PM »
*thinks for a minute*  I neglected to account for the popularity of dance/rhythm games, where any song with a decent beat and a melody that's not too awkward will do.  But those games focus on rhythm gameplay where you focus more on the beat than the other stuff, so...

I concede that Idolmaster songs are more similar than not to what we know, which is natural since all musical styles are accessible to songwriters.  It's the little things that cause problems.  I notice how negative reviews of Idolmaster seem to fixate on the high-pitched characters, for example.


As for those other games, I think success is a matter of one's perspective.  The second Edgeworth game hasn't been released here, and that is probably due to sales of the first.  (Same for Valkyria Chronicles 3 and other games, gah)  Persona 3 & 4 are popular, yeah, though there's some pushback from a subset of Shin Megami Tensei fans that doesn't like social links.  The music translates pretty damn well, though.

I'm not sure how Catherine got so popular (best-selling game of Atlus's to date?).  I think it's due to a combination of clever marketing and focus on older, though not wiser, characters- which Idolmaster doesn't.

If you define success as total sales revenue similar to the home market OR proportional to the size of the targeted market (your choice), then I think a lot of games don't meet expectations.

Late for work so I gotta run, but I feel like I've neglected to mention something.  :/

Treemotan

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2012, 06:37:01 PM »
Nah, I do see your side of the argument as well. I was merely citing them as examples of socialization-centric games that have done reasonably well in the U.S.. In terms of defining success, I do try to take into account the different audiences and various gauges for how they did. No matter what the game or its genre, they will always have a small portion of fans when compared with the total amount of game consumers. Thus, there's always a general target audience that companies will pander to, but there will usually be a nice periphery demographic that will rake in some extra profits.

When you compare the revenue of these non-mainstream titles to game market behemoths such as Zelda or Call of Duty, certainly, their sales seem very modest and lackluster. hen put in perspective, they've done reasonably well. If a series doesn't do well, the licenser drops it. If it does well, they continue localizing the series.

ninjamitsuki

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #41 on: May 09, 2012, 03:05:15 AM »
Well, growing up with Lunar, which had a very high quality localization and release, I have good expectations if Vic Ireland is involved.

I honestly think the most that could happen is some funny woolseyisms added into the dialog (Working Designs was famous for their Woolseyisms) and toning some of the loli aspects by maybe aging up some characters.

Working Designs also treated their customers really well. And their translations were a labor of love. However, they only released really lavish deluxe packages of their games. That's how they made their profits. All the games were more expensive, but to make up for it it came with awesome bonus items. They were doing great until the early naughties, when SCEA forced them to release games with "normal" packaging. That's actually what led to their downfall.

Here's the box for Lunar 2: Eternal Blue that I got, it shows all the nice things that they put with the game:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjzyzTj8Lns

It came with a leather-bound book with lyrics to vocal songs in both English and a very literal translation of the Japanese lyrics, artwork, interviews with the creators, a mini-walkthrough, behind the scenes, as well as character standees, a poster, and a replica of Lucia's pendant in-game. Keep in mind that Working Designs themselves made the pendant. There was a similar pendant sold in select stores in Akiba, but it was much, much smaller.

If we can expect that kind of quality with the localization of iDOLM@STER, this is a very, very good thing. They probably won't go all out with the bonus items due to costs for such things these days, but I've played through Lunar 2 and the translation is top-notch even though it's not faithful. In the Japanese version, you'd have the townspeople saying generic tidbits, but in the English version WD gave the NPCs personalities of their own just with their dialog. But the main story itself stayed exactly the same. However, iDOLM@STER is based entirely on dialog, so they won't have to change things like the NPCs in Lunar. They'll just treat it the same as the dialog of the main characters, means the same thing but maybe add a bit more flavor.


And as I said, a lot of games these days have the option for Japanese audio, I know the Atelier games do. It shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I mean, look at Hetalia. The Funimation dub changes the entire thing to a gag dub with more American sounding jokes, but at the end of the day you can watch it in Japanese with English subtitles on that same DVD.

Also worth mentioning that freaking OTOMEDIUS somehow managed to make it to the states complete with body pillows, but something with a much broader appeal like iDOLM@STER hasn't.

And last but not least:

Nobody's forcing anyone to buy it. Most of us have imported a game or two, we can always play the Japanese version and have the same experience. But the English version could be a brand new, fresh experience.

Also. JENNY STIGILE JENNY STIGILE JENNY STIGILE.

I'd fund the kickstarter if it meant iDOLM@STER in English. Of course, my expectations are WAY too high since this is Gaijin Works, not Working Designs, and they can't afford to go all out these days I bet, but I imagine the same spirit.


Also, WD was very good with dubbing songs. In Lunar 1 they made up the lyrics, I admit, but in Lunar 2 the lyrics are slightly different than the Japanese but still carry the same message. I think as long as the song has the same message, any translation is fine. Here are the Lunar 2 songs they translated:

Also, here's a great example of a Japanese song dubbed into English working well, the first Rurouni Kenshin opening:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIcvHSUCiAs
I honestly prefer it over the Japanese version...

However, I think it's very likely that the dialog will be dubbed in English but the songs will stay in Japanese. That's the attitude most anime translators have these days.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 05:34:30 AM by ninjamitsuki »

Roswell

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #42 on: May 09, 2012, 04:49:26 AM »
Does anyone even know if Gaijinworks really does comprise of the same people of Working Designs besides Vic Ireland? I understand that people have really high nostalgia towards Working Designs, but Gaijinworks is nonetheless a new company and we can't expect the same treatment for games just because Vic Ireland is the head of it.

ninjamitsuki

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #43 on: May 09, 2012, 05:34:16 AM »
Well, I don't know about staff and I know it won't be exactly like 90's early naughties WD, but I can imagine a similar spirit, just toned down a bit with a bit more of the Japanese culture kept in. Honestly if iDOLM@STER were to be handled competently I can just imagine it being like a typical anime dub you see nowadays, like the Lucky Star dub but maybe change out the cultural jokes with things that are more familiar, but not TOO American that it would make it seem out of place in a Japanese setting.

I mean, they know what they're doing, at least.

It could be a lot worse. Some company could have licensed iM@S, changed all the names and replaced the songs with popular American pop songs, you know. It does happen. I even heard of this DS game from Japan that even had the animesque sprites replaced with crappy American-style drawings in its US release. (Though I doubt someone would bother doing that to entire 3d models. XD) And even though not EVERYONE at Working Designs is involved, Vic gives me hope for an amusing translation.

As for translating songs into English, which I don't think would happen, I think that they should go for the Lunar 2 approach. The specific lyrics are different, but the song has the same overall meaning in both languages. Don't translate word ford word, as it'll sound awkward, but make sure the song means the same thing as it does in Japanese. I think Lucia's theme is a good example of that.

I have the Japanese version and I know the translations. If an English version came out, I'd love to experience it like a brand new thing, with dialog I can relate to and seeing my favorite idols in a new light.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 05:44:19 AM by ninjamitsuki »

Setsuna

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Re: Vic Ireland on translating im@s
« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2012, 08:30:28 AM »
Well, I don't know about staff and I know it won't be exactly like 90's early naughties WD, but I can imagine a similar spirit, just toned down a bit with a bit more of the Japanese culture kept in. Honestly if iDOLM@STER were to be handled competently I can just imagine it being like a typical anime dub you see nowadays, like the Lucky Star dub but maybe change out the cultural jokes with things that are more familiar, but not TOO American that it would make it seem out of place in a Japanese setting.

I mean, they know what they're doing, at least.

It could be a lot worse. Some company could have licensed iM@S, changed all the names and replaced the songs with popular American pop songs, you know. It does happen. I even heard of this DS game from Japan that even had the animesque sprites replaced with crappy American-style drawings in its US release. (Though I doubt someone would bother doing that to entire 3d models. XD) And even though not EVERYONE at Working Designs is involved, Vic gives me hope for an amusing translation.

As for translating songs into English, which I don't think would happen, I think that they should go for the Lunar 2 approach. The specific lyrics are different, but the song has the same overall meaning in both languages. Don't translate word ford word, as it'll sound awkward, but make sure the song means the same thing as it does in Japanese. I think Lucia's theme is a good example of that.

I have the Japanese version and I know the translations. If an English version came out, I'd love to experience it like a brand new thing, with dialog I can relate to and seeing my favorite idols in a new light.

I believe the game you're referencing is Onendan and Elite Beat Agents.

Ironically, it worked well enough.

Anyway, just to make this post relevant (and just to clarify) the business hurdles you'll need to leap over haven't changed:

You need to pay off the licensors of the VAs (Yep, they're not all internal NBGI) if you want to keep a Japanese soundtrack which usually means paying out the VA's agencies - and sometimes they can be quite steep.

You'll also have to in this case pay out Sony (Due to the Anime licensing tie-in) and then you'll have to pay out NBGI itself, for licensing.

Then the usual localisation costs on top of that.

The business case (When I visited it last a couple of years ago) wasn't particularly good. I was told in no uncertain terms NBGI didn't think the math could possibly add up without a couple of hundred thousand sales, if not close to half a million. (It's where I got the numbers in another post from.)

You then have the DLC condundrum (although considering we're nearing the tail end of the im@s2 sales period, this is alleviated somewhat, particularly when they run a upcoming sale) which causes issues with the whole price disparency (if you run the English DLC for significantly less than the Japanese counterpart, well, what's stopping the Japanese from just saving 20+% by importing the game and DLC cards? Yeah, NBGI would be a LITTLE bit upset when they take that haircut.)

Yeah, the problem isn't translating it (As I always have noted) it's the business proposition that normally gets you. Or more accurately 'We can't afford the licensing costs and associated demands'. It's what happens when business gets between entertainment, unfortunately.
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