Login

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE devs talk music elements, localization process

A portion of a GameSpot interview with Atlus producer Shinjiro Takata and Nintendo designer Hitoshi Yamagami...

GS: Westerners are increasingly becoming more interested in Japanese video game series. One of the apparent themes in TMS#FE is pop music performances, with a distinctly Japanese flair. How do you think this will translate to fans in the west?

Takata: We had the cooperation of the Avex Group, who are making a large number of hit songs. So we were able to not only do songs, but also go all the way with no compromises, and incorporate dances. The producer who is in charge of many popular artists created the music by using songwriters who are actively writing hit songs in Japan. So this is real pop music. I think you will like it.

GS: A portion of the Western audience that appreciates Japanese games become very upset when any content in a game is altered during the localization process, regardless of how big or small the detail may be. When adapting a game for Western markets, does that affect how you go about designing some elements? Or do you ever feel like you have to strip away things that are central to the game's identity or purpose, just to make it a viable product outside of Japan?

Hitoshi Yamagami: Each country has its unique culture and taste. There are times when common sense in one country can be thoughtlessness in another. However, if we create a game with only that common sense that causes no problems in any of the countries, it can be a very boring game.

From among the various complex tastes of people worldwide, the developer selects settings and characters that appeal to as many people as possible. That being said, it is true that as we build up the settings and characters, we are sometimes obliged to change something in part of the game. This optimization does not destroy the identity of what we as developers want to convey. Developers would not accept such drastic changes. The changes made during localization are optimizations intended to bring to as many customers as possible the things that we want to convey. No major changes are made that would change what we want to convey.

Full interview here

Comments

Top Rated Comment

I always like the see the passion from the devs for their product. Western fans will always cry with entitlement over changes. But as long as the developers are passionate about the product even with the changes it's all good to me. The game has been excellent so far, and I hope Nintendo keeps working on these collaborations!

thydungeonman
Tue Jun 28 16 08:57pm
Rating: 6

When will devs learn that the best scenario is where nothing is changed?

When will entitled little gamers learn that sometimes things can change for the better?

nurio
Wed Jun 29 16 01:07pm
Rating: 1

Ah, yes, calling the people you don't agree with "entitled" and "little". Kudos.

Not people I don't agree with. People that without any knowledge in business and game development keep moaning about details. Especially when they would do the exact same thing if they were in the devs shoes.

Still sounds like you're putting all people who are against these practices into the same camp and calling them entitled and little. People can wish and hope for a product to be a certain way without being entitled
Would they do the exact same thing as the developers if they were in their shoes? Barring the fact that it's more the publisher's say than the developers', you can't say for them what they would and wouldn't do. I think plenty of them would make the game as they wanted it to be, if they were the ones in charge

n64iac
Tue Jun 28 16 09:12pm
Rating: 3

"This optimization does not destroy the identity of what we as developers want to convey"
A pop idol with a quest involving swimsuit anxiety no longer involves swimsuits

This is reminding me an awful lot of those old localization jobs by 4Kids. Even if I do get this game, I'll definitely be using the fan patch.

I always like the see the passion from the devs for their product. Western fans will always cry with entitlement over changes. But as long as the developers are passionate about the product even with the changes it's all good to me. The game has been excellent so far, and I hope Nintendo keeps working on these collaborations!

I agree with you, when developers take pride in their games it's always good to see, it shows that they have confidence in their work. However from there point of view, if they play their own game I doubt they'll be playing the western version! It's the same with the Deadpool movie, if they did a PG-13 cut, do you think that the movie cast, crew, and director would sit down and choose to watch that version instead of the R-rated one they made! Same with the fans, in both cases.

I got this game yesterday, and I'm really digging it. The localization issue has me on the fence. On the one hand, I have seen the images and videos of the changes and I don't see any changes worth getting upset about. Usually, there is just an extra piece of cloth over some cleavage. Who cares? But on the other hand, why bother make those changes? Can America not handle sexy? It feels like a waste of time. If they were insistent on censoring the extra skin, I think it would have been nice for them to actually redesign the costumes completely, that way it would feel like each of the versions is a little unique.

aurora unit
Wed Jun 29 16 06:28am
Rating: 4

One of the things that I find strange about these debates is that everyone attacks the developers (who of course need to make money with their product) but no one complains about their country's policy-makers and pressure groups who are making such changes necessary in the first place.
If you truly want to complain, complain to those people (or don't vote for them). Stop harrassing developers for wanting to earn a living by selling their products.

Agreed. It's not the developers' fault that western countries are intolerant to certain themes presented by certain Japanese games. If you want this to change, stop voting for conservative idiots and rally for progressiveness and forward thinking society and government.

artten
Wed Jun 29 16 11:10am
(Updated 1 time)

I think you'll find that the progressives are just as bad as the old school Conservatives, things will only change when people adopt a more libertarian stance. or more importantly Nintendo and Atlas in this case start listening to their fan base, instead of the media including the one that covers video games.

yomanation
Wed Jun 29 16 11:42am
(Updated 1 time)

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean the SJW nazis, I mean actual forward thinking people. Not trying to label based on US political parties or anything. Companies will fit in once the people are accepting of this sort of content. Until they are not, it would be suicide for them to do it first.

Okay got you, you weren't talking about the social justice idiots. Good to know :-)
but I don't think it would be suicide, I think they gonna have to take a roll of the dice like Fox did with the Deadpool movie, and just go, fuck it! This is our game, deal with it....

And the reason why I say this, is that internal change for a company is far more easy and faster to accomplish, then a greater shift in the psyche of a society.
Until then, I guess we just going to have to rely on the good graces of the Mod community.

Certainly, but in the end companies exist to make a profit. Controversy doesn't really help them. Sure, in the eyes of a few people they would be heroes, but in the eyes of most, and especially conservatives and mindless parents, they would look as the devil incarnate. It's really lose/lose for them.

True, as long as they think they have to keep marketing towards soccer moms predominantly! Instead of the vast majority of adult gamers who purchase titles for themselves.
Now with the recent news of SCOTT MOFFITT leaving, "cough cough "shitcand" cough cough".... It is now my belief that Nintendo is refocusing who there audience is.. Us the gamer, you, me and everyone else on these sites, who buy their own games.
Now don't get me wrong on this, this still plenty of room for games specifically aimed at children, and titles which can appeal to everyone in the family, but it is us who are the ones who predominantly make up the vast majority of purchases, and we are the ones who at least should be in my opinion immune to garbage, click bait, hit piece articles from the media, and it should be irrelevant if it's mainstream or games press pacifically churning this nonsense out.

I don't disagree, it's really not the games that are at fault, but rather what essentially is a vocal minority, but they are unfortunately annoying enough to ruin it for the rest of us. I personally see no problem in this specific game. There's nothing in it that would make it unsuitable for younger audiences. I played much worse stuff when I was younger.

Wouldn't that make sense. But I'm still confused about why games like this are censored in the first place. We have giant billboard with half-naked women splayed across them, but we can't handle some extra cleavage? Because at the end of the day, that's really what people are fighting for with this game.

but no one complains about their country's policy-makers and pressure groups who are making such changes necessary in the first place.

Don't I do that sometimes though? Besides, most of that tends to fall on def ears because most people are apathetic in general. Blaming the Devs seems to get attention/responses way more for some reason though. . .

Shouldn't be that way, but whatever.
Still, the devs DID make that conscious decision and didn't object and even did a little spin to their comments, even though we know those are tears of a clown/performer.

__kirby
Wed Jun 29 16 03:08am
Rating: 1

The changes made during localization are optimizations intended to bring to as many customers as possible the things that we want to convey. No major changes are made that would change what we want to convey.

Right there, he plain out said it. Money(and subtly S&P) takes precedence over initial artistic liberties. The underlined just reinforces that what they actually want to convey, which is that they care more about Money and complying with S&P above content. The first line of that response touches on S&P without being direct, but is still what he is referring too.

The response is less robotic, which gives us clues as to their actual intent.
Now that we know that they care more about money than keeping to their initial artistic principles, we can move forward with this knowledge.

Was there ever any doubt? Artistic liberties are great and all, but if they don't pay the bills, you can't continue making games in the first place. If people want this sort of product to be viable, then demand change from within the society in which the status quo is that the themes explored here are unacceptable. The developers can't protest for you.

Artistic liberties are great and all, but if they don't pay the bills, you can't continue making games in the first place.

Artist, as a primary source of Income. Wut?
Paying the bills, while sitting on an exuberant amount of Money that continues to Pile, Wut? Small companies, making great games with a shoestring of a budget or legitimately endorsed by crowed funding with the proven/established confidence that the product will definitely be distributed once the goals are met(Eg: YCG, WF.), wut? And I've even seen people make great games, for free. I can even tell you about one. Point of that being, the "paying the bills" argument is Invalid when there is no actual loss for the company should the project completely fail.

Spoiler

If people want this sort of product to be viable, then demand change from within the society in which the status quo is that the themes explored here are unacceptable.

That's a little on the bombastic side. But from what I gather, this was said to reinforce the first quote. Basically saying, that the people who patch the "naughty" portions BACK in, are not the majority and therefore should not at all matter. Yikes. . . Were you trying to sound passive aggressive, or what exactly was it that you intended to mean there?

The developers can't protest for you.

They can't protest, because it is a regional and PR issue.
Most of which can be avoided by providing two distinct versions of the game, but even then, morons not smart enough to read labels or distinguish between obviously different themed versions(or even Bigger morons who do the stocking and are all about their paycheck over being accurate or take pride in their work) would Still create a reason to be upset, based on their own personal beliefs, which is derived from bigotry.

I guess in the end though, two "wrongs" make a right.

artten
Wed Jun 29 16 11:19am
(Updated 1 time)

A portion of the Western audience that appreciates Japanese games become very upset when any content in a game is altered during the localization process,

Jesus Christ, they couldn't softball this question if they tried any harder! Bad form GameSpot, bad form.

How would you have phrased the question then?

Had to think about this for about a minute, and the answer is simple, short, sharp and to the point! And this is what I would ask.

With all the negative reaction from gamers and its sub fan base for Japanese games, because of the censorship of key titles in the last 12 months on Nintendo platforms, why did you think it was a good idea to censor your game? And especially for a title whose potential fans are heavily in to both J RPG's and anime pacifically, who are notoriously vocal about the authenticity and contextual accuracy, as well as being very anti-censorship!

FYI, this would be my version to the entire question, not merely the snippet I highlighted.

Heh, yeah, that's very much to the point. I think they specifically wanted to avoid the word censorship, because people can't really agree on the term yet. The way you phrased the question almost sounds... entrapping, too. You're basically asking "It was a bad decision, so why did you do it anyway?" which sounds more accusatory than necessary

artten
Wed Jun 29 16 02:32pm
Rating: 1

Sometimes it's necessary to throw a loaded question like that at devs, puts them on their back foot.
Then you're more likely to get a more spontaneous and truthful answer from them, rather than the typical PR spin, which no doubt they have been briefed to answer with.

Hm, I suppose that's true. ...To a degree. You might also get a response that they simply don't want to answer

artten
Wed Jun 29 16 02:55pm
(Updated 3 times)

Of course, and that's also true, but a no comment in itself can tell you many things, depending on what question you are asked.

Although that answer might be more telling depending on the physical response you get from the person you're interviewing, such as reading their inflection and body language, seeing how un-comfortable they become from such a line of questioning.

Sometimes it's necessary to throw a loaded question like that at devs, puts them on their back foot.

Sometimes? Why Not all the time? Hard ones too.

Of course, and that's also true, but a no comment in itself can tell you many things, depending on what question you are asked.

Although that answer might be more telling depending on the physical response you get from the person you're interviewing, such as reading their inflection and body language, seeing how un-comfortable they become from such a line of questioning.

Exactly, and some people are completely blind to that concept. Which is why other people get away with stuff they normally shouldn't be able too.

artten
Fri Jul 01 16 04:45am
(Updated 2 times)

Sometimes? Why Not all the time? Hard ones too.

The way I see it, interviews are like a mutual form of interrogation, only except the person you're interviewing has the option to walk away, plus a lot less torture :-) Basically the job is to always get to the truth....
So this is how you approach it, with a good cop bad cop mentality, lure than in with the usual softball schmaltzy opening questions.
Whilst making each of these questions that you give them follow a particular logical line of connections to the next, eventually bringing them to the subject matter which you wish to spring your trap on. That's when you switch to the bad cop, and drop the hardball question!
It's really all about psychology, putting them in a false sense of security.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand where you're coming from about hardballing the questions all the time, but the problem with that it's only a workable methodology when everyone else who conducts interviews does exactly the same, which in turn sets the precedent that you will only ever get hard questions when you go into an interview, regardless who's interviewing.
This would be the only way to avoid devs picking and choosing who they want to be interviewed by.

Well said. But, it kinda puts the interviewer in a bad light. As in, they got some sort of deceitful intention and the audiences views it as, predatory? I understand the means, but the interviewees also pick up on tells. Like, they have a sort of rehearsed answer for the hard questions and easy ones.

I think a few of the comedic interviewers that blindside them with hard questions have the best approach. The confusing shift in tones brings out their body language and throws their rehearsed speech out of wack, allowing you to pick up on their real language. It also makes bypasses the predatory demeanor the audience may pick up on from the interviewer.

There's also those 'drive' by questions, when they are completely off guard with something else on their mind, their initial reaction is "no comment", until you press the issue forcing their emotions to speak for them.

What I was getting at was, always ask hard questions so the truth comes out one way or another. I didn't consider just getting them to be in the same room to be an issue, so that's a good point.

Sheesh, people, Localization has been a thing since games have first come from another country, and they are not inherently bad. Heck, here's a big one, the text in the Banjo-Kazooie games had to be majorly changed when brought to Japan, because Rhyming as we know it doesn't exist in the Japanese prose. Small tweaks are not a bad thing, it's not like they removed half the game, just tailored a few outfits

It's a bit more than just tailoring a few outfits.
But aside from that, it wouldn't be a problem if it were a more sensible change. I'm looking at Ace Attorney, for example, where the names were localized to keep puns and the location of the games has been changed to be more relatable (so that some 'puzzles' are more intuitive to figure out).
WIth this game, however, it wasn't changed for those reasons. Heck, they advertized it as being the same as the Japanese game, only translated. The names are all the same, it still uses Japanese voice files, etc. So, no, these edits were not made for the same reason as Banjo-Kazooie or Ace Attorney

Search

Today's VIP

supercm's avatar
Joined: January 2018
Newbie

Social Services

Want to join this discussion?

You should like, totally log in or sign up!