Awesome and informative article! On a side note, I guess I will be in a retirement home before a true Chrono Trigger sequel is made.
As the world becomes more global, so do the games we play. It's still very much a learning process, but companies are ready to find ways of winning new gamers.
A little more than a decade ago, the time between the release of a game developed in Japan and its North American launch would be well over a year. In some cases, especially for European gamers, classics like Chrono Cross never saw the light of day. Today, the difference in time for the launch of a game in Japan, North America, and Europe is rarely more than a few days. Developers and publishers not only understand the advantages of releasing games in all regions as quickly as possible, but they have also started digging into untapped markets that are eager to spend money.
Which Languages Matter?
Early on, there were essentially two languages used to develop games: Japanese and English. As the size of games grew and their popularity expanded, so did the language options. Today, it's extremely rare for a game not to include EFIGS (English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish) as language options. Developers and publishers are looking at ways of getting their games to more markets, but there is no clear-cut process in place that determines if a game like Prince of Persia gets a Hungarian language track instead of a Greek one.
Today, it's extremely rare for a game not to include EFIGS (English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish) as language options.
Developers and publishers are gauging worldwide interest by listening to the voices of potential customers through social media. If a large community of Brazilian gamers really wants the next BioWare game to feature a Brazilian-Portuguese language track, then the audience needs to be vocal about it.
Sony is probably at the forefront of language-support options. Most of its first-party games are produced to support 15 different languages, and that number is expected to grow. When you add in subtitle support, the number doubles. This is part of the reason why the PlayStation 3 is so popular in Europe; there's a good chance someone can pick up a game and it will have his or her native language on it.
To its credit, Microsoft has improved greatly in recent years. The company's Kinect: Disneyland Adventures includes full speech in six languages and even takes "cultural gestures" into account, ensuring certain hand movements don't offend specific groups of people.
Turkey, Iran, and the Arab World
The single biggest market that appears to be the next logical place for developers to move toward is in the Arab countries, including Iran and Turkey. It's hard to believe that a region where a half-billion people live hasn't been given the attention it deserves.
During a localization panel at the 2012 Game Developers Conference, Mahmound Khasawneh, CEO of Quirkat, explained just how much potential exists in that part of the world and that only a small number of studios have bothered to harness it. Studios like Sony, Epic Games, and Ubisoft have started to learn of the possibilities in this area, but others are still behind the times.
if only we had 1 massive translation group, dedicated to translating as many games as possible for release in as many places as possible, rather then each company (or publisher) having to translate it themselves.
Man Gamespot that was deep. Interesting stuff. I'm all for localisation but I would not mind more options geared towards being able to listen to original audio with subtitles. Its the same with movies. Translations/localisation are awesome but you can't beat the original.
hahahahaahahah most games these days don't even get world wide releases let alone being released with months of each other. days is wishful thinking. or did i imagine ff13 and 13-2 having a gap between the na eu and jpn releases and type 0 not even being released here yet.
I think every game made and to be made should be available to everyone who wishes to purchase it so long as the developers think it will sell well.
It's funny how GameSpot can trick us into reading articles we normally care nothing about by putting up a picture of Chrono Cross . . . Damn it, they got me again.
@Halloll - I used the picture because of the location, not the people. Just like I used Constantinople on page two where I'm talking about Turkey and used a Japanese text image from Valkyria Chronicles III on page three where I was talking about translating. @ROMEOHELL - I think you completely missed the point, this is defending The Middle East. By no means am I writing something here as an insult. I love the fact that companies are opening studios in that part of the world since it creates jobs and opens the door to more creativity. This was meant to highlight that fact. @Architeuthis83 that does go along the lines of size, they were limited to the amount of space that was available and had to make do. @Jinroh_basic - you have a point in terms of immersion. I played Metro 2033 completely in Russian because I wanted to experience the game as if I was actually that character in Moskva. It's all about choice; some people want that extra layer of immersion, others just want to play the game. I think any period piece game (eg. Assassin's Creed) or location specific (eg. Yakuza) should have audio that is correct to the location, but if I can't speak that language, I'd still want the ability to understand what is happening (eg. proper subtitles).
@Jinroh_basic I very much agree with your statement. Experiencing the unfamiliar allows you to expand your view and enjoy something unique and refreshing.
Thank god games almost never get translated into dutch (only the kids' games). It's embarrassing to even think about Dutch voice actors trying to do a dramatic scene.. Also, translations usually get terrible jokes, puns and references to culture.
tales of xillia and gundam:girhen no yabou(the new ones) please? Japan, please localize your good games, not your overhyped ones.
'Chrono Cross' screenshot got me here! Oh my... Can a remake be made for this masterpiece retaining the overall visual style and feel? Why wasn't it - or FINAL FANTASY IX - released on PC. Someone would have made a mod for those games with a little bit tweaked visuals and animations.
what does American Nathan drake kicking British secret agent have to do with Arabs? or is it relevant because they're in the desert?
They should focus on gameplay and the story instead of making the industry more and more complicated. But since gamemaking is now an standarized industry they focus on stupid issues like foreign languages. I can't speak for everyone but even non speaking english/japanese players probably prefer the original vocal language with the subtitles in his language. For instance I speak in spanish but I cannot bear to hear spanish from spain, nor mexican, chilean, perubian, bolivian, etc. So I only play games in english/japanese with subs. So why bother ?.
Yeah, I always get cranky when I don't see portuguese in any form in a game. I'm happy when I see an option for it, even if it is the Portugal type and not Brazilian. Heavy Rain and Little.Big.Planet were nice surprises.
What the article failed to mention is that the biggest limiting factor with old SNES and Genesis games was that the Japanese developers set in stone the number of dialog boxes that could be used, and so translators like Woolsey were limited to the number of dialog boxes in the original Japanese game for the English translation. Epic fail!
"A sequel to chrono cross would be amazing." Almost impossible. Rights an development team are two things separated.
and I find it amasing why US of America and Europe are considered different teritories for game releases, you just need to change the dam cover, they don't need EFIGS languages on every game, English alone withh do.
wow , I am an Arab and did not think I would get offended by some of the stupid comments here, but I did. anyways, as long as we get chatting that supports Arabic letters we are fine, Sony failed to do that for the PS3 even though it was the second most popular demand on their website after cross games chat.
why everything has to be within the concept of racism ? rly fuk humans .. i wish i was born as a kilngon rather than being called a names by a fellow race . isnt Turkey a European country ? why u always try to separate it from Europe ? Iran and the ME ( ARAB WORLD ) ... the terrorists nations right ? ok enough finger pointing ... we rly suffer a lot in middle east . i'm from jordan .. and everything is fukin expensive , i cant afford to buy a 60$ game , and ur talking about potential for a possible market in ME ? Game Spot i respect 90% of ur articles , but this is the end of the line for me , now I HATE U .
I hear there was a pretty major translation confusion in the explanation of Chrono Cross' villain. The main baddie was actually Lavos from the first game. But he'd upgraded and was now sucking the very fabric that makes up the timestream instead of just munching planets. Some of my Japanese speaking gamer friends tell me that this is completely lost in the English translation but it explains a lot about the game's story. That's why all the characters from Chrono Trigger were dead in Chrono Cross. They'd been wiped off the map by Lavos, who sent his assassin Lynx to take them down. But what he did was an anomaly. It wasn't supposed to happen that way. So when you free Schala and get the good ending you restore the timeline to what it was before Lavos' interference. The game doesn't show what happens next but it implies that Chrono and all the other characters will be restored and free to live their lives. This is what I've been told Since this article uses CC as an example of localization I figured I'd mention an often unmentioned issue with CC's translation.
Yeah we in Iran have so many great gamers that deserve more attention than ever before and I think this is a good start for many game companys to know our potentials :D This is going to be new era for our gaming situation in Iran :D WE EARNED IT ;) :)
Great to have the option as a Mexican, however, in my experience Spanish (specially European, but Latin American is not much better) tracks tend to suck big time, so I'll just keep playing games in their native language, with subtitles... Thanks.
globalisation is also about diversity, and that means accepting and enjoying cultural differences. as such, complete localisation is hardly necessary, as it not only incurs higher production costs but also dilutes what could've been a unique experience. instead, publishers should focus on delivering a minimal level of localisation and counting on the audience to exercise taste and tolerance. The first thing that needs to go is dubbing, which more often than not turns out to be an insult to the original material. if you cannot tolerate people speaking Japanese in Yakuza maybe you shouldn't touch these games to begin with.
"looks at various posts" Oh good im not the only one who saw Chrono Cross and clicked on it before even reading the topic title lol!
Some of those Arab countries need to get out of the stone age and stop treating women like property before they worry about Nathan Drake.
I came for Chrono Cross. As for localization, companies should take as long as necessary to do it right. In many cases that means more than literal translation of dialogue, especially between Asian, Western, Latin, and Arab cultures. Dubbing is especially tricky. Good dubbing is a blessing; bad dubbing is like a root canal without anesthetics.
Wow... I'm shocked. Not at any of those numbers, however. I would have bet a billion dollars that "All your bases are belong to us." would be mentioned at some point, and I'm completely wrong!
How many people read this article just because it mentioned Chrono Cross? I'm willing to bet about 90%. Hey Square-Enix RE RELEASE CHRONO CROSS!!!!
"As many games as get ban in Europe and Australia, I can only imagine that number doubles in the middle east, try releasing Mass Effect with some of its aforementioned "controversies" there. " Are you serious brov? I am not for a second all of europe is the same but what was the last game that was banned in the UK? and is it not true that we get more uncut games than the US?. Australia has some seriously harsh rating system but dint they just get the 18+ R rating for games? so even that will dull down. I doubt there will be nearly as many bannings as you seem to imagine. I'd only guess games which depicts Muslims in a bad light, nudity and possibly alcoholism will be banned. which believe it or not those kind of games are still way in the minority. As to Mass effect I don't see anything wrong with it being released there perhaps the sex cut scenes will be more edited and alcohol renamed but alot less than effort than you say
The "large community of Brazilian gamers" is the fourth largest videogame market, so they're not doing us a favor by translating the game to our language. Also, Inniciatives like dubbing Uncharted 3 are more than welcome (if well made).