Yesterday, DRM-free digital distribution platform GOG.com posted a lengthy interview with localisation producer Tom Lipschultz and team leader Ken Berry from XSEED Games, whose most recent localisation project Zwei has recently been released on GOG’s storefront.
Lipschultz in particular has been known up until the time of writing as someone who claims to hold a “zero-tolerance” policy towards content edits made during localisation of Japanese titles for Western audiences, but a number of his comments throughout the interview gave a few people pause.
And it’s worth talking about those points in detail, because some of what Lipschultz says unfortunately appears to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of where his priorities should be as part of a successful and prolific localisation company that has brought a number of beloved franchises to the West.
Continue reading Altering Content and Self-Censorship Pleases No-One
Localisation is, it seems, a somewhat thorny issue these days — but it’s one worth discussing.
Before I begin today, I’d like to emphasise that by no means am I attempting to present a “definitive” opinion here. By its very nature, this is a topic that is highly subjective and a matter of opinion, and that means you may not agree with my views. And that is, of course, fine; all I’m attempting to do here is to highlight one possible perspective and provide some food for thought on a complex issue with no “right” answers.
Preamble over and done with, then; let’s talk about localisation, beginning with a little personal context that may go some distance towards explaining why I feel the way I do about all this.
Continue reading Some Thoughts on Localisation
Criminal Girls, one of the more controversial Japanese titles to make it over to the West in recent years thanks to its semi-explicit depiction of BDSM-style “punishment” scenes, actually proved to be one of the more interesting games I’ve played for a while owing to its exploration of a concept we tend to take for granted: trust.
In most games, there’s an unspoken trust between the players and the on-screen characters. You trust them to do what you tell them and they, in turn, trust you to make the right decisions that won’t get them killed. The latter part in particular isn’t always made explicit because the player’s presence isn’t usually acknowledged, but in games where you’re not playing a self-insert protagonist, there’s a strong argument that it’s implied.
Criminal Girls is a little different, however. Not only do you, the player, have a participant role in the game — albeit not as a combatant in the game’s battle sequences — but you also have to spend a hefty amount of time convincing your party members to trust both you and each other. And it’s here that things get pretty interesting.
Continue reading Criminal Girls: A Game About Trust