Persona 3, and quality English localizations

After finishing Infamous (should I bother to review it at this point? I really enjoyed it, but so much has already been written) I was in the mood for something a bit less…frenetic…as my next single player game. Angela got me Persona 4 last Christmas, but it has been collecting dust ever since, because I wanted to ‘finish’ Persona 3 first.

I put ‘finish’ in quotes because when I went to find my saves I realized I’d barely scratched the surface before I’d drifted away the last time I was playing.

Anyway, last night I started a new game, and was reminded how good a PS2 game can look when played on a PS3, with its ‘upscaling’ and smoothing of the graphics. Such a shame that news PS3s no longer have PS2 emulation. Let’s hope the rumors of Sony bringing that back are true.

The opening of the game really sucks you in with its mixture of fmv-anime and in-game cut-scenes. The voice acting is pretty good and the translation is excellent, at least so far. And I picked up on some nuances that I’d missed the first time I played. So I’m glad I started over, even though the task of completing the game is a bit daunting. At least this time I’m playing in the living room, where I can just kick back on the couch and relax to play. Was in the office last time, sitting in a desk chair, with the PC seductively calling to me to log into an MMO.

But musing about the localization got me thinking back to the days of Working Designs and Vic Ireland. Back in the 16-bit days Working Designs was THE localization shop, and Ireland was quite active on GEnie and CIS, the closest thing we had to ‘social media’ back then. He always struck me as a really nice guy, very passionate about games and very appreciative of the fans of Working Designs.

These days, Working Designs is gone (I think?) and Atlus seems to sit on the throne of best localization house, and I generally really enjoy what they do (though I’m not sure about NeoSteam, their MMO). I have quite a collection of their games, many of them unplayed, just because this kind of game often doesn’t stay in print for very long. Pretty soon I’ll have enough video games to last me, quite literally, for the rest of my life. Weird thought, huh?

Life being as full of coincidences as it is, today GameSetWatch has a short interview with Vic Ireland. He has a new company, GaijinWorks, established in 2006, and they’re doing 3rd party localizations but Ireland hopes to start publishing under the GaijinWorks label in the next 18-24 months. Let’s hope he does!

Anyway, it’s an interesting read if your a fan of Japanese RPGs and are curious to know a little bit more about the business end of getting them translated to other languages/cultures:
GaijinWorks’ Ireland Talks Licensing, Hope For Publishing Return

Oh, and GSW’s sister site, Gamasutra, has a related article that may be of interest as well (I won’t get a chance to read it until tonight, but didn’t want to leave it out of this post): The Business Of The Japan Niche