The De-Evolution of Video Game Localization


Nadia Oxford recently posted an article on about the recent issue in which mobile games and indie games generally don’t have good localizations. It’s an interesting read and features commentary by Alexander O. Smith (a living legend in this industry) and me!

Check out the article here!

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3 Responses to “The De-Evolution of Video Game Localization”

  1. Mouse says:

    Interesting, I guess I don’t know what they’re talking about since I don’t have an iPhone (I guess the author/title is in regards iOS?) and they didn’t give any examples. I’m glad you gave examples.

  2. “…potentially stunt games as a storytelling medium”

    Since I consider myself a “story-whore” when it comes to most games, that makes me sad. Luckily, i don’t play any cell phone or indie games, so i haven’t encountered any bad localizations myself. Lately, probably 80-90% of my gaming has been on my DS and 3DS.

  3. Darien says:

    Her major premise is hogwash; we’re not slipping back into a “dark age of localisation.” All those big-budget AAA games with star-studded translations are still there and still being made. What’s changed is that a way, way larger volume of games is being made nowadays — some of them have rotten translations to be sure, but it’s not as though those games exist *instead of* other games with stronger translations.

    If small developers — and I happen to be a small developer — allocate more resources to game localisation, that’s fewer resources they can use for everything else. Is it worth the trade? Depends on the game, obviously. If Taito had hired an all-star team to translate Bubble Bobble, would it be a materially better game? Not clear that it would. Could Square have improved Final Fantasy Tactics by not using Babelfish for their localisation needs? Probably.

    Morgil has it right. If translation quality is super important to you, you can stick to big-budget AAA games and you’re fine. They’re not going anywhere. Pretending like indie games are bad for some imaginary “aggregate translation quality level” is just silly elitism.

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