Ever wonder what it takes to create a video game?
Fossil Fighters: Champions was released in November for the Nintendo DS and when we found out it was originally a game created in Japanese we wondered how the US version was made. Who better to ask than a couple of video game developers? So, that's just what we did.
Find out what the process of translating a video game from one language to another is all about and more below.
What is localization? Can you explain how it works?
Localization is the process of making a game that was created for one country playable for the people in another country – for example, changing a game created in Japan so that Americans can play it. It's mostly translating text, but sometimes it involves adjusting other parts of a game. (Mark MacDonald and John Ricciardi from 8-4 Ltd.)
For a game like Fossil Fighters: Champions, how long does it take to localize the game and have it ready for us here in North America?
It took about 7 months to localize Fossil Fighters: Champions, from the time the game developers began to prep the game for us, through to when we finished the text and tested it in the game. (Mark MacDonald and John Ricciardi from 8-4 Ltd.)
When the localization process is completed, how different or similar are the games in Japan versus the United States?
That depends! Sometimes it's almost exactly the same, but other times it's very different – we adjusted a lot of the humor in the dialogue for a Western audience, for example, and added a lot of jokes here and there. Also, we changed a lot of the names to try and keep them fun and interesting in English, rather than stick to an awkward literal translation. But the graphics and gameplay are almost exactly the same between the two versions. (Mark MacDonald and John Ricciardi from 8-4 Ltd.)
Can you tell us how you got started being a game developer? What is the best part about the job?
By coincidence, I saw an advertisement in a magazine for a video game developing job. At the time, these types of advertisements were rare. I didn't have any knowledge of PCs, but the job looked interesting, so I came up with a game proposal and sent it in. That's how I started game development. The best part of the job is the joy I feel when I imagine the faces of players enjoying my games. (Shunichi Ii from RED Entertainment)
I played the NES at the house of one of my kindergarten friends. I got really into games, kept playing them, and eventually became a developer. Game development is probably more difficult than many players imagine. There are many challenges, but it's also very interesting. Also, it takes a large group of people to make a game, so amazing things can happen that I didn't expect when I was designing the game. I'd say the joy that I feel from that type of experience is the best part of the job. (Shingo Matsushita from Nintendo)
You can see Mark, John, Shunichi and Shingo's hard work on Fossil Fighters in the videos below.