Zero Time Dilemma hits PlayStation 4 today. It is a replica of a Japanese game.Localization Editor Aksys Karen McOscar shares how it occurred to his team to localize this game with English-speaking audiences.
“I was working as a QA (Quality Assistant) tester in the Aksys (a game developing company) office a good number of years ago when, one day, an evaluation title came in. A little unvoiced escape the room demo playable in a browser that only showcased one room.
“You could click on everything in the room, and the music urged you to go faster or you’d drown. Those of us who didn’t know Japanese had to ask our translators for the solution to two briefcase puzzles because the hints relied on (slightly convoluted) knowledge of kana characters and placement which flew over our heads,” he wrote on PlayStation blog.
He maintained: “That game, as many of you may recognize, was Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors (commonly known as 999) by the then Chunsoft. The office was pretty divided over the demo (it’s challenging to judge some games with a simple, quick look), but I and a few others loved it, and the push to acquire the license was successful.
“Months of back and forth with Kotaro Uchikoshi and Chunsoft, a couple necessary puzzle tweaks for an English-speaking audience, and it finally reached me in QA again. I bugged our editor so often with questions and fixes since it was a bit of a rush project that he likely got sick of seeing my message window flash on his screen, but I think that was how I got moved up to copy editor/proofreader. We got heavy, metal replica watches made for pre-orders and released the M-rated DS game (a rarity!) to little fanfare in November 2010,” he said.
The localization editor said when word came from Chunsoft that Uchikoshi was writing another one, the whole office was giddy. We wanted it, no matter what. Of course, by then handheld consoles were switching to 3DS and Vita so some things had to change up. 999 was originally intended to be standalone, so we came up with the Zero Escape branding for the series, he added.
“My strongest memories from working with our editor on Virtue’s Last Reward are the both of us making sure we kept all the story threads straight, a lot of questions to Uchikoshi which led to holding onto 3rd game secrets for years, and coordinating with the voice recording studio from the office as I scrambled to write voice direction to keep up with the recording schedule.