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Hello Umpteenth Q&A guy Rico,

With all this sudden banter about the FF series lack of originality, I thought it might be good to point out the main reason why they are that way. In Japan (where, duh, FF is made and by Japanese people) a significantly different aesthetic to the West is originality. In the West, we think of that something new should be innovative and never seen before (of course there are exceptions.) What makes FF so popular in Japan is that it IS familiar and that you can expect to see all the same stuff from the last game. In Japan, it is considered more impressive to be able to improve upon an existing formula rather create a brand new one. A good example is that there is one movie (the name of which escapes me right now) that has nearly 50 sequels, something unheard of in the US.

-Radrisol- -See see, that college course was good for SOMETHING-

Rico:
Thanks for the insight into Japanese culture. Now where's my comic?
My opinion is, although it's well and good to improve on an existing formula, I haven't seen that much improvement in the last two Final Fantasies. I've enjoyed them both, but they weren't anything special. I'd prefer that Square would do something with its resources, like take some chances on games, instead of re-releasing everything to make money, but maybe that's just me.

 
It has ears, and fangs, and can jump about...

Greetings, Hey (monks sing) RICO SUA-VE

I have three questions for you.
1. What is your quest?
2. What is your favorite color?
3. What is the air-speed velocity of an unlaiden swallow?

Also isn't getting a game into English much harder than people think and isn't it true? Especially since it takes more characters for dialogue in English than in Japanese in which the game may only have so much room for dialogue. Also, wouldn't you have to see on context in how a particular word is used in a sentence compared to actions? Would you also have to make sure it makes sense in English and try to make sense and not to repeat the same word?
Imperial Mog

Rico:
I have five answers for you... or something...
1. To seek the bowling snail.
2. Good ol' Slime blue. Or was that red? Or... AAAAAAAAH!
3. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Translating and localizing a game from Japanese to English is indeed a whole lot of work. The rough Japanese translations are pretty bad, and it takes a lot of work to get the text to look good. I haven't been informed of any space constraints, though, so when it's necessary, I beef up the text a bit. And yes, it is tricky going without any context sometimes. That's when I pop in the game and see if I can figure things out. I also try to be conscious of not repeating certain words too much, or else the words would be repeated too much. Yeah...

 
Final Fantasy Chronicles! Now with 100% more Chrono Trigger!

YO.......RICO

May I ask.......what is "hard type translations" mean?
The reason why I ask that is, I wasn't really going to purchase Final Fantasy Chronicles because I wasn't really into FF2 that much when I played it on the SNES, but i loved C. Trigger, and I still have my copy of it for the SNES. But, my SNES is old and I hope to get another machine by trading Star Ocean 2 & Silent Hill 1.
Now, the beginning and ending FMV's don't really tickle me enough to buy the PSX versions, but is the different translations suppose to make it better? I just want to know so I can decide which way I should proceed on this thought.

Thanks.
Star "still running spell check" warrior

Rico:
For all those who may have blinked a few times at the Hardtype descriptor of Final Fantasy IV, I'll give you the real scoop. The version of Final Fantasy IV that was released in North America was an "Easytype" version of the game. Basically, battles were made easier, and some items and unique character abilities were removed. To further compound that, Nintendo's censors fed the script to their specially trained dogs, who efficiently ripped out anything mildly controversial. What they left was still a surprisingly good game. Anyhow, if you want to be able to use Dark Wave, like your reflection, or prefer eight different status healing items instead of just one, this re-release may be for you. I haven't heard much about the translation, but I'd imagine the story would be a little more flavorful, so if that sounds good, and you cringe every time you see the spell name ' White', then pick up FFC. Just be careful, we've had a few reports of faulty copies which apparently aren't formatting right.

 
I have nightmares of text-filled binders

Dear Rico,

There's something I and I'm sure probably a lot of other people have been wondering about for a while, and perhaps you can finally lay the matter to rest, being an Enix localizer. Enix has said that there are 17,000 pages of text in DW7 to translate. Is this genuinely true, or is there a mistaken extra zero? If it is true, what does it mean? Are these full pages? It doesn't seem like the player could read even a fraction of that many pages during gameplay, even in a game as long as DW7 supposedly is. For comparison's sake, how many pages of text are there to translate in most other RPGs? How many in Valkyrie Profile, for example?

Thank you.
Richard

Rico:
I don't know the exact number off the top of my head, but 17,000 seems about right for a text estimate. What that means is that if you were to print out all the text in the game, you'd have about 17,000 pieces of paper in your hot little hands. For you to actually see all this text in game, you'd have to talk to every single thing that it's possible to talk to under every possible set of circumstances. I don't know any percentages, but the average player won't see 17,000 pages of text in the course of playing through the game. However, in case you do feel like talking to a lot of villagers, all that text will help ensure that they have something interesting to say. The other localizers and I are trying our hardest to make sure you'll hear some choice dialog if you do get a little chatty.

Coincidentally enough, I just asked someone at Enix about Valkyrie Profile, and apparently it's got about an eighth of the text that DW7 does. I really have no idea what the numbers would be for other RPGs, but there's one example. Incidentally, wasn't VP's localization great? If I run into whoever did that, I think I'll give them a nice big hug.

 
Not only does he talk nice, but he explains things, too!

Warning: Contains Soulblazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma, and Valkyrie Profile Spoilers

Hello, O Person Who Works For The Greatest Videogame Company On Earth!

Is there anything I can do for you? Get you a drink? Spitshine your shoes? Revere you and the rest of Enix as gods among men? (if you couldn't tell, I really really like Enix)

All seriousness aside, there was a letter in yesterday's column that asked why Valkyrie Profile was not included with the Soulblazer series, but Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma were. Here's a rather thorough explanation as to why it really shouldn't be (warning, spoilers ahead)

1. Ressurection of the Earth/planet: A common theme in the Soulblazer series was the restoration of the planet where the game took place. In Soulblazer, you had to recover the souls of various humans, plants, and animals that were all pledged to the bad guy (I forget his name). I don't know how this would fit in with Illusion of Gaia, but the theme returns in Terranimga. You play as Ark, who's sent on a quest to restore the surface world and develop humanity as you go along. There is some restoration involved in Valkyrie Profile, but that's at the very end of the game and only seen in the A ending.

2. Dark Knight: In Illusion of Gaia and Terranigma, you actually played as a sort of dark hero. Will in Illusion of Gaia was the descendant of the Dark Knight, and Ark in Terranigma was actually "Evil" Ark, of the underworld. How this links to Soulblazer's "Angel," I'm not sure. I don't really think Lenneth is a dark hero. I'd leave that up to Hrist.

3. Developer: Here's the big one. All three of the Soulblazer games were developed via a combination of Quintet and Enix. Nintendo managed to weasel their way into the series for the last two, even. Valkyrie Profile was developed by tri-Ace, and published by Enix.

Of course, there could be some arguments for VP's entry into the Soulblazer series, the biggest being that the hero/ine of all 4 games are working under the direct supervision of a higher power. Soulblazer had the Master, IoG had Gaia, Terranigma had Dark Gaia (or the elder, if you prefer), and VP had Odin and Freya. Still, I'd be hesitant to put VP in the same series as the other three.

Well, I think that's that. Toodles.

Paul "worships the ground that Enix developers walk on" Beaudoin

Rico:
Now, now... flattery will get you nowhere... except into the column. A pretty thorough explanation of why Valkyrie Profile is not in the Soulblazer series of games. Better than I could've done, anyhow, not having played Terranigma. Amd speaking of Enix rocking, everyone pick up Dragon Warrior III, VII, and Monsters 2. You can thank me later.



Quickies

hi

Salutations.

I am the Monkey God!

Good for you! But you must only use your prehensile tail for good, lest ye become the Monkey Devil!

I'd just like to say that...
RED DWARF RULES!!!
Now I must go devour my Gazpacho soup...
~Procellus

Potato King.

A brief epilogue:

And now, it is time to bid you all a fond farewell. I'd like to thank all those who made this column possible, you're all wonderful people. Thank you, thank you. It's been fun filling in today, maybe I'll get to do this again some day. Until then, keep yourself busy with lots of Enix games, lest I be forced to smite thee, like so many cowardly Slimes. And be sure to send in plenty of letters to Alanna for tomorrow. Don't miss this rare opportunity to query our fanfic editor!
My first column, and already I'm shaking up the system by moving the hidden text. Go Mariners!

Rico "SPOOOOOOOOOOOOON!" @rpgamer.com

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