Gears of War 2 Designer Discusses Japanese Launch

By Spencer . August 3, 2009 . 6:15pm


Gears of War 2 been out in the West for nearly a year and it finally came out in Japan last week. Before the launch I spoke with Cliff Bleszinski, Lead Designer, of Gears of War 2 and asked what he thought about bringing Gears 2 to Japan.


How do you feel about the Japanese version of Gears of War 2?


Cliff Bleszinski, Lead Designer: They actually did a really good job casting the voices. Marcus sounds like, you know, how a Japanese version of Marcus would sound like and Cole Train always translates hilariously into other languages. [In an impression] It’s Cole Train woo!


It’s fun to play. It’s fun to see the subtitling and everything like that. We do have a share of Japanese fans out there and we’re glad we could fill the promise of letting them play Gears 2 in their local language.


Was it difficult to release Gears of War 2 in Japan because of CERO’s restrictions and the CERO Z rating?


Yeah, that can always potentially limit sales, but we’re a business. We would not do it if it wasn’t something we believed was worthwhile and would help keep the lights on at the end of the day.


Personally, I didn’t have a lot of involvement with it. It was basically Rod Fergusson, the Executive Producer, was handling entire thing. All of the sudden I get to see a bunch of videos or see a version of the game that’s all of the sudden in Japanese. Seeing the first game was really surreal, as well. It’s a global market this day and age and you need to cater to all of those markets as much as possible.


How do you feel about the 38/40 score by Famitsu?


I didn’t know that, that’s amazing to hear. Famitsu been around forever and that’s an honor. That’s amazing.


Did you ever see the Japanese viral marketing for Gears of War with the monster…


… under the bed or whatever and she became friends with it and everything. That was surreal. As with many things that come out of Japan it didn’t make much sense, but it was incredibly charming. It was cool.


What would you say to your fans in Japan who are buying Gears of War 2 now?


I’m glad that they’re playing. I hope they keep playing. I hope they get online as well, I’m not sure how available Xbox Live is over there right now. Keep playing and well keep making more.

Read more stories about & & & & on Siliconera.

  • Aoshi00

    I imported the first Gears of War, so I could toggle btwn Jpn and Eng. voice overs. My first playthru was in Eng. and second in Jpn just for fun, the dub is indeed quite good. I was worried for the longest time if Gears 2 wouldn’t be dubbed in Jpn because all the TV spots and trailers in Jpn shown up until a month ago all had Eng. dialogue w/ Jpn subtitles only.

    I think it’s really great they packed in the dozens of DLC maps in the Jpn LE package, the producer there said it’s to make up to fans who had to wait a year for the localized version :)

    The high school girl w/ monster viral campaign was indeed nutty (Ninja Gaiden boob on the wall…), that’s Jpn zaniness for you.. Also It’s funny at that point I still had no idea what Gears was other than hearing the name everywhere, I didn’t get the game until relatively late as I’m not the biggest shooter fan. Then Gooch said he found it fun (maybe he was paid to say it or whatever), I thought I’d give it a try, and now I’m hooked by the Gears universe :)

  • shion16

    Im a newbie about that
    could anybody explain me how CERO’s restrictions and the CERO Z rating works?

    • CERO is like the ESRB of Japan and have ratings ranging from A (think “E”) to D (think “M”). Games with intense violence, even if they’re toned down from the Western release end up with CERO Z, which is like an AO rating. These games are put behind counters, but for some reason the empty boxes still end up on most shelves.

      There’s sort of a taboo stigma to CERO Z, but these days many games — especially ones from the West get pinned with it. All of the GTA games, Godfather titles, and killer7 were rated CERO Z.

  • Hraesvelgr

    Whoa… I had to check this out, because I had no idea that they’d dubbed Gears of War in Japan… and wow… it’s awful. Cole and Marcus’ voices make the rest seem brilliant, though… wow.

    • Aoshi00

      How do you expect people in Japan watch and understand Hollywood movies? Personally I think the Jpn dub is quite well done, not as good as the original of course, dub is almost always inferior to the original. He’s no John “Bender/Wakka” DiMaggio, but I like the Jpn Marcus too. If one understands English, there is no point in listening to a dub in another language. Do you even understand what they are saying in the dub? It’s like people who know no French or German criticizing those respective dubs in Lost Odyssey, what a joke.

      BTW, the one who voices Marcus in Jpn is a veteran stage voice actor. Yuuya Atsuko (Aramis in B’tX) voicing Anya and Kaida Yuuko (Claire in RE Degeneration) as Maria, it’s actually a very stellar cast.

      • Ereek

        Just because the game has a “stellar” cast, doesn’t mean they do a good job acting it. Even the best Hollywood actors can do a terrible job with a bad director or if they’re simply not “suited” for a role.

        • Aoshi00

          My point was how does one decide or be able to judge the quality of a foreign dub when one does not remotely understand the said language to begin w/, let alone its intonation and nuances. For example, Yamadera Koichi (Kaji in EVA, Spike in Cowboy Bebop) has been the Japanese voice for Tom Cruise for a long time, he is one of the most experienced seiyuu in the industry and I’m sure he’s cast for a good reason. I find it ridiculous the poster seems to indiscriminately criticize Japanese voice acting in any form, while we know Jpn VAs are held to a even stricter standard than the US (The US voice acting hasn’t gotten good until recent years, remember the games/anime voiced in the 90’s?)

          Also in different languages, a typical role or a certain type of personality would not sound exactly the same to convey those emotion. I tried watching Gattaca and listen to the other tracks, in French, Spanish, and even Japanese (yes even bought the Jpn blu-ray). The actor Ethan Hawke has a rather high voice, but his voice actor in the other languages all had a very deep voice, just because he doesn’t sound exactly like the original actor (in this case, the Jpn actor for Marcus Fenix doesn’t sound like the John DiMaggio), it doesn’t mean it’s bad if he’s also delivering a similar performance in a different voice/tone as that language dictates it.

          I’m pretty sure Gears is cast in Jpn because of the voice actors’ suitability and skills rather than big names to draw the audience, like Miyazaki anime features in recent years that employ famous actors who are amateur in voice acting.

          BTW, Lost Odyssey’s Jpn dub did suffer because they chose to use actors instead of experienced voice actors.

          • Hraesvelgr

            For the sake of your argument, let’s just pretend I don’t know any Japanese at all. So what? Do I absolutely *need* to know a language to comment on it? For example, I don’t know Polish, but I can tell you that CD Projekt’s Polish dub of Planescape: Torment was terrible. Which, by the way, is a 90s video game with amazing voice acting. Japanese games and animation might have had terrible dubs, but the US voice acting industry as a whole was not bad.

            Likewise, as the commenter above mentioned, just because the cast is “stellar”, it doesn’t mean they’ll do a good job. In general, dubs aren’t going to be that good compared to the original version, the only exceptions I can really think of are the Tales games (in more recent years anyway) and some of Square Enix’s games (still hit-or-miss for them, though). Generally though, it’s best to avoid dubs into any language and stick with the original.

          • Aoshi00

            Right, pretend.. I’m sure you’re fluent in Jpn… Sure, it helps a great deal if you actually understand the dub. I think the French, German, Italian dub are excellent for Lost Odyssey based on my perception/assumption, but heck what do I know, I don’t speak a lick of it, or know if those actors are veterans or amateurs. If you ask a native maybe they would tell you the dub is actually sub par or the actors were not very well chosen for the roles. If one could watch Dragon Quest Dai’s Adventure in Arabic and think it’s a horrible dub, but it could be that person just thinks Arabic sounds funny because he doesn’t understand it.

            I’m not talking about English dub in Disney animated features or CG movies, because the practice here is to have the actors to read the lines w/ no constraints, and use the animation to match the actor’s timing and emotion, hence making the flow much more natural. Eng. anime / game dubs are generally are a disaster, and almost always no match for the original as you said, but they have improved over the years.

            I didn’t assume using an experienced cast would automatically translate to a good dub, but it sure beats using actors who have no experience acting w/ voice only, they have no business in voicing anime/games. I’m sure the last couple Miyazaki movies would’ve greatly benefited if they didn’t choose the monotonous Kimura Takuya in Howl’s Moving castle, or Yamaguchi Tomoko as Lisa in Ponyo. Both are fine actors, but they don’t know how to voice act and bring out the anime characters.

            Of course you are free to voice your opinion, but it seems like you like to dismiss any Jpn track (dub or original, like Magna Carta 2) arbitrarily just because you don’t seem to have an understanding of the language. I understand both Eng. and Jpn, played Gears twice in those languages and thought it’s a fine dub, Marcus sounds like an experienced macho war torn hero in both. Dom doesn’t have the hispanic accent in Jpn, so what?

            At any rate, I’m glad they take the time to give it a professional dub for the Jpn release. For many, it would be a pain to read subtitles while playing a game.

          • WHUT

            Dude, what is your problem? You have determined that Hraesvelgr doesn’t understand Japanese (as well as you) based on….what? That s/he has different tastes in voice acting? Get off your high horse. You are not the only person who reads Siliconera that knows both Japanese and English, you’re not a special little snowflake.

  • “It’s Cole Train woo!”

    So, they got Hard Gay to voice Cole Train, eh?

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos