NIS Explains Japanese-Only Voiceover Decision For Atelier Annie

By Spencer . October 14, 2009 . 1:13pm


An localized version of Atelier Annie is coming out on October 27, but it only has English text. NIS America had to choose between recording new English voiceovers and the original Japanese language track.


“If we were to put English voice acting in the game [Atelier Annie], we would have to take out the Japanese voices in order to stay within the DS cart’s memory capacity,” said Nao Zook, Marketing Manager.


“We believe this game is mostly for the Atelier series fans, who largely prefer the original Japanese voices, so we really wanted to keep the Japanese voice acting. We understand that not having an option for Japanese/ English is a bummer, but we really hope that you all understand why we kept the original Japanese voices.”


Atelier Annie isn’t alone. Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier, released by Atlus earlier this year, went the same route. Both of these titles are niche games, but Atelier Annie (arguably more than Endless Frontier) may have been able to reach a broader audience if it had English voice acting. What do you think? Did NIS America make the right decision?


Oh, and be sure to check back on Friday for our full Atelier Annie interview.

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  • meganeshounen

    I wonder how many gamers do want NIS games to be Japanese dubbed? I, for one, am alright with that…

    My two major pulls for getting Atelier Annie would be… the Atelier part (alchemy~) and the art by Watanuki Nao (same person who did Asura Cryin’s character designs).

  • Would rather have JPN dub than none/English only. I’m glad they respect their fans.

    • It’s a tall mountain to climb to regain all the respect fans had after the string of buggy/editing mishaps… but NISA won’t stop halfway to the summit.

      • I agree with both of you there. I’m glad they are keeping ORIGINAL (sorry, I’m a fan of the original and then love the additional voice sets if possible) voice acting. It’s not worth the possible travesty that could destroy a fans ears. Read: Suikoden Tierkreis, the hyper chipmunk story edition.

  • Given the size restrictions for DS games I understand why they can´t have both and I´m happy that they choose the Japanese audio and voices since for me that is better than to have to listen to unwilling voiceactors that do a lousy job ala Chaos Wars.

    I just hope it will be a good game.

  • eliel

    i’d would have preferred English dub over jap dub in games any day but since people would have just bitch about it i guess NIS America made the right decision(i can only Imagen what could have been)

    • Ereek

      My thoughts exactly. Either way, someone complains. It just tends to be the dub haters who are the most vocal. I prefer dubs, but I’m not going to proclaim my dislike of subs and say “they’re horrible!” all over.

      • Pichi

        Also agree.

  • ECM

    Both of these titles are niche games, but Atelier Annie (arguably more than Endless Frontier) may have been able to reach a broader audience if it had English voice acting.

    Based on your post, they’ve already conceded that there is no wider audience for this game. (Or, at the very least, that they little interest/intent on reaching them.)

    • Yup there’s nothing like realistic expectations.

    • Maybe, but I think Atelier Annie could have reached the Harvest Moon audience too — if it was fully localized. It’s a sim game meets a RPG.

      Choice is always the best option. But, when it comes down to reaching the general gamer, having Japanese voices is a hurdle. Perhaps, akin to movie lovers who won’t watch films with subtitles, there are gamers who won’t play games with Japanese voice overs.

      • Pichi

        Never thought about the HM audience. Whatever happened to that other NISA division that was going to focus on casual games or something with a wing in their logo? If they would have market it differently and to that audience, maybe it would have helped sales.

  • Slashlen

    I think they made the best decision with these circumstances. While dual audio is always preferable, I am very glad they didn’t drop the original voices. The niche hardcore audience that is going to buy this probably prefers it(I do!), and I don’t think they could bring in a wider audience with a dub. Making an English dub would also have made things more expensive(big reason a lot of anime sets are coming out sub only right now).

    Some games have a shot a broadening the audience, but I don’t think this is one of them. In this case, it’s probably best to just cater to your hardcore fans.

  • Hraesvelgr

    Well, I guess with only one language track, that means people who play it won’t have to deal with text based on the English script, which is generally vastly different in NISA’s games. Honestly, why do they even bother including the Japanese dub when they make heavy changes to character names, script, etc.?

    • Pichi

      I would take it as double the funny for the Disgaea games. Funny English script and funny Japanese VA/hearing the Japanese script to go along with it. Most wouldn’t like it, but I do.

  • kazalt

    I think they made the right choice. While I would have preferred an english dub, I understand that they went with what they believe is the best option based on player feedback from other games.

  • zhemos

    +1 NISA gamer that prefers the JP dub. I think they made the right decision. Ai Nonaka <3

  • Why do people always bring up Chaos Wars when talking about bad dubs? That’s an extreme example, and I’m sure NIS would never let that happen in any of their games.

  • BK0000

    I wish it had been dubbed. I hope it at least has an option to turn the voices off. If not, I’ll just play it with no volume.

    • Pichi

      I believe there is an option to turn it off. So if they do Japanese only for the other Atelier games, I don’t mind going to old school reading.

  • Didn’t they say the same thing for Rhapsody DS? Actually, they said a few things about the dub situation, but I don’t/didn’t mind.

    • BK0000

      I believe for Rhapsody, their excuse was that they didn’t want to use Atlus’ dub because they couldn’t get the original cast back for the extra material, which was cut anyway.

  • They did it the right way. Thanks NISA.

  • Volcynika

    Would’ve preferred English if you want to reach more people, but I know people would’ve bitched to hell and high heaven if JP was taken out for it.

  • nyoron

    Fine with me. Ideally every game should have the option for people to choose what they prefer, but if it has to be one or the other I would usually take the original voices.

  • Soma

    Personally, I’ve always liked the english dubs for the Atelier series.
    The Japanese dubs are also really good, so I don’t really mind.
    It is a shame that they can’t include both. Having a choice is always primo. =3

  • Kevin_Levin

    Personally, if I still had a DS. I would’ve preferred both. But since this isn’t a possibility. I would accept it.

    Though, same with 360. With some games of the system you can’t have both languages due to the DVD space.

    But with PS3 it’s possible. With the upcoming new Atelier for PS3.

  • epy

    They made the right choice. The type of person that would never play a game with japanese voices would have dozens of games on their “to buy” list before Atelier Annie showed up.

  • Journin

    From a business standpoint:

    pure gold!!!

    no need to throw money out the window for the dub: money made by sold unit is higher!

    cutesy artwork: might appeal to casual and/or female gamers

    if they are clever: they write the information, that the game has no english dub in small print on the back!
    (if people hate it they will probably still play it and turn off the audio)

    ==== NISA makes more money per unit = they have more money to reinvest = more money to test new waters :P

  • Japanese only voiceover is fine, not a bad decision at all. In fact, keeping the game as true to the original as possible is something other developers should think about when they remove a Japanese voiceover in favour of an English one.

  • some companies should follow NIS example! Japanese voice acting is better in my opinion, it just matches the characters and are cafully selected, is just more Pro work, I wish the Tales of… Series would do the same

  • andylock

    Virtual Studio gives the facilities includes: Talk shows hosting, using virtual sets; live & on-demand web-cast streaming studio; recording by voiceover artists; production facility for audio video presentations; option for live call outs or live phone-ins; radio shows; panel discussions; training-educational videos with software demos audio-video processing, optimization & encoding facility.

  • To be honest, I love the VAing in this game–and as a former voice actress I understand that, yes, a lot of people hate us. But the only thing that bums me out is that there was no way to subtitle the Sales and fight text, so when they have long, complex conversations, all I can do is think, “how cute”, but I have no idea what they’re saying. Bummer.

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