Xseed’s Lunar: Silver Star Harmony Localization Keeps The Laughs

By Spencer . December 18, 2009 . 9:15pm


Lunar: The Silver Star is getting its third translation and Xseed’s script is closer to Working Designs’ than Ubisoft’s. Some lines are exactly the same, just take a look at the comparison screenshot above. It feels like Xseed preserved the lighthearted tone in Lunar: Silver Star Harmony. Jokes about body odor are definitely still in.


One of these five screenshots is a preview of one of Lunar: Silver Star Harmony’s new story scenes. Can you figure out which one?

Dialogue(bath) Dialogue(goddess)Dialogue(colon) Dialogue(dubious) Dialogue(spandex)

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  • Zeik56

    I saw some of these earlier. I was very pleased to see that the localization appears to be comparable to Working Designs.

    Now my only concern is the voice acting. No John Truitt for Ghaleon (presumably) is going to be very hard to get used to.

    • Pichi

      Same here. Love they got that humor spirit.

      Hope for the same actors, but if not, I’ll still give it a chance. Just want the songs in English, if not, hope someone puts them in there, lol!

      • Ereek

        Some of the actors were pretty bad. The only one I will miss is Truitt.

        • cj_iwakura

          Say what you will about Working Designs, but they always hired good voice talent. Growlanser 2’s dub was phenomenal.

          Also, the new scene is with Ghaleon.

          • Ereek

            That’s why Grandia (bless its wonderful soul) is known for having some of the worst voice acting in the history of gaming, right? Growlanser III is a better example of good localization though, since Wein sounds a little too whiny for someone his age.

            I will say that for its time, Working Designs did a very good job with their acting. However, it has aged badly and much of it was not particularly good in the first place. I do, however, especially appreciate their songs being in English.

          • cj_iwakura

            Working Designs didn’t localize Grandia.

          • Zeik56

            Grandia definitely doesn’t have the worst voice acting in the history of gaming, though it’s certainly not good.

            Lunar overall had at worst decent voice acting, with some outstanding exceptions, like Ghaleon. Can’t say I was terribly fond of say Ramus’ or Luna’s speaking voice, but they weren’t cringe inducing like some game’s I’ve played. And then you’ve characters like Ghaleon where his pretty much MADE the character who he was.

            I also really liked the person who did Luna’s singing voice.

          • Ereek

            Ah, I can’t reply anymore. To Zeik:
            I for one can’t stand Royce’s voice, as well as Nash, Luna and Phacia. Luna’s and Nash’s voice grate on me quite a bit. Truitt’s Ghalleon is brilliant and I can’t see anyone matching him in my eyes simply because his voice is so different.

            On the topic of music, just for the sake of discussion:

            I would also like to mention Lucia’s Theme in Eternal Blue. I felt that theme was actually a good deal better in English than it was in Japanese, since the singer is stronger. While I didn’t like the Valkyria Chronicles song, in both English and Japanese, I also greatly appreciate that being in English as well.

            At this point it almost seems like a lost art in Japanese RPGs, with everyone whining about subs all the time. Songs like Distant Worlds are good, but the lyrics are practically incoherent because the singer doesn’t understand the language she’s singing in. Melodies of Life doesn’t suffer from this because the Shiratori sings in English just as much, if not more, than she sings in Japanese. Then, there are certain composers who simply “get it right.” The Legend of Dragoon ~ Main Theme and Mitsuda’s Xeno- themes are excellent examples.

            On the other side of the board, there are some interesting Japanese songs that emulate very western styles, such as Tenpei Sato’s A Song for You. I suppose WA3’s Wings falls under this too, but that’s more like “A Japanese take on Country” than an actual country song. I’d like to see some more of this in games, despite how nonsensical the very idea seems.

          • Zeik56

            I actually liked Nash’s voice honestly, I thought it fit him well. Royce…I don’t actually remember her voice.

            Dubbing music is kind of a hard thing to take a stance on. Unlike voice acting, you don’t really need to understand the lyrics in order to understand and enjoy the music. Hell there’s composer’s like Yuki Kajiura who does outstanding music in complete gibberish. Dubbing a song can sometimes lose what it had going for it before, since the change in words can change the rhythm and tone of the original song.

            On the other hand, when done right I do like hearing music in English. It’s certainly easier to get involved in a song and remember for a longer time when you can follow along with lyrics and understand them.

          • Zeik56

            Also when you’ve got stuff like Luna’s boat song, having her suddenly start singing in Japanese would completely take me out of the moment, so in situations like that you really do need to make an English version of the song.

          • Ereek

            It’s true that in dubbing you can lose something, or get something strange all together. Simple and Clean comes to mind as being very strange, but didn’t Utada write that first?

            I think a lack of true language what Ar tonelico has going for it. The hymns aren’t in either Japanese or English and are “foreign” to both languages. It’s not “strange” or “out of place” when the singing starts. It’s meant to sound exotic and the Gust sound team did their job well.

            I definitely agree about Luna’s boat song. It’s not like Luna is singing “magically,” she’s simply singing what is in her heart. Why would Luna be singing a song that’s simply coming to her in a language that she’s not “fluent” in? In the case of the English dub, she should be “fluent” in English. I feel it would be more than a little jarring. Unfortunately, I have a feeling the song will be in Japanese in the final release.

            Also relevant, how will the songs in the English dub of Sakura Wars be? I know NISA is making some special exceptions for the Japanese side, such as keeping the original names while the names are “changed” in English. Will the songs on the English disk be changed or will they stay in Japanese?

  • JeremyR

    Ugh. I firmly believe that WD went under for a reason, and part of that reason was turning RPGs into bad sit-coms.

    There’s a difference between being silly and over the top ridiculousness. The latter (which WD does) ruins RPGs by breaking the whole suspension of disbelief. Which is basically the whole point of an RPG, since the gameplay is identical. You play to experience the story. But these ruin it

    • Ereek

      The original script of Lunar is based around humor in the first place. Those “strange” jokes like Quark with his Diamonds? All in the original Japanese version. It was the “tasteless” jokes and the Clinton localization that WD added.

      Before you start attacking their localization, play the game. We don’t even know what they’ve done other than a few screens.

    • That argument would hold up if Lunar was a super dramatic tour-de-force RPG like a cutting-edge Final Fantasy or something, but… it’s not.

      I don’t think a ridiculous translation betrays the game’s tone at all. Nor do I think the game sets up much verisimilitude to have any suspension of disbelief to break in the first place, to be honest.

    • Pichi

      I prefer humor in ways like that at times. With so many RPGs and some stories being the “same old stuff,” having some flavor to separate it from the norm is welcomed by me.

    • nyoron

      I’m torn. On one hand, I feel that any type of localized material should be as faithful to the original source as possible. On the other hand, when I played WD’s Lunar back in the day I really enjoyed it, and the script was a big part of that.I admit that a lot of the throwaway dialog in rpgs like this is pretty bland, and ultimately I don’t mind if they try to spice it up a bit. When it starts altering the story or the main characters’ personalities though, that’s when I would draw the line.

    • Zeik56

      Honestly Lunar would have been a fairly forgettable RPG without all the personality that Working Designs gave the localization. Just look at Lunar Legend, that game wasn’t remotely as good as previous versions, and it was in large part due to the bland script.Working Designs may have overdone it at times with the random cultural references and the like, but they still played a key role in making games like Lunar the memorable games they were.

    • WD’s script treatments were probably the last reason they went under, in fact I’d say it was one of their strengths if anything. I can say personally that once I got a taste of their work, I bought everything I possibly could from them afterwards.

      I also don’t think the games they localized were “ruined” by having random townspeople have actually interesting dialogue as opposed to generic RPG blather. It’s not like there were jokes during the serious dramatic moments or anything. So yes, since so many RPGs have such similar gameplay, it’s a true treat to have the script be something that stands out.

  • is this like a luanr legend remake

    • fallen

      it’s a remake of a remake of a remake of a game. THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BECOME

      • Zeik56

        Actually technically this is a remake of the Saturn version of the game. So I believe that just makes it a remake of a remake.

        • fallen

          Hmm, sorry, the graphic style seemed reminiscent of the GBA remake.

  • Tokyo Guy

    Yuck. I’m sorry but IMHO the “work” that Working Designs did is an absolute afront to the integrity of those who made the game. And how on earth did anyone with any respectability whatsoever at Game Arts EVER approve the immature drivel that Working Designs called a script. Give me a break.

    • Hraesvelgr

      Who knows. WD did that with every game they released and it was pretty popular. I couldn’t stand some of the ridiculous stuff they added into their games, but it seemed like most people who played their games loved it, so… *shrugs*

    • I think the original designers of the games probably wanted as many people as possible to play them and enjoy them, and I don’t think WD did anything to prevent that. Instead, in the case of Lunar, for example, I was able to enjoy the dramatic moments and gameplay AND I actually bothered to speak to every townsperson multiple times over due to WD’s work. No harm done to the core of the game at all.

      I didn’t bother with Lunar Legend for GBA for a couple of reasons, but one of them was the fact that the script lacked what this PSP version seems to have.

  • thebanditking

    Looks good to me, outside of a few things I love the Working Designs translation. Many wrote it off as a stupid comedy but the whole story was quite serious and to this day is one of my favorites.

  • Honestly I don’t remember the two middle ones.

  • kupomogli

    I thought Working Designs handled it well. They didn’t throw the stuff around too often and usually never made its way into story parts.

    Some examples are Arc the Lad after you win the 1000 battle arena. “Now go outside and see how the world has changed.” Or Arc the Lad 2 on the status effect Throw Up. “Increases range of throw. Barf bag included.” Or something like that. Not exactly sure.

    Other companies do it as well though, like Atlus on their localization of Crimson Gem Saga. You can get the Power Glove later on in the game. I’m not sure what the rest of the description says, but the last part of it says “It’s so bad.” Obviously taken from the Wizard.

    I don’t see why people complain about Working Deisgns when it’s clear that companies do this all the time.

    • Pichi

      Also love Atlas’s localizations. It gives some of their games extra flavor, especially when referencing stuff like their “Atlus Faithful” in LA2! XD That’s want I want to see more of. Take away that, and you have more of the generic dialogue that is common out there.

      • kupomogli

        The first game that I’ve seen Atlus release names of forum members in games was on Stella Deus. My name obviously wouldn’t have been able to be released in the game for obvious reasons.I’m not really an Atlus faithful any longer. I like very few of their releases now days because they’ve started pushing out a lot of crap rather than some high quality looking titles like they did before. Shin Megami Tensei is another story. Atlus never fails to impress with that series(except when remaking one of the worst in the Persona series. Revelations: Persona to the PSP.)

        I liked Atlus when they weren’t so well known a lot more than now. It seems they didn’t just push every single game they could get their hands on but picked and chose carefully, almost every game being a great game. Hoshigami was a huge miss of course, but I bought into it because graphically looked exactly like FFTactics and I was hoping similar.

        • Zeik56

          Atlus USA has always been a company about bringing over niche games, picking and choosing the perfect gems among was never their goal. They’ve actually outright stated their goal as a company is to just bring over interesting niche games that otherwise wouldn’t see the light of day in the US. There are always gamers out there that like games despite their flaws or that or largely not well received. The fact that they are willing to localize games like that which only appeal to a very small fanbase (even for them) is what makes Atlus USA such a great company.

  • Hours

    I was never a big fan of Working Design’s crass humor and pop culture laden translations. Removing or changing entire chunks of dialogue just make the game more funny is not something that I want to see, even if it is just NPC dialogue. Though I do appreciated the games that WD brought over since not many other companies were taking a chance on games like that. And some little touches of added humor can work well as long as it’s not taking the place of anything else, but I felt WD went overboard on numerous occasions. There are ways to make a game’s dialogue pop without turning an entire town into inbred yokels for example.I would have preferred that XSEED stay more faithful to the original script. If there is humor present in the original source material, I’m more interested in seeing that translated then them trying to live up to the dubious reputation of a company that’s long gone.

    • Zeik56

      Uh, just translating the original jokes would be a terrible idea, since most Japanese jokes don’t make any damn sense in English. Even companies like Atlus who are well known for trying to translate game’s faithfully don’t do that. They may try to keep the spirit of the joke intact, but often that’s not even possible. (Since the Japanese have fondness for puns, which only actually work in Japanese.)

      Unlike most games, Lunar’s localization is one of the main things that people actually remember about Lunar, and is what made the game special in the eyes of most fans. You could always try playing Lunar Legend if you want a game with a flat translation, but since that game is pretty much universally disliked by the fanbase, XSEED made the right choice from a business standpoint.

      • Hours

        I know many jokes can’t be translated literally, but as you mentioned there are companies like Atlus that at least try the best they can to keep the spirit of the dialogue.

        Working Designs many times just threw entire chunks of text out the window and just did whatever they wanted.

        I just don’t appreciate that form of localization as some others do. I like my translations to be as faithful possible while still being well written, and as other companies have shown, this is an achievable form of translation.

        • Zeik56

          Generally I would agree with the concept of staying faithful to the original source material, but honestly as long as they don’t mess with the core story I don’t really have an issue with a localizer spicing up some NPC dialogue and party banter.

          In the end what it comes down to is that in 99.9% of the JRPGs out there random NPC conversations are horribly dull, while talking to NPC’s in Lunar was easily one of my favorite things in the whole game. Obviously they did something right.

          • Pichi

            That is one of my pet peeves in JRPGs these days with NPC dialogue. I have played so many and not enough “spice” to them at all really. Its usually the same old thing of mentioning this and that, nothing particularly interesting. It should be interesting that I would want to go out of my way to read what they have to say. If its not, the game’s length just shortens for me.

            Lunar was one of those rare games that made me want to read all what they had to say. Also of fan when Atlus does this as well. I want to see more RPGs try to be a diamond in the rough kind of thing. If your gameplay is the same as dozens out there, keep the core plot, spice up everything else, please. Needs to happen in other genres as well. It can make a generic game/plot be a bit more memorable.

          • I consider it a matter of policy in my fan translations to keep the dialogue interesting. I don’t usually go quite so overboard as WD, but I do like to inject some humor here and there – and, yes, the occasional pop culture reference, though I doubt the handful of Homestar Runner references I slipped into Breath of Fire 2 will leave people groaning quite so much as WD’s Bill Clinton and Austin Powers jokes. Odds are, unless you’re an H*R fan already, you won’t even notice they’re there.

    • Pichi

      I rather have that localize, as many Zeik56 said, most of that stuff don’t translate well. I don’t want dry, translated stuff like Ignition has been doing with Muramasa and Nostalgia. Heard things were very lacking in their translation. Especially Nostalgia, would have benefited greatly if it was localized well.

    • TyeTheCzar

      Without guys like Working Designs or Ted Woolsey, the games wouldn’t have gotten quite as popular in the day, FFVII be damned. After all, dialogue in most of Japanese media is nothing but Plain-Jane Captain Obvious stuff that William Bennet(“Education” czar in the Reagan Administration of Hell who bastardized classic literature like Annie and Huck Finn) would approve of.
      At least for each Star Ocean or whatnot, there’s a Bakemonogatari, Code Geass, and Touhou(It’s better than average at least: http://touhou.wikia.com/wiki/Embodiment_of_Scarlet_Devil:_Reimu's_Scenario)

  • archeous

    is the english released already? im waiting for this…

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