NIS America Blog – Z.H.P.’s Tokusatsu Connection

By Eugene Chen - Project Coordinator . October 21, 2010 . 12:42pm

Hello, all. I have come from NIS America and I bring you good, I mean great news that one of our titles, Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman will go on sale soon-ish! October 26 to be exact. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Eugene and I am the project coordinator for this title. Don’t let my job title fool you. That’s just what they call me when they decide to let me out of Storage B long enough to not pass out from oxygen deprivation. But enough about me; let’s talk about Z.H.P.

 

2009-01-01 20-58-56

 

Z.H.P. is the story of a superhero by the name of “Unlosing Ranger.” The game starts off with the final boss, Darkdeath Evilman, ready to take over the world! Unlosing Ranger runs in valiantly to save the day! Well, that was the plan anyway. Instead, he was run over by car on the way over. Luckily, a random passerby enters the scene and the Unlosing Ranger passes down his morphing belt before taking his last breath. That’s right, you, the player, are that random passerby. Your newfound powers and sense of responsibility compels you to take on the last boss in the dead hero’s stead! Consequently, you get your ass handed to you on a plate with all the trimmings. Right before you die, you were sent off to this place called Bizarro Earth, a world of… bizarre creatures that the WHS (World Hero Society) uses as the training ground for their heroes. You start off as a novice hero, but with some blood and sweat and tears, you might eventually become strong enough to defeat the last boss!

 

As you can see from the little blurb above, the entire game can be seen as both an homage and parody of the tokusatsu hero genre (SFX Hero, for those not in the know). Power Rangers, Gavin, Masked Rider series, etc. etc. I practically grew up on those shows so it felt like I hit the floor running. That goes the same for everyone reading this right now. If you liked those Saturday morning hero shows back in the 90s (stateside), this is for you. While the gameplay, in my opinion, is a bit unconventional (roguelikes aren’t that common these days, right?), but like with all NISA titles, the options on customization and amount of grinding are practically limitless. So you have an unconventional story with an unconventional system. Some might consider that to be a recipe for disaster, but it’s done really really well.

 

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Contrary to what some might think, there is very little glamour in the game industry, save a few at the very top. My job involves lots and lots of writing, particular in the form of emails to people thousands of miles away. Stacks of files and documents begin to stack up with no end in sight. Yes, there are days I fought over the red office stapler as if it’s my next of kin. But if I detailed what I did most of the time, I’d bore you to tears. As much the anguish of others sustain me, now is probably not the time for it.

 

Anyhoo, as far as localization goes, I was placed in charge of translating the original Japanese text (and some other stuff, too). I was expected to learn the game in and out until I knew it like the back of my hand (hmm, never saw that blemish there before). The actual writing of the script was the most time consuming part but also the most fun. With jokes and dialogue that had Japanese hero shows as their common theme, it was sometimes a bit difficult to gauge how much of it people here would “get.”

 

Alas, there are no evil villains in the game who caned children as their usual pastime (I remember those to be a staple in hero shows back in the day). As far as I can tell, almost all the jokes in the game could stand on their own two feet, prompting me to keep any tweaks at a relative minimum. I’m not trying to disparage the importance if localization in the name of translation. But it has always been my approach to follow the source as much as possible, at least to give the original creators much-needed respect. But on the other hand, making sure as many people as possible understand the various aspects of the game is another crucial priority. It just so happens this title has many universal themes that required minimal tampering. But in hindsight, I should have let my imaginations run a bit wilder with the script. We could always use more references to the relation between sheep bladders and earthquakes.

 

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All in all, working on Z.H.P. was a great experience and I hope that you will have as much if not more fun playing it as I did localizing it.

 

tl;dr If you liked hero shows at any point in your life, Z.H.P. may be just your thing.

 

Eugene Chen
Project Coordinator


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  • Apollokids

    Very Cool i am really looking forward to this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Lee/518924335 Tommy Lee

    Ya know… speaking of Power Rangers, it would have been interesting if some Power Rangers actors who moved on to voice acting had some roles in this game… if they fit.

    • Exkaiser

      Well, JYB is in everything these days, so it’s possible he’s in it somewhere.

    • Zeik56

      JYB voicing the Unlosing Ranger would be pretty epic.

      • Exkaiser

        You mean Pirohiko? Because the new Unlosing Ranger is a silent protagonist.

        Then again, it wouldn’t be the first silent protagonist JYB has voiced!

        • Zeik56

          Yes, I was talking about the original Unlosing Ranger.

  • Exkaiser

    I’m a pretty big tokusatsu superhero fan and a huge Roguelike fan. Definitely a game I’m excited for, though I’m going to be pretty hesitant to equip body parts (I really like the Unlosing Ranger’s base costume).

    It’s nice to hear someone on the team bring it up directly.

  • Bruce

    i’m really looking forward to this , more then lord of arcana

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    i feel connected with the second image

  • http://tristsantithesis.tumblr.com/ Tsunayoshi Sawada

    How fitting that my 1000th comment occurs on such an awesome article for such an awesome RPG (well I feel that it will be awesome). I can not wait to experience such awesomeness. I love the awesome character models and the awesome design of the awesome hero that that images shows. I cant wait until next week, it will be so awesome!

  • epiphaniesarefun

    I’m really looking forward to this :) I also love they you invited eugeneto talk here ^_^ We’re getting spoiled with all these awesome mini blogs lately :P

  • http://twitter.com/Sieghardt Sieghardt

    This game makes my monster grow :)

  • Ereek

    Ah, I’m loving these blogs! Glad to see one from NISA as well. Thanks for spending the the time writing it up for us. I hope you’ll give us more in the future.

    I think I’ll enjoy this game, but New Vegas has a hold on me and I won’t be able to play it for a while. Also, releasing on the same day as the new GoW!

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

    I’m a huge fan, and the tokusatsu parody soundtrack reminds me of Half-Minute Hero 1′s parody of JRPG butt-rock. This game’s great (and I’m sure it will be in English)!

  • Kris

    Thanks for the insights, I’m psyched for ZHP!

    Also, it’s fascinating to see different approaches to game translation at NISA and Aksys have. I really like these little looks behind the scenes!

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