How A Simultaneous Worldwide Release Affected Pokemon X And Y’s Localization

By Ishaan . October 10, 2013 . 8:30am

For the first time in the history of the series, a pair of mainline Pokémon RPGs are being released worldwide at the same time next week, when Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will launch on the Nintendo 3DS. As reported in the past, both games will be playable in seven languages, in every region.


These languages are: Japanese, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Korean. Normally, which languages are included on the cartridge depends on region, but this time, you’ll be able to swap freely between all seven languages, regardless of where you bought the game from.


The largest change as a result of this seven-in-one approach is how Pokémon X and Pokémon Y were localized, says Game Freak director Junichi Masuda, in an Iwata Asks interview.


“Up until now, we would first write the Japanese, then translate it to English, before translating it into the various languages like French and German,” Masuda said in a conversation with Nintendo’s president. “But this time, we went directly from the Japanese into all the other languages.”


Prepping the two games for a simultaneous worldwide release made things difficult for the localization team as well, Masuda reveals. “The team has particular staff members for assigning names, and practically in tears they gave it their best!” He later elaborates, adding that, “Tons of names have already been used up, so thinking up new Pokémon names is incredibly difficult.”


A simultaneous worldwide release played a role in how the games were named, too. “X” and “Y” were chosen because using single letters made their names easy to understand around the world.


Masuda explains, “While the pronunciation of the letter may change by country, the shape of the letter is the same the world over—for example, we say ‘ekkusu’ for the letter X in Japanese, but in French they say ‘ix’—so in that way too, it was an appropriate way to name these games.”


Pokémon X and Pokémon Y will be available on October 12th. Stay tuned to Siliconera for more of our ongoing coverage of the two titles.

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  • ZekeFreek

    Hoping this will be the future of niche (yeah, I know Pokemon ain’t niche, just making a general statement) game localization. Would love to see other companies give simultaneous releases a try.

    • PreyMantis

      It is pretty niche if you think about it. Not many poeple who casually just play Pokémon, don’t know anything about the meta game (EV, IV, etc.) when it comes to competitive gameplay. It would just confuse the heck out of them if they ever found out about the training and breeding process that comes with the game.

      • ZekeFreek

        Simultaneous releases have nothing to do with hardcore gameplay features. I don’t even know why you brought it up. Nothing that sells as well as Pokemon can be considered “niche”, just like an indie film with a budget of 50 million dollars can’t really be considered indie.

  • NTaiyokun

    Explain Canada and Italy then.

    • Herok♞

      Simple people broke street date, they didn’t plan to have those games out early but keep in mind a retailer doesn’t just get the games the day of release.

    • Lynx

      A store broke the street date.

      Said store is now closed. For good.

      Also; things like that happen in Japan too.

    • Minos

      There is nothing to explain, both countries were vaporized.

  • Cursingcomet

    2 more days till it releases, too bad I don’t have a 3ds xl, though I might get one during the summer of next year.

  • It’s funny that Portuguese s always ignored even though more people speak Portuguese compared to French and German. Though I do understand that since where it’s spoken mostly (Brazil) it’s a crappy place to be a gamer, must come into account :P

    • Raoni Marques

      Yeah, it really sucks for us brazucas, but things are changing lately. Well, after 20+ years of gaming, english became quite an easy language to understand, and to be honest, I hardly play any games in portuguese when it’s available.

      Too bad most people aren’t like me, and most of the times they have to play games without fully understading the story and other crap…

      • Yeah for us that grew up having to put up with the whole game in English it’s all good. To me it was actually great because it helped me immensely to learn the language and I probably wouldn’t be here commenting if it wasn’t for gaming :P

        Even so I think it’s important that games come in Portuguese so that they can finally become common as movies and music.

        • Raoni Marques

          Yeah, I agree 100%. Everyone should be able to enjoy games on their mother language, and as you said, it also helps video games get as popular as other media.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Brazilians don’t exactly give the most flattering impression of themselves with their conduct in online games either.

      • I think there’s bad people everywhere really. I used to play league of legends and there were a lot of child like players and it’s the same when I went to the Brazilian server to be honest.

        The thing is that word spread around about the misbehave of Brazilian more then others I think… There’s also the fact that online gaming is becoming more popular with poorer people here who are less educated and don’t know English.

        Not really trying to defend anyone. Just saying what’s on my head about this. I know how frustrating it can be to play with these kind of people.

      • Neither do a lot of us in the states. Every country has its bad apples, and generally appropriate towards its population sizes. Unfortunate, but true.

        • Audie Bakerson

          Oh sure, but bad Brazilians are VERY obviously Brazilian (someone using English online could be from anywhere, but the places where Brazilian Portuguese will come from in any significant number).

          • That kind of applies. I think it’s definitely very obvious when one encounters an obnoxious/bad player from the states though. x’D;

          • Audie Bakerson

            Even just sticking to the NA “region”, without voice chat (which even then requires some knowledge of accents), the only reason you’d be right in assuming someone is from the states is simply population ratios, but any English speaker could easily be from Canada, Saint Vincent, or pretty much anywhere due to the penetration of English as a second language.

          • All the hate on any kind of people is silly. I’ve played my share of call of duty with very annoying twelve years old probably from the US but saying that “Americans are this and that and they are all call of duty and guns and wars” it’s just silly. To “hate” or to keep telling yourself that everyone from a country just because a impression some of them left on you it makes no sense. That’s the reason to meaningless fights and rants and wars against each other.

            Don’t burn the whole tree because of some rotten fruits :)

          • They could definitely be from anywhere, but rude/obnoxious people from the states generally have some key things they do/say that stand out. To me, anyway lol.

          • AdvancedWind

            Someone speaking a language other than English makes them very obviously (insert country here), doesn’t mean there’s necessarily more annoying people just because it’s more obvious. As others have said already, there’s bad apples everywhere, but people always tend to only notice when it’s a few specific “notorious” countries like Russia and Brazil.

            That said, I don’t mind the stereotype that much. Still get along well with most overseas people I play with and stuff like the “huehuehue” laugh or “BR?BR? Gib mony plox!” are commonly thrown around within my FFXIV: ARR FC for fun.

      • ronin4life

        What countries people do?

        ?_ .

    • As I was reading all that, I wondered about Brazil (and South America in general) and how accounted for it was (and realized it wasn’t really).

      Out of curiosity, why is it a crappy place to be a gamer? Exchange rates?

      • Because almost all games aren’t made here so they are all imported. Worst thing is that games like say Zelda are treated as “bad luck games” which have a 60% tax import rate.

        So every game that comes from the US for $60 goes to $96 which in our currency would be (1 USD = 2.1 BRL now) R$201. Add the fact the store has to make a profit and you end up with an expensive product. Also keep in mind that consoles suffer the same process.

        To give you a better perspective I work a 8 hours a week job and get around R$2000. I don’t have a family to support so for me it would be “ok” to pay this much, but the the minimum wage is around R$900. So imagine someone with a family to support? Game’s are a luxury for them. So that makes piracy increase since you can get games on the streets for R$5 ~R$10 or so.

        It’s a major problem when you have movies in Blu-ray being cheaper then Wii games on DVD. Sorry for the tl;dr :P

        • ChiffonCake

          I’m still reminded of how the PS3 was some R$3000 at launch over here… it really sucks.

        • Canceris

          Yup, same here in Argentina. No local support from big companies meaning everybody has to import, high taxes and profit share really ads to the total cost of games. This equallys to piracy, and lessing the chances of a prosperous market.

          I feel kinda bad importing games, since im not supporting the game industry here but at the same time I feel im being robbed. This is why also im primarly digital, and I also know my money is going to the devs/publishers.

          • I feel… a bit bad too, but as you I feel robbed going into a store here and buying games.

        • Please, no need to apologize! I appreciate all the information, as a matter-of-fact. It’s very eye-opening. The import part I kind of understood, but didn’t realize how severely it played into everything. That really is bad and scary.

          Thanks for filling me in. I hope one day the exchange rates won’t be so bad and that the import cost won’t be so horrible, but I guess given the world’s economy period, that’s not anytime soon.

          • No problem. Glad we all learned something :) I hope it changes too but I don’t it will happen any time soon.

      • Guest

        Taxes, taxes everywhere!

        Also it’s a market that falls under the SCEA, NOA, XBOXA(?) jurisdiction, so first that means English is the default language, any others are an afterthought. But worst of all are the market studies taking only USA on account, a game like Inazuma Eleven being “soccer” it’s never going to be released in North America, thus no chance on Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, etc. although the anime being really popular.

        (Having said that, Inazuma should be launched everywhere, I don’t like soccer but Inazuma it’s pretty fun, lucky Europeans!
        Import could be an option like it was on DS, but y’know Region Lock)

        • Ahhh.

          Oh! I didn’t realize. I knew Latin America was NOA, but I didn’t know that South America is too. That’s interesting and puts quite a bit in perspective.

      • GH56734

        China, without a doubt. Sony did translate some games there since the PSX era, but they are scarce. The fan-translation scene there is very big though (due to piracy, and fact that JP>CH translation is easier). Nintendo translated very few games there in 2003, but their output increased in 3DS era.

        Korea had to put with English/Japanese versions there (with some rare Korean Megadrive games in-between) but they started their own gaming industry. Nintendo and Sony started noticing that market after 2002 and it expanded greatly with the PS2 SMT games and during the DS era.

        Russia only had Nintendo games in their language in 2012. It’s mostly PC and FPS games translated there (somehow Sakura Wars 1 was, too).

        The Middle-East has only Western support, and only on Sony platforms for Arabic. It really started with Disney games, soccer games and and Tomb Raider.

        Spain and Italy often miss releases, even as for now, Tales of Vesperia, Kingdom Hearts being an example.

        Of course, Portuguese is ignored too because it’s easier that way for them (but they did have the PS3 Saint Seia and most of Sega games localized).

        Other languages don’t seem to justify a localization enough, but you do get the occasional exception like Thai Final Fantasy 1, and if it does count, a Greek font found in the standard Nintendo DS SDK font (but nothing came out of it really).
        Scandinavian and other European languages have a though luck, with occasionally some crappy games being somehow released to take account of them all (they did get Scribblenauts). Netherlands had Nintendo localize games for them for a while (i.e. Zelda Wind Waker) but it seems to have stopped unfortunately.

    • Kaszana16

      French is spoken not only in France, but in Canada and many African countries, so… nope!

      • Portuguese is spoken in Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Timor Leste. If you look for some numbers on the net you’ll see that there’s 204 million Portuguese native speakers while there’s 74 million French speakers. So yeah, there’s more for portuguese, sorry. The reason there’s no translation it’s probably because of the number of gamers that speak portuguese that play the game.

        My data is from the wiki:

      • GH56734

        They usually do separate localizations for Canadian French and European French (same with Spanish) at Nintendo.

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    lol at making up new pokemon names being different.
    Eventually they really will run out and name pokemon “lajs8dhdtorb”

  • TheGioG

    Damn this may have taken a heck of alot of effort, but it will be well worth it, Masuda. You and your team will be swimming in pools of well earned cash come Saturday. Game stores may be a warzone then, but I’ll fight tooth and nail for my Pokemon Y copy, I will.

  • Virevolte

    And Y sounds “e-grrr-ek”.
    …and I don’t see to let you know how that “ek” sound. It’s between quake and mar”ket”.

    No wonder they choose X as an example !

  • Raoni Marques

    Can’t wait to get my hands on my friggin copy! tomorrow, my friends!

    • J_Joestar

      yeah, tempted to go to a midnight launch for once, never did so for any other game.

      • Raoni Marques

        Never went to one either, but tomorrow I’m driving 40 miles with 4 more friends and I’m grabbing my damn copy lol

  • Smooosher than ever

    Oh god, I can’t wait any longer… although…

    I’m still not sure whether I should get X or Y… HELP ME SILICONERA!

    • FirstaLasto

      Im having trouble deciding myself. At first I wanted Y because i prefer yvetial to xernias and mewtwo y to mewtwo x, but then charizard x was showcased, and its way cooler than charizard y, plus starmie (a pokemon i have put on ever team ive ever made) is exclusive to x. HOW DO I PICK?

      I wonder if there is version exclusive clothing?

      • Smooosher than ever

        I know right? It’s so hard to decide… :/

        Not sure about the clothing, would definitely be interesting. I’ve always customizing the trainer in Pkmn games.

      • J_Joestar

        I’d suggest picking based on Cover mascot and Mewtwo preference. it’ll probably be easier to find Charizardnite X and Starmie through trade than a Legendary Pokemon and a Legendary Mega Stone.

        • Anesia Hunter

          but what if mega stones aren’t tradable?

          • Cazar

            They are.

          • J_Joestar

            they are in the same manner as any hold item apparently.

        • FirstaLasto

          i actually think i want to do it based on non-legend preference, because i usually just put them (the legendaries) in the box and never see them again after capture.

          edit: i ended up taking your advice. as long as some trainer uses a starmie or staryu, i will get it in my pokedex and will be able to get one via gts. …but i cant remember if version exclusives show up as noncapturable or not. too late now, though.

          • Anesia Hunter

            serebii has a list of version exclusives up now on their site however word has it that they got larvitar and aron in the wrong spots.

    • I’m getting X because it reminds me of Princess Mononoke. x’D;

      • Smooosher than ever

        Now that you mention it… damn, I think I will go with X. xD

    • TheGioG

      Pokemon Y for me since Yveltal reminds me of Breath of Fire 4. Awesome in its own right, but that Mega Charizard X… Its not like anyone can regret buying an awesome Pokemon game, so I say just go with either (or wait out the eventual Pokemon Z).

      • Smooosher than ever

        Yeah, in the end, it’s pretty much the same game.
        No way I could wait for Z though, lol. I can’t even wait until saturday. :D

      • MyBodyIsReady

        I’m getting Pokemon X because of Xerneas, but I prefer the Charizard and Mewtwo from Pokemon Y. If you like, we could trade? :P

      • PreyMantis

        If Z is even coming out… If Black/White, Black2/White2 taught us anything, there might not be a Pokémon Z.

    • JustThisOne

      I picked Y because I felt sorry for it being the less popular one. :

      • Barrylocke89

        I always liked this answer. Get the less popular game and have your exclusive pokemon be a hot commodity!

      • VietKnight

        Where I am at it is the opposite 3:1 ratiofor Y:X

        • Detrimont

          same here in NZ, and apparently Australia too
          but i’m still getting X

        • JustThisOne

          Aww cool! Y for life. Sorta-vowel bros forever.

    • ShawnOtakuSomething

      I’m getting Y, Yveltal is cute/beastly looking Plus, Y Mewtwo and charizard looks great :3

    • Raltrios

      I’m getting both X and Y.
      But then, I got HG and SS but haven’t played SS, also got Black, White, Black 2, and White 2 but haven’t played either White yet.

      But I need to get both because I wanna play Y and so does my brother. We normally split the series, but…

    • Suki

      X for me. It had me the minute I saw Xerneas. A rainbow deer? Heck yeah.

  • Audie Bakerson

    All this effort and they made language selection tied to save files, so even bilingual people will never see the it. Sigh.

  • Jesse

    It needs to be Saturday.

  • Guest

    “[…] you’ll be able to swap freely between all seven languages, regardless of where you bought the game from.”

    Great news for Latin American players! Finally a Pokemon on Spanish.
    Although I’m sure it’s going to be Spanish from Spain, with localism issues and all; but it’s in our same language at least!

    So sorry for Brazil though, they got the short end of the deal : /

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Its going to get sold out fast I give it an hour before I hear someone in the store yell “We are out of copies!”

    The waiting game is almost over.

  • Steven Higgins

    My preference is X, but I have $46 in my e-wallet so as soon as midnight rolls around on the 12th, I’m downloading Y. That should hold me for a few hours until I can get to the store I pre-ordered X from

    • ShadowDivz

      The hell? What’s the point of that?
      Why not just wait the few hours and go pick up your pre ordered X?

      Im not bashing, im generally curious.

      • Steven Higgins

        Why not? I can’t use that money for anything else because there’s no way to take it out of the E-wallet.

        • ShadowDivz

          OR IS THERE?!… no there isn’t.

          What about Ace Attorney? or Senran Kagura? You really can’t find ANYTHING else to spend that money on?

          Well, whatever it’s your money friend. Just seems like kind of a waste.

          • Steven Higgins

            Not interested in with either of those titles.
            Doesn’t matter anyway. Turns out my card is too small. Virgin SD card. Only 16GB

          • ShadowDivz

            Lolz. Oh well. Do you have Luigi’s Mansion?

          • Steven Higgins

            Nope. Never got into Mario. *Don’t kill meeeee!*

          • ShadowDivz

            Lol, a majority of the so called “must haves” really don’t interest you. xD

            What about Fire Emblem? I tried the demo for that and now i MUST HAVE the game. (its also highly recommended.)

    • Greg

      I agree with ShadowDiz. Unless you REALLY want both games, save your $40 for the other great games releasing this year or next year. Pretty silly to just throw away your money just because you can’t wait a few hours.

      • Steven Higgins

        TBH, there aren’t that many 3DS games coming out I’m interested in. In fact, except for A Link Between Worlds, there aren’t any future games I’ve heard of that I really want. I may get a physical copy of that one.

  • Sentsuizan_93
    • VietKnight

      Yet I know this is a gamestop location and are not allowed to take pictures of street dated products.

    • Anesia Hunter

      that’s just beautiful…. now give me my copy of pokemon x already.

    • It’s like a treasure trove.

  • Guest

    If this is so simultaneous why are people in Spain and Japan getting their copies tomorrow and we gotta wait until 12am Saturday for ours?

    • Detrimont

      and i have just over 11 hours left :P
      (NZ can sometimes be awesome)

    • Jesse

      Timezone differences.

    • kthanxyousuck

      Because it’s already Saturday in those places?

  • shadowind

    I got to pick up my copy of X today from the Liverpool Lord Street Branch of GAME as the chain got special permission from NOE to release it a day early due to so many supermarket chains and independent chain stores selling both versions early, and in any case, playing it will hopefully take a bit of the pain I’m suffering in my life right now as I was forced to have my dog put down yesterday even though I only brought him in to have a nail removed from his paw… :(

  • Senshin

    I don’t care how hard it was for translate it all. e-e
    I’ll have to play in english anyway.
    Another Brazilian here D:

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