The Tales Team Simply Doesn’t Have Enough Staff To Localize Every Game

By Cheng Kai . October 25, 2013 . 5:19pm

In our exclusive interview with Tales series producer Hideo Baba, we asked the venerable producer on his thoughts on remaking past Tales games, selecting titles to localize, and expanding the series into smartphone territory.




Tales of Symphonia Chronicles is coming out this year in Japan, and next year in the US and Europe. It’s been almost ten years since the original Tales of Symphonia was released on the PlayStation 2 and the GameCube. Looking back on the game now, was there any part of the game you’d have liked to do differently?


Hideo Baba, Producer: With regards to Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, basically the concept here is that, we would like to provide users with the opportunity to replay Tales of Symphonia, which was released ten years ago, on a current console. So, looking back, not really, there wasn’t anything I would change. In fact we didn’t want to make any big changes to the original game [even when making Tales of Symphonia Chronicles].


Of course, during the development process for any title, there will always be a few ideas that could not have been implemented. But even so, we thought we shouldn’t implement these unused ideas in Chronicles, as the game’s development work was already wrapped up. Each Tales of game’s individuality is determined by the ideas that made it in during the development process, so even with remakes we fundamentally do not revisit ideas that we thought about back then and make changes to what’s been decided in the past.


But with that said, we wanted to provide something special for the users who’ve been longtime fans of the Tales series. So, for fans who’ve enjoyed Tales of Xillia or another Tales title on the PS3, we’ve thrown in a little bonus something for them.


With the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles coming out soon, moving forward which hardware platforms do you think the team will be focusing on when it comes to making new Tales titles?


Honestly speaking, it’s a little difficult for me to know for sure, since I can’t predict what the hardware environment for future platforms is going to be like. But basically I would like to release Tales titles on the console(s) that the most number of Tales fans would like to play on.


image image


Right. But that’s if we’re talking about brand new Tales titles here. What if I change the question slightly, and we’re talking in terms of which Tales games you’d like to get localized from Japanese to English? There are still quite a few titles in the past such as Tales of Hearts R and Tales of Innocence R that have not made it to the West yet, and I was wondering if at this point the PS Vita Tales titles are still something you’d look into bringing to the West.


So when considering which titles can be localized to be released in the Western market, our first priority are the flagship titles, such as Tales of Xillia. After that, our second priority are remake titles or all-star titles.


Because the number of development members we have on staff is very limited, it’s not possible to localize every single Tales title. So we have to pick and choose when deciding which parts of the Tales series we would like to bring out to the rest of the world outside Japan.


I see. Within Japan there’s also development of the Tales series on the smartphone front, such as Tales of Card Evolve, Tales of Kizna, and most recently, Tales of Link for the Android and iOS platforms. Unlike Card Evolve and Kizna, which are collectible card games, Tales of Link seems to be a little more like a traditional Tales RPG. Can you talk more about the reasons behind making Tales of Link an entry for smartphones?


There are mainly two reasons. The first is that we need to follow current trends in the market. Smartphone gaming is a sign of the times, and it’s a big market now, so it’s a good idea to release Tales titles not just on consoles but also on the smartphones, so that more and more people will become aware of the Tales series.


The second reason is that on the smartphone we can provide a new gameplay experience to existing users in a way that’s very different from the console Tales games.




A new gampelay experience very different from the console Tales games… so I’m guessing that probably means Tales of Link will not be utilizing the Linear Motion Battle System that’s found in most Tales titles?


The Linear Motion Battle System requires the use of a d-pad and face buttons to control the characters on-screen. But on the smartphone, there aren’t any physical buttons or a d-pad. So for Tales of Link we’re implementing a new and different battle system where the user can control the character and do battle through finger gestures on the touchscreen.


Is Tales of Link something you’d consider bringing over to the West? I found it interesting that the iOS version of [email protected] Shiny Festa was released in the West – a first for the series – even though the PSP versions were not, and I was wondering if this might mean that the barriers to releasing an iOS or Android game in overseas market are lower than console titles.


There is some possibility that future Tales social or SNS (social network services) titles on the iOS and Android platforms may be released overseas. But I think, if we want to do that, we would want to release the game at the same time [all over the world] – not only in Japan but also simultaneously overseas.


The current existing [smartphone] titles are developed in conjunction with companies like GREE and Mobage, so it is very difficult for Namco Bandai to decide to release these kinds of existing social titles in Western markets.

Read more stories about & & & on Siliconera.

  • Guest

    They’ve said no 3 times. Probably never getting the Vita Tales games ;_;

    Its a shame they couldn’t just let someone else handle it but oh well.

    • Pyrotek85

      That’s what I was wondering, farm it out to someone else to localize.

      • Guest

        They said something about Tales being a very proud Namco series and that if a Tales game is localized, they want to do it themselves and with their own money.

        • Pyrotek85

          So hire people? I guess I’m missing something because the solution seems obvious.

          • Guest

            Namco doesn’t want to take any chances with Vita in the West.

            Sucks for us fans because they make tons of Vita games in Japan.

          • Pyrotek85

            Yeah, but it turns into this catch-22 situation. If everyone is scared to make games for the Vita, people won’t have a reason to get the system. Games sell the system, someone has to step up.

          • Guest

            Sony needs to be that someone. They need to market the games more and pay for some localizations.

            Killzone Merc. is probably Sony’s most expensive Vita game and it got so little marketing. Soul Sacrifice got no marketing outside of Japan and I don’t think Tearaway has gotten any good marketing.

          • Pyrotek85

            I agree with you there, some of these games are released and you barely hear about them. Sometimes you wonder if they’re trying to fail.

          • Guest

            You could say XSEED and NISA are stepping up for Vita but they can only do so much. I still trying understand what was the logic of a Walking Dead Bundle instead of a Killzone or Soul Sacrifice one. I would hope Sony can get us the FFX HD one or at least the physical Twin Pack for NA & EU.

            They still haven’t announced localization for SS Delta which is starting to worry/piss me off.

          • Pyrotek85

            Yep, and I’m trying to support those two by buying the titles they localize, but like you said, only so much. I haven’t played it, but isn’t the walking dead game more or less a visual novel essentially? An odd choice indeed if that’s the case.

          • $36598391

            I hope NA gets physical VITA releases of X and X-2

          • Alexander Marquis Starkey

            Many people are fans of the Walking Dead and there is a Vita game on Vita? That sounds like damn good way to sell a portable console.

          • Hound

            I’d have to disagree with Soul Sacrifice getting no marketing outside of Japan. Up until its launch, the game itself was featured prominently on a lot of game review websites, online magazines, and I recall graphics in gaming stores as well.

            Comparably, Japan had a very large amount of Soul Sacrifice marketing (possibly because of this popularity difference?) So, yes, we received less marketing, but then again it was advertised rather well compared to most other vita titles up until then.

          • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

            Because Sony had given up on the Vita and now its a PS4 accessory.

          • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

            Thats the job of AAA tittles, and Tales isnt like that yet so no Namco would be commiting suicide with them.

    • Tom_Phoenix

      The thing is, even if someone other than Namdai handles the localisation, it is the game’s development team that has to handle all the coding. I presume that is what Baba is referring to; they can’t dedicate enough staff for that task in order to localise all the games. We’ve already had past examples of games (such as Ace Attorney Investigations 2 and Grand Knights History) that weren’t localised due to development staff having moved on to other projects and thus being unavailable to code in localised text.

      Technically, it is possible for someone else to do that job, but having to work with someone else’s code is a programmer’s worst nightmare (which is one of the reasons why fan translations take so long). Either way, it’s not exactly a cost effective way of doing things and localisation studios don’t usually have in-house programmers anyway.

      • Sergio Briceño

        Unless… They keep the Tales of series on Vita/3DS and Xbox/PS. All this mobile, browser development is getting out of hand.

        • Tom_Phoenix

          I’m……really not sure what that has anything to do with what I said, but ok. XD

          • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

            I think he means namco spending resources and manpower on less “worthy” tittles or instead in localizing.

          • Sergio Briceño

            “The thing is, even if someone other than Namdai handles the localisation, it is the game’s development team that has to handle all the coding.”

            Less programmers working on mobile Tales of games => More programmers working localizing Tales of games for consoles/handhelds.

            Edit: To whoever downvoted me, I was just explaining how my answer related to Tom_Phoenix’s original comment, as he didn’t see the relation himself. This reply didn’t add any information whatsoever to my last comment (to which Tom_Phoenix replied) so if you hate my opinion so much, I advise you to un-downvote me on this comment and downvote me on the previous one. You know, to keep things in order.

          • Alexander Marquis Starkey

            So you’d rather they sacrifice workers for a project that they believe is going to sell well, for localization of a game that may not have an install base in the west? The reason behind the lack of those games being localized was that the Vita has a very small player base in the west, which is true, because the Vita is struggling in the west, having to compete with the 3DS and now smart phone gaming.

            And don’t say smart phones are a lucrative platform for games. Many people have one, and several developers are putting games on mobile devices.

          • Sergio Briceño

            “So you’d rather…”. Keyword being “you”. Yes, I’d love for them to do that. It is in my best of interests that:

            1) We get more console/handheld games of my favorite series (“To” isn’t my favorite, but I mean generally).

            2) Mobile doesn’t get strong enough that we lose more developers to it. Keyword being “lose”, as in “forget about making anymore AAA titles” lose, as is the case with Sakaguchi-san.

            It may be lucrative for them as you say, but next thing we know playing “Pong” on a smartwatch is the next big thing and we get no more “Uncharted”s or “Gears of War”s

      • Lynx

        Not always but it is rare for other companies to help out.
        It happens though.

        Sakura Wars V, for instance, had the Wii port which neither SEGA nor Red helped with. It was Idea Factory.

        • GH56734

          Xseed confirmed they are doing this at least for PC versions of Falcom games, like Ys and Trails in the Sky.
          Nintendo too, with the Terranigma PAL release (done by NoA incidentally, aside from the Multi-3 text translation from English of course). That’s why the text has the weird Japanese spacing.

          It’s a nightmare but that hasn’t kept Square from doing it to recover the assets from KH1 for their compilation.

          Still, that’s also what killed Grand Knights History, and potentially Yakuza 5.

          • Yause

            Grand Knights History was a disagreement over server costs, hence the “lack of resources”. Seems that Xseed expected Vanillaware to operate the servers; Vanillaware couldn’t justify it due to the small PSP market in the west (nor were they willing to port the game to another platform, and FWIW, the Japanese servers have since been shut down).

          • Lynx

            No, it wasn’t.

            What killed GKH was the fact that most, if not all, of Vanillaware’s staff were working on Dragon’s Crown. The translation itself was done and had to be inserted but that couldn’t happen as most of VW’s programmers were with DC.

      • YouGusta

        Well said.

  • Leon_Tekashi

    Hmm…I do agree that they should concentrate on flagship titles first. Hopefully we’ll get the others eventually in some shape or form.

  • IS | 桂木

    They should get someone else to localize. What about Sony? The Vita titles are on their platform after all

    • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

      Sony doesnt seem to care for the Vita to be anything besides a PS4 accessory.

      • Ferrick

        except that Sony is the one that is making games for the vita, so yeahhhhh, you’re half wrong at that

        • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

          I can trow .lefovers to my dog but it wouldnt count as giving him to eat, Sony hasnt gave up on the Vita but its not a priority fro them anymore.

          • Ferrick

            leftovers ? the hell are you saying boy, sony japan is making games for the psvita, actual new games, not a remake of old psp games and such

          • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

            Those are leftovers too, no big names there to sell that thing.

          • Ferrick

            …. so to you, leftovers = games that are not produced by any well known company ?

      • FlyingPony

        If Sony didn’t care about Vita, they won’t launch the 6 color Vita 2.0 and the Vita TV.. Why spend money on a console that they decide to abandon..

        • Oscar Alberto Abrego Suarez

          So it can look good besides your PS4.

        • greedisgood

          that for ps4 accessory , if sony care they make more games for vita

          • Elvick

            They are…

            Destiny of Spirits
            Gravity Rush 2
            Soul Sacrifice Delta
            GoW Collection
            Borderlands 2 (Sony’s making it)
            Invizimals (I think it’s out now in EU, with no NA release announced)
            Freedom Wars
            Flower and flOw ports
            Dead Nation port
            PS Vita Pets

            Likely whatever Bend is working on is a PS Vita title.

  • Rogerrmark

    Xseed already proposed to translate the games.Namco just LOLNO them.

    Lack of people doesnt seems to be the only or main reason..

  • Loli Summoner

    tales of link? thats a silly name.

    • EinMugenTenshin

      It’s just a ripoff of Zelda. ;)

  • epy

    It’s not ideal but I’m glad they’re focusing on bringing us the main titles, even if we don’t get the other stuff. Much better than other companies that choose to focus on the mobile stuff and have us beg for the quality titles.

    • I agree.

    • Bec66

      I know but the fact that we aren’t getting the Vita titles even though there’s obviously an audience for them is a bit frustrating.
      I only say this because when Sony asked what Vita titles people would like to get localized the Tales games toped the poll.

  • Anthony Birken

    I bought a Vita with high hopes for more releases and goals for importing, but at this rate I can literally cry for the progress of this console here in the west. Besides that, I’d be able to die happy if more Tales were translated~

  • HerosLight

    I’d do anything for a localization of Hearts R and Innocence R.

    Guess i’ll just have to buy a Vita sometime, import them, and follow a walkthrough.

    • no one

      I imported, played through, and platinum’d ToHR despite barely being able to read any Japanese. External assistance was only necessary for picking up random trophies, not for finishing the core game.
      The game is fairly linear, and recognizing the kanji for the four cardinal directions (North->北, South->南, East->東, West->西) help a lot in figuring out where the next place to go is.
      Of course, most of the story/dialogue went over my head (though you can refer to the translated script of the original ToH), but the battle system was so incredibly fun that I think it was worth it.

  • “The Linear Motion Battle System requires the use of a d-pad and face
    buttons to control the characters on-screen. But on the smartphone,
    there aren’t any physical buttons or a d-pad. So for Tales of Link
    we’re implementing a new and different battle system where the user can
    control the character and do battle through finger gestures on the
    Oh so that’s why you ported Hearts R to that platform!
    Smart thinking!

    • 永次

      ToHR iOS port is crap, you can verify it, thats not a Tales of, thats shit, but, ToHR VITA is f*cking awesome, one of the best Tales of, I’m really enjoying it, the gameplay is really awesome, the characters and the story are good, the dungeons are great with puzzle, secrets, there are a lot of events and subquests, costumes, add-ons… Awesome game.

  • NightzeroAX

    “But basically I would like to release Tales titles on the console(s) that the most number of Tales fans would like to play on.”

    Playstation obviously.

    • I’m not sure if he’s serious or not but I’d definitely like the series to stick to one platform or two for this generation. They spread titles all across the board last two generations (though most titles eventually found their way to sony consoles one way or other).
      I wonder if they’ll do anything with the 3DS after Abyss…

      • Tom_Phoenix

        Well, the 3DS port of Abyss did fairly decently, so there is an audience for Tales games on that platform.

        Whether or not that is enough to justify developing 3DS Tales titles is for Namdai to decide.

        • Considering the 3DS popularity it’d be a shame if they didnt pick on the trend.
          They’ve been slightly more consistant with unified platform releases since GracesF was localized, luckily. I mean the PS3 is getting a whole 4 (5 if you count ToSHD as two games) english Tales games vs only one or two tops games per system (2 on PSX, 1 on GCN, 2 on PS2, 2 on PSP, 1 on Wii, 1 on 360, etc).

          If they actually kept focused on -one- system like they are doing with the PS3 we might see the series get -somewhere-.
          Sadly the marketting decisions of Bamco are, honestly, very questionable. It’s dragging the series’ success (and as of lately, brand quality and reputation) down.

          • sd28

            personally i think they should do multi platform releases on 3ds and vita to try and expand there fan base. some thing like radiant mythology 4 running on the the tempest r engine would work well.

          • Multiplatform releases between 3DS and Vita is pretty expensive, though.
            …Is what I’d like to say, but they ported the R engine to iOS, so who knows?
            If it’s an engine that works well in different platforms and lends to cheap development, multiplat is the way to go.

    • artemisthemp

      Sadly doens’t apply to older titles :(

    • Sergio Briceño

      To be honest I don’t care at this point. So long as it’s not a browser or mobile game and we actually get it, I’d even buy a Game Boy Advance if they make a “To” game for it.

  • They can outsource

    • Lynx

      From what I understand, a few companies have actually approached them of doing that. Alas, they didn’t seem too okay about it from what I understood of it.

      Would love to have legitimate physical English copies of Innocence and Hearts, no matter the form. Sadly, they seem more apt to never be happening.

    • GH56734

      Translation is almost always outsourced, in fact, Vesperia, Graces f, Xillia and Eternal Sonata were all translated by U-8 (which did the text for the DS Final Fantasy / DQ remakes and notably Fire Emblem Awakening). The programming work is the problem.
      In the scenario that they don’t want to dedicate any single employee for the localization programming, Japanese companies will rather have the development resources burnt to ashes rather than handing it to an exterior party. Though some exceptions exist, but they almost amount to rom hacking, such as PC Ys games by Xseed and the European Terranigma release by Nintendo.

      Also, they declined Atlus request to localize Tales of Rebirth and/or Tales of Destiny 2.

    • fireguardiancoty

      We don’t need another Phantasia GBA or Tempest.

  • Crazy_O

    Just translate the text for the ones you don’t have time to dub :>

    (don’t need the dubs anyway, *ducks*)

    edit: So some people prefer no game at all before only with subs to cut costs to get them released? You know, this is an article about why games aren’t localized and I just gave my opinion on how to safe costs – I did NOT bash the dub in any way but reading through some answers some may have seen my post without the context of the article – that’s why I edited this explanation in.

    • fireguardiancoty

      That’s like asking for the series to die overseas.

      • Crazy_O

        I played games without any voices and those still sold well enough to warrant bringing over sequels and other titles.

        If localization costs increase because of dubs – just don’t do them if it takes too much time or you can’t afford them.

        • Lynx

          How old are these series?

          Nowadays, its an expectation for VA.

          • Crazy_O

            My 3 most loved RPGs are Secret of Mana, Evermore and Terranigma. No VA if I remember correctly.

          • Lynx

            Because most of those games were on consoles that couldn’t support VA, nor were they in an era that required VA.

            The 90s were very bare in terms of VA in RPGs. There were a few cases where there was VA but it wasn’t as wide spread as it is now.

            Tl;dr if those games were released, they would either not sell as much, be digital only or perhaps prevent further titles from getting. The appeal wouldn’t be as large today if they were released as is, for the first time, tomorrow as compared to when they were originally released.

          • Crazy_O

            Seems we have a different opinion regarding this, I’m still playing games with no va today, my younger sister does so too on her 3DS with animal crossing. To this day there are titles selling well enough or even great with no real va at all.

          • Lynx

            I’m referring to big, massive games on home systems of which I would put Tales under.

            Guess I should’ve made that clearer.

          • Crazy_O

            So we can at least agree on the games on mobile platforms? I’ll take that.

            For big plattform games, someone should at least try it.

          • Lynx

            Pretty much. In terms of portables like Nintendo handhelds and stuff like phones, VA isn’t necessarily needed. However, Vita on the other hand….

          • brian

            Actually, some games still have no voices except as sound effects, most notably Pokemon, Pikmin, and Zelda.
            Also a lot of games from Atlus, particularly SMT/Radiant Historia/Growlanser 4 if it counts/probably something else.
            Also also quite a few of the FF ports never included voices, and 4HoL.

      • FlyingPony

        The question is, how many people prefer English dubs so much that they won’t buy any Japanese dub game with a English subs?

        Because in my experience,it seems most people prefer Japan dub + eng. sub over eng. dub.

        • Crazy_O

          The question I tried to answer in my first post was If we should have a game without dubs or no game at all.

          • FlyingPony

            Yeah. I think majority of the fans won’t mind if they get Jap dub + Eng. sub version, much like in anime industry where it work rather well.

            I actually prefer dual audio games (for both side benefit, Japanese dub fans and English dub fans) but if the expensive cost for English dub become a hindrance for Japanese games to make it to the west, I’d say just make Jap dub + Eng. sub version.

          • Crazy_O

            Exactly, that’s what I was hinting at.. maybe I was too ambiguous in my first post.

            Even I support dual audio if it means the game sells better, I’m not on a crusade here. But if it is a reason we don’t get a game at all that sucks for all of us.

        • Guest

          As long as NA gets the rest of the Tales games
          I could care less if they have English dubs

          If the games just have subtitles and the original Japanese voice acting It would save Namco a TON of money

    • leingod

      I don’t need (or prefer) the dubs either, but apparently I’m in the minority.

      • Crazy_O

        I will take the downvotes for us – I’m at +12k – I don’t mind voicing an unpopular opinion. It turns out to be good most of the time ;)

      • Slayven19

        Good, you people need to stay in the minority. I don’t need dubs but I prefer them but it’d be stupid to turn back now.

        • Crazy_O

          As to better not have the games at all?

        • leingod

          Not sure what’s wrong about liking a product the closest to its original state.

          • fireguardiancoty

            Why not import? Then you get the entire original experience. Japanese text and all! It probably wasn’t the original creator’s intent for it to be in English anyway.

          • leingod

            Because I can’t read japanese.

            Some people tend to think this only applies to japanese games, but no… I’d also hate something like a spanish-dubbed GTA (I’m latin american)

            Trevoro: Hola amigo Miguel!!


        • fireguardiancoty

          It is a minority. A very vocal, loud, annoying minority.

    • Maumac77

      I prefer dubs myself, but I can agree to that if that were the problem. However I think the translation of the script as well as the voice work is outsourced to begin with isn’t it?

      • Crazy_O

        If that is so, the title of the article is confusing. I thought they didn’t have the staff, not the company they are outsourcing it to.

    • Nitraion

      Their dubs is not suck to me…
      and i feel that kinda downgraded the series standard…
      if you do that it looks like no production value or whatsoever to me…
      it will be look like cheap game localization and namco doesn’t care of it…
      if you want that do dual-audio but no sub only…

      • Crazy_O

        I never said the dub sucked – and if you like it, fine – how can I tell you what you have to like and what not? I accept your preference, a step some here cannot take for me it seems ;)

    • brian

      I think their main problem with it (as in the article) is that they’re understaffed, or at least less of a problem than money, and they try to focus mostly on domestic stuff for Japan since that’s their biggest priority.

    • Bec66

      Even that takes time and money since to do that not only do you have to translate the games entire script (Including menu’s, Items, and skit’s) you also have to edit the graphic’s of the game itself to translate the game it really isn’t as easy as you’re making it sound.

    • Arrei

      If the problem is being understaffed, not dubbing it isn’t going to alleviate the problem any – voicework is done in a matter of hours, it’s translation that takes forever. According to the producer, they recorded all of Tales of Xillia’s lines in around eight hours total, and they always get another studio to do that part so it’s not even much of a workload on them.

      While I try to stay away from the whole dub vs sub debate, you’d have to understand, bringing it up helps nothing in this case and only serves as flamebait.

  • Maumac77

    Well as far as flagship Tales Titles go we are getting the last one next year unless another one is announced. So maybe we will get at least one more. I predict HeartsR since that’s the one he wants everyone to play

  • Bobby Jennings

    Bullshit man.

  • Kornelious

    Well he didn’t say no, but he didn’t say yes either…..(sigh) guess that means MORE waiting.

  • NoOneSeesWhatWeSee

    I would like to see more Tales games localized.

  • Joshua Myers

    Then hire more people damn you!

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    Hah. Oh well

  • Could they translate the remake of Tales of Destiny 1 then ? :p

  • Mastema

    Do not believe his lies!

  • Monterossa

    Poor company… why don’t try to hire NIS America to publish your games?

    • Pretty much.

    • Alexander Marquis Starkey

      I wouldn’t let NISA anywhere near a Tales localization, for the sole fact that it would be quite different from what kind localization we’ve come to expect from the series. The changes that are made to the English versions actually come very welcome, where as NISA would stay closer to the Japanese translation.

      • Spirit Macardi

        Not necessarily. NISA has made some huge changes when localizing games, like adding more jokes and gags to Trinity Universe or even altering entire characters (Mr. Champloo from Disgaea 3 is practically a different person between the US and Japan).

        Not a bad thing though, in fact it’s part of the reason I love them x3

      • fireguardiancoty

        Plus they’d dub half the game. Skits probably wouldn’t be voiced anymore on top of that.

  • Flamboyant Ass Nigga

    Never played it so this will be a new experience i only played Tales of Graces f loved it.

  • Spirit Macardi

    “Because the number of development members we have on staff is very limited, it’s not possible to localize every single Tales title.”

    Now wait a minute, is he saying Tales studio itself is forced to localize its own games? They don’t get any aid from the rest of Namco Bandai’s Japanese or western divisions?

    That would… Actually make a lot of sense, since Namco never seems to want to spend time working on anything outside of Tekken, Soul Calibur, and Pac-Man. It’s an insanely bad move on their part though, since if they offered some aid then they could get the games localized faster and probably bring over more of them.

    Yeah Tales isn’t a giant seller in the west, but there’s still enough of a fan base to turn a profit. Some money is better than no money after all. Then again, this is the same company that shut down Bandai Entertainment because they decided not having an audience was better than having a niche audience.

    • Alexander Marquis Starkey

      Most Japanese developers usually have to outsource the translation localization to other companies. Once the text is translated, the dev team has to code it into the game themselves usually. This is done for however many differently languages the game is localized in. Whether the localization team has people who speak many languages, I wouldn’t know how often an occurrence that is.

  • TheRequiem95

    I don’t understand localization issues. There are enough fans out there who would be willing to contribute to the cause for free (looking at you, Nintendo/Mother 3).

    • fireguardiancoty

      There aren’t enough people to do the job the fans want them to do, hence why they have to pick and choose.

      • TheRequiem95

        I’m talking about fan translations, though. The are people out in the wild who would be happy to help them translate the games if the companies just enlisted their services.

    • DesmaX

      Isn’t that Illegal? (Employing people without paying, that is)

      Xseed mentioned something like that with the Trails series

      • If they are working for them as a volunteer it isn’t.

        • DesmaX

          But relying on volunteers would be a problem.

          Nothing wrong to put a volunteer together with a working team, put putting too many of them (Or relying sorely on them) could be a problem. I mean, they’re not getting paid, so they aren’t obligated to work on it

          • I agree with you. I’m just correcting you regarding employment status.

          • DesmaX

            Sure, my bad there

          • :)

      • TheRequiem95

        Well, it’s illegal if the IP owner doesn’t sanction it, which they could very easily do, especially if they are bringing the games to the West, anyway.

  • bdp

    isn’t atlus smaller and don’t they localize pretty much every game?

    • pimpalicious

      SMT games don’t come out near as much as Tales games do.

      • bdp

        atlus usa does more than smt though.

        • pimpalicious

          So does Namco.

          • bdp

            so basically namco is too lazy and unwilling to work with other publishers to meet fan demands.

          • pimpalicious

            It happens. Nintendo, Sega, Namco, etc all do that. If they don’t localize it, no one will.

  • Hey there is this thing … called the internet …. HOW ABOUT YOU START CROWDSOURCING THAT SHIT? There are fans who love these games so much they would do it for free if you just give them signed copies of stuff. Plenty of people do this already for classic SNES and NES and Gameboy games with serious amounts of rom hacking and patching!

    • GH56734

      They’ll need someone from the staff anyways to insert the text.
      They can’t afford to have anyone from the staff to do so however.


    Baba need to think before saying something to not get in contraction. first the guy says that want the west to try Hearts. Then say that Hearts R are not going to be localized. This can really piss off some people

  • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

    Give the opportunity to replay Symphonia but dont put on Wii U as well GENIUS

  • CirnoLakes

    If we buy enough copies, then I can assume they can afford to hire more people to localize Tales games. Yes?

    I really would like to see all of the Tales games localized eventually.
    I guess the problem is money. I would like to see the Tales games well more, so we can get more localization. I’m sure if the demand is there, we’ll see a supply.

    So our only option is to keep buying Tales games.

  • kaimo

    Every someone makes english patches for unlocalized games in their basement by themselves with no funding, these words ring more and more hollow.

  • It seems I have to import 2 Tales games for my Vita. Waiting is killing me.

  • awat

    im sad, and my psVita is even more sad its about to cry -~-‘

  • Romored

    I guess many here are mixing up a few things: “localization” doesn’t just mean “translation and voice recording”.
    Those are just a part of the process, which are almost always done by third parties (under Namco’s commission) and are almost always easily affordable with a good marketing plan.
    After that, there must be a few members of the original development staff who have to actually put the localized material inside the game code. That is not an easy task, it can’t easily be done by anyone. The problem, here, is in fact that there aren’t enough people in the development staff who can do this task.
    So even making the games “localized” by third parties like XSEED or NISA wouldn’t be particularly useful.

    We have one clear example: the localization of Grand Knights History. XSEED had all the translation and voice work done, they just had to wait for Vanillaware to have someone to put that material inside the game and create an American build of the game. Vanillaware didn’t have enough men to do it, and that’s why they ultimately decided to cancel the localization. That’s what Namco wants to avoid.

    The solution would be to hire new staff members to work specifically on localizations, but Namco doesn’t want to do it until the Western sales of Tales games will be large enough to justify the employment of those members.

    • WyattEpp

      As a software engineer, the idea that replacing text even requires recompilation is kind of offensive to my sensibilities as a professional. :/

      • Romored

        It’s not only a matter of replacing text (that is done by simply loading a text file for each language), but also of making the game capable of recognizing the system language and load the language file accordingly. Also changing the dimension and position of the text bubbles to adapt them to the different length of the new texts and avoid graphic glitches is another thing that needs to be analyzed. Especially when you work with different languages with very different grammar rules (like languages that distinct between gender and number like Italian, French and Spanish) you also have to create new subroutines that make the game able to recognize each case. And if you’re a software engineer you should know better than me that every time you change the source code you have to do a lot of trial&error and debug until it finally works as it should. Let’s not talk about the graphical localization, when you have to make the game load the right textures and graphical assets according to the language the game is playing. So really, it’s not really as simple as just loading a language file. It depends on the software design, obviously, but we know that Tales games have been designed mainly for Japanese audience, so they weren’t thinking about all these small details. That’s also why they didn’t include dual audio in the previous Tales games (and THAT really needs recompilation). They used a different approach with Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, that was designed from the start with localization in mind, to be multi-language and with dual audio.

        • WyattEpp

          I know you mean well, but defending them for their bad practice benefits no one. :/

          “recognizing the system language”

          Probably a single function call. Or just default to the region of the media.

          “changing the dimension and position of the text bubbles”

          Built into the text display functions; hardcoding it (based on what?) would be insanity, given how much text they have. (Alternatively, it’s a universal fixed size and lines just have to fit into the box; cf. the idea of “text limits” and “overflow”.)

          “languages with very different grammar rules”

          This isn’t relevant. Games aren’t language processing engines (ルドラの秘宝 notwithstanding ;) ).

          “a lot of trial&error and debug”

          Trial and error is the absolute worst way to find errors. Rigourous debugging is founded in isolating and understanding the problem.

          “load the right textures and graphical assets according to the language”

          Once you know the selected language, a runtime path selection is…well, the last one I wrote is five lines of code. It’s something a university student should be able to do in a few minutes as a class exercise by the end of their first year.

          “Tales games have been designed mainly for Japanese audience”

          That’s just a bad excuse after the turn of the century.

          “dual audio … (and THAT really needs recompilation)”

          Same deal as graphics. Hell, they’d probably even have the same parent directory.

          I’ll grant that some of this would have made sense on cartridge systems in the ’90s (when ROM space was limited and they had to use a lot of tricks to compress string tables). But it’s fantastically bad code smell these days: forcing recompile for native text string replacement would be a huge impediment to the normal script editing cycle, too.

          • Romored

            Can you tell me why in some non-Japanese versions there are quite a few bugs and glitches, then? Devil Survivor Overclocked has several game-breaking bugs in the EU version, for example, even if it’s practically identical to the US version (except the splash screens and the staff roll). Same thing the US version of Pandora’s Tower on Wii, that has some bugs preventing the game to load the last three levels (they were not present in the EU version).

          • WyattEpp

            I can’t. I can make hypotheses about why that would be the case, but that’s as good as it gets without some tools, the source (or maybe just a debug build), and some time. “Game-breaking bugs” is a fairly subjective category, so I can’t even address that. The Pandora’s Tower one sounds pretty interesting. Just from that description, my first impulse is something like memory alignment. But it could a number of things; likely even several things at the same time. It may be indicative of rickety code, but the people who can confirm are not among us.

            This comes back to a point I make often: almost anyone can program a computer– slap some code down and get it to compile with a bit of logic and perseverance. Great for small things, but after a while, it probably sucks to work with. And this is the turning point: you can push on with something awful or you can go back and rewrite the things that need it. The former case is a demoralising mess. The latter means you may even have some code you can reuse. In either case, you’ve probably learned something about API design or how to structure your data, or similar important things. Over time, you become better, and…well, you get more difficult choices. ;)

            Let me be clear: software of any useful scope is complicated stuff, and a modern video game is among the most complicated software. Making a robust and maintainable codebase in the long run is never easy, and most of what you write in the first 90% of the project will be rewritten in the second 90%. So my criticism of Namco (in this case, though they’re far from alone) largely stems from what sounds like a lack of even basic planning even though they’ve had ample time to improve: Tales games have been coming West since the ’90s.

          • Romored

            Bugs that make the game freeze and reset your console are called “game-breaking”, no? That’s what happened in the EU version of DSO. Atlus and Ghostlight even had to make a patch to correct them. The problem came out every time you tried to summon a new demon (like when they die in battle and you have to switch them) or during certain House Auctions. The strange thing is that none of these bugs were present either in the JP or US versions. Only the EU version was affected, and they were systematic, even if it should have been identical to the US version. No one ever understood how could have it happen. Ghostlight gave an explication saying that it was a completely different build than the US version. Obviously most of the code is the same, but there must be something different if what should be the “same” program has very different behaviours according to the region.

  • WyattEpp

    Am I the only one wondering if they outsourced the design for Tales of Link to Nomura, or something? That girl has gym bloomers, leg warmers, tube top, two belts, boots, vest (held closed with a belt) with matching detached sleeves…


  • Elvick

    So hire more people? :| Outsource? I mean… ffs.

    Do what it takes.

  • Sesshomaru

    Tales of Vesperia on PS3 was practically 90% there all they had to do was add the bits they failed to put into the 360 test version. But nooooo couldn’t do that. Arse Hats.

    • Ace Trainer Chris

      There’s still the matter of translating all of the additional content the PS3 version had, as well as recording a crap ton of dialogue added in in English.

      • Sesshomaru

        I don’t care. It’s not like they added a whole new games worth of crappy content. It’s probably more to do with Microsoft getting the proverbial ant in their stupid “exclusive” hat. I will never ever ever ever be happy that we did not get the PS3 version of Vesperia because it’s still my favourite Tales game.

  • Gaminglord3

    Hey everbody! I’m new here. How is the Tales/Tales of games?

    • MrSirFeatherFang

      Hello, welcome to the site. I’ve not played many Tales games and honestly I’ve only beat Graces f with a friend. Tales games are action RPGs. Since the beginning Tales games have been action RPGs that have you utilize a 2D plane. They usually call it a “Linear Motion Battle System” and for each game they try to modify it in some way. Such as, newer Tales games you can actually move on the 3D plane now.
      All of them are quite adventurous and deal with a specific theme in each game. I don’t find their stories spectacular or amazing, but I do enjoy them. Each character in the main cast are given lots of personality. You can view various “skits” while journeying. They’re just conversations the party has with each other that can be about anything really. Comical, serious, or maybe even about the food you just cooked lol.

      Although like I said, I’m no expert on the series. If something was confusing, just ask me or I hope someone else can clear it up for you.

      • Gaminglord3

        Thanks! I think I get it. Maybe I will start with Abyss on the 3DS.

        • MrSirFeatherFang

          The only down side is that the skits are not voiced in the English version of Tales of the Abyss :(
          If you can get past that, I think you can enjoy it.I’ve heard mixed things where people didn’t like the cast, since the cast is a central part of the whole game.
          The MC might start out unlikeable, but later on he does change.
          Hope you enjoy it!

          • Gaminglord3

            I really wouldn’t mind the voice skits to be honest. I think the group is alright. The MC is alright so I’ll get use to him. Lol. Well, you have been very helpful telling me all about the Tales games. This site became my new favorite! As the guy who I have my avatar as once said ”Thanks, friend.” ;)

  • Jirin

    I don’t mind that they don’t translate every game, but I wish they’d work harder to make the Japanese version importable. I did once buy a cheap used Japanese region code PS2 so I could play ToD2 and ToR, and I imported ToI.

    But is it so much to ask, when they release a game on a region coded system, to make it possible to get a region one print of the Japanese disc? Or make the Japanese version downloadable in the US? It can’t be too much effort to just change the region code and nothing else. I don’t speak Japanese but I’ve found playing with walkthrough translations I find on the internet almost as good. It got me through ToP, Star Ocean, ToD2, ToR, and Ys V.

    Edit: I think I just talked myself into buying a Japanese 3DS.

  • firstarioch

    Tales of Rebirth and Tales of Destiny 2 PLEASE !!!! AND TALES OF Destiny Remake on ps2,can easiliy be done as download only on ps4 …come on it’s not that difficult ….

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

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos