JAST USA Won’t Be Localizing Starry Sky Due To High Licensing Costs

By Ishaan . January 13, 2014 . 4:30pm

JAST USA will probably not be localizing the Starry Sky series of otome games, company founder Peter Payne revealed in an interview with Technology Tell (thanks, ANN).


JAST USA were initially looking into the possibility of bringing the Starry Sky games over to western territories, but Payne stated: “We have talked with companies about Starry Sky since we know there are many fans who would love to have this game released for English-speaking fans to enjoy. Sadly we did not get a good response from the companies in question.”


Payne went on to explain that the problem with the game is its “all-star cast” featuring famous voice-actors, whose inclusion would require a significant licensing fee, adding that he felt a release without the Japanese voice-overs would displease fans.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • I love that they actually gave an honest answer to a tough question than the usual: “We have no plans right now, but keep checking our website –yadda yadda blah blah”. I know that’s not exactly the situation here, and I’m sure it’s more complicated when/if a company decides or hopes to localize titles, but it’s definitely nice to get a good answer and final word.

    • kaotron

      I agree, I’d rather them just plain out tell everyone that the game is not going to come or that they have no localization plans than cock tease everyone for a few years and leave it in TBA hell.

    • d19xx

      Yeah. I wish more dev/pub would trust their fans to understand this kind of stuff.

    • Firekitty

      I agree entirely…I’m getting tired of being jerked around by game companies, ESPECIALLY as related to voice-overs these days…

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    Would be terrible if we got it without our all star cast, at least they looked into it, I hope they look into mroe BL and otome games so I can finally throw money at them!

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Peter actually has already brought two BL games over.

      • Nanaya Nazrin

        And I heard those two BL games are not up to their standards.

        In other words, it sucked. According to BL fans from JAST and MG forums anyway.

        Me? Not a BL fan. Just sharing other people’s thoughts.

  • Juan Andrés Valencia

    Meanwhile Shiny Days is actually getting translated. FML

  • Engi3Piece

    huh so here is a very good example why most games that come to the west do not get dual audio. I wonder if fans would rather have an English dub translation instead of not having it at all due to “appeasing the fans.” I feel like its a bit unfair for people who don’t mind English dubs, the people who really wanted the game probably got it already and used a translation online or as a patch.

    • kaotron

      I like some animes and japanese stuff as much as the next guy on this site but I actually like eng dubs more. The only bad side is that the dubs has a chance of sucking but most of the time it’s good(I dont get all the hate).

      I dont understand why so many are obsessed with dual audio when they dont even understand japanese(if they did they could’ve just imported). For example I love the tales_of games I would buy any of the games day1 if they got localized but I see many people who drop it just because it doesnt have their precious japanese voices on it.

      • Engi3Piece

        I was on kotaku today and I saw this:

        “The first type of a passionate person is the wonderful one. They are passionate about something and they think that this thing is wonderful. They spend their time on it because it gives them joy. These are the people that contribute (whether they make some sort of a career out of it, or only rudimentary amateur attempts that never go further), or else who consume it incredibly (or both!). They talk to other people about their passion and try to show them why it’s so wonderful.

        The second type of passionate person is the jerk. They are passionate about something and they think that this makes them unique, and so they jealously guard it. If you don’t know about their passion, they regard you as a pariah, some ignorant fool that isn’t worth their time or compassion; if you DO know about their passion, but not in the exact same way as them, they shun you as an imposter, or a poser, someone who wishes to steal from them their unique status. These are the people that quibble over minor details as if they are life altering, who correct every teeny misstatement with a pronouncement that begins with “Well, actually…” and who actively drive away others from their passion.”


        they just over zealous fans, that rather keep their game/anime pure as possible and as a result when ever someone disagree or when the source material deviates a bit they get very upset. The article above shows the example of this well. The company rather not localize it at all instead of hearing the complaints of “fans” and causing a very great game to not be shared. Thus preventing new people to explore a different genre or people to stop pursuing it all together.

        • Shippoyasha

          To be fair, keeping content pure is a worthy goal if it’s achievable. Not every purists are unreasonable or toxic people. I suppose I can be called a bit of a purist but costs issue tends to be easy to sympathize for small companies. There is not much to say other than that it is very unfortunate.

          • Engi3Piece

            yes but is it really a worthy goal if it causes people to miss a great game. What if today Nintendo and Square-Enix cancels bravely default due to fan’s backlash of the censorship of costumes and ages. some people who may want try a JRPG will never get to try it or people who feel like JRPGs wasn’t like they used to will stop playing them all together. Then you have people (when it comes with audio) who are Dyslexia who need the audio to be in English to fully understand the game. I feel like the people who complain about this stuff is only thinking about “me, me me” not looking at the bigger pictures on why certain companies do the things they do.

          • winsantz

            I have Bravely Default preordered. I played a bit of the demo the other day and I’m looking forward to playing more. I’m hardly thrilled about the censorship, but it’s not a huge deal for me and it probably wouldn’t affect my decision to buy the game even if my interest level was a lot lower. I’d be pretty bummed if your hypothetical came to pass.

            At the same time, though, if someone feels so strongly about censorship (or DRM, or whatever) that they’re willing to skip a game they would have otherwise enjoyed because of it, who the hell am I to tell them what to do? It’s their money; if they want to spend it on a different game, or perhaps some other non-gaming hobby/entertainment (whoa, those actually exist?), they have every right to do that. Just because someone likes the same sort of thing you like doesn’t mean they’re obligated to continue supporting it for as long as you do.

            I’m not saying you shouldn’t try and convince them otherwise, but arguments that boil down to “stop whining and acting entitled” come out sounding like “shut up and get in line”.

          • Engi3Piece

            yeah I understand, but I feel like its a bit extreme in certain cases. stating how “well I’m not touching it anymore” (over a minor change if it doesn’t alter the gameplay or story it’s not important) and then turning around and complaining about a game not coming over to the west, you really need to think about it. saying how I’m not buying X game because of minor censorship, download only, ect. will have Japanese companies go ” well we have to do it this way and that, but this part of the fan base won’t like it so we won’t release it at all” It’s more of a”shut up be happy we got it” instead of “shut up and get in line”.

          • Shippoyasha

            Actually I hear they are taking some of the darker story aspects out as well. It’s not a major element of the story but it’s still worrying.

          • Shippoyasha

            I am looking forward to Bravely Default but the censorship is just unnecessary to me. It just brought unneeded drama to a great release. I don’t let it stop me from getting it but I am not going to say it leaves a good taste in my mouth.

            I just wish localization does its best to keep content intact but it’s still a struggle for many games. I just wish people learn to respect the games’ artistic integrity. That day isn’t here yet unfortunately, even though we are still better off than the 90s and early 2000s level of excess censorship in games

          • kaotron

            If I really wanted to play a game I could go without the voices, If anything even the random voice grunting(like fire emblem awakening) is good too.

            But I guess since this is a vn, the seiyuu’s are important. but to be honesl, this game has a very niche audience outside of japan. how many people who would’ve bought this game anyway do you see changing their minds just because of voice languages.

          • darke

            Me. I’m learning Japanese, and in the last month just went through and bought 8+ PS3 JRPGs/action games solely because they had Japanese audio so I could practice.

            Granted I also think the english VAs are ear-sandpaper for the most part because they don’t match the character, but I can turn the voices off in most of the games so it doesn’t worry me.

            But I’ve learned not to bother buying Japanese games without Japanese voices as a consequence. A lot of the translations are pretty average and drop a lot of the puns or other flavour; I imagine it’s even worse for more esoteric things like VNs. :(

          • Engi3Piece

            when localizing in the case of jokes, some puns just don’t translate well in English, due to not knowing the culture or in a lot of cases a pun on word will not be the same if you directly translated into English.

          • darke

            I’m aware of this, I do translation work myself. I just find myself annoyed at the drop in precision of what they’re describing (due to word limits?) which leaves the English text reading blander then the Japanese audio I’m hearing; and translations into ‘americanisms’ that are a pain to get since I’m not American and didn’t watch many imported .us TV shows in .au when I was growing up.

            All of which are solved by the inclusion of the Japanese voices; I don’t need to stress about not understanding everything in the Japanese since I’ve got the English to help me, and where the English lacks, I’ve got the Japanese to lean on. Which is why I noted I was in the group that “you see changing their minds just because of voice languages.”

          • I’m learning Japanese too :D

            Back when I knew very little Japanese I used to get annoyed when the honorifics are dropped or when hearing that the translation isn’t literal. But as I learned more Japanese, I also learned that it is important to make the translation sound as natural as it could for English-speaking audience while trying to keep the context intact. Not all gamers are familiar with honorifics or the Japanese culture (and I’ve come across some people who would rather have them dropped), and it would take away from their enjoyment to include jokes, proverbs or puns that they wouldn’t get.

            Well, good luck with your studies :)

        • kaotron

          in the end a game company can never completely satisfy the fans who have unreal expectations. Some may have different opinions/preference on this topic but I never really cared for big voice actor names, they can be the well known top dogs stars of voice acting OR just some random guy they just picked up on the street. As long as the voice matches the character&emotion and not in monotone all is good.

          I play games for good gameplay first, good story second, while voice acting doesnt even make a third.

          If I wanted to play a game really badly and the voice acting was the thing stopping it’s localization I’d get really angry. I guess in japan seiyuu/VA are a bigger deal than they are here…

          • Nanaya Nazrin

            You think that way because you are only a casual player towards VNs. Seiyuu is a BIG deal. I can’t explain much but yes, it’s a bigger deal than you think.

            You wouldn’t understand much if top priority for you to play games is good gameplay. You HAVE to remember that VNs are NOT meant for good gameplays.

          • Chon Pak

            Yep, the seiyuu is very important and having the original voices would give the best experience. Of course it would be better if we get the game in English dub instead of not getting it at all right? But it is preferred to be in Japanese dub because it is the original.

            For everyone else who don’t understand why there is these unreasonable demands for Japanese audio: Try watching some Western cartoon or games in Japanese dub. Sounds horrible right? You can’t force Japanese on Western stuff and vice versa. Localization is meaningless if it means westernizing everything.

            Personally, English dub doesn’t bother me more than name changes. Jeez, changing Japanese names to English names just because “localization” is ruining the experience. These are *JAPANESE* games mind you, and not English games. Localization exists to bring a different culture to your side of the world so you can understand and learn about it, not destroy the culture and turn it into your culture instead.

            Look, for example if you have a British name – Nicholas Hawtrey – will the Japanese change it to a Japanese name? Nichie Hagino? I would accept Pheonix Wright name changes because it’s reasonable (the names are puns after all), but if it’s like Inazuma Eleven where they change Endou’s name to Evans (this is horrible) then I can’t accept it.

            You certainly won’t like someone changing your name just because they can’t pronounce it right do you?

            It’s pure bigotry when people can’t even accept names such as God Gundam or Devil Gundam because it offends them (seriously? I don’t see the Japanese punching you in the face for calling Youkais demons and satanic creatures). Every time there is an issue with localization, it’s always the West (Other than licensing fees such as Starry Sky).

            Sorry it became off topic, but I would like Starry Sky to be localized too if it weren’t for the licenses. I just want to make my point as I don’t see the point of English people getting Japanese stuff localized if they want to remove all things Japanese from it and make it more Western (4kids, removing even riceballs).

            Jeez, I hope people can be more open minded. This world doesn’t revolve around just the West or something, if people honestly can’t accept other people’s culture (when it have nothing to do with them) then they need to move to Mars and stay away from us.

          • kaotron

            I get that there has been bad cases of localizing animes and games but most of those mistakes were made in the 4kids era(and everyone hates 4kids). Back then they made the mistake of westernizing it instead of just translating it.

            As a kid I liked the 4kids dub of shaman king even with the unnecessary censoring+name changes and today I like the dubbing for code geass and durarara and other dubbed animes/games that are localized by better businesses like funimation.

            For example, I really liked tales of graces f, a lot of fans were angry with the lack of dual audio but I thought the english voice acting was good. While I’m just happy one of there games are getting localized a lot of people are whinnng that it wont be in japanese.

          • kaotron

            yeah, I guess I am a complete casual when it comes to VNs, the few VN’s that I’ve played, I play in the english settings or sometimes the game would have no voices due to the budget and just have short types of grunts/words to show which character is talking(like Fire emblem awakening & virtues last reward).

            I was just trying to say that having a preference for japanese voices is weird(except if you understand a bit or learning I guess..) Alot of times, localized games have english voices are actually done pretty well but many dismiss it without giving it a chance.

            I get that english and japanese are very different, some things will be lost in translation and some reference/cultural jokes will be left out but the most part I think that it’s mostly from people who dont understand japanese and because of their imagination they believe that whatevers being said is amazing apparently..

          • Nanaya Nazrin

            Games are different. I can play and enjoy those games. I played Persona 3&4, and many more that originated from Japan. Yes, I love JRPGs. Heck, I even played Atelier Iris series, Mana Khemia series, Disgaea Series, and Ar Tonelico series in which those games have dual audio and never once did I change to Japanese audio to get that ‘original feeling’ of playing JRPGs. I wouldn’t say about the mainstream titles like FF, Tales series and such since those are different territories.

            However, mainstream games and VNs are like apples and oranges. You just can’t use the same kind of reasoning you choose to play games into VNs.

            Something like Phoenix Wright, 999 or DanganRonpa are kind of exception to this due to them being VN-hybrid games like 999, Virtue’s Last Reward and DanganRonpa being puzzle solving mystery games, Persona series being a RPG with dating sim elements, Ar Tonelico being a musical RPG with VN style interface(diving sequences) as well as Mana Khemia series a RPG having multiple individual endings based on which characters the MC has the most maxed out relationship with.

            Again, I really can’t explain this without going into a lot of mechanisms and other things in VNs/Eroges as well as giving too info a la infodump, later confusing ourselves in the process.

          • kaotron

            yeah, to be honest I’m a complete casual noob when it comes to VN games so I probably wouldnt understand the significance of original japanese voice acting and how it affects you enjoying the game. I watch a lot of subbed animes so I have nothing wrong with japanese voices(i even enjoy some of them in epic situations like battles/speeches) but for some reason I’d rather play a game with a language I can understand, and I’m not only talking about words, I also mean tones, emotions, emphasis and other part of language. Some fans who know a little japanese but not fluent may be able to tell but most can’t.

            I guess I shouldnt compare jrpgs seiyuu’s to the VN’s. especially since im not a huge fan of them.

          • Chon Pak

            It’s not weird to prefer Japanese voices and I hope you’re not one of those who like to call others weeaboos.

            I guess I did not explain it properly. English Dubs can very good, what I meant by “original feeling” applies to stuff like Anime and VN where there voice acting is very important.

            You certainly have the mindset that people who don’t understand Japanese but find it amazing is a complete weirdo do you?

            Let me give you a proper comparison, that is – music. Celtic music differs from that of jazz music right? So if you *localize* Celtic music into jazz then wouldn’t that ruin the whole point of music? Also why are you listening to music when it doesn’t make sense? You can’t understand melodies and crap, they can’t speak so why do you bother listening?

            My whole post is about being open minded and you are certainly not understanding my point at all given that you fail to understand others. Please, I hope you open your mind to other culture. Do you know that from my perspective that I find you weird? But have I once said “Man, I find it weird that people prefer English voices for Japanese games, a bunch of weirdos…probably because they’re too smart to understand Japanese so they have to resort to English”? I didn’t.

            It’s not about how good is the voice acting (jeez, I know lots of good English voice acting. My post is about whole different point),

            By things lost in translation, I mean when the company translates it they COMPLETELY CHANGE the meaning of it to become more Western. Do you understand? It’s not a matter of being unable to find an equivalent translation, but a matter of changing everything like Inazuma Eleven does.

            I’m sorry, but your reply is just a repeat of your previous points, it’s as if you didn’t even bother reading the whole thing and just the first three sentences. I’m not going to bother, it’s either you learn to accept people are different from you or just keep forcing your viewpoint onto us and condemn us as *weird*. You’re just proving my point that people are not open minded when it comes to different culture and crap because they don’t understand it. Certainly, I should throw away all my Japanese, Korean stuff because I understand only a portion of it. I am so sorry, I’m weird and idiotic. I like those languages and culture despite only being able to understand a little of it. I should say sorry to all those who hates Korean songs as well because they were right all along. Why bother listening to crap music that I can’t understand fully? Yeah…. I am a Chinese, I should just stick with Chinese stuff….I should not let my imagination run wild and be fascinated by other cultures…

            Why did I even bother learning English in the first place? Sigh.

    • I think it sometimes applies; in a case like this though, where there’s a fair cast and essentially everyone is on the high profile range, I totally understand.

      That is the hard part though; especially in the otome community, there’s a lot of appeal with the VAs, but it isn’t fair to everyone else that doesn’t know/care about those VAs to miss out.

      Even for this example, I’m pretty on the fence because, flipping Akira Ishida — but Starry Sky. ;u;

      • Engi3Piece

        yeah, I understand. But stuff like this is why we hardly get these types of games over here. I would love if the Uta Prince Sama gets localized, but due to the (I know) crazy expenses to keep the audio or to even re-dubbed it we will never see it. I feel like if people wasn’t so harsh to dismiss a game because its a “download only title”, “It’s not in Japanese” or “They censored some (insert unimportant part of the game that doesn’t change the game)” we see more games we want get localize.

        • Shippoyasha

          I think any censorship is bad and their unimportance shouldn’t give them a free pass. I just think the ratings system is broken where they punish games for risky content pushing them into adult only category. So I can understand why they may capitulate. But if the content was so insignificant, I wonder why they needed to be censored at all. There hasn’t been any instance of censorship I have been okay with.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        Come say hi on twitter sometime. You, Aunna, Maisey, Maia and Tristan can tell us how much you like the cute boyaz.

        • I shall~! I keep meaning to, but since I wiped my computer, I have to hunt around my external for the twitter password. x’D

          • M’iau M’iaut

            They should be able to resend ya a reset. I know the gang would love to say hi. Especially since we have grown with all the OTers who have joined the twitter club.

    • Firekitty

      Well, on the one hand, if there’s a localization, there’s always the chance that someone will undub it.

      On the other hand…I suspect that the majority of people interested in Visual Novels at all are going to be people who would at least prefer the original voices, if not be adamantly opposed to their removal.

      Besides which, when they say ‘without the Japanese voice-overs’, is there actually any evidence (as in, prior dub-only releases from JAST?) that they would even dub the game, as opposed to simply removing the voices entirely? There’s really no way to go about this that wouldn’t result in a lot of bad PR.

  • Junko Enoshima

    Can’t really blame them for this, considering the size of their company. I bet they’ll be raking in the dough with Steins;Gate, though!

  • Speedo Redempteur

    At least Jast tried.
    It’s cool that some company try to make some game localised even if it doesn’t work.

    “Japanese companies want too much money and don’t understand the internationnal market ” too bad.for them stary sky won’t be localised , will be fan translated and they won’t get any money at all

    “he felt a release without the Japanese voice-overs would displease plans.”

    fans ?

  • Hyli

    Ah well. I agree with Speedo Redempteur, the effort on JAST’s part is much appreciated, and I’ll try my best not to be bitter about it!

  • harmonyworld

    Meh, starry sky ain’t the interesting to me anyways~
    Bring over Hiiro No Kakera pls!

  • Ereek

    Well, I for one, wouldn’t mind a no-voice-acting version. I generally read faster than the characters speak anyway and find it to be somewhat distracting. I can absolutely understand wanting it, though. Still, a shame the west isn’t getting it at all now.

    • mirumu

      They may be worried there would be talk of boycotts and that the otome fans would divide on the issue. Definitely a shame though. I’d rather see a version with no voice acting than to miss out on the game completely.

    • Back in the PS1 days and before, most RPGs didn’t have voice-overs, and it was fun imagining how each character would sound like inside my head.

      I enjoy listening to my favorite Japanese voice actors as much as the next person, but I would rather have the characters mute than not getting the chance to play a game I’m interested in in a language I can understand.


    he’s right. knowing how people from this side can react to no jap. voice overs or no dub at all it’s better to not localize the game.

    I don’t like otome games or VNs that gocus too much on date elements (except when is full of comedy). but boy if the Phantom remake got localized i would buy it ASAP even if the game don’t have any voice acting (I tend to disable the voices in games since i read faster than the characters speak anyway)

  • Audie Bakerson

    Well hopefully Honeybee got the message and will include international release in the original VA licensing for future products.

  • DranzerX13

    If the costs for localization is too high, do a kickstartsr JAST USA. If there enough fans, I’m sure they’ll support it.

  • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

    Well…that’s a shame. But it’s understandable however. Plus, they’re being honest about it, too. Best to be honest than not be honest.

  • AlteisenX

    Otome games are definitely not for me, but I do appreciate the effort the industry has finally began to realize is there. As niche as VN’s are, the one’s we get are typically A+ efforts. Sure, we might not get this game right now, but if something catches on, later on we might.

  • Hinataharem


  • Lazulis

    I wouldn’t mind if they released the games w/o the Japanese audio, but I would really miss Akira Ishida…Uta no Prince-sama probably isn’t going to happen too considering the songs too. Oh licensing…

  • Pinkemon

    Aww, that’s a shame. It’d always be great to have more otome games around but I guess it makes sense they’d do this. (There probably ARE a bunch of people who wouldn’t buy this without the JP voices.)

  • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

    I’m sure fujoshi are willing to pay for $100 for this game.

    • Enma_Kozato

      Personally, no. Starry Sky has, what, 4 games per platform? $400 total is too much to ask from me. Especially when I don’t exactly like the art+coloring style. Voices aren’t a deal breaker for me, but visual presentation is when I’m going through a visual novel. Plus, dat plot.

  • Bacon_n_Lettuce

    Man, what happened to just reading? I know that it would be unfortunate to take something out of the game that was included in the original, but I feel like something as peripheral as voice acting could easily be forgiven.

    • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

      There are fujoshi who’re also voice actor fans. I think this is the sole reason otome games sell.

  • Alphabet Soup

    That’s a bummer, but I really respect Peter Payne and JAST USA for being honest.

  • The guy with the purple hair is wearing the HELL out of that red scarf. I kind of want to get a red scarf now. XD

  • Roses4Aria

    I’m sad to hear this but not really surprised. Considering how long it has been since they first talked about licensing it, I figured it was probably not going to happen. It’s a shame. As much as I love the seiyuu, I’d be happy to get the game even without voice acting. As for an English dub, I honestly think there are some English voice actors out there who could do a really good job with this if given a chance. I’d still buy it. :)

  • Kumiko Akimoto

    Noo danmit noo

  • Firekitty

    On the other hand, wasn’t there another VN recently which was released without the voices, with the understanding that they would be patched back in if it reached a certain level of sales? And it got the sales and the patch, so obviously it was a success.

    Though it could also be that the rights holder wanted an unreasonable sum for the license.

  • Mordina

    It’s pretty sad that voices can be a reason keeping companies from licensing games :<
    I want to get more otome games to the west than I can support!

  • celery

    Oh sad days :c

  • LibraS

    starry sky is pretty awful anyway, imho. bad heroine, romanceable guys have nothing to do with their zodiac signs, etc

  • Yeah I read about this on ANN:


    It stinks Japan tend to be overpricey when it comes to licensing certain thing for overseas export.

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

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos