Sit down with a warm plate of curry and hear the tale about Sorcery Saga; Curse or the Great Curry God. Siliconera spoke to Mike Engler from Aksys to discuss Vita roguelike and how they localized the wacky story where you explore dungeons in search of crystal carrots and other ingredients to make a legendary curry.
What made Aksys want to pick up Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God as one of their projects?
Mike Engler, Localization Editor: When we all played it, it was a lot of fun. There are several of us in the punishing rogue-thing. Since we don’t have too many games in our portfolio that are cute, yet soul crushingly hard at times. All in all, what it boiled down to is it was a fun game and enough of us liked it that we went after it.
So, let me get this straight. In Sorcery Saga, you’re going to venture into dangerous dungeons to get ingredients to make a legendary curry?
Yep. That was also part of the appeal, the disconnect between the story and the gameplay. It looks like it will cause you diabetes, but the gameplay itself is about as traditional roguelike as you can possibly get.
While at the same time trying to save a friend’s restaurant, dodging "heroes", besotted Evil Lords, and jealous girlfriends. As with all good farces, Sorcery Saga starts out with a series of misunderstandings, misplaced anger, false bravado, and several convenient plot devices. In the end, Sorcery Saga’s story is about friendship, redemption, and the quest for a darn fine plate of curry.
Cooking curry actually has effects in dungeons, what kind of curry do you make Pupuru cook?
You can have Pupuru whip up 28 different kinds of curry (29 if you include the "Legendary Magic Curry"). Looking back at the list, it seems that I kept most of the curry names in line with what you’d find in the real world or reasonably non-insane, mainly because the dreaded scourge of character limits… However, I doubt that your average chicken curry will automatically level you up or dispel the curses various enemies will put on your items…
Some of the other curries recipes you can make on the run include Wild Curry, Maiden Curry, Kitty Curry, and STAR Curry. As for their benefits? Well, you’re just going to have to (hopefully) discover that for yourselves…
How did you go about localizing a wacky story like Sorcery Saga?
Sorcery Saga was actually a lot easier than you’d think as most of the humor is mostly situational, and not based on elaborate and mostly untranslatable puns. While I’m all for punditry, a lot of the humor is situational where you take an ensemble cast, mix them together, and the humor comes from misunderstandings and personality clashes. It’s sort of like a more cynical version of Friends.
Once you get past the first dungeon and all of the characters get introduced in the mix, they are very defined and they are firmly convinced that they way they are behaving is perfectly acceptable. The way one person perceives reality isn’t exactly the same as how another person receives reality. Maybe Seinfeld would be a closer equivalent. As for approach, I make it a point to stay within the framework of the original text’s intent (more or less) and just work with/off of what’s already there. Luckily, I have a pathological fondness for the kind of non sequitur humor used in the game, so doing the story text (and a majority of the item text) was more a matter of just drinking way too much coffee and letting the dialog fall out of my head in a very stream-of-consciousness manner.
The two things I did make it a point to do in order to preserve the over-the-top zaniness of the original script was to avoid any naughty language (think lots of "crud" "heck" etc), and to accentuate the eccentricities and quirks of each of the characters. This let me stay out of the way of the characters in a figurative sense and allowed the natural inclination for the them to go at each other like rabid, slightly confused and exasperated weasels to flourish.
But honestly, the story of Sorcery Saga is naan-sense of the best kind.
The humor in the game is more based in the never-ending personality clashes between the characters, so having to come up with actual "jokes" wasn’t really an issue. However, there were a few places where I had to be creative with the situations presented, as sometimes Japanese humor doesn’t travel well between cultures. In these cases, I went with obtuse innuendos. Lots and lots of obtuse innuendos.
What is your favorite scene in Sorcery Saga?
Probably the first major scene after you make it through the tutorial dungeon, as that when most of the major characters are introduced and their personalities are identified. The misunderstandings, accusations, and evil intent are all foreshadowed there, and it gives you a brief glimpse into the depth of the rabbit hole Pupuru is almost forced to fall through.
What… is Kuu?
Kuu is life. Kuu is hope. Kuu is a shining beacon of righteousness whose light cuts through the darkness of the end times. But in reality, Kuu was a royal pain in the ass and forced me to get very creative with pronoun usage, as it’s never disclosed what, exactly, Kuu is.
So… you worked on Fate/Extra and I heard that Fate/Extra CCC was being shopped around to publishers… can you say if Aksys is working on this at all?
Hmm… I heard about the game and it was released in Japan. Fate/Extra is a great game and I highly recommend everybody pick it up, but don’t start with Caster unless you like frustration for the first hour of the game. And my answer is: yes, I like curry very much.