Atlus USA are bringing Spike Chunsoft’s Conception II to North America and Europe. The game, which is an RPG for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, has you playing as “Disciple” with powers from a Star God to fight evil inside the Pandora Labyrinth.
Unfortunately, a Disciple’s powers disappear when he turns 19, and so, in order to continue your fight, you need to create offspring with the game’s female characters. These are dubbed Star Children, and can be of 30 different classes, such as Magic Knights or Thieves or Divas.
Siliconera caught up with Atlus USA to talk about how Conception II was localized into English, and what the English-language version of the game feels like. Joining us were Mike Meeker, who served as editor on the game, and Mai Namba, who served as translator.
Conception II was a surprising pickup from Atlus USA. What made this game stand out as a title for Atlus to localize?
Mike Meeker, Editor: The slick design really stood out. We felt that it shared similar flashy looks and UI of the later entries in the Persona series, and the sort of techno-futuristic-yet-fantasy aesthetic of it all has an interesting appeal.
The story centers around you as a Disciple fighting monsters in Pandora’s Labyrinth to save the world. When you turn 19, you lose your powers, which is why you need to create Star Children. Ouch. Is life really over when you turn 20? What happened to the other disciples?
Mai Namba, Translator: Actually, your life isn’t over when you lose your powers as a Disciple. While you are attending the academy, you are being trained in different fields, not just combat. Once a Disciple loses their power, they are guaranteed a good job for their deeds done as a Disciple, which can include a government position, a teaching career, or using the knowledge gained while being trained as a Disciple to help others in need.
MM: In fact, according to some of the NPC fluff, having an Academy education is quite desirable, and many former Disciples go on to successful careers in business or politics. The one former Disciple we meet hasn’t taken that option, and there’s some thought that she squandered her opportunities by becoming a “lowly” restaurateur instead.
Before you can create Star Children, you have to win the hearts of the seven heroines. How can you impress Feene? What’s a date with Serina like? How do the heroines feel about their role in this game’s unusual universe?
MM: The hero is special, but he’s not particularly powerful by himself. The girls accompanying you actually have the majority of the power, but their powers run on Ether, which doesn’t exist within the Labyrinths. The hero’s special ability allows him to generate enough Ether so that the girls can now actually fight within the Labyrinths.
MN: Going into the details of winning the hearts of the heroines would become spoilers, so I’ll keep this answer rather simple. Feene is the proper kind of lady who may seem a little naïve at times, so being honest and straightforward about things is a good key into impressing her. Dating Serina is a bit of a roller-coaster ride, since she’s quite a spunky girl. You may intend on trying to say something nice to her, but she may end up taking it the wrong way. If you’re going to date her, not sugar-coating things like you would to the other heroines and being bluntly honest with her may get her to open up to you more.
The heroines are rather split on how they feel about their role in this game’s universe. Some feel a little uncomfortable about having to get up and close to someone of the opposite sex, because who isn’t when they’re going through puberty? Other heroines actually have accepted their role and will happily perform them because they know that their actions will help in the extermination of monsters.
How did you approach localizing the game? Did you play up the wacky premise or try to rationalize it? I imagine the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, kind of like Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier.
MM: The game takes itself pretty seriously with regards to its plot and world-building. While some characters might be humorous, there aren’t any laugh riots that come about due to situations in the game, as Endless Frontier did.
Can you tell us how you wrote each of the seven heroines so they feel different from each other? For example, how does Narika present herself compared to Fuuko.
MN: When we localize a game, the translators always sits down with the editors to flesh out what kind of mannerisms and speech patterns each of the different characters have in Japanese. If the character happens to be a modest, shy kind of girl, we’ll convey that to the editors so that they can carry that tone through most of her lines, unless stated otherwise.
For example, Narika is the typical shy girl, who has self-confidence issues, unlike Fuuko, who is full of energy and smiling all the time. Narika happened to trail off on her lines quite often, and would use small utterances like “Um…” or “Ah…” whenever she wasn’t sure how to respond, so we tried to keep character speech traits like that in the English edits.
Were there any changes you had to make from the Japanese version? Are there any nods to Conception 1 that you had to explain?
MM: The characters were already supposed to mostly have Western-style names, but there were some problems here and there. The Japanese writers had already come up with some romanizations for the character names that we had to change.
Feene’s name was originally “Fine,” which might have been okay if her full name wasn’t “Fine Glass.” We went with something that more accurately represented the pronunciation. Similarly, Chlotz’s name was presented to us by Spike as “Clotsurough” (though it would have been more like “Kurotsuro”), which is just… ugh. That was changed with a little more extreme prejudice.
MN: Thankfully, Conception 2 takes place in a completely different world than Conception 1, and all the terminology that had been explained in Conception 1 are re-explained to the player in Conception 2, making it so that one can enjoy one without playing the other. There was a tiny nod to Conception 1, but it would be a spoiler so I’ll refrain from talking about it.
In Japan, Conception II has some Danganronpa downloadable content. Since that series just made its Western debut will we be able to get the Monokuma DLC?
MM: That DLC is still there!
Speaking of Monokuma, Torri looks kind of like Spike Chunsoft’s menacing bear headmaster. Is there a connection between the two games?
MN: That’s an interesting point! It’s true that Torri’s contrasting black and white hair and attire does resemble Monokuma from Danganronpa, but as far as I know, there is no connection between the two games.