We’re one step closer to a more complete Science Adventure series collection in English. Spike Chunsoft has gradually released entries in the Mages series outside of Japan, with two more big pieces of the puzzle on the way in October 2020. Robotics;Notes Double Pack will bring Elite and DaSH to new audiences, and Siliconera spoke with Localization Producer Toshihiro Beppu and Localization Editor Matthew Edwards about what preparing the games was like.
Jenni Lada, Siliconera: When did the Robotics;Notes Elite localization process begin? Did you know you would be working on both games right away?
Matthew Edwards: We started localizing Robotics;Notes Elite in early 2019 and DaSH in early 2020. We knew we’d be working on both titles, but at first we didn’t know we’d be releasing them in a double pack.
Toshihiro Beppu: I wasn’t with the company when this project first started, but we as a company knew! The double pack idea was a relatively recent idea, so it’s good to see that people are excited about it.
What was the localization process like when you had to work not just on one game, but two?
Edwards: It was important to us to maintain consistency throughout both titles. However, this wasn’t just a regular sequel situation. Since both are part of the Science Adventure series, we focused on keeping consistency not just with both games, but also with as many games in the Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head series as we could.
Beppu: It was pretty much like any other title. We only moved into working on DaSH after we finished Elite. If anything it was beneficial for us to have been able to move into DaSH while Elite was very fresh in our minds.
What challenges and benefits came from being able to work on both Robotics;Notes games without any kind of pause between releases?
Edwards: The real challenge, I think, was repeating the process while trying to improve. After finishing a project, we always review what could’ve gone better. After Elite’s work was finished, we really didn’t get that chance because we had to dive right into DaSH.
I think the benefit though was that we didn’t have to relearn everything. Robotics;Notes has lots of characters, catchphrases and unique concepts. I think if we had done a standard break between both games, we would’ve had to do a lot of brushing up to remember everything from the first game.
Beppu: It’s really rare to have an opportunity where we get to go straight into working on a sequel, so I think that was a huge benefit. As for challenges, releasing these two games together is a new process for us so setting things up was new and challenging to us.
Robotics;Notes DaSH has Itaru "Daru" Hashida, from Steins;Gate, as one of its characters. What was it like to localize a game with a well-known character and provide context and consistency for him?
Edwards: It was daunting! Not just Daru, but with him comes so many references to key Steins;Gate moments that we wanted to honor word-for-word. We cross-referenced a big handful of games and anime to see how Daru has been localized, as well as worked with those who have localized him in the past. MAGES. really helped us by setting out how he talks and his mannerisms that were incorporated into the world of Robotics;Notes.
Beppu: MAGES. was also very helpful with providing us with documents that helped maintain the quality/consistency of the text. We did a good amount of research to maintain his consistency as well.
Both of the Robotics;Notes games reference a Science Adventure game that hasn’t been localized yet, Chaos;Head. How did you handle the localization of those references when they’d appear?
Edwards: I will admit this was tricky, especially for me since I don’t read or speak Japanese very well. I ended up playing and researching Chaos;Head to see what English players think of it and what localization they would have for some of the content. In the end, the translating team decided the terms, which we focused on keeping consistent with other references from other Science Adventure games.
Did you find one of the Robotics;Notes games easier to localize than the other?
Edwards: Hmm, both had hills and valleys. Elite is a bigger game, but DaSH has more tonal shifts to obscure references and unique terms. In the end, I’d say DaSH was easier to localize, as much of the groundwork for it was laid when we were localizing Elite
Beppu: I think when the same localization team gets to work on a game and its sequel, things are usually easier with the sequel since many of the things are already established. In terms of Elite vs DaSH, I think DaSH was the easier title due to size and overall more lighthearted nature of the title.
How do you feel about the tonal shifts in Robotics;Notes compared to other Science Adventure games? Did you find it difficult to tactfully handle the backstories and situations for different members of the cast?
Edwards: The tonal shifts are very interesting, especially in DaSH. Some story routes are fantastical, while others can be rather dramatic and intense.
When I compare Robotics;Notes to Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head, Chaos;Head feels to me like the darkest of the three, and Steins;Gate can be fairly intense as well. But given the ages of the main characters at the start of these games, what I like about Robotics;Notes is that its lighthearted and slice-of-life style seems, to me, to be the most accurate to what high schoolers and early college age kids feel and go through.
Which Science Adventure series installment would you like to work on next?
Edwards: I really want all the Science Adventure series to be localized and released. Some titles, like Chaos;Head, feel completely forgotten, but I know the fans want to play an official English release. And of course, I hope there’s more to come, perhaps a story bringing more characters together from different titles. DaSH has shown that the crossovers are a ton of fun, and I think a game featuring Kaito, Okabe, and Takumi together would be unforgettable.
Beppu: Though I know nothing about it Anonymous;Code is looking really cool! Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about this title besides things you can search on the internet. I have nothing to spoil because I know nothing…
Robotics;Notes Elite and DaSH will come to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC in North America on October 13, 2020. It will show up in Europe on October 16, 2020. If someone gets the $59.99 Day One Edition of the Double Pack, they will get four pins of characters from the game. If you’d like to learn more about the Science Adventure series’ localization process, check out Siliconera’s Steins;Gate: My Darling’s Embrace interview.