A common question that fans directed toward XSEED up until late January 2020 was, “Where is Rune Factory 4 Special?” The game was delayed until February 25, 2020, and XSEED’s first localization blog explained the reasons behind the delay.
XSEED Localization Manager John Wheeler acknowledged that the public opinion was that it shouldn’t take this long to release a port of a game that was already localized into English before. However, apart from new content like Newlyweds Mode and Another Story, XSEED had to deal with a shift in how the text files were handled, especially as Rune Factory 4 Special was developed by a different team.
While XSEED was able to use modern localization techniques for this port, the 3DS version predated the use of the modern tools, meaning staff had to re-insert every line after editing the text breaks, among other text file issues.
Additionally, the German and French localization also partially caused the delays, as they had to adjust text length and deal with gender tags. All this added up to a massive QA process that took time to complete. Other issues fixed for the Switch version include audio issues, where English voices were quieter than the Japanese voices.
Finally, Wheeler revealed that two members of the original localization staff, Adrienne Beck and Jessica Chavez, returned to work on the localization for the new content in the game. Most of the original voice cast have also returned to voice the new content.
You can read the full localization blog here.
Rune Factory 4 Special will appear on the Nintendo Switch in Australia and Europe on February 28, 2020 and in North America in 2020. It is already available on the console in Japan. Rune Factory 4 is immediately available on the Nintendo 3DS.