We had the chance to have a nice chat with two of the new companies present at Anime Expo 2010 this year with MangaGamer — Front Wing (known for their Jibril and Time Leap games) and 0verflow (of School Days fame). It looks like Front Wing hasn’t really considered an overseas release yet, but they’ve started thinking about it. On the other hand, 0verflow, who released an English translation of the trial version of Summer Days for April Fool’s Day one year, seems very interested in releasing English versions of their games, although they do outline some issues that are impeding progress in that area.
We first asked Front Wing about their reason for coming to Anime Expo, and they replied that it was simply suggested to them by the people running MangaGamer and they gladly obliged. They brought several of their artists this year and sold sketches and merchandise. When asked about their plans for English releases of their games, they acknowledged that they had not considered it before, but would be willing to “look into it”.
0verflow appeared to have come for the same reasons as Front Wing. However, one of the 0verflow staff present was actually at Anime Expo last year, helping out with the HOBIBOX booth. Furthermore, the adult toys booth had 0verflow’s Summer Days for their demonstration. For their booth this year, in addition to merchandise they were selling, they had a netbook running the English version of the trial for Summer Days that they released for April Fool’s a few years back. English, Chinese and Korean versions of the trial were available for download, and 0verflow said that they put out different versions to gauge interest in localized versions. The English version ended up being vastly more popular than the other two versions.
When we inquired further regarding their English version, they revealed to us that they actually have a multilingual game engine and work flow all set up for English translations of their game. Their translation interface consists of an input box containing the original line, and the translator would just type in the translated line. After submitting, the lines would end up in a script database. In fact, 0verflow claimed that if they had all the translations, they could literally put together a localized version of a game running on that game engine within a day. However, they quoted two issues that are impeding an English release.
The first issue is the amount of text to be translated. While it sounded like they might be willing to work with MangaGamer on that, they would really prefer the passion of a fan behind the translations, saying that it tends to produce better work than someone who is only translating a game because it is their job.
The second issue is that they are not familiar with the laws of countries outside Japan and would like some time to investigate those. They state for example that Japan has strict laws on putting mosaic censors on genitalia, but other countries do not. However, other countries might outlaw or restrict certain things that are fine in Japan. They raised the possibility of different releases for different markets. We brought up the recent events such as the backlash from the Rapelay controversy and how companies like minori are prohibiting overseas access to their websites and asking fan translations to stop. 0verflow had an interesting take on things.
They say that they can see where minori is coming from, but they believe that open dialogue is the better way to resolve things. They believe that good things can come from discourse and mutual understanding. This is why they keep their website open to visitors from foreign countries and also why they are adopting a friendly approach to fan translation groups like Sekai Project. Lastly, they do not think that games should be blamed as a source of crime and they want everyone to enjoy their games.