Amazon Games will launch Bandai Namco's Blue Protocol globally next year. While the game is already available in Japan, the localization process will bring some changes for the Western audience.
At Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, TechRaptor spoke to franchise lead Mike Zadorojny, and we asked what kind of changes we could expect in the global version compared to the Japanese release.
In terms of story translation, Zadorojny mentioned that the intent is to capture the themes behind what's going on, while a one-to-one translation wouldn't necessarily capture the same elements.
Amazon is working with the Japanese development team to understand how the characters are created and designed, to bring their essence to to the localized languages so that players will be able to connect with the characters in the same way that the Japanese players do.
As for deeper changes, generally speaking, they're usually for regulatory reasons. Amazon has to focus on satisfying the rules of several rating boards including ESRB, PEGI, and more. The goal is to preserve the artistic integrity of the game.
"The story should be the same. The feel of the game should be the same, but there are certain aesthetics or certain styles of content that are more acceptable in Japan than they are on the western market, and those are the types of things that we're making changes to."
Zadorojny promised that the changes are "very light-gloved" to make sure that the game is as approachable as possible for Western audiences.
He cited two of the main examples of these changes. The first is the removal from the game's extensive character creation suite of the button that tests the physics of the female characters' breasts.
The smallest body types have also been removed from the character customization out of concern for the association between child-looking characters and combat or death.
While changes have been made to protect the "image and integrity of children from a regulatory perspective," generally speaking Amazon is trying to leave as much as possible untouched. The level of challenge will also be the same.
Zadorojny explained that the Japanese development team is fully involved in this process. They're actually physically making the changes as a result of conversations about how the game will be represented, as it won't be just a reflection of Amazon Games, but also of Bandai Namco.
Interestingly, this relationship also resulted in elements that Amazon asked Bandai Namco to add to the game, which actually were added to the Japanese version as well, including two hairstyles.
Amazon is also working with the development team to continue to expand the character creator so that the whole Western audience can feel like they're represented in the game regardless of where they come from.
If you'd like to learn more, you can expect the read the full interview here on TechRaptor soon.
If you're unfamiliar with Blue Protocol, it's a free-to-play anime-style MMORPG with a business model focusing on battle passes and cosmetics also available via gacha. It's already available in Japan for PC.
The western release was announced in December 2022 during The Game Awards and is planned for release in 2024 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S following a recent delay.
While we wait, you can enjoy the latest trailer in English, some more recent gameplay and details, and the opening cutscene featuring the song "Mirai" by the popular Japanese band L'Arc-en-Ciel.
You should also definitely enjoy out our hands-on preview, in which our Robert Scarpinito highlighted Blue Protocol's most interesting points, describing how the game made him feel "like an anime action hero during a dramatic cliffhanger battle."