Lost in Translation, Localization Nightmares in MMO's

Published: October 31, 2014 11:00 AM /



Everyone knows that 90% of the weird shit in the world comes from Asia, specifically Japan.  They produce the kind of stuff that many of us see and think, "Why?"  When we flip to the cool, other side of the pillow, we look into games that have been developed and produced in the east and think the exact opposite, "Why not?"  There are some MMO's that look wonderful, fantastic, and many of us in the west have been or are now salivating over.   These games either have no plans for localization to the west, or have been stuck in localization hell, and I'm pissed off and mad about it!

First and foremost is Blade and Soul.  For anyone who doesn't know anything about this game, where have you been the past 2 years?  This game is a martial arts style, action combat MMO that looks fast paced and fun as hell.  The races are interesting, the classes are appealing, and everything about the game screams, "Play me!"  Except for one problem, that it's been stuck in localization to the west for over 2 years.  Not only that, if you check the website to figure out any kind of news, updates, or information, you will find that there have been no updates since December 5th of last year.  I'm just ready to hear any news one way or another right now, has the localization been scrapped or is NCSoft powering through some issues with the localization?  In my opinion, no news is bad news here, and even though it saddens me, my guess is this is a game we likely may not see.  I know this game is tough to localize as it's a South Korean game that is built and catered directly to South Korean players (or you could say east Asian players).  This may be difficult to realize, but different cultures like to play games differently, and in east Asia the style of MMO's they like to play is vastly different than the America's for example.  So I do understand the localization of this product is not just with the language barrier, it's also with trying to reinvent the game ever so slightly to make the play style more appealing to the west while still holding true to the core game.

Edit: Thanks to Kuroi who informed me that Blade and Soul has an anticipated release sometime 2015.  After further research, closed BETA will take place early 2015 for NA and EU.  Good news here, and it's about time!


Do you know of those Monster Hunter games many of us liked?  They were very popular and enjoyable, right?  Epic showdown with gigantic monsters and all that jazz?  It only makes sense to turn that into an MMO, thus Monster Hunter Online was born and released in China.  Then Crytek and Capcom, pulling the ultimate in Indian giving (no offense Native Americans), announced there would be an international release only to turn right back and around and essentially say, "Ha, JK, this game is going to stay in China. Lol, sucks to be you."  Why?  Why would you do that to us guys?  Are you afraid of all the American gold farmers that will plague your game and wreck your economy or something?  All kidding aside, this literally makes zero sense.  Capcom may have made some bad decisions with some of their games, but they are a gaming company with a huge global following and rich history.  Add this to their bad decisions list as this is a travesty.  I have an explanation for why a game like Blade and Soul is difficult to localize and why it's stuck in localization hell, but there is no excuse for not localizing this game.  The global following of Monster Hunter as a series has been very strong.  This MMO would have it's own niche as it's a game solely revolving around hunting BAM's (big ass monsters).  This is a genre that hasn't been explored much in RPG's period, and even less in the MMORPG world.  The problem, what can we do about it?  Boycott?  Write letters/emails?  Start a petition?  Then again, starting a petition is just about as good as farting in your hand and throwing it in their face.


Show of hands, how many people here have heard of Peria Chronicles?  Awesome, I can't see your hands, but I'd imagine only a select few.  Now, how many of you have heard of Pokemon?  Considering Pokemon is a global phenomenon, I'll assume most have.  Peria Chronicles is an MMO that says, "What if we made a Pokemon style online game with a sandbox world, gave it cel-shading akin to that of Wind Waker if it had a love child with anime, and why not throw in pseudo Minecraft style building simulation and world building elements?"  Yeah, that's Peria Chronicles.  The game looks fantastic.  Brilliant colors, beautiful landscapes, and what looks to be incredibly accurate physics.  Being a Pokemon style game, there are no classes as you battle with your pets/companions, and each battle yields a chance to capture the opposing monster.  It's such an interesting concept, and I only wish it would have been explored earlier... well that and I wish this game had any semblance of a localization plan.  I know this game has been pushed back from a Q4 2014 release to some time in 2015.  I know there has been limited beta gameplay testing, so everything is still relatively early in the development cycle.  I also know, much like many upcoming, good looking games, this is an east Asian developed game.  Regardless, as big as this title looks, it's absolutely shocking this has no plans for the western world.  There is still time for this one as it hasn't yet released like Blade and Soul has, and there have been no Indian giver claims like that of MHO (Monster Hunter Online), so we still have a chance.  Regardless, if this game releases in 2015 for the east and there are plans to localize it for the west, I wouldn't expect it any sooner than late 2016 or early 2017.


Some of you may be asking, "Well if you don't think we will ever see these games, why highlight them?"  Am I evil and just want people to yearn for these games much like I do and lament the fact we very likely can't have them?  Potentially, but the more likely answer is to promote awareness.  Sometimes us westerners get stuck in our little bubbles that revolve around World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, EQ or EQ 2, Rift, Guild Wars 2, and so on.  Then at the same time we get inundated with upcoming titles like Everquest Next, and we forget or neglect to look at everything else out there.  Do I expect to make an impact big enough to get these developers to change their mind or hurry up with the localization process?  Not at all, and that would be rather arrogant of me to feel that way.  Regardless, if we can get a snowball effect started, it can only help.  If we can show these eastern developers that there is a big market for these kinds of games in the US and Europe, it could change their mind going forward for the future, for the next generation of titles coming down the pipe.  Then we may see more and more eastern developed games pop up and become available to us.  It's either that or learn Korean, Japanese, and Chinese, but that's so hard.

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