News: A Wys Decision

Ys VIII is the shit!
Words to live by!

Ys VIII Has Been Completely Re-Translated

In this industry where barely good enough is usually too much for developers to aspire to, it is all too rare to see one make a costly decision for no other reason than to improve a product. Ys VIII has already made the bulk of its money through the PS4 and Vita versions of the game, garnering a well received 85% on Metacritic in the process – so it is hardly a release that has been wallowing in negative sentiment.

Despite the positive reception for Ys VIII, one area in which it was sadly lacking was in its translation. Regardless of already having a success on their hands, Falcom heard fan complaints about the absolute state of the game’s localisation, and took it to heart. As such the reason for the game’s huge delay for its Steam release has become apparent – Falcom has somehow found a way to pressure NISA into completely re-translating all the dialogue, and re-recording all the dialogue:

I'm actually fine with these lines.
NISA isn’t afraid of a little shit talk!

As to the scope of this project, as we ended up rewriting nearly 100% of the script, we will be re-recording nearly everything. The only lines that will be kept are battle lines (exertion noises and the like) and some incidentals. Now would also be a good time to mention that we intend to bring back the entire cast from the first time around.

NISA is not usually the first choice for localising Falcom games. Usually Xseed would be the company handling these duties, and their localisations are generally of an excellent standard. It is not clear how NISA was chosen to this task, but it may have been due to them offering superior financial terms, or greater marketing and distribution muscle. Upon the announcement that NISA would be localising the game there was immediately disquiet among Falcom fans.

NISA has a bit of a reputation when it comes to not taking proper care when localising another company’s games, and lo and behold Ys VIII turned out to have have localisation issues. NISA’s decision to incur the cost of completely redoing Ys VIII‘s localisation is pretty amazing to see, given that a better translation is unlikely to lead to much of an increase in revenue.

To an outsider, it seems like Falcom must have threatened the status of future localisation deals with NISA, compelling them to fix their shit. Whatever the case, appreciation must be given to Falcom’s commitment to quality. It is something that the industry could use a whole lot more of.

This still doesn't remotely justify the time required to grind for $10!
PSN Trophies finally have some meaning.

Sony Makes Trophies Meaningful, and this writer in particular, have never been terribly receptive towards Trophies and Achievements. There has never been any point to them. The Trophies themselves do not do anything, and they are awarded arbitrarily – utterly useless. Typically, Trophies are not even handed out for exceptional displays of skill, but are instead handed out for arbitrary displays of obsession in performing drudge work! Utterly worthless!

For whatever reason Trophies and Achievements have proved to be super popular among gaming obsessives, and seem to be one gimmick that is set to stay. If Trophies are here to stay then they might as well be useful for something, and it is in this respect that Sony is finally making strides. Earning Trophies on PS4 will now earn North American gamers points which are redeemable for game discounts. One assumes that this is being trailed in North America, and will later be rolled out in other territories.

The way that the program will work is that if PS4 owners sign up to Sony’s rewards program then they will be rewarded with points upon earning a set number of trophies. 100 silver Trophies will convert to 100 points, 25 gold Trophies will convert to 250 points, and 10 platinum Trophies will convert to 1000 points – 1000 points can be redeemed for a $10 credit. The time required to grind for a $10 credit is nowhere close to being worth the player’s time, but for gamers who are going to grind for these trophies anyway then it is a nice little perk. Trophy whores can look at it as receiving a $10 discount for Playstation Plus each year.

Maybe try some gameplay?
Even their more interesting games feel stale at this point.

Telltale Sacks 25% of Workforce

This is one of those news stories that at first glance seems a little surprising, yet on reflection is not surprising at all. Telltale games have never had any legit gameplay, and the few puzzles they do have are in no way challenging. They are basically vehicles for story, which would be alright in moderation providing that the story is decent, yet Telltale has been releasing several of these licensed games each year, their already dubious quality has been increasingly slipping, and the last time there was any positive buzz about their storytelling was with the release of the Wolf Among Us. In other words we are in deep franchise fatigue area here. Granted, we are not talking about any one particular franchise here, but Telltale games are pretty much a game franchise unto themselves since they all play the same.

This week the over exposure of Telltale games has finally come home to roost, with Telltale sacking 90 employees, which is about 25% of their workforce.

Our industry has shifted in tremendous ways over the past few years. The realities of the environment we face moving forward demand we evolve, as well, reorienting our organization with a focus on delivering fewer, better games with a smaller team.

This year Telltale released four games which played identically to one another. Last year Telltale released four games which played identically to one another. What did they expect would happen?

A downscaling in operations is something that needed to happen for Telltale to slow the crazy schedule at which they are releasing identical content. Hopefully they can refocus on improving quality and doing a better job with their storytelling. At any rate, Telltale have already penciled in three game releases for 2018, so it is not as though they are taking their foot off the gas to any significant degree.