Judgement from Makers of Yakuza, Goes the Extra Localisation Mile
Earlier this week, the release date for Judgement, from the makers of the brilliant Yakuza series was revealed. However also this week, courtesy of the PlayStation Blog, we have also learned the extra mile that the developers have gone in insuring that Judgement is as localised as possible, to make sure it connects with multiple languages, outside of its native Japan.
Currently with the Yakuza series, the audio is of course in Japanese, but with English sub-titles. With any language, no matter how perfectly it is translated, some nationalities have a different way of saying things, even though they are essentially saying the same thing.
So what the developers of Judgement have done, is essentially given you two English translations. For example, if you play Judgement with Japanese audio with English sub-titles, the text will represent the audio word for word. However, should you choose to play the game with English audio, different words will be used from the English speaking voice-actors, but they will have the same meaning to progress the story.
Scott Strichart, the Localisation Producer of Judgement took to the PlayStation Blog to explain:
Have you ever played a game with a dub and selected the Japanese audio, only to have the English dub’s subtitles appear, despite clearly not matching the length or maybe even the intensity of the line? People call those “dubtitles,” and they happen because the English audio is generally treated as the lead language, for obvious reasons, and the Japanese audio acts as simply a bonus feature for the enthusiast crowd. But for a game as steeped in Japanese as Judgment and its Yakuza legacy is, this was not an acceptable concession to me.
So we localised the story twice. And I had to convince some people to let us do that. I brought up examples of some pretty big films that did this. Even some anime on streaming services does this. So why haven’t games?
Essentially, we took a base translation and then pushed it out into two different directions for Japanese audio and English audio. The Japanese audio got our traditional “Yakuza” pass, listening intently to each line and crafting the dialog to suit it. The English script was written for actors to perform it, with more of a focus on making sure it sounded like things people would actually say in English. Sometimes, the two versions are totally the same! Others, it’s totally different.
I love the Yakuza series and just like the original Shenmue, I preferred playing the game in its native language with sub-titles, as it made me focus on the story and characters even more. But the fact that the developers have gone this extra mile, is truly fantastic and offers a great alternative way to enjoy the game. Perhaps I may even try out this alternative translation for myself. Either way, it’s great to have that extra choice. It’s also worth noting that Judgement will also be translated in French, Italian, German and Spanish.
Judgement will release for PlayStation 4 on June 25th for physical copies or June 21st for those that pre-order digitally on the PlayStation Store. You can read more on the translations of Judgement, over on the PlayStation Blog.