Video game localization is an endlessly fascinating topic for me, which is why I categorically adore Legends of Localization, home of professional Japanese-to-English translator Clyde “Tomato” Mandelin. Today, LoL offered up a guest article written by two members of the XSEED localization team to describe the entire process of how they brought unorthodox RPG Heroland to the west. Not coincidentally, Heroland released today.
XSEED’s Lori Snyder and Derk Bramer break down various facets of this title that was originally released in Japan under the name WORKxWORK. They get into some pretty good nitty-gritty details too, complete with visualizations for comparison. It’s far too much to summarize, and it’s hard to even describe well without the pictures. But suffice to say, they explain how they localized various names, including the game name of course. The XSEED staffers also explain their general approach to translating and localizing in general, which should be useful and educational for those aspiring to become localizers themselves.
I had the chance to preview Heroland at E3 2019, and at the time I specifically praised the quirky, funny writing and localization. I was pretty lukewarm on the actual gameplay mechanics though, as it’s really not an RPG in the conventional sense. (You don’t directly control your party, making it a bit more like the NES Dragon Quest IV.)
You can check out XSEED’s launch trailer for Heroland below and judge for yourself. Don’t forget that Mother 3‘s director and art director both worked on this game!