Wednesday, August 26, 2015

So about that new Grandia II release on Steam...

Well, it's certainly been a while hasn't it? I think it's fair to say that at this point the amount of time I have let this project hang up in the air is completely inexcusable. All I can say in my defense is that the last two years have been probably the most difficult time in my entire life, and I genuinely have not had the energy to devote to a project like this. But I still have every intention of finishing it, and the release of Grandia II on Stream has given me a great deal of motivation.

When I first heard that Grandia II was being re-released on Steam with the original Japanese voices, my response was cautious optimism. I knew from experience a quick copy and paste would not be enough to make Grandia II bilingual, so I assumed the people working on the port would have to spend some time and energy to do the job right. I wasn't necessarily expecting them to go back and re-translate from the original Japanese like I did, but I at least thought they would get the cut-scenes properly synced with the voices, and take care of some of the more egregious discrepancies between the Japanese audio and English text. Sadly, neither seems to be the case. The timing of the cut-scenes seems to be hacked into barely syncing up, but it doesn't match the timings used in the original Japanese version at all. And the script is, as far as I can tell, completely unchanged, ignoring cases where the English script and what is being said in Japanese are two completely different things. Unfortunately, this is a pretty common scenario for games that include the Japanese voice track, where changes in the script made to suit this English localization are also used in the subtitles. Not every game with Japanese voices is guilty of this, but I think it's more common than not.

If the re-release had been a truly well done attempt to make Grandia II bilingual, I might have just dropped my undub project altogether. But as it is, nothing has really changed. What I am going to do though, is to try and contact the company that did the re-release and see if they are interested in incorporating my script into their version. This would be as good of an excuse as any to finally get this project finished, and it would also allow the greatest amount of people possible to play Grandia II the way it was originally intended. I will let everyone following this blog know if I receive a response (yes both of you ;P). If not, I am going to make a serious effort to get this finished by the end of this year regardless.

Edit: So far I haven't received a response to my inquiries from either Skybox Labs or Gungho Entertainment. I did take some time to look into the data structure of their port though, and I think I can safely say it would be trivial to insert the changes I made to Grandia II's script into their version. So even without official support, releasing something like a "better translation" patch would definitely be doable. I'm not sure exactly how the FMV subtitles are handled, but hopefully I could figure it out. My only concern is, given the many, many bugs that have been reported in their version of the game, I seriously have doubts that Skybox Labs will be able to completely fix them. A lot of the bugs reported seem like things that really should have been caught before the game was released, had even basic QA testing been done. For now I would seriously recommend that anyone who is interested in the Steam version of Grandia II wait to see if the bugs get fixed before buying it.