Friday, April 1, 2016

Grandia II Undub/Retranslation 1.0 released!

In case you didn't notice (and from what I can tell nearly no one did -_-), the link I posted earlier was not an April Fool's joke, but was in fact the real version 1.0 of my Grandia undub. I guess the joke is on me because no one was even paying attention to this project after being delayed for so long. In my defense, this took a lot longer than I thought it would for reasons outside of my control, including but not limited to, not having any free time for long periods, serious issues in my personal life, serious health issues, and technical challenges that I couldn't have predicted. I had even said it would be out by the beginning of this year, but then I didn't really even manage to get working on it again until early January. I feel comfortable in saying though, as far as undubs go, this is as close to perfection as it gets. This wasn't just a matter of inserting the Japanese voices into the English version of the game, this is the closest you can get to experiencing what it was like to play the Japanese version of Grandia II without speaking Japanese. I even fixed the ending sequence so that the original Japanese cast was properly credited. There were a few things I couldn't figure out how to fix, like some vocal sound effects that were done by the English cast, but I do hope to fix those with an eventual update if I can ever figure out where the voice data is located.

Here is a link to the torrent: Link

Now about the patch for the anniversary edition... that is probably not going to happen. I tried patching the map files from the Steam version with the changes I made for the undub, and things broke. Badly. I hate to say this, but whatever they did to the game engine in this port was extremely ill-advised. They made changes that completely broke the game's timing system, which probably caused all those sound issues they tried to fix but still never quite got completely right. I offered to let them use my re-translation if they wanted to, but I never got a response, so I guess it's not something they are interested in. To anyone who bought this port, I'm sorry, but it's just not worth the trouble it would take to patch my changes into it. In the end, it would be easier to patch the previous PC release, which I already said was not something I would do. But the good news is, there are at least two Dreamcast emulators that can run Grandia II fairly well on the PC, and the Dreamcast version is still, after all this time, the best version.

For anyone wondering exactly what the difference is between this patch and just playing the anniversary addition on your PC, here are some video clips I recorded for comparison:

Some things you will note as you compare the two versions:
-The translation in the anniversary edition is identical to the English dubbed version. The text often does not sync up correctly with the Japanese voices, and has some spots where even someone who does not speak Japanese would notice more is being said than is appearing on the screen (or less).
-Even beyond that, the timing of the text in the anniversary edition does not match up well with the spoken dialog the way it did in both the original Japanese and English releases. In fact, some lines are pretty grossly miscued. Notably, when Ryudo say "I don't care for her, or the kindness of strangers.", the line appears much too early. It's also not a very good translation of what he said (see the translation notes).
-There are severe audio miscues in the anniversary edition. The music transitions in the wrong places, making for a jarring listening experience.
-The lighting in the anniversary edition is weird. They seem to have added dynamic lighting to allow for better shadows, but this also resulted in many scenes appearing too dark, and other weird lighting glitches. For example, there is a transition that occurs right after Ryudo says "business is business" where the lighting behaves strangely. Overall the enhanced lighting does not appear to be a very well implemented feature. You can get rid of it by disabling shadows in the options, but then the characters have no shadows at all instead of the circular shadows in the Dreamcast version.
-The video stutters a lot in the anniversary edition. The recording exaggerated it, but there was stuttering even when I wasn't recording. Disabling vsync did not help...
-There were minor video/audio glitches in the recording of the Dreamcast version, but this was due to the game being played on an emulator. On a real Dreamcast, it runs perfectly.

So, I guess you can take it or leave it depending on your preference. I spent a ton of time and energy working on this undub because I wanted to create an English version of Grandia II that did justice to the original Japanese version. For what it's worth, I think the people who worked on the anniversary edition had good intentions, but unfortunately the results of their efforts did not live up to those intentions. In the end it is probably more my fault than anyone else's, because if my version had been out sooner than maybe the anniversary edition developers would have held themselves to a higher standard before releasing their version. Or maybe not. Either way, I have nothing personal against the people who worked on the anniversary edition, but I hope you will agree that if you want to experience Grandia II the way it was originally intended, this patch is the best way to do it. ;)