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Nintendo has shifted to a game localization method that apparently makes shipping games from nhật bản to Western markets more efficient. The problem is that a vocal portion of its player base is not very happy about it.

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Nintendo usually publishes games in japan and brings them over lớn Western markets (North America & Europe) after a long, arduous, and ultimately costly localization process. What used lớn happen, according to lớn former Nintendo Localization Writer/Editor Chris Pranger, is that “ has to lớn make calculated risks.” He noted that investing in localization for a trò chơi that’s too culturally obtuse to Western markets would be “a colossal waste.”

Now, however, a recent interview with a Japanese trò chơi developer, whose games have been localized by Nintendo, has shed light on a new process. Director Genki Yokota from Nintendo’s Japanese division reveals that they are “building as we’re in discussion. Whereas for past titles, the Japanese version had already been pretty much close to completion when discussion started.”


Instead of finishing the game and then localizing the finished content, Nintendo flies in localization experts to japan every two months to lớn take a look at the work và suggest changes to lớn the content in an effort to minimize drastic changes to its localized versions.

Localizing Before sản phẩm Is Finished

In theory, it’s a cost-efficient localization process. It reduces the time it takes to localize the nội dung because the original material is already fairly suitable for destination markets, or some changes lớn the nội dung or the coding is done lớn make it easier to lớn localize fully.

It also helps streamline game nội dung – the original games in japan will not have vastly different content from their localized versions.

This process also prevents major issues like the localization team deciding entire character backstories or large chunks of content in-game will need to be radically altered or eliminated lớn meet ratings standards và “cultural appropriateness.”

Nintendo of America’s President Reggie Fils-Aime says “there’s a simple collection of words that we use lớn define how we think about : It’s ‘cultural relevance’ và ‘understanding of the ratings và ratings implications.’” Indeed, the main idea behind the move is to lớn make Nintendo’s localized games easier to lớn sell in cultural markets where a single change in character clothing, for instance, can lower an age rating.

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Fans Cry Censorship

In many other industry verticals that procure language và localization services, end buyers typically don’t feel very strongly about the process (beyond things lượt thích confidentiality or ISO certification, for example).

Video game fans, however, are more deeply motivated, engaged, and concerned with the content they are — or in this case not — getting. Indeed, impassioned fans are already calling Nintendo’s attempt blatant censorship right at the source.

YouTube gaming news và commentary channel Censored Gaming pointed out in a video that the scale of localization that Nintendo is pursuing is actually “culturalization,” which is an entirely different albeit related process.

Citing the International trò chơi Developers Association’s (IGDA) Best Practices for trò chơi Localization guide, the video points out that localization và culturalization are different concepts.

Where Nintendo focuses a lot on “censoring” original content, it’s not localization, but culturalization. The kicker is that most fans of Japanese games brought to lớn Western shores actually like them precisely because they are culturally exotic, quirky, or simply different. One phản hồi on the đoạn clip put it simply: “we want translated games, not localized games.”

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