If you are a gamer, I am sure that you are familiar with BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. Some of their renown titles- Tale series, Naruto series and Super Robot Wars series has received lots of love from the players. In recent years, BANDAI NAMCO puts more focus to localization. Here is a question, but do you know how long it takes for a game to be localized?
We are honored to interview Mike Chang, the Localization Manager of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment for a little talk about localization. Mike from Taiwan joined the game industry since 2005, thus joining BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Asia (BNEAsia) as a Localization Manager on 2014. Other than managing Asia title’s localization affair incorporate with Japan, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan, he also works with translators while managing localization schedule and progress controlling to ensure the games’ localization runs well.
Q: How long will it take to localize a game? What are the difficulties?
Generally, it takes between four to six months to localize a full game, but this depends greatly on the total word count, development schedules and other factors. Since it’s critical to keep translations of each of our upcoming games running on-schedule simultaneously, it’s often a race against time!
The challenges include managing our resources and team members on both the translation side and the localized QA side, to ensure that the translated text is displaying correctly in-game and we meet all deadlines.
Additionally, we need to start translating text while the game and original Japanese script is still being developed, in order to meet a simultaneous global release date for our fans. However, this means that if scripts get changed while we are translating, we need to scrap our work and start over or adjust to meet the revisions in the script.
Juggling all of this is a careful balance and requires both extensive pre-planning and flexibility to adapt to changing conditions. Our priority is always to ensure that the translation quality meets the expectations of our fans and the timing of launch doesn’t slip.Q: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment’s games are usually translated by their local publisher (such as BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Asia) or by translators from headquarters in Japan?
Localization and the corresponding QA are handled by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Asia in three of our offices in this region: Taiwan, Korea and Singapore. Each is in charge of Chinese, Korean and English respectively. Of course, we work closely with our headquarters in Japan throughout the game development period, to ensure we are in-synch and always communicating about the status of both the game development and localization.
Q: What are the needed criteria for a game to be localized?
In Asia, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has focused on localizing as many of our Japanese games for fans as possible. Generally, the decision is based on whether or not the franchise is popular in the region or has potential to be. Since consumers in Asia are more closely aligned to Japanese tastes, fans in this region have access to a lineup that is close to what is offered in Japan.
Q: We have seen petitions from foreign players demanding localization for BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment’s “Digimon World Re: Digitize Decode”. Will this affect the decision for the game’s localization?
We are aware of the fan voices for localization and always appreciate the passionate response! There are various challenges to localizing past games, but this type of feedback certainly informs our decision for future games. We have therefore provided localized Digimon titles since and we hope that fans are looking forward to our recently announced upcoming title, Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Hacker’s Memory.
Q: Games like “Super Robot Wars V” have an English version but unfortunately couldn’t ship to Western countries. Why?
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment aims for global releases of its games, including simultaneous launches, whenever possible. However, there are various considerations that go into making games available in markets around the globe, including licensing rights and the popularity of the franchise in each region. There are some games that are more focused on the Japanese and Asian markets, which are therefore not distributed in Western countries.
Q: “Summer Lesson” is receiving a lot of love recently; will BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment consider adding voice-overs in other languages? (Players would love to be able to listen to Hikari rather than reading the subtitles)
We certainly consider voice-overs in other languages depending on demand. Often times in our markets in Asia, fans prefer to hear the original Japanese voices, rather than a dubbed version, so we maintain the original experience. Of course, we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a version with voice-overs in other languages in the future. If users express an interest, and if it seems like VR games have a large enough market to allow us to create multiple versions of a title, then there would be all sorts of possibilities for future titles.
Q: Some BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment titles (such as “Tales of Berseria” or “GOD EATER 2 Rage Burst”) are only available in English. Will these games (old and new) have multiple language options in the future?
The availability of languages is dependent on the region in which the product is purchased. We have different language options across our markets to meet the needs of local consumers.
Q: Any chance for BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment to host a fan gathering in Malaysia?
Yes, absolutely! We are always looking for opportunities to interact with the community and are increasing our local activities every year. This year, we have several events planned in Malaysia around upcoming titles such as Project CARS 2 and TEKKEN 7, so we hope fans will attend.
Q: Any advice for our readers who are keen to join the ever-growing gaming industry?
The gaming industry and BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment are always looking for talented candidates who are passionate about gaming. My advice would be to first have a keen interest in entertainment and always be looking ahead at what’s next. It’s a fast-moving industry – if you are someone who researches how the industry will evolve and can advise the company on future developments, you can bring added value and stand out from the crowd.
And while it’s important to be passionate, job seekers also need to showcase a competitive advantage over other candidates. To give an example, for a recent job opening in our Singapore office, we received more than 1,000 applications! Your resume therefore needs to quickly and clearly demonstrate why you would be an ideal match for BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. Whether it’s programming, marketing, translation or accounting, it’s important to think about what marketable skills you have that meet the organization’s needs.
Did you understand more about game localization after reading the interview? The game companies has been putting a lot of effort to bring high quality game experience to the players. Therefore, we as the player should support genuine games so that our favorites can have the opportunity to launch their latest works! What do you think? Leave your opinions below!
If you are looking for Chinese version of the interview, head over to Wanuxi.