Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Producer: Localization Doesn't Destroy Our Vision

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Producer: Localization Doesn't Destroy Our Vision

Fans may have issues with the changes made to Tokyo Mirage Sessions, but the designer feels the Western release does its job.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has been the subject of discussion, due to the localization changes made to what seems to be a relatively niche title. Character ages have been changed, costumes have been removed or altered, and even the Japanese voice acting has been re-recorded to line up with the English translation. Some fans have issues with any changes made to the game, but according to those behind the title, the Western release of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE does not alter what they wish to convey to players.

"Each country has its unique culture and taste. There are times when common sense in one country can be thoughtlessness in another. However, if we create a game with only that common sense that causes no problems in any of the countries, it can be a very boring game," Nintendo designer Hitoshi Yamagami, who helped produce the game, told GameSpot.

"From among the various complex tastes of people worldwide, the developer selects settings and characters that appeal to as many people as possible," he explained. "That being said, it is true that as we build up the settings and characters, we are sometimes obliged to change something in part of the game. This optimization does not destroy the identity of what we as developers want to convey. Developers would not accept such drastic changes. The changes made during localization are optimizations intended to bring to as many customers as possible the things that we want to convey. No major changes are made that would change what we want to convey."

While Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was published by Nintendo, Atlus handled the localization of the game for Western audiences. There's no hint of how much input Nintendo had on the localization process, but Yamagami said that Nintendo wanted Atlus to handle the changes because of the developer's unique atmosphere.

"The games that Atlus translates bring out the atmosphere of Atlus very well." he said. "The games that Nintendo translates bring out the atmosphere of Nintendo. With the text of this title, we wanted to bring out the atmosphere of the games that Atlus creates, as much as possible. That is why we asked Atlus to do the work of translating the text. The Development Team is convinced that fans in the English-speaking world will find the game full of expressions typical of Atlus games."

He also explained that the reason behind having only English subtitles, not a Western voice cast, is due largely to the music. The Japanese voice cast is also singing the songs in the Japanese release and to do the same for a Western voice cast would have introduced lengthy delays.

Some fans will likely decry this answer as coming from a Nintendo producer, citing an intense amount of spin. (An Atlus producer was present for the interview, but did not weigh in on the question.) I could certainly see that as a possibility and I admit to being oddly perplexed about the amount of effort put forth for what feels like a niche title on Wii U. The changes don't necessarily bother me having seen their original Japanese counterparts, I just find it interesting that both companies worked as hard as they did on this project.

Nintendo and Atlus are allowed to do what they want with their property though and fans are allowed to express their dissatisfaction. A number of fans have also banded together to release a patch for the game called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Reincarnation, which seeks to reintroduce content changed or removed from the game. (Installing Homebrew on your Wii U is at your own peril.)

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is currently available for Wii U.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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