Episode 203: Faith No More

You want it all, but you can’t have it. Our last show of the year. Have a happy holiday by the fire (or in the sun) with Lonesteban and Dale discussing Epic’s new game store, the Game Awards, Hitman 2, Diablo 3’s continued greatness, and much, much more!

Episode 203: Faith No More

 
 
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6 thoughts on “Episode 203: Faith No More”

  1. Happy to see a new show! If you don’t mind, I have a question.

    Context: After JET, I worked in Japan and was involved in the localisation on some SE games (including one recent game that was entirely panned haha). I eventually quit and left Japan, but I blamed that more on my burakku company/Japanese work standards rather than localisation as a whole. I work for a non-gaming Japanese company in the West (I guess similar to Elmdor) but the SE office here sometimes has openings and was mulling over going back to localisation.

    Question: Why is Esteban against working in localisation? Also, why hasn’t he left Japan? Whatever industry, the work-life balance seems to sucks – most of my gaijin friends have ended up leaving to seek better work conditions.

  2. Hi G!

    Thanks for the comment! I know I’m a mean old bastard. The reason I’m so personally against doing localization again as a job is for a few reasons. First, I found it to be one of the most thankless jobs in games. Both internally at the company and externally when dealing with the people that play the games. At the places I worked at (and SE might be different given their long history localizing games) localization was the last thought on kaihatsu’s mind when making the game. The director/producer gave no thought to ever releasing the game overseas and this was reflected in the way the game was made. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to deal with hard-coded text strings, totally arbitrary manual line breaks, and so on. No matter what loc department I was in, whenever we tried to get more involved in production so that the localization process was easier (and cheaper!) we were basically told to fuck off as only the Japanese game mattered. Unless it bombed and then they were all super happy to release it overseas.

    Now, the other thankless group is the users. Most people don’t notice a good localization, only a bad one. They think you just google translate and then paste text into an excel sheet and boom, you’re done. They have no appreciate for the process of “culturalization” and the massive amount of back and forth it takes to get the game playable in another language. They are just ready to ream you if you fuck up. Of the users that DO understand Japanese and the difficulty of localizing it into English, you often get super weebs that criticize translation, feel like you didn’t “capture the original voice”, etc. I don’t have time for that shit.

    My second reason is that I do not love many of the games that I would localize enough to do a job I would be proud of. Many Japanese game genres are just not my cup of tea anymore, especially the text heavy ones. I have some good friends who LOVE these games and put the extra care into making sure fans that don’t speak Japanese get a top-class experience. My hat is off to these passionate folks, but I don’t even want to play many of these games, much less work on them.

    For the amazing Japanese games I WOULD want to work on, I can play them in Japanese myself and don’t want to put up with the bullshit development process I mentioned above.

    Anyway, TLDR; I’m not against the work, it’s just not for me anymore.

  3. As for why I don’t leave Japan: I like it here a LOT better now that I work for myself and have a much better work/life balance. I love the non-work culture, the food, the country itself is beautiful, and safe. I also love the women here and can’t imagine leaving until I’ve locked one down. Even then, with as nuts politically as the US is at the moment, I’m not sure I’d go back there.

  4. I’ve thoughts:

    Re: Epic Store. Funnily enough I’m throwing together a desktop for my niece, I guess she likes Fortnite but the straw that broke the camel’s back was actually Minecraft and well, Minecraft youtubers.

    Re: Fallout. That game is so goddamn broken, but I’d say there’s some potential there. I like it better than F4 at any rate. F4 was so soulless. At least with F76 it’s jank is part of it’s charm. It’s almost a more stripped down, purer Fallout. I don’t know how well it plays solo and my coop buddies may have abandoned it though. You spend so much goddamn ammo going it solo.

    Re: RDR2. Holy cow that game is so slow. All it’s mechanics slow the game down way too much. The huge map, the distance between missions. Every. God. Damned. Animation. It’s finally starting to draw me in with it’s story, but sheesh.

    Re: SYNDICATE FPS!. That game was neat as hell for it’s time. Don’t know how well it’s aged, and I wasn’t carrying around any nostalgia for it, but on it’s own it was a badass game. A well realized cyberpunk world and stylish as all hell. I never got to try the online before it died, but it sounds cool as well. Basically pulling heists as a squad of three I think. (I’ll be your third, guys.)

    Lastly, God of War 2. It’s a good game, bu the Symphony of the Night of this gen is Bloodborne, and there is no other! Thanks for the show!

  5. Hi Esteban! Thanks for the reply!

    You raise a lot of good points. At my previous company, my (female Western) colleague had to translate a rape-y gatcha mobile game, where you pay to unlock the rape scenes – that really depressed her. One time we were quoting to handle the loc for a game involving graphic underage hentai. I expressed my discomfort at the material, and my boss told I should change my morals, lol..
    I was fortunate to manage the E-J loc of a GOTY-level Western game I loved. You’re right that going the other way, nowadays there’s not much. I envy E-J translators who get to work on WRPGs.

    Also, I can fully emphasise about the lack of care for localisaton. At one time, every week I was redoing translation schedules that were constantly broken due to not receiving files on time, and when I did it the Excel was randomly ordered. The game eventually ended up releasing a year and a half behind schedule.

    I too love everything about Japan minus the work, and it’s been a big effort for me to always link in my mind the shitty work-life there with the great parts of Japan you mention, so I don’t itch to go back. I left Japan with a girlfriend in tow, and her not having to do service zangyou anymore means she never wants to go back. I concluded the only way to enjoy work there is as a freelancer, and that indeed seems to be the way. Glad it’s going well for you!

    Here or on the next shoe, I’d love to hear if Dale will ever go back to Japan given his family, as well as his experiences of working for Japan in the West – I remember he was at Ajinomoto for a period.

  6. Wow, good discourse going on here. Thanks G, Volt1up, for sticking around with us since the old days of Call of Podcast before our weird middle period and hiatus. Now we’re all older and more frayed and burnt out, but we’re going to keep making new material and try not to be ashamed trotting out all the old standards during the encore.

    G, I no longer work for Aji, or any Japanese company. I left for more pay! I’m still in manufacturing, but in a vastly different industry at a (originally) Germany company this time. There’s unpaid overtime (most of us are salaried), but I pretty much never have to put in any myself, not having risen to management yet. I have lucked into a sort of ‘technical expertise’ position (their words, not mine) where over time it’s possible to do pretty well without any direct reports, and so I am loathe to leave it. I know I could pull down more money by getting a higher-level job, but then I’d be dealing with the extra hours and people-wrangling that would go with it. I should probably make the leap at some point, if I ever want to retire…

    I’m very fortunate that I get to keep my links to Japan every day at home, though, through my wife and kids (she makes them speak Japanese to her, and they both get supplemental Japanese schooling on top of the local public school). And there are the just-about-annual trips over to see the in-laws, as well.

    I would love to move back to Japan at some point, but there’s no way in hell I would want the type of work balance expected of people there. I’m sure that’s changing, but it won’t have changed enough in our lifetimes. I’d go back working for a foreign-owned company that operated like one… a European one, if I had my choice.

    However, now that we’ve been here and have a bunch of friends… plus my wife says she wants the kids to have an American-style education, at least until middle school ages. It wouldn’t do to have the kids come out into a Japanese job market with less-than-native English skills, I think is the reasoning there. Or else how would they escape?

    I do sometimes worry for their safety in the land of guns and opiates, but over there I’d just be exchanging those worries for ones of ostracization (as half-bloods), pressure, and suicide. None of this shit is rational, by the way. Nothing about parenting is, really.

    In conclusion, Battletech is real good.

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