News Article

"Too Many Hurdles" to Ni No Kuni DS Translation

Posted by James Newton

Magic book blamed

Level-5 and Studio Ghibli collaboration Ni No Kuni is getting an English release on PS3 in 2013, but its DS counterpart won't be leaving Japan. Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino explained to Famitsu (via Andriasang) some of the difficulties preventing the portable adventure reaching the West.

The DS game comes with a large Magic Master book, as seen in this video, which would prove difficult to localise for other languages. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch on PS3 features a digital version of the book, so skips out the cost of reproducing such a lush tome.

Sadly it looks like DS owners in Europe and North America won't ever get to experience Level-5 and Studio Ghibli's acclaimed adventure, which is a grand old shame indeed.

[via andriasang.com]

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User Comments (58)

Radbot42

#4

Radbot42 said:

books come out in several different languages all the time. And since they are already translating it for a digital version, why can't they make a hard copy??

I call shinanigans

retro_player_22

#5

retro_player_22 said:

I don't see why they can't just re-translate digital book into the Magic Book and localize the game with it or add the digital book into the localize version. It's not difficult it's just lazy.

ZeroxGT

#6

ZeroxGT said:

Why dont they put it on a 3DS cart and call it a day? pretty much all game manuals are on 3DS carts so why cant they cram a book on one?

shingi_70

#8

shingi_70 said:

Oh dear lord. Its not as simple as you guys think. How would the digital book work? Would the e-book go through.

Would it be e-pub or a simple pdf?

And how about taking the time to not only translate the game but the book into many different languages.

And it wouldn't be possible to just translate the ps3 book as the games have differences in story

FonistofCruxis

#9

FonistofCruxis said:

I thought this would be the reason.
@Zranoll A niche game like this might not sell that well in the west and it would cost loads to be released in the west because of the book and would be a very risky move.
@Retro_player_22 The story may be similar its not completely the same and there are many other differences with the two versions of the game so the book is unlikely to be the same.

CanisWolfred

#15

CanisWolfred said:

I ended up getting the Japanese version, and from a gameplay standpoint, it's not that great anyways. Everything else the PS3 version offers as well, and even does better in some areas (graphics for instance. The art style shines best on the PS3, IMO). Not that big of a loss, though I still wouldn't be surprised if we got a Wii U version someday (the DS version actually sold well in Japan).

Mattiator

#16

Mattiator said:

Not hugely surprising. I figured it's launch late in the DS' lifespan plus a large book requiring translation and printing would sink our hopes of seeing this game in America.

pariah164

#17

pariah164 said:

I expected more from Level-5, as they are one of my favorite studios, but at least they're giving us an official response instead of a vague 'no plans at this time'.

I'm looking at YOU, Crapcom.

Samholy

#18

Samholy said:

i dont care about the darn book. gimme the ps3 version, it looks magnificent. so close to the studio's animations!!!

DarkKirby

#20

DarkKirby said:

It takes fan translations like less then 2 days to translate stuff for free and distribute it, why do companies with much more resources keep claiming translating stuff is "too hard" and "too expensive".

ejamer

#23

ejamer said:

Too bad. I'd buy the game even if the "book" was just a PDF file that could be downloaded or was included on a CD... but that's probably not the way they want to market the product.

FonistofCruxis

#25

FonistofCruxis said:

@DarkKirby I've never heard of a fan translation that took as short as that to do and I highly doubt that there are any that took that sort of time to do.

DarkKirby

#27

DarkKirby said:

@FonistofCruxis

I can't post examples here, but because you don't follow them and haven't heard of them doesn't mean they don't exist and it doesn't happen. And yes, fan translations of entire games happen (not in > 2 days for games).

Also, I apologize for the mistake, I didn't read the article clearly, they aren't releasing for the DS because the DS's memory is too limited for the digital book (I presume) they don't want to release it for the 3DS (why?), and they feel printing the book is too risky of a business move. I'd prefer the digital version of the book anyway.

Bankai

#28

Bankai said:

I love this game. The PS3 version should still do fine for people, though that book was a big part of the experience for me.

To most of the comments above: I really wish armchair experts would do a little research before passing judgement. Translating a book is a big additional expense to localisation. You don't know the financials involved, so don't assume.

And fan translations are like fan fiction: enthusiastic sure, but I wouldn't hire those guys to do a professional job.

Bankai

#30

Bankai said:

Sure can. But calling Level-5 'lazy' is incorrect, and assuming the translation of a book is easy is also incorrect.

FluxOwl

#31

FluxOwl said:

Wait, I'm a little confused. Is this DS game the same "version" as the PS3 game (as in, they're both Wrath of the White Witch), or a totally different game?

Either way, now Mother 3 has a playmate in the "RPG's that ironically don't get released outside of Japan due to one of their main selling points" club.

Henmii

#34

Henmii said:

Personally I am much more interested in the PS3 version. Why can't it also come to the Wii u?!

Bankai

#35

Bankai said:

I wonder if there will be a 3DS game in the series. It would be awesome to see Ghibli in 3D. But I suspect they don't like 3D (no 3D movies, as far as I'm aware) so maybe not.

scottecs

#37

scottecs said:

It's funny how this news came out the day after I found it in a used videogame shop (here in Sapporo) for like 30 bucks. And I know a lot of Japanese, I guess I'm lucky. Or I guess japanese videogames are one of the reasons I learned Japanese in the first place.

accc

#39

accc said:

Man, I would've bought the DS version SO HARD if it had come over.

FonistofCruxis

#40

FonistofCruxis said:

@DarkKirby I never said anything to imply that I didn't think fan translations of entire games happen, I know they do. I just said that I doubt that there are any that have been done in two days.

WaLzgiStaff

#42

WaLzgi said:

@DarkKirby: Please! Give me an example where fans translated an entire book from Japanese to English and released it to the mass for free in 2 days? ;)

CanisWolfred

#43

CanisWolfred said:

@Lordlz I don't follow books, but those Chinese fansubbers pump out releases for multiple shows meer hours after they air. If they put that kind of energy into a book, I'm sure they could get it done in two days. Again, though, the quality would be questionable at best.

Bankai

#44

Bankai said:

Anecdotal, but I've read a lot of fan subs of Japanese Manga, and since learning Japanese and comparing the three versions (original, official translation and fansub), my original statement still holds: fansubs are to translations what fanfiction is to novels. ie terrible.

If anyone knows of a place that produces really high quality fansubs, let me know.

Omenapoika

#45

Omenapoika said:

I've got this baby since I lived in Japan.
Fiddling about with the book is a lot of fun, and it would be cool for many games to have a separate book like that. I remember how cool the manuals were as a kid, but nowadays they aren't that elaborate... I'd rather have the internet though, in 80's and 90's the manual might've been the only material you'd ever hope see about the game.
The game itself is well made and riddled with beautiful animations and cutscenes, but in the core it's "just" a JRPG. So I don't think the western world collapses for missing this beauty, it's just a shame because I feel that the book combo gameplay could have more to offer and develop. (Although the trend of going towards digital releases is already making this kind of games a thing of history that never came to fruition).

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#47

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

@Omenapoika Ahh well then that's a good thing for me. Though they look kind of small.....I guess I'll have to bust out my reading glasses when I'm finally able to get my hands on the game.

Kage_88

#49

Kage_88 said:

Damn.

Oh well, at least we still get the PS3 version (which is...actually the version I was going to get anyway).

Morpheel

#51

Morpheel said:

Yeah, because giving you the url to a digital copy of the book instead would be TOO hard.

CanisWolfred

#52

CanisWolfred said:

Guys, the PS3 version is taking about a year and a half to translate even with the digital copy of the book. And the DS is kinda dead, having been replaced by the 3DS. I highly doubt Namdai would see any profit by releasing the DS game (which is a completely different game) over here.

japzone

#53

japzone said:

Guess I'll be praying for a Fan Translation. Just like how I had to wait for a Fan Translation of Mother 3.

However, I agree with @Morpheel How hard would it be for them to just give us a link to some PDF or Website where we could get the Book/Info. If the book isn't really needed to play the game they could sell it seperatly too.

CanisWolfred

#54

CanisWolfred said:

@japzone It is needed to play. Every aspect of the game requires that book. And it's a thick book at that. Even without having to print it, translating it will require a lot of time and money, too much considering the inevitable lack of gain from the previously mentioned fact that the DS is dead.

I should also note that the developers are risking the future of the entire franchise on the PS3 version's international success. That's the one and only reason why we're even getting that version.

Kitsune_Rei

#55

Kitsune_Rei said:

I'm really sad about this ;_;
I hope they are able to reconsider later.
Also, the DS isn't dead. Pokemon B/W 2 are on DS, and there are still other games coming out for it. There are plenty of people who still havn't upgraded, and its not like 3DS owners CAN'T play the game.

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