News Article

The North American Version Of Tomodachi Life Will Only Be Playable In English

Posted by Damien McFerran

Bad language

The European version of Tomodachi Life is playable in several languages — hardly a shock when you consider how many different countries make up that particular region. Since we previewed the game a few days ago, we've had a few questions regarding the language choices that will be available in the North American edition of the game, with some people hoping that Spanish and French choices would be included.

Sadly, that isn't going to be the case — early reports suggest that the North American edition of Nintendo's unique life simulation will only be playable in English at the time of its release.

A reader over at GoNintendo popped the question to a local Nintendo rep and was told:

Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, I can confirm the information that you have already found out: the North American version of Tomodachi Life will not be available in French at the time of its release.

I can definitely understand your opinion and I want you to know how much we appreciate that you have shared it with us.

Of course, that response was regarding the French option, but it would appear that Spanish is off the table too.

Will this influence your decision to purchase Tomodachi Life when it arrives in June, or are you not particularly bothered? Let us know by posting a comment.


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User Comments (61)



epicdude12302 said:

Too bad for non-English speakers or people who aren't fluent in it. That's actually pretty stupid as it will make it hard or impossible for a few people to play.



Barely_Able said:

I find this funny considering Nintendo has previously gone out of its way to release English/Spanish/French manuals and information as standard practice since the Wii/Ds era (if not before). Not to mention the other language versions already exist and could easily be added as a feature. Another oversight that could cost them sales (even if it is only a fraction of the total user base).



Lebon14 said:

Is this game getting a physical release or it'll only be eShop? Because, here in Quebec, I believe that it will be disallowed to be sold in stores if there's no French language option. Oh well... it's not like there's any advertisement here whatsover... stupid child advertisement laws (yes, Nintendo falls under stuff for kids over here, so they can't advertise on TV and etc... stupid stuff)



JCnator said:

Couldn't Nintendo of America just reuse the French assets from the European version like a good number of the French movies that came in Quebec? Even if they don't necessarily have the same accents as we do, it would be still understandable.
Lazy, lazy NOA!



Ninhau said:

the funny thing is that the EU version will certainly have Spanish & French
classic nintendo. does stuff in their own detached logic



Monsti said:

It makes no sense and I can't think of any excuse Nintendo could have for this. If the European version has all languages why not just do the same thing in NA? And I don't count "the French and Spanish are different here" because I'm pretty sure those people would have rather something than nothing. I know it's just a small amount of people who will have a problem with this but it just annoys me how often I have to read about Nintendo making decision for the customer.



Ninhau said:

considering Canada is part of NA, and french is a official language over there, that language should be made available
also, dont think that games are allowed to be sold in french speaking regions of canada, unless they have french as an option



DreamOn said:

Wasn't Kokuga held back from canadian eShop because it didn't have french language?



Emblem said:

@AcridSkull @unrandomsam @Ninhau My bad I didnt read it as NA just as US for some reason, I need more coffee. Didn't mean to offen anyone, FYI English is my second language and nothing I said was racist, but I'll edit it anyway.




I'm not getting this game then >:[ I want Japanese option too like Bravely Default or Pokemon! >:0



FriedSquid said:

Seriously? Why are they able to pack even more languages in the European version at release but they can't add two more at the time of our release? Neither Spanish or French are my first language but that seems like an immediate turn-off for those who do speak those languages. Again, why can't they translate it here?



MikeLove said:

If I can't marry another man in this game, while exchanging vows in Spanish, I refuse to buy it!!!



BJQ1972 said:

I think many people are underestimating the amount of work that localisation involves. It isn't just a matter of translating the text but also making sure it makes sense culturally. The English on the NA and EU versions will most likely be very different, and the same would be the case with FR and ES translations.



unrandomsam said:

@BJQ1972 For a Japanese made game all that should be necessary is a literal translation and keep the Japanese voice track. (Also much cheaper). If you want something made culturally significant then get something made locally.



Heiki said:

It's funny how people always forget about Portuguese, which is my first language. In fact, Nintendo of America has never translated a game to Portuguese.
While English is my second language and this doesn't affect me, I'm afraid many Brazilian gamers can't enjoy Nintendo games to their fullest.



MikeLove said:


Ya....this game would be a huge hit in North America if it was all spoken in Japanese, while all the regional and cultural jokes and references thoughout the game (which would only be enjoyable and understandable for a Japanese citizen) would be subtitled in english using literal translations.

Sounds like a mega hit to me!



GuSolarFlare said:

@Heiki right on! though it's kinda understandable since our country is so filled with piracy. XD
also it might be for the better because of that "Supimpa" on Streetpass Mii plaza when the 3DS language is set to portuguese!



RoomB31 said:

@Lebon14 The game itself does not have to be in french, only the box art. But this is disappointing none-the-less.



RoomB31 said:

@Dyltheman Thats a grave assumption, and since the game plays on humor, there really is no point if people only know "enough" english to get by. Sure they can follow along, but it seems that most people will miss out on a lot.



ZurrrrBlattTron said:

Awwww my cousin just moved from Puerto Rico and his English is kinda poor I've been teaching him but we both was hype for this game



Starwolf_UK said:

Serious question. As much as Mexicans get a bit irritated by a Spain Spanish localisation being used surely that is better than none whatsoever.

I really don't get Nintendo at times and similarly can't see why both British English and American English can't be both used (the voice synth sounded better in the American version)



Klunk23 said:

@unrandomsam As far as that goes that's not at all how Nintendo of America translates games. When they translate one of their own games they translate it in a way that it'll reach a wider audience. While there are people who wouldn't mind playing a game translated like the way you described, there are many people who would find the game more enjoyable if it was translated in a way that was culturally relevant.



SheldonRandoms said:

Well if it's only the North American version, then that means you should get the European version of the game th.........oh yeah, region locked, you bite us all in the butt again >: P



unrandomsam said:

@Klunk23 Obvious solution to that is to put a literal English translation into the Japanese release. Save work for Nintendo of America when they choose to butcher the original artistic vision and let people who want something as close as possible to the original have what they want. (Think that happens with PSP/Vita games a fair bit. Even when they are going to get a proper localisation).



ultraraichu said:

I feel for the NA people who are interested in this game and is learning in this news on a non English source (since they have little to no grasp of English), but everyone else get the stink eye, especially if English is you main.



Heiki said:

@GuSilverFlame Sony, Microsoft, EA, Square Enix, Capcom, Ubisoft, Rockstar... They all localize their games to Portuguese. I'm not sure why Nintendo doesn't. While it doesn't affect us, there's certainly a market here for them.

I'd better learn Japanese so I can stop worrying about localizations altogether.



ikki5 said:

@JCnator surprisingly they can't. Though both Quebec and France are french speaking, the french from Quebec vs the french from Quebec actually has quite a few differences.



GuSolarFlare said:

@Heiki in this I agree, but sadly no can do Nintendo is just weird sometimes.
why make the 3DS system have portuguese language but not doing the same to the games?



rjejr said:

I can understand them not wanting to go thru the trouble of adding in more spoken languages for a japanese type game that may not even sell in the US, but written languages should be a given. I don't think it would matter too much as long as there were subtitles. I can never understand a word anybody says in the Pikmin or Zelda games - Nintendo and it's stupid made up language noises it pays people to utter - but I still play them by reading.

I think the title needs the words "by Heterosexuals" added to the end.



JakeShapiro said:

This seems like a huge oversight on Nintendo's part. Considering Nintendo makes sure to include English, French, and Spanish versions of all its North American instruction manuals, I'm incredibly surprised to see this.



theblackdragon said:

Well, at least they're consistent when it comes to refusing to just copy and paste translations between regions — i know Canadian French is different from mainland French, just like how British English is different from American English. Maybe there are more in-jokes and cultural references from the region that they want to include or represent in the game that'll be available after a while.

Honestly, though, who knows what the heck Nintendo can possibly be thinking lately. This entire game has been an absolute fiasco.



Sparx said:

it does say at launch so maybe they will be added later through a patch



vattodev said:

Nintendo of america loves to lose market. Why, NOA, why? It's not as if they HAD to make two different games. I wonder if this is not related to ESRB or some other stupid reason.



Morpheel said:

I'd rather be forced to play in english than having the game being "useful" and forcing me to play in european spanish, as it's usual when a Nintendo game comes with the "option".



Ernest_The_Crab said:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't they HAVE to release a French version if it comes out in Canada? The country has two recognized languages instead of one. Unless they don't plan to release in Quebec or Canada in general.



MetaRyan said:

Honestly, I'm fine with this. Using European translations in North America could mess up the game due to differences in speaking, and it since it takes a whole lot of time and resources just to localize this for one language, it doesn't make sense to right off the bat translate to a language that only around 2% of North America would benefit from (French) or a language only majorly used in a country/region (I'm not sure if Central America is counted in this) that doesn't seem to buy nearly as many video games as major video game countries, like Japan and the US (Spanish). If there's enough demand, Nintendo can either patch or re-release the game with more translations.



GC-161 said:

@Starwolf_UK - The game will be available in Latin America. So it goes well beyond Mexicans being tolerant of the Spanish coming from Spain. Not having a Spanish option affects several countries where Nintendo is going to try and sell this game.

Nintendo might as well not sell their products in Latin America (or Mexico, which they always include in their NA sales numbers) if they're going to continue treating them like 3rd class consumers.



Roachant said:

I would be surprised if they released this game here in Quebec. The language laws are very strict here.



MarcosFull said:

Very sad news for us.
For instance, in Animal Crossing New Leaf, Nintendo America used the Spanish language from Spain for Latin America, and we had no trouble with the game and we can play it and to understand it perfectly.
Greetings from Argentina.



MarcosFull said:

@SahashraLA Nintendo America used the Spanish language from Spain for Latin America with "Animal Crossing New Leaf" and we had no trouble with the game and we can play it and to understand it perfectly.
Greetings from Argentina.



MarcosFull said:

@BJQ1972 Nintendo America used the Spanish language from Spain for Latin America with "Animal Crossing New Leaf" and we had no trouble with the game and we can play it and to understand it perfectly.Greetings from Argentina.



AshFoxX said:

I live in Texas so a Spanish option would have certainly helped sales. However, I am not affected and will still be throwing my shillings at my local gamestop in June.



element187 said:

Pretty simple concept here. Nintendo doesn't think it will sell enough copies in Canada/Mexico to cover the localization/translation for smaller demographics.

@Lebon14 wow, so living in Canada is like living under tyranny? That's almost as bad as New York banning table salt and sodas.... No offense, but that is insane that the government would dictate something like that.What's next, are you going to tell me your government forces you to subsidize people's poor decisions and unhealthy eating choices as well?



element187 said:

@Monsti makes perfect sense. They don't think it will make enough money in that region to pay for the translation.... French Canadian and Mexico Spanish is slightly different than France and Spain, so they would have to do a full translation/speech update.... Same reason why they won't just use British English for the American copy and vice versa



Nintendo_Ninja said:

This game is starting to be too weird for me. Plus I don't think I would like to replay it much. Anyways, this should be translated in Spanish and French.




Errr. I think there are differences between the French/Spanish pair from Europe and their American equivalents. Listening to these voice would probably sound irksome for people who have a real life and aren't a fanatic of Nintendo :3



Olmectron said:

@element187 @FOREST_RANGER Well... Yes, they may sound different, but they are still understandable. And there have already been 3DS games in America which used the European Spanish, for example: Pokémon X and Y, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

This is just an excuse for Nintendo, they have used European Spanish and French several times already in America, so why wouldn't they just do the same with Tomodachi? I would say it's laziness. Including more languages always means more sales, even if those represent only 5% or less from the total user base.

However, Nintendo has done quite right recently. They are way better today for localizing than they were in the GBA/NGC era, when nearly every game in America was English only. Some major examples would be Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 and both Zelda games for Wii, which were the first Nintendo first party games to include Spanish as a language. And, more recently, Pokémon X & Y for Nintendo 3DS, which are the first Pokémon games to make it here with Spanish as an option, even if it is the European one (Yes, Pokémon Black 2, White 2 and before were all Enlish only and/or French, not sure).

I'm glad with Nintendo for getting better in localizing some games, but news like this one, even if it's just one little issue, makes me think NOA still needs to take better decisions when it comes to localization and marketing. Because that's what this is, a bad decision, and not a technical issue.

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