Brainscraps.net

Video games and other things.

My Fan Translation Wishlist

Yuna Kagurazaka, Guardian of the Light. Forgot where I originally got this image from.Remember that huge stack of game soundtracks I bought awhile ago? I’m still working my way through them. Have managed to listen to most of them, but one I haven’t touched at all is Front Mission 5 ~Scars of the War~ Original Soundtrack. A big part of this is because, as I said before, I haven’t played the actual game. Although this sort of thing hasn’t stopped me before, this is Front Mission, and therefore, special in my eyes.

Front Mission 5 was, apparently, briefly considered for an official stateside release. However, this never panned out, and thus, fans took it upon themselves to do what very few (if any) had done before: an amateur translation of a PlayStation 2 game. Thus was born the Front Mission 5 Translation Project, which has since become the Front Mission Series Translation Project, as they are now working on patches for Front Mission 2 and Front Mission Alternative.

The group completed the beta translation patch of Front Mission 5 in December of last year, so all I would need to do is to hunt down a copy of the game and the necessary PS2 modding tools to get it to run. However, this brings me to the one criticism I have of the project. If the group’s goal is to draw Square Enix’s attention to English-speaking Front Mission 5 fans, then why make it so the patch works only on the non-Ultimate Hits verion of the game, which has long been out of print? I think a spike in sales of new copies of FM5, rather than secondhand ones, would push Square to consider an official release even more. For historical evidence, I point to Capcom, who localized the DS port of Gyakuten Saiban in North America (as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney) after noticing all the sales of the bilingual game that were coming from outside of Japan. Anyway, I know the fan translation team is well aware of this issue, and I hope they make an Ultimate Hits version of the FM5 patch a priority for future releases.

With FM5 on my mind lately, I got to thinking about what other Japanese games never made it over here that I would like to see complete translations of. There are some games that are “import friendly” in that you don’t have to know a lot of Japanese—if any—to be able to enjoy them, so those aren’t a problem. There are also those like Tales of Graces, Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness, and Game Center CX: Arino’s Challenge 2 that are still recent enough to have a chance of localization, slim though they may be. What’s left are the text-heavy titles which are on dead systems and have small cult followings, if they’re lucky. What’s left, in other words, are games like those on my wishlist.

Ys V: Lost Kefin, Kingdom of Sand, Super Famicom – I’m cheating a little bit here with a couple of them, including this first one. You see, a fan translation of Ys V was started several years ago, but the patch is currently incomplete. This leaves Ys V as the only main-series Ys storyline whose translation has never been made available. Rather frustrating if you’re interested in the Ys canon and don’t read Japanese, but even after all these years, the patching project is not dead, so there’s still hope.

Galaxy Fraulein Yuna and Galaxy Fraulein Yuna 2, PC Engine – And now for something completely different: visual novels! My initial exposure to Galaxy Fraulein Yuna came in the form of the first OVA series; later, I saw the much more coherent second series, Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Returns. Each storyline follows the adventures of teenage Yuna Kagurazaka, who is the savior of the universe, a popular celebrity, and a regular girl all at the same time. It’s a pretty wacky series, with some amazingly good character designs, all courtesy of mecha designer and Gundam Girl artist Mika Akitaka.

Some years ago, I learned that these anime were based on a “digital comic” game series, which gave me a better perspective on the character-stuffed OVAs. However, aside from the Sega Saturn’s Galaxy Fraulein Yuna 3 these games have never been translated into English, by anyone. The Yuna games have shown up on several systems, but the first two in the series are on the PC Engine, thus, my wishlist request. A PSP collection of the first two Yuna games as well as a related title, Galaxy Policewoman Sapphire, was published only a couple of years ago, so it seems there’s still interest in these oldies, at least in Japan.

Chocobo Stallion, PlayStation – Unlike the others on this list, I actually own this game. If I recall, I first learned about Chocobo Stallion while reading some information about a different Squaresoft-related thing. The idea of a chocobo sim racer intrigued me, and I later picked up a cheap copy on eBay, only to find that this was not an import-friendly game in the least. There are no English-language guides of any sort on GameFAQs or anywhere, and, naturally, no translation patches. I’ve long had the idea to make a rudimentary guide of my own, but have yet to get around to putting something together.

Segagaga, Dreamcast – A translation of this navel-gazing RPG/sim is the dream of every English-speaking Sega fan ever, and as with Ys V, is an actual project that has been ongoing, with occasional updates. Started in 2006, the project lead is still pushing forward with it as of September 2009. Will it ever see the light of day? Let’s hope it does!



  • LegaiaRules

    Ahh, this is a nice find! Haven’t seen much FM5 translation news in a while. 🙂

    Yeah, the Ultimate Hits version of FM5 was in mind, and still is. The argument going with the original version first is that it was released in much bigger shipments than the UH version. I knew a lot of people who had copies since 2005 from forums and e-mails. Even then, almost every online retailer still stocking the original FM5 sold out quickly when people found out. Re-stocks sold out quickly too as our team observed. I’d imagine the same effect will be seen once we figure out how the data conversion works.

    FM2’s data conversion was solved right as we started work, but our team was much better prepared for it. Rest assured, it’ll be out in due time. So far, I’m impressed at the 110,000+ people who downloaded our patches for the original version…a number WAY beyond my own expectations! Lastly, on the localization issue, it’s unfortunately a lost cause. FM5 was certainly considered for localization, but it never really got past planning.

    A lot of people blame FM4’s poor sales on it, but it’s actually more of an issue of Square/Square Enix USA failing to handle the series overseas. FM isn’t as standalone as many think, and what almost no one outside of Japan (except for a few like me) knows is that it’s actually a serial drama in disguise. The video games are cause-and-effect played out times infinity (events from one affect events from another), with plenty of subtle plot linkages and recurring characters.

    These are complemented by a whole line of manga and graphic novels (both game-related and new stories) that make its serial drama nature even more pronounced. Their stories explore a lot of things the games don’t, namely character backstory, motives, and development. Basically, FM from the storytelling view requires both the video games and manga & graphic novels for anyone to fully grasp. Square USA didn’t get the memo, skipping the original FM1 for the SNES and waiting until FM3. That and not even bothering to make note of its nature as a serialized story!

    So before Square Enix could consider FM5, they’d have to release FM2 and the other plot-relevant stuff first. It wouldn’t be a problem if they did FM right in the first place, but sadly that’s not the reality. It’s a real shame too that FM is relegated to unknown status here, whereas it’s highly revered as one of SE’s best (especially in storytelling) in Japan.

    Alas, there is still FM Evolved even though it’s just a reboot of the series. That’s something to look forward to, at least. Well, I should probably stop here. I think I wrote more than I should! You can find out more about FM at our website, frontmission.info, so feel free to check it out. We’re not going to be doing just game translations alone…like I said, there’s WAY more to FM than just that!

    Hope you enjoyed this long, but detailed post!

    LegaiaRules

  • Thought it seemed kind of obvious in the post, but I’ve browsed your site a number of times in the past; I also exchanged emails with you guys as the webmaster of Wanzer Garage 😛 That’s fantastic about the download numbers; congrats! Looking forward to FM Evolved myself, and hope it gives the English-speaking fandom a bit of a boost (of course, I also hope that it will be good). At the very least, its existence shows that Square Enix still has faith in the idea that the Front Mission universe can appeal to an international audience, and for this I am grateful.

    Thanks for dropping by!

  • LegaiaRules

    Ahh, so you’re the one who runs that weblisting! I did get something from you ages ago, now that I remember.

    Yeah, FM Evolved should be good. The only question is how to convince people to give it a try since the general consensus is very negative at the moment. Genre change (which is really moot since FM already did TPS in Online/has done RTS & side-scroller too) or Double Helix developing it, there’s a lot of pre-game bashers out there. 🙁