When you localize for a game company that’s known for LEs, editing the game’s script itself is only part of the project. Our LE extras can be text-heavy too – ask Tom, who wrote every word of Adol’s travel journal for Ys: Memories of Celceta from scratch. For Estival Versus, since the dual CD soundtrack containing 70 tracks didn’t need much help from our localization side, series translator Jason and I had to work together to create all the text for the art book and collectible “pin-up cards” to complete the LE package.
The art book, at 108 pages, is a hefty one, featuring illustrated bios of each character, translated pages of game-related manga, and various images of the characters at work and play. The bulk of my part, besides working with Jason on the dialogue for the manga, was updating the bios. With Estival being a sequel to Shinovi Versus, 20 of the characters already had bios, written for the syllabus in Shinovi’s LE. Those, though, were written as basic introductions to the characters, using only what was established about them prior to the start of the game.
On that note, spoilers for Shinovi Versus below…
To update the bios for Estival, I looked back on what the characters had experienced since the beginning of the first game – keeping track of which story elements made it into Estival, thereby becoming official, and which were left by the wayside. (Just as well; it would have gotten old to end almost every bio with “Left for dead by New Hebijo.”) Since the start of Shinovi Versus, not only have the characters learned and bonded more, but we as the players have learned more about them, so the new bios reflect both those things.
Those bios also appear in many of the LE’s pin-up cards, where each of the six sets contains ten cards highlighting each of the five lovely ladies in a faction in two distinct ways. Each character has one card showing them in a casual outfit, with info on their background and personality, and another card that shows them ready for battle, complete with combat stats and tips for playing them effectively. Many of the characters’ moves and stats have changed since the last game (sorry, Hibari fans, no more infinite butt stomps), so Jason and I rewrote the combat cards to match. The final results are 6 distinct packs of 10 high-quality, holographic collectibles – in fact, part of the reason they’re not all packaged into every box is because that would have driven up the price too high, hence each LE coming with one pack chosen at random. Here’s a sneak peek at the 10 cards in the Hanzo pack, where we’ve simulated the effect that the holographic foil is supposed to have.
As for the game itself, the NA release of Estival will include the base game, up to version 1.06, on the disc/game card. Series veterans might already know that Estival has had a great many content update patches in Japan since its initial release, and so, upon taking the game online for the first time, you’ll be able to download them all up to at least version 1.17.
Why is all that not on the disc? A couple of back-end reasons, but the main one is that, while there’d be room enough on a Blu-Ray, there wouldn’t be enough room on a Vita card.
What’s in the title updates? Right off the bat, you’ll get Rin and Daidōji for free, as they were in the Japanese version 1.07. You’ll also get new multiplayer match types (ever wanted to take the shinobi girls into mecha combat?), various game balancing tweaks, some new menu features, and numerous other goodies. You can see what’s in the patches by pressing the Square button on the main menu, and there just might be a little more content beyond all that on the way…
Premium DLC items, which we’re planning to roll out on day one (since Japan has already had them available for a while), include a variety of new scenarios and characters. Sadly, we couldn’t get the licensing rights to the three Ikkitosen characters from the Japanese version, but you will be able to play as Naraku, Kagura, Ayane from Dead or Alive, and Ayame the shop girl. Another featured DLC item is the “Dual Shinobi Hearts Ticket,” which presents several new missions pairing various characters up in comedy duos. Besides that, and besides all the costume items, you can also check out various Special Missions, which pit various groups of characters against one another in special circumstances. (The PS4 version, which can present ten-character matches to the Vita’s four, has a few more of these scenarios available than the Vita version does.)
The Dual Shinobi Hearts missions and Special missions were particularly fun to localize. Some of them pair up characters you don’t usually see together, some show new sides of the character duos we already know – witness Rin’s reaction to learning Daidōji’s one weakness – and some lean on the fourth wall in fun and inventive ways.
We’re still trying to finalize the release date and should have an official announcement soon, but the girls should be just about a month away from busting loose now as we’re targeting mid-March. Let’s see if the energetic shinobi can stand being cooped up for that much longer…