Ys SEVEN PC – Localization Blog #1

“Bring us Ys SEVEN on PC!”, the players said. “We want Ys SEVEN on PC!” The rallying cry echoed forth from all corners of the internet, and we knew it was only a matter of time before it echoed so loudly as to become almost deafening. Thus, we decided to silence the cries by giving the players what they wanted… and so Ys SEVEN PC came to pass, with its launch scheduled for August 30th (so soon!) on Steam, GOG, and the Humble Store by Humble Bundle.

But aside from a handful of screenshots and some emphatic assurances of quality, we’ve said and shown very little of this port, leaving you all to wonder, will it be any good?

Well, wonder no longer! I’m here to address all your concerns and assuage all your fears! So… let’s get right into it, shall we? We shall proceed in the tried-and-true form of the classic Q&A!

Q: Is this version of the game based on the Chinese PC port of Ys SEVEN from Joyoland?

A: No, it is not! This is a completely new port contracted by us. See my answer to the next question for more details.

Q: Is Durante porting this game?

A: No, he’s not. Nor is this a port from our regular programming guru, Sara. Due to the recent increase in the volume of PC titles we’ve been releasing, we’ve been forced to branch out and find new sources of programming wizardry to work with – and just as we’re very careful when selecting localization contractors to work with, we try to be very selective about whom we entrust with our partners’ code.

Since the particular group we’re working with for Ys SEVEN hasn’t yet come out and spoken of their involvement, we’ll respect their privacy and not name any names (you’ll be able to find out who it was soon enough when the game releases), but we will say this: these guys are GOOD. It’s a Japanese company that’s done extensive work on PC and console games alike, and they take a lot of pride in what they do.

Having never worked with this company before, we were initially wary (as we always are when working with somebody new for the first time), but they almost immediately proved themselves a true force to be reckoned with. The very first build of the game they sent us was basically a 100% playable port of the Japanese game from PSP to PC, complete with upscaled HD visuals and a 60 fps framerate. It looked great, played great, and ran perfectly on every one of our PCs. Plus, it was delivered to us much, much sooner than we expected.

And this was just a quick and dirty proof-of-concept build!

So if you’re worried about how the game will run on your system, or whether the port will even be any good… don’t be. These guys (who are apparently pretty big fans of the Ys series to begin with) clearly know their stuff, and have been an absolute joy to work with. We hope to employ their services again on future PC projects, and we hope you guys enjoy the fruits of their labor come August 30th.

Q: Will the PC version of Ys SEVEN have all the same features Durante added to the PC version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel?

A: Sadly, no, because most of those simply wouldn’t apply to Ys SEVEN. Remember, this is a game that was developed for the PSP, whereas Trails of Cold Steel was developed for the PS3. As such, there are limits to the visual enhancements that can be applied – without completely remaking the game from scratch, there will always be restrictions present here that you wouldn’t find in a game designed for HD visuals from the start. The most noticeable of these are the game’s textures, many of which don’t exist in high-res form. We experimented with upscaling these textures, but the results looked… less than ideal, and wound up highlighting other flaws (such as introducing very obvious texture seams and mismatches which are otherwise virtually unnoticeable).

Now, don’t go thinking this means the game will just look like a PSP title blown up to fill an HD screen! Far from it. Even if the textures are still rather lo-res in spots, the 3D models are all sharp as can be, with characters faring particularly well. There’s a lot more detail present on the characters now than ever before, helping to highlight their impressively fluid animations – and those animations look *especially* fluid at 60 fps!

But we do worry that those of you who’ve played Trails of Cold Steel PC might be a bit spoiled for choice after bearing witness to the sheer breadth of options available in that game’s admittedly brilliant launcher, so consider this a bit of advance notice: the launcher options for Ys SEVEN are far more basic, but the end result is a game that’s just as lovingly ported, and just as big an improvement over the original version. We feel that if you go into it with this caveat in mind, you’ll find yourself equally impressed with the end result.

Q: What’s this I hear about the text being updated?

A: Yep! As long as we were working on this game anyway, we figured, why not make some improvements in the process?

See, Ys SEVEN was the very first editing project I ever worked on when I was hired as a Localization Specialist for XSEED Games over seven years ago… and I was hired near the end of the project’s production cycle, so I had precious little time to work on it. I had a lot of help from our esteemed former editor Jess (whom many of you may know as the sharer of blobfishes on our Twitter, among many other things), but the time constraints and my overall newness meant that my editing wasn’t all it could’ve been, and a lot of minor errors slipped through the cracks. In addition to typos and grammar errors here and there, there were even spots where I’d gotten the context of scenes wrong, as well as a general inconsistency in terminology and capitalization rules from one file to the next. It’s mostly stuff that wouldn’t be noticed by the average player, but I’m certain some of you language nerds like me who played Ys SEVEN on PSP must have cringed at least once or twice before its conclusion (and not just from my poor attempts at humorous interjections).

But all that changes now! …Or most of it, anyway. I’m sure we didn’t catch everything, and there are still plenty of issues with the text only filling up a small portion of the dialogue window in which it appears (this was tied to the text limits we were initially given when working on this game seven years ago, so it was a bit too universal to address across the board). But the fact is, we made changes to over a thousand lines of text – most just minor corrections to spelling, punctuation, or word order, but some consisting of complete rewrites for better clarity or more accuracy to the original Japanese – so we’re pretty confident in saying that any returning Ys fans who play this game should find themselves more immersed now from beginning to end than they were seven years ago, and new fans playing it for the first time will have the best possible experience doing so.

And I’ve gotta say, it feels good to have revisited this text and made some of the corrections I’ve been dying to make for the better part of a decade! It definitely adds a sense of closure to my beginnings at XSEED, and I hope you all are able to notice some of these differences and appreciate the hard work that the whole localization team put into them – because this wasn’t just me going back and fixing things, but all of us making a group effort to give this script a new lease on life. It’s like we all banded together for a common cause, and I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it. And even though the majority of our changes are so small that you may not even notice them, we believe that the subtle effect they’ll have on your ability to become engrossed in the game’s world will make all of our efforts totally worth it in the end!

Q: Can we expect more ports like this in the future?

A: You’ll just have to wait and see! If we haven’t announced it, we can’t say anything about it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have things in the works behind the scenes!

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So, did I miss anything? If you have any further questions, feel free to pose them on our Facebook or Twitter – or on our forums at www.xseedgames.com if you want to reach out to me directly, since the forums are my usual stomping grounds.

And come August 30th (my birthday!), I hope you all have an awesome time with Ys SEVEN. As of today, it’s been exactly seven years since our initial release of the game, and while we weren’t quite able to time the release of the PC version so it fell on the same day, we’re thrilled we can bring this wonderful game (one of my personal favorites in the whole series) to a wider audience, and we hope to hear nothing but good things from you guys as you sink your teeth into it in two weeks.

Please enjoy your time in the land of Altago, everyone!