Rune Factory 3 Special – Localization Blog #2

Hello Earthmates and welcome to our second localization blog about Rune Factory 3 Special. This time we’ll be covering the English voice recording process for the game. For the same reasons as the all-new translation covered in our first localization blog, Rune Factory 3 Special features a new cast of actors giving life to the game’s characters in English.

One Line, Many Uses

Like many other games, the Rune Factory series features short voice clips such as “Hello” and “Thank you” that are plugged into various situations in the game. These clips are meant to convey a feeling without exactly matching the text on screen. One serious challenge for the English voice recording was finding ways to translate a Japanese word that can be used in multiple contexts where it would not be used in English.

For example: おめでとう!(omedetou)

This word usually translates to “congratulations” and can be used in many different contexts in Japanese: birthdays, New Year’s greetings, and of course, contest victories. In later games in the series, multiple variations of this line were recorded in Japanese for dedicated use with birthdays or festivals, so we were able to record a “Happy birthday!” and a “Congratulations!” separately in English. As Rune Factory 3 Special is a remaster, we needed to work with the original format and find a word that would work in multiple situations. Often we tried to find a general exclamation of happiness that would fit the character, such as “Oh happy day!” or “Wonderful!”

Another example of this dilemma is 好き (suki), a word that can be used to express love/affection for a person or a thing depending on the context. So often “I love it” or “I love you” would not cut it because the line could be pulled for both expressing affection for one’s husband AND the turnip he just gave you. The developers provided a list of all places in a game that a line could be used. The champion for greatest variety of uses was an emotional あぁ~ (Ahh…) from the exuberant angler Carlos. The context note for the actor accompanying this line was “Can be so emotional he’s going to cry, either happy or sad, or feeling sick.” I’d like to apologize again to the actor for having to navigate that direction in English, but we think he nailed it.

Here’s an example of Carlos’ “ahh…” quote being used for expressing both sadness and anger. The same voice clip is used for both scenes shown above.

And if you were wondering, Micah’s awkward laugh is the single most-used callout in the game, which makes sense if you think of how the average conversation with the off-the-wall marriage candidates Pia or Daria goes…

Micah’s award laugh is versatile enough to be used in all kinds of situations.

Saying What You Mean

It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the cast of Rune Factory 3 that Sofia’s recording sessions were in a class all their own. A member of the legendary de Sainte-Coquille family and daughter of the town’s wealthiest resident, Sofia speaks in opposites, saying “I hate it” when she means “I love it.” Her father Sherman does the same, and the opposite words are colored red in game. For this role, the actress had to read most of her lines in the opposite tone that would be expected. Try saying any of the following lines with the tone indicated in the notes column, and you’ll understand what a challenge this was.

(Okay, saying “I’m fine” in a passive aggressive tone is not as unusual as the rest.)

A Whole New Perspective

The recording for Rune Factory 3 Special was split into about two weeks approximately a month apart. In the first session, we recorded all of the voices from the original game, and then in the second session, we recorded the “Another Episode” and “Newlywed Mode” content that was created for the “Special” release.

The Another Episode DLC features illustrated stories narrated by each of the 11 marriage candidates. Given that the actors had previously only recorded callouts and brief story-related lines from the original game, this was a completely different approach to their characters. These scenes give players a new look into these characters’ thoughts and emotions, and we hope you’ll enjoy viewing them as much as we enjoyed recording them.

The Newlywed Mode episodes are unlocked after you marry a character in the game’s Story Mode, and feature both animated character portraits and new voiced lines for each of the 11 marriage candidates, as well as Micah.

Finally, in this second session we also recorded new title calls for the game (variations on “Rune Factory 3 Special!” that play over the game’s title screen) and several lines for key story scenes in the main game that were not voiced in the original version, such as characters congratulating one another on getting married.

Whether you’re a series veteran or a new player, we hope you’ll enjoy getting to know these characters all over again (and in a new light) when Rune Factory 3 Special launches September 5. Or, as Sofia might say, we hope you hate it!