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Square Enix Nixes 3 Years Of Fan Translation Work On PSP, Despite Not Releasing English Version For PSP

from the fantastic dept

When it comes to the title holder for shooting down anything interesting made by fans that in any way involves their IP, Square Enix probably takes the trophy. The company that insists that DRM is forever also insists that fan-made games, films, and even weapon replicas shall not exist. Part of the reason Square Enix is found doing this is that it has created and/or owned some truly beloved franchises in the video game medium, including the Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy franchises. The fans of these properties are exceptionally devoted and passionate to and about them, which naturally leads to the wish to expand the universes even further through their own creation. That Square Enix wields a level 99 copyright hammer at all of these efforts is an unfortunate slap in the face to some of its biggest fans and best customers. It's a crappy situation all around.

But it's when the company does this kind of bullying with the timing of a CIA extraordinary rendition agent that we have to wonder if Square Enix is run by masochists. The latest example of this concerns Final Fantasy Type-O, an RPG released for the PSP, a handheld console barely holding on to any relevance in the industry. See, the game came out three years ago, in 2011, but only in Japan and with no English-language version having ever been released. A group of Final Fantasy fans, spearheaded by someone going by the handle SkyBladeCloud, began working on an English translation. That was over two years ago. The proposed patch and its development amassed a decent following.

If Square Enix wasn't going to release the game in English, well, hey, at least we could all still play it. Over the next two years, Square stayed silent about the fate of Type-0 in the west. Though Square's executives would occasionally drop vague hints about the game in interviews, there was no concrete news, and the few times I did ask Square about the game, they sent over non-answers like "we have nothing to announce at this time." Meanwhile, the fan translation team kept plugging away, and at the time, project lead SkyBladeCloud said he wasn't concerned about legal repercussions.

"I'm not worried since I live in Spain and different laws apply," Sky told me in an e-mail earlier this year.
Fast forward to mid-2014 when this entire thing turns into the kind of shit-show that leaves everyone looking dirty. In March of this year, the translators announced the patch would be ready in August. Despite the fact that the project had received a decent amount of attention, it was only then that Square Enix's lawyers reached out to SkyBladeCloud and informed him that their efforts would be fought by the company. They also made some mention of finding some common ground that would keep everyone happy and on the level, though Square Enix has in the past been known to be a turncoat when it comes to those kinds of efforts. Still, non-disclosure agreements were signed and talks went on. People contributing to the translation project discussed internally not releasing their patch if Square Enix actually announced an English release of Type-O, the theorized reason for their lawyers finally reaching out. All of that discussion ceased, however, when SkyBladeCloud suddenly announced the patch would release in early June instead, despite it being incomplete and not ready for prime-time. It was downloaded roughly 100,000 times. Two days later, Square Enix dropped the other shoe.
On Tuesday, June 10, Square dropped a bombshell of their own: Type-0 would be coming west, not for handheld systems but as a high-definition remake for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. (A consequent Vita announcement flub left a bad taste in some fans' mouths, and led many of them back toward the fan translation patch.)
Despite denials from SkyBladeCloud, pretty much everyone who knows this story is speculating that he knew the Square Enix announcement was coming and released the patch early out of spite, given a speculated ugly turn of tenor in talks with Square Enix and its lawyers. The timing certainly fits like a jigsaw puzzle piece. As does the sudden legal flurry set forth by Square Enix's lawyers which, despite SkyBladeCloud's earlier theory, caused him to take down the patch and all related online content referring to it. In its place he put up an announcement:
Unfortunately I'm forced to remove my posts and pages related to the popular Final Fantasy Type-0 fan translation project. That's right, certain game company thinks that threats and false accusations are the way to treat its biggest fans. For the time being I can't answer questions related to this matter, but I'll write a more comprehensive post about all this once I get the chance. I hope you understand, and as always I appreciate your support (that I might need more that ever in the near future). Thank you very much:

~Sky
While SkyBladeCloud's antics might be shady, and they certainly fractured his translation team in a serious way, he isn't wrong: this is all unnecessary. The simple fact is that Square Enix now clearly has no intention of releasing an English version of a 3-plus year old game on the console for which the team was translating. Sure, they're releasing it on some of the newer consoles, but many PSP owners may not have those consoles. The end result is going to be a whole lot of Final Fantasy fans being unable to play the game at all, simply because Square Enix decided to use its copyright hammer.

That certainly won't win Square Enix any fans, even if some of the folks doing the translation handled themselves poorly.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 9:35pm

    The Streisend solution

    I wonder why there was no other solution.

    If a company attempted to do anything like that to me, I would just leak it all -- through a good vpn or FreeNet, and let the Streisend effect do the rest.

    Why do people take down contents rather than use technology to circumvent censorship attempts?

     

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    Watchit (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 9:37pm

    Kinda sad when you compare it to games like Dangan Ronpa, also for the PSP/Vita, which attributes much of it's English success from the Somethingawful forums and other's "Let's Play" that translated the entire game.

    In fact it could be argued the large English fan base that resulted from these fan translations are what convinced Dangan Ronpa's developers to create an English port of the now 4 year old game earlier this year.

     

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    vegetaman (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 9:37pm

    Typical for SE to be this bone headed.

    Square Enix has already been on my shit list after they screwed over the fantastic Chrono Trigger project (several CT projects over the years, really) awhile back in the same way -- letting it go on for years of hard work before dropping the hammer. But as long as people will line up to buy Final Fantasy Rehashed XX, they don't care. I haven't bought nor played a Square product since the SNES days.

    And honestly, they've even doubled down on their DRM stances recently too. Which also prevents me from throwing money at them. Which is fine; there have been plenty of great other game companies for me to throw it at that produce content how I want (see: Shadowrun Returns). More money for the artists and developers I care about that don't equate me with a machine that shits dollar bills into their hands on demand that they can slap around at will.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 9:56pm

    Re: The Streisend solution

    In which case the company buries you under massive lawsuits, forcing you to spend more money than should be humanly possibly just to defend yourself, in order to make an example out of you.

    And if you end up broke and bankrupt because of it, well, that's all the better as far as a company like that is concerned, as maybe your 'example' will make others think twice about daring to try and improve their product in the future by offering something they refuse to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 10:08pm

    Re: The Streisend solution

    Only if they know whom to sue; and if the contents is leaked in a way that can't be easily traced back to a particular person, they can't even use the Prenda (IP = person) argument.

    Has anyone leaking via FreeNet or from behind a vpn ever been found?

    I can only think a few cases, and in these the leaker/hacker/copyright infringer was careless with his security.

     

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    Pawn to d4, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:31pm

    Let me preface this by saying: I am a professional translator.

    Assuming there were no technical difficulties in preparing the translation patch, the timeline on this translation project (some two (2) years) is too long for this kind of translation project with a team of translators, even on a part-time translating schedule. This would suggest that the translators are most likely bi-lingual fans with no translation experience. And as the well-known adage goes: being bi-lingual is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for being qualified to do translation work.

    And the most obvious indication that the fan translation project was done by non-professionals is that video games are not simply translated, they are localized for their target market. The translation would initially serve as a basis for the localization efforts to follow. And it would be surprising if the fan translation team had the resources or know-how to effect a quality localization (sometimes you need legal counsel, sometimes you need expert advice, sometimes you need creative discretionary powers authorizing you to change this or that in the presentation of the subject matter you are working with).

    In a word: fan translation work does not of necessity mean good translation work, especially in this case where it seems as if the team has left out the entire localization component.

    Without being privy to the facts of this matter, I am willing to bet that two (but by no means the sole two) considerations which Square Enix had here was that (i) Square Enix does not believe that the fan translation project was of a good enough quality to be associated with its name and (ii) Square Enix can do a better job serving its "less dedicated" (read: possibly larger) fan base by releasing a different version localized for its target market(s)—that the localized version is to be of a high-definition remake is, of course, another story. And that story lends credence to the possibility that Square Enix did not handle this matter well.

    Yet, if I were in-house at Square Enix or if I were working for Square Enix as an outside translation service provider and if Square Enix expressed that it is not satisfied with the translation/localization or that it was thinking of re-doing a localized version of the game, then I would advise Square Enix that it should drop all efforts regarding the fan-based project and move forward with its own localized version of the game. This advice would be based, among other things, upon past professional experience that it is generally more resource-intense to fix translation/localization work product that is not compliant with market standards, than it is to start from scratch.

    This has nothing to do with copyright protections and everything to do with fulfilling obligations to its in-house teams, its stakeholders (which are more than just hyper-dedicated fan bases), and the market at large. And as a rights holder, one of these obligations is to quash any sub-par work from hitting the market that shall be associated with your name. That is called quality control. Like it or not.

     

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    MrTroy (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 11:58pm

    Re:

    I'm very torn about your comment. I am only fluent in one language, and I have a great amount of respect for people who can operate in multiple languages. I agree with much of what you say (translating a game well is hard)... but definitely not all.

    Assuming there were no technical difficulties in preparing the translation patch, the timeline on this translation project (some two (2) years) is too long for this kind of translation project

    I think it's pretty safe to assume technical difficulties on this kind of project. Often it takes months to even manage a full text dump to start the translation in earnest, then there are often all kinds of problems dealing with fonts, text (dialog) size and even getting the translated text back into the game, without needing to mention untranslatable words and concepts. Then there's endless QC, making sure all of the text reads back properly and doesn't cause the game to crash because a segment is too long or too short... even for a team, it takes a long time to test every single path.

    In a word: fan translation work does not of necessity mean good translation work, especially in this case where it seems as if the team has left out the entire localization component.

    Of course not. But I've seen good and bad fan translation work, and good and bad official translation work. Localisation doesn't really correlate well with the goodness or badness, either... as long as I'm not missing out on any "insider jokes" (any cultural references are explained, either in-game/show or in accompanying text) I often quite appreciate the un-localised flavour of the original game/show.

    And as a rights holder, one of these obligations is to quash any sub-par work from hitting the market that shall be associated with your name. That is called quality control. Like it or not.

    Absolutely and categorically not. Why would you possibly think that a fan translation would be associated with your name? When has a fan translation ever been mistaken for an official product, to the original producer's detriment?

    If the official company thinks they can do a better job, then they shouldn't fear the fan translation - just do a better job, and let the market decide. If the official company doesn't think they can do a better job, or wasn't going to bother, then killing the fan translation is just petty.

    Sure, they're within their rights, but there is absolutely no obligation, and a whole lotta goodwill to be gained by holding their hand. There is absolutely no justification for treating fans in this way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 12:00am

    Re:

    No, it's called fucking over your fans and customers for spite and profit. Square Enix could have killed the project years ago if it was legitimately concerned with quality control. No fan translation project is ever expected to be of professional level quality. Fan translation projects exist because companies fail to meet the demand of their would-be customers.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 12:01am

    Re:

    You're kidding, right?

    Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies was released digitally only because they claimed they were going to rush out the translations in time. Net result? A ton of grammatical and spelling errors in the game, worst ever to hit the series.

    ODEX, a distributor of anime in Singapore, went around suing people who downloaded fansubs until people realized that several of their official products and dubs had subtitles and translations copied ad verbatim from fansubs and called them out on it.

    Why should consumers have to suffer - not only from not being allowed legitimately purchase products, but also penalized when looking for less official alternatives, which are refused to be provided?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 12:48am

    Re:

    "In a word: fan translation work does not of necessity mean good translation work, especially in this case where it seems as if the team has left out the entire localization component."

    I've also seen some atrocious work done on "official" translations, especially on content from Asia where the content is not translated into English by a native English speaker. Official or "professional" work isn't a guarantee that the content you pay for will actually be of a high quality. That's not to diminish what you personally do, just that I've seen horrendous work done in my time.

    Plus, of course, so what? As far as fans were concerned until recently, there was not and would never be an official translation of the game. Other games by Square and similar products have been left untranslated for decades, even where they have a cult following abroad. If the choice is between a substandard translation and no translation at all, most will choose the former.

    I sympathise with what you're saying, but this is simply another example of people who feel unserved by the official channels and decide to go elsewhere. The solution is always to service the demand, not to shut down the fans who opt to do the work themselves for free.

    "sometimes you need legal counsel"

    I'm intrigued by this comment. Why would you need that? Maybe where the dialogue refers to companies or individuals that might be seen as libellous in the target country, perhaps, but why would this be needed by a group such as the one described.

     

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    Pawn to d4, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re:

    MrTroy:

    Some thoughts:

    (i) Thanks for correcting me that it is safe to assume technical difficulties on a project like this.

    (ii) I agree that there is a ton of bad translations/localizations on the market—even authorized translations. It is an awful fact in the industry.

    (iii) As to why I would think that a rights holder has to quash sub-par work from hitting the market that shall be associated with its name: I was speaking from a perspective of professional translation. It is the norm in other industries that translations are prohibited when they are not authorized or legally required. By definition, a translation is a translation of something else, and there is the association. It is for this reason that translation is, in general, expressly reserved. I do not see why this should be different with video games; a translation is not transformative, unless there are some facts here that I am missing.

    (iv) Whether that association is detrimental is another question which ought not to be answered at the discretion of the market—as a fan of Techdirt, I am aware that is controversial here at Techdirt. Alas, that is a big debate for another time. Let's agree to disagree for now.

    (v) I take your point regarding goodwill, while I am not sure how Square Enix views goodwill. That is usually a question of corporate culture. We can, however, both agree—it seems to me—that goodwill ought to play a role in considering how to treat fans.

    (vi) You are also correct to note that there is no justification for Square Enix treating its fans the way it did.

     

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    Pawn to d4, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 1:17am

    Re: Re:

    PaulT:

    Please see my response to MrTroy above. I have already addressed some of your points there, and I think my response applies to some of your comments as well.

    And here some points regarding the other things:

    (i) You write: "If the choice is between a substandard translation and no translation at all, most will choose the former." I agree. I also believe that this choice is cause for companies to put in reasonable work to get fans what they want. A translation is, it seems to me, reasonable with a big enough or cult following. But there are also an unknown number of other factors that any company has to consider here (budgets, market movements, future business plans, to name just three). Without having the facts surrounding the negotiations in this specific case, it is hard to say whether the other factors outweighed the reasonable factor. My guess is, however, that they have—yet, that is no excuse for how Square Enix seems to have handled this matter.

    (ii) Fans not being served by official channels is an issue most likely best addressed with goodwill, as MrTroy mentions above, most probably in conjunction with any number of other measures. In a word: I think we agree.

    (iii) The legal counsel bit: a friend of mine is a video game translator (not into English), and he and his company recently worked on a localization of a video game where the localization required coordination with the legal department of the video game company and outside counsel in the country of localization. Every country has different laws and doing work in that country requires that you be in compliance with those laws. In the case of my friend: the game contained certain elements (visual/verbal) that are illegal in his country, and the video game had to undergo a legal compliance audit before it could launch.

     

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    Pawn to d4, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward:

    No, I'm not kidding.

    I have, it seems to me, already addressed some of your points in my responses to MrTroy and PaulT. But I would like to address one point you raise.

    I think we should be careful with words such as 'suffer.' Consumers do not suffer because they do not get what they want, just as you and I do not suffer when we do not get what we want. Suffering as a consumer because you do not get what you want is a very strong—perhaps even an extreme—reaction which is neither proportionate to nor reasonable regarding the movements on the market. There is any number of other ways to respond to an absence of services or goods on the market. Maybe there is a niche for you here somewhere?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks for your comments, it's always great to have some insight from someone familiar with the official side of things.

    It's my opinion that Square could have handled it better, but I agree that there's probably a lot of things that a fan translation don't have to worry about that an official one will. I can understand that they might not feel it financially viable to jump through those hoops, even if there's a sizeable fanbase waiting for an official release. Square could be much better at communicating these things, and shouldn't be surprised when people take matters into their own hands if the answer comes across as "sorry, we don't want to do it" without any further context.

    However, it's also my opinion that such fan movements will always happen. Whether it's a re-edit of a movie, fanfic versions of neglected characters or translations of foreign-language material, fans will inevitably create the material they feel is missing. This is inevitable in the age of the internet, where disillusioned fans can easily communicate and collaborate. Square Enix should realise that not only did they make the wrong move this time, but that the thing that happened will always happen. They should also realise that the people doing these things, and the audience they're supplying, are also people willing to pay money for the official product, both the one at the centre of this translation issue and everything else they release.

    "In the case of my friend: the game contained certain elements (visual/verbal) that are illegal in his country, and the video game had to undergo a legal compliance audit before it could launch."

    OK, so it was more an issue of the content within the game that required censorship/alteration for individual countries rather than simply the translation itself? That makes sense, thanks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 1:56am

    Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    If they had any intelligence whatsoever, Square Enix would be wielding a level 99 copyright hammer because Square Enix would not exist. They wouldn't exist because their ex-customers would have long since economically starved the company to death via boycotts, figuratively nailing their hide to the wall as a lesson to others.

    Of course, that hasn't happened. Stupid gamers have once again fallen over all themselves in their rush to hand bags of money to a company which delights in abusing them.

    So I'm going to side with Square Enix on this one: they're evil, sure, but at least they're not idiot gamers. Those gamers DESERVE to suffer, to be abused, and to be ripped off: after all, they're paying for it, so why shouldn't they get it?

     

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    MrTroy (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    (ii) I agree that there is a ton of bad translations/localizations on the market—even authorized translations. It is an awful fact in the industry.

    I'm not sure it's awful. There's a ton of bad books, and movies, and games out there as well (even in native language). Some things are hard, but we should celebrate people trying them anyway.

    It is debatably awful when people get used to things being bad, but I think that's more because someone who manages to try and do well is more likely to be ignored or dismissed.

    (iii) As to why I would think that a rights holder has to quash sub-par work from hitting the market that shall be associated with its name: I was speaking from a perspective of professional translation. It is the norm in other industries that translations are prohibited when they are not authorized or legally required. By definition, a translation is a translation of something else, and there is the association. It is for this reason that translation is, in general, expressly reserved. I do not see why this should be different with video games; a translation is not transformative, unless there are some facts here that I am missing.

    You're not really missing anything. Saying that fan translations occupy a grey area of the law is being optimistic - at best they would come under fair use, but since the translation is by design a substitute for the original, it seems a bit shaky. If there was a way to ensure that each consumer of the translation has paid for the original work then that side would be cleared up, but that would probably require the original producer to allow modding of the product - which is highly impractical on console or portable devices.

    The defense of fan translations is really just a moral defense rather than a legal one. Several industries have a history of looking the other way and allowing translation projects to do their thing (computer games - including some Square games and some Enix games!, movies, TV shows) while other industries have much more antagonistic histories (anime/manga), but I'm not aware of any real legal standing for unsanctioned fan-made translations other than the expectation of being left alone by the producer.

    (iv) Whether that association is detrimental is another question which ought not to be answered at the discretion of the market—as a fan of Techdirt, I am aware that is controversial here at Techdirt. Alas, that is a big debate for another time. Let's agree to disagree for now.
    This may be largely a matter of opinion, and I certainly don't have access to any data to back up my (implied) claim that fan-made translations haven't impacted any official reputations, so I'm happy to leave it there.

    Thanks for the discussion.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 2:08am

    Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    "They wouldn't exist because their ex-customers would have long since economically starved the company to death via boycotts"

    You do realise that the game was massively successful in Japan, right? Should those Japanese also be boycotting Square Enix because the US market wasn't being given what they want, or is this reality just too complex for your one-sided moronic rant since Square would still be a successful company regardless?

     

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    MrTroy (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 2:24am

    Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    Of course, that hasn't happened. Stupid gamers have once again fallen over all themselves in their rush to hand bags of money to a company which delights in abusing them.

    As one of those gamers, I'll justify myself by saying that I will reward quality. I think that the average quality of Square-Enix products has been slowly declining since the merger and the company's increase in anti-customer behaviour, but they have still released stand-out games that I've been happy to pay them for:

    * Kingdom Hearts 2 (2005)
    * The World Ends With You (2007)
    * Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 (2010)
    * Bravely Second (2013) - admittedly not as stand-out as the others

    Yes, they spend way too much time re-releasing old games on new platforms, and somehow still don't have versions of all of the Kingdom Hearts games that I want to play on platforms that I own... seriously, at one point you'd need to own 4-5 different consoles and portables to have played all the games and be up-to-date on the storyline!

    But when they release a game I enjoy in a format I can play, what's wrong with rewarding that behaviour?

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 2:43am

    Re: Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    That's why the call for a blanket boycott is both short-sighted and an attempt to deflect blame to the wrong party.

    Square Enix is a great company with some fantastic output. When they get it right, they get it really, really right. Most fans aren't going to refuse to buy the output that treats the fans properly in protest for the stuff that doesn't.

    On top of that, even if people did boycott and it was successful in getting a message across, that message would be somewhere in between "the losses are down to piracy" and "there's no longer a market for our content at all in the West". Neither of which are true, and neither of which reflect what's really happening.

    So, people need to target their boycotts. For example, I refuse to buy an EA or Ubisoft game on PC due to the DRM. But, I do occasionally buy a title they publish on other platforms because I don't have the same objectionable restrictions being applied to me there. I try to ensure the companies know that it's the DRM, not piracy, that's led to lower sales from me on the PC, but I wouldn't get anywhere by also boycotting the titles that have nothing wrong with them except the publisher name.

    You also have to realise there's different markets. Lots of people love the Final Fantasy series casually on the Xbox, but neither own a PSP nor care about the spin-off titles. So, people who buy Square Enix products regardless of how they treat some titles are not "idiot gamers", they simply have different priorities and requirements to those complaining about their mistreatment. Different people may or may not be affected at all, and most people won't boycott something unless they or someone they care about is directly affected. If you view "gamers" as one homogeneous mass, you're the idiot...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 2:44am

    Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    would be -> would not be, sorry. Too early in the day for quality flamage.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 3:43am

    Please stop hitting yourself.
    *THWACK*
    Stop hitting yourself!
    *BIFF*
    Square Enix, why are you still hitting yourself?
    *THUD*

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 4:53am

    Re:

    I worked with a fan translation group in the distant past.

    Assuming there were no technical difficulties in preparing the translation patch, the timeline on this translation project (some two (2) years) is too long for this kind of translation project with a team of translators, even on a part-time translating schedule.

    If you ever worked with fan translators, you know it's often worse than a "part-time translating schedule". It's not unusual for translators to disappear for months at a time.

    And technical difficulties... Yeah, they are unavoidable. First, you have to find the text, discover its encoding (sometimes it's even compressed), and extract it. Then, you have to inject the changed text (which might require fixing a checksum elsewhere). And since you can't recompile the code, you have to deal with the text position being fixed in the code - meaning the text length is fixed. Making it shorter is easy, making it longer (often required when translating from Japanese) might need hacking the game code to change the text pointers or to insert a trampoline.

    And the most obvious indication that the fan translation project was done by non-professionals is that video games are not simply translated, they are localized for their target market. The translation would initially serve as a basis for the localization efforts to follow. And it would be surprising if the fan translation team had the resources or know-how to effect a quality localization (sometimes you need legal counsel, sometimes you need expert advice, sometimes you need creative discretionary powers authorizing you to change this or that in the presentation of the subject matter you are working with).

    Fan translators usually don't localize at all - on purpose. They don't want to change anything, they just want to enable people to read the text. That's all. They will keep all the cultural stuff in, even things that would fly over non-fans or even things that could be offensive in the target language's countries - after all, these are all parts of the game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    Alana (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 5:22am

    Square Enix are promoting a new platform. And let's face it: It's well within their rights to take down the fan translation. Expecting them to do otherwise and calling it a slight against the fans is silly. Fan translations aren't legal.

    Would I like it if they released the PSP version in English? Yes. Would it sell?

    Let's face it: No.

    The PSP is a dead market. It makes financial sense to prepare it for the PS4/Xbone instead.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 5:42am

    Re:

    True, but I think you're missing the actual point.

    While the PSP is no longer a viable platform, it certainly was when the game was originally released. According to Wikipedia, it was the bestselling game of 2011 in Japan, according to at least one major retailer's reports.

    Now, it's quite possible that the sales would not have been reflected in the Western market (remember, an English translation would potentially cover at minimum all of North America, the UK and Australia/New Zealand, not just the US). It's also possible that the sales may not have justified an official release at the time.

    But, that's not the point. Fans, wanting to play the game in a language they understand, were told they would not get a translation. Frustrated, they created their own. At no point until their own version was released did Square Enix indicate that another release was going to happen, ever.

    While they are now promising a next gen update of the game that includes a translation, nobody involved in this translation project could ever have known this while they were working on the translation. Even then, rather than possibly having the game available for fans on a now-dead platform while they wait for the official release, Square opted to treat their fans with contempt.

    This may be legally correct, but it's still not a good thing.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Pawn to d4, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re:

    Anonymous Coward:

    Thanks for your explanations. They certainly explain the extended timetable. And your point about not localizing is interesting. That had never occurred to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 6:15am

    Re:

    Assuming there were no technical difficulties in preparing the translation patch, the timeline on this translation project (some two (2) years) is too long for this kind of translation project with a team of translators, even on a part-time translating schedule. This would suggest that the translators are most likely bi-lingual fans with no translation experience. And as the well-known adage goes: being bi-lingual is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for being qualified to do translation work.

    There is a big difference between what you do and what they were doing. I don't know exactly how professional translation is done, but I'd imagine that you type your translation into a word processor, or maybe even a custom program and then send the finished file back to the company. They then compile a new version of the game which incorporates your translated script.

    Fan translators don't have the source code to the game, so they don't have the luxury of recompiling it. They have to inject their translated text into a working copy of the game by replacing what's already there. This is nowhere near as easy as doing a search & replace in a word processor. Depending on how far they want to go, there might be signs in the game, which are part of the graphics, but which need to be translated too. In such cases, the graphic would need to be extracted, edited and then put back into the game.

    Imagine taking a load of American car parts and trying to fit them onto a Japanese engine and doing so with no manual.

    And the most obvious indication that the fan translation project was done by non-professionals is that video games are not simply translated, they are localized for their target market.

    Speaking as a fan, I absolutely HATE localization! It's is incredibly jarring to see Japanese characters named Bob or Lisa, or have then talk about being in New York when they're obviously in Japan. Beyond that, I don't want companies censoring a game just because the US thinks all video games are intended for kids and some parents' group might get mad. Like when the game Stormlord was ported to the Genesis, they put bikinis on the tiny, pixelized naked fairies. Nintendo also famously censored things like blood, crosses, Nazi symbols, etc. Just translate the language and leave the game itself alone!

    In a word: fan translation work does not of necessity mean good translation work, especially in this case where it seems as if the team has left out the entire localization component.

    Commercially produced translations aren't always the best quality either. Ever heard the phrase "All your base are belong to us."?

    Without being privy to the facts of this matter, I am willing to bet that two (but by no means the sole two) considerations which Square Enix had here was that (i) Square Enix does not believe that the fan translation project was of a good enough quality to be associated with its name...

    Nobody mistakes fan-made patches for an official product.

    And as a rights holder, one of these obligations is to quash any sub-par work from hitting the market that shall be associated with your name. That is called quality control. Like it or not.

    If that were their main concern, why didn't they simply tell the team doing the translation that they wanted final approval of the patch before it was released? Why didn't they give the team some help to make sure that the translation met their standards?

    I'm sorry, but I don't believe for a minute that Square Enix killed the project because they were afraid that it would be sub-standard. Here's what I think happened;

    They called in the head of the project, made him sign a non-disclosure agreement and told him about the upcoming games. Then they probably told him that they didn't want his little project to detract from the attention that would be focused on these new versions and asked him nicely to kill the project or he would be talking to their lawyers. The part about finding common ground and making everyone happy really means getting him to agree to their demands and making them happy. He can't tell his team what he was told because of the agreement he signed. To do so would put him at legal risk. So he insists on releasing the patch before SE can send a legal notice telling him to kill it. After it's out in the wild, SE tells him to take it down, which he does, secure in the knowledge that since the patch has already been released, it will be impossible to remove from the net. If he had waited and SE sent the notice before the patch was released, they would probably have grounds to sue him and his team. By releasing it before he had officially been ordered to take it down, he avoids that fate.

    At least that's my theory...

    Game companies have a long history of freaking out about things that don't harm them in any way. Activision asked sites to remove copies of the original Mechwarrior for DOS. Why? Are they still selling copies of it? Are they planning to make a Windows port of the original game? Why does Bethesda Softworks force sites to take down copies of The Terminator, even though you can't find a single reference to this game anywhere on their site? Does free distribution of DOS games from more than a decade ago really harm the companies who made them? If they were worried about buggy copies harming their reputation, they could just put their own copies on their web sites, or send good copies to the sites that want to host them. But no, even though these games are long out of print, the companies scream "MINE! MINE! MINE!" the moment anyone dares to put a copy on a web site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 6:17am

    This is why you shouldn't brag about projects like this before they're finished. By telling the world that you're making a fan translation or remake, you're tipping off the people who would most like to stop you. Just translate the game and release it when it's finished. That way it will be too late for the company to do anything about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Agozer, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 7:28am

    Thought I'd just point out that Square-Enix just recently announced that they were working on a remaster of Final Fantasy Type-0 for the PlayStation 4 with a confirmed western release.

    Still, it doesn't excuse the lack of an official English localization for the PSP version.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 8:02am

    I have no plans to buy Final Fantasy Type-0 unless an undub is released.

    I can't stand listening to American VAs.

    Give me Hanazawa Kana any day~

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: The Streisend solution

    Only if they know whom to sue; and if the contents is leaked in a way that can't be easily traced back to a particular person, they can't even use the Prenda (IP = person) argument.

    I think you're pointing out that they wouldn't have a good chance of actually getting a judgment of liability, but all that's necessary is to ruin your life with legal expenses, regardless of the final outcome of the lawsuit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    That way it will be too late for the company to do anything about it.

    Other than ruin you in court, that is. But hey, at least your game will be out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    Thought I'd just point out that Square-Enix just recently announced that they were working on a remaster of Final Fantasy Type-0 for the PlayStation 4 with a confirmed western release.

    Perhaps you didn't read the whole article.

    "On Tuesday, June 10, Square dropped a bombshell of their own: Type-0 would be coming west, not for handheld systems but as a high-definition remake for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2014 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    That's why the call for a blanket boycott is both short-sighted and an attempt to deflect blame to the wrong party.

    So Square Enix are not the ones shutting down this translation? Who exactly is shutting down this translation then? The illuminati? Of course Square Enix is the guilty party.

    Square Enix is a great company

    Great companies fuck over their customers? This is like an abused spouse saying, "But he's a great guy. Sure, he hits me sometimes but that's only because I make him so mad sometimes."

    The GP was wrong. Gamers aren't stupid, they're co-dependent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 11:14am

    The patch was released, Square is already screwed. Or not. In any case attitudes like this made me steer away from the company. It's been 4~5 years now since I last considered buying something from them. I don't even bother pirating.

    I've learned to go without as trolls say. It's much easier than many think. And this should be particularly worrying to these morons (Square).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    "So, people need to target their boycotts. For example, I refuse to buy an EA or Ubisoft game on PC due to the DRM. But, I do occasionally buy a title they publish on other platforms because I don't have the same objectionable restrictions"

    It depends on why you're boycotting, I suppose. I don't boycott EA because of DRM specifically, for example. The DRM is just one manifestation of the real reason I boycott them: they treat their customers like dirt. Which platform their products are on doesn't change this underlying problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 25th, 2014 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Repeat after me: gamers are stupid

    Hollywood and the music industry would like to have a word with you, something about the game industry not having a monopoly on stupid, obsessed customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 29th, 2014 @ 10:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can't recall ever hearing of a game company suing anyone for a non-commercial project. I've heard of lots of C&D orders being sent, which usually result in the project being withdrawn, but that's about it.

    Even when a complete game is released, the author is usually asked to just take it down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    nasch (profile), Jul 30th, 2014 @ 6:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps I'm wrong, but I can't recall ever hearing of a game company suing anyone for a non-commercial project. I've heard of lots of C&D orders being sent, which usually result in the project being withdrawn, but that's about it.

    But if you make sure that the project can't be withdrawn, the only thing left the game company can do is make an example out of you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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