a 21st anniversary, a 1st anniversary, and the state of the translation
Well, here we are. It’s the 14th of May, 2017. It’s the 21st anniversary of Genealogy of the Holy War’s original release, and the first anniversary of the release of its first complete translation.
God, it still feels so weird saying that. Complete. Not only did i actually do it, but it’s actually in the game and people are actually playing it now. i swear, it was only days ago that i was still puttering away at the earliest drafts in some dim corner of tumblr, just as a lark. There’s something surreal and heartwarming about seeing people play my work en masse. Thanks, people.
After the first release, we published five updates in relatively quick succession up until July, at which point we just…. stopped. And stopped. So what happened?
Full disclosure: it’s squarely my fault. Honestly, it’s getting kind of embarrassing. DDS has put in plenty of work since then and has a nice fat stack of bug fixes and assorted technical cleanups ready to roll out, and at this point i’m literally the only thing holding back the stack. i’ve still got a lot of work that i want to do on the script for the next iteration and i’m still chipping away at it at a very slow rate. i keep setting targets for finishing up, then promptly letting those targets whizz by. Hell, about a month ago i genuinely planned to have everything done in time for another anniversary release to be plausible, and as you can plainly see that did not pan out at all. It made sense up until February, being that university was still a thing i had to contend with, but now? Yikes.
What needs fixing, then? As far as i’m concerned, a hell of a lot. my first pass over the game was, in hindsight, not particularly careful. Working on Genealogy was very much a learning process - i’d certainly never done anything like it before - and it’s as much of a mishmash as you’d expect of a product of somebody whose expertise and translation philosophy slowly evolved throughout it. Before we launched i certainly made efforts to straighten things out and retranslate, relatively speaking, the worst parts at that point (hello, chapter 1) from scratch, but it really came down to the wire so a lot was missed. The current product certainly gets the job done, but i can’t help but wince at screenshots: all the flaws of my work are suddenly blaringly obvious to me much too late.
And you know what? Genealogy deserves better, and not by virtue of being a particularly special game or anything, but because anything i work on deserves better. If there’s only one thing i’m good at, it’s holding my own feet to the fire and demanding stupidly high standards of my work. At the risk of sounding like a pretentious wanker, i can’t say i fancy the idea of settling for anything short of clear, tonally and conceptually accurate encapsulations of the text and narrative, expressed in as natural and readable a manner as i can muster. i’d like to think i accomplished that with the majority of the game, but i can’t sit back until everything is up to scratch.
So, what’s coming up, then?
Tweaks to Genealogy
Fun fact: i am really, really not good at keeping notes on what needs changing and what has changed. It’s kind of hilarious in the saddest possible way. Every time i keep meaning to but then something catches my eye, then something else, and it’s all so fast that i don’t even think to record it and before long i’ve forgotten what i’ve just tweaked. Either way, some of the most prominent incoming changes (that i can actually recall) include:
- Lex, i’m sorry to say, did not fare particularly well in my first pass; i did a pretty bad job with portraying his tone and nuances, including literally his first block of dialogue in the entire damn game. Thankfully he’s the only character who got substantially distorted like this, but fixing him up was a top priority. Just about every speaking role he has has been redone from scratch.
- The majority of reworking is proving to be in the first generation chapters. Honestly, i’m not surprised; being the first part of the game i did left them much more prone to error than the rest of the game. There’s still a fair few second generation corrections, but still.
- boy shitting howdy i used the word “geez” a lot and in hindsight it drives me up the wall. at the absolute minimum that’s been reduced heavily
- Probably the biggest amount of legwork involved is tidying up the epilogue’s map narration grand finale, specifically ensuring that the individual parts actually cohere properly when the game combines them in any outcome. The way English grammar is structured makes this somewhat more difficult than it was in Japanese, and it’s probably the biggest reason why i’ve been slacking off. While we didn’t do the worst job in the world as things stand there are plenty of rough spots which i need to sand out. Thankfully the script itself is still sound for the most part, so it’s just a matter of presentation.
Fire Emblem: Thracia 776
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we absolutely plan on doing Thracia 776 next. I’ve been planning on translating it for several years now, DDS has already done some preliminary hacking work on it (pictured above), and these days i have the fortune of having a lot of friends on hand with a vested interest in seeing Thracia done properly. It just makes sense, y’know?
As some people might know i started work on the script of Thracia a few years ago, but i’ve sort of let it slide for a while because of other commitments. Once i’m done sorting out Genealogy, i’m absolutely climbing back on that particular horse. i’d rather not make any hard time commitments for myself or anyone else since that would be a great way for things to end horribly, but considering i’m now much more experienced at this and have much more in the way of assistance and support in my favour, i get the feeling it’ll be a smoother project than Genealogy. At the very least, whenever we launch, the script will certainly be less bumpy than Genealogy’s was on this day a year ago.
iunno. probably not, idk. we’ll see what happens
Really, in hindsight, i can’t believe how stupidly lucky i’ve been to have had the chance to work with such talented people on this. First, to have friends like amielleon and gringe who were willing to advise me on the translation and writing processes and, once or twice, step in to compensate for my shortcomings; then to work with hackers as talented as DDS and Azimuth, who as far as i’m concerned went through absolute hell to make my vision for the finished product a reality. Did i deserve all this? Probably not, but holy hell am i glad it all happened anyway.
okay maybe i should dial this back a bit
And if you’ve played it, thanks to you too! There’s still nothing quite like seeing my work being played by other people out in the wild (specifically, by people i don’t know who most likely weren’t coerced into playing it by my self-aggrandising shenanigans). If you haven’t played it, well, why not give it a try sometime? At the risk of overselling myself here, it’s a good translation for a good game.