Aksys Games put out a few tweets yesterday that confirmed what I’d been dreading more with each passing month of silence—that BlazBlue Central Fiction would not be receiving an English dub, and would go to market in the U.S. sub-only:
“@aksysgames Basically boiled down to- game now w/ no dub. Game 6-8 months later w/ dub. We made a tough decision, but stick by it.”
“@aksysgames For clarification- We’re doing one release this Nov, not multiple for BBCF, no dub. No plans for a dub release or DLC atm.”
I’m disappointed by the news—and I’m especially disappointed to be getting it via tweet. Reaching out to the cast would have been a simple enough courtesy for Aksys to extend. Maybe they think we don’t much care either way, but many of us do. I know I do.
I’ve been Ragna from Calamity Trigger onward. I served as script-adapter and VO director on Continuum Shift Extend. When BlazBlue: Alter Memory got licensed for a U.S. release, I coordinated with Funimation to adapt and direct it out in Los Angeles, so that we could retain practically the entire cast and give longtime fans of the series a dub with the voices they’ve known all along. Granted, my experience with BlazBlue might be a bit more “behind the scenes” than most—but at the end of the day, I’m a fan, too.
Optimists are making a lot out of that “at the moment” distinction in Aksys’s second tweet, hanging their hopes on a dubbed release or at least English dialogue DLC down the line. Sadly, I am not. Aksys has literally nothing to gain by saying, “Nope, it’s never gonna happen,” except inviting a lot of disappointment and ill-will upon themselves in a moment when some folks are already fairly salty—even if they know it to ultimately be the truth. “No plans for a dub release or DLC atm” is the easy let-down, wherein everybody loses hope at their own staggered, gradual pace—or, ideally, just forgets about it with the passage of time.
If the sub-only BBCF sells well in America, it’ll be seen as proof that an English dub isn’t essential—that it’s an expensive frippery, as it were, and that they were right to release a pared-down version. At that point, why commit funds to a dub after the fact when they’ve already got your cash in hand? And if BBCF doesn’t sell well, no one’s going to want to throw good money after bad by dubbing something that under-performed in its initial U.S. release.
All this said, I’m not working with any privileged information here. If Aksys approaches us to dub Central Fiction later on, I will happily eat crow—and do it publicly, when we’re cleared to discuss the dub. But as of right now, faced with a reality I’d never thought to consider—that after the release of a multitude of dual-language BlazBlue titles from 2008 onward, they’re just nixing the English voices altogether—they’re not giving me much reason to hold my breath.
Some fans just play BlazBlue to whup ass, and that’s fine. But for a lot of folks, the story mode—which has just grown richer with each iteration—is a major draw. The mythos and the relationships between characters have been fleshed out in loving detail, and many among you would rather hear those thousands upon thousands of lines being acted out in English than have to read them.
And what a cast we’ve had…! I think our BB English cast is one of the best fighting-game ensembles in the genre, frankly. I’m not saying that as a self-aggrandizing actor, or as one who’s bummed over the loss of a paycheck. I’m saying that as someone who, like you, has spent the last eight years with these characters—cheering their victories, mourning their losses, and understanding the world of BlazBlue more (or sometimes less!) with each new revelation.
TL;DR version: BlazBlue Central Fiction isn’t getting dubbed. I’m sad about it, irate about how impersonally I found out, and not putting any particular stock in a dub happening after-the-fact (though I’d love to be wrong on that front).
After all this time, it hurts to be told that we’re not so central to the fiction after all.
Patrick Seitz, formerly the English voice of Ragna the Bloodedge.