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Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair - Localization Blog #1

Ryan was unavailable to write this blog entry for Earth Defense Force 4.1, as his mind has just been blown from playing through Earth Defense Force 4.1. In his place, please welcome Ryan’s inner twelve-year-old.

Guys.

Guys, no seriously, holy shit, you’ve gotta play this game. It’s like, Pacific Rim meets Halo meets War of the Worlds meets Dynasty Warriors meets… Jesus, it’s got everything.

So, okay, picture Independence Day. Flying saucers invade the Earth, you know the drill. Now say the aliens also have giant ants and spiders and bees. And robots the size of buildings. And transforming ships the size of bigger buildings. And Godzilla. They have Godzilla.

…I mean, no, they don’t have Godzilla, they have Giant, Original Lizard Monster Who In No Way Infringes On Godzilla.

So all these things invade the Earth at the same time, and you’re a soldier in the human army who has to fight them off. What do they give you?

Pretty much everything you can think of.  

Guns. Shotguns. Machine guns. Way-the-hell-bigger machine guns. Rocket launchers, grenade launchers, launcher launchers – but that’s just the small stuff. That’s what the regular Ranger class gets to play with. There’s more. There’s so much more.

You can play as an Air Raider, who can call in artillery and airstrikes and cruise missiles. With explosions so big they’re brighter than the goddamn sun. Air Raiders and Rangers can both drive vehicles, like tanks, bigger tanks, rail gun tanks, spider tanks, hover bikes, helicopters, and *spoilers*.

You can also be a Wing Diver, who flies over the battlefield on a jetpack shooting lightning guns down at everything. Or you can be a Fencer, which is kind of like being Robocop, but also having the Hammer of Thor.

And every so often, the game gods reach down and give you a giant robot. You use it to punch not-Godzilla. It is awesome.

And all that builds up to this one big scene where *spoilers*… Ah, hell, it’s in the trailer. I’m just gonna say it—

HOLY SHIT, YOU’RE IN THIS FIGHT WHERE THESE TEN GIANT ROBOTS FIGHT TEN GODZILLAS AT THE SAME TIME AND THEN ONE OF THE ROBOTS GOES LIKE “BAM” AND PUNCHES GODZILLA IN THE FACE AND THEN GODZILLA STAGGERS BACK INTO ANOTHER ROBOT, AND THAT ROBOT GOES “BAM” AND PUNCHES HIM BACK TO THE FIRST ONE, AND THEN THE FIRST ONE UPPERCUTS GODZILLA IN THE JAW AND TAKES HIM OUT…

*gasp* *gasp*

BUT THEN A GIANT GODZILLA STOMPS IN AND JUST FULL-ON BACKHANDS ONE OF THE ROBOTS AND SENDS HIM FLYING CLEAR ACROSS THE WHOLE CITY, AND THEN… AND THEN…

We’re pleased to announce that Regular Ryan has just made a miraculous recovery.

*ahem* Twelve-year-old me isn’t wrong. This is the game I wanted at his age, back before the technology existed to make a game like this the way it should be.

What really sells this game to me, besides just being big (not just in terms of scope, but also content – for an action game, it’s huge), is that it straddles the line between straight-laced military action and over-the-top, goofy fun. The action is serious and visceral enough that you take it seriously and feel the urgency, but it’s also wild and flashy enough to let you know that it wants you to smile and cheer the whole time.

Localizing a game with that sort of tone, striking that balance in the performances and dialogue, can be a tricky challenge, especially when you’re working on two separate games in an ongoing series (Earth Defense Force 4.1 and its Vita cousin, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space). We recorded all the dialogue for both games at the same time, being careful to mark which lines were for which game. The 4.1 lines were written completely straight, and played as such, to emulate the more serious (but still popcorn-flavored) feel of a modern military sci-fi movie. The Earth Defense Force 2 lines are also mostly serious, but with just a hint of cheese, to recall the sheer whole-hearted earnestness of old classic low-budget sci-fi. Between the two, we recorded rousing speeches, sharp commands, urgent updates, and well over a hundred different death screams. I even got to hop in the booth myself for a bit, playing a couple of random soldiers here and there.

I’d love to say more, but I’ve got to wrap up some other stuff before the end of the day. So for now, I’ll just say that if you like gigantic, over-the-top sci-fi battles – and this game seriously has the best of those I’ve seen since Zone of the Enders 2 – you’ll love Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair as much as I do.

- Ryan