Aria here, hope everyone’s having a good holiday season! I haven’t been keeping up with FGO, but if it’s roulette harvesting time, then don’t make yourself sick from all those golden apples ;_;.
We’ve received several “oh no the project’s dead” messages lately, so I hoped to alleviate some concerns with a holiday post. If you’re unaware, we have a progress tracker running at https://kotcrab.com/progress/ccc/ – though admittedly, it’s been rather unmoving lately. I’d like to apologize for the confusion there.
The past several months since we finished the main translation effort has been combing through the massive script and working through troublesome lines, essentially a translation check pass. There were several lines that were marked as “this could use more eyes,” “pun attempt needs workshopping,” or “I think Nasu is trying to shoehorn in a pixiv meme uhhh” kind of thing. Sometimes it takes a room full of us to realize the obscure joke going on.
The main issue with this and the tracker is that these are the worst of the worst lines that need attention and fixing, which barely makes a dent on the tracker. Hopefully once we clear these lines, the tracker will become more accurate. We should be through most of them at this point!
We’ve also been fixing up issues with translation consistency for terms since we’ve had a few different translators on this project, so that’s another one that doesn’t reflect on the tracker.
During one of our “what the hell is this line” voice calls, I sent a screenshot to ItsumoKnight to show how a line looks in-game, who proceeded to die in laughter. I didn’t think much about it until I looked back at the screenshot:
I forgot that the default Kotcrab setup for the editor uses Issei at the school gates since it’s one of the first lines, but I rewired it to Kotomine since it makes the lines x10 more amazing. For reference, this is what Itsumo would see on his side:
Really Hakuno’s blue glasses just improve everything.
There was also a section of prototype dialogue that was untouched that I translated since I finished my current tasks. Not that it’s accessible, but here’s what the line would look like (once again if Kotomine said it for some reason):
And now back to actual dialogue:
Kotomine aside, we have been slower than we could be lately, for that we apologize. Things have been busy the end of this year, but we’d like to kick the momentum up for next year, so stay tuned, and thank you for your patience.
And if Itsumo slacks off, I’ll be sure to drag him over for a CCC editing marathon session followed by mahjong thrashing🔪
I couldn’t have been more excited when Atlus announced, of all things, a sequel to Soul Hackers. Sega had said it was one of their ‘brands’ that they planned to leverage in a meeting, but I sure didn’t think anything would come of it, especially not in form of an avant-garde live action… thing.
Still, there was a good amount to be intrigued by. Another cyberpunk game by modern Atlus? Then… gameplay showed up, and excitement was doused significantly.
The end result looked much less like Soul Hackers and more like #TMS, and anyone familiar with that game knows that’s less cause for excitement and more for worry. Still, I wasn’t about to let that scare me off. I had to try the game on general principle, so I did, day 1 and all. Where do I even start? Soul Hackers 2, right from the jump, surprised me with how many narrative threads it pulls from the classic games, even the Raidou games.
The Phantom Society are introduced as the key antagonists, the Yatagarasu are still running around trying to stop them, and the protagonists are caught in between the two in a fight for the future of the world. The core plot is, by the numbers, everything you’d want from an SH sequel. The introduction is definitely one of the more stylish parts of the game, feeling like a stylistic throwback to classic openings like the all-timer, Digital Devil Saga 2’s Alive.
Sadly, it’s all downhill from here. As the opening shows, the supporting cast are all victims of the Phantom Society’s schemes, and are revived by the protagonist, Ringo, to aid an AI system with saving the world from an apocalyptic scheme. As most reviews state, there’s nothing wrong with the cast. Arrow, Kaizo, and Milady(pronounced more like “Melody”) are all interesting, fully fleshed out characters, with interesting backstories and solid voice acting.
Unfortunately, the protagonist is probably the least interesting one. She has great banter with the cast, and her voice actress has a lot of fun with the role, but there’s never more to her than happy-go-lucky AI helps everyone stop the Phantom Society. Her partner, Figue, definitely gets the lion’s share of a character arc. She also has a much cooler design than Ringo, to the point that I wish she was the main character.
The direction her plot takes is also part of the problem, but we’ll get to that later(involving major spoilers). Let’s get the core negative out of the way: Soul Hackers 2 is super lazy. It feels like it was a low budget game, and it probably was, given how miraculous the game’s existence is. That’s no excuse, though. If they had gone for a smaller scale game instead of something full 3D, they could have made this into something that was more faithful to the original game in depth and variety, and also a more fleshed out game in its own right.
First, let’s look at just a handful of the dungeon variety in Soul Hackers 1:
Off the top of my head, Soul Hackers 1’s dungeons include a warehouse, a port side dock, a hotel, a corporate headquarters, an airport, a supermarket, an art museum, a virtual reality world, and a haunted mansion.
Soul Hackers 2’s dungeons include, in ALL, a virtual reality world, an abandoned building, a portside dock, reskinned subway tunnels, and the final dungeon. That’s literally it.
Soul Hackers 2’s dungeons are a boring slog, and the music is set to match. You only hear three-four tracks repeated ad nauseum, and they get super old, super fast, as opposed to Soul Hackers 1, which had a ton of variety, all of which was fantastic.
As per usual, the protagonist is a Devil Summoner, and has a wide variety of demons are her beck and call… but unlike the previous three games, the demons you accumulate are neither party members nor companions. For all intents and purposes, they’re just Personas, and function accordingly. You can change them on the fly during battle, and each has different weaknesses & skills associated with them. They also occasionally appear on the field to give out items and healing opportunities, but since quests revolve around finding key items, this quickly turns into more of a chore than using them in creative ways a la the Raidou games.
Oh, and demon negotiation? Utterly gone. Now your demons just act as a middleman for random demons and you can decide if you want them or not. If you do, they ask for one thing, then join. No questioning, no bartering, that’s all there is to it.
And good luck if you’re trying to find a specific one, you’d be better off ponying up for the fee to fuse them at the Gouma-Den. Credit given where credit due, Soul Hackers 2 does get a lot of the references right. Just about everyone you’d expect to show up in some capacity is there, right down to Victor and his ever-changing Gouma-Den(no Mary, sorry), and even Madame Ginko.
I can say a lot of things about Soul Hackers 2, but I can’t say it was done by people who didn’t know about the original game and how to pay homage to it. It was just with a lackluster budget and no creative drive to make anything that truly lived up to its legacy. Even the city is well fleshed out, and has some genuinely cool visuals and NPCs.
Don’t expect to get much in the way of exploration, though.
You get three tiny hubs around these shops, and apart from that, the city is just a vague backdrop, which doesn’t get to have much life. I’m not saying it should have been like Kamurocho in Yakuza, but…
Actually, yes, that is what I want. It’s something, but it could have been much, much more. (See also: the dungeons, but again, it’s clearly low budget, so that wasn’t gonna happen.) Which brings us back around to the story. Soul Hackers 2 has a decent rogue’s gallery of villains, and to its credit, they get to have a bigger role in the plot than some of those in SH1(some of whom literally appear only in a single scene!).
(Don’t let this image fool you. You NEVER fight them all at once. Cowards.)
Iron Mask and Ash are the definite highlights. They’re charismatic, memorable, have solid ties to your party(both are literally exes of separate characters), and even manage to be a little threatening. Iron Mask and Ash are not to be taken lightly, and can easily wreck an unprepared team. I can’t mention them without going into an extremely problematic element of Milady and Iron Mask’s backstory, though, so spoilers ahoy.
Iron Mask saved Milady’s life as a child, and so naturally, she winds up looking up to him and idolizing him as her savior. And later on? They become lovers.
If that strikes as you as all kinds of messed up, guess what? You’re right.
Does anyone call this out? Nope, and I doubt Atlus even thought about the ramifications of such a plot twist. It would’ve been nice for Ringo to chime in, but nah, she’s more supportive than anything.
Then… there’s Figue. At the zero hour, after Iron Mask is finally defeated, the weight of killing him becomes too much for her to bear, and she decides to take up his cause for little-to-no good reason.
EVIL FIGUE(ooh, scary) actually has a pretty badass design, but other than that, her inclusion makes no sense, which I guess is as good a cherry on top of Soul Hackers 2’s screwy narrative cake as any. Then the game ends, everyone goes their separate ways, happily ever after.
Soul Hackers 2 is an uneven mess, and I’m being nice. The gameplay is fun, but it lacks the depth and core aspects of the classic SMT games. The characters are cool, but the plot takes them nowhere special. The music and dungeons are generic drek. The classic Devil Summoner games, and even the Raidou games to an extent, felt like the passion of a small, devout team knowing what they wanted to accomplish, and did everything they could to make a fully fleshed out game within limited means. This feels like the exact opposite.
This was a few individuals who were tasked with making a sequel because it was considered to drive potential for brand recognition and profit, so they scraped together whatever they were given, and tried to make the most of it, while throwing classic fans a bone whenever they could, while also trying to keep it approachable for new fans, and creating an end result that isn’t anything special for any demographic.
As you hopefully know by this point, another team released an official patch for Persona 2: Eternal Punishment’s PSP version yesterday, fully translating the game, all its menus, and the Tatsuya scenario into English.
Myself and the others working on our version were completely blindsided by this, and had no idea it was in the works until it came out, same as everyone else. There was initially a great deal of panic, confusion, and disappointment, especially since one of the team had formerly been helping us out with coding and graphic modifications on our project.
Fortunately, once the smoke cleared, we were reassured that none of our work was used in the final product, which I’ve personally confirmed. The new patch is just modifications to the original Atlus PS1 translation, similarly to what our project had planned, the only key differences being that the graphic formatting and fonts are different, and this version uses honorifics(which I tend to localize or make variations on).
That said, our team was still left demoralized by this sudden announcement, and it’s been decided that without the need or momentum to continue our version, we’ve decided to cancel our in-progress build.
As some of you also sadly know, we’ve been met with no small amount of harassment, insults, and hateful responses. Thankfully, the others on the team haven’t been the public face of the project like I have, so I’ve been largely bearing the brunt of the drama. That said, it personally saddens me to see how the SMT community has degraded into something like this, as someone who’s been playing games and been part of the scene since the mid-90s. Toxicity like this is what contributed to other long-term community members and fan translators like AeonGenesis leaving the SMT scene and avoiding future projects of the like, and now, I can unfortunately understand why.
I hope everyone can take this as an opportunity to leave things in the past and move forward to just enjoy the game and support the series as well as any other fans working on SMT projects without undue harassment or hostility. This is something we do in our spare time, for sheer love of the game, and nothing else. We have never taken donations, and never will. During the course of the Eternal Punishment project, we’ve endured family deaths, a pandemic, and even an ongoing war that personally affected a member of the team.
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is near and dear to me. I picked up my copy of Persona 1 in the late 90s, and Persona 2 at a store in Tampa in the early 00s. It remains one of my favorite RPGs ever, and nothing is liable to change that. Going forward, I plan on enjoying the new release of Persona 2’s translation as a fan, and look forward to whatever else Atlus brings in the future. If the renewed interest leads to Atlus releasing an official remake or re-release of the older Persona games, then that’s even better, and I fully plan to support that as well, and hopefully you’ll do the same.
In closing, just remember to do as Maya does.
P.S.: this is in no way affects the progress of ongoing projects. Devil Summoner is still in the translating/editing phases, as is Fate/Extra CCC. As always, we appreciate the support and patience.
Aria here, and you read that right! Mere days after finishing my 2nd playthrough and finishing the voice lines and in-dungeon lines, JS dropped the rest of the CCC main script translations in one fell swoop!
We’ve updated the checkmark on the progress website, but we haven’t finalized a way to track the editing phase yet. Please give us some time to find out how to best present this next leg of work, and we’ll let you know when we have something!
For now though…
Though before rest, we’ve got one important question you can answer in the comments:
I love FMV games. Been playing them since the ancient times of Night Trap and Sewer Shark and well into the modern FMV renaissance, from high production value gems like Late Shift to no-budget schlock like Press X To Die.
It’s about time Japan threw their hat into the ring.
As has probably been known, this quirky experiment was written by Kazutaka Kodaka, the lunatic behind the Danganronpa games, a weird VN/murder mystery series known for having the characters die in elaborate ways while trying to solve an elaborate mystery.
Death Come True is basically that, except the protagonist is the one doing (most of) the dying.
Makoto Kuraki wakes up in a hotel with no idea of who he is, what he’s doing there, why he keeps dying, or why everyone thinks he’s… a killer!?
Like most FMV games, Death Come True boils down to making choices… and, uh, that’s literally about it.
I finished the game in about two hours, give or take. It’s VERY short, and far as I can tell, there’s not a whole lot of replay value. It has a few neat twists and turns, high production values, and good acting, but nothing too shocking. In fact, it’s a little predicable, knowing what the writer’s penchant for certain types of tropes and storytelling swerves.
I still had a fun time with Death Come True, but I would suggest waiting til it hits the $10ish mark for maximum enjoy. It’s nice to see FMV games from Japan, especially with a budget and big names thrown at it, just hopefully next time it’s something a bit meatier.
Aria here! So, we might be bad at this whole “quarterly updates” thing, but I promise we’re making progress! It’s also still incredibly hot here, so it’s still definitely summer. But as Andersen put it, you all deserve a reward for sticking with us.
Without further ado, we have an update video for you! Go watch that!
Hopefully this is your reaction:
If so, then I have succeeded and survive for another day on the internet. I’ve been told CJ streamed the prologue a long time ago, but I wasn’t around yet and didn’t see it. But he says the overall quality now is leagues better and deserves to be shown off. The text looks clean, the images look slick, and all the voices have subtitles! (Those Kotomine lines in the joke intro were real and in-game btw). Remember we’re still on the translation phase, so what you saw still needs some editing. But somewhere around 86% of the game is translated and looks about the quality you saw in the video.
We have one unused Easter Egg that was shown as an error message if installing the game failed, but we’ve since removed the option entirely since it doesn’t improve anything. In honor of Tsukihime Remake’s release, we decided to share it here:
Lastly, we wanted to give a shoutout to the kind person who sent us all the CCC Void Log books, which contain *nearly every spoken line of dialogue in the game written down*! They have made my life so much easier for transcribing battle lines ; _;
If you’re reading this update, please get in touch with ItsumoKnight in the iwakura productions discord! He had something Gundam related he wanted to follow up with you on.
And as for you, dear readers, let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to cover/show off in future updates. We’ll probably be back around New Year’s (who are we kidding, it’s September, we’ll probably skip to a Winter update next), so see you then!
This effort is nothing short of astonishing. The team remade the game from the ground up, then hardcoded subs to translate what was thought to be an untranslatable game due to the biblical scope of what’s an exclusively voice acted experience.
Serial Experiments Lain was developed concurrently with the series, and designed to be its own thing, though you could probably make a case to tie it into the show, if you wanted.
It’s not so much a game as it is an A/V experience. You explore diary entries, listen to interviews between Lain and her psychologist, and spiral further down the rabbit hole until you learn the truth: both literally and figuratively.
If you’re even a cursory fan of the series, or a hardcore obsessee like yours truly, it is a must-play.
We have a short update for you today since we’ve mostly been pushing forward in translation progress rather than anything flashy. Though speaking of flashy, Kotcrab has set up a progress tracking page where you can see an estimate of our project updated in real time! You can view that page here –
In terms of translations, we have some updates here:
– Chapter 6 has been fully translated!
– In dungeon translations are now underway
– Over 530 audio files have subtitles now (including misc areas of the game like in Kotomine’s shop, My Room, and the Secret Garden)
– Misc bug fixes encountered in playtesting
As always, thank you for your patience as we push the translated line count higher and higher!
(Disclaimer: please don’t be liberated from your money.)
This is kind of a long story. If you want that, read on after this.
If you don’t, uh, just watch this.
Still with me? Good!
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner is a spinoff of the SMT series. It was originally released for the Sega Saturn(wise choice) and then later for the PSP(tough call) and then never localized(thanks Sony. NOT).
What separates Devil Summoner from SMT? In a nutshell, Devil Summoners are basically the same as SMT’s protagonists: normal humans who work with demons. The difference is, Devil Summoners are more, shall we say, hands on with their demons. Demons tend to get more personality and have more influence in the story, and be more friendly with their summoner, not just tools for a job. (Especially in the Raidou games.)
Basically, Devil Summoner games are more ‘street level’ and character-driven. That’s how I like to think of it, anyway.
Devil Summoner takes place in 199x, where a college student with terrible luck winds up having to save his girlfriend, the city, and maybe the world from the machinations of a Bible/Grimoire-wielding dark summoner hell bent on reviving a goddess and wreaking all kinds of the hades(props if you get that).
This brings us to a few years(?) back when on 4chan’s “SMTG” community, a user I’m fortunate enough to now-know as Fukuzatsu decided he was going to translate the game for the PSP.
At least, until he hit the worst of SMT walls: demon negotiation. It’s been hell on him.