We here at MangaGamer have already received a few questions about how we came about licensing The House in Fata Morgana after Novectacle and Playism’s initial attempt to translate it into English. Recently though, Novectacle decided to explain the situation in a recent post on their own staff blog, so we’ve taken the liberty to translate their message into English for all of our English fans.
There have been some big developments in the House in Fata Morgana localization project! Which is to say, it’s started back up again!
At the big anime convention Otakon in Baltimore, Maryland, MangaGamer announced their plans to release an English translation of The House in Fata Morgana. If you aren’t familiar with them, MangaGamer is a company that localizes and distributes a wide variety of Japanese visual novels to the rest of the world. We have entrusted The House in Fata Morgana to them, and they are currently working on the localization, with plans to distribute it via their own website and Steam sometime in 2015. Based on their extensive background and experience in the visual novel industry, we are confident that they will get the job done.
We have received a great deal of support from our fans regarding the localization of Fata Morgana, so we would like to be up front and explain how the project went from being handled by Playism to MangaGamer.
First, we would like to make it clear that we did not have a dispute with Playism… Haha.
They will still be distributing the Japanese edition of Fata Morgana, and we would like to maintain a healthy relationship with them.
The change took place after much consideration as to the best way to make the localization project happen. For a game with as much text as Fata Morgana, the costs of localization are quite high, and based on the sales we were making on Playism, it didn’t seem like it was going to be feasible. The cost of localization alone would be enough to make roughly one-and-a-half Fata Morganas, so we were at a loss as to whether to continue the project or put that money toward making new games.
We also considered using Kickstarter or another crowdfunding platform to cover the expenses. But crowdfunding is a lot of work! And with us already rather busy with the novel and manga publications, adding a crowdfunding project to the chaos would put us even further from working on something new… and we didn’t want that. Also, we’re deathly shy, so putting ourselves in the spotlight with something like Kickstarter would be pretty rough… ;_;
Obviously there are ways to gather funding where we wouldn’t have to make personal appearances, but the way it works overseas encourages creators to really be there on the front lines, pushing their product.
Next is the translation process. We would be given translated text to implement into the game ourselves, but making it work for different systems is surprisingly difficult (say a bug appears in their environment, but because our systems are different, we can’t figure out how to reproduce or fix it). So this was going to take a lot of time too. In addition, they had different translators on each chapter, so the final translation check was looking to be quite an ordeal.
So with all that in mind, we weren’t sure whether we should put our other work on hold to focus on the localization or not. But we were already receiving a lot of encouraging mail from fans overseas, and it seemed like people were looking forward to it – we were torn.
And that was when we were unexpectedly introduced to MangaGamer. As talks with them proceeded, we were surprised at how little work we would be required to do, so we spoke with Playism and decided to move the project over to MangaGamer.
Instead of having to pay localization costs up front, the agreement was that we would split profits made after the game went on sale, which took care of our financial concerns. Second, as we mentioned above, MangaGamer specializes in the localization of visual novels, so they have the technical skills to work on games themselves. All we had to do was give them the data, and they would be able to make it run on English systems. Furthermore, they said they could get it on Steam without having to go through Greenlight. What they were saying almost seemed too good to be true, but they appeared to be serious, so we’re entrusting them with it.
So the Fata Morgana localization project looks like it will be able to proceed without issue, and it looks like we’ll have time to work on something new. We wrote a lot about how we got here, but we’re very happy with how everything ended up, so we hope everyone giving us their support will be able to rest easy. The funds we gave to Playism went into the translation of [the BitSummit demo]. And while progress will be slower now, we can finally see the project coming to completion, so we hope you’ll all keep following the developments.
And if, at some point, we make a game other than a visual novel without as much text, we would certainly like to work with Playism again.
On the subject of visual novel translation, Sekai Project is very friendly, so if any developers are considering expanding their market overseas, we also recommend talking to them. They are working with ALICE IN DISSONANCE on Fault (a game we are very fond of!).
That about covers it for localization talk!
On a different subject, we were thinking about doing a live stream on Niconico on August 13th at 8 PM JST (7 AM EDT). We don’t have any important announcements or anything, we’re just planning on having a relaxed get-together. We’ll chat some, and demonstrate the upcoming Rose & Camellia & Fata Morgana, so if you have some free time, please drop by. We’re planning on having Hanada, Moyataro, Gao, and Mellok’n be there – a rare gathering of the entire team. In fact, this will be Mellok’n’s first public appearance, so maybe it is important. We’ll announce more information about the stream closer to when it begins!
Take care not to say anything that might get you banned!