A few weeks ago, the localization team for The House in Fata Morgana participated in an interview with Italian gaming website, Videogamezone.eu. We thought we’d share the original English interview here so more people could read it. Please note that this post contains some spoilers about the game:
1. Was it difficult localizing the game and having to deal with the promotional page knowing that the identity and gender of some characters had to be kept hidden until later in the game?
It was definitely a challenge, yeah. The Japanese language is a little more flexible than English in terms of being vague about certain things. A sentence in Japanese doesn’t necessarily need a subject or an object to be well-formed, but oftentimes, to express that same sentiment in English, you need to flesh it out and add back in the unspoken pieces. That can cause problems in a game like Fata Morgana, where that “implied” information is, in fact, being deliberately withheld from the reader.
One place this caused us a lot of headaches, for example, was in the interlude between the third and fourth chapters, where “You” are exploring the mansion and come across a talking painting. At one point in Your conversation with him, the painting mentions someone he once wronged, who he would like the chance to apologize to. You discover much later that the painting is actually one of Michel’s brothers, Georges, and it’s Michel he’s talking about here.
In Japanese, the text specifically avoids making any mention of the gender of the person the painting is talking about. However, we couldn’t realistically do the same thing in English. Using a generic, singular “they” would be out of character (and, honestly, a little insensitive), and not using pronouns at all would make the whole conversation awkward and nigh incomprehensible. So after talking about it, we decided the best option was to be true to the characters and have the painting use male pronouns, hoping that it was casual enough it would slip under most people’s radars.
2. Do you think it’s hard to find an audience in the West regarding these particular issues or are you of the idea that today’s Western customers are more invested in these topics than in the past?
The audience is definitely out there; I have no doubt about that. Getting to them is a little more difficult, though, in part because Fata Morgana does keep its cards so close to its chest, and in part because it’s very much not the kind of story visual novels are known for. My hope is that as more people play through the game and discover what it has to offer, we’ll see more people talking about it and people who might not otherwise be interested in visual novels picking it up.
3. How long will [A Requiem for Innocence] be compared to Fata Morgana and can we expect a release by the end of this year?
The main story of A Requiem for Innocence is roughly 1/3 the size of The House in Fata Morgana. In addition to that, there’s around a half-dozen short stories and other extras that bring the total length up to about 1/2 that of the first game.
And yep! The plan is to have it in everyone’s hands by the end of the year.
4. Will there be an OST available for A Requiem for Innocence as well?
Yes, we will be offering the soundtrack for purchase, as well as a Deluxe Edition bundle including both A Requiem for Innocence and the OST.
5. Is there any chance for the drama CDs of Fata Morgana to get localized as well?
I’d certainly love to work on them! Just looking at the cast list makes me drool. As always though, our ability to license them will depend on several factors including how well fans respond to Fata Morgana.
6. Can we expect other titles by Novectacle translated into English?
It’s definitely been an honor and a pleasure to work with Novectacle on the Fata Morgana series, so we have high hopes for the future, but nothing is set in stone yet.
7. Would you suggest Fata Morgana as a title to introduce players to the genre of visual novels?
I feel like Fata Morgana definitely has the potential to attract people who wouldn’t normally be interested in visual novels. It’s a great example of what the medium’s capable of—that there’s so much more out there than just cheap titillation, boob sliders, and the same five or six games you see listed up on “beginner’s guide to visual novels” articles every six months.
8. What visual novels would you recommend to those who enjoyed playing The House in Fata Morgana?
The Kara no Shojo series is also a great recommendation that slants more toward the investigative side of mystery and tragedy, though we’d recommend that for mature audiences.