The Long Trail to a Localized Alternative Saga

It’s good to see you again, Warriors of Xanadu! LT here. Just yesterday, we announced that editing for our project is at 100% completion! Our editors have zoomed through the script at an astounding rate, the graphics are mostly done, and it won’t be long before testing starts. Ain’t that wonderful.

To whet your appetites a little, I present to you this article – a short history lesson by our translator, Shawnji. If you’re interested in how this project came to be, buckle up, because we’re going to delve straight into the details! I’ll pass it over to him, now.


Hello again, True Believers!

Wow. It’s hard to believe that it’s only been a few months since this was announced, and yet here we stand, with a completely edited first pass of the script. As the lead translator, I want to convey my deepest gratitude to every single person who has worked so hard to get us here. To be honest, it’s been a much longer road than I expected. I wonder if you’d allow me to wax nostalgic for a bit, dear reader?

The road to getting Ys vs. Trails in the Sky: Alternative Saga out in English has been a long and storied one; especially when trying to live up to the long history of incredible localizations that have come before it.

When work first started, I wasn’t involved at all, actually. In fact, to my knowledge, a version of this has been in the works from as far back as 2015, when Zeromonkey first dumped the text from the game. With the text available for translation, Flamethrower began working on the hacking side of things.

Despite having the text available, the story itself was mostly stuck in limbo — waiting for someone to come along and translate it. Flamethrower would ultimately translate much of the system text himself, and eventually published a “Menu Only” patch for those who just wanted to play the game and weren’t too concerned with the plot. Meanwhile, the main script was made available online to anyone who wanted to work on it, but outside of a few random people coming in and translating a small chunk here and there, it would lie dormant for the better part of the following year.

(LT: Look at the glow up these menus got! Being able to edit the in-game graphics is wonderful, because “Klose” is now “Kloe”. I’d say that’s a huge victory right there. Other ‘engrishy’ bits have also been changed – look forward to Loewe and Cruxie, instead of Lowe and Crshe!)

Come late 2017, I happened to stumble upon it, and I thought it was a real shame that it had barely been touched. Even the tiny fraction of the story that was done was lacking a bit from a translation perspective; with a few obvious errors here and there. So, I decided that I would sit down and retranslate the entirety of Estelle’s scenario before eventually moving on to the rest. From there, I initiated a discussion with Flamethrower about it, and he was more than happy to help reinsert said text as my work progressed. While there were still bugs with the first version of the patch that he shared with me privately; seeing my work in the game gave me a great sense of satisfaction, and I immediately jumped back into translating the other scenarios.

At the time, I was only about three years or so into my career as an automotive interpreter, and this provided a wonderful opportunity for me to translate a very different kind of content. Here were characters that would quip, jab, and joke with one another. Here was dialogue that (while certainly not Shakespeare) had at least some semblance of drama to it. It really helped break up the monotony of my day-to-day routine, and gave me a good chance to flex my writing abilities beyond what I was comfortable with up to that point.

Gradually, a few other people came on to the team wanting to help out with some of the menu and scenario editing. There was a lot of passion about the project, but as is the case with so many fan works like this, life circumstances would make it very difficult for any of us to get much accomplished. The bulk of the translation was completely finished by early 2018, but before we knew it a few years had passed, and we simply hadn’t made the kind of progress in terms of editing that we initially hoped for. We would talk about it every now and again; but we were all very busy living our lives and — like it or not — life always takes priority.

Fast-forward to earlier this year and Ribose and I were discussing my work on the script. He and the other Geofront members had already connected with LT, Livi, Hido, and Davio regarding their newly announced work on localizing Ys vs. Trails from Chinese. Naturally, we began to look at how we could merge the two projects together. I sat down with our old team to explain the idea, and everyone gave their blessing to hand over our work; including the toolset that Flamethrower had developed for inserting everything. At last, we were off to the races again!

After the transition, I continued to contribute to the project by providing additional translations for all the character bios and tutorial graphics in the game; but by and large, my main role has simply been to provide info about the translation and additional insight into the Japanese text whenever it was needed.

And here we are…over two years from when I first got involved. I can’t tell you how excited I am for everyone to finally be able to play this game — fully realized in English — for the first time. I am so incredibly lucky to have been able to be a part of this, and so grateful to the teams (both new and old) and everyone at the Geofront for making this possible.

Lest we forget; a big shout out to you as well, dear reader! It’s the passion of fans like you that keeps us all motivated! This will likely be the last time you hear from me on the blog, since I’ll be leaving any remaining posts to the rest of the team, but I just want to thank all of you so much for your support! See you around!

-Shawnji


Thanks, Shawnji! It’s really amazing to see how far this project has come. For the rest of the V Sector, we weren’t involved in Ys vs. Trails’ early years. In fact, our “version” of the project found its beginnings in a humble spreadsheet translation. I’d finally gotten my hands on the game’s Chinese patch, and was intrigued by its premise. It’s a crossover game, and all sorts of weird character combinations come together – what’s not to love? My friends expressed interest in the plot, but they couldn’t read Chinese or Japanese. So before I knew it, I was (painfully) transcribing the Chinese script onto an Excel sheet, then translating it line for line. It was far from perfect, but Shawnji’s story translations weren’t available to us, and for all we knew this game was completely untouched outside of an abandoned translation on romhacking.net. Thankfully, through the connections in the Falcom community, we managed to get in contact with Shawnji and the Geofront, so here we are.

After so many years, the end goal is finally in sight. The progress on Ys vs. Trails has sped up considerably in the previous months, and all we need is one last sprint before the finish line. Soon, you’ll be able to get your hands on this game, and we’ll be interested to see your opinions on it.

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed this mini-update. We’ll have even more to share next time, so I’ll see you then!

2 Replies to “The Long Trail to a Localized Alternative Saga

  1. Thank you all for your hard work! It’s very nice to see this team pump out more quality translations for Falcom’s titles. I feel like I need to play one or two more Ys games to really appreciate the effort put in, but I’ll enjoy it all the same

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