I’m happy to announce that the Geofront’s localization of Trails to Azure has reached the end of its first editing pass. Now, what does that mean? For those that did not follow the wild ride that was Trails from Zero‘s development, it essentially means we’ve written a “rough draft” of the game’s script if we’re using school essay logic. In the pending second pass, we will be checking for tone, consistency, terminology, grammar, and everything else you can think of.
In other words, the second pass would be the “final draft” before testing begins. This is an important and time-consuming process to ensure the quality of the localization meets our standards. Keep in mind, though, there is still plenty of the game’s script I haven’t seen for myself because it was handled by our other editors. As a perfectionist, lead editor, and for the sake of the script’s consistency, I would never allow it to be released without having reviewed every last word for myself—all nearly 700,000 of them.
How long will it take? Well, that’s a good question and one that I do not have an exact answer for. However, it shouldn’t take as long as the first pass, going by Zero’s development. Our goal is to start testing this fall. Naturally, we all have other responsibilities that get in the way of our work with the Geofront. I, personally, am looking forward to covering and playing Trails of Cold Steel IV like many of you are. The team knows they’re going to lose me for about a month as I do that nonstop, both for my own sake and for the sake of studying it to benefit our own games’ scripts.
Yes, we haven’t forgotten about Zero. It still has one pending update that will happen amidst all this chaos that will make it even better than it already is. If you were planning on another playthrough, or you or a friend haven’t tried Zero yet, it may be worth waiting for that next update!
I understand this process wears on people’s patience, but I hope the end result will be worth it for all of you. Localizing one of these games takes a lot of time and effort. In addition to the script, there is still a mountain of work to be done on the programming level as well as with custom graphics like we did for Zero.
Unfortunately, creating Azure’s mod isn’t as simple as “drag and drop” with the Zero patch, though some things did carry over and the experience of having done it once before helps immensely. I think as time goes on, we continue to question what our ceiling is as a group—always striving for new ways to outdo what we’ve done before.
I’m sure you all have plenty of questions, especially about the patching process with the Chinese version of the game. We tried to make things as clear as possible in our last post. Our suggestion remains to legally buy a license from Joyoland and download the game’s installation files for safekeeping. That is the legitimate way to go about things and we cannot vouch for anything else, aside from you being one of the rare ones to own the game physically already. It’d be wise to hold onto those files until the day the game releases.
Now onto the fun stuff: chest messages! Yes, Trails to Azure will feature chest messages just as Trails from Zero did, taking inspiration from XSEED Games’ Trails in the Sky. Like Zero, these will be a mix of community messages and ones written by the development team. As it so happens, I was the one who ultimately vetted the nearly 2,000 submissions you all made for Zero. Because of that, I’d like to give some full disclosure and advice.
For one, I cannot guarantee how many community messages will make it into Azure, be it raw number or percentage. Basically, the team writes as many as it can along the way, and if we think we have really good ones—or one that’s designed for a specific chest—we’ll put them in. I’ve also already decided to set aside some chests in Azure that will be used for more unique purposes that will enhance the storytelling of the game itself. (Think Sky the 3rd’s chests). There could also be another surprise or two.
Beyond these, the other chests in the game will go to the fans. In fact, there’s a chance that a message you wrote is already guaranteed to be in Azure! During the process of picking Zero’s chests, some messages I liked were pre-approved for Azure because I thought they fit better for this game than they did for Zero. Keep in mind that this wasn’t many, but there were some.
As for Zero’s other unused submissions, they remain in two categories: “Rejected” and “Review”. Naturally, because we received so many messages, some had to be outright rejected for any number of reasons. They could have been a duplicate, a spoiler, inflammatory, etc. Many others remain under review as possibly accepted messages that I’ll be returning to for Azure’s vetting process.
However, I’d ideally like a fresh new batch of messages to work with, which is why we’re opening submissions once again. Feel free to send as many as you would like; however, as the person who had to read them all the first time, I would give you the following suggestions:
- Don’t go for the low-hanging fruit. If your joke is obvious or in reference to a recent fad or meme, chances are someone else thought of it, too.
- …Unless that low-hanging fruit is a good pun. I love a good pun.
- No submissions about police stealing from chests. I’ve seen criticism about Zero having too many of these, but to be fair, there were easily a couple hundred of them submitted last time. I took a handful of what I thought were the most clever ones. For Azure, let’s leave it in the past and not continue to beat a dead horse.
- No spoilers for Azure or games released after Azure. I know it’s tempting to put in a cheeky one about Cold Steel, especially with all the drama going on in Erebonia as this game is taking place, but it won’t be accepted unless the detail is fully disclosed in Azure at some point. For all intents and purposes, Trails of Cold Steel doesn’t exist when it comes to our messages—that is, unless you can come up with a new and clever spin on Erebonian chests being the strong, silent type.
- Messages that reference past Trails games or other Falcom properties are not just welcome but encouraged.
- It doesn’t necessarily have to be funny. Interesting trivia or anecdotes are welcome, too.
- Keep it simple. Don’t expect us to approve a message that’s too long, in multiple parts, or ask us to change the text’s coding (such as the font size).
- Keep it clean. It should go without saying that if your message includes cursing, trolling, inflammatory remarks about people or companies, etc., then it will likely be automatically rejected. Our messages fall in the range of PG to PG-13.
- Other than these suggestions, have fun and come up with the best chest messages you can!
There’s no strict timeline for how long submissions will be open for, but it won’t be nearly as long as Zero. I’d like to have messages in before testing begins, so you may only have a few months! Rest assured, we will give a warning on social media at the very least before closing them and continue to remind everyone, so it’s okay if you don’t come up with your best idea right away.
Speaking of social media, if you’re on Twitter be sure to follow me (@KillScottKill) and our group’s account (@GeofrontTeam) for continued progress reports on the game. Fortunately, the team came up with some formulas that will allow us to track the second pass accurately, so percentage updates WILL continue!
That does it for this update. See you all again soon…and take the fully-edited version of our opening before you go!