Embarking on The White Witch Pilgrimage!

Greetings and salutations, my friends. My name is Sly, and today, I have an exceptionally special announcement: the Geofront is working on a fan localization for The Legend of Heroes III: The White Witch.

You would not believe how long we have been waiting to unveil this project—for a title that is near and dear to the hearts of many classic Falcom fans. Since our group’s founding, we have received no shortage of requests for us to tackle this game, as well as its two sequels; in fact, after Crossbell, these games might be our most requested fan localization projects to date.

Today, we are finally answering the call. It is my sincerest pleasure to announce that we are localizing the Windows version of The White Witch—the first entry in Falcom’s esteemed Gagharv trilogy.

Now, some of you may be wondering, “What exactly is a Gagharv? And what on earth is The White Witch, for that matter?” And for you, my inquisitive reader, I shall provide a little context.

Providing Context for The White Witch and Gagharv

Released in 1994, The Legend of Heroes III: The White Witch is a landmark title in Falcom’s history. The game stars two young heroes named Jurio and Chris, who set out on a pilgrimage to travel the vast land of Tirasweel—one of the three main continents that are separated by the Gagharv, a gaping chasm that divides the world. Each game in the trilogy takes place on a different continent.

The Gagharv

Unlike many of its contemporaries, The White Witch places a greater emphasis on its story, setting, and massive script size over combat and high-end graphics, despite having a unique command-based battle system to call its own. Players will spend far less time monster-bashing and dungeon-diving than they would in most traditional RPGs. Instead, one might think of this game as more akin to an interactive storybook. It is packed with lengthy cutscenes, bountiful lore, and witty inter-party banter. As you travel the world, you will become intimately familiar with Tirasweel’s many towns and residents—most of which have names, distinct personalities, and frequent dialogue updates. 

Some of this should sound familiar to fans of Falcom’s ongoing Trails saga, the successor series to the Gagharv trilogy. That is because this game established the template that nearly all future titles in The Legend of Heroes series would later adopt. Trails in the Sky is practically a spiritual sequel to The White Witch in both design and structure, partially because its then-newbie director and now president of the company, Toshihiro Kondo, loves the game and was a fan of it before he was hired by Falcom. He even got his first credited role at the company as a scenario assistant for the Windows port; he wrote the new opening that is exclusive to this version, for example.

Text and font in these images are subject to change

All three games that make up the Gagharv trilogy—The White Witch, A Tear of Vermillion, and Cagesong of the Ocean—are masterpieces that have profoundly influenced many games throughout Falcom’s long history. I like to think of Gagharv not as proto-Trails, but as its own wellspring of inspiration that many modern Falcom games have drawn from. I should mention I am not strictly referring to Trails with that statement. Even titles like Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana have taken narrative cues from The White Witch. Nevertheless, we firmly believe that all three Gagharv titles have their own distinct strengths that set them apart from every game in Falcom’s extensive library of RPG classics.

A healthy portion of the Falcom fanbase will find much to like about The White Witch. Some will derive satisfaction from discovering the roots of the Trails series’ design ethos and influences. However, my greatest wish is that you will enjoy the game for what it is and be drawn in—and bewitched by—its subtle charms and sprawling narrative. It is a beautiful coming-of-age story about two lovable kids who venture on a journey of self-discovery while following the path that was paved by the mysterious, elusive White Witch—who disappeared from the world, yet left behind a trail of foreboding prophecies in her wake.

The White Witch is arguably the most thematically poignant game the company has ever produced, and to say its late-game scenario scenes left a profound impact on us would be a gross understatement. I would not hesitate to label it as one of the best games Falcom has ever produced—and with some of their strongest writing, to boot. It is a one-of-a-kind experience, and we hope you will give it a chance when we release our patch in the future. If nothing else, it is worth the trip for the Jurio and Chris banter alone. If you love Estelle and Joshua from Trails in the Sky, you will adore Jurio and Chris’ quirky yet endearing dynamic. They are delightful.

I have a lot more to say about The White Witch, but I believe it prudent to table further discussion for another time. Trust me, I could go on for another 100 paragraphs if time (and space) permitted, but for now, I will shift gears and discuss our project and its goals.

Production and Goals for The White Witch

We have been working on The White Witch for a little over a year now. Having said that, I am sure some of you might be wondering how we are keeping pace on this project when we are also currently developing a fan localization of Dinosaur Resurrection also. The simple answer is that we have two separate teams of translators and editors working on each game. For a significant portion of 2022, I have been working exclusively on The White Witch, and the other active editors at the Geofront have been neck-deep in the development of the English script for Dinosaur. However, we only have two active programmers, and, given that Dinosaur is further along in both its script and programming development stages, they are prioritizing their work on that project. 

Rest assured, though, the translation and editing have been progressing swimmingly, and, as you may have noticed, our programmers got text insertion working as well.

Our rule at the Geofront is that we do not announce a project unless we are one hundred percent confident in our ability to finish it and release a patch, and the team has reached the point where we are fully comfortable issuing you that guarantee.

Speaking of which, here is the full team:

  • Lead Translator: Shawn Cox
  • Translator: Gu4n
  • Translator: Caw
  • Lead Editor: SlyGamer64
  • Editor: Schotelheim
  • Editor: Addaberry
  • Graphics Editor: Sorcerian
  • Programmer: JoseJL
  • Programmer: Ribose
  • Video Editor: Choojermelon/Theaggyyu

Shawnji, Guan, and Caw are working on a complete from-scratch translation of the game; we are not utilizing any other pre-existing translation. Also, for the first time in our group’s history, the translation and the editing are being done simultaneously. The translators got a head start, and the editing began a few months after the fact. The plan is to provide a complete translation pass and two thorough editing passes, as per our usual script production process. Once Dinosaur has been released, our two programming wizards can give their undivided attention to The White Witch, and then this wild ride can truly kick into high gear.

The goal for this project is to provide a patch that matches the quality of modern Falcom game localizations, both in its script and port quality, and everyone on the team will work hard to accomplish that aim. We are incredibly excited to bring you this project someday. While we do not have an ETA to provide—nor do we have anything to announce regarding A Tear of Vermillion or Cagesong of the Ocean at this time—we promise you that we will do The White Witch justice. We love this game dearly, and we want nothing more than for you to fall in love with it as well.

Closing Remarks

I want to close out this article by reiterating that I am a huge Gagharv fan. There are literally tens of us (in the English-speaking fandom, anyway). I sincerely hope our eventual release of The White Witch makes hundreds more. Because it deserves nothing less than a professional-quality localization that will do it right.

When next we meet, we will be answering project-related inquiries in a Q&A article. I am certain most will have at least one or two questions after reading this post, and we hope we can provide suitable answers for them.

Until then, we have a long road ahead of us, so let us embark on our pilgrimage together. The journey to localize The White Witch begins now.

One Reply to “Embarking on The White Witch Pilgrimage!”

  1. I didn’t really know anything about pre-Trails LoH before, but now I’m hyped for this! Can’t wait to get my hands on it – although I know the wait will be definitely be more than worth it!

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