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Zam Interview - 12 years of SFIII translation

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23 2017 12:16pm
by Kaihaku
This morning this interview appeared in the news feed on my phone. Not sure if this was posted here yet, didn't see it - so I thought I'd share.

This Shining Force III translation has been going on for 12 years
The Sega Saturn had a short lifespan. It came at the wrong time—right before the release of the S*ny Playstation—and most players were content to wait a few months for a superior system that cost $100 less.

The Saturn console did not do good numbers. Nor did its games do good numbers; only two games, Virtua Fighter II and Grandia, sold over 1 million copies. And no franchise felt the impact from these sobering statistics worse than Shining Force.

The popular turn-based strategy RPG already had two established, classic games on the Sega Genesis. In July 1998, Sega released Shining Force III for the Sega Saturn in North America—sort of. In Japan, Sega planned and eventually released three games, or “Scenarios,” all under the collective title Shining Force III. When combined, they formed the game’s true ending.

The NA release of Shining Force III, however, only contained Scenario 1—Scenarios 2 and 3 were never released outside of Japan. To play the final two Scenarios, an American player would have to own a Japanese Saturn console, and even then, they would need to translate from Japanese to English to understand the plot. In those early days of the Internet, there were downloadable scripts that one could refer to, but obviously, this was not enjoyable or ideal. This was a game that, like mant JRPGs, required its players to talk to multiple people in towns, and relayed much of its narrative through exposition.

The ideal was to get under the game’s hood and replace the Japanese in-game text with English text, creating a seamless translation. This proved difficult, and hackers tried to do so unsuccessfully for years. But in 2005, hacker ‘Knight 0f Dragon’ finally cracked the code and created the Shining Force III Translator, which is now freely available online.

With this, the dream of having an English-patched Shining Force III was now a possibility. The only problem was, having created the software, Knight 0f Dragon had little interest in doing the actual translation. So, the translation project was a patchwork, disorganized effort until Steve Simmons, who goes by the online handle ‘legalize freedom!’, joined the project in May 2006.

“I asked, ‘Who's the leader of this thing?’” recalled Simmons in an interview with Zam. “As it turned out, there wasn’t really a leader. There was only one or two people loosely involved in the actual production, and so I decided to learn the software and bring some organization to the project.”

“Only a little bit of the production work had been done at the time,” continued Simmons. “Basically, somebody would come in, excited to help, do a little bit of work, and then disappear.”

So Simmons, by his own admission, bugged Knight 0f Dragon until he knew everything there was to know about the translation software. He then documented how to use it, to give the project some continuity and legacy. Anyone who picked up the software could now use it to its full advantage.

Read the rest at ... r-12-years

Re: Zam Interview - 12 years of SFIII translation

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23 2017 1:27pm
by knight0fdragon
I wouldn't say Steve bugged me LOL

Re: Zam Interview - 12 years of SFIII translation

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23 2017 4:12pm
by Kaihaku
Now they need to interview you for your perspective. :p It's fun to see the history of the project reported on...even if I've never heard of Zam before this morning. Hopefully it will drum up some translators. SFC's number two youtube celebrity, Daria, retweeted it so who knows.

Re: Zam Interview - 12 years of SFIII translation

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23 2017 6:21pm
by legalize freedom
Thanks for posting this, Kaihaku! :)

I posted it in my progress report on the official site as well.

Re: Zam Interview - 12 years of SFIII translation

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24 2017 7:44pm
by Kaihaku
No problem, it was exciting to see it pop up on my phone. Hopefully it will drum up some support and translators for the project.