Megathread Addressing State of Community

How do you do fellow ARKS? From the look of things, the Forums appear to be on fire due to a wide variety of issues concerning PSO2 Global... while many of the issues brought up are certainly worth discussing I get the feeling that many users here are very misinformed on many things and unfortunately end up causing more chaos with their misinformed information.

This megathread can be a solution or not with regards to these issues supposing people read it, regardless as new facts come up I will do my best to keep this thread updated. Considering one of the topics I will be covering is concerning the game's censorship, I have one small disclaimer for those interested in said topic;

I'm indifferent to whether the game's censored or not. Am I gonna lose sleep and let the fact that its censored take away from my enjoyment in-spite of having played the JP version? No, am I gonna get upset that the game's censorship was undone? Also No! The purpose of the topics covered here is to inform users and I trust that, unlike other threads that got shut down, no dramas concerning the game's censorship are brought up here... if you have somethign to add or an opinion? That's fine... but if you are going to start an argument, please go take that to some other thread if not the many existing threads concerning the game's censorship

With that said... lets get going!

Who's Who?

It's been a while since I had to bring up one of these but... here we go!

So normally the way a Western release for Japanese Sega games goes is as follows:

  • The game is developed and published in Japanese by Sega of Japan.
  • The game's SCRIPT is localized by Sega of America while the Japanese team is kept on-hand to implement the game's script into the files as well as do other adjustment to the game's code such as say... Dual Audio, Language Settings, Censorship, etc. (This process varies from game to game, for instance... Sonic titles have their scripts produced and things like Language settings implemented while the game's in development)
  • The game is published by Sega of America and Sega Europe. In particular, any PC ports released on Steam or Microsoft Store are handled by Sega Europe. As an interesting fact, Sega Europe's also the one to publish Japanese version of games on Steam and Sega of Japan's customer support links to Sega Europe's if you are asking for support on Steam games.
  • Any updates made to the game are sent to either Sega of America and Sega Europe to patch through.

Now that above summarizes the process that releasing a standalone Sega game outside of Japan. Now PSO2 is another animal though... its a 'live game' which needs to be updated constantly and has to have servers running. A similar structure to the above had been used with past titles like Phantasy Star Online Blue Burst and Phantasy Star Universe with Sega of America receiving the Server software, hosting the servers and pushing out patch updates given by SOJ themselves. This... didn't work as a common theme with Sega of Japan and the Phantasy Star franchise is their obsession with micromanaging the way that releases outside of Japan are handled; the result being that Sega of America were not entirely free to do what they wanted as nearly everything from server parameters, banning players and hackers and such required prior approval from Sega of Japan.

This failure of a structure was planned to be used for Phantasy Star Online 2's original 2013 Western release. However what we have now is a structure that is an improvement over the old one... but a tad bit complicated and unfortunately when things go wrong people point their fingers at the wrong individuals.... so lets go over this:

  • PSO2's Localization was handled by Lionbridge Technologies who've hired freelance translators who have had prior experiences with localizing games such as Blazblue, Dragalia Lost, Yokai Watch, and so on, at least one of the freelance translators had also done Fan Translations for this franchise as well (though not the PSO2 Fan Translation). These teams are handed as much information as they would need to know regarding the game and are given the documents (usually spreadsheets) to begin putting in localized text. These are handed back to Sega of Japan to parse (convert spreadsheet to the actual text files the game uses) and implement. Lionbridge is also responsible for organizing a studio and VAs to create the dub with the game's script needing to be altered a bit to accomodate the presence of a dub as well.

  • ESTsoft America, the American branch of a Korean MMO company, handle the game's "Community Management". "Community Management" doesn't describe their role entirely... anything that requires communicating with the English players such as Customer Support, Sending Feedback, Social Media, Forums, Website, are all handled by them. To give you an insight into how communication between ESTsoft and Sega of Japan goes, not too long ago they were hiring for additional translators to facilitate such communications... the following were their descriptions of the job responsibility:

Translate documents from Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese with accuracy and efficiency

Sit-in on conference calls, facilitating communication between multiple parties by translating in real-time

Attend meetings and stand-ups, ensuring all communicated points are clearly translated and delivered to both Japanese and English speaking attendees

  • Sega of Japan... well lets see; the Global client and server are compiled from their source code, they are responsible for developing features and content that would be exclusive to the regional versions of PSO2 (The SEA and Taiwan exclusive costumes and events were designed by them as were our own things like the Steam collab, Independence Day Event, etc), they manage the Global version's servers (one advantage of MS Azure, you can control the servers remotely), Processes support tickets which ESTsoft translates for them, fixes bugs and issues present, and so on. What should be censored and how is also something which Sega of Japan is responsible for. TLDR: Sega of Japan practically manages ALL aspects of PSO2 Global.

  • Sega of America... its hard to say really, they have some business related credits, have their dark-blue logo in place of SOJ's light blue logo and are the applicant for the game's age rating for various regions but thats about it.

  • Sega Europe are mainly involved with the Steam version. On Microsoft Store, Sega of Japan created a new Sega publisher account which they would manage so that they would be able to push updates to the Xbox One version out easily (as console games get their updates from the console's update servers which have game-specific updates linked to the publisher account of that game). This isn't needed for the PC version though as patches are downloaded using the launcher (only reason the MS Store PC version is listed under the Sega of Japan "Sega Corporation" publisher account is cause being a Play Anywhere title, it shares an entry with the Xbox One version). As a result, Sega Europe are allowed to put the game up on Steam themselves and setup the Steam page, by Sega of Japan's specifications, but aside from that and moderating the Steam forums... thats about it. I'll say it right now, if you want customer support or feedback to get through, do NOT use the Steam Forums.

So there you have it...

Localized Terms

The current translation definitely has its issues for sure I won't deny them... but a lot of things which ultimately come down to what localization really is honestly get jumbled up with all this, resulting in some posts which go less the direction of "Here's some typos, inconsistencies and errors" and more "We don't like this term and want it changed".

A lot of this ultimately comes down to the fact that for many years the only way to play PSO2 in English was either through the SEA version (back when it was a thing) or through the Fan Translation maintained by ARKS Layer. Now make no mistake, I respect the efforts of ARKS Layer for the work they have done and do agree that in many areas their translation does a better job. That said, certain criticisms regarding the Official Translation tend to come off as hypocritical all things considered. An example of this can be seen with how Harukotan's name is handled...

Players now used to the Global version will tell you "Daybreak Province" and "Nightfall Province", players of the Fan Translation will tell you they are "Shironia" and "Kuronia"... misinformed users will immediately think "How dare the English Localization change these terms!".... except, the Fan Translation's terms are not the original either... In the Japanese version Harukotan's two regions are actually "White Area" (白ノ領域 ) and "Black Area" (黒ノ領域) and what are the inhabitants of both regions called? Literal translation... "White People" and "Black People"... no matter how anyone tries to frame it this was never gonna fly outside of Japan and BOTh the Fan Translation and Official Translationtook their own measures on how to present these.

And thats not without going into the various meme references which the Fan translation put into their script...

On another note there's also arguments regarding the origin of certain names and terms. Names and Terminologies that were changed usually have two sources for the change; Localizers or Sega of Japan... i'll start with Sega of Japan.

A lesser known fact is that Sega of Japan actually has their own English terminology given to localization teams to start out. You can find these terms in sources Japanese sources containing English names such as the game's soundtrack or the Episode end-credits. Names_1.jpg alt text

The 2013 translation was going to use a lot of those terms... had that version released we would be calling each area as such:

  • Forest Exploration = Greenscape Probe
  • Volcanic Cave Exploration = Cauldron Probe
  • Desert Exploration = Lost Sea Probe
  • Tundra Exploration = White Summit Probe
  • Subterranean Tunnels Exploration = Underworks Probe
  • Skyscape Exploration = Skyscape Probe
  • The Ruins Exploration = Ruins Probe

But of course, it appears on that end the Localizers were able to keep the original terms for many of these areas instead of using Sega of Japan's. However the same cannot be said for character names which usually default to Sega of Japan's official English names. If you were to approach things from a particular context though their names might not be entirely incorrect....

a lesser known fact but a lot of early Phantasy Star and Phantasy Star Online terms tend to have origin from other languages. The Technique we call "Foie" is actually a transliteration of the German word "Feuer" into Japanese and then back to English. Similarly, the mag we know as Sato (if you are from PSO1) or Shato (If you are from PSU / PSO2 SEA) is a Japanese transliteration of the Japanese word for Cat... "Chat". Arguably... when it comes to this franchise, its entirely possible that words and terms which were transliterated into Japanese aren't actually supposed to be changed back to their original form. So while "Gettemhart" might be the correct original spelling, "Gettemhult" is more consistent with the franchise's past. Of course, I say that while knowing that the Sato mag's known by its original meaning now and that the Localizers corrected Sega of Japan's spelling for Marlu, Pati and Tia (Pati and Tia's names is one of the few terms the Official Translation got correct over the Fan Translation... their names are supposed to be a play on the words "Patientia").

Now onto terms which were changed by the Localizers... some of them were attempts at what is known as "Woolseyism":

A Woolseyism is an alteration in the translation of a work without a clean fit to the original material. Rather than being a bluntly-direct translation, a Woolseyism is an adjustment in an attempt to make the translation better fit its localisation.

This is something which is more common than one would thing in the industry with games such as various Nintendo titles, Persona 5 and Final Fantasy. The presence of such a practice... is admittedly not big of a deal given how common it is. Thats where things such as the following:

  • Team = Alliance
  • Room = Quarters (itself a carry over from the old 2013 localization)
  • Darkers = Falspawn

fall under...

Apologies if this part is a mess but... hopefully that covers most of that part.

Content Release

So... its not really something we've been seeing anymore, especially now that we have an actual roadmap, but it gets brought up annoyingly so as if it were a bad thing when it comes to discussions on the Global versions. By this i'm not referring to the content such as SG, AC and so on but the actual range of content and features available to the player.

So believe it or not... releasing a new regional version of the game with all the current patches, content and features is not exactly something that is common in the industry. You risk alienating potential new players, you will have to somehow fit earlier content in there somehow and so on. Ultimately this practice isn't an issue but moreso when the released version catches up.

Ultimately... the Global version wasn't made with the people already playing the JP version in-mind, its made with the intent of introducing the game to an entirely new audience.

Censorship and Discussions Concerning it

So this one's gonna be a bit different. For those who haven't read the previous entries... Sega of Japan's the one responsible for the game's censorship and how it was done. Honestly all which I have are a couple of points i'd like to make:

  • "Culturization" is a term which the devs have used many times when it comes to discussions regarding PSO2's overseas releases. Now the term was admittedly brought up with regards to the game's content... but the fact that the game's censorship had to be done by Sega of Japan means that much of the same principle may be applicable. There's a high chance that ultimately, Sega of Japan wanted to play it safe with their release and not have too much content that may alienate users of these regions.

  • Those used to how open Sega of America tend to be with regards to content altered in their localizations are definitely surprised at the lack of transparency on this matter. If you read the first entry here, you'll know why... the game's managed by Sega of Japan who ultimately aren't exactly well known for their trasparency...

  • Regarding the actual community itself... as much as calling anti-censorship people things they aren't, I also believe that "Pro-Censorship" is not exactly right either. There's a large majority of people who are indifferent to the actual changes.... Yes the game's altered, will we let it affect our enjoyment of the game? No. Would we be bothered if Sega doesn't reverse their decision? No. Would we be bothered if the censorship is undone? No. But of course... in this community you are either against or for the game's censorship.

Conclusion

I don't believe I ever gotten to say this in the forums (Reddit on the other hand...) but... ultimately the Global version and decisions made for it will always have a large degree of differences from its Japanese counterpart. The best outlook I have had on this (which I had with regards to the way content updates were handled but is also applicable to many things) is simply put....

"The release is not made to appeal to the audience that already plays the JP version but rather intended to be its own thing. What you get is the same thing that you get from any other game that made its transition to the West... and much like any of those other games if the issues are that bad to you then there's nothing stopping you from playing the JP version... at least compared to those games, you can play that version in English..."

All I am going to say is... so what?

If Sega of Japan is the one responsible then that doesn't change a thing about the arguments presented. If your intent was to ease the state of the community then this isn't it.

Though I have to admit it was a good informative read. You have my approval on that.

Much respect to Sega's Japanese department for adhering to said changes for our NA/Global version.

Unfortunately no matter how many reasonable posts are made that highlight the exact points you've brought up, the bad actors on the forum will just brush it off as if it doesn't matter.

You have to realize the forum and community aren't actually on fire, that's just what the handful of people making thread after thread and post after post want both you and the GMs to think so they can get their way. The handful of people just want to give off the perception that the game has been ruined, that the community is unhappy, and that the only way to fix everything is through rolling back the localization. Many of these people have even admitted they don't play the Global version of the game in the first place and clearly don't have any intentions too.

Meanwhile, the game still goes on and the people who actually play are enjoying it no less.

The "outrage" is extremely artificial and honestly at the end of the day regardless of what happens those same people who are upset will just lay down in bed, look across their room to their hentai/loli figurines and up at their lucky star wall scrolls, and think up what next to be upset about on the forum.

@Laep said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

The "outrage" is extremely artificial and honestly at the end of the day regardless of what happens those same people who are upset will just lay down in bed, look across their room to their hentai/loli figurines and up at their lucky star wall scrolls, and think up what next to be upset about on the forum.

elrisitas.jpg

My hats off to for putting the time into making this post, Leon. For someone like myself, who is super into the actual process of game development, localization, and what gets left on the cutting room floor, this was a super duper interesting read (and I laughed out loud at the Harukotan bit, it's stuff like that which makes me love this kind of thing).

It also gave me a lot of insight I didn't really know before as to why Blue Burst and PSU ended up dying so early in their life time in the West compared to the east. I knew it had to do with mishandling somehwere along the line, but I had no idea that Sega of Japan literally only gave the west the server hardware, and then handled everything on their own, and it makes me really, really glad that Sega re-evaluated this approach when they were looking to release PSO2. It might have taken us eight long, painful years to finally get it, but the alternative of having something that would have suffered the same fate as Blue Burst and PSU really brings it into perspective that the wait was worth it to get a game that's going to actually be properly taken care of by Sega of Japan.

Also, do you have any more insight on what projects the fan translators that started working for Sega did? I'm assuming it was the fan translations for the Sega Ages remakes of PS1 and 2 (which are fantastic by the way), but I was just curious if you knew which exact projects they worked on.

Either way - super informative read, and I thank you again for taking the time to post it.

I can't wait to see some of the reactions in this thread. 🤡

@Gamers-are-so-oppressed As much as I like watching trashfires, I would rather have them in contained threads instead of spreading. This thread is about how the communities are managed in different ways.

You can't complain on the forums or twitter because they are outsourced, you can't complain on steam discussions because Sega of Europe manages that. You can't complain to Sega of America because they aren't in charge of the decisions, they are in charge of publishing.

None of the complaints will reach unless feedback (that aren't bug reports or translation errors) will be part of the communication line, like it is supposed to.

@Gamers-are-so-oppressed said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

I can't wait to see some of the reactions in this thread. 🤡

You are here only to eat popcorns, we already know you're a JP elitist and never played the global/NA version. Or rather, you already know that the West is a lost cause, and you don't try to save anything. But don't expect hilarious comments here. As long as the "Pro-Censorships" don't randomly accuse people of pedophilia, everyone lives in peace. 💩

I'm sorry that I'm enjoying the game and things I happen to dislike are all things that no one shares.

@Silvalance said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

@Gamers-are-so-oppressed said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

I can't wait to see some of the reactions in this thread. 🤡

You are here only to eat popcorns, we already know you're a JP elitist and never played the global/NA version. Or rather, you already know that the West is a lost cause, and you don't try to save anything. But don't expect hilarious comments here. As long as the "Pro-Censorships" don't randomly accuse people of pedophilia, everyone lives in peace. 💩

You got a lot of information from just a forum account. I don't think the west is a lost cause per say but with NGS on the horizon the original PSO2 experience does seem lackluster at this point. Far as hilarious comment goes, I liked ur meme it was very funny.

@ViolaCrossfire said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

@Gamers-are-so-oppressed As much as I like watching trashfires, I would rather have them in contained threads instead of spreading. This thread is about how the communities are managed in different ways.

You can't complain on the forums or twitter because they are outsourced, you can't complain on steam discussions because Sega of Europe manages that. You can't complain to Sega of America because they aren't in charge of the decisions, they are in charge of publishing.

None of the complaints will reach unless feedback (that aren't bug reports or translation errors) will be part of the communication line, like it is supposed to.

I'm in agreement, I would love the idea of one mega thread that doesn't get locked instead of getting 3-4 different threads a week.

Honestly this is a very good read, and a comprehensive explanation of the divergence of various translation efforts.

It's always more difficult to describe things done right (especially when everyone agrees, as there is not much conversion to be had!) but I want to take the opportunity to say I think the translation we've got - the parts we've got - is my favourite version of the various translations.

Phantasy Star is traditionally a very referential series. When an area has visual, audio and musical cues to PSO's Cave area and is again the second area visited, Volcanic Caves is a much more purposeful and thematically fitting name than Cauldron.

My objections to the translation we have are exceptional - primarily the missing item descriptions, which doesn't get discussed much because again I think most players agree on that. This is why I am concerned about (not so much objecting to) the recent name change to Raven; the description of those items explained their former name. If we ever get proper item descriptions, the ones for those will either mismatch their new name or will be rewritten unless the item names are retranslated a second time to something matching the description like Spirit, Wraith, Soulbound or such.

(On a small personal note I would also prefer information about such renames to be more open. Already the Global wiki has been caught by surprise by stealth renames to less prevalent items.)


@Leonkh99 said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

But of course... in this community you are either against or for the game's censorship.

Besides the potentially unsupported conclusion that Sega Japan are making the decisions about removing scenes (and if so, why would they have been translated and dubbed in the first place?) this is probably the only part of the post I really - but respectfully! - disagree with.

For one, I expect a great many people simply don't care, and consider the aspects of the game that have been changed (in a way that could be described by some as censorship) as too trivial to waste time caring about.

A subset of these players seem to be objecting to complaints purely out of not liking complaints, rather than disagreeing with them. And in recent attempts at polls for instance multiple people have called for a "not interested/affected" option.

For another, some of us definitely have more complex views on this. To use myself as an example: I was okay with the first Episode 4 scene removal until chapter 8 revealed it was also a setup for a character arc. I'm still okay with giving characters clothes: Hitsugi doesn't need to be naked for the player to understand the setting is in her mind, and I don't see why it is strange for a manifested game character to have an outfit that looks like a default outfit for a game character, you know?

While I haven't yet seen the remaining removed scenes, my biggest concern now is that missing setup. Can they adapt Ready to Explode to turn the reference to a removed scene into an explanation of an off-camera event or a reference to a different time player and Xiera observed the Earth group? If so, the meaning could be reinstated without having to either re-add the first removed scene or remove Ready to Explode. As things stand I still fear the latter could happen and I feel that's not so much a censorship matter as a simple loss of lore matter.

@Miraglyth said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

Besides the potentially unsupported conclusion that Sega Japan are making the decisions about removing scenes (and if so, why would they have been translated and dubbed in the first place?) this is probably the only part of the post I really - but respectfully! - disagree with.

I suppose the way things were phrased were very conclusive.... though to answer the question in brackets, the localization team were practically given the WHOLE script and no indication what would stay or not. Toro and Kuro, NPCs linked to license content that won't reappear, etc.

@Blade-Syphon said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

It also gave me a lot of insight I didn't really know before as to why Blue Burst and PSU ended up dying so early in their life time in the West compared to the east. I knew it had to do with mishandling somehwere along the line, but I had no idea that Sega of Japan literally only gave the west the server hardware, and then handled everything on their own, and it makes me really, really glad that Sega re-evaluated this approach when they were looking to release PSO2. It might have taken us eight long, painful years to finally get it, but the alternative of having something that would have suffered the same fate as Blue Burst and PSU really brings it into perspective that the wait was worth it to get a game that's going to actually be properly taken care of by Sega of Japan.

I didn't get to go into detail due to the post being long as it is so to correct one small thing... the issue with PSOBB and PSU was the fact that Sega of Japan wanted to micromanage how Sega of America handled things while at the same time not really being as involved. Sega of America were handling the game's servers, community management and customer support but nearly ALL actions whether it involved banning hackers and cheaters, running and rerunning events, handling certain support tickets. This wouldn't be so bad... were it not for the fact that SOJ took their sweet time replying to many of these requests. Equally as late were tthe release of patches, again the result of Sega of Japan giving them late.

@Blade-Syphon said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

Also, do you have any more insight on what projects the fan translators that started working for Sega did? I'm assuming it was the fan translations for the Sega Ages remakes of PS1 and 2 (which are fantastic by the way), but I was just curious if you knew which exact projects they worked on.

alt text You can find their work over here: http://www.sceneryrecalled.com/trans/trans.htm

@Leonkh99 said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

I suppose the way things were phrased were very conclusive.... though to answer the question in brackets, the localization team were practically given the WHOLE script and no indication what would stay or not. Toro and Kuro, NPCs linked to license content that won't reappear, etc.

This is also fairly common practice as well when it comes to voice overs in games. They'll have the voice talent lend their voices to everything the team has ready for the script, and do cuts afterwards when the development team goes through the editing process. WoW is a good example of this , as the game has quite a bit of voiced clips from boss fights and a few cut scenes and story segments that were either used in a PTR build, Beta Build, or internal build, that never actually saw the light of day.

@Leonkh99 said in Megathread Addressing State of Community:

You can find their work over here: http://www.sceneryrecalled.com/trans/trans.htm

Dayum, she's actually got quite a bit of a portfolio behind her. I'm a bit surprised she didn't directly work on any fan-translation projects for unreleased games, but still, that's a very impressive resume all the same. It's no surprise Sega looked towards her for help in localizing PSO2.