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Tales producer discusses handling overseas localizations

Something JRPG fans living in North America (including myself) bitch about is the lengthy periods of time it takes for Namco Bandai to localize its Tales games over here. Case in point: We just got Tales of Graces f for the PlayStation 3 not too long ago, meanwhile Japan has been playing the heck out of Tales of Xillia. And if that wasn't enough, the next entry in the franchise is going to be announced at the Tales of Festival this June.

It's a shame the games take so long to get to North America, but it makes sense given all the work it must take to translate and develop for a completely different region. In a recent video interview, Tales series producer Hideo Baba discussed the reasons for the long localization times and even stated that Namco Bandai was "thinking deeply" on how to ensure that regions outside of Japan get Tales games sooner.

Part of the trouble, says Baba, is in the promotion of Japanese games. Makes sense, considering a game won't sell if it doesn't get the proper attention and advertising. "For it to be accepted overseas requires all kinds of promotions, and things from all angles," said the producer. "We consider this an important issue which we continue to think deeply about."

When asked what made localization of the series such a challenge for the developers, Baba responded, "We do want to have people all over the world play. As an RPG, there’s a lot of text. To localize everything at the same time takes a lot of time, cost, and even work on development. So we can’t help but launch in Japan first, but we’re always looking for ways to make the process more efficient and bring the launch dates closer together."

Those are definitely some valid answers from Baba. Everything he said makes complete sense, and if you've been wondering why Tales games take so damn long to launch in North America, you now know. That said, I want Tales of Xillia now!

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