Sega’s Future Outlook Includes Improving Localization Quality & Atlus USA Cooperation

Sega Sammy has released their “Fiscal Year Ending March 2018 2nd Quarter Results Presentation” today, and it includes a section dedicated to the future outlook of the company in terms of business decisions.

Relating to the “Entertainment Contents Business,” one of the primary bullet points the company wishes to focus on moving forward concerns overseas development, specifically:

  • “Improving localization quality (along with strengthening cooperation with Atlus USA).
  • Promoting global development at an early stage.

Improve Localization Quality

Upon Persona 5‘s Western release on April 4, 2017, a common topic was people’s issues with the quality of the game’s English localization. A website was even created to highlight these issues:

The goal to improve localization that Sega Sammy has outlined potentially ties into the reception for this aspect of Persona 5, as well as previous events like untranslated Japanese text in Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse.

There had also been recent speculation that cooperation between Atlus Japan and Atlus USA was not the smoothest, with things like the Persona 5 streaming debacle and P5 translator Mai Namba stating the following in an E3 2016 interview:

Justin Massongill: Do you get to play through the whole game in its original form—you know, whatever build is available—and that way you have a good idea of what the characters are like, if there are any big twists along the way—you know how to write to those and all that or…?

Mai Namba: I would want to say if we were in a perfect world that would be the case but, with a game as big as Persona 5, a lot of times the game is still in development. So we will get the assets from Japan, and we will try to make use of that as much as possible, try to figure out all the characters, and then work from there. If we’re lucky we’ll get a full enough build that we can actually play through and get a full grasp of it, but that doesn’t necessarily happen all the time, unfortunately.

Promote Global Development at an Early Stage

The second part of the goal to “strengthen overseas development” involves promoting global development at an early stage, which would mean English localization for Sega’s Japanese games happening earlier in their development process.

This could also tie into Sega’s desire to emphasize “global hits” and lead to closer release gaps between Japan and overseas, outlined in their “Road to 2020” business presentation, from May 2017.

Persona 5 Worldwide Sales

As part of the financial presentation, Sega Sammy showed a graph of Persona 5‘s sales, which increased significantly after its international release, reaching 1.8 million shipped copies in August 2017.

The Art of Persona 5
Prima Games Prima Games (2017-06-27)
  • Azlan Wake

    I think Persona 5’s localization is good compared to Ys 8’s one (still an amazing game that I recommend highly).I don’t think localization issue’s will ever be solved but I do think they can be improved over time

  • Jon Paul

    It’s great that Sega recognizes the issue, but P5 was supposed to set “a new standard” for Atlus localizations, yet it is probably the worst one they’ve put out this decade. There are major logistical issues that need to be resolved if Atlus USA is going to play a major role going forward.

    • Sabrena

      True, though it is the first Persona title to get the original language instead of just English.

    • ovoon

      I would also say that Persona 5 is one of the most challenging games any studio could ever localize.

      I would also say that SMT:IV Apocalypse has an absolutely shit localization in comparison. But yea, not super impressed with how P5 was handled.

      • Irving Lee

        Persona 5 is actually a difficult game to translate. Its over-the-top, swashbuckling approach to dialogue doesn’t help, but the original game itself has some story and characterization issues. It was a difficult situation all around.

    • Irving Lee

      I think Persona 5’s localization is still better than most other localized games out there, but it’s a significant step down from the localization in Persona 3 and 4, which makes it seem bad by comparison.

      Atlus USA is severely understaffed to handle a game as big as Persona 5 was, and it didn’t help that they were clearly an afterthought for Atlus, who already had a lot of problems bringing Persona 5 out of the gate in the first place.

  • Manuel Thompson

    The whole issue with the translation of P5 is bullshit.

    • Kalkano

      Yeah, I have no idea what people are talking about (the few who have complained).

      • Irving Lee

        It’s not “the few”, though. It’s a widely acknowledged issue.

  • ShinTekk

    Honestly I haven’t seen a good translation team just about anywhere including the translators who critique them.

  • Hank Hill

    Love that last bullet to bring more games to the PC

  • I’m all for porting their games to PC (and other platforms as well). The wider the choice of platforms, the better for everyone.