Interview: Fatal Frame 4 Translation Project

Interview: Fatal Frame 4 Translation Project


An intrepid team of modders, coders, and translators set out to do what Tecmo wouldn't: bring the latest entry in the Fatal Frame series beyond Japanese shores. A chat with the people behind the Fatal Frame 4 Translation Project.

HookedGamers: Alright, back to the patch itself. Not only does it allow the English speaking world to experience the next iteration in the franchise, it also eventually will include a bevy of extra features. One such feature is a set of costumes. Can you tell us how those came to be?

Colin: The patch enables us to let the game know to use a file from the SD card instead of one of its own files. This means that anything can be changed if we would only put in the effort. In the process of gathering all the Japanese image assets, we extracted all the images in the game. This included the textures of the costumes, which is essentially their colouring. This means that any costume can have its "fabric" changed, to any pattern or colour. A few members made some such costumes, and they're included with the patch. The swimsuit costumes are still in development, though.
Interview: Fatal Frame 4 Translation Project

HookedGamers: It was also announced not too long ago that the team was working on creating an actually full English voiceover for the game. Can you spill the beans on this one for us? Have you made any selections in regard to voice actors?

Colin: Actually, I'm not in charge of that part of the project. At several points, independent people or groups have contacted us about doing a full dubbing project. The current group was the most dedicated and serious. While we are providing support as requested in terms of scripts, audio files, encoding methods, and patch integration, the selection of the voice actors, quality control, and the general progress of the dubbing team are their own responsibility. While dubbing has gotten a bad name due to the many, many poor professional jobs done in the industry, a truly quality dub contributes immensely to the atmosphere of a game. We are looking forward to seeing their progress.

HookedGamers: For those who are using a translator for this article (ah, the irony) there shouldnt be any worry as it was also announced that multilingual versions of the patch would be available sometime in the future. Can you tell of what languages you will be targeting?
Interview: Fatal Frame 4 Translation Project

Colin: Multi-lingual patches are following the good old fashioned do it yourself policy. I've released some scripts, and much progress has been made. Any group or individual is free to translate the patch into any language or rephrase it in any way, provided they do not commercially sell it, remove the original link to our website and its attribution, or otherwise violate our license to the user created content. Tools for converting those scripts into game files will be released shortly when I'm done slogging through troubleshooting and can get them into some semblance of organization with a few help files. Currently, the Spanish translation is pretty much done. The French and German translations are also doing very well. Other languages have made less progress, but further groups should stop by the forums to see if they can help out.

HookedGamers: For fan projects such as this, there is always a latent fear that the owners of the targeted brand will call for a shutdown via a cease-and-desist letter. Is there a latent fear that, despite the publicity of this project, such an action will come from Tecmo. Have you ever been contacted by Tecmo or Grasshopper regarding the project?

Colin: I have never been personally frightened by such contact. Also, I have been told that it is the responsibility of the publisher to contact a group, which in this case would mean Nintendo. It doesn't benefit them in any way to cease such a project, as long as we do our best to respect their rights and property. Indeed, our patch has made the game hit the bestseller list on PlayAsia as #1 this week, and both PlayAsia and HMVJapan are now sold out of the game as two of the leading importers. For being one year after release, that's pretty good.

HookedGamers: The project team has pretty much done the work of a developer in translating the game from Japanese to English. Has there ever been talk around the water cooler about working on other titles, say for example the why-is-it-not-in-the-US game Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekidou? Maybe a Super Robot Taisen title or even (god willing) Shin Seiki Evangelions 2?

Colin: The project team was assembled pretty much out of individuals concerned about the future of this game. While we may continue to collaborate in the future, we aren't intending to stick together as a team for any future projects. As for myself, I was looking into Tales of Graces, which still has no official announcement. There are already a few willing people who have started ahead of me, but the wind can change at any time.
Interview: Fatal Frame 4 Translation Project

Aaron: Personally, I'd like to get involved with Tales of Graces as well; I've always loved the Tales series. Due to the nature of the patch, it could open the doors for a multitude of independent translation projects, since it wasn't actually designed for any one specific game. Our release has seen tremendous success because it's so accessible to everyone with a Wii, and I'm hoping that other projects could do the same with these tools. It's also not limited to translations by any means, as we've shown with the bonus costumes that have been created by fans. That alone will undoubtedly lead to some very interesting projects in the future...

HookedGamers: Anything youd like to throw out there before we wrap this thing up?

Colin: Well, it is recycling day tomorrow.

Lol, thanks guys. The amount of work you guys put into this project is incredible. If you dont get some industry recognition for your work then Ill be extremely disappointed.

Players can check out the patch at the Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Apocalypse Translation Project site.