In our first article we delved into the meaning of the fictional pact and how it works for video games in terms of images, sounds, UX/UI, among others. These are the fundamental factors that allow players to connect with games and enjoy them. But what’s the deal with the (invisible) elephant in the room: idiomatic localization and culturalization?
The Localization of the Witcher: Leshy-sized translation obstacles on the path to Localization Paradise
The 15th anniversary of The Witcher series’ video game debut is upon us! The adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series was first released in-game format on the PC/Mac in 2007, which was followed up by a sequel in 2011, before the critically acclaimed The Witcher 3 was released in 2017 across most gaming platforms, and, owing to the popularity of all things Witcher, the third installment was localized into 15 different languages – including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian!
Accessibility in the video game world can be defined as having the ability to play a game even under restrictive conditions, be it due to some sort of functional limitation or disability. Accessibility also plays an important part during game development, as it relates to the interaction between the game and the player.
LQA wasn’t a serious issue back in the 80s and early 90s because gamers were merely content with fun simplicity. Racing a pixelated, 2D motorbike in only one direction, knocking racers off their bikes while overtaking them, and trying your best not to crash into a car or a cactus were enough for hours and hours of fun (Road Rash was a brilliant game by the way!). But gaming has come a very long way since then.
If you’re shooting for global expansion, you have to localize your business. This is the secret formula to how companies like Coca-Cola have managed to become a household name in over 200 countries. Nintendo, Netflix, and even Kentucky Fried Chicken. These guys know how to plan and execute a fail-proof localization strategy.
Voiceover in general is used in many products and projects around the world. These can include movies, TVs, video games, audiobooks, and even phone carriers. Localization uses voiceover to help keep the same message across to other cultures that may not understand outside their own language. The message and themes have to be kept the same but culturally appropriate to the target audience. This can be a demanding process in itself.