Unlike Shenmue, which is an awful example of video game localization in spite of its nostalgia, Valkyria Chronicles 4 easily stands out as a project SEGA wants to show off to the world. Localization efforts in the first game produced an amazing story full of memorable characters and moments, and SEGA hopes to do it all over again with Valkyria Chronicles 4.
A new trailer from SEGA tells the game’s prologue, setting up a similar story of a band of peaceful militia soldiers who enlist when their hometown burns to the ground.
Discussing localization at great length
In addition to the trailer, SEGA also has a lengthy interview with Sega Associate Localization Producer and lead for Valkyria Chronicles 4, Andrew Davis, over at PlayStation Blog in which he breaks down the process SEGA went through to get its story across to English speaking gamers.
Jonathon Stebel: About how long was the English VO recording process for the game?
Andrew Davis: We spent about 10 weeks total in the studio, starting with the untimed lines – VO with no timing restrictions – and then moving on to the Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR), the scenes where we match voices to characters’ lip-flap. We also had some re-recordings to fine-tune parts of the localization we wanted to improve. We kept the exact same team members present throughout the recording process to ensure consistency in the VO’s direction.
JS: This prologue cutscene starts with a black screen while Claude, the game’s lead character, talks over it. Since you record to match lip flaps, is it kind of a nice break for the team when you have a scene like this without any animation?
AD: In most cases yes, it’s nice to not worry about matching animations. However, Claude’s Japanese VO for this opening scene had so many extended pauses that it took a lot of work to match the English script and VO to the Japanese even without animation to worry about. We also had to consider the length of the subtitles for each spoken phrase; each line needed to be short enough in subtitles to look presentable, but the audio needed to be as long and drawn out as possible to match the heavy, deflated tone in the scene.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 launches for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC this coming fall. No release date has been set yet.