Unlike prior Xenoblade releases, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is being prepped for a simultaneous worldwide release this holiday. It turns out that Nintendo of Europe is handling the localization for the west. They were in charge of the original Wii version, and that one turned out great. The British voice actors were very endearing and something I missed with Xenoblade Chronicles X.
Kotaku recently sat down to interview Tetsuya Takahashi at E3 to ask him about localization challenges. As many people are aware, Xenoblade Chronicles X had some features removed (like a breast slider to make characters appear more or less stacked) and some clothing options altered. This happens in Nintendo games from time to time to better fit the culture and because different ratings boards exist in different countries. If, for example, by raising the age of a character from 13 to 18 keeps the game in the Teen rating then Nintendo will probably make that change to avoid having the game sell less copies because of something they see as insignificant. Kotaku wondered if this form of localization, which some call censorship, bothered Takahashi.
“In terms of Xenoblade Chronicles X, there’s been a few different changes that were made to the game, but my personality is such that I’m not a stickler for products that I’ve already made, so I don’t really mind what the final product turns out to be in that sense,” Takahashi told me. “I really didn’t mind much at all, actually.”
“As a developer, I do feel like it’d be ideal to be able to adjust the content so that it’s culturally acceptable, whether it’s in the US or in the EU,” said Takahashi. “For example, there was a discussion about the breast slider. Jokingly, I said, ‘Well would it help if we had a crotch slider for the male?’ Obviously it was a joke, but they responded obviously it’s not gonna work out. I do realize there’s a cultural difference between what Japanese people think and what the rest of the world thinks.”
No word yet on if any changes will be made from the Japanese version of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or not, but because it’s being developed right now the teams between NOA, NOE, and NCL can better communicate their issues right now. This could potentially mean that the game will be identical in every territory as far as content is concerned. No matter the case, I’m happy that NOE is handling the localization as they did a knockout job with the original. Yes, even with “It’s Rein Time!”.