I have to be honest. I’ve been around the Tales scene for a while, but this week was the first time I really felt ashamed to be a part of it.
But first, the news: A Tales of Graces f English localization has been announced! Just when it seemed like the series was down for the count, it bounced back! Thanks to Namdai for making this happen and to all the fans who passionately petitioned them for it. As a result, the Tales of Graces Fan Translation has made the difficult decision of halting work on both the Wii and PS3 Graces translations. It’s not easy for a team that worked so hard on a game to give it up, but the staff agreed that we wanted to support the official localization as best we could. I was proud to see everyone come together in making that decision as I was to be a part of the project while it lasted. So why was I talking about being ashamed to be a Tales fan?
Following the almost miraculous announcement of Tales of Graces for localization, people immediately started asking about Vesperia PS3. Some of it was just innocent curiosity after the tease on ataleoftworichards, but others were clearly upset that Graces had been announced and not their game of choice. Guys, honestly? There’s nothing wrong with wanting Vesperia PS3 or any other Tales game. We all have different tastes and preferences when it comes to what we’d like to see localized. Personally, I’d love to see all of them localized. But can’t we at least appreciate and celebrate what we’ve been given? To do otherwise just seems to horribly ungrateful. We’re better than that. Let’s prove that by getting out and supporting Tales of Graces f with our purchases when it’s released. This decision came about because of passionate fans, but we can’t be content with that. This is our chance to help fuel a revival of the Tales series in the West.
Second source of disappointment… On the forum, there were all of these comments begging the Graces team to continue the fan translation of Graces (mainly the Wii version). Let me be very clear on my opinion on this if I haven’t been previously: Fan translations are not here to replace official localizations. Likewise, I don’t believe it’s our place to compete with them. I have always worked on every project with the stance that if an official localization is announced or if a company asks me to halt a project, I would do the right thing and stop the project. That is how the traditional fan translation community has always operated. As an unofficial translator, I am fully aware that all of my work could be for naught at any moment. However, I would nonetheless see an official localization as a blessing and welcome it. I am surprised that fans seemed to have different expectations. A number of people expressed what I can only describe as a sense of entitlement to a Graces fan translation because they had purchased a Japanese copy of the game. While I can sympathize with those now faced with the decision of buying a second copy of the same game, no one ever forced you to buy it. When you made that purchase, you had to weigh the benefits with the risk that the patch would never be completed for one reason or another. Considering the number of projects that are never completed due to lack of interest or dedication, I think that one that ends because we’re getting something even better is still worth celebrating. The fact that there are two versions of Graces doesn’t change the math. The Graces team made the right decision in deciding to halt both projects at this time. Our first responsibility is to support the series that we love. If all we do is clamor loudly and then fail to show up at the crucial moment, we’ll just prove to Namdai that they were right about not localizing all along.
When Namdai steps up and localizes a game, we all win. And when that doesn’t happen, we have a strong (although young) fan translation community to fall back on. From where I’m standing, the future of the Tales series in the West looks bright. As for Graces, I’ll be picking up a copy on day one. (Namdai, if you include all of the DLC costumes and such as extras, I’ll buy three!)