It was recently brought to my attention that a pre-patched ROM of Tales of Innocence was uploaded to Blackcats. I was asked what I thought of this, so I will share said thoughts.
First and foremost, let me state that I was not born yesterday. I realize that just because we ask people not to do something doesn’t mean that they won’t do it. It’s against my policy to try and fight the internet. It’s really not a very good use of my time or anyone else’s. That being said, I greatly appreciate those who honor our wishes and those who ask others to honor them on our behalf. I have no strong feelings one way or the other for the rest of you.
It was suggested that we only ask people not to upload the patched rom to keep ourselves out of trouble. While not entirely false, it misses the mark a bit. It’s true that we don’t want to be involved in distributing copies of the game. We always have and always will try to make it as easy as possible for people to use our patches in a way that supports the developers. We hope that everyone who plays our Tales of Innocence patch has purchased a copy of the game, made their own backup, and applied the patch to it. Do I believe that’s true? No. I’m a realist, not an idiot. Regardless, I think the benefits to a fan translation outweigh any costs. Those who did as we suggested and bought the game increased Namdai’s profits. At the same time, a download of the game doesn’t represent a lost sale. Namdai wasn’t counting on any sales outside of Japan or they would have localized the game. You can’t lose sales from an audience that can’t even read the text in your game. We want more Tales games, so we try to support the developers. Speaking of which… Everyone needs to go preorder Tales of Graces f if they haven’t already! And buy Tales of the Abyss 3DS too! I don’t care if you don’t have a 3DS and already own Tales of the Abyss on the PS2. Support the localization of the Tales series!
Back on the matter of pre-patched roms, the main reason we ask people not to distribute them is because it makes it harder for us to troubleshoot the patch. There are a lot of bad roms floating around out there and for whatever reason, people always seem to upload pre-patched roms using a corrupt base rom. We want to make sure people are able to play our patch, but it can be a challenge to determine if problems are caused by our patch or something on the user side. If our patch is the primary means of distribution, we can just troubleshoot individual problems (which often just requires a good copy of the game). If there’s a problem with the patch itself, we can fix it and release a new version. On the other hand, if most people are using a pre-patched rom, we end up with a lot of people reporting the same issues due to corruption, but it’s hard to correct the problem when we can’t get the bad copy out of circulation. Additionally, if we ever get around to releasing updated patches (which we still discuss regularly), it’s a lot easier if people already have a good copy of the unpatched rom. I admit that these are minor issues for the most part, but it gets to be tiresome trying to solve problems that we didn’t cause.
I’m not going to try and take the moral high ground here because I don’t believe there is one. We can’t control how people use our patch and we don’t intend to. That being said, however, if you’re going to host our patch or anything derived from it, we would really appreciate it if you would at least include the original readme.