With Graces’ release date right around the corner, some of the localization details are starting to appear.
Given that Graces is going to be our first post-Peter Garza Tales localization, it was hard to predict what we might see on the localization. Normally I don’t get too worked up over localization (this is a lie), but given that the names of every character in the Tales series (Xillia excluded) appear in Carta, Graces’ card game, this could be one of the most important localizations to date. Now, most character names aren’t in need of localization, but for those that are, the debate has been long and heated. Any long-time series fans know the fervor that often surrounds the “official names” that appear in the Japanese instruction manuals. And any long-time readers should know I consider these “official names” to be more or less meaningless when it comes time to localize. The old localization team under Garza had proven themselves as capable localizers and their work could be trusted (save for a few small oversights with the arte names). So as we get closer to the release date, I’ve invested a fair amount of energy worrying about what kind of localization awaits us under new leadership.
Today, the first light shone out from the darkness as the PS3 trophies revealed that Tales of Hearts’ lovable heroine would be named Amber Hearts. If you aren’t aware, Amber Hearts appears in a cameo battle in Tales of Graces f. Kohaku/Amber’s name, of course, is the most obvious of the questionable character names. “Kohak,” a sound more akin to clearing your throat than a name, isn’t even within the realm of reason. A quick glance at the Tales of Hearts’ cast names reveals a clear theme and makes translating the Japanese names the only logical choice. It’s a small victory, but it makes me hopeful that they’re approaching this game with their localization hats on.
Of course, there are still a few names up in the air:
- Luca Milda – Will RUCA rear his ugly head once again or will research and reason prevail!? Given his relationship with antagonist Mathias, Luca’s name should be fairly obvious. The only problem is that Mathias isn’t mentioned within Carta itself. That means the team will need to go the extra mile in familiarizing themselves with Tales of Innocence to get this one right. A little internet research can go a long way. There have been rumors about an Innocence R localization… I have my fingers crossed.
- Xing Meteoryte – Xing is tricky. The explanation that the game’s director once offered just doesn’t add up. I would be surprised if they choose to use “Shing” given that it doesn’t really reflect the theme. Kaji was the first one to theorize that his name is the Chinese word for star. I subscribe to this theory because so many of his artes contain that very same character (星).
- Hisui Hearts – I use his Japanese name here because I really don’t know what route they’ll go with Amber’s brother. The most literal translation would be Jade, but we already have one of those, of course. I threw out Jadeite, but realistically, that might be a little too Sailor Moon. Kaji-kun has been using Jaden. Not too bad. I’ve heard Jasper suggested recently. That’s kind of an interesting choice. Their decision to localize Amber means that it won’t remain Hisui and I doubt they’ll create another Jade. I’ll be interested to see what they decide.
When I go to Gamestop to pick up my copy of Tales of Graces f, the first thing I’m going to do is crack open a player’s guide and search for the Carta section. I can only hope that I have a well-researched localization staring back at me when I do.