Aprils Fools: The Joke’s on Us

By • April 2, 2013

We really did release a legit Tales of the Tempest patch yesterday. April Fools! Of course, the patch wasn’t a joke. The joke, I see now, was on us.

How much time would you be willing to put into a joke? Thirty minutes? An hour? A day? A week? Our core team members put in hundreds of hours each on this project. That’s not to mention the innocent bystanders like deets, Kajitani-Eizan, I.S.T., and Carnivol that we roped into helping us see this thing through. They suffered greatly for our ill-conceived prank. We did too, of course, but I can’t help but feel that we probably got what was coming to us. Kingcom and I have gone through our old chat logs to see which of us deserves the blame for this project. I think it’s fair to say that we were both at fault for getting to that point, but I was the one to push us over the cliff. Since you all literally learned of this project yesterday, let’s walk through its progression a little bit.

We began the project on July 2, 2010. For those of you keeping score, that’s less than 3 days from Innocence’s release. Yeah, we’re bad at taking time off. From the outset, it was planned as an April Fools joke. I estimated the project would take a month. I was very, very wrong. As with most projects, the initial month did see a lot of progress and the menu translation was completed on July 28, 2010. Things slowed down after that. April Fools 2011 passed without a release. I completed the initial script translation on September 11, 2011 with most of the translation happening in the month leading up to it. Progress remained slow as we headed into 2012. In early 2012, a programmer named StorMyu contacted Kingcom about a project he was starting on Tales of the Tempest asking for some advice. Rather than let him start a second project on a game that doesn’t even deserve one, Kingcom thought this would be a good project for StorMyu to learn some more of the tricks of the trade and would let him devote less of his attention to Tempest and more to his other projects. On March 9, 2012, StorMyu officially joined the project. It goes without saying, however, that April Fools 2012 went by without a release, although with a new programmer on-board, things were looking up. As we approached the end of 2012, the game had progressed to the point where I could start finalizing my translation and checking it in-game. But with only a few months to go until April 1st, things weren’t looking good for an April Fools 2013 release. The team had mixed opinions on how much was left to be done and how feasible it was that we’d be able to finish. Thankfully, we kept at it with the April deadline in mind. Were it not for StorMyu’s participation, I think it’s very likely we wouldn’t have made it. January and February were shockingly productive and the patch progressed rapidly. By the end of February, I had completed the alpha run and edited my script. The beta kicked off as planned at the beginning of March and although it got off to a slow start, we had plenty of time to get the necessary testing done. And thus, we were able to release the patch on April 1, 2013 much to our relief and everyone else’s dismay.

Of course, I’m sure many of you are wondering something very fundamental – why did we do it. I think that asking why we did this project is perfectly reasonable. We asked ourselves the same question countless times. I’m not entirely certain that we ever came up with a completely satisfactory answer. In general, we thought it would be funny to release something completely unexpected. Something that, honestly, we felt was probably not deserving of the effort that we put into localizing games. The idea of “wasting” all of that effort on a game like Tempest was and still is quite funny to me because it’s based on the idea that there’s a right and wrong way for us to manage our time. In the end, we’ve got another Tales game translated. Are there more deserving Tales games still untranslated? Absolutely. But I think there’s a good laugh to be had that Tempest came out first. So that’s a good enough answer for me. Of course, that’s a rather philosophical answer to the “why” question. A simpler answer is that I wanted something short to fill the gap between the end of Innocence and the end of PP’s Phantasia project. The Destiny project wasn’t yet at the point where we were ready to start cranking on the story translation and the menus were on hold because we were transitioning from text files to spreadsheets on the back end. Even without the Tempest project, the speed of the Destiny project would not have changed. Tempest was just a little busywork to fill the time.

When I reached the end of Tales of Innocence, I looked back and felt that I had really grown as a translator as a result of the project. It gave me the opportunity to refine my skills. So did we learn anything from Tempest? We did, but it didn’t help us improve our technical skills. I would say that the project afforded us the opportunity to do some introspection. Kingcom and I are in complete agreement that releasing a patch without any prior announcement was awesome. It allowed us to just focus on the fun part – the project itself (at least as fun as Tempest can be). Much though I enjoy running this blog, it isn’t what I feel I’m really good at. My limited time and energy is better spent researching obscure mythological references and trying to provide the best possible translation that I can. So while I did miss feeling like a community of people was cheering us on toward the finish line, it was also very satisfying not to have to deal with any external pressures. I think any future project from me and Kingcom will probably be influenced by that realization. The key is figuring out how to balance that with the need to keep you guys plugged into what we’re doing somehow. (Speaking of being plugged in, how come so few of you are subscribed to the Tales subreddit? Get over there and help populate it with some content!)

Man, this is a long post! Anyway, I hope you all get whatever it is that you were looking for out of Tales of the Tempest. It’s not a good game, but even I can’t say that it’s completely irredeemable. I’ll be very interested to see what they do with that reimagining next year, but I do think it’s important that everyone experiences the true Tales of the Tempest at least once. See it for its deep flaws as well as its faint potential and then let’s hope for the best with the remake. If you find any bugs or typos, please report them in their respective threads!

About the Author

I'm the translator for Absolute Zero. I also take care of the project updates.

25 Responses to “Aprils Fools: The Joke’s on Us”

  1. While I won’t be playing it, thanks for the release!

  2. what can i say…
    i was really impressed with this, and im going to play this game to know if is really a bad game o just a lazy game
    thanks for the translation and keep up the good work
    you guys rock

  3. You guys are awesome. You deserve full-time jobs as official Tales translators.

  4. Never want to touch Tempest again after struggling through the Japanese version… yet you made me to reconsider it, given how much efforts you guys put into this forsaken Tale xD .

  5. Awesome, just started this game. It just feels a bit clunky.

  6. played it a few hours now Great Job with the translation its Perfect as always

    Well the games got the worst Tales of battle animations ever plays pretty sluggish you can practically guess whats coming next pretty easily like I am reading a pocket book written by a third rate novelist its a cheap mediocre game but not the worst the DS has to Offer but not the best but title of worst Tale of Game ever definitely goes to this one

    that’s three so far guys your on a roll here keep doing what you do best

    Cant Wait for Rebirth tho now that’s the best if not the greatest Tales game ever

    Hope you luck on Rebirth Stormyu

  7. I was very happy to get the patch, and thought the surprise was great! I look forward to playing it and seeing all the work that went into it.

    On the note of blog posts, I definitely have no complaints about you keeping this project a secret, especially after seeing all the idiocy and impatience that surrounds the typical translation project announcement, but I did also like reading your posts about the translation process when you were working on Innocence (such as researching names and mythology, etc). Is there any chance that you’ll post something similar (in retrospect) about your experience with Tempest?

  8. You guys are crazy. Crazy geniuses. You’ve won the April Fool’s joke of the century award.
    And now you’ve convinced me to play this… game. I promised not to touch it ever in my life, but this is too much. Thanks for all the effort.

  9. This was a really great April’s Fools joke, one of the best. And I’m really happy to play this game and see for myself why so many say that it’s a piece of crap. Thanks Absolute-Zero and good luck with Tales of Destiny, I will wait silent but keeping hope in the translation.

  10. Thank you very much for the release! I’ve been wanting to ply Tempest for myself for a long time, but I really don’t like using translation guides, so this is amazing! Thanks again for all the hard work!

  11. Amazing work guys! I wasn’t really interested in this game but now i will try it.

  12. While I realize most people won’t be happy with what I’ll say, I think that you pulling this kind of stuff would actually do you some good.
    Every time I look at some of the comments in Kaji’s site, I get a little bit depressed.
    I know that for every stupid post made, there are thousands of silent appreciations being said all over the world, but you’re human, and so is Kaji and I’m pretty sure these people depresses you as well.

    In the future, whenever you decide to do a new project, don’t make it public. Share it with your peers just to make sure no one is working on the same project, just don’t share it with the world, not until you’re quite sure that the release is imminent.
    We don’t want the Crimson Nocturnal fiasco to happen all over again, especially to someone like you.

    By the way, I have to ask, do you regularly post on vg247 using the absolutezero name? I realize it’s a universal term that could be used by anyone, but absolute zero isn’t exactly common knowledge.

  13. I do not post on vg247, so it’s somebody else.

  14. Great work! Thank you very much for the patch! I just have to play this game because it is a Tales title, even though it’s made by a different team, and now it’s finally possible thanks to you! I also played Innocence with your patch and was sooo happy for it. Hope you guys never stop making people happy who don’t understand japanese.

  15. Hey throughhim, thanks for the patch!

    Btw was just wondering, since StorMyu helped you on this patch, do you think you’d have time to help them on the Tales of Rebirth translation? 🙂

  16. I have played exactly 20 minutes of Rebirth and I was so bored that I turned it off and never went back. So… pretty unlikely, I’d say.

  17. Ah ok, was just mentioning because they’re looking for a translator that knows Japanese.

    Also can’t wait to hear more ToD:DR info! Thanks for all your hard work.

  18. In the downtime between major projects where you still want to work, have you ever given any consideration to translating the Drama CDs?

  19. I’ve considered it, yes, but I’m not really very into drama CDs in general. If I did translate them, I don’t know what the standard is for the release format – Just a script? Some kind of subtitle file? I’m not sure. I’ve just been sticking to what I know so far.

  20. It’s amazing. You guys deserve all compliments for this.
    Will play it asap too, really thanks for the translation 😀

  21. I think its fair to say you guys are the worlds biggest masochists

  22. You guys really do win the award for “Best April Fool’s Joke”. Even if it’s a game that a lot of people weren’t REALLY looking forward to, it’s was a pleasant surprise to see this come completely out of nowhere. I’ll be sure to see just how mediocre this game is once I finish the last dungeon of Tales of Innocence (which is quite the slog on hardmode :/)

  23. Tempest is not a bad game. After Symphonia 2, you should all know what a bad Tales game plays like.

  24. Symphonia 2’s battle system was actually awesome. Tempest’s is about at the technical level of SNES Phantasia.

  25. They both suck, no point arguing which is worse. And SNES Phantasia is superior to both.

    But then again nor ToT or ToS2 are mothership titles, so… yeah.