Project Annoucements

By • October 9, 2013

I’ve decided to reveal all my secret projects. Read more to find out what I’m working on!

Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut (PS2)

I will continue to reiterate what I’ve said before – as long as I’m still alive and haven’t got some kind of C&D, I will get this game translated. That said, I feel terrible that I’ve been stringing it along as long as I have. There really hasn’t been major progress on Destiny since we first released screenshots. The menu remains very near completion (excluding the summary text). At this point, the goal is still to get a menu patch out in the near term. We’re pretty close. The backend transition from text files to spreadsheets is taking longer than I think Cless or I originally anticipated, which has resulted in this unfortunate delay. In the long term, it’s going to make the testing and editing much easier, so while I know we can’t make up all the time we’ve lost, hopefully it will be worth it in the end. The script is not yet in a format that I can work with, so I really haven’t even started on that save for a few test scene. There are still a lot of unknowns in PS2 translation, so it’s rarely smooth sailing with this project. Every time it seems like we’re near a breakthrough, there’s another wall waiting. If it’s any consolation, Tales of Destiny is closer to being an active project than it has been for over a year.

Tales of Hearts (NDS)

Absolute Zero is doing a joint project with KAJITANI-EIZAN’s Patch Site: Reimagination. I’m handling the translation side of Tales of Hearts. I officially joined his project when he was getting ready to release his first demo. I was originally just going to be doing a little bit of QC on the script, but, well, here we are. If there is a project that actually was delayed by Tempest, it’s Hearts. My goal with powering through to the end of Tempest was to clear my plate for Hearts and that’s why Hearts is my primary focus right now. Kaji has been working his ass off on this game. Seriously. The stuff he’s put into his Translator’s Cut is crazy and awesome. Some people have ironically been giving Kaji a hard time when the fault really lies with me, so please redirect all complaints about slowness to me in the future. The game is currently translated up to Hansella, which is the third town. My goal is to have the first continent done by the end of the year, but I really hope I’m further along than that. I can’t really give you a timeline on the final release, but I can pretty much guarantee that my next Tales release will be our collaborative Hearts patch.

Tales of Phantasia X and Narikiri Dungeon X (PSP)

Until a few weeks ago, I had intended for Destiny and Hearts to be my final Tales translations, but there was always a caveat – I had long since decided that I would jump at the chance to work on the best version of Phantasia and it’s sequel. Just recently the addition of an excellent debugger to the PPSSPP emulator has made it possible to start my dream project. I’m going to be translating Tales of Phantasia X basically from scratch. While it will remain an Absolute Zero project, I talked to Cless and we’re going to coordinate on the terminology to try and create what I hope will be the ultimate version of ToP. Hopefully this will once and for all end the debate about which version of Phantasia you should play. Additionally, I’m going to be translating Narikiri Dungeon X, the fantastic remake of the sequel to Tales of Phantasia. While these two games were released on a single UMD in Japan, we’re going to treat them as two separate releases. Right now NDX is actually further along because it’s easier to hack than ToPX will be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be released first. These projects are still in their very early stages. I would say the NDX menu is probably around 50% complete.

Prioritizing Translation Projects

There was recently a question on the Phantasian Productions forums that more or less “Why have you been working on crappy games instead of Destiny?” I thought it was a good question because I know that many of you are wondering the same thing. I’ve addressed this to some degree previously, but much of it bears repeating. So now that you know what all I’m working on, I want to try and answer that question as best I can.

First of all, let me say that what Tales fans want from us is a moving goalpost. There are a lot of people that want Tales of Destiny done, but many of those same people were thankful for Innocence and even Tempest. I personally consider Tales of Destiny to be the best game that I’m working on, but I have never considered it a waste to translate other games in the mean time. It’s really not possible for me to give you a complete idea of all of the various things I have to juggle and I know that most people probably don’t care anyway. I try as best I can to keep all of my projects moving, but you have to understand that these kinds of unpaid team efforts have their ups and downs. Destiny has been “down” for a while. I could have kept poking at Destiny and it would be a little bit further along than it is, but I know that Cless has a lot of things to juggle too. Sometimes Kingcom doesn’t have as much time as I do to work on a game, but I just do what I can and occupy myself until he can get back to it. Often he’s the one waiting on me. Kaji has been working a lot harder than I have on Hearts, but he never demands anything, he just keeps up his hard work and tries to help motivate (or, necessarily, guilt) me into getting things moving. This isn’t a full time job for any of us, so I just do the best I can and trust that my partners are doing the same. It wouldn’t be fair of me to put pressure on them because I have different expectations for the project. That’s the shared understanding that allows us to work together on something over what can be years.

I do want to talk briefly about the various projects that I’ve worked on and why I worked on them.

When I started on Tales of Phantasia, the SNES version had been around for ages, Cless was working on his version, and the GBA version had just been released, wasn’t that good enough? To be honest, it really wasn’t for me. I managed to play the GBA version once through, but that’s something I can’t say for the SNES version. The PSX version of Phantasia and the PSP versions that it spawned are Tales of Phantasia as it was meant to be experienced. So to me, it was worth every second that it took to get it translated and patched. I’m sure that Cless feels the same way. Cless and I could have worked to combine our efforts into a single project and I sometimes wish we had, but looking back on it, we wouldn’t have so many translated Tales games if it weren’t for us deciding to go our separate ways at the time. I think we both learned a lot by doing things our own way and it has made every project since better for it.

A lot of people liked Tales of Innocence less than I did. I thought the cast was really fun and the reincarnation concept was pretty neat, but I’ll admit it’s far from the best game in the series. The dungeon design is terrible and it’s pretty rough around the edges. That being said, there is nothing I have worked on that helped me to grow more as a translator than Tales of Innocence. For that reason alone, the project was worth doing. Also, if Kingcom and Tales of Innocence hadn’t come along, I am almost certain that Tales of Destiny would have been my only Tales translation project after Phantasia. I’ve decided to spread my efforts out rather than concentrate on that one project. I’m sure people who love Tales of Destiny above all else wish I hadn’t, but there are also hundreds of thousands of players who were able to enjoy other Tales games in the mean time because I made that decision. It’s really hard for me to consider that a waste.

Tales of the Tempest is a downright terrible game. We worked on it because, well, just the idea of it was funny to us. It’s a game that surely would never have been translated if we didn’t do it. We’d watched several GBAtemp efforts to translate it fall apart. We could do it, sure, but no one would ever seriously want us to. But what if we did? What would people say and think if we provided a good patch for a bad game? When I’m watching anime, I try to watch a good mix of shows – I want to watch masterpieces, yes, but will I really be able to appreciate just how good they are if I don’t see how badly they could’ve gone? I think that if you really want to call yourself a fan of the Tales series, you should play Tempest to see what once passed for a main entry in the series. And in the end, as much as we laughed at ourselves for working on such a stupid game, it really wasn’t holding up much else. I have invested much more time working on the yet unreleased Tales of Destiny menu than I did on the whole of Tempest. It’s a short game and I think the Tales fandom is better off now that they have the opportunity to experience it for all of its flaws.

I guess the thing to keep in mind is that we’re dealing with a lot of competing expectations from the fans on top of having our own lives and priorities to deal with. What I choose to work on at any given time isn’t necessarily going to be what the majority of people want me to work on. I’m weighing all of my options, I’m considering my free time and my schedule, and I’m doing the best that I can to get you more translated Tales games as soon as I possibly can. I know I might not always meet your expectations, but know that I’m thankful for those of you who stick around and give me a chance. I hope I won’t let you down.

About the Author

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

34 Responses to “Project Annoucements”

  1. Awesome. Phantasia X is great news! And even better knowing that Cless is also involved!

  2. That’s awesome man! I’ve yet to play any of these games (even Phantasia), so I’m looking forward to all of them!

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks for all your work; it’s people like you that help this fandom grow and flourish. We’d be nothing without you!

  4. Whoa, this was posted today. Crazy.

    You people. You. People. I love you. I curse Bamco’s full name for the injustice they do for not hauling Tales games over here as often as they should. Thank you for bringing us anything at all.

    Keep crispy.

  5. Can’t wait for Phantasia X. I’ve been waiting for someone to translate it for ages. This was a great post as well, I was worried you guys had given up due to the lack of updates for a while. But it’s good to know what you guys are up to and no pressure. :). Just happy you guys are translating them at all.

  6. As a fan of the series since 2007, I really have to thank you for the work that you and your teammates have done to allow more games in the series to be played. Playing a more definitive version of Phantasia than the SNES and GBA versions was a real treat.

    Tales of Innocence had a lot of flaws as a game, but I enjoyed the background story and combat system a lot (seriously folks, the A.I. in Innocence is beastly, I will shout that from the mountaintops). As a localization, I seriously think that the patch for Tales of Innocence is the only fan-localization that rivals Mother 3′s fan-patch.

    Even Tales of Tempest was a surprise. The April Fool release was probably one the best trollings that I’ve ever gotten online for April 1, and now I can see what everyone was talking about. The game really is pretty bad.

    I’ve been looking forward to both the Tales of Hearts and Tales of Destiny patches, and I know that one day I’ll get the opportunity to play them both. I’m also now excited for the Narikiri Dungeon patch, and I may even try the Phantasia X patch too.

    You and all of the people that you’ve worked with have done a lot for the Tales community by releasing these games so that they can be played naturally by English-Speakers. So again, thank you, and I look forward to experience the remainder of your work.

    –Barrylocke

  7. Thank You VERY MUCH!
    Really!

    It is thanks to your translation that I was able to enjoy the Playstation version of Tales of Phantasia. (I’m from Brazil and it’s unlikely I’ll learn japanese anytime soon…) I highly doubt that the guys (and girls) at Namco could do a better translation than you did. :) (but that doesn’t really matter anymore, does it? xD)
    I’m looking foward for the Tales of Destiny patch. Take your time, live your life and be happy. May God bless you. :)

  8. Thank goodness you are helping Kaji with ToH, at least we’ll have someone mature on board, despite how great Kaji’s technical skills are his “humorous” approach to giving us updates has been very unpleasant and juvenile , and now I don’t have a reason to visit Kaji’s page anymore, after visiting it once twice a month for the past 3 years or so.

  9. I would like to point out that I’m the one who wrote the post that initiated this update. So, I would like to thank throughhim for his professionalism and his promptness in writing this blog/reply. I wish him and Cless well in these ambitious and overwhelming endeavors. I’ll continue to check back on these pages every now and then for news, but I won’t be holding my breath. That said, I look forward to the day when myself and others are pleasantly surprised by the announcement of being able to play the remake of Tales of Destiny in our native tongue. I’ve been following the series since Tales of Destiny was released in the US since in the late 90s. Others who have done the same know how easy it is to get let down by the news of games in the not being localized.

  10. Awesome, an update! I’m glad that you’ll be woring on Hearts and I’m excited about ToPX and its sequel, I was about to play the incomplete menu translation on the latter. I hope Cless’ involvement doesn’t delay anything.

  11. So glad to see an update! I’ve played through all 3 of your patches and love them! Stay positive and keep up the great work, all your projects past and present are awesome!

  12. i cannot be the only one who thinks the 3 town thing is a kaji-sponsored joke

    there’s just no way

    also thanks for the updates bby

  13. Nope, not a joke. That’s just reality.

  14. @throughhim: Are you involved with Vesperia PS3 as well?

  15. Nope. I was just starting to get involved with Graces before the English localization was announced. I’ve kept in touch with the guys (and ruta) since that project was dropped, but I haven’t involved with Vesperia. If I happen to be around, I’ll discuss Arte names with them, but that’s about the extent of it.

  16. @throughhim413

    no i mean like, i feel that a kaji-joke behind the third town thing would be you guys being done with everything except the third town or something like that

    but if not, that’s okay. i like that you guys took some time out of your lives to work on the game and stuff. good luck on your projects~

  17. Wow, so many projects to look forward. You are doing an impressive work here, sir.
    Cheers from Spain! We love your translations too!

  18. Alright!! can’t wait for the PSP English Titles!! Here’s from the Philippines. I’m almost out of hope then I dropped into this. Thanks to everyone involved in your awesome project!!

  19. Aww… i was hoping you were secretly planning to work on Tales of Destiny 2 aswell to complete the saga. The hacking should be similar to directors cut. The project seems to be completely halted cause it has no translator.

    Anyways, cheers. I look forward to seeing your projects come to fruition.

  20. TOPX????!!!!!

    BASED A0T!!!

  21. Super awesome man! I really look forward to all your future releases. I am also convinced that I should play Tales of the Tempest just to have more of an appreciation for this series and to enjoy the work you put into translating the retarded cousin of the Tales of series.

  22. Thank you for keeping us updated! Nice to know you haven’t abandoned these projects. I’ve been really looking forward to Tales of Hearts!

  23. Hey, I just wanted to say that I appreciate all the work that you’ve been doing on these Tales games. If you didn’t translate them, we wouldn’t even have the chance to play them and for that I give you my thanks. I’ll wait however long it takes for you to translate Destiny and the other games.

  24. “In other news, I have been informed that Absolute Zero Translations has claimed that they are collaborating with us on Tales of Hearts: Translator’s Cut, and that they in fact have been all along, ever since March 2010. I am not sure from where they got this delusion that they are translating Hearts, but nothing could be further from the truth. For one, if they were really translating Hearts for that long, how come they have so little progress to show for it? Psh and hogwash, I say.”

  25. Any thoughts on Radiant Mythology 2 or 3?

  26. I haven’t played them. And after the original Radiant Mythology, I don’t think I probably ever will.

  27. You’re a super-hardworking and generous person.. Thanks so much for you do, and all the awesome games you’re bringing us!! Can’t believe some people have the nerve to complain about projects being slow… It’s not like you’re obligated to do this for us :P Keep it up!

  28. I somewhat disagree, the original Radiant Mythology was pretty fun, at least for me, but it had a lot of issues and got quite grindy at times.

    I’ve played 2 and 3 with the menu patches around, and the systems are definitely improved, especially RM3.

    There are also a LOT more characters!

    I can’t really say anything for the story since I don’t speak any Japanese, but I like the original character designs. Goede is kinda bamf.

    Well, all I’m saying is, ‘Give it a small chance?’. Well, if you ever have a spare moment.

  29. I generally don’t care for crossovers. Combining things that I like independently does not necessarily result in something that I will enjoy. The Tales characters from other games felt like shadows of their former selves, which made me unable to get into RM. I would probably have liked the game more if it featured an entirely original cast. In any case, I can’t convince myself to work on games that have no redeeming value in my eyes. If I’m not going to enjoy the experience in any way, it’s not worth investing thousands of hours I could spend doing something that I do enjoy. And, in case anyone is going to ask, yes, I do think that Tales of the Tempest had more redeeming value than Radiant Mythology.

  30. … 3 towns translated within almost 4 years. This feels quite discouraging. Hopefully, my DS stays alive till the time it gets fully translated and online. Keep up the good work, you two.

  31. I am interested in Destiny DC much more than other projects, too.
    Just saying eh.
    If anything… can I ask for more updates? Nothing special: once a month (on Destiny I men). =)

  32. Destiny is not making any progress right now, so there isn’t any way I can make monthly posts about it.

  33. Trust me through, RM2 and 3 are way better then the original in almost every way.

    And about the characters being nothing but shells to you, I’m happy enough to say that RM2 has all the characters personality’s intact. Hell, Chloe, Farah and Anise have little character arcs and storylines to themselves that mirror the original personas.

    If you have the time, check it out. You’ll probably find it at the very least decent.

  34. To be perfectly honest, until I saw this, I just figured KE was the internet’s biggest troll outside of 4chan, leading on the Tales fandom with nothing to show except for a demo patch, and no visible progress for several years.

    And I still have trouble believing that isn’t the case.

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