Dear devs and forum members. I am a Chinese player, and I want to share some facts and my opinion on Chinese localization, not in this game but in other games. This will not include my opinion on other games and I do not intend to compare this game with others. Might be a bit long and irrelevant, but I assure you they are important. You may disregard this thread if you feel there’s already too much discussion on localization.
I understand that it might be too early to discuss about localization as devs still have plenty of new stuff to add. And that’s why I see the chance this game could actually get a good localization, which not all games have. I’ll explain thoroughly and then make my suggestions.
Let’s start from Titan Quest, an old game of same genre. When it was released in 2006, it immediately became popular in China, although at that time most players were playing piracy version (but not all of them, somehow Titan Quest did have a local distributor, but not the expansion Immortal Throne). The first thing I want to introduce is that in China, there are a lot of non-official, non-profiting (well they might actually get paid through advertisement or something else, but they are not companies and they do not charge players) localization groups. They do translation not only for games, but also comics, films etc, out of sincere love, not money. Someone might argue that localization for piracy version is not good for game company or even illegal, but since the localization obviously also works on official version, these localization groups are pretty welcome in China for games that does not have official Chinese localization. The average quality of their work is acknowledged by players, and the top quality of their work is excellent, to the point that the localization of Total War: Three Kingdoms were done by the one of them. I won’t mention exact names as I don’t want to be considered advertising for anyone. Also don’t contact me as I don’t belong to any of them. They were hired to do that, and the result? You can find the sales for Total War: Three Kingdoms are very good in China.
Therefore, the first thing I would recommend is to contact these localization groups, and discuss what is the best and most suitable way to cooperate. They can provide the most trustworthy quality of Chinese localization.
Well that’s a bit off-point. Go back to Titan Quest. TQ was localized by FreeCU localization group (already disbanded, so I can mention the name). At that time, since TQ was popular, a fan-based forum was established. It was called Titan Quest Chinese Forum. To clarify, this was not the only fan forum in China. The exact translation does not matter, what matters is the founder of the forum, or maybe the website, had somewhat relationship with TQ local distributor. I didn’t know how exactly was the relationship, but let’s just say there was. And with that relationship, the forum claimed itself to be the OFFICIAL forum for Titan Quest in China. FreeCU also released their localization patch on that forum. At first nobody cares about the word “official”, until THQ went out of business, without fixing all the bugs in TQIT. Similar to what fan patch 1.17 did by TQ fans worldwide, in China we had a similar patch called bugfix patch 2.0. The majority of the patch were the same since the author of the Chinese patch were once pretty active on the old TQ fan forum which I can’t recall forum name, with some differences on whether several features were bugs or intended. The bugfix patch was also released on the forum I mentioned. The next move of Titan Quest Chinese Forum, was unbelievable and unprecedent, literally, and that move made the forum infamous among all TQ fans outside of that forum. They released a fan made mod based on bugfix 2.0, and claimed it to be the OFFICIAL BALANCE PATCH 2.1 (the latest version was 2.28) for Titan Quest. Let’s recall the fact THQ was already dead at that time so there was no such thing called “official”. You heard it right, a fan forum, made a fan-based mod, and claimed it to be official. They advertised it everywhere like cults, again literally. All other forums, as well as some Q&A websites (similar to quora) was flooded with their advertising. The advertising messages they used including but not limit to the following:
Exaggerating the severity of bugs, intimidate players that bugs were game-breaking without the Balance Patch, which in fact they were not.
Claim that the official version was imbalanced to the point the majority of classes were broken and useless, while the Balance Patch was balanced. Fact: the author of the Balance Patch was a huge rogue fan, in the Balance Patch the Rogue mastery was buffed tremendously while some others were nerfed tremendously.
Changed the names of 12 sets into the CLOTHS OF GOLD SAINTS, obviously originated from Saint Seiya. Yes, you heard it right again, they changed the set names of a western fantasy game into something from Japanese comic. Hilarious. And they claimed it official. Oh, and they actually made the color of in-game appearance of these sets totally gold.
I guess you don’t need other details to understand why the forum became notorious. The reason why this forum did such horrible thing is still a myth.
Why do I mention this? Because several years later, that the same studio who made TQ, made another new game: Grim Dawn. And Titan Quest Chinese Forum, regardless of its name, opened a sub-forum for GD. They continued to do localization for GD. I’ll skip the part on how they downloaded SV and other mods for the non-Chinese fan forum which again I forget the name, made similar changes as they did on Balance Patch, and rebranded and advertised as if SV mod was made by Titan Quest Chinese Forum and never mentioned the original author. Since I never played Grim Dawn, the following part could be inaccurate. My friend who played GD told me the forum had some dispute with Crate Entertainment. How and why is unknown for me, but the result is clear: the forum was abolished from official localization. You could imagine what happened though.
So my second suggestion is do NOT trust anyone who claim to participated Grim Dawn Chinese Localization. Contact Crate Entertainment to verify is necessary to avoid similar things in TQ and GD from happening, and save Chinese players from another Balance Patch.
This is the first half of my thread, I’ll present localization problems and my opinions on how to avoid them in Titan Quest AE, as well as Path of Exile and League of Legends. It’s already late China time.
Thank you for reading such a long thread in my not-so-authentic English.