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"No matter if a game is popular in Japan, it is unlikely to win over fans around the world if the localization is insufficient.”
- A Sega Sammy report details the company's localization efforts
Both Yakuza 6: The Song of Life and Persona 5 deal with some unmistakably Japanese themes and settings, but Sega Sammy says both games have managed to gather a great deal of attention outside of Japan thanks in no small part to the work of the company’s localization teams.
Sega Sammy’s latest shareholder report dives into a lot of the nitty-gritty details of the company’s future plans and financial results, but the company’s stance on its localization efforts is worth calling attention to.
For example, Yakuza 6, the latest release in the long-running Yakuza series, sold just as many copies overseas as it did in Japan, a notable departure for a series that is typically favored by Japanese players. Persona 5, meanwhile, saw twice as many sales overseas as it did in Japan.
The report notes that both successes are at least partially due to the work of the California-based localization studio picked up in the company’s 2013 acquisition of Atlus.
“The studio understands both Japanese and American games very well, and is able to localize Japanese games in a way that accurately conveys the unique worldviews of Japanese titles to local gamers,” explains the report. “The studio is able to maximize the entertainment value of localized games that reflect these unique worldviews, and this has led to very positive reviews from local gamers. During the product development stage, game content is shared with the localization team for translation before the development is finished, facilitating the rapid release of foreign language versions of the game.”
While the current arrangement allows Sega Sammy to release localized games within months of the original Japanese release, the company notes that it looking to strengthen its efforts in a way that will make simultaneous worldwide releases possible in the future.