Both Atlus and Nintendo weigh in
Mere days after hearing from Tokyo Mirage Session‘s director on the western outfit changes, GameSpot sat down with Atlus producer Shinjiro Takada and Nintendo designer Hitoshi Yamagami to chat more about the localization efforts for the game.
First things first, the broad process is addressed, with Yamagami stating:
“Each country has its unique culture and taste. There are times when common sense in one country can be thoughtlessness in another. However, if we create a game with only that common sense that causes no problems in any of the countries, it can be a very boring game. From among the various complex tastes of people worldwide, the developer selects settings and characters that appeal to as many people as possible.
That being said, it is true that as we build up the settings and characters, we are sometimes obliged to change something in part of the game. This optimization does not destroy the identity of what we as developers want to convey. Developers would not accept such drastic changes. The changes made during localization are optimizations intended to bring to as many customers as possible the things that we want to convey. No major changes are made that would change what we want to convey.”
As for the nitty-gritty, Atlus (not Nintendo’s Treehouse) actually translated the game’s text, so the atmosphere could be the “most Atlus” it possibly could be. Yamagami also speaks to the voice acting situation (Mirage Sessionsonly has a Japanese audio track), saying that the game’s “essence” is in the songs, and since the same actors who sing also perform the voices, they didn’t go for a dub as it may have delayed the game “for another year.”
Despite all this, I’m glad it exists, and I’m glad it’s great. I’d rather a piece of art have no changes as a general rule, but since the gameplay is 99% the same, that’s mostly what I care about.