The new issue of Game Informer (turns out it’s good for something) contains an interview with Phil Rogers, CEO of Square-Enix Europe. One of the things they spoke about was the difficulty in finding the budget to translate niche titles. The suggestion of crowdfunding was brought up during the interview, and Rogers said he’d be up for it. “I think it’s a really interesting idea,” he said to GI. “I would love to try and work with that, to find a way, because ultimately we want to satisfy the demands of the fans. I think also, our fans are very rational. They understand, and if we explain things, they often go, ‘Oh, I get that now. Thanks for explaining.’ They know it’s complex, or very expensive, and it’s not as simply as you say as using Google Translate.”
Rogers added, “To get that essence of it actually translated requires this amount of resource. To see if fans want to sign up for it and say, ‘This is the absolute demand for it,’ and we can set targets and say if we achieve that, then we can do it. I think that’s a relationship that seems very natural to build. I’d love to see how we get that to work.”
This doesn’t mean he’ll DO it, but that it’s a possibility. There are many excellent Square games that have never been released here, going all the way back to the Super NES. Secret of Mana had an excellent sequel, known there as Seiken Densetsu 3. It was considered, but abandoned in favor of creating a different sequel in America, Secret of Evermore. People would appreciate a legal copy of that game in any format, and would be willing to pay up front to fund its official translation.
More recently, Square has skipped out on bringing over games in the Dragon Quest series. The platforms they came out on, though, aren’t dead yet and there’s still time. “I’m really hoping that in the next 10 years, localization is seen as pleasing all our fans, because it’s truly global and the methods in which we can localize now are vastly improved,” said Rogers.