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NEWS: Sega of America Lays Off 61 Employees in QA, Localization Departments




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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 5410
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 5:33 am Reply with quote
I take it that it is no coincidence, that this happened right after the release of a game with lots of dialogue and text was released.
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MyMasterMatthew



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 137
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 10:46 am Reply with quote
Quote:
The Twitter account of the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA (AEGIS) revealed on Wednesday that Sega of America is outsourcing its quality assurance department and part of its localization departments, terminating several jobs as a result. The company will lay off 61 employees on March 8.


This is incredibly frustrating to hear, and yet, I'm not surprised in the slightest. Most people (and companies) recognize the importance of good storytelling, gameplay, controls, visuals, and music, but those aren't the only "ingredients" when cooking up a video game. My enjoyment and immersion are often put to the test when I experience frequent glitches, low quality translations, or a lack of (decent) voice acting. The recipe for a successful video game will vary, but certain "ingredients" feel universal (especially if the game is being brought overseas).

Acurate translations, thoughtful localization, a dedicated QA team with the resources they need, and high quality voice acting - most of which feel like essential and universal "ingredients" for a great experience - tend to suffer if a big name company wants to save money. It's painfully obvious when these things have been neglected, outsourced, or entirely removed, but if people will buy the game regardless, companies have little incentive to spend their money. For a period of time, I naively thought that things were starting to get better. In reality, I'd been spoiled by playing several great games in a row, exceptions to the norm. Unfortunately, I don't expect things to change for the better... not unless it's a big name game with high expectations, or if big name companies can find a way to cheaply to do those things with AI technology (which leads to another conversation).


MarshalBanana wrote:
I take it that it is no coincidence, that this happened right after the release of a game with lots of dialogue and text was released.


Which game are you referring to?
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oilers2007



Joined: 23 Sep 2022
Posts: 102
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 11:16 am Reply with quote
MyMasterMatthew wrote:
Acurate translations, thoughtful localization, a dedicated QA team with the resources they need, and high quality voice acting - most of which feel like essential and universal "ingredients" for a great experience - tend to suffer if a big name company wants to save money. It's painfully obvious when these things have been neglected, outsourced, or entirely removed, but if people will buy the game regardless, companies have little incentive to spend their money. For a period of time, I naively thought that things were starting to get better. In reality, I'd been spoiled by playing several great games in a row, exceptions to the norm. Unfortunately, I don't expect things to change for the better... not unless it's a big name game with high expectations, or if big name companies can find a way to cheaply to do those things with AI technology (which leads to another conversation).


I feel SEGA's localizations tend to be hit or miss when when it comes to accuracy. I remember watching Korone play Sonic Frontiers and a lot of the Japanese script is much different than the American one, mainly the overall tone and also the lack of references to obscure American comic book Sonic characters. I assume that was because Ian Flynn wrote the English script. Yakuza has had a sordid history with localization. Lots of censorship and changes in the localization, and when that isn't happening, completely strange and random nonstarters popping up. No real idea how the Like a Dragon games are since I wasn't really a fan of them. Persona is probably the closest to being the most Japanese, but does get the occasional hit of censorship. Have not played Persona 3 Reload yet though so I can't judge that game's localization although they did replace the entire English voice cast with sound-a-likes so that's probably wasn't a popular choice with dub fans I imagine.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 5410
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 11:24 am Reply with quote
MyMasterMatthew wrote:
MarshalBanana wrote:
I take it that it is no coincidence, that this happened right after the release of a game with lots of dialogue and text was released.


Which game are you referring to?
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth.
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CelticMutt



Joined: 24 Sep 2021
Posts: 64
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 1:37 pm Reply with quote
oilers2007 wrote:
MyMasterMatthew wrote:
Acurate translations, thoughtful localization, a dedicated QA team with the resources they need, and high quality voice acting - most of which feel like essential and universal "ingredients" for a great experience - tend to suffer if a big name company wants to save money. It's painfully obvious when these things have been neglected, outsourced, or entirely removed, but if people will buy the game regardless, companies have little incentive to spend their money. For a period of time, I naively thought that things were starting to get better. In reality, I'd been spoiled by playing several great games in a row, exceptions to the norm. Unfortunately, I don't expect things to change for the better... not unless it's a big name game with high expectations, or if big name companies can find a way to cheaply to do those things with AI technology (which leads to another conversation).


I feel SEGA's localizations tend to be hit or miss when when it comes to accuracy. I remember watching Korone play Sonic Frontiers and a lot of the Japanese script is much different than the American one, mainly the overall tone and also the lack of references to obscure American comic book Sonic characters. I assume that was because Ian Flynn wrote the English script. Yakuza has had a sordid history with localization. Lots of censorship and changes in the localization, and when that isn't happening, completely strange and random nonstarters popping up. No real idea how the Like a Dragon games are since I wasn't really a fan of them. Persona is probably the closest to being the most Japanese, but does get the occasional hit of censorship. Have not played Persona 3 Reload yet though so I can't judge that game's localization although they did replace the entire English voice cast with sound-a-likes so that's probably wasn't a popular choice with dub fans I imagine.


Most people who play the Like a Dragon series tend to fall into two categories - they either love it immediately, or are ambivalent at first, decide to retry it later, and fall in love. At least from what I've seen. And I've seen a few streamers who were extremely skeptical before falling in love.

As for the localization, outside of the hardcore "it must be a word for word translation!" types, there haven't been any negative reactions in years. The only games I even know of with poor localization were the original Yakuza 1 (which is a big reason the series never took off in popularity until streamers& youtubers started playing 4, 5, and 0), and probably the original release of 4 (though nowhere as bad as 1), both of which were fixed with Kiwami 1 and 4 Remaster. Most of the "strange and random nonstarters" are because the side quests are intentionally strange and random, to break up the heavy atmosphere of the main quests.
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SnowWarren



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 275
PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2024 4:21 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
I take it that it is no coincidence, that this happened right after the release of a game with lots of dialogue and text was released.

Or after Sega's employee's unionized. Sega would rather lay them off than pay them fair wages.
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Doubleclouder



Joined: 07 Jan 2024
Posts: 40
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2024 12:11 pm Reply with quote
CelticMutt wrote:
As for the localization, outside of the hardcore "it must be a word for word translation!" types, there haven't been any negative reactions in years. The only games I even know of with poor localization were the original Yakuza 1 (which is a big reason the series never took off in popularity until streamers& youtubers started playing 4, 5, and 0), and probably the original release of 4 (though nowhere as bad as 1), both of which were fixed with Kiwami 1 and 4 Remaster.


I thought it was the opposite. It was the original western release of 4 that had the better localization while it was the Remaster that removed a number of things like the dialog about rape and other sensitive topics that were in the Japanese audio but the English subtitles were changed to avoid mentioning it.

In general I thought the series never appealed to many western gamers because it was heavily rooted in Japanese culture. It had a Japanese sub only audio, and focused on things a lot of westerners probably wouldn't know. In general I recall the series being panned by critics often who called it sexist, racist, homophobic, and other things because of the content of the game. I also recall a lot of scorn about the inclusion of gravue idols which reviewers did not like and felt were objectifying as well as the depiction of women in the series in general, along with other minorities who were played as a joke like the overweight character Ulala or the various crossdressers you beat up which might be seen as offensive in America.

I'm not sure why the series became popular overseas in recent years. Perhaps people opened up more to Japanese culture and humor. Or perhaps the recent games were made with more western appeal in mind in other areas..
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CelticMutt



Joined: 24 Sep 2021
Posts: 64
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2024 1:56 pm Reply with quote
Doubleclouder wrote:
CelticMutt wrote:
As for the localization, outside of the hardcore "it must be a word for word translation!" types, there haven't been any negative reactions in years. The only games I even know of with poor localization were the original Yakuza 1 (which is a big reason the series never took off in popularity until streamers& youtubers started playing 4, 5, and 0), and probably the original release of 4 (though nowhere as bad as 1), both of which were fixed with Kiwami 1 and 4 Remaster.


I thought it was the opposite. It was the original western release of 4 that had the better localization while it was the Remaster that removed a number of things like the dialog about rape and other sensitive topics that were in the Japanese audio but the English subtitles were changed to avoid mentioning it.

In general I thought the series never appealed to many western gamers because it was heavily rooted in Japanese culture. It had a Japanese sub only audio, and focused on things a lot of westerners probably wouldn't know. In general I recall the series being panned by critics often who called it sexist, racist, homophobic, and other things because of the content of the game. I also recall a lot of scorn about the inclusion of gravue idols which reviewers did not like and felt were objectifying as well as the depiction of women in the series in general, along with other minorities who were played as a joke like the overweight character Ulala or the various crossdressers you beat up which might be seen as offensive in America.

I'm not sure why the series became popular overseas in recent years. Perhaps people opened up more to Japanese culture and humor. Or perhaps the recent games were made with more western appeal in mind in other areas..


In order:

1) I re-looked it up and you're sort of right - there is one line of dialogue that was changed in the Remaster, and it was done at Sega's request. One line in a series does not make the entire localization of the series rampant with censorship.

2) Sexism - the only sexism ever comes from villains. Is it a tired trope? Sure, but ti's meant to show the villains are bad.

3) Racism - Yakuza 2 has Korean terrorists that are actual monsters, and "Secret Koreans" hidden among the characters. But one of the those "Secret Koreans" is a protagonist, and the another is a villain with a sense of honor and charisma, and is so beloved he got a redemption arc in a spin-off game. Unfortunately it's the worst game in the franchise, but not because of him. Chinese triads are also villains in some of the games, but normal Chinese immigrants just trying to live their lives exist too, and are portrayed sympathetically. Hell, part of Yakuza 4 is all about protecting a Chinese community. And then there's the infamous scene in 3 where a 9 year old girl says she can't see herself dating a black man, except everyone in game who hears it calls it out as racist.

4) As for homophobic, yes, there are a few unfortunate jokes that people now understand are terrible that involve trans people or crossdressers in the early games. Including a pretty bad case with a crossdressing couple in Yakuza 1 that was unfortunately kept in Kiwami 1. But almost any named LGBTQ+ character that appears, including a recurring transfem character, are treated as normal people, and anyone in game who mistreats them for being LGBTQ+ is treated as a villain. Kiryu frequently gives "moral of the story" speeches about treating people with respect no matter how different from you they are.

As for why the series got more popular in recent years, it's because people actually started playing it themselves, or watching people play it, instead of just listening to people who don't know what they're talking about. The former Super Best Friends, CohhCarnage, and Ray Narvaez, Jr. especially helped spread awareness of the games.
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WoodDude



Joined: 22 Dec 2022
Posts: 69
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:21 pm Reply with quote
CelticMutt wrote:
One line in a series does not make the entire localization of the series rampant with censorship.


There was a lot more than just "one line" cut in the localization, even if we're just speaking about 4 Remastered on it's own and not the rest of the series. There's no need to try to downplay the series' questionable localization history. It's all easily verifiable with a quick internet search so I see little point in trying to hide it. Yakuza 3 is infamous for the amount of things removed for the overseas version from the hostess club to various minigames and a few dozen substories relating to all those.

Having been with these games since the PS2 days, it's really interesting how some people try to rewrite history in how this series was both handled and perceived in the west for the longest time.
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