Lappy the police dog mascot is the star of this Astral Chain dev blog, as the localization lead breaks down translating him to the West.
Astral Chain‘s latest developer’s blog entry focuses on the lovable dog mascot of Task Force Neuron, Lappy. Specifically we learn about how localization requires changing how a character is presented for the new intended audience while keeping the core foundation of their personality. And ready to break down the process is John Neal from the PlatinumGames localization team and localization lead of Astral Chain.
The core tenants of Lappy’s personality is that they’re “friendly, eager, lovable, and just the right amount of annoying.” But how do you channel that from the Japanese version, which uses very Japanese tropes like pitching the voice high and verbal tics. Of course those tropes don’t translate well into English.
Neal details his process for localizing Lappy in a way that would appeal to English speakers:
When translating Lappy’s dialogue, I cranked his level of enthusiasm through the roof and gave him a signature phrase in English, too: note his tendency to call everyone “partner.” He is a police dog, after all.
Incidentally, the original English script didn’t specifically call for Lappy to have his trademark Southern US accent. That particular quirk came up during recording. After experimenting with a few other accents and intonations, Cassandra (AN: Cassandra Lee Morris is Lappy and Marie’s voice actor) tried a bit of a Southern twang — and, well, you know the rest, partner!
It’s really cool to see how Lappy’s English self developed both in the original scripting and during recording. Another interesting aspect Looking around the Ark and you’ll see neon signs in Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Arabic, which established the area as an international hub:
Most of the English text on these signs and news tickers came out of brainstorming between me, my localization colleagues, and our lead environmental artist. For other languages, we had to rely on outside help! Luckily, PlatinumGames has staff members from seventeen different countries here in our Osaka office, so a quick native check was just a few desks away for many of those languages. Nintendo of Europe’s translators were more than willing to provide feedback and guidance for all the others!
For those interested, there are several previous developer blogs that delve deeper into the title: UV animation, changes to mission structure, visual effects, sound design, art direction, the music, and the environments themselves.
The title received some lovely post-launch artwork from both the NieR:Automata and Bayonetta’s character designers. The official PlatinumGames Twitter account also released new art from the studio’s main artist Hajime Kimura, celebrating the title’s success.
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