During PlayStation’s E3 live coverage, Persona 5 main translation Mai Namba talked more about the upcoming numbered chapter of the Persona series.
According to Namba-san, Persona 5 is different from previous games of the series, that were more light-hearted and focused on friendship. That’s not to say that this one isn’t, but it’s edgier.
That’s said it’s still a Persona game, and a lot of the systems cross over from Persona 4. There are many new features added to the game making it fresh and accessible to newcomers, but veterans of the series will definitely see the connection with past games of the franchise.
We also hear a few tidbits about the localization work: it can be “very very challenging,” because the game is set in Japan, so there are a lot of local references. When localizing the game the team has to keep in mind how to keep true to the original Japanese game while also making it accessible to the American audience. Some jokes need to be tweaked a bit from Japanese to English, making sure to get the same idea across while still making it fun.
Translators start their work by playing the game and trying to get familiar with all the characters, and then they sit down with the rest of the team to flesh out the characters, determining how they’re gonna talk, whether they have any specific mannerism and so forth.
Having worked in localization before (even if, as you probably know by now, it was anime and not games) I can definitely see how localizing a game so rooted in Japanese culture as a Persona title could be extremely challenging. We’ll see the results on February 14th.