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Thread: Magic Knight Rayearth and Sega

  1. #1

    Magic Knight Rayearth and Sega

    I had a friend that was a massive Sega fanboy and up until the original Playstation, I'd always been a Nintendork. When the N64 came out, I was really disappointed with it and wound up jumping ship to Sony's console, especially since it was announced that Final Fantasy VII was coming out for it. Back then, my friend was making such a big deal about the Sega Saturn, and especially Magic Knight Rayearth. He took every opportunity to try to convince me to get the system and drop the Playstation; it got so bad at one point that I had to tell him to ease off because he was starting to sound like a Sega pitchman.

    At that time, I was working at Blockbuster Video and my store manager had been told by corporate to remove the Sega Saturn display model and trash it. I have no idea why, especially since it sill worked perfectly fine, but that's what they wanted. After pretty dropping down on my knees and begging like an idiot, she let me have it, after which I made pre-ordering Magic Knight Rayearth my top priority. I mainly did it to get my friend to shut up about it.

    After I did that, I made it my mission to go out and buy up every Saturn game that I thought I might like. It was about that time that Sega, and anyone who sold video games, started to drop support for the system. I came away with some bitching deals. You wouldn't believe what I paid for a lot of the games and accessories that I purchased.

    Two years after I pre-ordered it, I finally, FINALLY got Magic Knight Rayearth. I picked up my copy and bought the only other one Electronics Boutique had, which I gave to the friend who constantly badgered me about it. I had that game pre-ordered for two full years! That has got to be world record or something. I remember that some of my other friends told me to just cancel it because they believed that it was never going to come out. I'm glad I didn't listen to them. To this day, Magic Knight Rayearth is still my favorite Sega Saturn game. It is, for me at least, better than Panzer Dragoon Saga (which I bought on release day at a Toys R Us, and still own), and Albert Odyssey (which was a gift that my Sega loving friend gave to me, and I still own). Thank you, Victor Ireland, for sticking to your guns and bringing that fantastic game out. Had it been anyone else, they would have simply dropped the project and moved onto not only another game, but to another system.

    Now that I'm done with all that, I've always wanted to ask you about what went down with the conversion. I read in your translation notes that you'd taken Sega to court over the names to the characters in the game, and that there was apparently a data crash that resulted in the loss of the original game data. How was the data recovered? Did you guys have to pay anything in regards to the trial with Sega? How bad were you guys hurt by all that? Even though I am eternally grateful for what you did, what made you want to see the project through to the end? How do you feel about Sega now that the dust has long since settled? Do you still not like them, or is it water under the bridge? And lastly, if you guys are cool, would you and your crew be up for translating any of their games?

    Sorry for the ridiculously long, and poorly written, post. I've just been a fan of Working Designs since the Saturn/PSOne era onwards, and just wanted to know about your time working on Rayearth. It's a fantastic game, one that I'm ultra glad made the trip across the Pacific.

  2. #2
    That being said, is there any way someone could link me to a copy of the translation notes from Magic Knight Rayearth?

  3. #3
    I have one more question for you! If you can recall, was the Hikaru print of the Magic Knight Rayearth game discs the most common? The reason I ask is because both copies that I bought had her on them. It wasn't until much, much later that I found out that there were versions that had Umi and Fuu on them. Being into nerdy chicks, I totally would have killed for a Fuu disc.

  4. #4
    Administrator vicireland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertOdyssey View Post
    Now that I'm done with all that, I've always wanted to ask you about what went down with the conversion. I read in your translation notes that you'd taken Sega to court over the names to the characters in the game, and that there was apparently a data crash that resulted in the loss of the original game data. How was the data recovered? Did you guys have to pay anything in regards to the trial with Sega? How bad were you guys hurt by all that? Even though I am eternally grateful for what you did, what made you want to see the project through to the end? How do you feel about Sega now that the dust has long since settled? Do you still not like them, or is it water under the bridge? And lastly, if you guys are cool, would you and your crew be up for translating any of their games?

    Sorry for the ridiculously long, and poorly written, post. I've just been a fan of Working Designs since the Saturn/PSOne era onwards, and just wanted to know about your time working on Rayearth. It's a fantastic game, one that I'm ultra glad made the trip across the Pacific.
    Thanks for keeping the faith. That game was a trial, for sure.

    We were on our own recovering the crashed data that was missing from the project we got from SEGA. They never came up with anything to help us besides the occasional "Ganbatte, ne!", which really wasn't that helpful at all. We had to extract binary segments from the released Japanese version of the game and cut and paste them into the broken files with hex editors. We had to recreate what was missing and then smooth over the rough edges of our hack (essentially) with new code. It was a huge hassle and really stretched out the project.

    But that wasn't the only pain. When we were literally almost done (after a couple years!) SEGA suddenly sent us a portfolio from Clamp of the official English names they wanted us to use for the game. Nevermind that the names sucked (Fuu was "Anemone", Hikaru was "Blaze" and I forget what Umi was - I still have the portfolio packed up somewhere), the game WAS ESSENTIALLY DONE with the original Japanese names, and I wasn't going to re-do it all so they would have a clip for their pitch of the bad anime dub they were trying to use the game to sell. So I resisted - a lot, and they eventually saw it my way. The anime dub never went anywhere, anyhow.

    Oh, and the translation notes in the final manual are not the first ones I wrote. The initial ones were much more honest and detailed about the process, but SEGA found it offensive and asked me to change it when we submitted the manual for approval. So I toned it down and left out details that they felt made them look bad, perhaps.

    I never sued them, though. That would be bad form. We got it all worked out in the end. And, I liked SEGA and wanted to keep working with them. Unfortunately, these days most of the people I worked with and got along with have burned out or moved on. There's only a handful left at SEGA Japan from the good old days. We do have communication with them, but it's much more limited that it used to be.

  5. #5
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    I wish this game would get re-released in one way or another.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by vicireland View Post
    Thanks for keeping the faith. That game was a trial, for sure.

    We were on our own recovering the crashed data that was missing from the project we got from SEGA. They never came up with anything to help us besides the occasional "Ganbatte, ne!", which really wasn't that helpful at all. We had to extract binary segments from the released Japanese version of the game and cut and paste them into the broken files with hex editors. We had to recreate what was missing and then smooth over the rough edges of our hack (essentially) with new code. It was a huge hassle and really stretched out the project.

    But that wasn't the only pain. When we were literally almost done (after a couple years!) SEGA suddenly sent us a portfolio from Clamp of the official English names they wanted us to use for the game. Nevermind that the names sucked (Fuu was "Anemone", Hikaru was "Blaze" and I forget what Umi was - I still have the portfolio packed up somewhere), the game WAS ESSENTIALLY DONE with the original Japanese names, and I wasn't going to re-do it all so they would have a clip for their pitch of the bad anime dub they were trying to use the game to sell. So I resisted - a lot, and they eventually saw it my way. The anime dub never went anywhere, anyhow.

    Oh, and the translation notes in the final manual are not the first ones I wrote. The initial ones were much more honest and detailed about the process, but SEGA found it offensive and asked me to change it when we submitted the manual for approval. So I toned it down and left out details that they felt made them look bad, perhaps.

    I never sued them, though. That would be bad form. We got it all worked out in the end. And, I liked SEGA and wanted to keep working with them. Unfortunately, these days most of the people I worked with and got along with have burned out or moved on. There's only a handful left at SEGA Japan from the good old days. We do have communication with them, but it's much more limited that it used to be.
    Thank you for that! I knew it was rough, if only because it took so long for the game to come out, but I never knew you had to go to such great lengths to bring it Stateside. I'm glad it worked out for you guys in the end.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JWiley_12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicireland View Post
    Thanks for keeping the faith. That game was a trial, for sure.

    We were on our own recovering the crashed data that was missing from the project we got from SEGA. They never came up with anything to help us besides the occasional "Ganbatte, ne!", which really wasn't that helpful at all. We had to extract binary segments from the released Japanese version of the game and cut and paste them into the broken files with hex editors. We had to recreate what was missing and then smooth over the rough edges of our hack (essentially) with new code. It was a huge hassle and really stretched out the project.

    But that wasn't the only pain. When we were literally almost done (after a couple years!) SEGA suddenly sent us a portfolio from Clamp of the official English names they wanted us to use for the game. Nevermind that the names sucked (Fuu was "Anemone", Hikaru was "Blaze" and I forget what Umi was - I still have the portfolio packed up somewhere), the game WAS ESSENTIALLY DONE with the original Japanese names, and I wasn't going to re-do it all so they would have a clip for their pitch of the bad anime dub they were trying to use the game to sell. So I resisted - a lot, and they eventually saw it my way. The anime dub never went anywhere, anyhow.

    Oh, and the translation notes in the final manual are not the first ones I wrote. The initial ones were much more honest and detailed about the process, but SEGA found it offensive and asked me to change it when we submitted the manual for approval. So I toned it down and left out details that they felt made them look bad, perhaps.

    I never sued them, though. That would be bad form. We got it all worked out in the end. And, I liked SEGA and wanted to keep working with them. Unfortunately, these days most of the people I worked with and got along with have burned out or moved on. There's only a handful left at SEGA Japan from the good old days. We do have communication with them, but it's much more limited that it used to be.
    Wow, localizing truely is a work of love, it seems. :-)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by FlamingFirewire View Post
    That being said, is there any way someone could link me to a copy of the translation notes from Magic Knight Rayearth?
    This is going to be slightly awkward for me as I'm going to type this while holding the instruction manual

    Translation Notes:
    Magic Knight Rayearth is based on a Japanese anime series that was extremely popular. When we first heard about the game WAY back in 1995, we were seriously interested in doing the US version. Once we SAW the game, that was it, we had to do it. We were warned that a hard disk crash had wiped out some data after the Japanese version was finished, but we were confident the data could be rebuilt.

    Fast forward almost 30 months. It took us the bulk of the time to overcome problems with approval for the English version's names (which are very close to the transliterated Japanese names in most cases) data that was missing from the hard disk crash, and various programming and version problems that became apparent in the course of the conversion. For these and other reasons, this has been, without doubt or question, the most grueling conversion we have ever attempted. But, it's done, and your extreme patience as a Saturn owner has been rewarded now that you have it in your possession. So then, let's talk about what was done for the US version.

    One of the first areas we targeted to fix was the save system. The original Japanese version only allowed three saves. Because the game is stuffed with tons of awesome animation, we thought it would be cool to allow a lot of saves so a player could save near favorite events and access them quickly. Therefore, the US version will allow saves up to the capacity of the built-in RAM or the External RAM cartridge, whichever the player chooses.

    Another important change we made was in the area of slowdown. Polizu initially had a large degree of slowdown due to the large number of sprites being used and animated. By doing a sprite consolidation and reduction, we were able to improve this area and a number of others so that the slowdown is much less noticeable, if at all, with no perceptible change to the look and feel of the town. One area we weren't able to fix was in Rosen. Due to the multilevel structure of the town, we were unable to achieve much of an improvement under the current system. Forgive us, we tried.

    When testing the game initially, we found that a large number of players found it very annoying that many, many people in towns talked to you. It slowed down the flow of the game. So, we just kept the Prologue audio up to Precia's mansion, the left in only in-game speech during key events. We used the CD space reclaimed to add a "audible diary" feature where each entry can be read out loud by the person who wrote it at the press of a button. This was much cooler because it became an optional feature that extended the game, instead of a mandatory one that slowed it down. The diary entries are also penned in the girl's own handwriting, instead of a standard font.

    The Japanese game also featured a quest for Rainvow amulets. if the player got them all, They unlocked a music test called "Mokona's home." In the US version, we added our traditional outtakes mode as another option that opens once all the amulets are retrieved. This is the first time we've given players absolute control over the outttakes play order, since ANY characters' outtake file can be played on demand. Outtakes are one of our most popular "extras." We hope you like the special way we've implemented it in this game.

    Finally, the original Japanese logo had three gems morphing into the red lettering of the Japanese logo. Initially, we made a logo that allowed us to copy the look and feel of the Japanese logo sequence of the opening animation. however, we were made aware of a logo created for the English Rayearth, so the opening animation was changed again to allow for the new logo's use. Unfortunately, due to the design of the logo, we couldn't incorporate the morph like the original Japanese opening. We also were not able to obtain the rights to the original opening song, so we made one that retained the "feel" of the original, but was completely new.

    Chances are, this is the last SEGA Saturn game to be released in the US. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your long and continued support. We'll keep doing great RPG's as long as you keep buying them. Remember, we're nothing without you.

    Hope this is good enough!

  9. #9
    It's a cool story. I would pay good money for a hardbound coffee table book covering the history of Working Designs with all the behind the scenes stories.

    I always thought the Hikaru disc was the rarest. Mine is the Fuu disc.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by AlbertOdyssey View Post
    This is going to be slightly awkward for me as I'm going to type this while holding the instruction manual

    Translation Notes:
    Magic Knight Rayearth is based on a Japanese anime series that was extremely popular. When we first heard about the game WAY back in 1995, we were seriously interested in doing the US version. [snip]

    Hope this is good enough!
    Thanks for the info!

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