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Five memorable moments from localising PS4’s Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

Action title’s localisation team reflect on adapting the game for western audience

After about a year’s work on our end, it’s great to see the launch of Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star just around the corner.

If you’re seeing the game for the first time, it’s a battlefield action game, set in the Fate universe, where the spirits of historical and mythical figures come together to fight. If you’ve ever wondered whether Alexander the Great could beat Lu Bu, or how a trickster fox spirit might fare against Medusa, Fate will be right up your alley.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

As the localisers, we’ve spent about the last ten months working through the lengthy script. Fate/Extella has a unique and inventive story, and it’s been our job to make sure that story is as clear and as accurate to the Japanese as it is engaging to an English-speaking audience.

It’s been a challenge sometimes. The series’ main Japanese author, Kinoko Nasu, likes to pack his prose with wordplay, literary references, and a kind of free-form poetry. Keeping true to that style, while also making the English text both clear and in character, hasn’t always been easy. But now we’re ready to roll the game out, and while there will always be bits and pieces we’d like to go back and keep polishing, we hope everyone will enjoy what we’ve been working on.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

Now’s a good time to look back on some of the more memorable moments and steps along the way. Here below, please enjoy our top five:

  1. We’ve talked before about the linguistic puzzles of Tamamo no Mae, one of the main characters, but those aren’t her only quirks. One of the most multifaceted characters in an already-colourful cast, Tamamo keeps everyone (including us) off guard with her unpredictable personality.
     
    For us, the trick to writing each of those different “voices,” while still making them all sound like the same person playing different roles, was to remember that she always has the same goals and desires, and is just expressing them differently through those various personas.
  2. The game’s hidden character, Artoria, has the most obscure unlock requirements some of us have ever seen, so much so that we’ve put together a walkthrough below. (Feel free to skip the video if you’d rather try to find her yourself, but if you do, it’ll probably be through sheer luck.)
  3. At first glance, the characters in Fate don’t always resemble their namesakes. Nero Claudius is female, Elizabeth Bathory is a half-dragon J-pop idol (in training, at least), and Thomas Edison (not appearing in this game, but elsewhere in Fate lore) is a lion-man who’s also a former President of the United States. But as the game unfolds, some of the characters subtly start to show why those choices were made and how they relate to the story.
     
    More details would give too much away, but the upshot is that these unique takes on the characters gave us the opportunity, as translators and editors, to get inside the characters’ heads from a different angle.
  4. We always start a new localisation project by familiarising ourselves with the lore and characters of the game’s world. As part of that, we researched the history of the historical and mythical figures the game’s characters are based on. Among other factoids, we learned that Emperor Nero was so convinced of his own artistic genius that he would lock audiences into his theater, forcing them to listen to his performances for hours at a stretch. You’ll see a bit of that in the game too, if you happen to ask Nero for a lullaby.
  5. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

  6. Our friends at Aksys, whose office is down the street from ours, localised Fate/Extra back in the PSP days. While we were gathering reference material for Extella, we asked if they could share their material, and they graciously sent us copies of their script and notes. We didn’t always stick to those notes, but reading them gave us both raw information and insight as to how that information had been used before, both invaluable for our own work with the series. Thanks again, guys!
  7. The game’s all set to launch on 20th January. On the physical side, we put together the Noble Phantasm Edition, for both PS4 and PS Vita, which comes with various LE goodies including a 24″ by 17″ cloth poster, a fully translated and hardcover version of the Japanese Materials Book, and a pack of sixteen 3″ by 5″ collectible cards depicting each of the game’s Servants.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star

Digitally, there’s a pre-order bundle available for the PS4 version, which comes with an exclusive theme and the equally exclusive Shackled Bride outfit for Nero. (The outfit carries over to the PS Vita version if you buy the PS4 pre-order bundle.)

On launch day, and for the first two weeks after launch, the PS Vita version will come in an Early Bird bundle, which will include the PS Vita equivalent of that exclusive theme, as well as Gilgamesh’s exclusive Cold-Blooded Warden outfit (which, once obtained as part of that bundle, carries over to the PS4 version).

But our work isn’t quite done yet; we’re still finishing up on various themes, avatars, and costumes. So I’ll get back to that for now, but thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, comment away.

20 Comments
2 Author replies
MarvEUMichael 11 January, 2017 @ 17:07
1

Hey Guys! Mike, Marketing Manager at Marvelous Europe here, along with my colleague Jonathan, Project Manager, to answer questions you may have regarding the project, editions and anything else!

For specific localisation questions, Ryan Graff from XSEED will also be dropping by at some point to answer your questions as well!

1.1

How good are your connections with the actual developers? There don’t appear to be any plans for DLC characters at all at the moment, and I’d really like to see that change. Specifically, I’d like to see more Assassins added, and an Avenger or two, if they wanted to be cheap about it, they could just use Jeanne D’Arc Alter. They’d have to give new animations and make a few different skins, but the base model should be usable.

Really good read!

So happy you guys localized this. Got my Moon Crux Edition ordered and cannot wait for the 20th! And it’s looking absolutely beautiful! Hope you guys keep localizing niche games like these. And thank you for being even more awesome and releasing it in psychical form for PS4 and Vita instead of digital only like many other titles! <3

And yay for Avatars and Themes! :D

MarvEUMichael 11 January, 2017 @ 17:28
2.1

Thanks for the kind words we always like seeing people’s excitement at receiving the Collectors Editions! We’re busy shipping out all the Moon Crux Editions this and next week (depending on country), so hopefully you’ll get your notification soon regarding shipment!

I can say though, that we’ll have a unboxing out very soon (from our social media man Scott) showing off the Moon Crux Edition and its contents!

2.2

Still hoping for a fate/extra CCC possible vita/ps4 port (é_è)
(yeah sorry, you’re probably sick of this by now lol)

Anyway , waiting for my Moon Crux Edition here ! Hype intensify with each news <3

Replied to the wrong person (>_<) sorry

MarvEUMichael 11 January, 2017 @ 17:49
3.1

Hey! No worries. We have been asked a lot at the events we’ve attended about Fate/Extra CCC, and I understand that it wasn’t released outside of Japan. As for the story of Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star, the game does a good job of explaining backstory and characters, so we’re certain it won’t affect your ability to enjoy Fate/EXTELLA!

3.2

Thank you ^^

I honestly want to bite your face off for that title, omitting vita as if it’s a plague itself is disgusting as hell.

kingkrunch456 11 January, 2017 @ 18:00
5

Excited to play this next Friday after pre-ordering the moon crux edition for my good ol Vita~ I’m wondering though, will I still be able to get the themes you mentioned that people are getting for free with the copies on the PS Store?

MarvEUMichael 11 January, 2017 @ 18:07
5.1

Hey! Sorry about this, I didn’t catch this subtle text in the original draft, we’re going to be offering these themes for a very limited time at the launch date onwards. These were created after our original pre-order was submitted for the game, so we came to an agreement on how these would be distributed for European fans.

Hey, Ryan here, from XSEED. I’ll be available for questions too throughout the day. Cheers!

BeyondAbsolution 11 January, 2017 @ 18:24
7

Will the costumes from the digital pre order edition be available separately at a later date as I’m getting “Moon Crux Edition” and don’t want to have to get both versions.

7.1

Unfortunately, we’re not able to release the exclusive costumes separately from their respective bundles.

7.2

So if you don’t pre order the digital edition you’re completely locked out of those costume ? Isn’t there anything you can do ? These were included with the physical collector version in the Japanese release ..

Michael Fisher 11 January, 2017 @ 18:37
8

I’ve now got a shiny authored account! I’ll also be checking by to answer additional EU and Moon Crux-based questions too!

AlucardTepes_DE 11 January, 2017 @ 20:01
9

Damm… wish I wasn’t jobless atm…

Wooooooohooo! Really looking forward to this, btw how restricted will the streaming be? Can we assume a benevolent Lord or will Saurons eye hit down faster than I can say pancakes?

10.1

It looks like they’re allowing normal streaming so far. :)

The guys at XSEED are amazing and have one of the best localisation strategies around. Thank you for releasing the game in physical form, especially for the Vita. I’m very excited for Fate/Extella and I’m actually getting both the PS4 and Vita versions of the game, so you have my support.

ManikwithaNine 13 January, 2017 @ 06:04
12

I want that cloth poster

reggyx3clover 13 January, 2017 @ 14:00
13

Thank you for supporting Vita ^ _ ^

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