What It's Like to Localize a Yoko Taro Video Game

The night before boarding a flight to the United States for a lengthy voice recording session for the then-upcoming Nier Replicant, John Ricciardi, co-founder of the localization company 8-4, was on a last minute call with designer Yoko Taro. Ricciardi's flight had already been delayed several weeks, a precaution regarding a new virus people were calling "COVID-19."

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wx58a9/what-its-like-to-localize-a-yoko-taro-video-game

I sure wish I was a Japanese-understanding fly on the wall at these Zoom calls.

Ricciardi described meetings with Taro where he’d lay out “expansive” details about the broader Nier universe and why certain things were the way they were. (It was at this point Ricciardi caught himself, because he wasn’t allowed to share too much.)

I mean come on


8-4 does or did a biweekly podcast that I used to listen to. Localization seems like an incredibly cool and incredibly challenging line of work. You could tell everybody there cared A LOT about what they put out. They’ve also been on the end of some Gamer ugliness about “censorship” with Xenoblade Chronicles: X. I’m happy this has not been met with the same harassment.

Good piece! It’s cool for me to hear what these guys I used to follow have been up to.


They’re still doing it and I enjoy it most when they have the chance to give a “boots-on-the-ground” perspective as people who live in Japan and as localizers. Sadly, they rarely get to talk at length about localization due to NDAs so they’re mostly a normcore “four people talk into a microphone about recent game news and what they’ve been playing” podcast at this point, which makes your interest in that largely dependent on your connection to them as media personalities. I also get the feeling that they’re a little unwilling to acknowledge legitimate criticisms of Japanese culture as it pertains to games but I can’t point to anything specific off the top of my head so I don’t want to make too big a deal of it. I still listen to them regularly on the podcast rotation.

Also 8-4 the company is way up there in terms of localization quality. Every time I hear about The Gamers Getting Upset about a localization decision they made, I almost always find myself agreeing with that decision.


Yeah, I should have mentioned that discussion usually existed on the periphery when I was listening to them 5-8 years ago or so. Sometimes you got good stories after stuff came out, but I did find myself wishing they would discuss localization more because it’s a really cool angle.

Here I was assuming all of Kaine’s bleeped out words in the JP script were just her saying the name “Sartre.”