Tales of Luminaria interview: Sugi, the project's localization producer, discusses the game's story structure and bringing the series to mobile

Tales of Luminaria interview: Sugi, the project's localization producer, discusses the game's story structure and bringing the series to mobile

Tales of Luminaria is an upcoming mobile RPG from Bandai Namco. This instalment in the popular series will see players following the stories of 21 different protagonists and learning their various perspectives. It features simple tap and flick controls to make the game easy to play on the go. However, the developers have said that each character will still feel distinct.

We recently had the chance to chat with Sugi, a localisation production on the game. Together we discussed the decision to bring the Tales series over to mobile, how the story will be handled and the challenges involved in localising such a large game.


My name is Sugi and I am listed as the Localize Producer, but actually, I also work on the Japanese version of the game and the Anime creation as well.

How did you reach the decision to bring Tales of Luminaria to mobile? And what do you believe the platform offers over PC and console that made it the best place for the game?

The "Tales of" Series is now in its 25th anniversary this year. To expand the IP and bring the series to the next level in the global market, we took on many challenges. Tales of Arise represents the challenge we gave ourselves to revolutionize the franchise for Console, and Luminaria is our next challenge to do the same for Mobile.

We chose to do it on mobile which is more casual and easy to play, so both "Tales of" fans and new users could enjoy this game, while being able to tell a long-form serialized story that would be more difficult to achieve on other platforms. Luminaria will be the conclusion of the 25th anniversary year, so we are very excited about it.

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The game features a staggering 21 protagonists. Can you explain a little bit more about how that plays out? For instance, do players select one and stick with them throughout the game or will they gradually playthrough all of their stories individually?

Players will gradually play through all of the characters' stories individually. We plan to release a new character's episode every week. So, for example we are starting with Episode 1. Aside from the first 7 characters that will be available at launch, we will release each characters' "Episode 1", 1 week at a time, then when all of the characters have had their Episode 1 released, we will then release a Crossroad Episode 1 that brings together many of the threads into one major event.

Following that, we will start releasing everyone's Episode 2. Keep in mind that all the characters' stories are connected into one large narrative, so you will see threads going between many different characters' episodes as the story moves forward, but you will be able to experience them from many different angles.

What can players expect from the game once it has launched?

A profound story and fascinating characters. You may even find your most favorite character ever.

You work on localisation. Can you tell us a bit about how this process works and how long it takes?

The scenario draft itself is the same in both English and Japanese, but when we translate it into English, we try to make sure that the tone and nuance of the draft is conveyed in English as it is in Japanese. In addition to this, as our English language adaptation and voice recording partner, Funimation has put in a huge effort to match the tone and tension of the Japanese voices, so that the character's soul is faithfully conveyed.

Are there any particular challenges when localising a game? For instance, there isn't always a word for word translation of every phrase, so can is it tricky localising some parts of the game?

Given the scope of the narrative, it is very difficult to keep the whole game, including the NPCs, voiced over in English. The scenario volume is huge, so the number of characters and voices in the game is crazy! That said, we think putting all the voices in English as well is very important for people overseas to enjoy it like Japanese do, so we are planning to always have it be a part of the way we deliver the game to our players.

Tales of Luminaria is available to pre-order now over on the App Store and Google Play. It is a free-to-play game with in-app purchases. 

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