I think DragonQuest VIII’s most delightful attribute (aside from everything) is the brilliant localisation the game’s recieved. It takes a special job to make me associate Dragon Quest, a series that’s as Japanese as a series can get, with British characters and dialect.
Here’s where the moaning comes in. “Oh no! The purity of the original story has been looooost!” Ha ha! Bugger off. Dragon Warrior / DragonQuest has always gone the classic route with its stories: An ultimate hero versus and ultimate evil. Dragon Quest VIII is no different. Honestly, if not for the fact that the characters have something amazing to say every other line, I wouldn’t care about chasing Dhoulmagus across the world.
The sprawling, expansive, gorgeous world…with the night wind blowing through the trees. Holy crap, such a minor detail that so few game developers pay attention to, even in this age of systems with gazillion-gig hard drives.
Writing compelling dialect is a hard, hard job. I will not touch it with a ten foot dragon-poking pole, because reading bad dialect is obnoxious. If you do it right, however, you stand to add a lot to your character.
Former lout Yangus gets a lot of love in the gaming community, and I have a small clue that it’s because of that low-class proletariat accent of his. That alone sets him worlds apart from the stuck-up but lovably formal King Trode. In fact, Trode recites my favourite line in the game when you pick him up from the pub in Pickham after quickly completing a chore: “Well, that was unduly expedient of you.”
If such a line were used in any other instance (in a game, book or otherwise), it would just be an example of a writer showing off. But with an aristocrat like Trode, you wouldn’t expect any less. Only Trode talks like Trode; you never hear the same from Jessica, Angelo, Yangus or the Hero, what with him being mute and all.
I’d love to see this kind of detail and effort put into every localised game. There is in fact a bard you meet in Pickham who arrived not long ago, but you can already tell his accent is sliding into the local dialect just a bit. Alas, game localisation rarely sees that kind of loving care. If it did, it’d stand a far greater chance of measuring against real literature.
Tags: Dragon Warrior, DragonQuest VIIIShare This

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