By shenstra 36 Comments
So.... Beyond Good & Evil HD came out. That's a thing. I've heard so much about this game, I just had to try it. Luckily, there's a demo on the PlayStation Store. Downloaded it (a fairly big download) and had it sit on my HD for a while, whilst I played through inFamous. Tonight, I finally got around to trying the demo, and it... was... in Dutch? Entirely in Dutch? Everything was in Dutch! The menus, the in-game text, even the voice overs. And no way to select another language? What is this madness?!
Sure. I'm Dutch. I speak Dutch, fluently even. But I don't play games in Dutch. I grew up watching a lot of British TV and American movies, reading books in English and, obviously, playing games in English. Games are hardly ever translated into Dutch. The only two examples I've personally encountered (other than Beyond Good & Evil) are Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, and Professor Layton and the Lost Future, both of which I loved despite the translation, rather than because of it. In the case of Professor Layton, I was actually quite startled when the game started speaking Dutch at me. I even considered returning it and importing an English or American copy. Instead, I turned the sound on my DS off (yes, I missed out on most of the wonderful music in that game) and tried not to think about how much better that game would've been in English.
Don't get me wrong, I love Dutch. It's a very quirky language, with some wonderful words and expressions. But mostly, it's a language that was built (or rather, that evolved) to get information across quickly and directly. It's not a language suited to engaging story telling. Let's face it, to people who don't speak Dutch, it sounds like someone trying to clear their throat whilst speaking fake German. You know who tops the Dutch music charts, other than Adele, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg et alia? Dutch singers and bands, singing original songs, in English. The reason we flood the world with shitty reality TV and game shows? Those shows don't rely on language.
Add to that the fact that the Dutch speaking market is relatively small and consists mostly of people who speak English (or French, or German, or all three) fairly well. Why does that matter? Because nearly all Dutch dubs are targeted at young kids, who haven't learnt English yet and thus form the largest audience for dubs. People who do Dutch dubs, whether it be for movies, TV or video games, only know how to do crappy dubs targeted at very young kids. When they get to apply their ~considerable skill~ to an actual piece of entertainment (arguably even "art"), things generally don't end well.
So, there it is. My rant against localization. I guess I'm never going to play Beyond Good & Evil. Dear game industry, please, please. I beg of you. Don't translate things into Dutch. And if you insist on doing so, at least give me the option to play in English anyway.