Joel and Ellie in other languages. It blew my mind!

#1 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

Hearing that The Last of Us would be released with multiple languages on the blu-ray was interesting to me (considering how important the English voice cast was to the creation of the game), but perhaps more interesting was learning that Neil Druckmann wasn't going to be directing those other actors/actresses.

The reasoning makes sense, since in his words he wasn't really qualified to make intelligent choices for the cast for entirely different cultures - how would he know if his choice would resonate with them? As such, how it works is that Sony has publishing partners in various countries who actually make their own decisions for the cast/etc and record/dub the game themselves. (this was news to me, but probably shouldn't be as we have the 8-4 podcast hosted on this very site :D)

I find the choices made by the different localisation teams fascinating!

Which do you think captures Joel and Ellie better?

(my vote goes to Portrugese or Japanese - though I guess I'm not really the best to judge either)

Portuguese

Japanese

More Languages

Original English Trailer (for reference)

#2 Edited by DarthOrange (3851 posts) -

Wow I totally forgot that Naughty Dog does this. I am going to restart my very hard play through in Spanish like I did with Uncharted 2. The voices are usually pretty good and it makes the experience feel different.

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#3 Edited by Pr1mus (3822 posts) -

I can really only judge my native language of French and i think Ellie's voice is great but her voice seems really good in all of those honestly. Joel just doesn't sound right at all in French. I'd say overall the Portuguese voices sounded best.

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#4 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@pr1mus said:

I can really only judge my native language of French and i think Ellie's voice is great but her voice seems really good in all of those honestly. Joel just doesn't sound right at all in French. I'd say overall the Portuguese voices sounded best.

I thought there was something really weird about the French Joel, too. I think he's too high pitched which, to me, makes him sound less dangerous than Troy's Joel, and doesn't quite fit his comparatively bulky frame.

That said, his delivery seems pretty good.

#5 Posted by AlisterCat (5484 posts) -

I have such ignorance of Japanese voice over actors and that culture, but it always sounds like generic deep voiced protagonist. Same with all Japanese female voice overs. Maybe it's just because I love Troy Baker.

#6 Posted by Pr1mus (3822 posts) -

@pr1mus said:

I can really only judge my native language of French and i think Ellie's voice is great but her voice seems really good in all of those honestly. Joel just doesn't sound right at all in French. I'd say overall the Portuguese voices sounded best.

I thought there was something really weird about the French Joel, too. I think he's too high pitched which, to me, makes him sound less dangerous than Troy's Joel, and doesn't quite fit his comparatively bulky frame.

That said, his delivery seems pretty good.

Yeah he definitely sounds like a smaller guy and younger too. Not like a mid to late 40s, maybe even 50 years old. Also too energetic i felt. Joel just sounds so tired and worn out by life in general in English and all the other language. Delivery was pretty good though, better than the Uncharted games.

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#7 Posted by StarvingGamer (8026 posts) -

I gotta go with Japanese, but that's because I've been consuming media in Japanese for decades.

#8 Posted by Video_Game_King (36055 posts) -

Those Japanese voices sure are Japanese. I have to admit, they're the only reason I came into this thread, since I, too, find different language dubs interesting. Always interesting to see how different cultures interpret a character or two. On that subject, does anybody have a link to the "dies, died, will die" scene in BioShock Infinite dubbed in Japanese? I know that exists somewhere, and given how the language works, I want to know how that scene translates.

#9 Posted by CaLe (3912 posts) -

@video_game_king: They just say 死ぬ、死んだ、死ぬ in that scene. Same with lives, lived, will live: 生きる、生きた、生きる.

The Japanese voice actor for Joel does come across as quite generic, but watch the daughter death scene and you'll see the guy can definitely convey emotion. I didn't like him at first but he's been growing on me. He also seems to be pretty popular, a lot of Japanese players know his name immediately upon hearing the voice.

#10 Edited by Video_Game_King (36055 posts) -

@cale:

Not even an 今 thrown in to contextualize things? That has to be all kinds of confusing.

#11 Edited by CaLe (3912 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

@cale:

Not even an 今 thrown in to contextualize things? That has to be all kinds of confusing.

Nope~ listen for yourself here. I don't think it's confusing, but I feel it's lost some of the nuance of the English meaning. The だろう does work as a replacement for 'will' but it feels more ambiguous.

Before looking it up I would have guessed 死んでゆく/生きてゆく but I'm no Japanesatologist or anything, what would I know. Maybe sounds too poetic/formal for the more sarcastic/witty style the Lutece twins have.

#12 Posted by RetroVirus (1460 posts) -

Man, props to Naughty Dog for the multiple language tracks. That probably takes a lot more work, but it's really great to see them support it.

#13 Edited by darkvare (759 posts) -

most games do this lately the gears of war series has done it all the way through darksiders too alan wake aswell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhM1KGqfMSQ

one of my favorites is how baird is voiced by the guy that voices piccolo hearing him say shit alwasy makes me giggle

#14 Posted by TruthTellah (8552 posts) -

I like the Japanese Joel. Sounds like one of those classic Japanese characters that is just ragged and beat down. It really fits.

#15 Edited by PSNgamesun (395 posts) -

The Japanese voices sound like every other Japanese anime/game, it's not bad but it always feels the same. Well my first language is Spanish, so naturally I like that even though I think Ellie sounds too adult on all of them. Still way to go NaughtyDog doing this kind of work.

#16 Posted by CornBREDX (4821 posts) -

I cant really speak to the languages (critically), as I only speak english, but they all seemed to really bring it. The only one I thought was lacking was Russian, and that could just be because its the last one but it felt less like they gave a crap (and that is unusual to me as I have played several games from that area of the world and Russian acting can really sell itself if you get the right actors).

There are 2 big emotional points in that trailer and they transcend language. Even though I don't know what their saying I can feel what they're trying to get across. The Russian one was the only one that didn't really do that for me.

I agree with your favorites, OP, those were probably the best of the bunch. I really like Japanese as a language so much. I don't know if it's intentional, or whatever, but they always sound so angry. Just saying everyday things, at least in the context of drama, comes off so boisterous. I've always found that interesting, even in Anime I've seen or film that were in Japanese (most memorable Anime I watched in Japanese I currently think of is .hack//sign).

#17 Edited by EpicSteve (6479 posts) -

Do all male characters get voice by the same dude in Japan?

#18 Posted by PSNgamesun (395 posts) -

@epicsteve: I'm seriously debating that myself

#19 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

Yea, those Japanese voices definitely sound like something out of a samurai soap. Hmm, can't really see Joel as a samurai and ellie as a geisha.

#20 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@alistercat: @psngamesun: @epicsteve: @psngamesun:

Do you guys think the Japanese guy sounds the same because he's like a fan-favourite or something? Ie, he actually is in a lot of high-profile games?

I wouldn't be surprised if SCEJ got a particular famous actor to play Joel (if you think about it, that's sorta what Troy is in our context, though Troy really brings it in TLoU).

But yes, I don't really consume too much fiction in Japanese (just the occasional Anime), so I don't recognise him.

#21 Posted by Pepsiman (2459 posts) -

I haven't played the game myself yet, but I'll chime in and say that as a Japanese speaker I find the voice work on display in that trailer to be pretty solid. Not sure Akio Otsuka (pretty sure he's Joel?) would have been my personal first choice to have replace Troy Baker's, although since he's one of my personal favorite voice actors out there regardless of language and has voiced other characters I really like, I can't exactly fault that decision, either. I imagine if I got to hear him emote in more ways like the proper game I'd probably warm up to his performance. That being said, I found Ellie's voice actress to be really good. Her voice mixes the sort of youth and maturity you'd expect from the character, but it's handled in ways you rarely get to hear in Japanese media. No doubt whoever's doing her is famous as well, but I can't pinpoint who it could be off the top of my head.

It's a weird dilemma listening to it, though. On the one hand, I can tell on a technical level that the Japanese voice work is really good and has certainly contributed to the game's resoundingly good reception over there. On the other, I feel a bit of cognitive dissonance knowing that those voices aren't likely what we'd hear "legitimately" come out of that sort setting, which is weird since I'm known to actually appreciate the English dub work significantly better for some works that are set in Japan to the point that that's how I primarily enjoy them. Not inherently a bad problem to have as a bilingual person per se, but an interesting one to have. If I ever feel like doing a second run of this game once I get it, I may very well opt for Japanese.

All of this reminds me of how I need to get around to writing that series of blog posts that details how Japanese localization of Western games is handled over there. Ack.

#22 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@pepsiman: I'd love to read that blog post!

On that note, I believe the english version is on all of the Blu-ray presses, so you should be able to have it both ways.

(looking at the lip syncing, I'd honestly say English is the way to go since you're fluent in the language).

For how well the actor for Joel does in the game, check out the very emotional introduction if you don't mind having the first 15-20 mins spoiled (I dont mind linking to it in a spoiler block since a bunch of people have gone out and bought the game after seeing it)

#23 Edited by Strife777 (1503 posts) -

The only other one I can relate to is the French one, but Joel sounds terrible there. I'm also French-Canadian and the voice-over is clearly more French-European, so there's a bit of a disconnect with the expressions.

Japanese is easy for me to swallow, because of anime and Japanese video games. Joel's voice is exactly what I expect from a male voice actor from Japan. Typical, but I still love it.

#24 Posted by DukesT3 (1893 posts) -

I need to play this game more.

#25 Edited by Vertrucio (145 posts) -

Anyone know how well the reaction to The Last of Us has been in other countries besides the US?

The character themes are universal, but I wonder about things like the 20 years overgrown US aesthetic, and other character types. Also stuff like the violence, which is probably extreme for say, Euro countries that crack down on that, but that same violence also isn't glorified as much as in other games.

#26 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@vertrucio said:

Anyone know how well the reaction to The Last of Us has been in other countries besides the US?

The character themes are universal, but I wonder about things like the 20 years overgrown US aesthetic, and other character types. Also stuff like the violence, which is probably extreme for say, Euro countries that crack down on that, but that same violence also isn't glorified as much as in other games.

It's the biggest selling new IP in quite a while in the UK and the rest of Europe - and there's been some reports of people in Japan really taking a shine to it. (Fumitsu gave it a 10/9/10/9, ie, 38/40, which is pretty good)

I really hope this encourages Sony to make more new IP rather than just making TLoU into a big cash cow franchise.

#27 Edited by Humanity (8834 posts) -

@vertrucio said:

Anyone know how well the reaction to The Last of Us has been in other countries besides the US?

The character themes are universal, but I wonder about things like the 20 years overgrown US aesthetic, and other character types. Also stuff like the violence, which is probably extreme for say, Euro countries that crack down on that, but that same violence also isn't glorified as much as in other games.

It's the biggest selling new IP in quite a while in the UK and the rest of Europe - and there's been some reports of people in Japan really taking a shine to it. (Fumitsu gave it a 10/9/10/9, ie, 38/40, which is pretty good)

I really hope this encourages Sony to make more new IP rather than just making TLoU into a big cash cow franchise.

The Last of US: Highway Mayhem!

Your one stop destination for Last of Us vehicular combat. Earn sick experience by mowing down infected in Joel's favorite 2033 Camaro and earn extra points for SIIICK drifts! Only YOU can stop the infected from controlling our highways!

#28 Edited by Ghostiet (5228 posts) -

I can say that the Polish version sucks ass.

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#29 Posted by owack6 (213 posts) -

The Russian voice actors are not great, but even Metro doesn't have good Russian voice actors so i wasn't expecting anything good.

#30 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@owack6 said:

The Russian voice actors are not great, but even Metro doesn't have good Russian voice actors so i wasn't expecting anything good.

Oh really? They sounded pretty cool to me, but I submit to people who know what they're talking about.

@ghostiet: Is it possible to find the trailer for a more direct comparison and less spoilers?

I was looking for the polish version myself but I don't speak the language and that makes finding a specific video pretty hard.

#31 Posted by JouselDelka (967 posts) -

The reasoning makes sense, since in his words he wasn't really qualified to make intelligent choices for the cast for entirely different cultures -

I find the choices made by the different localisation teams fascinating!

I haven't played the game but I don't understand what you mean by choices? Like player choices? Why would they differ based on culture? And if they do, don't different ingame choices make it a different game with different events and outcomes?

I'm confussd plz explen.

#32 Posted by YukoAsho (2001 posts) -

I have such ignorance of Japanese voice over actors and that culture, but it always sounds like generic deep voiced protagonist. Same with all Japanese female voice overs. Maybe it's just because I love Troy Baker.

This. I've never been able to get over how terribly generic Japanese dubbing of male characters in Western games is. It seems the only time they don't use that generic voice is when the game makes it so bleedingly obvious that the character's young. Seriously, using the generic deep voice for Baker in Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway. Hell, at least the other characters there make up for it in that game, something I couldn't tell with that trailer for Last of Us.

#33 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@jouseldelka said:

@selfconfessedcynic said:

The reasoning makes sense, since in his words he wasn't really qualified to make intelligent choices for the cast for entirely different cultures -

I find the choices made by the different localisation teams fascinating!

I haven't played the game but I don't understand what you mean by choices? Like player choices? Why would they differ based on culture? And if they do, don't different ingame choices make it a different game with different events and outcomes?

I'm confussd plz explen.

Oh, no, not at all.

What he and I mean are... for example, an inflection of one's voice means one thing in one language, and an entirely different thing in another language. In fact, the only real emotions which entirely translate to all languages to my knowledge are the base ones (happiness / sadness / anger) - nuance in everything else can be entirely lost.

The different choices made by different localisation teams that I am referring to stem from their choice of actors to play specific scenes and how those actors play them. For example, if you check out @ghostiet's links to the intro of the game (which maybe you don't want to do because it's very good and you may not want to spoil), you'll find a lot of the subtle emotions exchanged between Joel and the other characters in those scenes are largely lost in a rather poor choice of actors/director.

The actual game itself, and its plot, are entirely the same in all versions. But the delivery (which is largely why the game is so good) changes based on each region's choice of actor and director. That is why I find the choices fascinating.

@yukoasho: Oh man, those dudes sound so similar!

But then, after watching the intro to TLoU in japanese (which I linked above in a spoiler block), I maintain that the dude seems to do a very good job.

After all, not only does it sound like he's a fan favourite, Joel is a deep voiced man. I won't complain about them finding a deep voiced dude to play him, as anything else would be all the way wack.

#34 Edited by altairre (1130 posts) -

I can only judge the german localisation really and it's a pretty bad one. Usually localisations for big titles are fairly well done but I don't like this one, especially in comparison to the english voices. It sounds hokey and doesn't convey the range of emotions as well.

Anyone know how well the reaction to The Last of Us has been in other countries besides the US?

The character themes are universal, but I wonder about things like the 20 years overgrown US aesthetic, and other character types. Also stuff like the violence, which is probably extreme for say, Euro countries that crack down on that, but that same violence also isn't glorified as much as in other games.

The reaction has been quite positive as far as I know and regarding the violence, The Last of Us is actually uncensored in Germany (probably because of the context). Lastly I don't think the US aesthetic bothers anyone. Are you able to recognize parts of the cities if you've been there? I don't know how accurate their depiction is but an overgrown city is an overgrown city so it doesn't really matter where that is.

#35 Edited by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

Oh, apologies for not doing this earlier, but here is the original trailer in english (will add to the OP)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W01L70IGBgE

Despite how much I like hearing the different versions above, nothing touches the English one (but perhaps I'm bias, since I now have epic crushes on Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson :D)

@altairre said:

I can only judge the german localisation really and it's a pretty bad one. Usually localisations for big titles are fairly well done but I don't like this one, especially in comparison to the english voices. It sounds hokey and doesn't convey the range of emotions as well.

Yeah, the German dude didn't sound quite right to me - he seemed to lack consistency. He also doesn't sound true to the original performance.

That said, most germans I've met both online and in person speak excellent English (and the English literacy rate there seems high), so most of y'all will do fine :)

#36 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1539 posts) -

I speak both English and German, and I can tell you. This is not one of the better German localizations I've heard. (I buy my games from Switzerland, which are imported from Germany.) German is a great language for sounding gruff, like the world has worn you down. I can't believe they didn't utilize that for Joel. If you've ever played the Black Ops 2 German localization, you'll laugh with me at it's silliness sometimes.

#37 Posted by Ghostiet (5228 posts) -

@ghostiet: Is it possible to find the trailer for a more direct comparison and less spoilers?

I was looking for the polish version myself but I don't speak the language and that makes finding a specific video pretty hard.

I'll look around, but pretty much the only trailer with Polish dubbing is the TV live-action commercial, where you can hear Anna Cieślak as Ellie.

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#38 Edited by Raineko (433 posts) -

As a German I have listened into the German version but it's not even close to as good as the original English version. Sometimes the characters sound to bland when they shouldn't and other times it sounds too forced.

Japanese also sounds too forced sometimes. Like in the end when Ellie just says "It all can't be for nothing."

#39 Posted by jasonefmonk (350 posts) -

I'm still blown away by Nolan North. Had no idea he was in the game until after.

#40 Posted by selfconfessedcynic (2495 posts) -

@jasonefmonk said:

I'm still blown away by Nolan North. Had no idea he was in the game until after.

Agreed! So happy they kept his role a secret - and the character sounds NOTHING like him, and was nothing like what he usually plays.

Definitely a pleasant surprise in many ways. (note, he also plays a bunch of the hunters, including the ones Joel tortures)

#41 Posted by shinjin977 (748 posts) -

I have such ignorance of Japanese voice over actors and that culture, but it always sounds like generic deep voiced protagonist. Same with all Japanese female voice overs. Maybe it's just because I love Troy Baker.

I agree in this case. Japanese dubs on these western games are generally pretty terrible, to the point where a lot of the hardcore gamer crowd would find/import English voice track copies. But I am a bit of a traditionalist, meaning whichever the original created language was I like it that way (JRPG = JP, Mass Effect = Eng). I really feel like we are past the age of one voice track per game anyway. I admits even though I hate it, if given the choice I may replay the game in other languages.

#42 Edited by Devil240Z (3271 posts) -

I thought I would be the last person to say this but the japanese version sounds really generic. Like total crap generic.

Also I hope that as a people(earth) we will evolve beyond dubbing shit. Just watch stuff in the original damn language.

Even more off the rails: We really need to overcome language as a people if we are ever going to take the leap as a space fairing society.

#43 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5806 posts) -

They're not bad, but I think Joel and Ellie's southern accents are part of what made listening to them talk entertaining so English is still my favorite.

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