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Persona 5: How Atlus USA Localized an Instant Classic

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Persona 5: How Atlus USA Localized an Instant Classic

Atlus USA details mammoth effort involved in localizing the long-awaited RPG.

Hi, everyone! Since I first joined the company as a translator in 1999, I’ve been involved with the localization of all the Persona titles and their spin-offs, including Persona 5 — which is out today!

When asked to write about the localization of P5, I thought about my methodology and whether things have changed as I devoted myself to bringing Japanese games to the Western audience for the last 18 years, and I realized: my goal has always been to deliver games in the most authentic and enjoyable form possible.

Persona 5

P5 was a monster in terms of localization scope. It boasted the most number of translators and editors on a team, and everyone spent countless nights making the English version of P5 a reality. We set the general direction of the localization and settled on key terms and ideas at the beginning of the project, so everyone had a clear guideline when working on their assigned tasks. Whenever a big issue arose, it was brought to my attention, and I gave the team my feedback. As project lead I had to make the final call, but I made sure that I looked at the issues from different perspectives.

Persona 5

When localizing a Japanese game, there’s always something that simply won’t make sense to the Western audience if translated word for word. Similarly, there may be lines that are too long to fit in the text window or the time allotted in a scene. What to keep, what to cut out, what to change, what are the consequences—it’s always a tough call, and the approach is different for each person. But the process becomes a bit easier to handle when the entire team is on the same page. I’m really fortunate to be at Atlus, where everyone in the company shares the same vision.

Persona 5, as a game, is the pinnacle of the series. From battle system and social sim to playability and UI, it has remained true to its origin but every aspect of the game is at its best. The same can be said for localization: it’s the best English rendition in the history of Atlus USA thus far. I’m sure everyone who already purchased the game will enjoy it, and I really hope that people who haven’t heard of the series before will give it a try. This game will take your heart.

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29 Comments

  • Thank you for your job, i truly appreciate what you do for the industry, cheers for you!

  • Baka_Ja_Nai

    Worst part about Persona 5 is that Atlus didn’t bother to provide a Pro patch.
    Its not that hard to increase internal rendering resolution and you had plenty of time with multiple delays.

    Lazy devs :(

    • Jisatsu_Kiddo

      ….kids…

    • If that’s the worst part about this game, then you’re basically acknowledging this as the best game ever made.

      Good job Atlus!

    • I can’t tell if you’re trolling or if we’re witnessing a textbook example of the Dunning-Krueger effect.

    • jin_raiashi

      BOOST MODE

    • ERGOPROXY-DECAY

      Get hired and do it.

    • MakaiOokami

      As someone whose username roughly translates to Demon Wolf God, more or less, I just want to point out that you are responding to someone whose username literally translates to “Not an idiot” probably referring to himself.

  • Persona 3 and 4 are written so well, and the balance between cultural references and relatability to a Western audience has always seemed perfect. The characters’ personalities, and the humor and emotion come through wonderfully. The Persona series has been one of my very favorites for a long time, and much of it, i’m sure, is due to your efforts and work on the game. So thank you for bringing this world to us, and letting us live and play in it.

  • Hopefully SMT games can be added with upscaled graphics or emulated on Ps4.

    Atlus should join the Ps2 emulation and even add games like Choro Q.

    Looking forward to Persona 5 :)

  • I just need to overcome the Work encounter and the Grocery Shopping encounter, and then the final boss(my wife) will permit me to stream this tonight.

    Working hard on the first challenge now.

    • Rapturesassassin

      @Seluhir
      Hate to bust your bubble. But there is no streaming for this game. Or at least i thought streaming is under the share button that Atlus disabled.

    • Fortunately, Rapture, I use an Elgato, so the ‘share button’ is not required for me to stream it.

      As you can see looking at twitch, it is not restricted from streaming, as it is the 9th most watched game right now ;)

      It’s even being streamed by a few very large personalities who wouldn’t be the type to risk their twitch account streaming a restricted game.

      Just like Tales of Berseria, the share button doesn’t work and the automatic trophy screenshots are disabled, but it is still ABSOLUTELY possible to stream it as long as you do so via a capture card.

      If you’d like, pop by my stream this evening and you’ll see me streaming it proudly and happily ;)

    • @Seluhir

      Except Atlus placed restrictions on the usage of external devices.

  • Breakfast450

    Can’t to play this asap (digital) getting TYHE when it arrives. Also the first battle is getting out of bed :)

  • WoodsyOnBass

    What are the chances of getting P5 spin-off games? P5: Dance Your Heart Out? P5 Arena: The Heart of Battle?

  • How I love the digital pre-loads because P5 unlocked at 9 pm last night for me and I proceeded to play for 4 1/2 hours straight. I love it, it’s great.

    I installed the Japanese VO, which I always prefer. The English subtitles are very good, in conveying the intent if not the exact translation of the original dialogue. Thank you for providing the VO.

  • Thank you very much for translating the game, great job!!

  • Thank you very much Atlus for bringing this amazing game to us!!

    Also thank you for the coolest PS4 Theme I’ve ever got with a pre-order. You guys rock!! and now lets go back to where I left the game last night =b

  • Had no choice but to pick up the Take Your Heart Edition.

    Don’t want to spend too much, but it is Persona. Have every localized Persona, SMT game so far….

    11 Years is a long time for a New Persona game :)

    ——————

    Please consider PS2 to PS4 HD ports with Platinum: Digital Devil Saga 1+2, Nocturne, and the other ones.

    Thanks.

  • PsychoDave226

    Thank You so much for your hard work and dedication on bringing Persona 5 to the US! I am a new fan of the Persona series and just completed both Persona 3 and 4.

    Your hard work is much appreciated and I can’t wait to playing this amazing game!

  • Hi, does the game has a dual audio? (Japanese audio with english subtitles) can someone who bought the game confirms this?

    I reject everything that has to do with audio translation of japanese animes or video games, it ruins the atmosphere and what it trying to deliver you as the audience.

    • WoodsyOnBass

      The Japanese audio track is up on PSN as free DLC.

    • Ah yes, i just found it now thank you. Usually they supposed to write if it supports that in the game description but they chose not to. I’m glad it has support for japanese audio the only the question i got is why…? Why is it a DLC, why it’s not part of the game from the start, the game JUST CAME OUT.

    • I mean be happy ya got it DLC or in game. At lest its an option for you. Its not like these sub only titles which dont offer a dub in ether form.

  • intheface88

    Loving the game and only about an hour in. My first “dive” into the world of Persona and I am greatly looking forward to it. Can’t wait to fully appreciate all of the hard work and love put into it.

  • Gratz ATLUS_USA.

    You’ve done amazing job for bringing the game overseas. For 20 years of Persona Series spanning many titles, this is a great example of hard work put into series.

    Let’s see for 20 more!

    Cheers.

  • Thanks for the post. And many more thanks for the amazing game.

    Lastly thanks for your hard work on persona over the years. I’ve enjoyed them all from their console originals to the enhanced portable ports.

  • aaaaoooozsa-

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