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Natsume on how it approached River City: Tokyo Rumble’s localization, choosing the subtitle

Posted on October 4, 2016 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, News

Natsume recently published River City: Tokyo Rumble, the localized version of Arc System Works’ Japanese 3DS release. TinyCartridge spoke with US producer Taka Maekawa about the western edition.

Regarding Natsume’s approach to localization, Maekawa explained:

“A lot of factors went into how we approached the localization. Times have changed – in the 1980s, games were still being strictly Americanized when brought over to a Western audience. So when the NES game came out, the idea of putting Kunio and Riki into t-shirts and jeans and giving them English names (Alex and Ryan) made a lot of sense.”

“We approached most things situationally; did it make sense to retain the original translation, or go in a new direction? For example, the game heavily relies on its environment (Tokyo) to set the story’s theme and tone, and we wanted to retain that theme. So we decided to maintain Japanese names whenever it made sense to do so – being set in Tokyo, with many of the characters wearing their school uniforms, Japanese character names and locations made the most sense.”

Natsume kept the “River City” name in place to tie it into the American version of the series. However, the game’s primary action is in Tokyo, which is where the “Tokyo Rumble” subtitle comes in. The team explored other potential subtitles such as Bad Blood, Tokyo Brawl, Street Gangs, The Lion Alliance, along with “a few other combinations of word soup before we hit upon Tokyo Rumble and it stuck.”


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