Continuing from Part I, the second reason why this game was so difficult to localize is, put simply, cultural. The game is set in the year 1999, which was, once again, a bunch of years ago. It’s also generally very realistic in its setting (for the most part; as in, it doesn’t involve aliens or magic or a good Fantastic Four movie or anything utterly fantastical like that). Think back to 1999, assuming you were already born at that point… Do you remember what “stuff” was like back then? Remember not having smartphones (or probably even cell phones), or tablets, or dubstep, or YouTube? It’s easy to remember big, important events or really generalized details about the era, but the more banal, “everyday life”-type stuff tends to be somewhat more difficult to remember with clarity. As I mentioned above, the game is set in a world that is basically extremely similar to our own, and while it technically doesn’t take place in “real-life Tokyo”, the setting is very closely based on the Tokyo/Japan of 1999. In order to localize the game as faithfully to the original as possible, many subtle nuances and cultural idiosyncrasies need to be understood (and then translated in a way that would be easily understood by Westerners of today).
Unfortunately, this requires someone who actually experienced life in Tokyo ’99 to really nail the finer details, and there aren’t a whole lot of dudes in the field of localization who 1) can understand the Japanese language and culture well enough to translate the game faithfully; and 2) have been living in Japan for so long. Fortunately, I happen to be one of those dudes. While the game could have―theoretically―been translated into English by some random Stanley and provided a perfectly passable gameplay experience, it’s quite doubtful that said rando would have been able to fully capture the deeply noir-ish and very Suda51-like feel of the game, let alone all the subtle nuances and multilayered meanings in the text. From what I’ve heard, it had been attempted several times by fans and professional localizers alike, but each of these attempts had its brains scrambled with a coat hanger in a Mexican back alley.
Now, I realize that this likely sounds as if I’m building myself up as some sort of master of localization, being “The Guy Who Was Finally Able To Conquer This Game” or something, but this is not the case; We actually pride Ourselves on being quite a humble genius. Anyway, the point is, Western capitalist infidels have been waiting almost a full two decades for The Silver Case to be brought to the English-mumbling world, and the reason for the wait is basically the difficulty in linguistic and cultural differences, which are challenging enough to work around when trying to have a simple conversation, let alone both linguistically and culturally localizing an entire text-heavy video game.
In conclusion, I would like to make clear my feelings that the localization and remastering of this game were the fruits of the labor of a large team, composed of extremely crucial and incomparable members such as That One Guy, The Guy With The Hair, Japanese Guy #4, and That One Other Guy, each of whom made important and unforgettable contributions ranging from “something to do with graphics or whatever” to “fixing up fonts and shit”. Considering said people and their subsequently-said contributions, I don’t mean to take full credit for providing you all the opportunity to finally play this game or anything, so please don’t misunderstand me when I say, “You’re welcome for this game, from me, personally, the guy who is completely and singularly responsible for the existence of an English version in the first place.”
Thank you very much for allowing an old and tired man a forum from which to yell at clouds and type funny word-groupings, and I hope you enjoy my English rendition of The Silver Case, and if not, that’s cool, too; good luck with living your life completely in denial and utterly void of pleasure, happiness, or entertainment, philistine.