Thread: Square-Enix's Dragon Quest localization cringe

Square-Enix's Dragon Quest localization cringe

  1. #1

    Square-Enix's Dragon Quest localization cringe

    I'm sure anyone who has played Dragon Quest since 2005 is well aware of the naming conventions they've perma-cursed the series with. Stuff like "Kafrizzle" and "Crabber Dabber Doo" getting the green light to be names, etc. I come from a time where Squenix (then Enix) would go with poorly translated 8-9 character long names. They weren't that imaginative, but they got the job done. When technology got better, one would assume that the increased character limit for names would fix the issue. It didn't - it got so much worse, in my opinion, and in a way no one would have ever suspected.

    Dragon Quest VIII hit shelves in 2005. During its development, Squenix saw fit to hire a localization team that had some... "bold" ideas. Instead of Blaze, BlazeMore, and BlazeMost, they renamed it Frizz, Frizzle, and Kafrizz. "Clawster" became "Crayzee", Evil Tree became "Treevil", and they added a whole host of new mentally painful pun names like "Anchorman", "Head of State", "Body Politic", "Left/Right Wing", "Capsichum", "Chainine", and "Mars Rover", to name a few. Overall, they did away with the poorly-translated-but-tolerable names, and went with an immensely cringey amalgamation of puns and non-sequiturs. When I first played Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 1 on the DS and found out what they did, I couldn't believe it.

    It hasn't gotten better since. The newest entry in the series, Dragon Quest XI, has just as much spine-disintegrating cringe. "Abject Terror", "Armful", "Bad Hare", "Bingo Bango Bongo", and the aforementioned "Crabber Dabber Doo" are a few examples. The spell naming conventions have remained as well. It's been 14 years since the name changes, and Dragon Quest still has poor sales numbers in the West when compared to Japan. At the very least, I can say that these unstomachable names aren't helping those numbers. And because of those low numbers, Squenix has skipped out on at least 7 of the 11 Monsters spin-off games, which I think are the best series of games ever created (the best being Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 for the GBC). I think the lack of localization on that front is an insult to the fans, and I'd even try to tolerate the awful puns if they would just localize them.

    If you, the reader, like the names and think they're quirky, think for a second how your school friends would react to this game, or think of the average American gamer. Do you think they wouldn't be at least mildly put off by the names? If you have to second guess it, then we might have a problem.

    I would describe my end game scenario as the following. I'd get the higher-ups at Square-Enix to reconsider the cringe they've injected their series with, and then make a reasonable lightening of the puns. Keep "Overkilling Machine" and "Shadeshifter", but absolutely rename "Eggsoskeleton" and "Crabber Dabber Doo". Get rid of the lazy names and preschooler nomenclature. Make it tolerable again, or as a best case scenario, make it sound badass.

    Dragon Quest shouldn't be the Pepe Pig of Western-localized JRPGs.
    Last edited by FailureToLocalize; 15th May 2019 at 16:43.