You may have heard about the popularity of 鬼谷八荒 also called “Tale of Immortal,” a Chinese RPG game developed and published by Lightning Games on Steam. It came out on January 27, 2021, as an Early Acess Game, and is available on the Valve store. “Tale of Immortal” is an open-world sandbox based around Chinese mythology based on the text, “The Classic of Mountains and Seas.”
Players start as mortal warriors, then based on the challenges presented to their character, they may get the chance to become a deity. It hinges on cultivation within the backdrop of Chinese mythology for the character to ascend, with a choice-based narrative and RPG features.
Barely a month old, still in early access, and only six chapters released, it has already hit the all-time peak of 183,985 players, according to Steam’s charts. The full game will be released a year from now.
Is an English Translation in the Works for “Tale of Immortal?”
As you can probably guess, Simplified Chinese is the single language option for this game. In the Steam forums, there are tons of fans clamoring for an English translation. There are threads displaying the query of “When will there be an English translation” in various ways.
Many fans have resorted to using Google translate or Duolingo when playing the game, which has resulted in humorous interactions within the players. There is even an unofficial fan-made English translation on YouTube, but it is not recognized and not very popular.
Gaging by its popularity, it seems fans of this game would like other language options than simplified Chinese. But is this in its future?
What Do The Developers Have To Say About An English Localization?
The game developers have been largely tight-lipped about the English version, but two of them did leak out in Steam forums that an English translation is in the works. When a user on a Steam Community forum in December indicated that he would be happy if the game could be translated into English, one of the game developers, going by the name “MidnightCerealKiller,” said:
“For localization, we absolutely would loveloveeee to have them, but as you probably realized, the amount of words in the game and their difficulties could be very time-consuming, but we will work hard to have at least English localization in the future!”
A video game data analyst handling “Tale of Immortal,” Daniel Ahmad, also said on the steam forum this February:
“Hi Everyone! Wow we are actually so flattered! And Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions, we really appreciate that! Seems like we need to really start working on the English localized version! The game was out yesterday so we will have to fully focus on bug fixing and stuff, when everything starts to get smooth we will look into adding English ASAP, thanks again! Do stay in touch!”
So, as you can probably guess, an English localization might be in the works, but the details are hazy. It will take some time before a fully-realized English version is available for the game. But what do localization experts have to say about this?
What Are The Challenges and How Will Translation Services Help?
Weighing in on the English localization of “Tale of Immortal,” Ofer Tirosh from Tomedes, one of the leading translation services with specialties in game localization, says, “Video game localization needs to accommodate players from other regions so that they feel as though the game is naturally made for them or as if the game was originally made from that region.”
So, localizing a Chinese translation for “Tale of Immortal” is not simply translating Chinese words into English, but making sure that the localization project fits an English-speaking region, which entails translation, voice-over, transcreation, and technical processes, says Ofer. The transition from Chinese to English will certainly be difficult for anyone working on this project, so the “Tale of Immortal” development team might work with its in-house translation team or rely on translation services with specialized knowledge in both languages and tech.
So, this fits with what the developers have said previously, about the difficulties of such a translation:
- Length and Language - the language steps necessary would be difficult because of the number of words and the length of the game, but it’s not impossible. For a game such as “Tale of Immortal,” it would depend on the game localization team which aspect they would transcreate. They could retain certain words, phrases, or visual texts in simplified Chinese, keeping in mind the cultural basis for the game, which is Chinese mythology.
- Simplified Chinese to English-Speaking Regions - It would have to be localized for specific regions. An English translation just does not mean U.S. audiences alone, it means the 67 different countries with English as their official language. This means localizing for 60+ regions, depending on the intended English-speaking audience of “Tale of Immortal.”
- Text and Visual Elements - a video game with the specifications of “Tale of Immortal” needs to have voice-overs and textual elements, aside from the visual elements. This process might be the same, or different for various regions. For a choice-based game such as “Tale of Immortal,” this aspect is important.
- Technical Processes - an in-house game localization team or a professional localization agency would both need to deal with the technical side of translation and development, such as a good localization tool kit. For an open-world RPG game such as “Tale of Immortal,” the technical processes would be highly specific.
When Will The English Localization of “Tale of Immortal” Be Released?
Sorry to disappoint, but no clue yet as to when the English localization of “Tale of Immortal” will be available. “The Classics of Mountains and Seas,” the mythological world in which the game is based, has been translated into English, but “Tale of Immortal” will keep us at the edge of our seats for this much-awaited localization.
What we do know for sure: the game will be released fully in early 2022, and an English translation could be in the works by now. With such a demand for the English version, it could very well be in the works right now. Now that you know how English localization might work, you just need to sit and wait, while you play the game, of course!