Yesterday, mobile game developer KLab America issued a response via Facebook to the recent criticism they’ve received from fans regarding their localization of the game Love Live! School Idol Festival. The Facebook post addresses negative fan response to their removal of homosexual subtext and content from the game, outright eliminating and changing several references to lesbian relationships into heterosexual ones.
In the post, which can be found here, KLab states that they want to create a quality translation for the games they work on, but says that “a good translation is more of an art than a science” and that a translation can’t be too literal. They also say that they have reviewed the English version of the game and that they believe their version “effectively conveyed both the content and tone of the original”.
The final paragraph in particular specifically addresses the removal of gay subtext from the game:
“We would also like to address one specific concern raised by some gamers, namely that we were engaging in self-censorship by removing or softening some playful same-sex banter from the English version. This absolutely was not our intention. We localized the game based on our interpretation of the original anime contents, but at the same time, we also respect our gamers’ interpretations as well. We take to heart the comments from some of our gamers who felt we were dismissing them in some way by some of our translations. We truly regret any hard feelings that we may have caused. We love our games and our gamers and don’t want any of them to change!”
So at the end of the day, while they don’t want fans to be mad at them for these changes, they don’t have any plans to release an update fixing the issues in question. This in turn has led to even more negative feedback from fans in the comments section of the post.
It’s easy to see why fans are outraged in the comments section of this post. These sorts of localization issues are far too reminiscent of the days when Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune were “cousins” in the 90s. Taking an all-girl school setting and changing lines to make the player character seem male is ridiculous no matter how you “interpret” the game’s content. Replacing lines references to liking “cute girls” with liking “cute things” or “I don’t mind at all even if we’re both girls” with “I don’t think it’s scandalous for a boy and girl to hang out” makes it very clear that the content and tone of the original is being radically changed.
Fans of ANY game expect the same content here that the original Japanese players got when they spend money the game. To heavily alter the content and intent of a game’s dialogue is disrespectful to both fans and the creators of the original version. It’s especially disrespectful to LGBT fans of the game, going out of it’s way to exclude them completely. It would definitely make me stop financially support a game or company, and this seems to be the case for many Love Live! fans as well.
KLab’s website be found here.