Disco Elysium: Localizing an Enormous RPG

Testronic's Manuel Jimenez Verdinelli shared some details about localizing Disco Elysium and talked about challenges along the way.

We all know and love Disco Elysium, the enormous RPG by ZA/UM. This game has a massive social presence, millions of fans, and is considered to be one of the best RPGs. The game of such scale is bound to be localized so that more people could buy it and enjoy it, it's inevitable. But how do you localize a game with "...over a million words..."? The answer to this question was given by Manuel Jimenez Verdinelli in the interview for GIBiz.

In this interview, Manuel talks about the process of localization in general, about obstacles and challenges, the company had to face, and pinpoints the important parts of making a perfect localization.

"The game draws from a variety of influences and fields and requires advanced literacy to be enjoyed fully. We often needed to revisit certain lines to ensure that they matched similar phrases used in different circumstances within the narrative, across all languages," said Manuel.

"The project presented the following key challenges, which were mostly identified at a project preparation stage that lasted for around two months.

  • Quality expectations: Working on a title of high complexity with great acclaim. As the project had already gathered a dedicated fan base with attachment to the game, it was clear that the translations we produced would have to live up to their expectations – and go beyond that.
  • Text complexity: As mentioned, the game's prose and themes are layered and varied, and translating the style and meaning required a very strong command of literary language and a firm grasp of the game's interest in sociological, political, and metaphysical elements.
  • Logistics: Planning such a large project amidst the times of an unforeseen pandemic, with set release dates required careful team management in order to make sure the plan at large, including LQA (localization quality assurance), would remain feasible," spoke Manuel about the key challenges.

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