Note: This interview was conducted during Tokyo Game Show 2017. We discuss Gunvolt 3, Gal*Gun and the localization process!
Matt refers to Matt Papa from Inti Creates.
Special thanks to Bri Bri from Japanese Nintendo who helped with transcribing.
PushDustIn: Hello this is PushDustIn, this is Tris, Brando and Matt. So today you’re showing off GalGun and also Gunvolt for the Switch. Can you talk a little bit about GalGun first?
Matt: Sure, so GalGun 2 is the fourth installment in the GalGun series. I know it’s called Gal*Gun 2 but it’s actually the fourth game! We just announced it about a week ago for PS4 and Switch coming out this Winter.
PushDustIn: Will the original Gal*Gun also be coming to the Switch?
Matt: Like the very first GalGun? That was like six years ago on PS3 and 360 so if we ever re-released the original GalGun, we’d basically have to remake it from the ground up. I’m sure the team would love to do that someday but it’s not something we’d announce right now or anything like that.
PushDustIn: And how will it control on the Switch. Will it use motion control?
Matt: Yes, yes, yes! It will use motion controls on Switch and Dual Shock on PS4 so you’ll have motion control options for either system.
PushDustIn: Will the Mama Kita Gamen return?
Matt: [Laughs] I mean, I’m sure the team will come up with something really cool, it obviously won’t be exactly the same, but I’m sure the team will come up with something pretty cool.
Brando: It’s hilarious, I laughed so hard when I saw that. I’m not really familiar with the games you make or your company but Push was telling me about it yesterday and I’m like we need to interview these guys [Laughs]
Mat: I’m sure that has protected some players from some embarrassing situations. Hey, mom, it is just an old-school RPG. I don’t know what you’re on about. All those moaning sounds you heard are all in your head.
PushDustIn: Will Gal*Gun 2 be coming to the West?
Matt: Oh absolutely, yeah. We are partnering with PQube, who was our publisher for Gal*Gun: Double Peace, so we’ll have a full English/western release. Hopefully, we’ll be doing it the same day worldwide if at all possible so we’ll be shooting towards a full simultaneous worldwide release as much as possible.
(Note: This is Gal*Gun VR not Gal*Gun 2)
PushDustIn: Will there be any amiibo functionality with Gal*Gun?
Matt:[Laughs] That’s a really good question! I would love to see that happen but I can’t make any promises.
PushDustIn: Maybe you’d tap the Mario amiibo and all the girls would be wearing Mario caps?
Matt: That would be awesome! But again I cannot make any promises.
Brando: You’ll have to talk with Nintendo about that one.
Matt: I’m not sure that would fly but a man can dream right?!
PushDustIn: You also recently released Gunvolt Striker Pack for the Switch, when we reviewed it at Source Gaming we gave it a very high score, how’s the reception for it been?
Matt: People have really liked it so far. It’s been a nice mix of Gunvolt fans who’ve played the 3DS games that get to re-experience it on a system that runs at a full 60fps, you can play it on a giant screen and all the added features such as the HD visuals that look so much nicer. A big screen with the crisp visuals compared to that tiny 3DS screen. Seasoned players of the series have new things to enjoy and I’ve seen people discovering the series for the first time because of its presence on the Switch so it’s been a really nice mix of both.
PushDustIn: Are there any plans to work on Gunvolt 3?
Matt: That’s all up to Director Tsuda! That’s his baby, so if he’s got a three in him then I’m sure he’ll do it and I couldn’t tell you now if that’s what his plan is but hopefully. I love the series, I’ve had a lot of fun localizing it and would love to do a third one, but it firmly rests in Tsuda’s hands so we’ll see what happens.
PushDustIn: I really enjoyed the localization of Gunvolt, I thought it was done really well.
Matt: Thanks, I re-did the first game when we ported it to Steam and was the producer of the second game so not quite as direct on the second game but I got to have a part of it. This is the first game I ever localized myself so it has a special place in my heart.
PushDustIn: Were there any characters that were fully difficult to capture?
Matt: Not particularly, but I’d say the most challenging one I did was Carrera from Gunvolt 1, the big strong dude with blond hair. He speaks in a ye olde version of Japanese like an old-school bad-ass from over a 100 years ago. Our writer who writes all the original lines in Japanese sits right behind me and I’m like “Dude, what is he saying? What is this in modern Japanese?” and then I translate it back to the ye olde English style for the English translation so that was fun.
PushDustIn: My personal favorite was the rapping character…
Matt: Ghauri. Yeah, he’s a riot. Credit to 8-4 for doing a great job with him. When I was reviewing the translation I was like “you guys did great, don’t even change a thing”. It was awesome.
PushDustIn: You partnered with Yacht Club Games for Gunvolt 2 in the West and also for the Striker Pack.
Matt: So Yacht Club Games’ involvement was two-fold. First, we were like “hey, we would love to do something cool with you in the game” and so we got Shovel Knight as a boss character in Gunvolt 2 and that also works on the Switch version as well. You tap your Shovel Knight amiibo on the Switch or 3DS and you get to do a special one-on-one with Shovel Knight who is a really tough customer if you’ve never played against him but he’s really bad-ass. And that Gunvolt aesthetic, credit to Suzuki-san for his great design. They also published the physical release of the Striker Pack for 3DS in North America for us so that was really cool.
PushDustIn: The team is also working on another Switch game, it was announced on the Nindies Direct…
Matt: Dragon Marked For Death
PushDustIn: And that will feature four-player co-op…
Matt: Yes, so we’ll have four-player co-op both locally and online so you can play with your buddies on the couch or all around the world. And it’s up to four players, so of course, you can have two, three, or four.
PushDustIn: And it will take cues from the Mega Man Zero franchise?
Matt: I’m not sure about cues, I guess we’ll see when we’re all done with the game. We have a lot of heavy hitters from the Zero series working on the game again, some of which we haven’t worked with since we did the Zero series like the character designer/artist Toru Nakayama. His style is very prominent in the Mega Man Zero series. We’re working with him for the first time since Zero 4. So if you look at the character art and the character designs in Dragon Marked For Death, people are like “where have I seen that art before” and I reply Mega Man Zero “oh yeah!”. So it’s really cool to be working with him again, he’s a super awesome artist and he’s just one of many players we have.
PushDustIn: So can we expect for this to come out next year?
Matt: We’re shooting for an early 2018/Winter time-frame so once we have a more set-in-stone time-frame or release date we will announce that.
Brando: Are you having a good TGS?
Matt: Yeah, it’s been fun. Business day was really cool. The public days are always far more hectic but we see bigger crowds and it’s fun to see people’s reactions to GalGun and for people who have never seen GalGun before. You usually get one or two reactions you get the “yeah, this is relevant to my interests” or you get the “what is wrong with these people” [Laughs]. It’s almost always one of the two, you almost never get a flat-line reaction so it’s always fun to watch people. it’s always one of the two!
PushDustIn: Will there be any difference once Gal*Gun is localized? Will you need to make changes to cater to the North American market?
Matt: Let me phrase this the best way that I can, and this is my personal philosophy and I can’t speak for anybody else. When I personally localize a game, I make every effort to stay true to the original source material as I can. Now, with that being said, there are instances where, if you do a direct translation of the Japanese it will not make sense in English. Especially in a game like Gal*Gun like in Double Peace when I did that one, Double Peace is rife with jokes, references, puns, word-play, all kinds of stuff. Sometimes you can make that work and stay exactly the same, a lot of times you can’t though so that’s when you have to get creative so you have to deliver the same reaction, the same feeling in a way that English speakers will understand. So the example I always give is with the demon girl Kurona from Double Peace. In Japanese, the way she speaks, anytime she uses the Japanese word desu which means is, you see it all the time in Japanese, it’s written out in her dialogue as “death because the Japanese pronunciation of the English word death is a homonym for desu. So instead of saying desu it’s written out as DEATH in all caps, that’s like her thing, but writing the word is as death in English would make absolutely no sense. It would sound really dumb so what can we do to give her the same type of feeling. Let’s think about demons, she’s a demon, demons live in hell. Hell’s a pretty versatile word, so wherever she can, she uses the word hell: ‘Go to hell!’, ‘Get the hell outta my way!’, ‘That’s cool as hell!’ etc etc. So that’s just a microcosm of what you have to deal with when you localize like that.
PushDustIn: We have experience translating since we do translating on our site.
Matt: Then you know all too well exactly what I’m talking about then!
PushDustIn: There have been instances when you can’t fully translate something literally because otherwise, it sounds odd, it sounds off, it sounds weird. You need that context.
Matt: And there are some things like and there are some references like what one of the characters makes of some weird robot anime from like the late seventies/early eighties. Like the vast majority of Japanese fans aren’t going to get this so nobody in North America is going to get this so we need to figure out a better way.
PushDustIn: My last question is what does it mean to be indie?
Matt: To be indie? That’s a really good question, I’ve never been asked that before. Let’s see, what does it mean for me personally? We at Inti Creates are not like a five-man team working in a garage hoping to be the next big thing but by comparison to most game companies, we are still a small game company. To be a successful indie you have to have a hell of a lot of passion for what you do and to put forth a lot of time and effort to make it work. You’re not just sitting on piles of money to do whatever you want and I think that kind of fighting spirit to make a game as awesome as you can really personify the indie movement. We give our best to make the best games we can, sometimes that means really long days, really long nights but I love what we do and I wouldn’t change it for a thing.
Mains: Yoshi (64), Game and Watch (Melee), Wario (Brawl), Wario/Pac-Man (Smash for 3DS/Wii U)