SaGa creator wants to create VR game, talks SNES localization challenges

Akitoshi Kawazu VR game Romancing SaGa localization SNES challenges

Romancing SaGa 3, originally released for Super Famicom in 1995, will finally arrive in the west on Nintendo Switch on Nov. 11, as an upgraded port. This follows an international upgraded port of Romancing SaGa 2 from December 2017. NintendoLife interviewed SaGa series creator Akitoshi Kawazu and (for literally one question) series producer Masanori Ichikawa in anticipation of the release. Among the highlights are Kawazu’s explanation for why the three Super Famicom Romancing titles never got localized for Super Nintendo, as well as his desire to experiment with VR technology.

Romancing SaGa never received localization due to story complexity

According to Kawazu, the reason why the Romancing titles were never localized into English for Super Nintendo is that they believed at the time that the stories were just too complex and dense to translate:

At the time, the concern raised about localisation was that perhaps Romancing SaGa was just a bit too complicated. Even from within Japan, it was clear that the stories of the 8 protagonists were so interwoven, that there was such a variety of choices and so many stories – in short, the sheer amount of text was so massive – that it would be incredibly costly to localise and difficult to understand. This is why we decided to pass on releasing it for the NA/EU market at that time. I could see the problems that had been pointed out and felt that it would be an unusually difficult game to localise, which is why I didn’t recommend it back then. Looking back, I think it was the wrong choice, so although it’s only in English right now, I’m really glad for the chance to expose the world to this game.

Incidentally, Square certainly had its fair share of challenges with localization in the early SNES days, and it’s a wonder that Ted Woolsey accomplished what he did with the localizations of games like Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger, given the constraints he had. So I can’t fault Square for holding back on localizing the Romancing SaGa titles in the west, especially 3, which released even later in the SNES life span than Chrono Trigger.

Akitoshi Kawazu sees value in VR

When asked if he would ever consider making another classic 2D RPG in the vein of Octopath Traveler, Akitoshi Kawazu amusingly talked about his interest in virtual reality technology instead:

I am definitely more interested in VR technology recently – I would love to use VR to produce something. It’s just a totally new piece of technology, so I want to look at how I can incorporate it, as I think that there are great opportunities to design truly unique games with it.

Can you imagine a VR SaGa game? I can’t, but I sure as heck want to.

The rest of the interview isn’t quite as surprising or illuminating, but be sure to check it out anyway if you’re an old Square fan.


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!