Interview: Mistwalker’s Sakaguchi and Fujisaka Talk Terra Wars, Design, Localization, and Censorship

This week I was lucky enough to talk to Mistwalker’s Hironobu Sakaguchi and Kimihiko Fujisaka about the Terra universe they are building, design, localization, mobile vs console, and censorship. These two make up quite the pair; legends in their own right with Hironobu Sakaguchi having his hand in almost every RPG you grew up playing from Square and Kimihiko Fujisaka, exploding into most peoples minds with The Last Story and Drakengard 3.

I want to thank Mistwalker and their on site team for providing direct translations for our video, and I want to thank all out Patreon backers who gave us the wiggle room to make this happen. It was an amazing experience.

Michael Jordan

About

Media, Marketing, Reviews, Interviews, and more. I do terrible things so you don't have to. Doing LIVE coverage of E3 to Tokyo Game Show for the last 10 years.



  • I say Torrential Downpour must have worked if even two Japanese developers of their calibre are aware of what we want. Awesome!

  • Migi

    Great interview. Especially on the censorship part considering most other website avoid this simply to push their own agenda of a SJW society where everything is censored.

  • CatCouch

    I’m impressed! I hope this is the beginning of a new era of game journalism where issues involving localization and censorship are addressed. The fans of these games deserve a lot better than the BS we get from so many gaming sites these days.

    I really agree with the part about not messing with what you know just to appeal to a generic profile of western audiences. I’m also glad to hear that there’s an understanding these games actual audience don’t want content changes. We want the talent in Japan to give us their vision. That’s what’s great about games, they come from all parts of the world and are much more internationally available than other mediums like movies and music. No one should be trying to stifle that. No one.

    Great job, Michael! You really raised awareness for how we really hate content changes for the sake of conforming to different, arbitrary cultural standards. That’s something I know I’d never see another game site attempt. Bravo!

    Also, clay models are cool. It always reminds me of Earthbound and that’s awesome!

  • Kiryu

    Well done Michael,i’m impressed that you managed to get an interview with Sakaguchi.This was very interesting,especially the part about censorship.

  • darkgamer001

    This right here is proper games journalism. Taking an issue from the fanbase and eliciting a response from the developers (and a very encouraging one too).
    Great to hear that they’re becoming aware of it, even if they took their sweet time. Better late than never though.

    In the future, it would be amazing, and quite ironic, if all us pushed into learning Japanese because of horrible “localization” policies actually helped to bridge the gap between Japanese devs and Western fans. Ultimately, one of the main reasons why this issue exists is because fans usually can’t communicate well with the devs, and that’s how that lack of awareness that Sakaguchi and Fujisaka were talking about becomes the norm.

    We’re starting to fight that though, and noticeable progress is being made.
    Ganbatte!

  • InkViper
  • Mr0303

    Great interview. I’m glad that some Japanese creators are aware that most fans of their games prefer authenticity in favour of culturization and that censorship is an issue that it irritating to a significant number of gamers.

  • Lea Pastillaroja

    I wish i was a photoshop master so i could make a Nintendo treehouse “Just” jpg

  • totenglocke

    Regarding your comment about the language barrier, I was surprised that (apparently) none of the main people running things at Nintendo in Japan speak English. For decades it’s been the common language for international communications, so it seems weird that Nintendo wouldn’t pay at least some people (like Miyomoto) to learn English and be able to better understand what their fans outside of Japan want. If Japanese developers had at least one person on each dev team who was fluent in English, then we wouldn’t have to worry about lying SJWs from “gaming” site or Treehouse claiming that westerners really want censorship.

  • Asuka

    I was at their panel at Anime Expo. They’re both stand up guys. It’s a shame their talent is being used for mobile gaming though.

  • Travis Touchdown

    Ha ha ha.

    Torrential Downpour was a failure.

  • Led_Stylus

    All I want to say is this: Fuck Nintendo Treehouse and Fuck Culturalization!!

  • Whilst it is an interesting interview, realistically what is actually being done about the Western censorship?

    SJWs/feminists have been long hammering at the ratings boards in order to get definitions changed to enforce censorship through their own terms. Because if they cannot convince the culture itself to change, they’ll go to the authorities in charge of rating said medium (in this case, CERO, ESRB, etc.) and enforce change that way. That’s how these parasites operate.

    From what I remember, in the France and UK, members of political groups are trying to enforce a “sexism” rating/label to video games (which only applies to female characters of course) and stopping government funding/help to video games developers which depict female characters in “negative” ways.

    SJWs have already gone the route of going after the ratings boards. If their definitions get accepted and implemented, censorship will be even worse and there will be nothing you can do about it, because it would be practically law then.

    And then there’s also the fact that major Japanese developers have said before that they would like to gain, appeal and cater to the Western market. And we all know what “Western sensibilities” mean.

    This is a culture war that’s going to last for at least another decade. And unfortunately it’s going to be a war where we lose unless people actually start speaking up, attacking back, stop being a fence-sitting Moderate cuck and start voting with their wallets.

  • Fear Me I Am Free

    No, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. Make people aware of the censorship and shoddy localization. Take Fire Emblem Fates which was the major focus, while praised for its combat system, every other aspect of the US version is shit on because of how terrible it was. But what do I expect from a Nintendrone who eats up everything Nintendo shits out.

  • ProxyDoug

    It’s nice to know people are making their voices heard and that they are listening.

  • Mechonis

    Finally a well constructed and presented message. Not the autistic screeching I usually hear, but a well thought out, sound, and positive argument. You can take it and run with it and actually win with it. We need more like this.

  • [Your Unoriginal Name Here]™

    It angers me that these game developers cater to non-gamer’s wishes because oh it offends me, oppresses me or some other BS, the loud minority. Us gamers don’t want anything censored, nothing watered down, we want the full experience. Im happy Japanese developers are well aware that their fans and gamers want the whole thing, nothing cut or censored.

    Thank you for bringing this subject up NicheGamer and Mr. Jordan. Unlike other media outlets who are ok with this BS practice.

  • darkgamer001

    For me, it’s more disappointing, rather than surprising.

    I was in Japan for 3 weeks, and excluding hotels, hostels, airports and meetings with some old English language students, I could count the number of times I was talked to in English on one hand.

    It’s just not that common there, at least based on my experiences, and from such a traditional, Kyoto-based company, I didn’t really expect much forward thinking from the language point of view. As I said, doesn’t make it any less disappointing though.

    It essentially means they’re putting themselves in a position where they have to have blind faith in NoA and its Treehouse cronies. Which is why we’re probably just better off going the extra mile and bridging that language gap ourselves instead.

  • chaoguy

    The more they know the better. The language barrier can be smashed by journos. Japan isn’t a stranger to SJWs (They call them “SEALDs”) and translating the issue to them or their otaku is priority 1 if you want to stop stuff like Treehouse now going after the root.

  • edge

    It’s just his interest right now I guess. I saw in one of his panels he mentioned that he is working on the console version, but it’s in a state where preproduction is just wrapping up. Not sure when we’ll hear more about it. I’d love for them to return strong to console games, but I don’t know how the future looks from Japan right now with the it’s gaming audience preferring mobile. I’m hoping everything goes well and as his company groed we’ll see a console focus form.

  • anon9370

    Too bad Sakaguchi is absolutely irrelevant and only makes mobile garbage.

  • DeeeFoo

    If rating boards ever become as big a problem as you describe, then there’s always the option of moving to an open platform like PC/Steam, where game ratings are not mandatory.