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Depression Led to Trails in the Sky SC Delay, Developer Explains Why

Always a sensitive subject, clinical depression has long been the bugaboo of nearly every talented individual at one time or another. It can destroy families, end dreams, and often goes untreated. One such case of crippling depression, combined with a suicide attempt, is what was responsible for the seemingly endless delay of the hotly anticipated Trails in the Sky sequel.

Translated by the indie team of Carpe Fulgur, the “second chapter” of the game was meant to follow hot on the heels of the well-received first game, but a series of delays kept holding it back and no real concrete reason was given for the constant pushing back of the title’s launch. In a blog post published today, head of Carpe Fulgur Andrew “Space Drake” Dice went on to explain why:

    The situation a year ago, however, was far more desperate. I had fallen a little behind for unrelated reasons beginning that October, and then in December I fell fairly heavily ill and was also kept busy with holiday things and could find no time to focus on work. Not a particularly unusual story for this time of year, to be sure. But the pressure was on, and working on Trails for so long already had taken a toll. Not only was there a need to deliver the script, but a script of this size always makes one worry about how it will be received and whether you need to make any changes to it – which meant I kept fretting away at finished files.
    And so I fell further and further behind until by February and March of 2014 I was virtually paralyzed in terms of work and found myself unable to work on the script at all due to the mental weight of my shame. This was a problem, given that while the main scenario and a good deal of the “miscellaneous” NPC text was done, the towns were still not finished on my end, and the town conversations and quests comprise a fair bit of the meat of the game, and formatting problems had also arisen between the standards and tools CF was used to and the ones XSEED and Falcom used, which simply added another worry on top of everything.
    Needless to say, the messages from XSEED got more than a little stern as time went on – to them it must have appeared as though I was simply being astoundingly lazy or had simply abandoned the project outright, since I had of course not shared a word of these “personal” troubles with them, aside from attributing the delays to “personal troubles” in the absolute vaguest of senses. And, of course, I hadn’t told Robin about any of this either – it was a personal failing and clearly I had to deal with it myself.
    And so, in March, the issue came to a head. An email came in from XSEED which was particularly (if understandably) cross about the seemingly pointless delays, and, at least when I first read it, raised the spectre of CF being removed from the project. Even more importantly, however, it was sent to Robin as well as myself – I had previously been the only point of contact on the project. So needless to say, Robin was also exceptionally, and understandably, angry with me for apparently being pointlessly lazy.
    And that was the snapping point. That was it, I thought. I had ruined everything, we were going to be removed from the project, my reputation was shamed forever, I had lost the respect of one of the people who matters to me most in life, and now the only option left to me was to die.

 

The post is quite long, and may provoke strong feelings in those who have suffered from similar demons themselves. As for my thoughts on the matter, after enjoying the work Carpe Fulgur and Dice have done on Recettear and Fortune Summoners, I sincerely hope he recovers from this and finds some way to manage it. Health is more important than career, although I know many of us driven types have a hard time convincing ourselves of that.

,
Carl Batchelor

About

Carl is both a JRPG fan and a CRPG'er who especially loves European PC games. Even with more than three decades of gaming under his belt, he feels the best of the hobby is yet to come.



26 comments
  1. Siveon
    Siveon
    December 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Talk about spilling your guts, damn.

    BRB gonna buy Trails in the Sky and Recettear.

  2. Anon
    Anon
    December 26, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    To be honest, he is not a developer, he is a translator. The title is wrong

  3. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    December 26, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I mean you have a point, but it’s semantics IMO. He’s worked on the game in some point, even if it’s just translating it. Nothing to say regarding his depression tho? :P

  4. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    December 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    According to his own blog, he’s done extensive bug testing too, so in my mind, he’s a developer.

    Really, anyone who helps “develop” a game is a developer.

  5. Snarf
    Snarf
    December 26, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Whatever his emotional state, it does not change his role on the game.

    I wish the guy no ill. But I have disliked the way Carpe Fulgur has spoke about the games they have worked on it the past.

    https://twitter.com/SpaceDrakeCF/status/401458466536968193

    That line of thinking is what gets you to censorship for “their own morals”, like with Criminal Girls.

    So I wish him better health and hope he find a line of work that doesn’t involve him working on art that he finds morally objectionable.

  6. Domhnall
    Domhnall
    December 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I wish all the best to him, I wish him as speedy a recovery as is possible given the circumstances, and I hope his life turns around for him.

    But, also, screw Carpe Fulgur.

  7. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    December 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Depression is no joke… I only wish him the best.

    I hope he also manages to come around and keep working as a translator. Carpe Fulgur has wonderful translators (are they still a 2 man team?) with a very good sense of humor that still respects the source material. I always hoped they would turn into a full-blown small company capable of handling 2 simultaneous translations.

  8. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    December 26, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Oh wow I didn’t see that. Yeah that’s not the kind of thing to say when you’re in the capacity to just “omit” things. That’s the kind of shit that we frown upon here at NG.

  9. wyrdwad
    wyrdwad
    December 27, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Just because you dislike something doesn’t mean you’re going to “omit” it, though. Especially when you have editors combing over your work.

    Nothing wrong with expressing personal opinion, as long as you don’t let it influence your professional output.

  10. Narmy
    Narmy
    December 27, 2014 at 1:32 am

    But he has let his opinions affect his games before. SpaceDrake dislikes loli so much that he banned mention of it from his company forums, after censoring a totally innocent bathing scene in one of the games they localized.

    http://i.imgur.com/Ac4do2U.png

  11. JackDandy
    JackDandy
    December 27, 2014 at 5:43 am

    I’ll be seconding this.

    I still like the translation work he did on stuff like Recettear and ForSum, but knowing he lets his moral compass get in the way of proper localization rubs me the wrong way.

    In any case, I hope he gets his shit together. And, nice to know that Xseed was vigilant.

  12. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    December 27, 2014 at 8:20 am

    So that’s where that’s from. Thanks for that. Why did these fuckers start working on games they don’t like?

  13. Max Headroom
    Max Headroom
    December 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I just read:

    “Feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings, feelings”.

    I suppose that’s the problem with depression. It’s a disease that should be cured socially, but makes you so inherently unlikable.

  14. Max Headroom
    Max Headroom
    December 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Any sympathy I might have had for the guy was instantly blown the fuck away.

    I’ve never played a Cape Fulgur-translated game, and probably never would, to begin with, but now I know they must be added to my growing “Don’t give these people your money”-list.

  15. Max Headroom
    Max Headroom
    December 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Before you do, you should probably read some above posts regarding their behaviour.

  16. overander
    overander
    December 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Small note: the picture was not censored by him …

  17. Siveon
    Siveon
    December 27, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    I kind of just bailed out of the post after I made that comment. So, yay, more proverbial can of worms.

    I still want to play those games. Hell, most of the talk I’ve heard about the game was about the game itself, not the translators behind it. Alas, it’s a shame they’re being annoying dicks about this.

    That’s the problem with buying stuff, you never know who’s getting the cash here.

  18. sanic
    sanic
    December 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Give the job to another company or take him off the project, have him do something else; something where mistakes are easy to fix and the task can be broken down into smaller parts.

    I was taking medication for severe depression a few years ago I was very unreliable, gave up way to easily, which frustrated people around me but I was honest with them and fortunately they gave me a bit of slack, glad I got better the side effects of Citalopram were horrible.

  19. Fatocaster
    Fatocaster
    December 28, 2014 at 2:28 am

    Trails 1 is fine; that was translated by XSEED in-house, IIRC.

  20. wyrdwad
    wyrdwad
    December 29, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I too won’t buy Fortune Summoners because of the unnecessary censorship, but there is no such censorship in Recettear or any other Carpe Fulgur title. And I’ve always been of the opinion that when a company chooses to censor a game, you don’t give them your money for that game; but when they then choose NOT to censor a game, you DO give them your money for THAT game, to show that not censoring = support and censoring = no support.

    Choosing never to buy a game from a company again after they’ve voluntarily censored one work is going much too far, as you’re basically saying that that company is beyond all redemption for having made one single mistake. Whereas if you show your support when they make the right decision, you’re encouraging them to continue making that right decision in their future endeavors.

    If one act of censorship is enough to blacklist an entire company, then you probably shouldn’t be buying any XSEED games anymore either, since we omitted the characters’ ages from Senran Kagura Burst and Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus (an action I strongly objected to and fought hard to reverse, but I did not succeed). Despite that, though, we released Senran Kagura Bon Appetit with no censorship whatsoever, Akiba’s Trip with no censorship whatsoever (and even with added content to make it MORE risque!), and every other game we’ve ever released with no censorship whatsoever for that matter. So our track record’s pretty good (and fan objections to our censorship in the first two Senran Kagura games HAS been noted by upper management, so if we ever do anything like that again, keep the comments coming — I know I will!).

    …And regarding Trails SC, we were aware of the Fortune Summoners issue and made a point of telling Carpe Fulgur from the outset that they were to omit or change absolutely NO content in their translations. And we’re doing the editing for the game in-house, so if anything WAS changed or omitted after all, we WILL catch it and restore it. So there is absolutely no need for concern there. Trails SC will not have any censorship — that’s a promise.

  21. wyrdwad
    wyrdwad
    December 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Please see my above response before you make any decisions about buying or not buying content from Carpe Fulgur.

  22. Siveon
    Siveon
    December 29, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Will do.

  23. Siveon
    Siveon
    December 29, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Well, thanks for the insight Wyrdwad, it’s pretty rare to get an account from someone on the inside.

    In response to your earlier comment to me on deciding on to buy or not buy anything from Carpe Fulgur — you’ve been very helpful. I’ll take your word for it all things considered. Though, the Recettear demo was so good I would’ve broken down for a copy either way! Same goes for Trails in the Sky, though I kind of wish I thought of that when it was still cheap on GOG.

    I agree with you in matters of blacklisting companies, since we should reward good behavior and condemn bad behavior. Not buying anything from them at all is not constructive in the slightest.

    I know you’re not a representative of all of XSeed but it’s good to know your take on censorship and reassuring to hear that SC won’t have any censorship at all. At this pretty volatile time I think the fans need that kind of assurance.

  24. Phil F.
    Phil F.
    February 23, 2015 at 10:11 am

    This guy is pathetic, he’s the only person i’ve seen that tried to killed themselves because they had to translate a ton of text.

  25. Diego Rafael
    Diego Rafael
    October 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Whoa, you are such a dick!

  26. Diego Rafael
    Diego Rafael
    October 14, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Do you know what depression is, you fucking asshole?