Some noteworthy things that I took back from the trip. No, not maple syrup.
Narci related work
Yes, I know that everyone had been wondering for the past 3 years whether I would be translating Narcissu 3. At the moment, the official answer is: no I won’t be for the following reasons. The rights are too difficult to get squared away because it’s an old work sold for money (albeit in on the doujin market, but still, royalties would have to be negotiated, collected and paid out fairly. Plus some of the artwork was used in the PSP edition, which makes negotiations Not Fun ™), proper distribution is an issue, and finally I’ve reached an understanding with Kataoka that in its current form Narci3 is not worth dedicating the effort to for artistic reasons as well. We both think for the effort involved in making a translation, it’s not a high enough quality project to dedicate the man hours to.
To be honest, I just want to work on the bits that Kataoka wrote and not the other writers’ scenarios, so I’ll be personally miffed at anyone who translates Narci 3 in a rogue fashion and butchers the “Chiisa na Iris” story. Like really, do it right or please just leave it alone. If I ever get the rights to that bit alone I’ll be happy.
HOWEVER, this does not mean that I’ll never work on another Narci related project any more. If anything new for the PC comes out, even if it includes the contents of Narci 3, and it’s within size of projects I can handle, then I’m definitely first in line for taking up the work, tapping on a few skilled friends, and seeing it gets out in good quality.
Kataoka himself hasn’t said anything about another game in the series, but left the possibility of something, some time in the future open. I did suggest a backport of the PSP scenario if at all possible, but in typical Japanese fashion I got a “well, that’s a bit tricky…” reply (read: don’t hold your breath).
A different story
The big thing coming out of this trip is that I’ve heard news of a non-narci project being released in the relatively near future that I can get the rights to translate. It’s going to be another free game, and from the little I’ve read of the main content it’s interesting enough for me to work on. The content is a bit melancholic, but also has moe elements for balance, and not as heavy as Narci from what I’ve seen. I’m interested to see how the story turns out when it’s finished.
Currently it’s waiting on the artist to finish doing the art and for final tweaks to the scripts and other details. So it’s stuck at something close to 80% done. I honestly have no idea what the actual release date is because art always takes a long time (esp. art done by a well known artist for a doujin free game project), but when the time comes I’ll make some kind of announcement. It should be interesting and I’m very excited about having something to work on all these years. I’ve been told that the design would be written w/ a translation being created in mind, much like Narcissu 2 was written with translations in mind, so there was extra space in various graphics and hints in the script for us to work on. Definitely made things easier.
I got to meet some of my favorite scenarios writers
Not naming any names, but I did meet another of my all-time favorite scenario writers on this trip. W00t. Now I just have one or two more to meet before I’m satisfied. =)
News that friends are turning pro
Not something I learned on the trip from my friend but roughly in the same time frame, a small number of people that used to translate games that are my friends have become pros working somewhere in the area of anime/manga/games. Heck, I’ve even done a tiny amount of paid work here or there myself for games.
It’s nice to know that the contacts we’ve made, and work we’ve done in the doujin industry have given a few of us a bit of income when needed. Relationships matter a lot in this industry, and every friend you make is important.
Oh, but the money still sucks compared to many other lines of work that are available so I’m not changing jobs while I can still get a job doing what I do now.