James Michael

S1 EP13 – Ft. James Michael

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Episode Transcription

FLOR: Welcome, everyone, to another Open World LocFact! Thank you for tuning in. Today we’re going to talk about Resident Evil Village.

ALE: Resident Evil Village is set in a snowy Eastern European village, but funny enough, none of the villagers seem to have an accent. So one of the most popular unanswered questions… yet about this game is, where’s the village located?

FLOR: Yeah, we’re all wondering about that. You might be thinking that the location isn’t important, especially since the series has typically taken place in fictional areas. However, many Resident Evil games use a combination of real and fictional locations to build an immersive environment.

ALE: For example, Resident Evil 7 took place in a fictional town set in Louisiana, Resident Evil 5, in a fictional country in Africa, and the already classic Resident Evil 4, in an unnamed village in Spain. These places played a major role in all the games, even if the specific locations were actually made up.

FLOR: So, while we don’t know for sure where Resident Evil Village is happening, we have some clues here and there along the game that strongly suggest it’s Romania.

ALE: Exactly. The first clue is the in-game currency, referred to as “Lei,” which happens to be the plural of Leu, the currency used currently in Romania. That alone should be proof enough, right? But wait, there’s more evidence that supports our conclusion.

FLOR: Yeah, we have more. For example, we have Lupu. Lupu is the surname of the villagers Leonardo and Elena, and “Lupu” means “wolf” in Romanian. No spoilers intended here, but could this be foreshadowing for later in the game?

ALE: Also significant is the surname of Alcina Dimitrescu, the vampire lady inspiring both fear and, for many gamers, some conflicting romantic notions. Dimitrescu is a traditional Romanian name. And let’s face it, guys, Romania’s largest region, Transylvania, has already a classic association with monsters, so it makes sense to think that the game is located in Romania.

FLOR: In a setting with so many parallels to a non-fictional country, this game’s lack of accents is odd and definitely noticeable. There’s even been some confusion among players as to the correct pronunciation of Lady Dimitrescu’s name, since the Romanian name is pronounced differently to what we can hear in Resident Evil Village.

ALE: Have you folks played the game already? We definitely don’t want to spoil anything for you guys, but we would love to hear your thoughts on how these characters were portrayed. We would love to have your insight on this, so please, leave your comments below.

FLOR: See you in our next episode!

FLOR: Hi, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Open World. Here today with us we have James Michael. James is former Localization Director at Capcom and current Production Manager at Cygames. Hi, James, how are you? Welcome. So nice to have you today here.

JAMES: Howdie! Yeah, it’s nice to see you guys. I know it’s a little bit late in the evening for me, but I’m still going strong, so pretty good.

FLOR: Yeah. Would you like to share with the audience where you’re based? Because we know, of course, but many of them don’t know, and it would be nice to know that.

JAMES: Yeah. I’m currently based in Osaka, Japan, so… I think it’s like the third or the fourth largest city in Japan right now. It’s a pretty big place, but not Tokyo by any stretch. But a lot of major game companies are here like Cygames and Capcom. So, yeah.

ALEX: It’s a nice place to be.

JAMES: It is.

FLOR: And how long have you been there?

JAMES: Um, I started work at Capcom calm about three and a half-ish, four years ago. So I’ve been in Osaka for about four. I have kind of ping-pong-balled across between America and Japan a few times now, so.

FLOR: A world traveler. I love that. So we would love to get to know you more, because I know you have a very interesting career in video games. So, well, first of all, how did you start? How did you get into games? Because I know that you started back then in mobile games, but how did that look like back then?

JAMES: Yeah. So actually, my very first job in Japan, just trying to get my foot in the door and learning the language at that point, was with JET, which is Japan Exchange and Teaching. And so I was an English teacher in Shiga for a few years, and one of my friends there started to work as a 3D CG kind of like a production manager. And so I was lucky enough to get a job with him as kind of a biz dev slash interpreter for that company. And that’s when I started to get to know people in the industry a little bit. We did a lot of work for places like Sega and Bandai Namco, mostly actually on the pachinko slots side of things, making like 3D animations and models for them. But they also gave us some Idolmaster work to do, and so we worked on the PS3 game for them. And that was kind of like my first taste of working in video games. I always knew that I wanted to, it’s just trying to get your foot in the door is kind of an awkward first step sometimes.

ALEX: But that’s like a constant, I mean, with all of our guests. I believe that if one thing that puts everything together is, like, you have to start somewhere, right? You have to put your foot on the door, just like you said.

JAMES: Yeah. It’s like knowing one person or meeting a couple of people, and then you talk to them a little later. And then they were like, “Well, I know a guy,” and then they kind of connect you and it all slowly falls into place. So I was I was lucky, though.

FLOR: Yeah. And that’s why we appreciate you and all of our guests being with us and sharing their stories, because there’s not, like, one single path that you can take. There’s so many different roads that can lead you into gaming. So thanks for sharing your story with us.

JAMES: Yeah, for sure.

ALEX: And how did you make the jump to actually becoming a localizer, James? How did that…? You got your foot in the door, you went through the window, whatever you might call it. How did those jumps continue?

JAMES: Or sneaking in through the basement.

ALEX: That’s another one. Yeah.

JAMES: So, obviously, I worked in mobile for a little while for a couple of different companies, and it was more of like a designer role. And actually, it was a lot of math. I really don’t like that.

ALEX: Yeah. That makes three of us.

FLOR: I mean, we’re into languages, right?

JAMES: Yeah. A little different. It was like managing probability tables for different, like, distribution stuff. It was a lot. But I started to work on translation while I was a designer at one company called Gloops. And it was more for, like, speaking to English-speaking football teams or soccer teams, since I worked on a soccer game. And in that I started to really like more translation work. And I kind of thought, okay, well, maybe I can try to make this my career. And, you know, I don’t want to get stuck managing Excel sheets for the next five, ten years. Which is kind of ironic since I work mostly in Excel sheets now, but…

ALEX: But not with numbers at least.

JAMES: No, not with numbers. But I had the kind of… I guess it was a very lucky opportunity for me because I started to reach out to a bunch of different, you know, major game companies like, “Hey, you have a localization department. Do you need any Japanese to English translators? I’m a writer. Here’s some stuff that I’ve done in mobile.” And a lot of it was no-shows. You know, a lot of people said, “Oh, you know, we’re not looking for people right now.” And, you know, they were polite about it. But one man, Scott Ritchey, was in Tokyo at the same time that I was, and I think he was maybe just visiting Nintendo Japan on a trip that time. And so he said, “Okay, I have some extra time. Just stop by my hotel and we can chat.” And so I said, “Yeah, sure, I’ll be right there.” And it was like kind of on the other side of Tokyo. So I really ran over to the train and got on it.

ALEX: “Yes, sure, I’ll be right there.”

FLOR: At least you were in the same city, right?

JAMES: “One stop away. I’ll be there in 50 minutes.” But yeah, it’s… He actually, like, invited me up into his hotel room, which we both agreed was super awkward later.

ALEX: You came clean about it, right? “That was awkward.“

JAMES: Yeah. He’s a super nice guy, you don’t take it that way. But we chatted for a while, and, like, I had done some legal testing, like, I took my LSAT and I was thinking of applying for law school in Japan at the time, and he had done that whole route himself. And so we kind of talked about that. He was like, “Yeah, I realized that really wasn’t for me. I wanted to just work in games.” And was like, “Yes, I feel you.” And so he was like, “Okay, well, put in an application. And maybe it won’t be full time. Maybe you have like a contract position for you, but we’ll see. And like, are you up to moving?” I was like, “Yeah, sure, of course. It’s Nintendo.“

FLOR: Exactly.

JAMES: Yeah. So I got a contract position at NOA, and he said, you know, maybe there’s a chance for full time later. And then I packed my bags and I moved to Seattle.

FLOR: And that was it.

JAMES: Yeah.

ALEX: Now that’s a story.

FLOR: Yeah. And I’m curious, I mean, is there anything in particular that you would like to recommend for people that are just starting their careers in localization?

JAMES: Um… There’s… So what I always… There’s the obvious stuff first, which is like, you know, network, get to know people. Even if they aren’t your boss now, they could be your boss later. If they know your name and your application comes up in the pile, they go, “Oh, wait, okay, maybe I should look at this person a little more closely.” And that’s always great. I like to suggest to people to work on their creative writing as well. Like, translation is really important, but… And I could talk a little bit about Nintendo, not too much, later on, but like… Translation is obviously the first step, but then you look at what you’ve produced and then you go, okay, is this good writing? How can I improve this just from a writing standpoint so people in that native language can read it and enjoy it? And that part is what a lot of people who study language, like as a foreign language, don’t practice as much. And so, yeah, I’d like to say write stuff. Write a lot of stuff, write a lot of bad stuff, and it gets better. That’s probably the first thing.

FLOR: That’s a great advice there. And also, I would add that reading a lot also helps.


FLOR: Find an interesting genre that you like and stick to it and try to reproduce that.

JAMES: Yes. Like, I live in a tiny apartment here in Japan, and I can’t have a whole ton of books, so this little thing has saved me so much. All of my fantasy books that I used to have in hardback as a kid are now on this thing. And I can read them and reread them and find new authors and whatnot. But reading all the time is wonderful.

FLOR: And is there anything that you are reading right now that you would like to recommend?

JAMES: I am a gigantic Brandon Sanderson fanboy, and so anything that he’s put out is just wonderful writing, no matter what the characters setting it is. But, oh gosh, I forget the name, but it’s one of his newer younger adult, young adult fiction. And of course, everything I’m typing is in Japanese. “Skyward” is the name of the book, but it’s super, super good sci-fi, young adult fiction, and it’s really well written, and I wish it didn’t end so fast.

FLOR: Well, the good thing is, you can always get back to it.

ALEX: It ends fast or you just ate it up?

JAMES: I finished it in a day. But, like, it’s a little bit short, but it’s a young adult novel, you know? They’re meant to be a little bit more bite-sized, but it is really good.

ALEX: And, James, well, you’re a gamer, and you knew that this question was coming. You know, you already saw it when we first started.

JAMES: I hate it.

ALEX: What would you say that is your all-time favorite game?

JAMES: Okay. I’m… I’m gonna cheat, and I’m gonna say that there’s two at least that I can think of right now.

ALEX: Okay, fair enough.

JAMES: But for slightly different reasons. And one of them is a little bit more, I guess, normal.

ALEX: Elaborate, please.

JAMES: So my first favorite game was a game that I played as a kid called Breath of Fire III. It’s an RPG by Capcom, and it’s kind of why I applied. But that was probably the first story-based game that really sucked me in as a kid. It was 16-bit graphics, so it was just moving away from pixels and it was all gorgeous kind of hand-drawn caricatures and the animation was beautiful. But like the very beginning of the game, you start off and you’re on a train, and you wake up and you’re like this little baby dragon. And you think that that’s your main character and you go around and you actually like murder a bunch of innocent villagers, because you’re scared and you don’t know what’s going on, and you’re just this little baby dragon who’s gotten out and they’re treating you like a monster. And starting off like that as a 13-year-old boy playing this game was mind blowing to me, it’s just like it sucked me into that world. And from then on, the rest of the game, the systems and all of that are wonderful. So that’s obviously like, that’s a pretty solid first in my book.

ALEX: That’s great.


ALEX: Yeah? Okay, but…?

FLOR: Or “and” maybe. Why “but”?

JAMES: “And” is a better word, I like it. Um, my second favorite game is probably Final Fantasy XI.

FLOR: Yeah.

JAMES: I think I owe it to that game to wanting to major in Japanese in the first place.


JAMES: And the whole reason being was that game… Obviously, it isn’t online, it’s an MMORPG. And the servers were shared with Japanese servers. And so I got to interact with Japanese people playing the game, and they had this awesome feature that I hadn’t seen in any other game at the time, which was an auto-translate function. And so you could type a couple of key words, hit Tab, and it would pull up a related terms list in your chat bar of all these phrases, and they’d be in English if your client was an English, or French or German or Japanese. And then it would apply whatever that client language is in the other person’s chat box. And so I could actually talk to all these Japanese players in their own language and then they talked back to me. Not everything was there, so you’d see the Japanese around the sides of all these terms, and that was just so cool to see that working. And so then I became a huge Japanophile and I studied Japanese. That game took like a good six years of my life away.

FLOR: It’s a great story.

ALEX: Now, MMORPGs are a great way of learning languages, making friends. I mean, one of the games that I actually used to learn English growing up was one that I don’t know if it’s around anymore. It was an MMORPG, I think it’s from Korea. It’s Fly For Fun, the game.

JAMES: Sure, sure. Flyff. Yeah, yeah.

ALEX: Flyff, yeah! Well, I used to have a Bill poster, I used to go around with my big knuckle punching everything. And I made friends from so many different places. And it was all in English, but it was people… they were my peers, right? My own age, wanting to beat the Clockworks, you know, wanting to do the same things. And yeah, MMORPGs to learn another language, it’s amazing. And I don’t know if the servers from Final Fantasy XI are still up, because Final Fantasy XIV is breaking the Internet right now by the time that we’re recording this.

FLOR: That’s a great question.

JAMES: I was surprised, but they actually are. The game is almost in its 20th anniversary. I’m old.

FLOR: Yeah. Wow! That’s incredible.

ALEX: Yeah, it’s an amazing game for sure. So thank you for those stories, James. You are very welcome to cheat any time when you have those stories. I mean, two favorite games…

JAMES: They’re fun. I have like a thousand favorite games, but those are the two that really popped up first.

FLOR: I know you worked in one of my favorite games ever and favorite game sagas of all times, which is Resident Evil. So I have a very, very, very serious question here. How do you pronounce Dimitrescu? No, joking. Joking.

JAMES: That’s why I’m happy that I don’t have a Twitter account.

ALEX: Yeah. Don’t try to look James up on Twitter, guys. You won’t find him.

JAMES: I’m blessed to not have any social media.

FLOR: Now, for real, how did it feel to be working with such a huge franchise?

JAMES: So at first it was daunting, as I am not a huge horror game player. It’s not really in my wheelhouse. And so to have been given the opportunity and the responsibility to take on the next big number in the Resident Evil series was… It made me a little nervous at first, to say the least. I started to go back and watch Let’s Plays of Resident Evil 2 and make sure that I understand the ethos and pathos of the game and all that. At Capcom, like the localization director there in the dev team, we sit on the same floor with all the devs and we work from start to finish day in, day out, with them. And so…

ALEX: That’s amazing.

JAMES: Yeah, it became, in a good way, like I’m just making another good game, I’m making another great game with everybody. So I didn’t worry too much about it. Obviously we had a great director. Sato-san worked on 7 as well, and he pretty much knew how he wanted to take 8 in a direction, you know, following 7. And we were able to talk out points with him in all of that. But yeah, I just kind of, I got used to it over time. It took about a year to really settle down and, you know, it took three from start to finish, but…

JAMES: Wow. That’s incredible. And I love that they include you as part of the team. You feel part of the team that’s making a great game. Sometimes that’s not the case of many people that are into localization or that are just starting that they just don’t feel part of the whole process, just like an afterthought. So that’s very important, at least for me, to be included in the whole process.

JAMES: Definitely. Look, I’ve been a part of projects where it’s a little more removed or a lot more removed from development, and you feel like, “Okay, I’m getting this text, but why am I getting this text, good sir?”

FLOR: Exactly. Context, please.

JAMES: Yeah. The Resident Evil Village team was really nice because I could just like run over to them or even just message them on, you know, the in-company chat and say, “Hey, what the heck is this barrel doing here? Like, why?” And they would tell me and they were like, “No, no, no. Level’s design changed. This is why.” “Okay, well, we need to change this book because it doesn’t make sense.” And, you know, working all of that out with the team was really nice.

ALEX: Yeah. You become an extra part of the dev team, not just something that happens, “Okay, we finished this. Go ahead and localize it into a bunch of different languages.“

JAMES: Yeah.

ALEX: After you finish it.

FLOR: Yeah. I always like to think like, we love to work in teams and we don’t like to think localization as an island, and we always recommend translators to get involved and to fully understand the whole development process, to fully understand what the needs are from the development team or the game designers even.

ALEX: So one kind of interesting thing, and stop me if I’m going on a tangent…

FLOR: Oh, please.

ALEX: No, please. That’s why you’re here, to tell us interesting things, by the way.

JAMES: I know. I’m gonna try to keep everything safe, but… Um, one kind of interesting thing about at least Village from my experience, was that a lot of the creative work is done in base English. And so…

FLOR: Hmm… That’s very interesting to know.

JAMES: Yeah. Like a lot of the scripts and cut scenes are written in English while being explained in Japanese to the dev team. And so…

FLOR: Mind blown.

JAMES: Yeah. And then they get translated into Japanese and then reviewed and then they get translated back into English. And then the original and the final English is kind of mashed together to make sense. And yeah, there’s a little bit of a process that goes on there, but that was really interesting.

FLOR: That’s incredible. You make sure that you don’t lose anything in translation, right?

JAMES: Yes. As much as humanly possible. There are a lot of review rounds.

ALEX: That’s very thorough, right? You end up with a very precise communication in spite of what you’re saying, right? You add like a couple of process in between of the communication, but in order to make sure that you get everything right.

FLOR: That’s amazing.

ALEX: That’s amazing. That’s very interesting.

JAMES: …Iterating the crud out of everything. And if you can have five review rounds in your schedule, put in six.

ALEX: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. And that’s food for thought for everyone watching, you cannot be too sure about the communication. Communication is key.

FLOR: Iterate and iterate, and iterate once more. Just in case.

ALEX: James, I want to know something that we talked about actually, but you just gave me like a little heads up. I know that you did… Not… You didn’t. But you worked and you witnessed many MoCap sessions throughout the Resident Evil Village. How does that look like? What cool stories can you share with our audience about that? Because we’ve all seen this video stuff like Lady Dimitrescu, like smashing everything after speaking to Miss Miranda and everything. But what can you tell us about those days?

JAMES: I wish I got to wear the suit. Um… MoCap was really fun. And that was actually a big part of my job that I was surprised to have done. But going to L.A. and working with the MoCap studio there, obviously, the dev team would come as well, and so my job there would be in part interpreting, but also working with like the cinematic director, teaching all of the actors the characters’ backstories, because really the only one who knew who was who in English was me. And so kind of helping people understand the minds of the characters to get them into character so that they can then act the right way. And then if something goes wrong and, you know, like the lead event, team leader, the cinematic director for the Japanese side was like kind of [grunts] at the end of a shot, then I would run over to him like, “Okay, what’s wrong? What do you think is better?” And then try to work out the issue from there. One of the interesting things is how they kind of jimmy-rig all sorts of solutions to figure out the different sizes of characters. And I know that they released a video about MoCap, or Capcom did, that kind of went into that a little bit. But one of my favorite ones was that they made a totem pole.

ALEX: Mm-hmm.

JAMES: Dimitrescu obviously is very tall. And the actress, Maggie, is quite a tall person. I think she’s six feet. But not quite as tall as Dimitrescu. And so no matter what, Todd, who is Ethan in the game, he was our cameraman because it’s all first person. And no matter what he tried to do, his eyeline would be a little bit low. So it would be like looking right about here, when it really should be up here. So to get that right, they drew like, a little angry face on some cardboard, slapped it on a huge PVC pole, and they would like walk around behind Maggie holding up like, this is where your face is, and have him kind of look up further. That was hilarious.

ALEX: That is hilarious.

JAMES: Yeah. Just working with all of those dimensions and seeing those guys who are like DIY wizards figure it out was really fun.

FLOR: And how long does a process like that take?

JAMES: My goodness.

FLOR: I mean, many people don’t have a clear idea of how long it can take.

JAMES: I can’t speak for everything, because obviously a tricky shot may require multiple days because it has stunts that need to be done separately, or it has like, they call it water work, which is anything where actors might get wet, is a whole different caboodle. But, at least, for a game like Village, you could look at anywhere between like two weeks to one full month of shoots. So that’s every day, all the actors. Usually they split it up like one or two weeks at a time, and then they’ll get all that data and ship it back, or they would put it in the game, and then they’ll do the next set on schedule. So maybe up to a month worth of shoots over the course of half of a year, I’d say?

FLOR: Wow. That’s amazing.

ALEX: It’s a long process back and forth, right?

JAMES: For sure. And during all of that, the script changes, you know, 8,011 times, and stuff gets, you know, axed when it have been reinstated later. And all the puzzle pieces have to be, you know, fit in just the right way. And so a lot of stuff kind of gets redone or thrown out or people dig through it again. But I think it took about a year, all said and done, to get all of that wrapped up.

ALEX: And it’s so cool that, I mean, your name, right? Your position and the localization director, but you were kind of like an actual movie director, right? Like…

FLOR: You’ve been in cinematics, casting voiceover…

JAMES: So I won’t take all the credit for that because that would be unfair. I worked with a wonderful man. His name is Steve, French guy, and he was the cinematic director.

FLOR: Hi, Steve. Thank you for everything.

ALEX: Thank you for what you did, man.

JAMES: He’s like… He’s wonderful. But he was like the movie director, art side, get all the angles. “No, I need more emotion. I need less emotion.” Like all of that was on him. And then for me, it was making sure that that made sense to Japan and also worked for them. And then, like, kind of being their will or let’s say, their power of attorney, so to speak.

FLOR: You make it sound so easy.

JAMES: It’s not.

ALEX: “I just did this.”

JAMES: I was not perfect. I was definitely not perfect at this. But, like, we got into our rhythm after about half of it was done. And we started to work much easier together. Yeah.

ALEX: The workflow got smoother. Thank you for that.

FLOR: For how long did you play the game? I mean, I know you mentioned that it’s not your favorite genre, but did you get to play it and enjoy it at one point?

JAMES: So… Okay, so for Village, I played the final build of it multiple times. Not just for QA, but just like in my free time. And Village was a game I could play from start to finish. That was cool. I had a lot of fun.

FLOR: Mission accomplished.

JAMES: Where I had trouble was playing RE 7, because I really wanted to play it from start to finish.

FLOR: Yeah.

JAMES: I’m a giant scaredy-cat, and so I got about as far as to when you switch to Mia and you have no weapons and you have to deal with the mom in the house. And then I said, “Okay, I’m not progressing any further than this,” and I watched Let’s Play for the rest of it. I still feel bad about that.

ALEX: But that family, that family and that intensity of feeling… You weren’t… you couldn’t relax anywhere in that house, you know?

JAMES: No. Every single corner was going to explode with some sort of angry person with a pitchfork or a shovel or just very strong arms that will reach out and kill you. Or bugs.

ALEX: It’s like Nemesis in Resident Evil 3, amplified with Lucas, with the mom, with the dad. Even with the grandma that, I mean, everyone…

FLOR: I mean, it’s just perfect and I personally love it. The thing is, for me, I had to get together with my sister to play it every time. I couldn’t play it alone.

JAMES: Sure.

FLOR: Otherwise, I would get so scared.

JAMES: Yeah. It’s definitely, like, for me, it’s definitely a lights-on, 2 pm kind of game.

FLOR: Oh, yeah, absolutely!

ALEX: And, Flor, we have cats. And you know how cats are. They like to make noises, random noises, you now? Especially Flor’s cats.

FLOR: Yeah, 2 pm, sunny day kind of game. Yeah. I love it. All right, I think it’s time to get to the memes.

ALEX: Hey, that’s an attitude.

FLOR: Yeah. Like, for me, it’s like this is part, I mean, sometimes. But it’s the same feel.

JAMES: And so, just a small point as to why I picked this, I really like Warhammer. I like the universe. I think it’s really fun and over-the-top and ridiculous, especially 40K. But yeah, this is a mood.

FLOR: I thought you were going to mention it as one of your favorite games. Honestly.

JAMES: It’s one of my favorite universes. I love reading the books, actually. I like a lot of the Warhammer 40K books. The Ciaphas Cain series is super fun.

FLOR: Yeah, we highly recommend it.

JAMES: But yeah, so lots of bad things happen or lots of twists happen, especially in localization. Games are changing constantly. Especially when you’re the last thing that happens in development, you get to deal with the trickle down of everything, and so you just sometimes have to power through it. Um… We may or may not have written the script the day of the shoot, you know.

ALEX: So, when life gives you lemons…

FLOR: Exactly. And nobody else at the end of the day, right? Like you have an amazing product, that’s what gamers see, and that’s what you want them to see.

JAMES: Exactly.

FLOR: But it can be challenging at times, for sure.

JAMES: Especially some of my old bosses at Nintendo would say, like, the best localization is when no one comments on it at all. They just comment on the game.

FLOR: Exactly.

ALEX: That’s perfect. Yeah, seamless.

FLOR: No coffee, no nothing for me.

ALEX: No nothing.

JAMES: It’s a little rinky-dink thing, but I have my espresso maker in the background.

ALEX: I saw you have an espresso.

JAMES: I would make my little espressos in my little Delonghi pretty much all day. I love coffee.

ALEX: Do you have your big mug right there, Flor? You have to show it to him.

FLOR: Yeah, here. Sometimes… Well, now I’m drinking tea right now because I already had my coffee earlier today.

JAMES: You can’t really see it, but technically, this is Mario. It’s a super, like, low-key Nintendo mug.

FLOR: Oh, that’s so cool! Very professional.

JAMES: Exactly. This is like the office workers Nintendo swag.

FLOR: I love it.

ALEX: Well, I’m a mate guy here, guys. Sorry about that. I’m Argentinian, I drink my mate.

FLOR: Oh, please, there’s no need to be sorry. You’re Argentinian.

ALEX: I love coffee.

FLOR: James, have you ever tried mate?

JAMES: I had it when I was in Seattle a few times, but I don’t know if it’s the real deal or not, and it’s usually cold, so.

ALEX: Maybe you drank tereré. That is usually like…

FLOR: Yeah, there’s a cold version when it’s hot or during summertime.

JAMES: Sure. I wonder if I can get my hands on it in Japan.

FLOR: We drink it like an iced tea.

ALEX: I’m gonna look up on Amazon or someplace to see if I can hook you up with that.

FLOR: Yeah, we might find you one if you’re really interested.

JAMES: Yeah. I live not too far from a place called Uji, which is like the matcha capital of Japan. So I can grab some matcha there and send it to you all.

ALEX: That would be great, too. I love matcha.

FLOR: Yeah, he’s a big fan. Yeah.

ALEX: Yeah, I am.

JAMES: I mix it in beer.

FLOR: Oh, wow!

JAMES: It’s actually really interesting. Yeah. Super high-grade fine matcha, and you pour it in a little bit of beer and you stir it up, and then you pour the rest of the beer, and it’s like dark green, but it actually tastes really good.

FLOR: Wow, I need to taste that.

ALEX: I’m gonna have to try this tonight. I have some matcha powder here at home. I’m gonna have to… To see which beer would be best.

JAMES: Yeah. Light beers are good.

ALEX: Nice. Thank you for that.

FLOR: That whole mood.

ALEX: Both are real.

JAMES: Both are real. Both are valid. They’re totally cool. I had to learn both of them when I started to work on Village pretty much, because you have really hardcore Resident Evil fans, and then you have people who are just like, “This game looks awesome!” and they want to just play and have fun. And it was kind of trying to find a nice balance between the two. But yeah, Resident Evil always has like a really special quality of campiness about it that they’ve kept through the whole series that I think people really like. And so I tried to keep that alive at least, and hopefully not make anyone hate me on either side of this spectrum.

ALEX: I think that you did a very good job.

FLOR: I’m a very happy fan over here, so you did an excellent job, if you ask me. But I’m very biased. Oh, yeah. This one is just…

JAMES: This is a classic meme.

ALEX: This is a classic.

FLOR: And, like, my whole mood during the pandemic.

JAMES: Yeah. Yeah. Like, the pandemic changed a lot, especially for localization, at least. Especially for, like, the motion capture side of things, because there was a lot of work that happened remotely as well, and figuring out how to get cameras in the right spot and all of that and, you know, making sure everybody is cool with what’s coming out of that little pipe is… it was intense. But it worked out and it kind of proved that you could do things remotely if you had to. So, yeah, this is fine. Everything’s fine.

ALEX: Everything’s fine.

FLOR: Yeah. I mean, I believe all of us grew tremendously during this whole once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-a-century situation. And I believe we’ve come out and we will come out better. And especially if you’re in games. Like, this industry grew tremendously, and we found different ways to continue producing incredible games and in high quality and deliver it to gamers for them to enjoy the products. That’s unbelievable.

JAMES: I probably couldn’t put it as eloquently as you just did.

FLOR: Oh, thanks.

JAMES: It’s been awesome to see how many people have decided, “All right, I’m gonna make games now. All right, I wanna get into translation. This is great. I can do it from my house, I can be safe and I can still do what I love and want.” And not just give up on everything. And so that’s been really, really cool to see firsthand.

FLOR: Yeah. Especially when applying to your dream job. I mean, it doesn’t matter anymore where you’re based or, well, sometimes it does, depending on the company.

JAMES: It’s moving there. It’s moving there.

FLOR: Yeah.

JAMES: I see more and more companies like talking with producers and H.R. people, and they’re starting to really shift, even the big guys are. “Okay, maybe remote is okay.” That’s great.

ALEX: Okay, these ones are from our production team.

FLOR: Oh, yes. Thank you, Lara!

ALEX: We have some for you, too. Those poor NPCs.

JAMES: Oh, yeah. Oh, yes. The same NPC that has to buy a billion rat tails from everybody in the starting zone.

ALEX: Yeah. I mean, no one thinks about those poor NPCs. You buy, like two apples, and then you sell something to them. Poor guy.

JAMES: And usually in their texts, there’s always at least something witty in there, because they have to write something witty or you’ll just go nuts translating these, you know, tens of thousands of lines of NPC text. So I hope that people read them sometimes. That would be cool.

ALEX: We do. We do.

FLOR: We do, yeah.

JAMES: Oh, no!

JAMES: I can relate to all of this, but if there’s one thing that it’s almost real for me is the Silent Hill one. I live on a 14th floor and it gets foggy in Buenos Aires up here. And there are many, many mornings where I wake up and… Crap, I’m in Silent Hill.

JAMES: Yeah. Right back under the covers.

ALEX: Yeah. I mean, if a radio starts, like [makes crackling sound] calling with interference…

JAMES: That’s it.

ALEX: Yep.

FLOR: It was so much fun.

JAMES: Cool. Love it.

FLOR: Thank you so much for joining us, James. I really… I personally really appreciate what you’ve done in the Resident Evil franchise, for the Resident Evil franchise. Thank you so much for you and your colleagues, and thanks for sharing your story. And like we said, we believe it’s super important for people to know that there are different ways into the video game industry and into localization, so thanks for sharing your story this time.

JAMES: Sure. Like I took the long way around. There might be shorter ways, but it’s definitely a possibility. So I think no matter where you are, there’s kind of an entryway into the games market.

FLOR: It’s so nice to have you. And thanks, everyone, for tuning in. See you in our next episode.

ALEX: Thank you, everyone.

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