Renee Gittins

S1 EP17 – Ft. Renee Gittins

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Episode Transcription

ALEX: Hi, everyone! Welcome to another Open World LocFact. Now, before we tell you what game we’re talking about today, don’t forget to follow us on all of our socials that you’re seeing here below.

FLOR: Yes. Today’s LocFact is about one of the best-selling PlayStation 4 games, God of War.

ATREUS: So I’m a man now. Like you?

KRATOS: No.We are not men. We are more than that.

FLOR: The 2018 game is still acclaimed and loved by everyone that plays it for its story, role design, art direction, music, graphics, combat systems and characters. The game is inspired by Norse mythology, with the majority of it set in ancient Scandinavia in the realm of Midgard.

ALEX: This is the first time that in the game series there are two main protagonists. Kratos, we all know him as the Greek god of war that is the only playable character in the game, but now he has his son Atreus with him.

FLOR: Having survived his final encounter with his father Zeus, Kratos has since traveled to Midgard in ancient Norway and now lives with his young son Atreus in the world of Norse Gods, the savage land inhabited by many ferocious monsters and warriors.

ALEX: In order to teach his son how to survive in such a world, Kratos must master the rage that has driven him for many years and embrace his newfound role as a father and a mentor. Now, Kratos keeps his troubled past a secret from Atreus, who is also unaware of his divine nature.

FLOR: The story keeps the fans absolutely involved with the game. From beautiful fan art to what brings us today’s LocFact, fans translating the God of War runes.

ALEX: The runes in God of War are primarily written in Elder Futhark, the eldest form of runic alphabet. This alphabet has been used from the 2nd to the 18th century, and these runes appear all throughout the game.

FLOR: Some determined fans translated runes from an item in the game’s collector’s edition and were able to unearth a secret item. Since then, other fans have sought to uncover similar secrets or simply learn more about the game story.

ALEX: Now hold up. Here’s where we say that if you haven’t played the game, stop here, fast forward or something, because there are spoilers ahead, okay? Yeah, okay.

FLOR: Yes. You’ve been warned.

ALEX: So, one of the major things… You’ve been warned. One of the major discoveries that were made is the meanings behind Baldur’s tattoos.

FLOR: That’s right. The large red runes on Baldur’s back spell “cursed.” His arms feature a repeated phrase that roughly translates as “never to forget.” While the circular tattoo on his chest has been interpreted as, “Lights confine me with warmth so that I might feel something.“

ALEX: As if those runes weren’t ominous enough, Baldur’s neck bears the words, “I mark the twilight of the gods.” There are fans that believe that this phrase alludes to Baldur being the sign of Ragnarok. If only Atreus could have translated this rune to give Kratos a heads up about the world’s end.

FLOR: If only, right?

ALEX: Yeah.

FLOR: And that’s the end of today’s LocFact. Stay tuned for today’s interview with Renee Gittins, the executive director of IGDA. Thanks for joining us. See you next time.

ALEX: Thanks, everyone. Bye.

FLOR: Hi, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Open World. Today with us we have Renee Gittins. Renee is the executive director of IGDA. IGDA is the International Game Developers Association. How are you today, Renee?

RENEE: I’m fine, thank you so much for having me here.

FLOR: Yeah, we’re very excited to have you today, and we’re really excited to learn about your journey within the gaming industry, what it takes to be part of IGDA? What are you working on? So not many of our audience, not many people that tune in are familiar with IGDA, so we’re really excited to have you here and learn more about what you’re doing. So we know that you are a programmer and a game designer, right? So we wanted to learn a bit more about what’s your favorite part within the game design of a video game, and what are your inspirations or even concepts that you take into account during this stage to not miss direction.

RENEE: Yeah, absolutely. So what I think really compels me about video game development in general is that it brings together so many different disciplines and studies. Pretty much anything you learn can be practical within video games. Of course, there’s programing and arts and composition and design. But you know, if you have a history degree, you know, you can provide historical insight. You know, if you have a literature degree, you can help with writing in-game books or with the dialog creation. I just love how games as a medium bring together all of these different elements of human creation and creativity and innovation. And similarly with game design, which I really appreciate about it, it is problem-solving, but not technical problem-solving. Certainly, there’s technical problems. I’ve always been somebody who loves solving problems, but when it comes down to it, math problems and science problems and problems that have straightforward answers are, in my opinion, a lot easier than soft problems. You know, people problems, design problems, encouraging and evoking emotion and satisfaction and curiosity. Those are very difficult problems.

ALEX: It’s a bit trickier.

RENEE: Yeah.

RENEE: Yeah, you get more personal, so you have to be very careful where to draw the line or where to get more involved, right? In the narrative.

RENEE: Exactly. And I love that kind of problem-solving. And that’s what compels me about game design. So I wouldn’t say that I’m necessarily the most inspired game designer I know. I have a very good friend who has literally journals like books and books and notebooks of game designs. He just has game designs come out of his brain all the time and has to write them down, and then we’ll eventually pick one to try to make. I design through frustration.

ALEX: That’s a nice fuel, right?

RENEE: Right? I will play a game and I will just get so frustrated about some aspect of it. And these are generally large concepts, not like, “Oh, I hate this mechanic” or “I hate this UI.” I’ll get frustrated with like an entire game concept, and then I will design a game based on my frustration there. And the game that I’m currently working on, Potions: A Curious Tail, it’s an adventure crafting game where you play as a young witch, she brews magical potions and she uses spells to battle monsters and solve puzzles. But the reason I created that game is because I was playing a game called Pixel Dungeon on the phone, and it was a rogue-like dungeon crawler. And it had two elements that I found not great. One is you had to eat food and each step you took slowly decreased your food you’d had and you could starve to death.

ALEX: Your energy. Yeah.

RENEE: Right. And then the other element is you wanna find the entrance down to the next level of the dungeon, but you have to kill all of the monsters on the level in order to level up enough to beat the boss monster that’s like five or ten levels down. Which meant that, if you were playing the game and you found the entrance down early, it was bad. It was a bad thing to find the exit to the next level because it meant that you had to still clear out the rest of the level and you’d lose your food, energy and things like that on your way. I was like, this is so frustrating. It’s so frustrating that something that should be satisfying and that feels good, like, “Oh, yes!” Like going deeper in the dungeon should feel good instead of the exact opposite.

ALEX: Because you weren’t prepared to be in the second level, right?

RENEE: Right. And that put me on like a whole tirade of like, why do games work the way they work? And it brought me to a conclusion, that I don’t really like the experience, like the leveling up experience. It’s just funny because I play lots of RPGs. They are generally very, very experience-based, but it encourages bad behavior. For example, you’re usually a hero of these games, but you get praised for just being completely psychopathic and murdering everything you see, right?

ALEX: Grinding.

RENEE: Right, grinding! You know, it’s like instead of just like, oh, kill some bunnies for some bunny fur, but if you keep killing bunnies, you still profit from it, right? Like, even when you’ve slayed like thousands of bunnies, far more bunnies than you should ever kill. And it just doesn’t feel… it doesn’t feel very heroic. And so I wanted to make a game that was balancing the cost of fighting with the benefit. And that’s why I came up with Potions. It’s all based around potions because that is resource management, and you literally don’t have an ability to kill anything unless you’re using resources to do so. So it means that as you get stronger, you don’t want to go through and murder everything because it’s a waste of resources to try to do that. And similarly, the way you progress throughout the game is you learn new things and you figure out new puzzles and you’re sort of expanding the tools or resources available to you. So it feels more personal, your growth, instead of just like, you got some numbers and your number bar went up and now your number of bars is bigger, right?

ALEX: You’re stronger because you killed a bunch of bunnies and you got XP out of it.

RENEE: Yeah, exactly.

ALEX: I know that you are a witch in your game, right?

RENEE: Yes, yes.

ALEX: I know that you’ve been working for quite a while in your game. Do you have an E.T.A.? And other than that, how’s the dev process behind this game that you’re so passionate about? And I want to know then if you are thinking about localizing it. I know that that’s quite the task as an indie developer, right? But what can you tell us about that whole process?

RENEE: Yeah. So we launched our alpha last December, and we’re getting close to beta. We’re probably about 85% of the way done with the game content. And right now I’m actually bringing on a designer or two. This is the first time I’ve announced it, so.

FLOR: Wow! We have the news.

RENEE: You do. Breaking news!

ALEX: Breaking news!

RENEE: To help with the final polishing, you know, additional puzzles, additional elements in the dungeons, you know, helping with tuning the boss fights. So we’re getting real close. I won’t say a date, but…

ALEX: That’s my idea. Okay.

RENEE: But I have a date in mind. I just need to make sure all the parts are falling into place there. Now, localization is a really interesting question because something that you might also know about my game is that it is very culturally inclusive. It’s actually inspired by fairy tales and folklore from around the world. So we have, you know, Baba Yaga from Slavic lore, and Tripitaka and Sun Wukong from “Journey to the West,” you know, traditional Western European fantasy, and things like the Zaqqum fruit from Islamic legend. And bringing those all together, I wanted to make sure that this was quite a worldly game. And because of that, I was thinking about localization from the very start. I don’t… You know, whether or not it will be localized, that is one question, but I built all of our systems with that plan. The only thing that I didn’t plan out yet was buttons, like the button text. I don’t have a lot of button text, so that will be something that will be fairly easy to go in and provide updates for. But all of the dialog I based around the ability to be able to localize it, because I knew that most localization companies like to use csv or xml files, and so I built our dialog system to be fed by xml files. I think when people are first making games, they’re sort of tempted to hard-code in their dialog, which is bad in so many ways, right? Like not only does it make your dialog much less accessible to anyone who is not technical, like you’re sending some poor writer in there, but it makes it very, very hard to localize because you have to cut and paste it all out and then send it over and then cut and paste everything back in. Whereas I have it where I could just export a bunch of csv files, send them in, and then… even the titles can change. Like they don’t even have to be like consistently named files. I could just throw them all in a folder and it magically works. It goes through, it processes all the keys, and I can then change elements such as the language very easily.

ALEX: But that’s like the ideal stage for a game that’s in the alpha stage, right? So that’s, that’s amazing. That’s good enough for an alpha stage game, almost beta, to have localization in mind from the very first moment. And then you can work your way around that. You’re certainly creating that space to make it easier for the future, right?

RENEE: Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, setting up your csvs properly, using unique keys for triggering dialog events and things like that allow you a lot of flexibility to add an additional functionality apart from localization. So I have audio triggers that I can put into those files as well. I have the visuals for characters who are talking, and then I have prebuilt ability to like change their facial expression, even though right now everyone just has a simple dialog image. It’s built so that, if I want to have multiple dialog images so they can look like angry or happy or surprised, that’s very, very easy to integrate.

FLOR: I think that’s amazing that you are taking all these considerations beforehand and not having localization as an afterthought, like we like to say. But I’m curious on how you learned that lesson, and was it the hard way that you start hard-coding your first games? Or was it something that you learned by reaching out to colleagues and friends within the industry?

RENEE: Um… Gosh, I think I learned it just… Like I said, I really like problem-solving, and one of the things I wanted to do is make sure that I was future proofing without over future proofing. And because of that… You know, I believe in that very strongly. Any time you’re architecting any system, whether it is games, whether it is mechanical engineering, which actually that’s my background, you want to make sure that you’re building it in a way where you can expand upon it if you think it’s going to expand in a certain way with minimal cost. And, you know, right now I don’t have a localization system in Potions, but adding a localization system will be very easy because I structured my game to support that. And that’s how I have tried to develop the entire game and the games and projects that I work on as well. I make sure that I’m considering what directions the features, the product, the game might take, and that those are considered in the base architecture and design. And I think that is sometimes learned through the school of hard knocks, but you can prevent a lot of that school of hard knocks learning if you just, you know, really sit down and consider the features that you want to have.

FLOR: Oh, yeah, for sure. I think that’s great advice for everyone who is starting with their project and don’t know what to plan for. And well, going back to IGDA, because of course we’re eager to learn what you’re working on, and we also know that you work towards different initiatives related to video game localization. So I was very curious to know, is there anything specific that game developers are interested in when it comes to localization? Or are there any questions that are repeated over and over in terms of localization when it comes to developers?

RENEE: Um, I think that one of the biggest questions that I’ve seen among developers is sort of twofold. One is what languages should we be localizing into? And the second…

FLOR: The million dollar question, right?

RENEE: Right. And the second is, how do we ensure that on the game side we’re getting easy-to-integrate localization? And obviously having these modular systems, making sure you can integrate the dialog translations easily is one thing, but you actually even have to think about the UI you’re using, which text you’re using. I think a lot of people forget that your font might not support, you know, all the languages you’re localizing into, and so you also have to add, you know, additional functionality to change the fonts along with the languages, you know, you’re providing localized text. I actually… I saw… One of my friends had a… like a technical test or like a technical producer test for an interview they were having, and in that there were some like “gotchas” in all of the problems. And I noticed when they were… One of the problems was like, “Oh, we need to do a global launch. We wanna make sure that everything’s localized. We have it all localized in EFIGS.” And as you’re probably aware, EFIGS is not like the current standard. For those who are not familiar with EFIGS, it’s for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Which is a whole bunch of languages that don’t work for pretty much a majority of the world, right? Like English has like…

FLOR: Exactly.

RENEE: But if you’re looking at like simplified Chinese, it’s gonna get you a far larger market than Italian is going to get you. No offense to Italians. Italians are great, but…

ALEX: No, but it’s very important to have, like, the proper market research, you know, and not just, let’s go EFIGS because that’s what you have to do, right? No. Know where you want to get your game published, then what languages does the gamer that you wanna reach out talk, right?

RENEE: Right, yeah. Doing research on similar games and seeing, you know, looking at Steam’s stats and seeing what languages they’re being played in, like what regions are playing them as well.

FLOR: Exactly. Yeah. I think that’s super important, to understand like what genres work on each specific market, right? Sorry, Ale, go ahead.

ALEX: No, please, Flor. It’s okay. I think that this may be like something that comes in the future of what we are talking like really. But if you had a chance to look into this future of the video game industry from your position as both things, right? As the IGDA CEO and as a developer, I don’t know, ten years from now, in the near future or whatever, what do you think or what would you absolutely love to see like happening on a regular basis that you think that there’s lacking right now?

RENEE: What I’m seeing the growth of and what I am excited to see grow more is the development of games from more regions. I mean, obviously there are game developers now everywhere, but we’re seeing a lot of enterprising game industry markets coming from regions that have previously not had that presence. You know, Africa is the big one that’s up and coming. We’re also seeing countries who have often provided outsourcing, like India, bringing more development in their in-house to develop their own projects instead of just providing assistance for other people’s. And I’d like to see that more and more, because obviously games are the largest entertainment industry in the world, but they have so much more room to grow in terms of supporting in all of these different regions and cultures because, they haven’t been fully global, at least not until more recently. And we absolutely can see more of that. And I’m seeing more of that up and coming every year. This is Calcifer. He says hi.

FLOR: Okay. Yes. We need a proper introduction.

RENEE: Go say hi, Calcifer.

ALEX: Hi, Calcifer!

FLOR: Oh, my goodness!

ALEX: He’s gonna make it to the episode, you know that, right?

FLOR: The fact that he’s called Calcifer is just great.

RENEE: Yes. Yes. Named after the Fire Demon in Howl’s Moving Castle.

ALEX: Yeah. It suits him.


FLOR: He’s like, “Mom, stop it.”

ALEX: Yes. “Mom, can I please go?”

RENEE: He likes being cradled, so he’s perfectly happy here.

FLOR: Well, welcome, Calcifer. So picking up on your last comments on the industry in general, it feels like you’re aiming towards more diversity, equity and inclusion within the gaming industry. And I know this has been a really hot topic in the last years, but this is something that you’ve been advocating and working towards for many, many years, regardless of the current status of the industry. And I know that there are many people out there trying to fully understand how they can collaborate and work together and create partnerships with different associations such as IGDA, even Women in Games and other associations that represent minorities within different markets and different countries. And is there any way or path you would recommend to game developers that want to get more involved in these initiatives and don’t know where to start?

RENEE: Yeah, absolutely. You know, the IGDA has many, many resources that can help on all different levels of that. If you’re interested in just learning more about creating an inclusive workspace and a healthy work culture, we actually published a paper during the summer called Guide for Game Companies: How to Create and Sustain a Positive Work Culture, which talks about tools for DEI, but also for, you know, just creating a healthy work culture that’s going to best support your employees and their mental health and their wellness and well-being. And of course, you know, equity and inclusion is a large part of that. We’re also just about to publish another paper that is called Inclusive Game Design and Development. It’s about how to create inclusive game development projects from building your initial team and, you know, concepting the gaming world all the way through the design of the game, accessibility considerations and all the way through marketing and community development. So those are gonna be great resources for anyone who is interested in learning more about those subjects. If you are passionate about, you know, improving the resources for the industry or helping others taking a stand, we have special interest groups, both affinity and discipline-based. So we have Women in Games, LGBTQ+, Muslims in Games, Blacks in Games, all the way through disciplines, such as game writers, game designers, quality assurance. And those communities come together from all over the world to help uplift each other and to provide support to these topics that they’re passionate about.

FLOR: Well, that’s amazing. And when do you think this paper is going to be published? Do you have a date for that?

RENEE: I do. It’s gonna be early December.

FLOR: Excellent. And what if someone from our audience wants to reach out to IGDA and get more information about how to become a member or even how to collaborate in these different initiatives or special groups that you’re mentioning?

RENEE: Yeah. All of that information is available at If you’d like to become a member, of course we’ll welcome you, but you’re more than welcome to join our Discord communities. Even without membership, we have studio affiliation if you’re looking to get assistance for supporting all of your studio members. And, of course, we have all of these wonderful resources on our Resource Library that you can find right on that website as well.

ALEX: We’re gonna leave all the links below from the IGDA and from Potions: A Curious Tale at the Steam page as well.

RENEE: Thank you.

FLOR: Oh, yeah.

ALEX: Yep, yep, yep.

FLOR: All right. Well, how do we feel about going through the memes now? It’s about time, so I’m gonna share my screen. So “Doctors: Googling stuff online does not make you a doctor.” Programmers are like, mmm…”

RENEE: Oh, boy.

FLOR: Let me think twice about that.

RENEE: Yeah. I have to Google things all the time when I’m coding. I’ll forget something silly, like the exact formatting of switch statements or something like that, and I’ll just go, “All right, you know, the C-sharp switch statement. Easy enough, look it up.” But yeah, always, always looking up things, especially when you’re working in a game engine, you know, it requires so much documentation to understand how different calls are operating and what you’re getting back. So absolutely constantly Googling things.

ALEX: But please, everyone, go see your doctor. This is just for programmers. I don’t know.

FLOR: And now that you mentioned engines, what engine are you working on right now?

RENEE: So Potions: A Curious Tale is being made in Unity. I’ve found that its combination of 2D and 3D tools was really compelling, plus its ability to export easily to pretty much any platform.

ALEX: Nice.

FLOR: Excellent. “The two states of every programmer: I’m a God versus I have no idea what I’m doing.”

RENEE: The Googling comes in on one of these.

ALEX: Yeah. I can imagine that the guy on the left has a Google tab open somewhere.

FLOR: I think it can come in both.

RENEE: I have had to… So a funny thing about Unity is a lot of times the way that you write the code is you’re writing monobehaviours and they don’t run unless they exist in the scene. And so you’ll spend all this time writing new code and new functionality, and then you’ll test it and it’s not working. You put in print statements or you try debugging it and it’s not being called and it’s not printing. And I have spent, you know, up to 30 or 40 minutes trying to figure out what’s wrong. And I forgot to add the code to the scene. I just didn’t like drag and drop it. Oh, boy, yeah.

FLOR: We all have those moments, like we’re both geniuses and this dog with no idea what they’re doing.

RENEE: Yeah. And it’s funny because I go straight from “I have no idea what I’m doing” to “I added in and it runs perfectly the first time,” then I’m, “I’m a God!”

FLOR: Never didn’t have it.

ALEX: These are interchangeable.

RENEE: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, 100%.

FLOR: Oh, okay.

ALEX: Shower thoughts.

FLOR: How often does this happen to you?

RENEE: Oh, boy. When I’m doing a lot of programing, it happens all the time. I think that what I really appreciate about this meme is that… This is not the original version. The original version, when she’s in panel four, is like… existential dread, you know. Hence the face. But it works perfectly for when you’re thinking about that bug as well.

FLOR: Also bugs can be existential dreads.

RENEE: Pretty much. Yeah. You know, the funny thing is, human brains work better when you’re not just constantly focused on a problem. So this is 100% happens. I can get too much into it, but there is actually a lot of reasons why, if you get stuck on a problem, you should go take a walk.

FLOR: Yes.

RENEE: Or shower or whatever you need. I recommend some light exercise because that feeds your brain. But yeah, get away from your problems instead of just bashing your face on your keyboard.

FLOR: Yeah, some fresh air, sunlight, and just get the blood flowing and then come back and everything will feel a little better.

RENEE: Mm-hmm. 100%.

FLOR: For sure. Okay, this one. Poor thing. She has no idea what’s going on.

ALEX: I have to say that I needed context. The first time I saw this, I needed an explanation. I thought it was just, like, the cutest thing, but no.

RENEE: It was cute. I… I really enjoy, like, dark humor that’s hidden, you know? I don’t like over the top dark humor or in-your-face dark humor, but I love dark humor that’s under a few layers of understanding. That just tickles me. And yes, this is very dark.

FLOR: Well, would you like to walk our audience through this? Because maybe some people need also an explanation.

RENEE: Yeah, I imagined. So if you’ve not watched “Fullmetal Alchemist,” this is a spoiler. So if you’re gonna watch it, don’t listen for the next like minute. This guy is like a scientist, he does experiments, but one of the things that he does is he combines his daughter with the family dog into a chimera and creates this horrific suffering creature that wants nothing more than to be put out of its misery. So this filter of, you know, seeing her like a dog…

FLOR: Yeah, it’s really dark.

ALEX: Yeah. It’s very dark.

FLOR: Of course, he has no idea what’s going on. He’s like, “Come on, I’m gonna take a picture of you.”

RENEE: Yeah.

FLOR: Again, Googling.

RENEE: It’s… Yeah.

ALEX: Again, interchangeable. One thing comes with the other.

FLOR: One thing can be two things, so.

ALEX: Yeah. Two things can happen at the same time.

RENEE: I would say the hardest thing about game development…. So I’ve actually mentored high school students before, and the hardest thing isn’t coming up with game ideas, it is figuring out how to solve problems you haven’t faced before. And 90% of that, aside from just like the initial approach of figuring out what the problem even is, is figuring out how to type it into Google. Because obviously, like, how do you phrase this? What sort of terminology do you use? If you’re a self-taught programmer, you know, I was a self-taught programmer or a self-taught game developer, a lot of times you don’t even know the terms that you should be using to describe the problem that you’re facing or what you’re looking to solve or the tool you’re looking to access. So being good at Googling is a very, very important skill to be a good game developer.

FLOR: Oh yeah, for sure. And the same applies to video game translators because most of the time, well, more often than we’d like to, we don’t have enough context. And if we’re lucky enough, we’re working on a franchise or something that we can Google. If not, we’ll have to go into the deep web and find how that specific term or word can be localized into your culture and into your language, right? So Googling is a really good skill.

RENEE: I have to ask about that. How do you handle names?

FLOR: Well, that depends on, of course, the game that you’re working on and the client, and if they have a style guide or if they… Because maybe you can open the discussion and decide together with them, because sometimes they have a clear vision and they know that they want their games to be fully localized, because the names may refer to something within the narrative or a characteristic of the…

ALEX: The character.

FLOR: The character. So you may want that to be localized and sometimes you don’t, but it’s a process that you go through together with the game developers or even the publisher, because of course, if you’re going to localize and look for the same impact, you have to come up with a whole new name sometimes. So it can be tricky.

RENEE: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about with my game because I have characters who are literally named from lore, right? Like Tripitaka and Sun Wukong, the English translation version that is used in the “Journey to the West” copies that are really popular over here. But obviously, like, they are quite popular lore and they have different names in different regions that are attached to them. And I imagine a lot of the fairy tales or folklore from Europe that I use similarly probably have multiple different names based on what region that they’re being sold in.

ALEX: Yeah, I mean, one of the things that we like to say…

FLOR: Yeah, that’s something…

ALEX: Sorry, Flor.

FLOR: Oh, go ahead.

ALEX: One of the things that we like to say every time that we have the opportunity is that video game translators, localizers, are the gatekeepers of their culture, right? So to have that safe space to talk with the developers, to see what’s the best thing for each market, for that particular game, to have that open communication and to have that knowledge to like, “Hey, this would be interesting to localize it for this market because it would be more approachable or easy to understand.” And that’s always like the best-case scenario, so to speak.

FLOR: Yeah. And in your case, like your game, if you make reference to so many… if you have so many cultural references, you definitely want to investigate and make sure that you’re using the right term, since there’s probably already a validated version in their language.

RENEE: Absolutely.

FLOR: That’s very important. And you’ll have to Google a lot for that.

RENEE: And that’s why you go to experts, right? This is why people need to go to experts who do localization versus just trying to like throw it all into Google Translate.

FLOR: Oh, yeah, absolutely. We Google, but we don’t Google translate. That’s the thing.

ALEX: If you’re gonna do that, then don’t.

FLOR: Unless you want a Frankenstein or something out of the translation. Okay. “When you see Superman using the car you’re still making payments on as a weapon.” Like, why?

ALEX: I love the fact that his face is smiling, but he’s like in terror.

FLOR: That expression, it’s like… oh, boy. “Four years after college and all of my peers are getting married, and I’m just sitting here making video games.” Well, and having cats.

ALEX: That’s your leading character, right?

RENEE: It is. It is. And the picture behind her is her familiar. It’s been edited in there, too. A subtle additional extra. Yeah.

FLOR: That’s so cool. I feel like it’s so interesting that memes are a new way for game developers to connect with their communities and to get their characters out there and more relatable. So this is great.

RENEE: Yeah. That’s also very old. I’m ten years out of college now, so…

ALEX: You’re gonna need to, like, erase the board. But it’s okay, you can get away with the four, don’t worry about it.

FLOR: “When you’re working really hard on code for an upcoming deadline.” And bugs.

RENEE: There is that wonderful song, “99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs. Take one down, patch it around, 117 bugs in the code.“

ALEX: Like I just feel sad for the poor little Charmander here.

FLOR: Yeah, his little sad face, like. Yeah, I can definitely relate. Well, I think like throughout all of our episodes and interviews, one of the most common memes was the one of the dog that says “This is fine” while everything is on fire. So I think this is everything is on fire, taken to a next level.

RENEE: So, yeah, you’re taking things, you’re trying to put out the fires causing more fires, right?

FLOR: And you are on fire.

RENEE: You are on fire. Yeah. Try as you might.

FLOR: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that’s the end of our memes. Thank you so much, Renee, for sharing…

RENEE: Oh, it’s a pleasure.

FLOR: …those with us. I love to learn what makes our guests laugh. And thanks for making us laugh, too.

RENEE: Happy to share the laughs.

FLOR: Yeah, of course. It was so nice to have you, so nice to learn more about IGDA and about your project. We’re really looking forward to see when it’s gonna be released. So as soon as you have more information to share with us, please do, because we’re very excited to learn more about it. And thanks everyone for tuning in. See you on our next episode of Open World.

ALEX: Bye, everyone. Thank you.

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