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In a rather unusual move, Ignition Entertainment announced that Muramasa: The Demon Blade would be released in the US without English voice-acting.

Ignition Business Development Director Shane Bettenhausen was quoted as saying, “…trying to dub it, trying to make something more Western is really not a service to the product…who wants some goofy anime voices in this game?”

Continue reading for my thoughts on the matter.

This is a bold (and potentially risky) move by Ignition, since not even famously Japanese-friendly publishers like Atlus and NIS-America have dared to release a (voiced) game without some form of English voice-acting. In fact, one of the only games I can remember that was ever released sans English was Yakuza 2, which went into the wild practically unannounced, as if Sega didn’t even bother to think it would sell.

That said, methinks that there’s more to this than cultural faithfulness. Casting, hiring, and working with voice actors is expensive. Ignition is a relatively young publisher, without the resources available to its competitors, despite its strong ties to SNK’s lineup.

Ignition also has many upcoming releases on its slate, and devoting capital, time and manpower to the task may simply be unfeasible. Muramasa is scheduled for release just a few months from now, and getting it out early may well generate the revenue needed to fund other projects in the future, projects that can afford to be fully dual-audio.

As something of a Japanophile purist myself this is certainly a welcome decision, but I can understand that some would be rather miffed. Some folks would rather listen to their games than read them, after all.

  1. On the *extremely rare* occasion that I watch anime, I use the English dub in conjunction with English subtitles. Forget having something in a language I don’t understand – that never helps me immerse myself in anything.

    On the other hand, I probably won’t buy this game because I disliked Odin Sphere…but still! It’s the principal of the thing.

    The only other thing I’ll add is…I really hope they take care with this localization; the only other game from Ignition that I’ve played was Blue Dragon Plus, and it was rife with grammatical errors.

  2. avatar Heckthor

    Well, i really rather have a game with English Subtitles and not some sorry ass actor with bad acting dubbing the game. So this is the best option.

  3. @Jamie
    If you disliked Odin Sphere for it’s mechanics, and not the gameplay, you might enjoy Muramasa. It’s an elementary version, without all the advanced planting/foraging tactics.

  4. Most of it was the extreme slowdown, cheap death, and repetitiveness. I didn’t like the story either, but as long as at least one thing is worth it I wouldn’t have minded it. The alchemy and planting stuff was about the only thing that didn’t upset me about the game, even though it was really easy to break.

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