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.