Is localization from Japan to US getting better or worse?
As a fan of JRPGs (formerly known as RPGs), I love it when games cross the ocean (not sure which one) from the land of the rising sun to the home of the brave. This year was great for long awaited localization of titles like Xenoblade Chronicles, Last Story, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Tales of Graces f, the Guild 01 games, Yakuza Dead Souls, and oh so more.
Next year is gonna be particularly awesome with titles like Tales of Xillia, Ni no Kuni:WotWW, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers, and probably (fingers crossed) Bravely Default, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Yakuza 5, and Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix.
What I'm finally getting at, is that localization is great, and for those who don't like to buy or can't get the overseas versions, it's the only option to get these games. So, why do we as gamers have to hold our breath for these games to come here? There are several exceptions to this, but many games never make it overseas. Maybe publishers don't see them doing well over here, maybe it's a cost issue, maybe it depends on sales, I don't know! I am very frustrated with Capcom for the handling of EX Troopers. The jackasses hardcoded the text to the game, making translation a pain in the ass if it ever gets a shot of coming over.
Even for games that do get localized, it will no doubt be a long wait. Sometimes this isn't the case (FFXIII-2 took only a month and a half vs. XIII's three plus months.) but US localizations can take a long while. That being said, good localization (Level 5 and Atlus are awesome at this) takes time, so the wait is usually worth it.
Finally, censorship. Yakuza 3 infamously took away the hostess clubs, which Sega thought was took risque for other territories (however Yakuza 4 remained unchanged due to fan outcry). NIS also has a tendency to censor their titles, even though the content is similar to what you would find to localized anime dvds and blu-ray, I don't get it. Also, Namco censored the Xenosaga games (mostly violence) so that the series could keep a Teen rating (did they not notice the SMT games keeping the M ratings?).
That's it for me. I love it when games are localized, but I wish it would happen more often. Thank you to Atlus, Level 5, and Square-Enix for keeping international fans in mind. Anyone else want to chime in? Localization, the floor is yours...
It depends on which aspect you're looking at. If we're talking quality, then I think localizations are much better now than they were twenty years ago. If we're talking frequency, then I feel like it's about the same as it used to be. We didn't used to get some of the biggest games (Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy), but now we do get the big ones and we don't get the little quirky ones, we're just more aware about them than we were before.