April 25, 2024


The Korean voice-over for ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’.

Ruliweb, the largest online game community & webzine in Korea, posted an article about the localization of ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’.

(FYI, Ruliweb has more than several million users and is the largest and most influential online game community compared to other major media.)

 Here is the original link: http://bbs.ruliweb.com/news/read/118105

 Title: How to localize ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’ Korean, Interview with Musai Studio

* Below is a summary of the article since it was written in Korean.

● [Ruliweb] About Musai Studio

Musai Studio led by In-wook Yi is responsible for localizing ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’ in Korea. From MechWarrior to Halo 5: Guardians, he has been working on more than 400 games for nearly 20 years. We could call Musai Studio as a living witness of game localization in Korea. For a more detailed introduction of Musai Studio, please read the previous
interview with In-wook Yi. This time, we’d like to tell the story about the localization of ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’.

● [Ruliweb] Nice to meet you again. Today, we would like to talk about the localization of ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’.

[Musai] I was very surprised at how much the gamers were looking forward to ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’. It seems to be a hot topic because a European game company is making a game based on Asian culture.

● [Ruliweb] ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’ will be released fully localized, including voice over. Could you please explain how you prepare for the localization process?

[Musai] First of all, we have an internal kickoff meeting. We discuss how we should translate this game and how much we will adhere to the historical setting, as in the modernization of vocabularies and the tone of speech. So, we make a glossary for the consistency of proper nouns, and we also analyze the characters thoroughly. Not only do we consider the script of each character but also the style of their voice actor. After the translation of the script, I review it as the voice over artistic director to check the length of the lines. I pay extra attention to the lines for cutscenes to make them fit in. When these steps are complete, we can finally start dubbing.

● [Ruliweb] I assume there would be some post production work to insure a good localization.

[Musai] During actual gameplay, the recorded sound is played in a variety of situations. Audio mastering is required so that the voice can be heard clearly even when there are certain sound effects and BGM playing at the same time. When playing some dubbed game, voice could not be heard clear and volume is in and out. Most of these cases, the reason is mastering issue. Have you played a game where the characters’ voice can’t be heard clearly and some lines are too high or too low in volume? Audio mastering is important to prevent those issues.

● [Ruliweb] On average, how long does it take to record voice-overs for a game? How long is it taking for ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’?

[Musai] It is quite different for each game. Basically, it depends on the project volume and how difficult it is to dub. For instance, it takes more time to voce-over an action or a shooter game where the talents have to shout loudly. The number of cinematic movies which need the audio and video to sync also affect the schedule. The longest time I have ever worked on a single game is about six month, which is for ‘Lost Odyssey’. For ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’, normally it will take 10 weeks but we have to finish it in 6 weeks. So we’ll have to work on weekends and holidays.

● [Ruliweb] ‘Total War: Three Kingdoms’ is a strategy game, so it must be very different from dubbing a RPG or a FPS game.

[Musai] Frankly speaking, strategy games are a bit easier to record compared to RPG and FPS games. In an RPG, there is a story arc and there are many dialogues between the characters. Whereas in this game, the setting is ancient China but its story is made by players; that gives us some freedom from sticking to the historical setting.  

● [Ruliweb] Creative Assembly is a UK based company. Was there any difference in how they portray ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ compared to what we are familiar with?

[Musai] Yes, there was. I think their perspective of Asian culture is based on Japanese classics. For example, Liu bei was like Buddha and Lu bu was depicted as a samurai. So, I could say it was somewhat different from the Three Kingdoms that we know. I took this to Sega Korea and we agreed to reinterpret the text to a style more acceptable to Korean players.

● [Ruliweb] There are many characters with unique personalities in this game. It must have been difficult to choose the right voice actor for the characters.

[Musai] We had a live audition for all the major characters. The one that took more effort was Cao cao(조조) because the client wanted him to sound like Captain America in the Avengers movie. We had a talk and sorted it out.

● [Ruliweb] Please introduce Musai Studio’s works in 2018?

[Musai] Yes, of course. We worked on ‘Gwent’, ‘Throne Breaker: The Witcher Tales’, ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’, and ‘Jurassic World: Evolution’. I am especially fond of ‘Throne Breaker’, which was a game that required me to utilize all my skills and knowledge. There was this time when I was watching a YouTube channel and noticed that the streamer was listening to all the dubbed dialogues. I also saw some of the fans posting how much they liked the quality of Gwent’s voice-over. Its moments like these that make me proud of my job.

● [Ruliweb] I’ve noticed that there is a divide among Korean gamers whether they like their games to be dubbed or not.

[Musai] Sometimes, I leave a comment myself when I see a post about our past work like Halo 5 or Rise of the Tomb Raider. I even left an e-mail address asking for feedback. However, I find it hard to accept some people saying things like “You are making it harder to enjoy the acting of the original actor” and “You are a cancer to the gaming industry”. Localization is not for those who can understand the original language well, but for those who want to play games in their native language and have a more immersive experience.

There was a survey that pointed out when we watch a movie in a foreign language, we remember 50% less scenes compared to the native speakers. We remember only 20% after three months, and 10% after six months. This proves that reading the subtitles makes it harder to focus on the screen. That’s why it is no surprise that in some countries with high illiteracy, there are laws which make dubbing in movies and TV series mandatory. I understand that some people prefer the original, but I hope they don’t disregard the localized version for not being the same as the original.

  • If you have us any questions or inquiry about this article, please send it through info@musaikorea.com


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