Aselia the Eternal Interview
Aselia the Eternal Interview
By: Andrew Barker and RPGFan Staff
December 14th, 2011
Aselia_the_Eternal Though it may not be a title on everyone's radar, Aselia the Eternal (an RPG with visual novel elements) was localised by JAST USA just a short time ago. This week, we had a chance to ask some questions of Phil Long (aka Makoto) from JAST USA's PR department. There are some really interesting answers, so keep on reading to find out a little more about this exciting game.

RPGFan: What sets Aselia the Eternal apart from other visual novels and RPGs?

Phil Long: What sets Aselia apart is that it isn't really a "visual novel" at all. It's a serious RPG that happens to have narrative text, which is a feature most commonly found in visual novels. The focus is on the hardcore gameplay and compelling story, neither of which is a feature exclusive to visual novels.

RPGFan: Can you tell us a little about the world of Phantasmagoria?

PL: Phantasmagoria is a medieval fantasy world. The story takes place on a continent divided between several nations, each with its own agenda. Of particular note are the Kingdom of Rakios, the Malorigan Republic, and the Holy Sargios Empire. The protagonist Yuuto and his friends from our world each end up in one of these three nations.

War in Phantasmagoria is fought primarily by Spirits, a race of all-female warriors tied to magical weapons called Eternity Swords. Spirits are treated as little more than slaves, and are expected to fight and die without question for their human masters. There are also Etrangers, human warriors summoned from other worlds who wield powerful Eternity Swords but are subject to the same inhumane treatment as Spirits. Yuuto and his friends become Etrangers and are forced to fight against each other.

To reveal any more about the setting would take away from the fun of the game, so I'll leave it at that. Suffice to say that there is a world of truly epic scale waiting for players of Aselia. Aselia_the_Eternal

RPGFan: Throughout the game, the characters from Phantasmagoria speak their own fantasy language. Did this pose any challenges for translation?

PL: The Yoto language itself needed only to be romanized, which posed no significant problem. It was, however, necessary to figure out a way to present the language as distinct from English, especially when the languages become integrated as Yuuto learns to understand Yoto. The Yoto language, for example has the word "is," which could have been confusing as part of an English sentence. The decision was made to quote the Yoto language separately with [brackets] for consistency. In the case of words that Yuuto learns the meaning of but keeps using anyway, the [brackets] are taken off, and the word is treated like a regular loan word.

RPGFan: Aselia was originally released in 2003. Why did you decide to localize it now?

PL: The company Xuse actually was preparing to release the game in English for the PS2, but unfortunately the suits at Sony shot down the project. They'd always wanted to bring the game out to fans in English and were happy to work with us.

RPGFan: A few different versions of Aselia the Eternal have been released. Which one have you produced? Was any content cut?

PL: The version of Aselia the Eternal released by JAST USA matches the exact content of the version that was released for PS2 in Japan, with nothing from that version removed.

RPGFan: This was JASTs first all-ages release. Can you tell us a bit about why you decided to take this path?

PL: The world of Japanese gaming is rich and varied, and there's a lot to like about all kinds of games. We chose to bring this game out so we could reach a wider range of fans. If it sells well, we will definitely do more. Aselia_the_Eternal

RPGFan: There's no doubt localizing a Japanese game is a big task! How long did it take to fully translate and prepare Aselia?

PL: Visual novels usually take about a year to get out. RPGs like Aselia and the upcoming Yumina and Seinarukana can take significantly longer due to the large number of images that must be edited.

RPGFan: Did any of you have a chance to play the game once it was done? Did you have any favorite characters?

PL: We love all of Aselia's characters. One of the great things about Aselia is that all of the characters shine, and with seven romance options to choose from, everyone is sure to find someone they like.

RPGFan: Any plans to localize Aselia's sequel, 'Seinarukana'?

PL: Seinarukana is absolutely getting localized. The game is currently being translated, and we look forward to releasing it in the not-too-distant future. If you enjoy Aselia, Seinarukana is a must buy. Aselia_the_Eternal

RPGFan: For someone who has never played a visual novel before, why would Aselia be a good place to start?

PL: For an RPG fan looking to get into visual novels, Aselia is the perfect gateway. It has all the RPG volume any hardcore gamer could want, with in-depth strategy gameplay and three difficulty levels from Normal to Super Hard. There's no Easy. At the same time, it has all the features of a visual novel – narrative text, multiple endings, and a cast of attractive heroines to choose from – but these features (with the exception of narrative text) will already be familiar to many players of RPGs. Someone who might otherwise be put off with the idea of having to "read" a game will have no trouble getting into Aselia.

RPGFan would like to thank Phil Long for his responses and time and JAST USA for the opportunity!