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Was Nicalis a mistake for Pixel?

Aug 13, 2019 at 9:53 PM
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#1
Nicalis is a game studio whose model seems to be getting existing indie game IPs and more or less hijacking successful games and putting it under their umbrella.
In the case of Cave Story, they seem to have taken control over the IP as a whole (which is a problem in of itself), and what they do with the game can be very questionable. Cave Story 3D takes what could have been a really great idea (imagine a 3D Cave Story with a sort of pixel-art inspired 3D aesthetic - a Mega Man Legends-esque visual style would suit the original graphics wonderfully. Quote could look like how he does in the end slide art, too) - but the execution was an amateur mess. Cave Story 3D is a drab, inferior version of the original with muddy background art and childish character designs.

Even then, does anyone else remember the CS Wii fiasco? The music was totally botched, replaced with poor MIDI instrumentations with anemic percussion. For instance, CS Wii's rendition of Safety is really awful compared to the original.

CS+ has many features I appreciate - Boss Rush, making the beta Wind Fortress playable, playing as Curly, etc. These are all great additions. However, there is evidence that Nicalis took existing fan mods and used them to make some of these mods possible. Here is a comparison between the boss rush mode in CS+ when compared to a fan mod - it should be noted that the code comments are the same, which is highly suspicious.

In addition, the localization Nicalis went with for their CS ports is a lot less charming and natural sounding than the original fan translation project.
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 2:46 AM
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#2
hmmm.
That does seem pretty suspicious.
Another reason why the cave story fanbase thinks nicalis is the devil!
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 5:17 AM
Okay I give up... for now
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#3
Yep, you pretty much echoed the same sentiments I wrote about in another thread. NICALiS overall hasn't done justice to the carefully crafted masterpiece of the original Cave Story, letting tons of glitches slip in, and often leaving more to be desired with the designs. I also never cared much for Quote's odd proportions in CS3D, much preferring the natural body proportions in the credit art.

To their credit, NICALiS has brought the game to a wider audience, which is great, but it is sometimes interesting to think about what alternate vendors Pixel could have partnered with that would have pleased fans a bit more.
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 7:51 AM
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#4
I also never cared much for Quote's odd proportions in CS3D, much preferring the natural body proportions in the credit art.
Kinda sad when the proportions and stylization used for Quote is even worse in Crystal Crisis. Which is why the Runner 2 design for him will always be the superior one.
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 8:08 PM
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#6
Cave Story 3D is a drab, inferior version of the original with muddy background art and childish character designs.
Pixel himself (along with some other developers) worked on CS3D. It wasn't Nicalis who made it. By criticizing CS3D you're indirectly criticizing Pixel. If Pixel liked the end result, it means he considers it good.
Here is a comparison between the boss rush mode in CS+ when compared to a fan mod - it should be noted that the code comments are the same, which is highly suspicious.
The code for Boss Rush is the same because it is the mod. Nicalis approached this very forum for mods to include into CS+.
In addition, the localization Nicalis went with for their CS ports is a lot less charming and natural sounding than the original fan translation project.
I don't see how "more verbose/literary" means "more natural". When I play the game with the AGTP translation, I feel like I'm reading a book. When I play the Nicalis ports, I feel like I'm face-to-face with the characters. The AGTP translation also has/had many mistakes that are just too disappointing to even think about. (I'm looking at you, Koron, Nikumaru, and Grasstown).

And to answer your original question,
Was Nicalis a mistake for Pixel?
Did Pixel quit his day job after the wiiware release thanks to the revenue from Nicalis? Yes. Does he still get enough revenue from Nicalis? Yes.
I don't see how Nicalis is a mistake for Pixel.

conclusion: nicalis bad lmao
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 8:31 PM
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#7
'Grasstown' wasn't a mistake. The original name was 'Kusamura', with 'mura' being a suffix for villages/towns (heck, the filename for Mimiga Village's music is 'MURA'), and 'kusa' literally meaning 'grass'.
 
Last edited:
Aug 14, 2019 at 8:33 PM
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#8
Maybe, but it makes no sense in English. Literal translation is bad and that's what ruins the AGTP translation the most. Bushland(s) on the other hand, does have a meaning in English: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushland
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 8:39 PM
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#9
"My brother, Kazuma, is stuck in an area called Bushlands."

It's the town's name, not a description. It makes perfect sense in English.
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 8:51 PM
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#10
Aug 14, 2019 at 8:55 PM
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#11
I'm looking at you, Koron, Nikumaru, and Grasstown
The Japanese name for Grasstown is literally "Grasstown". Bushlands makes zero sense as grass is a brush, not a bush, there's even trees in the 3DS version, but no bush in sight, but what is present is a town. Which is why my theory for all this is that Nicalis meant to call it Brushlands, but then again, why bother calling it that when it's Grasstown?

Also tbh, 290 Counter sounds pretty forgettable, and does it really matter if Nikumaru is literally 290, but made more memorable?
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 9:13 PM
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#12
The Japanese name for Grasstown is literally "Grasstown".
I'm assuming you started writing your post before I posted that link, which is an article written by a professional translator, quoting from an actual Japanese to English dictionary, the meaning of the word "Kusamura" (not "kusa + mura") with the same katakana you see in the Japanese version of the game.

TL;DR: "kusa mura" != "kusamura" just like "bush land" != "bushland"
 
Aug 14, 2019 at 11:10 PM
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#13
Even if Nicalis obtaining CS could be seen as some mistake in what they sometimes do with the game in regards of bugs and less great translations, there's still the better side of how they port the game to Nintendo consoles since the Wii (Although Wii(U) is now cut off with the wii shop's death) and their attempts to add more content to their ports.
Though it can still be argued that other groups perhaps still could have done better jobs on this.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 12:35 AM
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#14
has anyone mentioned how we know exactly how to fix Curse Broken in CS+ but they havent fixed it in 7 years
bc thats the kind of problem i have with them
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 12:38 AM
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#15
has anyone mentioned how we know exactly how to fix Curse Broken in CS+ but they havent fixed it in 7 years
bc thats the kind of problem i have with them
It's fixed.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 12:39 AM
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#16
A lot of you guy's think Pixel sold the rights to Nicalis but you guy's actually have it all wrong.
What some of you may not know, Nicalis only owns cave story +.
So, Pixel only licensed it to them.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 3:55 AM
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#17
1. To be fair Nicalis did a stellar job with the Switch version.
2. Nicalis doesn't own Cave Story, they just have commercial rights to it. Effectively Nicalis' arrangement with Pixel is similar to that of a publisher with a developer.
3. The official translation is known to be more accurate, it is just isn't as well written as the AGTP translation.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 7:20 AM
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#18
The official translation is known to be more accurate, it is just isn't as well written as the AGTP translation.
I feel like the last part is a matter of preference. I think the AGTP translation is a tad bit too literal and verbose while the official translation is more loose and natural.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 8:35 AM
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#19
I think the AGTP translation is a tad bit too literal and verbose while the official translation is more loose and natural.
The medical doctor of stupidity that has captured me and everybody in my anthropomorphic lapine bretheren should go perform the acting of sexual intercourse with himself, for I am imprisoned behind a gate made of sturdy steel bars, unable to be opened as it uses a locking mechanism to prevent me from escaping my current residence with other anthropomorphic lapines who share the same sentiments with me.
 
Aug 15, 2019 at 4:43 PM
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#20
Also tbh, 290 Counter sounds pretty forgettable, and does it really matter if Nikumaru is literally 290, but made more memorable?
I love the AGTP, but that's an actual flaw. That is what happens when you have no idea what you're reading and you give up trying to translate it - you just romanise it and hope nobody will notice.

has anyone mentioned how we know exactly how to fix Curse Broken in CS+ but they havent fixed it in 7 years
bc thats the kind of problem i have with them
They fixed it the other day. Took them long enough.

Kinda sad when the proportions and stylization used for Quote is even worse in Crystal Crisis. Which is why the Runner 2 design for him will always be the superior one.
It might be bad, but the rendition of Ballos made me vomit.

Even then, does anyone else remember the CS Wii fiasco? The music was totally botched, replaced with poor MIDI instrumentations with anemic percussion. For instance, CS Wii's rendition of Safety is really awful compared to the original.
There are a lot of cool ideas in that version, but yes its instrumentation (why you use plural?) is severely lacking.

Literal translation is bad
Literal translation doesn't have to be bad, and may indeed preserve meaning from the original text where an idiomatic translation would simply smooth over it.
An example of this "smoothing over" can be found here in both of Cave Story's translations:
AGTP said:
Toroko...
I can't believe it...
Toroko's elder brother, Arthur, was a fabulous warrior.
But he was killed by one of the Doctor's goons.
And now, I...I couldn't protect her...
NiCALiS said:
Not Toroko too...
Toroko's older brother, Arthur was our strongest warrior.
But he was killed by the Doctor himself.
I wasn't even able to protect Toroko...
Both of these translations try to make up for the fact that the Japanese text doesn't really specify exactly who kills Arthur, but it seems instead that it was at the behest of the Doctor.
Original said:
だけどドクターの手先に殺されちまったんだ。
Lit. "except (they) were killed at/by the doctor's hands"

I'm assuming you started writing your post before I posted that link, which is an article written by a professional translator, quoting from an actual Japanese to English dictionary, the meaning of the word "Kusamura" (not "kusa + mura") with the same katakana you see in the Japanese version of the game.

TL;DR: "kusa mura" != "kusamura" just like "bush land" != "bushland"
Okay, I don't think you speak Japanese at all, so let me explain.
The word in the JED referenced in the link is in hiragana. (くさむら)
Katakana and hiragana are not the same thing. They're both "kana" in broad terms, but they have different uses.
I'll speak fairly broadly here, but- Hiragana is for writing native Japanese words, forms, and everything else that doesn't fit its own category. Katakana is used for modern loanwords, which are usually phonetically transcribed or abbreviated versions of English words. Ex. テレビ (te-re-bi, television), パスコン (pa-su-ko-n, personal computer), exceptions are things like パン (pa-n, bread) from French.
The name "kusamura" is written with katakana in the game. (クサムラ) The same goes for the zone's track in OrgView. In older versions of OrgView, however, it's written in hiragana without any kanji to give us a hint as to what precisely it is supposed to mean. (くさむら) But I think the fact that the name is written with katakana in newer versions is at least somewhat significant. Unfortunately, I'm not a native speaker of Japanese, so I probably don't quite understand the nuance of writing something in katakana in way that seems gratuitous. From my perspective, it seems like words that are mixed up with foreign words, or terms that people see as foreign are written with katakana, since katakana is used to keep foreign words from being mixed up with native ones in general. The meaning here could be that it's a place-name rather than an ickname.
OK, bigger issue: why don't I think "Bushlands" is a good translation?
Question: what is a bushland?
Well, here's the most comprehensive definition I could find of the word:
uncultivated land (esp in Australia) that is covered with trees, shrubs, or other natural vegetation
Since the word comes from Australia, it refers to land that is like the uncultivated land in Australia. The thing is, クサムラ looks nothing like this kind of bushland, and the Canadian meaning doesn't fit either. So if it's not a "bushland", maybe it's a "bush land"? Well, there are no bushes (only grass), and it's not a land (it's a cave). It looks like an overgrown, dank cave full of thick weed-like grass. "A grassy place" is at least probably the right Japanese word (this one), but "Bushlands" is an inadequate translation of it.
It should also be noted that クサムラ is known as "weed" everywhere in the game's files, indicating that "クサ" is probably meant to mean "weed" rather than "grass". Who wants to visit Weedtown with me?

Why did this happen? Why are these two translations so different?
Well, usually when you want to get something translated you'll hire translators whose native language is your target language (i.e. hire Japanese speakers to translate English into Japanese). Apparently NiCALiS don't think so though, because they hired two Japanese people to translate the game into English.
-Localization
Yoko Saito
Rie Hagihara
I've tried looking them up before, but it's hard to find anything conclusive without bugging people about something they probably don't really care about.
Basically, that explains the janky translation. I can't really blame them for being hired, it was just a poor creative choice to hire them. But NiCALiS are completely happy with making money, and poor creative choices.
ANYONE WANT SOME CAVE STORY COASTERS?
NO? PFFFT.
WANT A SCALE REPLICA OF ANY OF THE WEAPONS? A T-SHIRT? A PLUSHIE?
YES?? PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF.

Finally, I'll leave you all with this tweet, which was retweeted by Michael Lambert. (the "lead artist" of Cave Story+)
 
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