On May 26, the official Dragon Quest accounts delivered a 35th-anniversary live stream that I was legitimately hyped for. The primary reason was that it would be simultaneously broadcasted in English.
Square Enix brought this up in press releases and general promotion leading up to the stream and was treated as a big deal. Whatever was shown during this stream would have to impact Japan and overseas audiences in equal measure. At least, that’s what I foolishly assumed.
Thirty minutes before the scheduled simultaneous broadcast began, the Japanese Dragon Quest accounts began streaming their own pre-show of sorts. They were delivering information strictly tied to Japanese audiences.
While I was not formerly aware of this particular segment occurring, I found it a lucratively wise move. After all, if they were to have a dedicated Japanese-only stream only showcasing news that impacted that particular audience, that would have to mean that the simultaneous broadcast would only deliver information affecting both Japanese and Western fans. They were getting this news out to Japanese fans so everyone would all be on equal ground at the start of the global segment.
When the simultaneous broadcast began, it was clear that something wasn’t quite right. There was just one translator on the English stream who was clearly struggling to keep up with the dialogue of multiple Japanese speakers.
Not only did this cause me and several other watchers to feel a sense of pity for the translator, but it also caused me to question why this entire stream wasn’t a pre-recorded video captioned in English throughout its duration. It made no sense. And, unfortunately, it only became more nonsensical the further the stream progressed.
Firstly, minor merchandise was discussed and was quickly confirmed to be Japanese only. I found them even mentioning this merchandise to be unquestionably odd given how this was also being broadcast overseas.
It almost came off as them gloating over what Japanese fans could easily obtain compared to Western folk. They were aware that Western fans were watching this because they purposefully mentioned that the merchandise was Japanese exclusive. This irked me, but I let it slide since, well, it’s just merchandise. This was not that colossal of a deal, as much as it did cause my eyes to roll.
My distaste only grew, though, because, for some unfathomably bizarre reason, they thought it would be a smart idea to broadcast Dragon Quest X news. For those unaware of the title, it is an MMO title exclusive to Japan.
The game was receiving what seemed to be a sizable update, but since this is a Japanese-only title, we assumed that it would now be coming overseas. After all, why else would they choose to showcase this information in a stream that was being broadcasted globally?
They quickly confirmed that they did not have plans to localize the MMO. A representative began speaking about the game, which was even captioned in English. My perplexity grew tenfold.
Why were they broadcasting this information, let alone subbing this pre-recorded segment in English if it had no bearing on Western fans? What was the point? Why couldn’t have this all just been delivered in the stream being hosted by the Japanese-only accounts half an hour ago? The questions kept coming.
Then, they announced an upcoming offline version of Dragon Quest X that would also presumably be Japanese exclusive? They were somewhat vague. At this point, the Dragon Quest X news was lasting way too long for its own good. I found myself relating to the Youtube chatters in the English stream. Why show us this? Why was this stream being simultaneously broadcasted? Who thought this would be a good idea?
The announcements that affected global fans, such as Dragon Quest III HD-2D and Dragon Quest XII, were certainly exhilarating. Still, these announcements could have just been uploaded on their own as trailers without the context of this stream, and it would have been fantastic. Having these important announcements for Western fans mixed in with these Japanese-only ones ruined the enjoyment I derived from the event personally. Additionally, the text present during these trailers for titles planned for a simultaneous worldwide release, particularly for Dragon Quest Treasures, was entirely Japanese, with no English availability present. This served to enhance the mystification felt from Western viewers. Note that I am referring to not the in-game UI, as of course, the game is still in development. I am instead referring to the graphical text that was advertising the title’s features. Those bits of text being only in Japanese was more than questionable.
Maybe I’m taking this all too seriously, but I still, for the life of me, can not begin to understand why this stream was simultaneously broadcasted if it was clearly aimed at Japanese fans. I appreciate the notion of including Western fans into this broadcast, but how about actually making the stream’s contents applicable to the viewers you were advertising this stream to?
Additionally, how about making the stream entirely English captioned instead of making life needlessly difficult for one translator? Regardless of whether she was aware of the general contents of the stream before beginning the on-the-fly translation process, it was more than evident that she was having difficulty delivering timely statements to English viewers in a consistent manner with multiple Japanese speakers.
This entire stream was just a disappointing mess that could have been tackled in a far more perceptive way. Whoever hosted and decided upon the sequence of events in this stream did not take global fans into consideration. In the future, if the news you are going to impart doesn’t entirely cater to the audiences you are broadcasting to, let alone advertised to, reevaluate your priorities and maybe think about better ways to inform your fans.
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