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The Universal Language of Indie Gaming

Renan Fontes
  • //

Let's imagine you don't understand English.


It's September 2015, and this quirky RPG Undertale just came out. You've always been a fan of the genre, and, even though you usually have to wait a while for them to come out in your country you more times than not have had a chance to play them in your native language. Not this time though. At least not yet, because translating indie games is bigger ordeal than you'd imagine.


It's not fun longing something you can't have, especially when you technically can have it. It's hard enough to translate a game made by a big studio, let alone an indie game whose developer most likely has a very limited budget to work with. Translating a game takes money, time, and resources that an indie developer can't reasonably have. Most indie games take years to complete, a full grammatically correct translation would only serve to push the release date and kill momentum.


A Lenda do Herói came out on Steam a few weeks ago, and it wasn't until I looked at the store page that it clicked with me: there are indie developers everywhere.


On the store page, the developers wrote, "You might have noticed that the store page says that the only language in which this game is available is Brazilian Portuguese. Unfortunately, you read it right. No, this is not a database error, it is the naked truth. There is no English version currently available." The developers followed up by stating that they wanted to release an English version eventually, but the localization would take a great amount of money and resources, which they don't currently have.




What makes A Lenda do Herói particularly more difficult to translate than the average RPG is that it is, for all intents and purposes, a musical. Sporting a fully voiced story mode with lyrics that match up with what the protagonist is doing on screen A Lenda do Herói poses a very complicated problem for future translators. It's innovative and unique, mashing up genres that normally wouldn't go together to create a memorable end result full of charm.


A Lenda do Herói probably won't get too much traction unless, hopefully until, it gets an English release. The indie scene is most alive in English speaking countries right now, but that doesn't mean non-English games should be ignored. Even though Undertale is only available in English at the moment it still managed to garner a large fanbase from all around the world.


Trying to play a game that isn't in your native tongue is challenging, but not impossible. A Lenda do Herói might not be for you, but if you find something that piques your curiosity why stop yourself because of a language barrier?




The indie game scene is still pretty young but if the English speaking developers are struggling, the non-English speaking devs must be struggling even more. It's certainly a risk taking the plunge and buying a game in another language, but it's a risk that might just add some needed cultural diversity to the gaming industry.

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