Thursday, September 28, 2017

Kickstarter Update #75: Face Animations & Subtitles Translation

Kickstarter Update #75 is out, in the form of a "Dev Room Report" video that demonstrates characters' facial expressions.

Here is the full video, which is just under a minute in length:

During the demonstration, we are introduced to two new characters. And in addition, some in-game subtitles are also displayed (in Japanese) during part of the demonstration.

Read on for full coverage of their meaning!

The update also notes that Backer Surveys are still being worked on, and that it will still be "some time" before they are sent out. However a rundown of the surveys can be expected soon.

Dev Room Report Video

The first character we are shown to is a middle-aged woman, dressed in purple slacks and a yellow blouse with a pattern of white flowers. She stands with her arms held out in a "T-pose" that is often used as a default character pose when the limbs are not being animated.

As a small aside, the English subtitles for the video at this point mention "all the grandmas and grandpas" typically found in the Shenmue games:

In fact, the Japanese voice-over is talking about all the middle-aged folk to be found in the games (rather than elderly) - just a minor point.

The character's face is put through a number of changing expressions, from neutral to grimacing to surprise, as well as blinking and talking. There do not appear to be any eye movements in terms of the direction she is looking however.

She also has surprisingly healthy-looking teeth.

A fine-looking set of teeth
A fine-looking set of teeth.
Finally, at the end is a brief clip that shows another new character, a young woman who blinks and turns her head.
A second new character.
A second new character.

Translation of Subtitles

While these animations are playing, a few in-game subtitles in Japanese are displayed, so let's have a look at their meaning.

In total I identified 5 different subtitle lines. I've tried to group them together meaningfully for the purpose of this analysis.

Keep in mind that these are within the context of a testing scenario, so there is no guarantee that they will appear in the actual story. At the same time, their content does sound quite feasible.

Warning: the subtitles and associated discussion below may contain potential (but minor) spoilers.

Subtitles 1 & 2 

The first two subtitles, which are in a purple color, are:
Subtitle 1: "The day before yesterday, a bunch of thugs turned up."
Subtitle 2: "Yeah, they weren't characters I've seen round here before."

This sounds like responses from a villager - possibly the woman in this demo - that Ryo or Shenhua questions to try to work out what happened.

The thugs that are mentioned may be tied in with the scene we saw in a previous Kickstarter update video (Update #65 - read our previous post here), where Ryo was examining a house in the village (Shenhua's?) that had been ransacked.

Subtitles 3 & 4

The next two subtitles are in yellow:
Subtitle 3: "Ryo, you search here and I'll look around the village over there."
Subtitle 4: "We may find a clue about Father!"

This is surely Shenhua speaking to Ryo, anxious to find out what has happened to her step-father who went missing at the cave. Here we can also see an implication that the two split up and cover different areas.

Translation note: in the Japanese, the word father may mean either "Father" (i.e. the speaker's own father) as translated here, or "your father" - for example if talking about looking for some clue about Ryo's father who visited Bailu village many years ago. I have gone with the first meaning as being most likely, given that they have just left the cave from where Shenhua's father disappeared.

Subtitle 5

The fifth subtitle is in blue:

Subtitle 5: "I'm sure we'll find a clue about your Father."

Assuming that the previous speaker was Shenhua, then this would fit as Ryo's reassuring response.

What theories do you have about these lines and their implications?

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  1. Probably had a bug, I don't see my comment anymore, I'll reup.

    As always, thanks for the great work ! Here's what I've tried to get down. Roughly translated as it's difficult to know what's going on without the context. (French included)

    Les voyous sont venus ici avant hier.
    Rascals came here the day before yesterday.
    (note : could be rogues, racketeers or Chiyoumen but since I have no idea of who she's talking about). I am not really used to ゴロツキ, I've always read 不良 haha

    Je suis sûre que tu trouveras des indices concernant ton père
    I am sure you'll find some clues about your father.

    Peut être que tu trouveras des indices concernant ton père
    Maybe you'll find some clues about your father
    (I've used plural as I am not sure if it's just one clue or more)

    Tu vas chercher ici, je me charge de l'hameau/village situé de l'autre côté.
    Search here, I'll take care of the settlement/village located on the other side.

    C'était des gars que je n'avais jamais vu par ici.
    I've never seen those guys around here.

    Have a nice day !


    1. Hi David, very interesting to read your comments and translations. It seems we have translated along roughly the same lines :) - but as you say, it's working out of context and there are several possible alternative interpretations. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Excellent work! A really great update, really liking how many of the characters appear and in motion. I've never really thought about this, but the appearance on the subtitles (white with coloured outlines) really add to making the presentation feel and look more shenmue-y, there's a warmness to seeing that. Things are really coming together and shaping up! -Flagship

    1. You said it, Flags! And this is just a test environment, I can't wait to see them in-game. Nice observation about the subtitle text color style carrying through from the earlier games.