From NNL with Love

In response to the mayhem from the Leaf Translation Group, this is what NNL has to say…

This is a rare, serious update that does not concern us. However, there are some who will inevitably compare it to what happened last summer, so please bear with me as I express my views. Thank you.

The To Heart 2 translation project was “completed” yesterday. By “complete”, I mean that they consider the current status to be final and have released something. However, their patch is non-public. Only those whom they trust have it. This appears to draw parallels to how we first handled Build A of the Wind patch.

Since their message board is now closed, I will respect them and not paste their verbatim statement, since it may have been retracted. I will simply paraphrase so that as many people can understand what is going on. All of the following points are their own allegations.

1) They have released a patch.
The FAQ claimed that it was merely a translation, yet they contradicted themselves and declared it a patch in the original statement. There are only three build possibilities for a game translation project: a translation such as a text file, a standalone, or a patch. Anything that modifies or intercepts game code is a patch. Therefore, by definition, their build is a patch.

2) They will not release it to the public.
Claiming that most people are jerks, they have only released it to people they know.

This is where the similarities between this project and the Wind project end. We allowed anyone to come into the channel and answer one question based on the game packaging. However, the hopefuls insulted our intelligence by giving answers that were not only a little off, but way off. After the Supah Hamonika Test was terminated, we administered the test in its entirety to Edward Keyes, our BitTorrent assistant. He had no prior knowledge of the questions beforehand, but he answered every question correctly.

We then put up a notice that the patch distribution would be terminated. This update occurred at 3AM. It was then retracted at around 5AM. There were less than one hundred hits to the web site during this time. However, one site attempting to pass off as a legitimate news portal pasted the update in its entirety, refused to remove it at our behest, and all hell broke loose the next day. I called an emergency meeting with insani and voted to release the patch to the public. Our intentions were given meticulously on our web site and insani’s web site, and anyone who claimed that we were not going to release it was simply lying. Five months later, we did.

On the other hand, the To Heart 2 translation project team has no further plans.

3) They are allowing the people who have the patch to distribute it to whomever they see fit.
All Build A patches of Wind were unique; they were individually watermarked for the person who originally obtained it. The perpetrator of any leak would have been instantly caught. Perhaps it was this, or the promise of Build C being public, that resulted in Build A not being leaked.

The To Heart 2 patch does not have these luxuries. It will inevitably be leaked, as there are people desperate enough to befriend someone for a few months, obtain the patch, and leak it anonymously. The project team is fighting an unwinnable battle. If they did not want the patch to be public, why publicize it in the first place?

Some people may think that translation is the most difficult part of a translation project. I disagree. There are a number of projects which are at the 80-100% translation point (Kanon, Cross Channel, Shuffle!, Men at Work 2) for quite some time. Why have they stalled? 2006 was set to be the year of bishoujo game patches, yet only Wind and Tsukihime came out. What set those two projects apart from the others?

Leadership.

Leadership is grabbing the reins, keeping your mouth shut, and focusing on the task at hand. It is about guiding everyone, including yourself, who may have conflicted views, into one solid compromise. It is about taking chances, slipping up, and having the wisdom to admit you’re wrong. We apologized for our brief update almost immediately, retracted it, and made a new statement. Had we lingered for a couple of days, the situation would have been much worse.

Also, the voting during the emergency meeting was secret, but I will reveal my vote: I voted to discontinue. I did it for my own selfish reasons. After the vote, I could have dismissed the whole process, but after a month of thought, I was able to understand the altruism of the others and begin the process of completing Build C. A firm choice was made.

The fact remains that the people in the To Heart 2 translation project are not obligated to give you anything. However, the signs for this project were rather conspicuous. Aside from a couple of screenshots, no one outside their clique knows if their project is for real. Programming has been mysteriously stuck at 0/100 for the entire duration of the project. In contrast, we proved ourselves by releasing the Wind demo, which turned out to be the most effective method of finding a person who was willing to translate the entire game. We showed many work-in-progress screenshots in our IRC channel to people outside the project, and our status report was accurate to the day that alpha-testing ended, chronicling our efforts down to the nearest percent.

I have never talked to the people in the To Heart 2 translation project, and I likely never will. But if they can’t be truthful to themselves or the ones who are patiently waiting, then perhaps the project was doomed to have this epilogue from the beginning.

One final thing: NNL does not have possession of the patch.

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One Response to From NNL with Love

  1. Anon says:

    (nods)

    I quite agree on all counts. Leadership as well as obligation are important on such huge projects. It is a shame for the community though…