- “Ugh, this English dub sounds awful!”
- “I wish they picked better voice actors!”
- “Gahhh… My ears!!”
These are some examples of common sentiments regarding English audio tracks in today’s console games, particularly those developed in Japan. Over the years, we’ve witnessed the best (such as Disgaea) and the worst (like Arc Rise Fantasia) that English audio tracks can offer to fans of this genre.
While there have been significant strides in providing gamers with quality localizations, a few games still suffer from weak English audio tracks. As a result, some fans prefer to play the games with the original Japanese audio track, arguing that it often exhibits superior quality and emotional depth from the voice actors.
Addressing this issue and satisfying both fans of English and Japanese audio tracks can be a challenge. One potential solution is to include both audio options in the game, allowing players to choose their preferred language.
Some developers have successfully implemented this feature, although it tends to occur more frequently in games that don’t fully utilize the available storage space on the media.
However, this approach introduces another hurdle related to file space. When games already occupy most of the physical storage on media, accommodating multiple audio tracks becomes problematic.
Here’s where a revolutionary idea comes into play — selling additional audio tracks as Downloadable Content (DLC)!
Leveraging the fact that all the current consoles have large amounts of physical storage, developers can offer players the choice of different languages for a reasonable price. Many gamers would gladly pay a small fee to experience a game in its original language without having to endure subpar English dubbing. Implementing this idea wouldn’t require a significant effort on the part of developers, as they usually have access to the Japanese audio track. They would simply need to incorporate a mechanism within the game to support the addition of the original language as a download.
While some fans may expect such content to be provided for free, it’s essential to recognize that the video game industry, like any other, aims to generate revenue. Offering language options as DLC could be a lucrative opportunity for developers.
In fact, they could even consider offering the DLC for free as an incentive for gamers to purchase the game brand new, potentially addressing concerns surrounding used game sales that continue impact the industry.