Posted: 11/09/2017 | Languages: English
An interview with DragonSpike and Iceman-UK which primarily focuses on the activities of Team Nemo in 2017. As the one year anniversary of the release of the complete English patch for the original version of Ace Combat 3 nears, we interview the founder and co-founder of the group.
It has been two years since the last interview with Team Nemo, the team behind the English translation of the original version of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. As the one year anniversary of the full English patch release for both discs of AC3 nears, Lighthouse catches up with team founder DragonSpike XIII and co-founder Iceman-UK. The Lighthouse interviewer being Ribbon-Blue.
This is the first part of a two part interview series with Team Nemo for 2017. Part two features questions sent to Lighthouse for Team Nemo.
A full mission utilizing Team Nemo's translation. Playthrough and video footage by Enigma.
The Lighthouse 2017 interview with Team Nemo features two sets of questions. Alongside the primary interview featured in this article, Lighthouse staff gathered questions from Ace Combat fans from our Discord servers, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Our Team Nemo interviewees were happy to answer many of these questions as well:
Which plane in AC3 is each person's favourite?
The F-15S/MT Eagle+ has always had a special place in my heart. It's just so cool.
The R-101 Delphinus because of the design and the name: it is Latin for "dolphin" and it's sleek shape is suited for cutting through our thick atmosphere like the dolphin is through the sea. It also featured on so many cool wallpapers. I also like the Night Raven - very bad-ass.
Stev Hussar & Dario John Lim
What would you hope for in an English dub of your current International Edition patch or a full remake of Electrosphere for the latest consoles? Who would be your ideal voice cast?
I don't like fan-dubs myself but if someone wanted to do it, I'd be OK with it. I wouldn't be able to help because I don't know how to replace the audio files which is beyond the scope of my project but I wouldn't be against one. I don't think much about a remake because I'm perfectly happy with the original.
Hmm, it's hard for me to talk about my ideal cast because I don't pay much attention to voice actors. I watch both subs and dubs and I know a few names from both Japan and the U.S., and I might recognize a voice actor here and there from time to time but that's it. I do like the dubs for Ghost in the Shell, Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop and Macross Plus a lot so any voice actor from these shows would be good enough for me.
Dision: I would keep the same Japanese actor but subtitle him. Deep and authoritative.
Rena: Same, keep original actor. Or Claudia Kim if she has to speak English.
Cynthia: Emma Thompson
Fiona: Jenna Coleman (eg. both sisters are British)
Keith: Donald Glover
Erich: Michael Fassbender speaking German or English with German accent.
Simon: Paul Bettany with an East European accent
Who is their most liked and most hated character?
I really have no favorites when it comes to characters.
I liked sublimated Abyssal Dision but disliked real-life Abyssal Dision who seems to be your typical jock fighter pilot. Also I really liked that Dision didn't seem to be your typical "evil" person - he actually believed he was doing the best for humanity. I think the game was ahead of it's time in that type of "shades of grey" portrayal of the antagonist.
What are your opinions on Electrosphere’s plot?
I found it intriguing, I felt it touched on the true nature of reality and the soul. It should be said that the game came out in April 1999 and the movie The Matrix came out in May 1999 which touched on the same concepts - I like to think they copied AC3.
The plot is intricate but not hard to follow; it's well-paced so it's not too fast or too slow; things are properly established so things don't just happen, seemingly at random; characters, such as the pilots we meet, have distinct personalities, backstories and thoughts about the war and they all have their arcs and moments to shine.
The thing I like the most is just how ambitious it is compared to previous AC games. They took aspects central to previous games such as the same continent and locations as the one in AC2, a coup d'etat, the player being part of an air force that has to stop it, as well as a number of smaller scenarios (the missions themselves) that have become recognizable to AC fans as this or that "type of mission", all things that made the game not just another arcade flight-sim but an Ace Combat game. I love how the plot is at its core very "Ace Combat" but also adds all these new things such as fully-realized and original characters, new places and original planes.
Even though many of the events that transpire during the game are over-the-top, it has a view of the world that feels very realistic and honest and doesn't talk down to the player. Instead it's up to you to process all that information and form an opinion, then make a choice and see the result.
They built the plot around "choice", and because of this there's a didactic aspect to the game that I appreciate: What are your morals? Who do you agree with and why? What do you want to do? Are you willing to make this difficult decision in order to achieve what you want? Do you think you made the right decision? Was the outcome worth it in the end? Those moments when you have to make a choice during the so-called Decision Points, feel very real and full of weight. You gain something but you lose something else in the process. This "choice" aspect, which is central to all of us and how we live our lives, that they incorporated into AC3 is in my opinion their greatest achievement with the game's plot.
What could be the single feature/thing that could be brought back to newer games?
Branching paths where you can change sides and experience the game from a completely different angle.
A rich back-story with good, interesting characters and modern animation - preferably make it more "international" by a collaboration of professional screenwriters from US/Europe and Japan and a voice cast featuring actors from across the world. In fact I would like to see a trilogy of games with a wider story arc ending in a climatic battle - think Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.
Who was worse/more evil in their opinion: Dision (as Cohen made him out to be in the game) or Cohen himself?
I'd say Dision. The things he wants to do are just off-the-scale crazy.
Will this have a full English cast or only be translated? Will it only be playable on emulators?
We just translate the text, that's all we do, the voices stay in Japanese. It's been playable on PlayStation consoles since our first demo.
Only translated - getting an English cast together is time-consuming and to do it properly you need the right voices and talent. That talent is out there, just look at the talent that people show on YouTube. Maybe that is for another Team/Project to build upon ours. You can play the game via an emulator or burn it to a CD is you have the right equipment.
What hidden or unfinished concepts did you find while going through the game data?
There's this short segment that's audio-only where you can hear various people discussing something, including Cynthia. I thought for the longest time that it was an easter-egg that we could access after doing something specific but an AC3 fan who goes by the name of Resident AC3 Scholar looked into it via gameshark and couldn't find any code that would unlock it in-game. There isn't even any video for this sequence.
In the end I decided to call it a "deleted scene" but it could be anything. There's a title for it in the same folder that houses all the titles for the Archive sub-menu, where you can replay videos and messages, but other than that it's just there in the game files, unreachable. Even the subtitles for it have a completely different format compared to the one used for the rest of the game. But while working on the Search menu I realized that there's an entry for it there and from a rough translation I made, it seems to be a talk show where people discuss various topics. I think the one we hear in the segment is about Sublimation.
There's some other stuff in there too, like hidden text but those are either clearly test leftovers or duplicates of things that we do see during normal play. There are many other things that didn't make the cut that you can see on my blog "USEA Today", such as scrapped weapons, or different speeds for some airplanes but I'd say the biggest finding has to be the audio segment with Cynthia.
Has Namco ever contacted Project Nemo, and if so, can they tell us about it?
No, they've never contacted us in any way.
Not to my knowledge. I have exchanged some emails with Frognation in an attempt to talk to Dai Sato (screenwriter for AC3) but nothing came of it.
Angel G. Chamate
What was your motivation while working on AC3 International Edition? Also, how long did it take to complete the full translation of the game?
It's best for DragonSpike to answer - I was just very glad to play a part in translating one of my favourite games from the PS1 generation that has now gained a cult following.
I wouldn't have gotten to this point if I didn't like the game a lot. Being a "favorite" isn't enough, I guess I just like it so much that all the time and effort haven't made me quit.
As far as translation, our first full script was made in a year and released in 2010. It had its fair share of problems but it was good for the most part. We took things a step further when inserting our script into the game became technically possible. We took the time to fix the script's problems and improve everything we could and that meant that our first release, a patch just for Disc 1, took about a year and half to make, and then about 6 months for the second two-disc release which had a better translation for Disc 1 as well.
For each person, which of the five routes is their favorite?
I think I like the UPEO route a bit more than the others, it picks up a lot at the end of Disc 1 and once you get to Disc 2.
It's been a long time since I played the game properly but I like the endings where Rena rips off her implant and waves to Erich.