Say hello to Chris Pranger, a former Nintendo translator as of today after appearing on an episode of the Part Time Gamers podcast (opens in new tab). Despite having worked on high profile projects like Smash and the new Star Fox, he's been kicked out for some fairly honest chat about the company, admitting that it was "ultimately my own fault."
As some of you may have heard, yes, I was fired yesterday. Yes, it was ultimately my own fault. No, I did not see this coming.August 13, 2015
Ironically, in the podcast there are jokes about job security after he talks about voicing one of the characters in the new Starfox. Unfortunately, as it turns out there is no protection if you decide to tell it how it is inside Nintendo. Even though Chris talks about changes in internal media policy loosening up and how employees are allowed to talk now, he clearly he said too much. Not long after being fired he then got this message of support from Sonic:
Dear @Thechrispranger: Hang in there. We all make mistakes -- we kissed a princess once. Things will get better. pic.twitter.com/SwHt1rVOlbAugust 13, 2015
The majority of the chat isn't exactly scandalous but it is honest, and likely way beyond the realms of what Nintendo is happy to hear its employees talking about. For example, at one point Chris says: "I'm involved in Star Fox Zero. Which is a Miyamoto project. You can never go back to eating sausage once you've worked with Miyamoto because now you know how the sausage is made". There's also talk about Nintendo practices, competing with other publishers and a whole host of fascinating industry stuff.
However, the most brutally honest stuff is when he explains that a lot of Nintendo games aren't localised outside of Japan because the fan base isn't large enough to justify the costs involved. "People don't like finding out that their fan base is actually too small to justify the cost of the thing they want," he explains. "And then they're like 'why don't you do it anyway? Why don't you support the hardcore players?'' He then goes on to explain: "you guys are loud and you are ever present but you don't make up a significant enough number to justify the costs on this game".
The example he singles out is Xenoblade Chronicles. "People love that game within a certain group. That game is not the kind of game that pulls in enough to justify costs. We got in the States by luck that NOE decided 'we'll take the bullet. We'll localise that'. Okay, because someone is going to have to eat the costs somewhere because that game is not going to sell enough to justify how big that game is. Hundreds of hours, all voiced. That's a lot of money that goes into that. People are like 'why do you hate money?' We don't that's why we can't make everything".
Elsewhere in the episode there's mention of translation problems in Wind Waker, talking about Dark Souls being "the best game out there and its not on our system" and being paid to argue in favour of Nintendo policies. There's also a bizarre story about Masahiro Sakurai's astonishingly specific demands while capturing footage for Smash adverts that Chris estimates cost the company 100 man hours to achieve.
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