Interview with Klayton Vorlick, translator of Skies of Arcadia

So I recently got to come into contact with Klayton Vorlick, the translator of Skies of Arcadia. I intended to contact him just to chat with him, but the conversation had such nice information that it might have well been an interview! There’s some interesting information, such as what kind of hand he had in the development of the game. So without further ado, click the more button to see my chat with Klayton Vorlick!

Nguyen, Tony
Hi Klayton, are you the same Klayton that worked as a translator on Skies of Arcadia, one of the greatest RPGs of all time? :-O
Vorlick, Klayton
Hahaha yes I am :) how’d you figure that out? And man, that was like 15 years ago…
Nguyen, Tony
Skies of Arcadia is my favorite game of all time… I know the Vorlik Blade is named after you after all and you don’t have a particularly common name.
Vorlick, Klayton
haha there’s a story behind that! I had a cowriter named Chris Lucich (he did the English version of Panzer Dragoon Saga)
He said we should name stuff after ourselves. He recommended Vorlik Blade… and he wanted a creature named after him (Lucich slimes) and then he went around telling everyone I chose the most powerful weapon and gave him the weak monster haha (as a joke, of course)
Nguyen, Tony
Ah lol
Anyway, you guys did an excellent localization, if I do say so myself.
Vorlick, Klayton
Aw, thanks :)
It was my first project i was in charge of, so i gave it my all.
Nguyen, Tony
I played the game in Japanese too and it’s interesting what you guys changed, but it was the meaning that was more important than what’s being translated sometimes after all.
Although, there were some interesting changes, like how Ramirez’s obsession with Galcian was downtoned near the end…
I mean, he’s still obsessed, but he was saying like Galcian’s name like every other sentence in the Japanese version…
Vorlick, Klayton
Yeah. we basically sat down, I did a rough translation of the text, and then threw away the Japanese text. We mapped out the big story beats in each scene, and then just watched the cutscenes and ad-libbed what we imagined each character would say, and then rewrote a lot of the dialog completely.
Nguyen, Tony
Ah
Nice!
Vorlick, Klayton
Haha, yeah. We thought it might be a little creepy for US audiences.
Nguyen, Tony
That definitely makes it sound more natural.
The amount of times Fina said “minna-san” wouldn’t translate very well lol
Or at least it would sound super unnatural.
Vorlick, Klayton
Yeah
Nguyen, Tony
I’m the webmaster of Esoarcadia.org, I know the game like the back of my hand, so talking to you right now is like talking to a celebrity :-O
Vorlick, Klayton
We each took a couple characters and exclusively wrote their dialog so as to make sure they had unique voices. I was Enrique, Vigoro, and Fina, for example.
Chris was Gilder and Aika.
So he did a lot of the humor :)
Nguyen, Tony
O lol
Vorlick, Klayton
Vyse was both of us.
Oh nice!
Haha, I dunno about celebrity haha
Nguyen, Tony
O wow
That’s very interesting :-O
Vorlick, Klayton
A lot of the characters were named after various QA people, etc.
Mabel the Raider was an assistant lead (Mabel Chung)
Nguyen, Tony
Ah!
I wondered why their names were changed!
When they already had very western names!
Vorlick, Klayton
Timmus the Gunner was named after my friend Tim, who was the guy who got me my first industry job Haha
Yeah, we asked the team and they said go for it. That was just a little bonus for us :)
Nguyen, Tony
O lol
I’ll have to sweep the credits and have to add that as trivia on my site someday
Vorlick, Klayton
Nice
Hm. let’s see what other trivia…
Nguyen, Tony
But I was like how did Sharon become Lindsi…
Vorlick, Klayton
Removing cigarettes/cigars, changing beer to loqua, and adjusting some of the female character’s costumes was to reduce ESRB disclaimers and keep the rating low
Nguyen, Tony
Yea
Vorlick, Klayton
Lindsi was QA Lead :)
Nguyen, Tony
oooo
Vorlick, Klayton
Lindsi Kimizuka haha
still good friends
though she’s not in the industry anymore
Nguyen, Tony
Yea, I noticed Bellena’s clothing
Ah
Vorlick, Klayton
Mabel was working at Nintendo for a while, but i think she got out of the industry, too
Nguyen, Tony
Ramirez’s blood too was censored, near the end.
Vorlick, Klayton
Yeah, 2000 was a bit of a transitional year for the industry. people were still hesitant to let things get too mature.
Oh, I had forgotten about that one.
Nguyen, Tony
Yea when I played the Japanese version, I recorded everything that was different…
Like
Vorlick, Klayton
I’m sure there were a ton of various references we threw in the text as well, but I’ve forgotten them all haha
Nguyen, Tony
Gilder’s quote about women being like sunsets.
Originally, it was about doing the things that have never been done before.
But I like the sunset change.
Vorlick, Klayton
That was Chris. I shook my head when he came up with that line haha
Nguyen, Tony
It’s pretty funny! And I think it suits Gilder!
Vorlick, Klayton
Yeah, totally fits the character.
I think my favorite line that he wrote was Vyse’s father in the beginning after he shoots the soldier and says something like “I only see 3 of you.”
In case you couldn’t tell, he’s a huge fan of Joss Whedon’s work and tries to emulate his style of nonchalant sarcasm haha
Nguyen, Tony
Also the sarcasm that was sprinkled into the translation when it was played totally straight in the original Japanese, like De Loco mocking Alfonso about what gave away that there were intruders.
“Was it the sirens? Or the loud noises? What gave it away?”
Vorlick, Klayton
Does it quite well
Nguyen, Tony
O lol
Vorlick, Klayton
haha that one was me
Nguyen, Tony
In the original the De Loco/Alfonso scene was played pretty straight
Ah!
Vorlick, Klayton
Yeah, that game took like 4 months of nonstop work (like 80-100 hour work weeks) to finish.
I think I ended up translating like 2000 pages of text.
Nguyen, Tony
Well it was definitely a labor of love and it shows!
Vorlick, Klayton
It was. Still the project I’m the proudest of :)
Nguyen, Tony
It’s an amazing game, one of these days I’ll send a pic of my nerdy Skies of Arcadia collection, right now I want to collect all of the manga done by Itsuki Hoshi… but all the chapters are in separate Magazine Z chapters…. do you know about the manga?
Vorlick, Klayton
Not really. Wasn’t really involved with them =\
Nguyen, Tony
Aw
Vorlick, Klayton
I still have my limited edition box set of the Japanese version! And I think I have a poster signed by the producer and lead designer (and me and chris haha) somewhere in my garage
Nguyen, Tony
I want to send stuff your way and get your autograph ;_;
The producer and lead designer were Reiko and Shuntaro I believe?
Vorlick, Klayton
Rieko Kodama was the main producer. She was amazing. And Shun Tanaka was the lead designer. He was such a fun guy to work with. He also worked on Valkyria Chronicles.
Nguyen, Tony
Wow!
It doesn’t look like Reiko is up to much these days… last I remember she’s done 7th Dragon…
Vorlick, Klayton
Yeah, Skies didn’t sell too well unfortunately, so she’s mainly been working on smallish projects.
Nguyen, Tony
Do you know if purchasing/selling ships was originally planned for Skies?
There’s a weird “Value” statistic for ships that’s never used for anything
Vorlick, Klayton
Not that i remember…
Nguyen, Tony
Ah
Vorlick, Klayton
But again, it was 15 years ago and i was a relative noob, so maybe it was and I just missed it haha
Nguyen, Tony
Well it could’ve been an early idea that was scrapped and that statistic was a remnant of it
Vorlick, Klayton
Oh! i was also the one that got them to add the press-start-to-skip-animation for spells and stuff haha
Nguyen, Tony
NICE!
I remember
Vorlick, Klayton
Because i was pissed at Final Fantasy not letting me skip haha
Nguyen, Tony
That was so annoying when I played the Japanese version
I was like
Whyyyy can’t I skip these
Vorlick, Klayton
Seriously
Played an early version of the game and that was my first bit of feedback haha
Nguyen, Tony
Good job man, good job, you’ve made a bunch of Skies fans happy!
Vorlick, Klayton
Thanks :)
Anyway, it was amazing talking to you, perhaps I can cull more information out of you later.
Vorlick, Klayton
Hit me up if you ever have any questions :)
Nguyen, Tony
Thanks! 😀

Bless that Klayton Vorlick for suggesting skippable Super Moves!

  • Redde

    Is there any place where I can read the differences between the original Japanese script and the translation? If not, I think it would be be great material for an article or a series of posts. I would love to know about all the changes!