Breaking Down Borders: Undertale’s Journey to Japan and Back

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Breaking Down Borders: Undertale’s Journey to Japan and Back

The indie hit RPG is headed to PlayStation next week—learn how it came to be and get a sneak peek at some never-before seen artwork from the final game.

Next week, Undertale launches for PS4 and Vita. Next week! To say we’re excited would be the understatement of the year. It’s a special game – one that’s left quite an impression on many of those who’ve already played it on PC – and we can’t wait for PlayStation owners to be able to experience it for themselves on August 15.

When Toby Fox, Undertale’s creator, first approached us about working on the game, it wasn’t to bring it to consoles – it was to localize it for Japan. (As some of you may know, 8-4 is primarily a localization company; we’ve been localizing games back and forth between Japan and the west since 2005.) So at first, our goal was (relatively) simple: give this game the best Japanese localization possible, and that’s it!

Undertale on PS4 and PS VitaUndertale on PS4 and PS Vita

Check it out: It’s Undertale…in Japanese!

But along the way, we realized that just localizing it into Japanese wasn’t going to be enough. We put a ton of effort into the localization, so how could we make it so a wider audience could experience it? Especially in Japan, where the game hadn’t seen an official Japanese-language release yet. The answer? We would bring it to PS4 and Vita!

Developing the PS4 and Vita versions was not without its challenges, but in the end, we managed to pull it off with minimal fatalities (we’ll miss you, test PS4). Not only is Undertale now fully localized into Japanese, but it’s releasing on PlayStation platforms in a few short days. (Fear not – it’s in English too, of course. In fact, all versions of the game will feature both English and Japanese language options in the Settings menu.)

Personally, I hope you get to check it out on Vita – it looks great on the small screen, and being able to play Undertale on the go is a real treat. Fortunately, it’s Cross-Buy, so you only have to buy it once to get both PS4 and Vita versions.

Undertale on PS4 and PS Vita
Undertale on PS4 and PS VitaUndertale on PS4 and PS Vita

Finally, astute observers may be wondering what’s up with the artwork surrounding the game screens in all of these screenshots. Well, remember when we said there’d be no new content in the PS4/Vita versions? That’s…still mostly true. We wanted to maintain the same experience for all players old and new, so aside from now being playable in Japanese and having some simple trophies added, it’s the same game as before. BUT… since Undertale’s native resolution is displayed in a 4:3 format, we called on original Undertale artist Temmie Chang to create some optional borders that can be turned on to fill the space surrounding the screen. (Spoiler: they’re really pretty!)

There’s two varieties – the pixel art “Sepia” border, which provides a nice floral design, and the hand-drawn “Dynamic” border, which actually changes in real-time depending on which area of the game you’re in. There’s also a “Simple” option if you just want to throw a literal border around the game screen. And again, these are entirely optional, so if you prefer to play in the original style with nothing surrounding the game screen, that’s totally OK too (in fact, that’s the default setting).

Undertale on PS4 and PS Vita

Thanks for reading this far. Undertale is the type of game that’s best experienced fresh, so we didn’t want to drown you in story details or gameplay tips or whatever. We do hope you’ll play it and experience it for yourself when it launches next week, and we look forward to reading your thoughts and impressions once it’s finally out in the wild! There’s still some time left to pre-order, BTW – if you buy the game before August 15, you’ll get the dynamic “Ruins” theme as well for free!

Anyway, that’s all for now. See you next Tuesday!

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