Phantasy Star Generation:4 is both a relocalization and retranslation of the original English script and proper nouns (weapons, monsters, names, etc.)
For UPDATES, please skip to UPDATE section lower down the page
Its primary goal: restore every mistranslated connection to the other classic PS games, to and ensure the main story & series themes best match the original Japanese.
Its secondary goal: make the game’s script more colloquial, fun, and emotional, from NPCs to key story moments.
I always figured someone would make a PSIV patch to change the planets back to their original English names: “Palma” and “Dezoris”.
It’s 2018, and Phantasy Star doesn’t get the love it deserves, so I figured I should stop being salty and learn how to Romhhack myself.
I quickly hit some brick walls because of Genesis/Mega Drive compression, but thanks to the prior work and great help of vivify93 and lory1990, I was able to completely update the script as well as implement many continuity changes back into English PSIV!
The script is updated either for style, for character- and world-building, to make it closer to the original Japanese meaning, or sometimes just to make it more fun.
While the PSIV English translation was decent for its day, and IMO on par with Square’s Super Nintendo English RPGs, it paled in comparison to the SEGA CD Lunars, which are still in my Top 3 all-time (along with Metal Gear Solid 1).
PSIV has a lot of character interaction, like Lunar, but the script is just pretty banal and lacks character. And much of the time, the characters say stuff you just wouldn’t ever write as a native English speaker (e.g. Rune calling Chaz, “You silly!”)
While I don’t at all understand the hate Working Designs gets, for this project I stayed away from pop-culture references but updated much of the script in a more natural style. (I got two complaints about using the word “emo”, but I don’t feel like it’s just a style of music anymore and it’s widely used as an adjective for “goth and whiny”.)
I went over the entire script, from NPCs to story, and just made changes where I thought either the dialog was stilted and was a missed opportunity for world or character building.
On the 2nd run-through of the script rewrite, I expanded on a lot of NPC dialog when the opportunity presented itself. So, I dunno, if you like stilted and boring dialog, or unlocalized Japanese-to-English translations, I invite you to watch some fan-subbed anime instead of playing this and getting upset.
I got some strange feedback on a review left on the patch’s RHDN page from someone who apparently made an account just to leave a negative review, haha. So I might as well address their concerns here since there’s no other platform to do it.
The writer, most likely male, used a negative slur toward women to describe the characterization of Alys.
I don’t like the stereotype that men are allowed to be assertive assholes but women are not (did you know that “bossy” is a loaded term?). In the original script, Rune is a jerk to Rudy/Chaz for no real reason, which I don’t think anyone objected to. The script hints that he and Alys were possibly a “thing” at some point. So I emphasized in my writing that he and Alys were one of those relationships where either the timing was never right and/or two strong personalities can have a hard time making a relationship work, despite mutual attraction and respect.
So not only is Rune testing Rudy’s/Chaz’s potential as a hero, he’s also skeptical of Rudy/Chaz being worthy of serving as Alys’s companion.
Furthermore, to accentuate the hero’s journey, I made Rudy/Chaz a bit more immature at the start of the game instead of a stereotypical RPG hero with no personality. He is only 16, after all, and he’s only been adventuring with Alys for a few years. He’s got to come into his own as a man and a hero. So I tried to have more of that come out through words at the key story moments.
Additionally, there’s a part in the story where there’s literally no motivation given for Rudy/Chaz to continue on to the next plot point. So I wrote a simple one. <SPOILER> When the party kills Zio, Rudy’s journey really could be over. Logically, he could say that his revenge is complete and going into space to fix the planet’s weather doesn’t interest him. I mean, for META purposes, yes, we know this is an RPG and he’s the main character you’re playing. But just think about it logically. He could say, “Yeah, I’m done – you guys handle that stuff, it’s not my fight or my job, unlike the rest of you.” But since he and Rika end up together, I wrote in more dialog to solidify their gradual bond. So Rika asks him to help, and he does because of her, not just because he doesn’t have anything better to do.</SPOILER>
Getting back to Alys: Not only is she seemingly the only female hunter, she’s also the best, which no one disputes. The world of Motavia in PSIV is an extremely harsh environment. If you think this lady is polite or takes any crap or weakness, I think you’re crazy, haha.
I’m fortunate to have some extremely strong women in my life, and it’s something to be celebrated, not criticized. There’s obviously misogyny in PSIV (and in real life), and Alys (just like any woman in a traditionally male industry or setting) has overcome so much to be what she is: successful and independent.
But, underneath, she obviously has a big heart. The story of how she met Rudy/Chaz wasn’t in the original script, but I did encounter it in developer interviews, so I wrote that into the game. I made sure that story speaks volumes of Alys’s character, her hopes for Chaz/Rudy as kind of her adopted son, and also his hero’s journey.
Additionally, she definitely cares for Rune, obvious from the cutscene when she lets Rune join the party.
I also restored many subtle references to the other PS games, such as “Dr. Luveno”, “Alsulin”, etc.
I’ve made changes as small as proper punctuation to as large as relocalizing key story moments in ways that I think better reflect the game’s themes and characters.
I also incorporated vivify93’s Proper-Caser mod into the “New” mod. I don’t mind the CAPS myself, but I wanted this one to match the PS Gen 1 & 2 remakes as best as the Genesis will allow, and they use normal casing.
I’m at about a preschool level in Japanese, and I couldn’t find the Japanese script, so I used the PSIV section of The Cutting Room Floor (https://tcrf.net/Proto:Phantasy_Star_IV:_The_End_of_the_Millennium),
which has an amazing comparison of the leaked early English versions of PSIV to the final version, along with commentary and comparison to the original Japanese.
I did also use these translations / romanizations of Phantasy Star’s proper nouns, thanks to Kahran042’s work: https://kahran042.dreamwidth.org/32272.html
So step 1 was making sure that if a line could be made closer to the original Japanese meaning AND it made the story better, I worked that in.
For other parts, I just have the luxury of not needing to adhere to a file-size count, so I could give key parts of the story more depth, such as when <spoiler> the Heroine tells Chaz/Rudy about Algol’s past heroes and the sword.</spoiler>
From my past life, I was head copy editor for the Ohio State newspaper where I also got my degree in journalism, so I felt qualified to take this on.
That’s not to be like, la dee dah, this is the best work ever, and if you disagree with a choice or thinking the writing sucks, it’s cool! But at least know that I gave careful consideration to every single edit made to this wonderful story.
I have essentially have a changelog written where I recorded all my changes alongside the original script, so if you just want to thumb through that instead of playing, be my guest. You can find it on the romhacking.net patch listing.
Which version — classic or remake — did I match? Answer is, Both!
Since the naming conventions, etc., are different between the original SEGA versions and the fan-translated Generation 1 & 2 SEGA AGES remakes, I made one patch that best matches the originals and the in-game canon (e.g. “Lassic”, basic magic-spell names to match SMS, etc.) and the other to match the remakes and also be the version I’d want to play, with some extra changes that the in-game universe didn’t have but totally make sense to add.
I wish I could have the PSII Gen 2 techniques match PSIV, but I don’t have enough space! So I did the best I could. When enemies use techniques or magic, you have more characters, so usually I could use the “full” name of spells when they use them (e.g. Reverser, Megiddo, GiWater, GiGravito, etc.).
I just personally feel like the other English character names were positive changes (“Rika” fits better than “Fal”, don’t you think?), so I didn’t change any but Rudy from Chaz.
Since now the Heroine is referred to as “Alisa” now, there’s less confusion with Alys. I think. I was tempted to use her Japanese name (either Lyla or Lyra), but I’m too attached to “Alys”, honestly.
Seth is Jiam because that’s the closest romanization I could come up with out of the Japanese, since it’s supposed to sound like “Sham”. It’s a little thing obvious in Japanese but not in English.
His last name, Shizrabram, is direct from the Japanese, and I couldn’t see a less-silly way to translate it.
About Su Raja: I’m not a professional comedian, so I did the best I could with his character. Most of his jokes were really poorly translated so I did the best to at least write something that made sense or conveyed the original joke.
About Dezoryinz … so you might find this all a little silly, but to be honest, for my entire life I could not figure out what the hell dialect the Dezorians were supposed to be using in PSII.
They’re kind of hicks, and also kind of dicks, and they say crap like “long dern time ago”.
So doing this script, the one Dezorian says that the guy you need info from has a weird accent, but in English it doesn’t appear he does at all.
So Pittsburghese is the closet thing I could think of to match the dialect from PSII, honestly. So that’s how he talks. It’s not some random joke, I was just doing my best to match the in-game universe!
On La Roof… that’s in my opinion a really silly name for what this thing is. I couldn’t find a better way to translate it though that didn’t sound either just as dumb or too French.
So I settled on La Rouf, per kahran042’s translation.
All script changes (mostly) can be found in the doc included w/ the patch
I have a list of those changes too. Feel free to check them out. Of course, they are debatable — that’s why this is a fan-made, unofficial project, and just for fun!
If you want to use this as a building block to make changes of your own, by all means! I and others can help you get started.
I think PS1-4 are the greatest story told in the classic gaming. I thought this was an overhaul PSIV really deserves, and I hope any fans out there enjoy it. If you don’t, no worries, the original isn’t going anywhere!
SEGA’s official Phantasy Star remakes in English!
I recommend playing the English fan-translated Playstation 2 remakes of Phantasy Star Generation: 1 and Phantasy Star Generation: 2 as well as the Gen 4 version of the patch, as the remakes are great to look at, modernized, and more importantly add much more story and character to the world of Phantasy Star.
I also implore you to play each of these legally (most important!) on original hardware (if possible for you). There’re many ways to do this now.
Feel free to report any bugs to hatalawriting at gmail dot com. I’m happy to talk about the game and changes, but please for those just PM me at romhacking.net (I’m GhaleonUnlimited there too).
Phantasy Star III: Successors of Time – New English Translation!
Also just this year, work was completed on completely retranslating Phantasy Star III!
PSIII was really rushed and isn’t as good as PSI, II and IV, but it still has some really cool ideas and is a part of the main series. It also has some wonderful music, esp the title screen, one of classic gaming’s best.
Credits / Resources used:
Thanks to Apathetic Aardvark for the script dump!
Above is The Cutting Room Floor Translation comparison btw May/Aug ’94 & Final English, with commentary on the original Japanese.
Japanese phoenetic translations of proper nouns in Phantasy Star IV — thanks to kahran042 for all this work: https://kahran042.dreamwidth.org/32272.html
Biggest thank you of all to lory1990 for creating the Disassembly of the classic PS games.
This basically enabled someone with no programming knowledge to directly edit all the in-game text: https://github.com/lory90/ps4disasm-uncomp
You can easily make any numbers of changes to the graphics, controls, or stats, if you know how to do that sort of thing.Other biggest thanks to vivify93 for being the first to get back to me when I was trying how the heck to get this started, and for being a limitless resource of Phantasy Star knowledge and good will!
This is my first hack, so I don’t really know what I’m supposed to put here other than I have no affiliation with SEGA (outside of being an unpaid brand ambassador!) or Phantasy Star and do not own any of the content in the game, etc.
NOTICE TO ALL WHO CREATE THEIR OWN GAME CARTRIDGES
Please do not sell this content in any form, especially in the form of burning this to a Genesis/MD cartridge and selling it.
This is illegal: You’re making money off of both the hard work of the devs who made the game and also me. This project was explicitly meant to be enjoyed for no greater cost than owning a real or digital copy of Phantasy Star IV.
We are allowed legally I believe to burn it onto a cartridge for personal, non-commercial use only if you already own the game. Get a friend’s or use YouTube to learn how. You’ll have fun and it’s very rewarding, and once you have the equipment and learn how to do one, you can put all your favorite hacks on real cartridges!
If I see this being sold anywhere, I will kindly ask you to respect the author’s wishes and remove it from your store. If you choose not to, will report you to whatever authority (etsy, ebay, SEGA, whoever) can convince you not to.
Otherwise, you can do whatever you want with this hack. Just link to the romhacking.net patch page if you want to share this or share the new script or talk about the changes.
Do not distribute ROMs. This hack only contains an IPS file to be applied to a legally obtained ROM.
— Chris Hatala , “GhaleonUnlimited” — hatalawriting at gmail dot com
https://www.gamesdonelegit.com/phantasy-star-iv-generation-4-patch/ for mo info!