RPGFan: It's been almost ten years since you last published a Lufia game - Lufia: The Legend Returns in 2001. Natsume strayed away from the GBA iteration of the series, The Ruins of Lore. What made you decide to return to localizing and publishing the franchise?
Graham Markay: Everyone here at Natsume has always been fond of the Lufia series, and when the opportunity came up for us to work on the series again with the original team responsible for Lufia & the Fortress of Doom, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals and Lufia: The Legend Returns, we jumped at it.
RPGFan: As a remake of Lufia II, there is already a fully translated version of this story. Was the script for the Nintendo DS version re-translated and re-written? If it was re-written, whose dialogue has changed the most and was the most fun to translate? What was the most difficult part of the
GM: Well, Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals is more of a ground-up reimagining of Lufia II than a straight remake. It retains the same core elements of the story and the same characters, but just about everything else is new. The setting has changed from a traditional medieval fantasy to a sci-fi steampunk world.
The Japanese script was completely new; how characters know each other, when they're introduced, how key plot points play out, a lot of those story elements had been reworked and re-imagined. So we did use a new translation for this game.
As far as the localization went, I'd say the humor was the trickiest bit. There are a lot of really amusing exchanges between the characters and some pretty entertaining villagers you'll meet on your journey. But humor is the thing that always has the most trouble translating across languages; wordplay and jokes that work in Japanese don't always work in English. Of course, that's also the most fun part, as it challenges us to be our most creative.
RPGFan: Was anyone from the Lufia II localization team on board for this new one?
GM: Unfortunately not. Lufia II was done back in 1996 and the team responsible for the localization has moved on.
RPGFan: Many recent localizations have been adding references to the memes/tropes of the day: references to All Your Base, Rickrolling, etc. Will fans of Internet-based pop culture find anything fun hidden in the script of this new Lufia title?
GM: There's plenty of humor in the game, but we tried to keep it true to the characters and grounded in the world of the game. Referencing an Internet meme is always a risky move; memes come and go so quickly these days. A clever reference today can be played-out and dated by the time the game is released.
RPGFan: Besides the battle system, what are some of the biggest changes fans can expect with this remake?
GM: Well, the new, more modern setting and 3D graphics for one. Also, each character has a unique ability that's used both in combat and in puzzle solving, so expect a lot of clever new puzzles that'll challenge you to make the best use of each of your party members.
RPGFan: With the aforementioned enhancements, what classic features of Lufia will players find familiar?
GM: The monsters, the characters, and the core story of Lufia should be familiar to fans of Lufia II. For all the changes, Curse of the Sinistrals does a great job of preserving the spirit of that beloved classic.
RPGFan: With the change from a turn based battle system to an action based battle system, dungeons obviously had to be altered. Are we going to see all the dungeons from Lufia II in Curse of the Sinistrals? Are there are any significant additions or subtractions?
GM: All of the dungeons have been completely redesigned. It's not just a new look and layout; all of the puzzles are new and take advantage of the various new abilities at your disposal. Dungeons also have certain areas that you won't be able to access on your first time through, but you'll be able to return and explore them once you've gained certain party members or unlocked new abilities. This gives the dungeons a lot of replay value.
RPGFan would like to thank Graham Markay and Natsume for the time to interview with us. Keep your eyes peeled to RPGFan for an upcoming review on Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals!