E2 Gaming has announced that it will be localising Taisho Alice for the English market. They recently acquired the US publishing rights for all four titles in this otome series, although nothing has yet been said about an EU release. The visual novel, developed by Primula last year, will be available via the PC. No official release date has yet been stated. Normally I would be ecstatic upon hearing an otome game has been picked up by an English localisation company, especially as Taisho Alice looks to be an intriguing game, but some red flags appearing over E2 Gaming’s legitimacy has put me slightly on edge…
As the heroine of this Visual Romantic Novel, your journey begins as you wake up in a world of darkness. You have no memory of who you are or where you are. Confronted by a bizarre world, you begin to wander aimlessly, hoping that you might come across something to reawaken your memories. Suddenly, you feel a strange presence grabbing your legs, and you sprint away in fear. You wish for nothing more than to escape this world.
As you continue your journey, you encounter a handsome young man with a unfriendly attitude. He has also lost his memory entirely, except for the name “Alice,” by which he introduces himself. He then refers to you by the family name “Alice.” This young man does not show any interest in traveling with you, but you succeed in convincing him to accompany you.
The plot thickens as you stumble upon glowing crystals with reflective surfaces. As you touch one, it ignites into a bright glow. The light dies down, and before you appear the images of two staggeringly handsome young men, reflected on opposite sides of the crystal. Their names are “Cinderella” and “Red Riding Hood.” Alice requests that you select one, and your romantic adventure commences. Lead each prince through their unique storylines and lead them to fairy tale endings.
Since posting the announcement via social media, E2 Gaming has been criticised for using fan translations from Otome Jikan in their character profiles, without seeking Otome Jikan’s permission. The company was then accused of re-wording the descriptions slightly to make them seem original. Comments that expressed disappointment over these actions were posted on E2 Gaming’s Facebook page, with some being subsequently deleted by E2 Gaming.
E2 Gaming gave this response to the comments, calling them ‘negative’ and ‘cynical’. They also claim that nothing has been stolen due to listing the Otome Jikan website on their ‘about’ page. Both of these posts have since been deleted.
Taisho Alice’s announcement (of which E2 Gaming now claims is not their official announcement) seems incredibly premature, especially if E2 Gaming has not yet received its own vital translations for promoting the game. E2 Gaming has admitted that posting information so soon was a mistake on their part, although they offer no formal apology to Otome Jikan. Really, this announcement was a shambles, with many gamers now seeing E2 Gaming as a company to be wary of, rather than grateful to. This is certainly not a good start for the newly established company. Translators, whether fan-based or professional, should always be properly credited (or, heavens forbid, paid) for their work, especially when such work is being used to promote a product for profit. It is my hope that E2 Gaming takes this experience as a sharp learning curve, and that this poor level of professionalism is not reflected in the quality of Taisho Alice’s English release. E2 Gaming seems to be genuinely passionate about otome games and visual novels, which makes these actions all the more saddening.
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