It’s been two years since I last interviewed the localization staff of MangaGamer’s The House in Fata Morgana. Two years since the best VN I’ve ever read captivated me when I initially had no real interest in it. Two years of waiting for the release of A Requiem for Innocence since hearing about it in that last interview. Two years of watching the updates on Twitter, looking out for the press releases, and general fan behavior just shy of stalking the game. I’ve waited two years for this and now it’ll be out in less than a week. Now I get to interview the staff again.
– So, like I said in the intro paragraph there, it’s been two years. Let’s get to know each other again. Who are you?
Lolinia: My name is Jonathan Phelps, but most of the internet that knows of me knows me by either Lolinia or TaisiHyuuga. I’m a co-owner for The Drastik Measure and a Twitch streamer and the guy asking the questions in this interview. I love streaming VNs as bedtime stories and doing other game stuff during the day. I also adore watching anime and taking long walks to the fridge. And one more fun fact: my birthday is the day after the game releases. PERFECT BIRTHDAY GIFT, GUYS!
Yukino: Hey there, Lolinia, and happy early birthday! A lot’s happened in the last two years—including, for me, a change of usernames—but it’s nice to be back to talk Fata again. As a quick introduction, I’m Yukino (or just Yuki), the translator for everything Fata Morgana related under the sun. I also do programming for a bunch of MangaGamer visual novels, and my hobby is watching far more anime than is healthy.
ritobito: Oh hey, happy birthday, Lolinia! I certainly hope A Requiem for Innocence will make for a most happy of birthdays, though considering its content and tone, I’m uh… well, we’ll see, I guess! But yeah, it’s been one heck of a past two years (has it really been that long?) and although it’s been quite a wait for Requiem, I’m confident that it’ll be well worth the wait.
Anyway, I’m the localization editor most commonly known as ritobito! I’m also an unapologetic Novectacle fanboy, so that’s been kinda cool.
– LESS THAN A WEEK. I’m excited to finally have my grubby little mitts on the game and am looking forward to reviewing it. How excited were you during the localization process?
Y: It should come as no surprise that Fata Morgana is pretty near the top of my list of “most important stories I’ve ever read,” so naturally I was thrilled to have the chance to translate the followup/prequel as well. Though to tell you the truth, spending so much time with Fata, it’s kind of become like my baby, and that means more hours spent agonizing over how to make every single line in Requiem perfect, which is partly to blame for it taking so long for me to finish!
R: Yeah, we severely underestimated just how long it would take to perfect this bad boy. But the entire process was a blast, and we gave it every bit as much TLC (that is, tender loving care—as if there’s any reason to translation check Yukino’s work) as the first game. And likewise, The House in Fata Morgana is super near and dear to my heart, so having another opportunity to work on a Fata project is just thrilling.
– After working on The House in Fata Morgana, did you find working with A Requiem for Innocence any easier than the original game?
Y: It’s much shorter than the original game for one (less than half the length, and even smaller if you don’t count the selection of side stories included), and it doesn’t get quiiite as deep into the same kind of super heavy subject matter either. So in that regard, yes. But if you’ve played the main game, you already know how this one ends, and spending months working our way up to that, going into so much more detail, was definitely not easy on the heart!
R: Yeah, the shorter length definitely helped things, not to mention already having most of the characters’ voices down (though some of the new ones were a challenge that required some experimentation and reiteration), and having a pretty good idea of where the story would take us. Made it much easier to jump right in, as opposed to a fresh project where you’re kinda feeling things out for the first chunk or two.
– Should we expect any more “LE’GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASP” moments this time around?
Y: I don’t thiiiiink so, but in much the same way Rito slipped “le gasp!” past me (we were both unaware of its usage as a meme, believe it or not!), there’s always a chance he pulled a fast one!
Except for the backstage extra. That was all deliberate.
R: I behaved this time! Mostly!
– The OST was such a powerful asset to The House in Fata Morgana. How much do you feel that the same powerful emotions will be ripped out of us with the new OST? Any returning tracks?
Y: Oooooh man, you have no idea. I’ll let Rito handle most of the music talk, but I can promise you all the new tracks are perfect. And the new version of Serie de Fragmento with lyrics is beautiful beyond words.
R: Ohohoho, yes indeed, Requiem’s soundtrack is a thing of beauty that helps to significantly amplify the sweet, sweet pain of the story. On top of the vocal tracks (Gao’s singing is as beautiful as ever), there’s actually quite a few piano tracks which span a wide range of tempos and emotions. All in all, to my ears anyway, Requiem’s soundtrack has a more refined feel to it, and it’s incredibly effective.
– From the trailer video, it looks like the game focuses on telling the fill-in details of Morgana’s story, which was one of the cruxes of emotions in the first game. So, lemme in on the secret… how many times did you cry when translating/editing/reading the text? *nudge nudge wink wink*
R: Actually, ACTUALLY, I was able to hold myself together this time around! Maybe it’s because I knew more or less how things would turn out. But even then, I was caught off guard numerous times when playing through, and it’s rarely any less painful when editing those bits.
– What was your favorite part of A Requiem for Innocence? (If you can say without spoiling something big, that is! DON’T SPOIL ME, BRO.)
R: Hmm… yeah, Maria. I really enjoyed all of the new characters in Requiem, though! Gratien and Ceren are a blast, and I was really surprised with some of the side stories.
– Just because I wanna kinda make this a thing I do in interviews, if you’ve seen Re:Zero… Emilia or Rem?
Y: I’ll meet you halfway and say neither! Ram if my choices are limited to main characters, or Felis/Ferris/however it’s spelled if secondary characters count.
R: I’m awful, so I stalled about a dozen episodes in, but Rem just… wasn’t doing much for me. Maybe I need to get the heck back to Re:Zero (yes, yes, I do) and see where things go, but Emilia was definitely more of my type! I’m not sure what this says about my pleb taste.
Y: *glare* (No, it’s okay. I’ve given up on getting you to finish anything.)
L: *glares at rito with no remorse*
– Any words of encouragement towards the readers or people who may need this game in their life?
Y: Fata Morgana can be a very difficult game to read in a lot of ways, and Requiem is not much different in that regard. It’s a story of deeply flawed humans, struggling to make it by as best as they can in an unfair world. It’s about contradictory desires, and how even the best of intentions can lead you down the very, very wrong path if you’re not careful.
Well, that ended up being not very encouraging at all, so maybe Rito can help me out with this one…!
R: Hoo boy. Well, if the original story revolved around the broader themes of love, revenge, and forgiveness, Requiem is perhaps a little more focused on the themes of power and desire—how power has this tendency to blind and corrupt, and how desire often begets desire, leading to many a man’s downfall. And yeah, while that may not sound encouraging in the slightest to the prospective reader, I found Requiem’s tone and exploration of those classic themes (not to mention its exploration of class dynamics, which, despite this story being set long, long ago, hold up pretty well to those of modern times) to be a surprisingly sober, if cautionary tale. Even if Requiem ends in tragedy for damn near everyone involved, there are certainly a number of morals to be had!
Also, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think a lot of folks will appreciate the side stories as well, which tackle a number of additional themes.
– I’m totally excited to read the hard work y’all put into this game and then write it down into a game review and OST review. Haha. Hope y’all will look forward to it, too. Any last words?
Y: I hope you have a box of tissues at the ready for another big ol’ heaping helping of tragedy! Enjoy~
R: Heck yeah, I can seriously hardly wait for you and every Fata fan to dig into Requiem. It’ll be worth the wait, I promise!