Interview with MangaGamer about Upcoming Title: Da Capo 3 R

For the review about this game, please click HERE.

header

It’s been a while since I last did any interviews that weren’t on stream. *insert laughter here* However, today, I bring you the MangaGamer team behind Da Capo 3 R! I’m with EldritchCherub, and Kouryuu. Just in case someone reading doesn’t know who you all and myself are, let’s introduce ourselves. (Who you are, what you do, etc., etc.)

Lolinia: I’m Jonathan Phelps, known more as TaisiHyuuga or Lolinia. I’m half of the current ownership of The Drastik Measure and I enjoy visual novels. I’m going for a degree in Mass Communications and should be graduating next semester, so I’m looking forward to that as well as to the release of Da Capo 3 R! /prtalk

EldritchCherub: My name is Jonathan Burgos, but I prefer to go by EldritchCherub in the visual novel community. I currently have a Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing and enjoy reading all sorts of visual novels. I’ve worked on Tokyo Babel, Da Capo 3, and the yet to be released, D.S. Dal Segno.

Kouryuu: Hello, I’m John Pickett, though some may know me better by online handle, Kouryuu. I’m MangaGamer’s Head Translator and PR Director, so I’ve worked on a lot of different titles and do a lot of little things here and there at MangaGamer too. The upcoming release of Da Capo 3 R is my most recent one completed, but prior to that I also worked on titles like ClockUp’s Eroge, and OVERDRIVE’s DEARDROPS.

ev_31_rcc20d

  • Now that we’ve gotten introductions out of the way, time for some questions for you. How did you find out about the Da Capo series and what made you want to work on it?

Kouryuu: I’d actually known of the Da Capo series since around the first years of the new millennium. It was a title that came up as something fairly well known in the early VN and eroge scene, because it was one of the many contributors to the early tropes, stereotypes, and characteristics of moe along with Key’s early games.

The first time I actually played anything in the series though, was Da Capo 2, around 2010, when I was first assigned to work on it. I personally handled the common route and true ending, and after release went on to play the entire game. Da Capo 2, and really the series as a whole, has a lot of traits that may seem typical to the genre of romantic, slice of games now, but it’s worth remembering this is a series that helped set those standards, and it shows with how strongly each game in the series focuses on the characters and the interactions that build up over time to establish the relationships that become the character routes. So at its core the series really does happy romance and slice of life well.

After enjoying Da Capo 2 myself, I had a chance during one anime expo to actually sit down with many of the creators from Circus and share stories with them over food and drinks. So it was hard for me to see myself letting someone else work on the series, and when the offer finally came in at MangaGamer, a lot of others balked away at the sheer length of the project too. I know I at least had a few mixed feelings going in myself, but ultimately I wanted to protect and share the charm of this very heartwarming series.

iv_mnt07b

EldritchCherub: I already had some knowledge of the Da Capo series when I was asked if I wanted to work on Da Capo 3 from time browsing the internet and anime forums. My first time being exposed to the series was a few years ago while reading a Megami Magazine I had purchased online. I enjoyed the cute art and moe appeal so I naturally gravitated toward this title when given the chance to work on it. I enjoy reading slice-of-life stories for a nice change of pace and Da Capo 3 was right up my alley, so I figured that despite it being such a long title it would hold my interest quite well.

I only read Da Capo 2’s common route in order to familiarize myself a bit with the setting and tone that the series was trying to achieve before starting to work on Da Capo 3. Now that I think about it, it’s probably time I get back and finish that game now that Da Capo 3 is about to be released. Besides a short segment at the end, Da Capo 3 is a standalone title. Kouryuu was very helpful when it came to answering questions about the game’s setting and the like whenever such a situation arose.

ev_31_aoi06e

  • What was the translation/editing process like for DC3R? Were there any issues to overcome along the way?

Kouryuu: The process itself wasn’t very much different from our typical localization process at MangaGamer. My editor and I would often go over several lines together each script or two.

The only major issue we ran into during localization was the discovery of several missing scripts halfway through. I had nearly finished the common route, but I had a growing suspicion that we might be missing a few files due to some slight inconsistencies here and there. So when investigated further we realized a batch of scripts hadn’t uploaded properly—over 6,000 lines worth. That was a pretty depressing moment—watching my goalpost move months further out—but the problem was easily solved and work resumed without any hitch.

EldritchCherub: Every week I would complete a set amount of lines (usually around 2000-2500) and notify Kouryuu so that he could go over them. He would let me know which lines needed changing, or whether one of my lines had deviated a bit from the Japanese. Considering the vast scope of this project, communication was a key component in order to set an appropriate standard and make sure we were consistent with terms and the like throughout the game. Kouryuu was open when it came to setting aside some time each week to review and offered some invaluable suggestions which helped me deliver more polished lines on my part.

There was some research on my part when it came to the London setting during the 1950s. I wouldn’t really say it was an overbearing obstacle, but it was important to make sure that certain words and phrases made sense in the setting the story took place in. I had to learn to maintain a clear distinction between American and British in my mind as I worked on the Da Capo 3’s scripts.

For example, the usual automobile which we are so used to would be changed to a steam car in the game. There is some slang peppered in the script, but for the most part I tried not to go overboard with it. Certain characters like Sara or Ian Selway also come from prestigious families, so they wouldn’t feel a need to use slang when conversing with their friends or acquaintances. All in all, it was an interesting hurdle for me since this was my first official project where the Queen’s English was so prevalent.

ev_skr04a

  • What do you personally feel was the hardest part on bringing the game to a western audience?

Kouryuu: Mental Endurance. One thing that isn’t discussed too often in the press is what working on different project lengths can be like for localization. An anime episode, a website, or something similar that can be completed within a day is like running the 50 yard dash. It’s a short, quick burst of effort and energy that rapidly delivers a satisfying result.

A short game that’s more UI than story, something that maybe takes a week is still like a 100 yard dash. You have to start pacing a little, but it’s still very quick.

By the time you’re working on a short game that’s 1-200,000 words long, you’re looking at a couple months of sustained full time effort on one task. It’s not quite a marathon yet, but it’s easily comparable to a mile run – it requires measured pacing and the finish line is a good distance away.

But the typical full-length visual novel is closer to 400,000 words, and easily takes six to eight months of time to localize. This is where the marathon starts. Some translators can’t run that marathon, and I’ve seen them drop out at our company and others, yet most working in this industry build up the organizational skills, pacing, and means to relieve mental fatigue to make it seem pretty effortless.

Yet Da Capo 3 R was around 1 million words long. That’s about the length of the entire Harry Potter series combined. The time I’ve had to spend working on this single project is measured in years. At that point, the project has well transcended Olympic marathon. On top of all the usual issues, there’s now the constant pressure of knowing how far out completion and delivery is, which eventually ferments into a feeling of failure-like you’re letting everyone down-and erodes at one’s self-confidence. It becomes very fatiguing, and mentally feels like laboring through rubbery leg for months on end. By the year mark, you can start questioning why you ever decided to attempt such a thing, and if it wouldn’t be better to just give up and pass the baton, so you have to dig deep and rediscover your own motivations to keep with it.

girl-sitting-on-ground

EldritchCherub: I’ll have to echo Kouryuu’s sentiment here as well. Though I only worked on Da Capo 3 for about a year, compared to his arduous 3-4 year stint, as time went on eye strain and wrist discomfort became increasingly prevalent. Maintaining a consistent pace was paramount, so outside of work I did my best to minimize my time on a computer. There were days at the beginning when I did close to a thousand lines, though thankfully, those days were rare. Over time, though, I learned to manage my time better and stick to only five hundred lines a day so that I wouldn’t burn out.

Since my ordeal was relatively short I didn’t reach the stage where I grew tired of working Da Capo 3 or regretted having accepted the job. If I had to say, overall I had fun while working on this title and learned a lot about how to polish my writing techniques as a result of countless hours poring over the scripts. If I ever get the chance to work on another title of similar length it will not be as daunting because I’ve learned how to tackle such an obstacle. Though the start of the marathon was a steep climb which occasionally made me falter I can honestly say this was a valuable and enlightening experience that I will remember for a long time to come.

ev_31_srr13c

  • Favorite character and why? (As non-spoilery as you can be~)

Kouryuu: My favorite is by far Ricca. Her bold, forward, openness is a refreshing change from a lot of character archetypes, and it’s to know with confidence that yes, this heroine does have wants, isn’t afraid to voice them, and means them when she does. At the same time, she’s also still rather caring and considerate of others too.

It’s rather nice seeing a Visual Novel’s heroine be the one to confess to the protagonist.

EldritchCherub: I would have to say my favorite character in the game is Sara. Her hardworking nature and stalwart perseverance against all odds resonated with me. Despite shouldering some heavy expectations, she manages to give it her all each and every time a situation where she has to prove her mettle arises. It was also endearing seeing how she gradually warms up to Kiyotaka and his friends throughout the novel, considering her cool disposition when they first meet.

girl-on-ground

  • What was the most fun thing about working on DC3R?

Kouryuu: Finishing it! Finally seeing the light at the end of the long tunnel was a breath of fresh air after grinding away at it for years. Now that it’s finally over, I’m really excited to see it released, and anxious to see how people receive it. I had some fun creating all the achievement points too.

EldritchCherub: Edogawa Kousuke and Shiki’s master-slave relationship was great. Every time they appeared hilarity would surely ensue and having the rest of the cast tease Kousuke whenever he acted out was icing on the cake.

girl-with-burger

  • How do you feel the Steam version of DC3R will be received? With it being an all-ages version, does it affect the story in anyway? Or is it you just don’t see any sex?

Kouryuu: Da Capo 3 was actually an all-ages only game originally. When Da Capo 3 R was released, it compiled all the bonus stories added to Da Capo 3 over a few different expansions, as well as adding its own CG as well. So Da Capo 3 R ~X-Rated~ mostly contains adult scenes that were added to the story after the original release, specifically for the Da Capo 3 R ~X-Rated~ release.

The story of Da Capo 3 is perfectly enjoyable without any of adult scenes, but I think every one of them does help to further deepen and expand on the character’ relations. If you’re playing Da Capo 3 R on Steam, what you’ll experience are essentially fade-to-black transitions in the scenes where the adult version would cut to the adult scene. The fact that characters have intimate relations in those scenes remains in the storyline for Da Capo 3 R.

So at least give it a try, if nothing else, and see if any of the characters manage to win you over.

EldritchCherub: I think the all-ages version of Da Capo 3 will have a positive reception. There are scenes that will supplement the redaction of the H-scenes which serve to bolster the relationship between the protagonist and the heroines. There is enough characterization throughout the story to satisfy even the most zealous reader. If someone chooses to purchase the all-ages version on Steam they can rest assured that they will be satisfied with the way events are wrapped up by the end of the story.

ev_31_hmn11i

  • Speaking of NSFW questions, how raunchy do the sex scenes get? *places fan over nose and mouth* Cute and lovely or downright dirty? Can you smell it while you read?

Kouryuu: The adult scenes in Da Capo 3 R ~X-Rated~ are very vanilla. This definitely isn’t a game that caters to kinks or fetishes. The primary highlight in almost all of the adult scenes is the intimacy shared between partners, the love they’re expressing through the act, and how much they yearn or long for each other. Much like the rest of the game, they’re very heartwarming.

EldritchCherub: Being a fan of vanilla stuff, I was delighted to find that the adult scenes in Da Capo 3 are tame. There’s none of that extracurricular stuff that most readers of nukige are used to. I’d say the H-scenes lean more towards the cute and endearing side of the spectrum, rather than downright dirty.

ev_31_sra07a

  • With the game being so long (80+ hours according to the email), is it long because it’s simply a lot of writing or plenty chances to fail at choices? Or is that not counting bad ends?

Kouryuu: It’s the huge amount of text. There aren’t really any bad ends at all in Da Capo 3 R, just choices that influence the growth of relationships between characters.

That being said though, the game does play extensive focus to the slice-of-life elements, featuring an enormous breadth of scenes that generally offer multiple scenes per in-game day over the course of in-game months. It really brings the daily lives of the characters out strongly, and offers a lot of content devoted to the cast.

By the time you finish playing Da Capo 3 R, you’ll probably feel like you’ve genuinely grown to know several new friends well.

EldritchCherub: The game has almost two million Japanese characters, so suffice it to say, it is a long and arduous journey to the eventual true end. There are no bad ends whatsoever in the script. The investigation missions do pose their fair share of incremental danger to the characters, but there aren’t any deviations on this path that could deliver on that front. I think the lack of bad ends in an already long game is for the best.

Each day is packed with events that shine the spotlight on a variety of characters, and the majority of them are given enough time so that their motivations and desires can be fleshed out throughout the story. From student council meetings, to detective club shenanigans, and gnilruc tournaments, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this grand tale.

girl-with-bat

  • Now that the game is getting ready for release in January, how’s the team feeling? Excited for the end or a bit sad that the work is ending? (for the production stage, anyway. Yay post-production!)

Kouryuu: Relief, excitement, victory, pride, anxiety. I’m so happy and proud to actually be finished with the project. It’s incredibly satisfying to finally realize I pulled through and made it happen. I don’t think I’ve used this phrase before, but I’m practically sparkling with excitement to finally reveal the game to the English world at large, and that’s bright enough to over shine to my anxiety about it being received well.

EldritchCherub: Honestly, it is a bit bittersweet. The culmination of all of our hard work is here and thousands of people will be reading the words that I carefully selected over a year’s time, so that’s definitely a cause worthy of celebration. At the same time, Da Capo 3’s colorful cast grew on me and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss them. Of course, I can always go back and re-read this visual novel, so that’s a relief.  I can’t wait to read all the forum discussions concerning the characters and the twists and turns that Da Capo 3 has to offer.

ev_31_rcc14c

  • Words for the readers?

Kouryuu: Please, please, please buy Da Capo 3 R when it’s out!!! This is a title that’s grown rather close to my heart after working on it exclusively for years, and I really do hope I can share the happiness that this tale conveys with as many people as possible.

EldritchCherub: I hope those who are even remotely interested in Da Capo 3 take the plunge and purchase it. It really is a great tale filled with comedic moments and dramatic twists which will be sure to tug at your heartstrings. As for those who have read the previous iterations, you will grow to love this new cast and familiarize yourself with this tale of love and friendship that transcends time.  I hope everyone enjoys this story which everyone on the localization team worked so hard to bring over!


It was a great pleasure being able to interview these two about DC3R. I hope you all enjoyed it, too. Please leave comments down below if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. You can currently pre-order the X-Rated version on the MangaGamer site and you will be able to buy the game on Steam once it releases on the 20th! Also, I’d like to note that the three of us having similar given names made me giggle. Feel free to join the TDM Community Discord.