I wanted to get some input from the general public on a matter I've been thinking over for our DQI&II Super NES project: NPC dialogue formatting.
The first 4 NES dragon warrior localizations present dialogue within open and closed single quotes, which we maintained in the Delocalized versions, while the Japanese games precede the dialogue of anonymous speakers with an asterisk and a colon. For example:
*: Sample dialogue.
With more extended dialogue:
*: It tends to repeat
*: Even with the same
From our understanding, this format really is a curio that's unique to Dragon Quest as far as RPG text formatting goes in Japan. I guess it just became a tradition after the first game, and we all know how Dragon Quest is with traditions.
A curious thing happened with the 1998 western localization of Dragon Warrior monsters: they included this preceding asterisk and colon in the English version. The Dragon Warrior Monsters localization struck us as fairly simplistic compared to the comprehensive approach of the previous localizations, so them preserving the *: seems to have possibly been haphazard in nature. Funnily enough, the tradition of using that format has been going on more or less ever since with western releases.
When working on our retranslation of Dragon Quest Monsters for GBC, I wasn't a fan of this format. It took a lot of space in lines of text where very little fit to begin with, and it just didn't feel like it had much of a purpose to me. There weren't necessarily any space issues as far as ROM data, but we really wanted the text fitting efficiently in boxes.
So that brings us to this next project of Dragon Quest I&II for Super NES. Here is where I'd like some input. I'm leaning toward again removing the asterisk and colons from the text, and really only designating speakers when there is dialogue between NPCs. We wouldn't announce speaker when an NPC announces who they are in their text, as the Japanese versions generally do. I like the idea of maintaining consistency with our prior releases, and I really don't like the idea of going back and changing them / dealing with space problems.
The thing that's kind of odd for us is that we have stayed pretty tight to the Japanese Dragon Quest releases in other regards, so continuing to drop the asterisk/colon seems a bit inconsistent. But to counter that, our real focus is the content of the dialogue, the namings, uncensoring graphics, etc. Having this kind of anonymous speaker designation, or differentiating text in general seems fairly pointless. If I check a cabinet, I think it's safe to assume that the cabinet isn't talking to me and I'm reading a 3rd person silent narrator. Also, the text sounds for speaking will be maintained as before.
So I thought I'd throw out this invitation to give us input as a "speak now or forever hold your peace".
Let us know your thoughts, and thank you for the support!