Mangagamer bringing you the horror in more than one way
News of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni games being licensed came as one of the best surprises of the year. Being able to have the opportunity of play the original material which the anime version was based on was something fans always wanted. Like many would, I perceived this as a chance to express my gratitude and pay my respects to the author, support those involved and legally purchase the original games. Although, I’m not able purchase every single piece of merchandise out there I do it whenever it’s economically possible to give something back to the author. Be that in manga, games, or any other form of merchandise. I think we can all agree on this on some degree.
For those who aren’t familiar with the title. Let me tell you that Higurashi is a high quality thriller mystery worthy of high praise. The story is engrossing to the point that you’ll lose track of time and soon submerge in this insane most complex world filled with mind screwing situations brought to us by the author Ryukishi07 and 07th Expansion. To most of us who are more familiar with the TV anime version thought that it was rather unfortunate that we were only able play the 1st arc of the game since it was the only one translated (Sonozaki sisters) After seeing what the original game provided and that it also explained the story even more, fans were static to see more of it. Things aren’t so great as you will see.
Possible censoring/modifying – this issue was addressed, like many, in their Mangagamer blog. You can read other comments and posts by from their wordpress blog.
“As you all may know, the issues in Japan following the outcries of this past year have left many companies wary and overcautious when it comes to deciding what constitutes child pornography. With the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada cracking down and restricting content even more, we were no exception. As a company who hopes to offer our products to the entire English speaking world, we originally felt it necessary to take extra precaution to ensure that neither our company nor our customers would face prosecution or other action as a result of our products. This is why we originally felt it was necessary to remove Nanami’s CGs and replace Satoko’s naked sprite with the sprite where she covers herself with a towel. We wanted to ensure the safety of our staff, our consumers, and our ability to continue producing these games.”– Mangagamer
Hell, no. One wants to see Satoko naked but the bigger issue was that Mangagamer was even considering modifying the original game at some point. When this first came out I feared that if they were having issues with that they would start censoring whatever scene they found violent or unsuitable for the readers. It was good to see that they put their foot down and said no. Fortunately, this issue was solved, but the idea of messing with the games wasn’t gone.
You can say goodbye to some of them
– REMOVAL OF BG MUSIC – Which was mentioned in their about the release of Higurashi entry.
– Replacement of BGM in some scenes
– Removal of the Music Room
– Removal of the Mini Game
– Removal of the Staff Room
“[..] We sincerely apologize for these differences between our version and the original, however the actual story and elements important to the story still remain just as they were in the originals. As a doujin game, Ryukishi was able to use many songs, characters, and topics without permission for these features, but as an official release we need permission from the copyright holders to use them. Since we couldn’t obtain all the licenses for all of the characters and products featured in these sections, they were unfortunately removed. If we ever have any new updates about these features, I assure you we will make the information available as soon as possible. Again, while these features have unfortunately been removed, aside from the few BGMs which were replaced, the original story and other elements important to the story have not been removed or altered.” – Mangagamers
Due to copyright issues Mangagamer was forced to remove certain BG music. In addition to that they also removed the mini game section found in the original game leading to an incomplete version compared to the Japanese game. I know well that such ‘small’ changes would not terribly affect my personal experience in Hinamizawa, but not everyone agrees with it. There is also a fair amount of dissatisfied and soon-to-be-customers who are mad to see that the version they’re getting isn’t the same as the Japanese one.
As for me, I see that both sides have a point. I’m still terribly disappointed at those who made it harder for us to get the original version and Mangagamer not being able to work something out here. I’m not particularly thrilled to see that the version we’ll be paying for will be different than the original but I suppose I could live it with it. I rather see Mangagamer release the games than not do it at all. Easy to dismiss? Insignificant in nature? Maybe so. The best of the worst is yet to come.
Okyaku-sama isn’t so happy
No CD copy. Digital only – mentioned in their support page.
It seems that MG isn’t in the habit of providing their loyal customers with a hard copy of the games they bought. Correct me if I’m wrong but this is what I know so far. Higurashi is no exception to this absurd rule, as fans will not get an original cd of the game they just purchased legally from their company. This just may be the way the MG does things to decrease their work load or some other reasons. I’m no expert therefore, I won’t criticize the reasons behind how the operate, but I do criticize the foolish and absurd decision of not providing the fans with a hard copy of what their customers just purchased. It may sound stupid to those that don’t care about having a hard copy on their hands but I do, like others, care about this simple yet important fact. I think it’s perfectly normal and even expected to own a hard copy of what you just purchased. No matter what they say, nothing is better than having something you can see and touch. Something tangible to take it out, show off, or keep it to yourself whenever you feel like it. To get that feeling that you bought something you own. It’s like comparing a digital copy to a manga book. Sure, you can both read them but the later is just much better for many reasons. Mangagamers fails to provide the customers with this chance. Sadly, the horror doesn’t end here.
I wish they were lying, Rena
Less than perfect. Possibly bordering awful translation.
After the fans being partially dissatisfied with Mangagamer not keeping their promises by changing the release days, they came through and released the games. The enthusiasm massively quieted down when the fans who purchased the first batch of 4 games (questions arcs) were treated to a extremely poor translation. At first I was sure they were exaggerating and blowing things out of proportion after seeing a couple of mistakes. I went to check MG forums and found posts relating to the English translation and found mutual disapproval on the work they did. Grammatical mistakes, typos, poor tense agreement are to name a few, what I found. MG even previously had a Bug report post in their forum. After seeing that I figured that their final product was going to be much improved version. Sadly, for what I’ve heard this isn’t the case AT ALL. I was more than dissatisfied upon hearing that what I was planning on purchasing was going to be less perfect and will most likely fatally disrupt my reading. Higurashi a story which main selling point is the reading part in addition to the background music. It couldn’t be any more anticlimactic to see that you have to make up what they meant to say and try guessing what they probably meant. Fans, to be more specific customers, shouldn’t have to do this at all. Everyone makes mistakes every now and then. Fatigue, English being a second language, being pressured to finish up already, and among factors are what could’ve led to a less than perfect English translation. However, for the looks of it, Mangagamer’s proofreader team seem like either just skimped right through the material, was half sleep, or very bad and long day. Sure, it’s humanly normal to err but none of us get paid to do their jobs. I could understand fan translations like The Witch-Hunt to make mistakes since they are free but this? Witch-Hunt’s translation are great with few mistakes. Having played Umineko VN 1-5 I can vouch for them and say that I have never been dissatisfied with their work. They’re extremely polished and they put great effort into their work. I expected companies to at least be at that level but MG isn’t coming even close for what I hear.
Fans expected an almost flawless English translation but instead they got robbed and got a poorly made translation with errors in almost every page. Mistakes that could’ve been easily been corrected if the people in charge would’ve put more effort or taken their jobs more seriously and made sure the fans would get, without a doubt, their money worth. For the price customers will be paying for the Higurashi games this is unacceptable. I don’t have the pleasure of experiencing this as of yet since I haven’t played MG’s version yet but… Way to ruin the moment! I don’t have as much of an problem with the rest but for god’s sake you should’ve gotten at least that one right. The goal is the catch the culprit in the game not huge glimpses of abominable incompetence. It would’ve been better if they would’ve worked harder on them even if it meant delaying the games. People expected quality and you aren’t giving it to them. Of course, anyone would not be happy.
– Fair? Extremely overpriced? – Questionable Prices – With the release of 1st Answer arc Meakashi-hen, this hit the fans in the face with force of a baseball bat.
Question Arcs 1-4: $36.95 EUR = $51.21 USD, $57.64 AUD
Question Arcs (per arc): 9.23 EUR = 12.79 USD, 14.39 AUD
Answer Arc 5 (per arc): $19.95 EUR = $27.65 USD, $31.12 AUD
Answer Arcs 5-8: $79.80 EUR = $110.60 USD, $124.49 AUD
Hopefully, your jaw hasn’t dropped to the ground. All of these slips up by MG could’ve been partially ignored or at least be bearable if the price was reasonable enough for the less than perfect job they did. The Question Arcs 1-4: have a price of $36.95 EUR ($51.21 USD) At first, I wasn’t that thrilled with the price seeing that the I’d be basically paying for the remaining 3 arcs since the 1st game is legally free for download at 07th Expansion page thanks to the kind creators of the game. And in case you thought, it’s not possible to purchase the Question arcs individually unlike the original version. Anyhow, like a good sport I sucked it up because I was just glad that there was someone bringing us the translated version of the games I thought I’d never be get to play in a very long time. I did because I knew that Higurashi was worth it and I wanted to support the company that was bringing it to the fans. I had already planned on purchasing the game no matter what the price (within the reasonable scope of course) so the bigger question was going to be how much eventually all of it was going to cost. Then things turned just plain ugly with the release of the 2nd batch of games, the answer arcs better known as Higurashi Kai (TV 2nd season) and MG questionable prices. Unlike the answers arcs, Mangagamers will be selling Kai individually at a price of more than twice than the question arcs!
– Comments of disappointed fans –
“I can’t say I’m not pretty disappointed. I mean, look, I want to buy the answer arcs. Higurashi’s one of my favorite series. But the first arc was already pretty much at the top of my budget range at $50 (which is, by the way, more than I am willing to pay for an 80+ hour videogame, so frankly, I found it overpriced even then), but I’m just not willing to pay over a hundred dollars for the answer arcs. Period. I sympathize with your development costs, and the fact that you’re trying to recoup them off a currently very small market, but you’re quite simply pricing it out of my, and many other people’s range.
Frankly, at this point I’m regretting buying the first arc and am actively recommending my friends against getting into the games at least until you guys have finished releasing them, especially as you’ve been consistently overpromising and underdelivering. (Wasn’t the first release supposed to come out two months earlier? And contain the minigames and perhaps even the original music, considering it’s, you know, a sound novel?) Again, I sympathize with your problems with the content and your need to recoup your development costs, but after a certain point, it just doesn’t matter. I can buy 5 hardbacks for the price of Higurashi at this point. 17 paperbacks. A cheap ebook reader. Between 4-16 used games. A hundred bucks wouldn’t have thrilled me as the price of the whole series, but I would have dealt. But I’m not willing to pay over a hundred dollars just for the second half. I’m disappointed, because I was looking forward to it, and I refuse to pirate, but as much as I want to, I’m just not willing to spend over double what I was expecting to for the second half. Sorry dudes, but unless you lower the price dramatically (as I’m half expecting you to do once they’re all out and have been for a bit, but frankly, you haven’t struck me as competent enough for me to say for sure), you just lost a customer. And I very highly doubt I’ll be the only one.” – disappointed fan
I am reading a book at the moment; it is the third in a series. It has many chapters, which in turn make up the five divided parts of the novella. If I had to pay the same amount for the novel split into five I would see this as entirely acceptable. However if I had to pay a premium for the five parts, which in their entirety added up to much more than should be expected, I would as a consumer, despite my love for the story; decline to purchase. Why? Because as a lover of books I would weigh the worth of the book versus the other books I might buy instead and see that I could buy two or three books from other authors I likewise enjoy.
This would result in me not purchasing the book. I would not be contributing to the publisher or the author. Furthermore I would be bitter about the fact that an author/publishing house I respected had made their product unobtainable to me unless I submitted to their price gouging. It would especially sting considering the fact that I had obtained the first two books in the series for a much lower and reasonable cost, anticipating the same with further chronicles.
I hope the Mangagamer staff can understand what I am trying to say with this analogy, I would like to support you; I only ask that you make this possible. I acknowledge that the second part of the series is 1.5 times the length of the original four. Therefore I suggest lowering your pricing to 13.99 EUR, which is just slightly more than 1.5 times the price per arc of the original series.
I would consider this an acceptable price. After the four arcs are released this would amount to an overall price of 55.96, compared to the original first four arc release at 36.95. This is roughly 19 EUR more than the questions arc. As an Australian that means I would need to pay $88 dollars for your four releases, which is at the very upper limit of my consideration. After all I could purchase 2 new release games for that price (If I had the consoles), 4-5 brand new books, 6 music cds or about 15 decent second-hand books.
At the current pricing of 79.80 EUR (124.50 AUD) I can pretty much guarantee that myself and many other Australians will not consider purchasing. At 110.60 USD, the citizens of the United States will probably likewise declined to buy your product. All countries outside the EU and England will consider your pricing structure prohibitive and/or excessive. If Mangagamer wishes to succeed you need to be mindful of your consumers, their needs and their limited income (which they can spend on many other things besides you product).
I do not wish to see your company disappear like Hiremeki or Himeya Soft. Best of luck regardless of what you choose to do, I hope your business does well and you continue to release quality titles. I just hope myself and other fans will be able to afford them.” – another disappointed customer.
As you’ve seen the outcry of the fans is obvious and understandable. Both of those well made comments above cover up just about everything fans of the series are feeling. Not everyone is going to be able to afford these games. There’s those who can easily drop a few hundreds like it’s nothing but not everyone can. First of all, not everyone has a job or is able to afford all the games for such prices. When was the last time you spend more than a 100$ for a few games anyway? What about those fans who thought they were going to be able to legally purchase the game? Do we just tell them ‘no’ just because Mangagamer’s price were too high and practically force the fans to pirate even though they wanted to get them legally? Or like the one of the comments above just refuse to play them altogether? That’s just not fair.
Part of me can’t help but feel Mangagamer are screwing fans over because they know they’re the only who are going to have all games translated. The other part still believes that it’s right to support them regardless what I think of the price. Mangagamer claims that localization, translation, among other factors fans aren’t aware of, is what determines the prices for the games which I think must be partially true. In my personal opinion, the price of the Answer arcs are extremely high seeing that we’re getting the same number of games. It hasn’t been fully confirmed yet but it’s more than safe to assume that the Kai arcs will not contain past EPs therefore we’ll be paying for what we see. I know Kai is longer than the question arcs but doubling the price for them just doesn’t sit right with me. I thought that I was going to be able see the whole story through after having watched the anime but it might not be the case after all. I thought that Mangagamer was a competent and thoughtful company after seeing their Higurashi give away last year and more after knowing that they created a blog to keep in touch with their customers but I’m starting to think this isn’t the case.
I think that regardless of the price fans would gotten somehow over it if the quality of the product was top notch but this is far from the case as we can see, but add the overpriced price we’ll be paying to the less than perfect English translation and we have a bomb ready to go off. Despite MG’s less than perfect version I am still going to be purchasing the question arcs at some point seeing that we won’t be getting an English patch very soon but I won’t be looking forward to MG’s version as much as I wanted after hearing of all this. The Sonozaki Sisters did a perfect job with the 1st arc but realistically speaking, it’s going to take them A LOT of time to translate the rest of the games. It’ s not like I don’t understand Mangagamer’s side at all but they’re doing a very poor job in bringing the Higurashi games to us that it’s very difficult to be more understandable of their situation. In the end they are the ones who decide whether fans might be forced to pass on the Kai arcs or the entire games. It’ll be bad if the fans decide to support the original author in some other way such as importing the original games, ignore Mangagamer and wait for a better done fan translation. If Mangagamer doesn’t revise their strategies and work something out like improving the existing translation (patch) and lowering the prices of the games, this might not end too well. Some fans already feel like they’re treated like crap by companies. Let’s not give them any more ideas. I hope that Mangagamer works something out so fans aren’t robbed of the chance of playing the original games and at the same time of showing their support for the author, otherwise they will be looking at one displeased crowd.
You’re probably already looking at one.