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Spanish subtitles and language

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Hi everyone.

I was thinking how to contribute for this awesome proyect. And i realize that the only thing i really dislike from video games in general is that the regionalization is horrible.

im from argentina and ussualy a video game that comes in spanish language is subtitled and doubled by spanish (from spain) persons.

is the uggliest thing for a video game and, in my opinion, for movies and everithing in general.

is, for instance, like a german videogame maker take some people from england and translate his videogame. yikes!.

It would be great to use neutral spanish for speech and text.

some advice from LATIN AMERICA!

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There is not such thing "neutral spanish", please...

"where people speak “neutral Spanish”?"

And the answer would be in Neutral America.

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HAHAHA! ok...i will xplain, but is difficult if you do not speak spanish to know what im talking about.

neutral spanish is spanish without accent or slangs of any kind. for instanse. the latin american version of shrek, donky, was a mexican burrito in his accent and use some slang word from mexico that in the rest of latin america we are not familiarized.

all latin america use for OK, or ALL RIGHT the term "BIEN" (good) or "esta bien" (its ok). spain people use "VALE" (like worth) and i dont use VALE to say ok.. i say OK. As i said.

neutral spanish is a term use by filming doubbling companies to reffear a language that is neutral in accent and terms.

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HAHAHA! ok...i will xplain, but is difficult if you do not speak spanish to know what im talking about.

neutral spanish is spanish without accent or slangs of any kind. for instanse. the latin american version of shrek, donky, was a mexican burrito in his accent and use some slang word from mexico that in the rest of latin america we are not familiarized.

all latin america use for OK, or ALL RIGHT the term "BIEN" (good) or "esta bien" (its ok). spain people use "VALE" (like worth) and i dont use VALE to say ok.. i say OK. As i said.

neutral spanish is a term use by filming doubbling companies to reffear a language that is neutral in accent and terms.

Ah, I see now. Thanks for the explanation.

In that case, although my vote has no meaning at all, if it's going to be useful for more people: +1 for neutral Spanish ;)

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Hi,

Just read this and with all my respect to Latin Spanish speakers, the opposite of this is also true. I hope to not sound unrespectful, and full disclosure, I am Spanish, have lived in Mexico and personally like most Latin accents. Also, I will be probably playing the game in English anyway.

For a Spaniard, Latin American Spanish sounds different, whatever "neutral" accent you mean, sounds Latin in Spain. Many words have to be adapted because of some confusing double meanings. A juicy example for those not familiar with these differences is the verb we use in Spain for grabbing or catching something, is the word used for fucking in Latin America (coger). And having that word swapped continually sounds weird in Spain.

What I'm trying to say that it should really be up to the number of people interested in either version, just saying you would be depriving the people who backed the project from Spain from a translation they expected.

Would like to point out for people like Krzysztof, who I'm sure had good intentions, there is another side of the coin.

So, unless the characters are Latin American (like in Grim Fandango), I would personally prefer a Spanish from Spain version. But since there is a whole pile of money waiting to be allocated I'd be happy to support an additional version of "neutral" Spanish.

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Hi,

Would like to point out for people like Krzysztof, who I'm sure had good intentions, there is another side of the coin.

Obviously, good intentions all the way! I'm simply curious.

I was under impression that "neutral Spanish" is a middle ground for everyone. Apparently it's more complicated, so I just hope for all of you that it can be sorted out in the most satisfying way. I guess it's not the first time this problem was discussed so maybe there are some standard procedures.

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Yep, it's something in between :)...

Obviously, the spanish from Spain is different than from Latin spanish. And "neutral" spanish is some kind of artificial middle point when you dont use localisms from neither one, so it's readable, but it reads strange. Normally, the distributor is the one that make the traslation. So they traslate them locally.

But with digital distribution, who is the responsible of traslating? the developer? have they an internacional distributor who deals with all traslations? If this is the case, then they will do only the main ones and for internacional market, so in this case, they'll surely use neutral spanish.

Things that happens when you mix one distributor for reail and another one for digital, for example:

In Pendulo Studios' "The next big thing", in Spain, distributed by FX Interactive, the game was called Hollywood Monsters 2 (because the first one it's famous here) and was completely localiced (sub+dub) by them for the retail PC versión. But the Mac (app store) version, distributed by Home Focus Interactive, was distributed as "The next big thing" (the international version) without the spanish voiceovers because they didnt localice it. Maybe they could have make an agreement to buy the voiceovers, but that never happened. The same happens with Yesterday(internacional version by Home Focus Interactive) and New york crimes(the same game, spain version distributed by FX Interactive).

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"Neutral Spanish" is the middle ground for Latin Americans, since in America (continent) we have many accents and slang for Spanish. But the Castilian Spanish (from Spain) stands apart from the Latin American one in many more ways, specially in the vocabulary. And it is not a real language but one invented by corporations to make products that can be consumed by all latin american spanish speaking markets. Pretty much every hispanic country has it´s own accent, but it´s not that different, and personally I don´t think that´s the issue here but the choice of words and references for certain things which can be detrimental for the jokes and dialogue in the game.

What is funny is that back then pretty much all the old graphic adventures had Castilian Spanish translations since nobody translated nor dubbed for Latin America yet (until very recently, maybe 6ish years ago thanks to mega franchises like Halo). So I think that listening the dialog in Castilian was actually part of the experience when you heard all those crazy words in that peculiar way. Some of them I still use today and people ask me what they mean or better yet, I try to do the jokes with the Castilian accent (which I´m pretty sure I´m lame at). (¡¡MADRE DE DIOS!! ¡ES EL POLLO DIABLOOOOOO!)

A great and unique example of great dubbing is... Grim Fandango! which features Latin American characters and was dubbed in Spain in an amazing fashion. In my opinion these voices were even superior to the original English version since the localization it's so precise and smart that I'm glad the people involved on it really took their time to adapt contextually the jokes and personalities of the characters. For example: The bad guy, Domino, has an argentinian accent while Manny has a mexican elegant one. (Unlike the mexican "cliché" Cantinflas-like one in the english version) Why is this genius? Because in Latin America Argentineans have the reputation of being a little petulant and very proud people. And Domino's character is just like that, it works perfect for the story. (Note: I don´t have anything against Argentinians as I have many friends from there, I´m just pointing out an example and I´m sorry if you found this offending, it is not my intention)

I don't know if Tim is aware of this, but it might the best dubbing in spanish for a game in all history (I´m serious, ask me what I think about Red Dead Redemption´s "Mexican" voice actors). Nevertheless, when I played it the first time, I couldn´t get a dozen or so of great jokes since it was in Castilian Spanish, this I realized years later when I got a copy of the game in English and was able to actually make my own personalized modded copy of the game with Spanish voices and English subtitles. I just replaced the files that were for the subtitles! (Note: the file is GRIM.TAB, if you want to try it!) That way I would have the great acting plus the great original writing. That was when I discovered that many jokes and even puzzles were not clear enough for "Neutral Spanish" speakers. A pity.

Personally I think the game will end up in Castilian since I don´t think people at DF would care that much about it and it might cost them more money to get another Spanish version. Actually I don´t know of any graphic adventures out there with "Neutral Spanish", do you? I dare to guess that is because when they get the localization people, maybe the reputable dubbing/localizing studios are in Europe too since the other languages are there too already (Italy, France, Germany...) so it´s easier for them to think that Spain is the choice for it.

Anyway, this is a long post and I know this is hard to do, but I always find it great when they give you the option to do your own subtitling with a file that you can modify. Of course it will lead to many crappy versions, some of them actually being parodies and teeny raunchy sex obsessions, but a the end of the day it is all about love. If people actually invest the time to do any adaptations is because they care and admire the work IMO.

Saludos.

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Thing is, "neutral Spanish" sounds to Spanish people just like latin American Spanish without slangs, hence why every try at using a "neutral Spanish" has been frowned upon and heavily mocked in Spain.

I don't think using a "middle ground" does any good in these cases, since it means creating a translation that will be awkward for both sides of the ocean.

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I agree with txitxo there's no neutral possible here, you will always piss off one or the others. Anyway, the game is supposed to be subtitled and not dubbed or am I wrong? I hope, if dubbed, there's still the possibility to play in any language anyway (choosing voices and text language), as english version is ussually superior to spanish dubbings.

Even in the generally very good spanish dubbing of Grim Fandango, there were some sentences out of place or literally translated, which is, sadly the usual in these dubbing works, (which is strange because film dubbing in Spain is probably one of the best in the world). And also in that game, some mexican accents performed by spanish actors weren't that good (except for the great Chepito of cource :P ).

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Agree with both ICEknight and vitirr.

Back on the Kickstarter comments a lot of people were asking for Russian, Polish and Portuguese localization. What´s your opinion on having the possibility of being able to do fan translations of the game with an easy editable file? One left there by the programmers. Do you think it´s a good idea?

Btw, Chepito rulz. :D

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Wow, I think from my point of view this is one of the most educational threads in this forum. Thanks for all the explanation (and for doing it in English) :)

I also got interested in the Spanish version of Grim Fandango, I can only imagine how many subtexts you can make with proper use of accents!

Back on the Kickstarter comments a lot of people were asking for Russian, Polish and Portuguese localization. What´s your opinion on having the possibility of being able to do fan translations of the game with an easy editable file? One left there by the programmers. Do you think it´s a good idea?

If you want to know my opinion, I think it would be great to make a fan-based Polish translation and I really believe we will make it happen. I've seen more then 10 Poles in the forum already and I'm sure there's much more, so sooner or later we will organise, but there's no hury, there is nothing to translate yet.

On the other hand, I have no idea if the translation would be useful to anyone, maybe that question can be answered after seeing the geographical distribution of the backers. Anyway, I'm pretty sure it will be fun to do and that's enough.

The first problem is that even though the translation can probably be done autonomously by the backers, there's a question of special characters (ąęćźżśółń) where we would probably need some support from the developers.

As for Russian I imagine the situation is similar: lots of good will and bigger fanbase, and question of the alphabet.

The Portuguese-users already started to discuss the possibilities here.

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First of all, thanks to holaplaneta for your great post. It pretty much sums up the translating history of adventure games, and points out how fantastic Grim Fandango's voiceover was in Spanish (-Tomáte una para olvidar...).

Secondly, I was born in Spain, played my Indy Jones and Monkey Island games in Castillian Spanish, and practiced my English with Full Throttle and the Maniac Mansion games a few years later.

I feel I should point out that trying to please all the Spanish speakers at the same time would leave an unsatisfactory result for everyone. Most of the humor in these Adventure games is found on puns and witty double-entendres, and using a mild blend of dialects would kill any chance of an intelligent adaptation.

PD: That said, I am not saying by any means that Castillian Spanish is the only way to go, since that would mean all Latin Countries left out of the deal. Perhaps it could be subbed twice? Is the game going to have voice acting for EFIGS for sure?

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As far as I know it was going to be dubbed in English (surely American English hehehe :P) and only subtitled for the rest of EFIGS.

Anyway, I would love to see a Spanish dub, I dont mind if it's neutral, fan or semiprofesional... because, you know, I see it this way:

If you go to see a blockbuster action movie, you get the starring driving a fast car avoiding flying bullets with explosions around and a rocking soundtrack while saving the day. So you pay, see the movie and enjoy (if you like action movies hehe). So when you pay, the same ticket in another country, to see the same movie, you want to live the same full experience... no voice acting just for some countries is just like having an action movie... but without explosions just for the french market (no money for "localized" postpro sorry), and wait the germans love action movies so they can have explosions, but for example, no soundtrack for them (no money for "translated" soundtrack)...

So I pay premium if necessary if a product is completely translated because if your product is a game, an entertaiment, I would like to live the full experience, with all the explosions, bullets and thrilling music.

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So when you pay, the same ticket in another country, to see the same movie, you want to live the same full experience... no voice acting just for some countries is just like having an action movie... but without explosions just for the french market (no money for "localized" postpro sorry), and wait the germans love action movies so they can have explosions, but for example, no soundtrack for them (no money for "translated" soundtrack)...
...No, this is more like having the exact same movie in all countries, with their respective subtitles added.

I personally don't mind not having additional dubs, since I usually change the voices to English when I have the option.

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I am Spanish and I think that the whole thing is not practical.

The way I see it is as if English people asked for another dubbing because some words, spellings and pronunciations are different to the ones in American English, or asking a novel to be translated again because it's written in a different variety of Spanish, no one goes to a bookshop and complains about a Gabriel García Marquez novel because it has words he doesn't understand.

I don't want to turn this into an argument against different dubbings, there's enough of that in Youtube whenever someone uploads a Simpsons video, but I get what you mean too. I remember that people got pissed here because Halo 2 was released here in Spain because it was dubbed in South American Spanish (also, to be honest people had a right to be pissed, the commercials seemed to imply that the game was dubbed into Castillian Spanish) but the whole idea is impractical

For my part, I don't really mind for subtitles and dubbing in my language, I know my situation is not the same as everyone's but I majored in English so I'm used to seeing stuff in English (partly it's a way of self-learning, for vocabulary and all that). However, if Tim and company decided to have fans helping with the game, translating and trying to make it more accessible to everyone else

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I see your point, but I feel in this case is more like reading a poorly translated García Márquez Novel, since in the original, those "words that I don´t understand" I can get in the dictionary and put them in context with what I´m reading because I know they are there for a good reason, because the author chose them. They are a well thought decision and not just any word that can be changed with synonyms. That´s why we don´t adapt "El Quijote" to sound modern and even in the modern film version of Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare´s dialog is untouched.

The thing with poorly translated games (in any language) is that the intention of the author gets lost. And this is a challenge since with games, your participation and involvement is really invested on a different level than with a movie/book. You actually have to participate somehow, and when the instructions or jokes are confusing or poorly adapted, they can actually affect the overall quality of the game and your enjoyment of it for many more hours than a movie.

I´ll give you a personal example: When I was a pre teenager I saw Blade Runner with spanish subtitles and for some reason I could not undestand the ending. Of course back then my english (specially listening) was very limited.

Don´t read if you don´t want SPOILERS for BLADE RUNNER:

In the climatic moment of the movie, after the confrontation between the main character and his enemy, the sidekick character Gaff says to him "It's too bad SHE won't live, but then again, who does...?", the spanish subtitles said something like: "It´s too bad IT won´t live, but then again, who does...?" (-Es una pena que no lograra sobrevivir...-) They avoided to put the female subject in the spanish line, the "she". (Must have been: -Es una pena que ELLA no lograra sobrevivir...-) What I´m saying is that they changed the context and intention of the line, making the ending even more confusing of what it already was for me back then. And all just because they omitted ONE WORD. You couldn´t know if Gaff was referring to Roy Batty, the antagonist who just passed away in that same scene or someone else. Actually the line is referring to Rachael, the lover of the protagonist whom we don´t know where her fate lies in that moment of the film... Back then I got lost for 5 mins until they show the scene when Deckard gets to Rachael. But during those 5 mins my mind was somewhere else wondering what the hell that character meant when he said that line and not actually thinking about what the author/director of the movie wanted for me to feel and think in that moment. It was confusing, and at that climatic moment, very distracting for the last minutes of the film. It was not until years later when I really listened to the line that all became clear.

(END OF SPOILERS)

Even in the generally very good spanish dubbing of Grim Fandango, there were some sentences out of place or literally translated, which is, sadly the usual in these dubbing works, (which is strange because film dubbing in Spain is probably one of the best in the world). And also in that game, some mexican accents performed by spanish actors weren't that good (except for the great Chepito of cource :P ).

I agree with vitirr on this and I feel that "the usual localizing job" where some sentences are out of place or literally translated and not adapted happen because localization people have deadlines and a budget too. And I would suppose their low emotional involvement inspires them to do mostly a good job and get paid for it and then continue with any other project. On the other hand the fans don´t have budgets nor deadlines and are willing to sacrifice many things (time, money, leisure, etc...) to contribute and be part of what they truly LOVE. This is why whereas I still believe that an open sourced subtitling option for the game can be "messy" with people putting out there versions with swearing and sexual innuendo on the lines, at the end of the day only the great ones would be massively downloaded and truly preserved by the fans. Like those amazing hardcore mods in Skyrim/Fallout/Oblivion that you can´t imagine living without now.

Another cool option nowadays is patches. We have this forum which is great and I bet that if there any parts that are poorly translated, (which most of the time happens anyways) we could point them out and since it´s just text as in a subtitle, maybe convince DF to release a patch for it (not for PSN and Xbox versions since the patching costs) I think the hard part is to convince them and prove that the line needs tweaking. I would love to see this happen. For them to trust us since we already trust them.

It´s just a matter of value and for them to really understand that this is important to us. Because these types of experiences you can only have once, you can only play the game once for the first time and if somebody played it before and fixed or improved something to make it finer, then it is actually a community where everybody can contribute to create a better game experience, all the time, closer to the original vision of the author.

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I'm from Argentina and i don't see a big problem here.

Well probably because i'm gonna play the game in english anyways, but still, the translation it's gonna be only on the subtitles right? Slang it's the only thing that could go wrong, but even with neutral spanish slang would still be a problem, since it's mostly untranslatable without siding with any particular regionalization.

I think there are more important things to care about, for example, when some words appear originally in spanish, they should care to transalte them into a different language. For example, the joke of Guybrush speaking in spanish in "Curse..."(el pollo diablo) was totally neutralized in the spanish version because they didn't transalte it to another language. The joke with the pronunciation of "La esponja grande" in "Tales.." could have suffered a simmilar fate.

I think this kind of issues are more important in a translation than how the slang is gonna be translated equally to all regions. Because it can't.

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If there is someone already interested:

http://spanish.wiziq.com/topic/1332-español-neutro

Some quotes:

""neutral" Spanish is not a language. It is an attempt we translators do to choose the terms the majority of Spanish speakers will understand.The problem is that sometimes customers don't have a specific target audience. They just want to launch their product in different Spanish speaking countries. I think we need to explain them that, as Blanca said, each country or region has its own "flavor", its own local terminology. We need to explain our clients that we cannot invent a new language, but we can choose the most commonly used Spanish words that will be understood by most of the targeted audience."

"There is not such as thing as Universal/Neutral/international Spanish. Your best option is to learn who is going to be the audience of the documentation that is being translated into Spanish."

"There is a basic Spanish language which should be clear to all, but once you get into specific terminology or idiomatic expressions, any corporate body needs to be clear on the target audiance so as not to run into trouble"

"There is not such a thing like Neutral or Universal Spanish, it's just a fake language that was invented for some large companies, in order to reduce the translation budget for their Spanish products while increasing the targeted countries"

"Neutral Spanish is as neutral and standard as our clients wants, it's not a real language."

"Neutral Spanish is the medias attempt to work with just one translation for all Latin American countries."

So, is not a linguistics issue, but an economics one. Is the way for majors companies to be "politically correct". They try to reduce costs, satisfy the largest amount of people for the smallest price... Anything good can come from that.

Btw, Grim Fandango was not translated in a "neutral spanish" way, and we all agree that it was excellent. Translate is a very difficult job, you need to have a "feeling" for the language and understand the needs of the story. That was accomplished in GF.

So, please Tim Schaffer, hire the people behind Grim Fandango translation, and forget about being "politically correct".

(PD: sorry for my bad english)

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I will switch the game to English language. I always do it because English dubbing is usually better because of these problems that are being explained in this thread.

By the way, neutral Spanish is completely awful and unacceptable for people in Spain.

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In Pendulo Studios' "The next big thing", in Spain, distributed by FX Interactive, the game was called Hollywood Monsters 2 (because the first one it's famous here) and was completely localiced (sub+dub) by them for the retail PC versión. But the Mac (app store) version, distributed by Home Focus Interactive, was distributed as "The next big thing" (the international version) without the spanish voiceovers because they didnt localice it. Maybe they could have make an agreement to buy the voiceovers, but that never happened. The same happens with Yesterday(internacional version by Home Focus Interactive) and New york crimes(the same game, spain version distributed by FX Interactive).

Usually, it's the local publisher who pays for the localization and owns it. Why? Because developers don't have money to do it. Let's take Pendulo's last games, just because I work there as a writer - and do my best to help translators and recording studios. Our games are fully localized into 5-6 languages and partially into 4-5 more. Paying for all of them would eat at least 40% of our budget. And, yes, we're talking about very short budgets 'cause, as you all know, "adventure gaming died a long time ago", "the adventure community is not what it used to be" and "I'm sorry but in order to make this investment profitable I can only give you 50% of what you need to make a good game".

So... why don't local publishers share those localizations, as you say? Well, sometimes they do, but it's a rare bug in their financial engine. Why don't they do it MORE? Because, contrary the general belief, publishers don't hate developers: they're too busy hating other publishers.

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It would be great to use neutral spanish for speech and text.

some advice from LATIN AMERICA!

NO, no and NO.

I can understand your concerns, but "neutral spanish" is more similar to latin spanish than Spanish from Spain so launch a game in Spain localized in neutral spanish and you'll have all the users and media very very angry, like already happened with Halo 2. Because neutral spanish doesn't sound like Spanish (from Spain) at all.

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Congrats for Working at Pendulo!

Thanks for the info, that explains why when I was a kid I used to see copies of Full throttle and The Dig with only spanish subtitles and the original voices. Since pretty much all the games that came with something in spanish (either the voices or subs or both) were the "official and definitive version" in spanish of that game I was not expecting to see more, but for these two titles I remember finding years later copies that had the voice dubbed too! (at least with The Dig), so I was very surprised since there was already an official subbed spanish version.

On a curious note, when I played Heavy Rain I inmediately switched the language to spanish over the horrible british wannabe american one. Of course it was Castilian spanish but it was very good and brought me back the memories of playing all those old graphic adventures that had castilian dubbing. (MI 3 and GF among others)

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Btw, I was never a fan of Halo but I do remember the dubbing of Halo 2 and thinking it was very poorly done aside from being "neutral" or not. To me it sounded like an amateur radio drama.

I suppose Microsoft tried that when they realized they had a bigger spanish speaking market in Latin America with roughly 400 million spanish speaking people (yep, Brazil is not counted) than the 46 million in Spain. That or maybe it was just cheaper for them... who knows.

Does anybody know the reasons behind that decision back then?

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Let's take Pendulo's last games, just because I work there as a writer - and do my best to help translators and recording studios. Our games are fully localized into 5-6 languages and partially into 4-5 more.

[sorry for offtopic]

Hey, greetings to Madrid, my friend! I brazenly take the opportunity to let you know, that I always enjoyed and still enjoy your adventures very much. They´re wonderful! And especially the ingenious writing is what makes them different. So keep´em coming!

But PLEASE: Stop using Starforce!! Pirates couldn´t care less but fair-minded buyers are annoyed as hell because of its unpleasant side effects.

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It would be great to use neutral spanish for speech and text.

some advice from LATIN AMERICA!

NO, no and NO.

I can understand your concerns, but "neutral spanish" is more similar to latin spanish than Spanish from Spain so launch a game in Spain localized in neutral spanish and you'll have all the users and media very very angry, like already happened with Halo 2. Because neutral spanish doesn't sound like Spanish (from Spain) at all.

Well, you know, I'm biased because I'm also from Argentina, but I'd rather have a game in neutral spanish so it's better for all of Latin America (two continents: Central and South America) rather than having it in Spain's spanish to satisfy just one country.

It'd be awesome to have it both ways, though.

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