heracles The immemorial Heracles RPGs are popular enough in Japan: until recently, however, they were all but unknown here in the US.

Each title in the epic series is set against a fantastical backdrop borrowing from classical mythology. The first Glory of Heracles game, Tōjin Makyō-den Heracles no Eikō, appeared on the Famicom in 1987.

The fifth game in the Heracles series, simply titled Glory of Heracles for its North American release, hit the DS just this January.

It seems something of a tricky proposition to localize just one title in a heretofore unknown game franchise. And in 1UP.com's Kat Bailey's words, the game is, peculiarly, "one of those instances of a Japanese take on western mythology being retranslated back to English."

Bailey recently spoke to Rich Amtower and Mark MacDonald about the potentially herculean task of localizing Glory of Heracles.

In the interview, MacDonald indicates that this particular title has its own standalone narrative, disconnected from the larger series. Certainly that may have eased the difficulty of translation.

Still -- because it seems such painstaking work to account for cultural differences when preparing a game for its international audience -- how strange it must be to translate an altogether new, practically made-up culture. (Or would that make localization yet easier?)

On the game's otherworldly setting, Amtower says:

Glory of Heracles draws on familiar Greek myths instead of presenting the usual standard swords-and-sorcery fantasy fare, so everything's set in a sort of imaginary Greece. The setting affects everything, from character design and clothing to town design and art style. When you see so many RPGs running across the same, familiar territory, it's nice to come across a game that tries something different.

[Interview: The Glory of Localizing Heracles]