First English Version of Granado Espada Ready in May
The First English Version of Hakkyu Kim's Latest Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, Granado Espada, will begin its Pre-Open Beta Test (POBT) Phase on 17th May 2007. POBT game client is available for download from the IAH Granado Espada website: http://ge.iahgames.com. 
Since April 2006, Infocomm Asia Holdings (IAH), the operator for the game, has been hard at work localizing the hit Korean game.
While the commercial release of the game is slated for later this year, IAH has decided to have a Pre-Open Beta Test where the game will be free to play for all avid online gamers.

Sign-ups for POBT accounts can also be done at IAH's website, http://ge.iahgames.com.
 
The Singaporean company has pulled out all stops in their effort to localize Kim's latest vision, which won the top prize in the 2006 Korean Game Awards, the Presidential Award for the Best Game of 2006, as well as clinching a prize for Best Graphics.

The company employed a team of 17 in their localization effort, not including outsourced translation professionals who handle the Korean in-game strings. They also hired 20 voice talents to do the voiceovers for more than 40 different characters in the game.

The team worked on over 61,000 lines of Korean text for version 2.0 of the game, the newest version. IAH had earlier localized version 1.8.23 for a Closed Beta Test in February, which saw over 100,000 gamers registering for it in the three countries.

Localization manager Doug Gillon said one of the challenges was the language itself.

Said Doug, "We proof-read the translated text that came back from the professional translation firms. We then edited the text for grammar and syntax errors. The edited text is then used to build a test client for the game, and the team of gamers checked the in-game text for contextual errors. We also changed words or phrases that may be sensitive for cultural, political or religious reasons."

He added, "It's not a direct translation, like one would imagine. Korean words cannot always be translated literally to English. So after an initial translation is done, my team will have to rigorously check it against the visuals of the game to ensure consistency of language, especially the way each and every single character speaks."

For instance, the literal translation from Korean for one of the monsters in the game was Zebra-eater. Doug's team then had to search for the monster and they discovered that it was actually a giant spider with stripes on its body.

Said Doug, "As far as we could tell, it didn't eat zebras. So we decided to change the name to Striped Spider instead of keeping it as Zebra-eater."
Another challenge was the voice recording. IAH's localization team hired professionals who have done work for Disney and the Cartoon Network, to ensure that even the fighting sounds were given a more "English and European feel", to match the game's atmosphere.

One challenge which some of the Korean phrases posed were just one second long voice-overs, but when translated to English, it takes two or three times the amount of time that is needed to say in English.

"We had to match the file size with the Korean voice files, so we couldn't exceed the time of each and every single phrase spoken in Korean when recording it in English," added Doug.

As Granado Espada has a cosmopolitan environment, we decided to have the characters speak English with different accents to match each character's background.

Said Doug, "We wanted to give the characters different European accents rather than just have a straightforward British or American accent for everyone, which would have been the easier thing to do."

The voice recording team saw talents used from New Zealand, Canada, England, Africa and of course, Singapore.

For more information on the first English version of Granado Espada, please go to http://ge.iahgames.com.

About Infocomm Asia Holdings
 Infocomm Asia Holdings Pte Ltd is one of the leading operator and distributor of online games in South East Asia. The company's philosophy, to align themselves with only top MMORPG publishers globally, is in line with Singapore's vision to become a gaming hub for the region. As such, IAH holds the licence to operate Korea's top MMORPG, Granado Espada, as well as the much anticipated Hellgate: London. The company also plans to release a third MMORPG in 2007 - Emil Chronicle Online (ECO), which is published by Gravity, the company behind South East Asia's top MMORPG, Ragnarok Online. IAH will continue to bring the best online games from around the world to gamers.

About Granado Espada
Granado Espada is a highly anticipated Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) developed by Hakkyu Kim, the creator of Ragnarok Online and CEO of IMC Games and published by HanbitSoft. Set in a fantasy world with Baroque architecture and influences, the game contains a host of unique features such as Multi-Character Control (MCC), Xtreme Artificial Intelligence (XAI) and Recruitable Non-Playable Characters (RNPC). Gamers play Old World explorers taming a new land recently founded by Ferrucio Espada which is richly populated by wild animals and monsters. The game won the Presidential Award for the Best Game of 2006 in the 2006 Korean Game Award, as well as the award for Best Graphics.
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