Monday, October 12, 2015

RKS Developer Diary #5 - Giving Thanks and Naming Names

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Oh, it's a month early for Thanksgiving?  Not if you were born and raised in Canada like me!  I'd like to extend my thanks to those among you who have supported us over the years.  On behalf of everyone who has ever flown the banner of Darkside Translations, as well as those who joined us after our transition to Darksquid Media: thank you all so much for being our fans.

It's kind of fitting that, in the lead-up to Thanksgiving, we were tinkering with the code for the game's ending credit sequences (crediting our staff and thanking everyone who contributed to the project of their own volition).  We expected expanding the credits to be a relatively simple task, but it proved to be a much taller order than anticipated.  Over thirty names needed to be added to the staff roll, and the way the game loaded files prevented us from adding new ones to the mix.  So, what to do?  Simple: reorganize how the image files were structured so that we could fit everything we needed within the limitations we had to work with.  Think of it as packing a suitcase with a fixed number of compartments.  It wasn't easy, but the end results speak for themselves.

Changing gears: A good number of you have already seen what WOMI has been up to thanks to his latest blog post.  Yep: he's drawing new cover art for the English version of Rosenkreuzstilette!  As you can see, he's modernized Tia's look from the original RKS cover art to use in the foreground, but that's only a part of the picture; the final Rosenkreuzstilette Schwesternschaft art might be a callback to the original cover, or it might be something completely different.  WOMI has full creative control over Schwesternschaft's cover (the art in the Prefundia video is just a placeholder until the new art and logo are ready), so we unfortunately can't offer any hints as to what the final design might look like.  Sorry!

That said, onto today's Developer Diary!  As promised, we'll be covering the titles of the many stages in the game.  This is going to be a long one, so you might want to grab some popcorn and get comfortable.

As many of you are already aware, each of the stages in Rosenkreuzstilette has four titles, one in Japanese and one in German for each and every playable character.  Originally, RKS was going to have three playable characters (the button sequence to activate Freudia Mode was already programmed into the game); in the end, Freudenstachel ended up becoming its own title rather than a simple bonus campaign, so the sequence has been disabled in the game's code.

Before anyone asks:  sorry, but the code for Freudia in the original RKS is only around 25% complete, and a good number of assets were never implemented.  Even if we backported the code and assets from Freudenstachel, there would still be holes we'd have no way of filling.  So, sorry!  No new playable characters this time around.  Even so, the already-programmed Freudenstachel button sequence has been put to good use.  What for?  That's a surprise!

Back on topic: each stage has a Japanese and a German title for each playable character -- a subtle nod in itself to Castlevania: Rondo of Blood.  More often than not, the German title is a translation of the Japanese.  For our fan translation, we replaced the Japanese renditions of the titles with their English equivalents and corrected the grammar in the German version where we noticed something was off.  As I mentioned two entries ago, we've taken a different approach for the official English localization: retranslating both the Japanese and the German into English, comparing the two, then translating the final English rendition back into German to ensure maximum consistency (except where such differences are quite clearly deliberate).

Naturally, since we had WOMI's original Photoshop files to work with, the presentation in the official version is a far better match to the original version than our fan translation could ever hope to be.  Ah, the convenience of having access to the original source files...  Thank you so much, WOMI!

Let's have a look at the new titles, shall we?

Starting with the "Blades of the Rose Cross" scenario:

Prologue: The Beginning of the End (Der Anfang vom Ende)
- Pretty straightforward, this one hasn't changed since our fan translation.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  Note that we're using "Prologue" and not "Opening Stage", following suit with the naming scheme from Castlevania: Rondo of Blood and WOMI's own precedent in Rosenkreuzstilette Freudenstachel.

Freudia Stage: Duel of the Fates (Das Duell der Schicksale)
- The original Japanese is actually a shout-out to the Japanese subtitle of Megaman 7, 「宿命の対決」 ("The Fated Showdown").  For the English rendition, we tweaked the translation just slightly to double as a reference a recurring musical theme in the Star Wars films.

Zorne Stage: The Crystal Mines of Nosdu (Die Mana Kristall Minen im Nosdu Gebirge)
 - The German for this stage ("Abbaue der Magischsteine ins Nosdu Gebirge") appears to be a mistranslation of the Japanese 「ノスドゥー山脈魔晶石採掘所」, whose full title can be translated as "The Magic Crystal Mines of the Nosdu Mountain Range".  The German translates "mine" as a verb ("abbaue") and not a noun ("minen"), changing the title to "Mining for Magic Stones in the Nosdu Mountain Range". Neither of these roll off the tongue well, so we needed to make the English more fluid and concise.  We experimented a bit with "The Mines of the Nosdu Mountains" and the "The Magic Mines of Nosdu" before settling on a translation that didn't sacrifice the nature of the mine itself -- observant players might notice that the boss of Stage 16 (whose shell is made of the same mineral seen throughout the mines) shares the weakness of the boss of the mines.

Trauare Stage: From the Depths of Despair (Aus den Tiefen der Verzweiflung)
- Not much of a change from the fan translation, which was itself tweaked to mirror the text in Trauare's stage-specific Game Over screen (itself a nod to Gargoyle's Quest).

Luste Stage: Sleipnir, the Flying Fortress (Die fliegende Festung Sleipnir)
- In Norse mythology, Sleipnir was Odin's eight-legged flying horse, the child of Odin's foster son Loki and Svadilfari, the best and brightest of the Frost Giants' steeds (...try not to think about it too much).  In the original German translation, "luftfeste" was a archaic form of "luftfestung", meaning "aerial fortress".  Our official version modernizes the language a bit and makes it flow more naturally.

Grolla Stage: A Ghost Town in the Moonlight (Eine Geisterstadt im Mondlicht)
- In our original fan translation, we modeled the English title for this stage after the subtitle for the Japanese version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night ("Nocturne in the Moonlight").  "Ghost Town in the Moonlight" sounds just a tiny bit awkward in English, so we threw in the missing article to make it a bit more fluid.  Of course, we revised the German translation as well, updating it from "Die Todes Stadt unter dem Mond" ("The Dead City under the Moon").

Sichte Stage: The Fortress City of Zwerberg (Die Festungstadt von Zwerberg)
- Zwerberg is the name of a real-life peak in the municipality of Oberweser in the Kassel district of Germany.  It is 317 meters (1,040 feet) above sea level and serves as a great place to build a city that can easily be defended during wartime.  We considered using "Zwerberg Citadel", but my own love of Neon Genesis Evangelion eventually won out in favor of the phrase "fortress city".

Liebea Stage: Rapunzel's Anguish (Rapunzels Leid)
- Rapunzel was a girl with long, beautiful hair who was kidnapped as a child and imprisoned in a large stone tower with no stairs or ladders; the only way in or out was to use her hair as a rope.  Disney's animated film Tangled is a relatively accurate depiction of the events in the original fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.   The original German for this stage was rather clunky ("Rapunzel ist in tiefe Trauer" / "Rapunzel is in Deep Sorrow"), so we had to revise it.  It was tempting to make a Scott Pilgrim reference here about "the infinite sadness", but we ultimately decided against it.

Schwer-Muta Stage: A Heart Sealed Away (Ein versiegeltes Herz)
- We considered the more literal "A Sealed Heart", but it just didn't seem to have the right amount of depth as a title...

Zeppelin Stage I - Demon's Lair (Die Höhle des Dämons)
- We rendered this title as "Pandemonium" in the fan translation, which is just one way that the Japanese 「悪魔の巣窟」 could be interpreted (literally, "Den of the Devil").  Pandemonium was the capital city of Hell in John Milton's Paradise Lost.  The stage title is actually a reference to Demon's Lair, a tabletop RPG by Lasalion Games.  When we realized the connection, we updated the reference accordingly.

Zeppelin Stage II: Bloody Tears (Die blutigen Tränen der heiligen Jungfrau)
- "Bloody Tears" is naturally a reference to a recurring musical theme in the Castlevania series.  The original German reads, "Die Göttin weinen blutige Tranen" ("The Goddess Cries Bloody Tears").  In the stage itself, it's the statues of the Virgin Mary that are shedding tears of blood and not our favorite wannabe deity, so we updated the German for the sake of consistency ("The Bloody Tears of the Blessed Maiden").

Zeppelin Stage III: Thanatos (Der Sensenmann)
- Thanatos is the Greek god of death who really needs no introduction.  He goes by many names, the most well-known being that of the "Grim Reaper".  He has been a mainstay in the Castlevania series since its inception over 20 years ago.  In the original Japanese version, "Thanatos" was spelled out in the Japanese and Roman alphabets, and converting the Japanese to English would have made the titles redundant.  We addressed this issue by using a less-popular spelling, "Xanatos" (the namesake of Machiavellian millionaire David Xanatos in Gargoyles), in the fan translation.  For the official release, we decided to use the German name for the cloaked scythe-wielder.  And, yes, Thanatos is Sir Raimund Seyfarth's nickname; a bonafide god of death on the battlefield.

Zeppelin Stage IV: Eternal Darkness (Die ewigen Dunkelheit)
- A dual nod to Silicon Knights' psychological horror game as well as the Fiendlord Magus's ultimate triple-tech in Chrono Trigger (rendered as "DarkEternal" in the original Super Nintendo version because of space limitations).  "Eternal Darkness" is also the name of Count Zeppelin's magical ability.

Iris Stage I: The Golden Palace (Das goldene Schloss)
- We were tempted to render this as "The Palace of Gold", but that came across as somewhat pretentious.  If it ain't broke...

Iris Stage II: The Garden of Time and Space (Der Garten von Zeit und Raum)
- Pretty straightforward; we just tidied up the grammar a bit.

Iris Stage III: The Heart of a Goddess (Das Herz einer Göttin)
- Another case of Japanese-to-German translation in need of improvement; the original "Göttin Herz" ("Goddess Heart") makes no grammatical sense in either language.  Thankfully, the intent was clear in the original Japanese 「女神の心臓」, so correcting the issue was a piece of cake.

Final Stage: Blades of the Rose Cross (Rosenkreuzstilette)
- Ah, the game's namesake.  Literally, 「薔薇十字の小剣」 translates to "Stilettos of the Rose Cross".  A stiletto is a long dagger designed for stabbing, not cutting or slashing.  The word has since become more widely recognized as a type of high-heeled ladies' shoe than a pointed knife.  For that reason (and because the literal translation is a bit of a mouthful), we rendered the title as the more fluid "Blades of the Rose Cross" instead.  Also, Japanese works tend to use the word "Last" when "Final" would be far more appropriate (I wonder how long that trend will last...?); we made a point of addressing the issue.  While developing Freudenstachel, WOMI noticed the difference and has since updated the naming scheme for subsequent titles.

Onto the sanity-testing bonus scenario:

Prologue: One Woman's War (Der einsame Krieg)
- Literally, 「孤独な戦い」 is "A Solitary Struggle".  We couldn't resist a nod to One Man's War, a 1991 historical drama starring Anthony Hopkins. As an extra incentive, the alliteration just worked.

Freudia Stage: Snowfield Showdown (Der eisige Kampf auf Leben und Tod)
- "Der Kampf auf Leben und Tod im Schneefeld" ("The Fight to the Death on the Snowfield") in the original German, the "on the Snowfield" portion prevents this title from flowing smoothly in English. So, we made the title much more succinct.  When you only have a second or two to convey an idea, why use eight words when two work far more effectively?  Rendered as "Arctic Deathmatch" in our fan translation, we went with the alliterate title in the end since our original interpretation was a bit of a misnomer (Spiritia has absolutely no intention of killing her best friend...).

Zorne Stage: A Family Portrait (Ein Familienporträt)
- A minor word choice & grammar tweak; nothing special.

Trauare Stage: The Siren's Sanctuary (Das Heiligtum der Sirene)
- While "Sanctum of the Siren" from our fan translation rolls off the tongue quite nicely, we wanted to emphasize that Trauare spends so much time underwater because it allows her to drown out the chaos of the world on land, if only for a while.  "Sanctuary" and "sanctum" are synonymous; the revised version underscores that this is her domain -- her safe haven -- and that those who would disturb her moment of peace do so at the risk of invoking her wrath.

Luste Stage: The Forbidden Game (Das verbotene Spiel)
- This is a fairly popular title in fiction, with short stories, novel series, films, single episodes, and full television shows bearing its name.  The German was updated to reflect the German title of a few of these works.

Grolla Stage: All Kinds of Justice (Jede Art von Gerechtigkeit)
- Ah, a tricky one.  Literally, the Japanese 「それぞれの正義」 here refers the idea of each person having their own idea of what justice is and what the "right" course of action might be.  Justice can take on many forms; there are all kinds of justice in the world.  Sichte practically lampshades the title in her philosophical musings, so it was a natural fit in the end.

Sichte Stage: What We Cannot Discuss (Wovon man nicht sprechen kann)
- Interestingly enough, the title of Sichte's stage is part of a quote from German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen" ("What we cannot discuss, we must pass over in silence").  It means that, if you have something to say, be clear and to the point; if you can't, don't even bring up the subject since trying to tell only part of the story would, at best, confuse the listener, and at worse, lead them to think you've gone insane.  This quote quite appropriately sums up Grolla's plight; Sichte really does not understand what Grolla is thinking because she won't actually come out and tell her -- she only insists that Iris must be stopped.  Poor communication kills...

Liebea Stage: The Magic Research Lab, Grimm's Miniature Garden" (Das Magische Forschungslabor, "Grimm's Miniaturgarten")
- Another reference to the Brothers Grimm for Liebea.  This is by far the longest stage title in the game, so the literal "The Tower of Magical Research Experiments" needed to be trimmed down in order to fit the Grimm's Miniature Garden portion into the translation.  We needed to either leave out that the laboratory specialized in magical research or that the lab was a tower.  Since we can deduce the latter from the stage's level design, the choice was obvious.

Schwer-Muta Stage: The Black Playground (Die schwarze Spielwiese)
- Another straightforward grammar correction.

Zeppelin Stage I: The Uninvited (Die ungebetene Gast)
- Literally, "The Uninvited Guests", the name is a reference to the prequel to Shadowgate, which is directly referenced in Stage 12's Game Over screen.  The Uninvited itself gets a Game Over reference in Freudenstachel, so we're pretty confident that this reference is intentional.

Zeppelin Stage II: The Crimson Lake (Der blutrote See)
- We considered the possibility that this title might be a reference to the town of Bloodpool in ActRaiser (the game referenced in the previous stage's Game Over screen).  In the end, we decided on a more subtle take, retaining the blood reference in the German rendition ("The Blood-Red Lake").

Zeppelin Stage III - The Cross She Carries (Ihr Kreuz zu tragen)
- The Japanese 「十字架を背に」 is an undeniable reference to the Castlevania song 「十字架を胸に」 (officially rendered as "Crucifix Held Close" in English).  The song title means to hold a cross close to one's heart (in other words, to cherish one's faith in something), whereas the stage title refers to carrying a cross on one's back (carrying a burden or responsibility).  In this case, the thematic meaning is much more important than the song reference (this is the stage where Grolla comes to terms with her responsibility as the successor to her late mentor), so the fan-translated title had to go.

Zeppelin Stage IV - The Nightwalker (Der Nachtwanderer)
- Another popular title in fiction, The Nightwalker is the name of a 1964 psychological thriller, Gino Vannelli's 1981 album, a 1993 Japanese visual novel (and its 2001 remake), and a 1998 anime series.  "Der Nachtwanderer" is its official German equivalent.  "The Nightwalker" is also the name of Count Zeppelin's demonic transformation

Iris Stage I: The Labyrinth of Chains (Das Labyrinth der Ketten)
- The Labyrinth was an elaborate maze in Greek mythology that served as a prison for the Minotaur and doubled as a death sentence for criminals.  Nowadays, we use the word as a synonym for "maze".  No tweaks were necessary for this straightforward stage title.

Iris Stage II: The Garden of Chaos (Der Garten des Chaos)
- "Chaotischer Garten" ("Chaotic Garden") in the original German, we tweaked the grammar to more closely follow the Japanese 「混沌の庭」.

Iris Stage III: Divine Might (Göttliche Macht)
- We based our fan-translated title of this stage, "Holy Lightning", on the original German, "Heilige Donnerkraft" ("Holy Thunder"), tweaking it to match a similarly-named spell in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (Richter Belmont's "Divine Storm" was also considered).  The Japanese 「神の雷」 ("The Thunder of God") makes it clear that the title is meant to refer to some good, old-fashioned godly vengeance.  Iris's dialogue theme is 「神の力、人の心」 (localized, "Human Heart, Divine Might"); the parallel was too perfect to leave unused.

Final Stage: The Sword of Spite (Grollschwert)
- Originally, we considered updating this title to "The Blade of Bitterness"; the word "spite" has a different connotation than 「怨暛の魔剣」 ("The Cursed Sword of Grudges"), whereas "bitterness" better captures the original meaning.  We couldn't resist having an alliterative title, so "sword" became "blade" to match.  However, the change presented a problem when updating the Status Screen ability graphics; there wasn't enough horizontal space for the longer title.  So, we reluctantly reverted the name back to its fan-translated incarnation.

Well, what do you think?  If you have any suggestions or comments regarding the above, feel free to weigh in.  We're pleased with these titles, but we're always willing to implement improvements when someone has a genuinely better idea.

Thanks again to our German expert, Martin Tessnow, for his help with the stage titles -- we couldn't have done any of this without him.  And, again, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. Hey what's up guys. Long time fan since 2008, 1st time poster, lol. Just wanted to say it's friggin' cool~beans that Womi-sensei has given you guys access to the source artwork! I'm praying to my lucky sterne that our full wishes are completed and we'll get the Stufe Fünf edition off the ground; even if it takes a bit of time to do so. I've payed a pretty penny for limited edition versions of my favourite J-games... and I wouldn't mind one bit paying up to 200 USD for a limited edition package of RKS and Freudenstachel!! hahaha! =D / I'm a super~duper Grolla fanboy, so if the Fünf edition gets off the ground, my only request is that you guys schaft~in some bloody awesome Grolla artwork from Womi... maybe a poster or too!! hahaha XD / Keep up the hella awesome work guys! い。い。いか。いか!♫

    1. "Super~duper Grolla fanboy," you say... Mint, is that you?

    2. hahaha! I'm neither Mint nor Justin... even though I am planning to purchase two hella expensive out of production Chen figures! lol. And funny you mention it, cause I owe my Grolla & Chen fanboyism to those vids of Mint playing Grollschwert on his Hori with the Chen~cat drawing on the wall. XD

      But yeah, just an old timey fan of RKS thanks to a let'splay on YouTube by... Kilga M Aya if I remember correctly? lol, it's been so long since I first got into this beeindruckende spiel known as RKS/Freudenstachel.

      Do ya guys still do the Not Anime Podcast? I loved the initial eps! =D

  2. These dev diaries are fun to read. Seriously, if we could have "Did You Know Gaming?" on the Rosenkreuzstilette series, I'd pay good money to have all this trivia and historical references presented to long-time fans and newcomers alike, although some of this stuff might spoil the surprises for those that haven't play these games.

  3. Another fantastic read, TDOMMX!
    I'm looking forward to seeing WOMI's new rendition of the RKS cover.

  4. Holy Lightning is cooler and less generic than Divine Might.

    Do you have a release date yet?

  5. I partially agree with you (I wouldn't have used "Holy Lightning" in the fan translation if I felt differently), but it's missing a few deliberate connotations that "Divine Might" manages to capture (even if it comes across as a bit cliche). I have to ask: what are your thoughts on "Divine Storm"? Given how many layers it "just works" on, I can be persuaded to use it instead of "Divine Might"...

    No official word yet on the release date, I'm afraid. We still have quite a few things left on our to-do list, and Playism needs to handle things on their end as well. Rest assured that we'll let you know as soon as we have anything to announce.

    1. Take as much time as you need.
      We can all wait.

    2. I think Divine Storm doesn't carry the right connotations of a wrathful god's punishment. Lightning is associated with divine punishment in cultures all over the world, and Iris even attacks with lightning magic in that stage. If it were up to me, I'd definitely want to keep that part of the name.

      What about Godly Thunder? Or if you like Divine for the first word, why not Divine Lightning or Divine Thunder?

      All the other stage names sound good to me.

      Is this only going to be released on Playism? I'll buy it regardless, but Gog or Steam would be more convenient.

    3. I can agree with that logic. "Divine Lightning" has a nice ring to it.

      While we're on the subject of brainstorming alternative stage titles, I'd like to ask for feedback (and nitpicks) on of the following stage titles since I have a niggling feeling they can be improved upon:
      - The Mana Crystal Mines of Nosdu
      - The Moonlit Ghost Town
      - Arctic Deathmatch
      - Carrying Her Cross
      - The Blade of Bitterness

      In the case of Grolla's final stage, the title is also used as the description of Grollschwert in the subscreen, and "The Blade of Bitterness" is a bit too long to fit properly while still looking good ("The Sword of Spite" was about just the right length). So, we're considering renaming the stage and weapon description. Candidates include "The Grudge Blade" and "The Bitter Edge", but we haven't come up with any we're fully satisfied with yet...

    4. Oh, to answer your other question: our current publishing plans are via Playism, Steam, and, if things with our new sponsor go as planned, hard copy and their online store.

    5. I'm no expert, but I was thinking maybe shortening "The Mana Crystal Mines of Nosdu" to "The Crystal Mines of Nosdu", and maybe for Grolla's final stage title could be "The Spiteful Sword"? I haven't came up with something for the other stage titles yet.

    6. I prefer "The Magic Crystal Mines of Nosdu" over "The Mana Crystal Mines of Nosdu. Shortening it to "The Crystal Mines of Nosdu" is also good. It loses a bit of meaning, but not much because we all know by now that in fantasy games, crystals are magic.

      "The Moonlit Ghost Town" and "Arctic Deathmatch" are both good as way they are. Maybe you could try "The Ghost Town under the Moonlight" and "Duel on the Snowfield" if you want to stay closer to the originals.

      What about "Bearing a Cross" instead of "Carrying Her Cross"? It sounds better, it's closer to the common idiom, and it maintains that nice dual meaning where it could be interpreted as Grolla bearing a metaphorical cross as Raimund's successor, or a literal cross to ward off evil.

      "The Blade of Bitterness" and "The Sword of Spite" are both great. Anything that matches the original meaning better will lose more than it's worth in aesthetics. I like Spite a little better, so go with that if there's any problem with Bitterness.

    7. To keep the terminology consistent, the power fueling the characters' magic abilities will always be referred to as "Mana" (spelled with one 'n' instead of two as a nod to Secret of Mana). I'm cool with Viper's suggestion of abbreviating the title to "The Crystal Mines of Nosdu".

      Since we've used "Ghost Town in the Moonlight" for so long, "The Moonlit Ghost Town" looks just a bit off to me. Not entirely sure why, though. Maybe it's just a mismatched article? "A Moonlit Ghost Town" or "A Ghost Town in the Moonlight"? What to you think?

      Although "Arctic Deathmatch" sounds good, "Arctic" is a bit too specific as to where the battle takes place (ie: the area north of the Arctic Circle / 66° 33' North, which is quite a ways off from our faux-German setting). "Snowfield Showdown", maybe? That lacks the "to the death" connotation of the original Japanese, but it otherwise sounds great. Suggestions, anyone?.

      Nah, I have no problem with the word "Carrying" for "Carrying Her Cross" (Tia specifically uses this expression in the figurative sense during Grolla's game, too). My issue is that this title breaks convention with the other stage titles -- namely, all 33 other titles begin with a noun, but this title begins with a verb. "Her Cross to Carry", maybe? We can do better than that...

      As for Grollschwert, I'd be fine with "The Blade of Bitterness" if not for its other application on the status screen. As-is, "The Blade of Bitterness" is too long, and shrinking the font to make it fit makes all of the ability sub-images look off. "The Sword of Spite" is just the right size, but lacks the right connotation. We've tossed around a couple of alternatives, including "The Grudge Blade", "The Bitter Edge", "The Edge of Enmity", but we're not fully satisfied yet...

      In any event, I definitely appreciate the suggestions. Keep 'em coming.

    8. There's nothing wrong with "The Moonlit Ghost Town." The question of whether to call it "a town" or "the town" depends on the town itself. If Tia and Grolla just happened to bump into each other in some some random ghost town, and their encounter could as easily have happened anywhere else, it should be "a," because it's just any old town. On the other hand, if the town itself is significant in some way, like it used to be Grolla's home or whatever, it should be "the," because it's a singular, specific place. I haven't played story mode for a while so I don't remember if the game says either way.

      "Deathmatch on the Snowfield" works as a simple abbreviation of the original name. I prefer the way "Arctic Deathmatch" sounds, though.

      "The Cross She Carries"? "Her Cross to Bear"?

      On Grollschwert, if we take the original japanese name, and we make the implied connotations into explicit denotations, we get something like "the cursed sword of malicious sentiment due to past wrongs," right? "The Sword of Spite" means "the sword of malicious desire," and "The Blade of Bitterness" means "the blade of harsh sentiment." Both contain about half of the original meaning, and neither introduces extraneous meaning either. The problem is that neither is specific. They don't make explicit mention of the sword's vengeful aspect. Bitterness certainly could mean resentment due to mistreatment, but it isn't necessarily so, and the same is true for spite and enmity.

      The best words for matching the original meaning are probably grudge, resentment, and revenge. "The Grudge Sword" and "The Sword of Grudges" sound a bit unnatural in english, and "The Sword of Vengeance" is painfully generic. Resentment works better than either of those, but it's also as long as bitterness, and "The Blade of Bitterness" sounds stronger and better than "The Sword of Resentment."

      I don't think the non-specificity of spite, enmity, or bitterness are a real problem, because the game's mechanics convey the missing part of the meaning. Both versions of Grollschwert become better at hurting others after they've hurt you first, so in the end there's no question about what the name means. For that reason, I think "The Sword of Spite" is still a perfectly good choice.

      Is "The Blade of Bitterness" just a bit longer than the other weapon names, or does it actually go past the boundaries of the window on the item screen? If you're feeling crazy you could call it "The Sword of Spite" on the item screen and "The Blade of Bitterness" on the final stage.

  6. You know, seeing Koji Igarashi's name in the Special Thanks section in that RKSG credits screenshot reminds me... Even if it may be off-topic, I have a feeling that those in love with RKS would also love such indie games as Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which is supposed to be coming in 2017. After all, Bloodstained is considered the spiritual successor to Castlevania, which RKS was inspired by. And since RKS has mainly been inspired by Mega Man, I'd also recommend Shovel Knight, which also seems to be inspired by Mega Man in many ways, as well as Freedom Planet, which seems to be homage to several classic Sega Genesis games, with some elements inspired by Mega Man.

    If possible, I sure hope that guys like you could be making plans to release Rosenkreuzstilette Schwesternschaft (the English versions of RKS and RKSF, of course) on as many systems as possible sometime in the future. For some reason I could already dream of purchasing both RKS and RKSF from the Wii U eShop and adding them to my Wii U menu alongside amiibo Tap and Freedom Planet (and hopefully Shovel Knight some time soon).

    1. As much as I wouldn't mind seeing RKS in the Wii U's eShop (in fact it'd greatly boost the series' popularity by a considerable margin which I'm all up for seeing happen to my favorite doujin series), I still think with some of the obvious design similarities to other games shown in the graphics and stage designs of RKS and RKSF, I find it'd be hard to get the game onto other platforms unless the aesthetics, enemies, and stage set pieces got an overhaul of sorts to loosen up the references while still keeping the Castlevania-esque feel and Mega Man play style.

    2. I love Shovel Knight and Freedom Planet. ♥

    3. As much as I'd love to make the games available on other consoles, porting code from one platform to another is a very difficult task. Different languages have different syntax and system commands, and not all of them have complete equivalence with each other. This is why games that aren't designed with a multi-platform release in mind from day one tend to have serious issues when they're finally released.

      That said, I do know that the engine RKS is built on has a PSP port, so if licensing isn't beyond our means, I'd love to shoot for a PSN / Vita release. But first things first; we gotta get the PC version ready for launch.

    4. I'm sure you'll have it ready for launch sometime later. There's no need to rush; after all, time makes all things possible. We can wait.