CASE STUDY: Localizing text quest game Nocton Hill

Today we have a case study to share with you of our localization of Nocton Hill from Mess Games. This is the story of how we translated 23,000 words from Russian to English and almost went crazy sorting out 19 different endings. Nocton Hill is a text horror quest, presented as a dialogue with a person who has found himself in a mysterious hospital. The quest has several storylines, and the most difficult part of localizing it was following and ensuring continuity of these lines that lead to more than a dozen different endings.
The same moment in the game: RU and EN
Despite the fact that it was the MessGames founder Evgenii’s first experience with localization, we had no problems during the process. The project was managed by INLINGO project manager Elizaveta. Read more about our work on the project from Elizaveta herself. In short, the client was absolutely perfect, and it was really easy to work with him. He sent us the lockit in .strings format, exported from Xcode for MacOs. We uploaded it to MemoQ and got mixed strings, which meant no spoilers, but also that it was difficult to understand anything.
For example, string 1691 actually appears at the very beginning of the game.
We decided to work with this file anyways, so that to make it easier for the developers we could export it in the same .strings format they sent it in, but we also asked for some additional information to help us understand the plot. And they sent us a mind-bogglingly massive mind map!
This is what it looked like. Actually, this is only about a quarter of the text.
Here’s a more detailed picture: we took a screenshot of the beginning of the game, so there are no spoilers 🙂
I made sure I chose translators who work really well with narrative text. The game was released in Russian, so our translator played it first to get a sense of the atmosphere and the plot. Besides just translating, we also edited the Russian text, because as the translation was in progress, we noticed some mistakes and offered to check the entire text. All in all, we translated the text in 3 weeks, including editing and corrections.
The game sends the player creepy files that help them solve the game’s mystery (RU and EN)
Our goal was to translate our text game into English with the highest possible quality. The most difficult phase on our part was preparing the lockit. After that, all we had to do was wait and answer any plot-related questions that came up. Given the fact that this was our first time doing localization, the whole process initially seemed really mysterious to us. But it turned out to be quite simple, interesting, and enjoyable. Of course, thanks to the INLINGO team, who patiently answered all our (inexperienced customer) questions and delivered a high-quality translation on time, which players in English-speaking markets describe with phrases like: “the writing is the most solid thing in this game”. This translation has given us a competitive advantage that we plan to use to our utmost advantage. Our thanks to the INLINGO team for a joyful first experience, and we’ll certainly look to you the next time we need localization!
Nocton Hill is available on iOS, so download it and try it out—not just to check out our localization, but also to enjoy the interesting storyline. If you’re interested in localization from INLINGO as well, send us an email at , and we’ll get back to you within 30 minutes.