A reskin (redrawing of the art of objects in the game as something completely different) is a rare thing, but sometimes a necessary one. Specifically, it’s useful in situations when the only way to sell a game in another country is by fundamentally changing it. Inlingo is one of the few studios that takes on this kind of localization, and today we’re sharing about one such adaptation. The material is from Alexey Medov’s talk entitled

From Ancient China to the Apocalypse: Deep localization for a new setting

A powerful example from our work is a project called Three Kingdoms: Attack!—a hugely popular game in China. In fact, many games about Chinese history and literature are highly successful there and are even promoted by the government there.

The client decided that without some serious changes, they would have a hard time tackling the Russian and Western markets, and they came to us with a request to fully remake the content based on some visual materials their artists had provided. They chose science fiction as the new genre. So instead of a crucial period in the history of ancient China known only to sinophiles and lovers of East Asian history, a post-apocalyptic world was selected because of its popularity and comprehensibility with European and American audiences.

Generals of yesterday / Generals of tomorrow

A new plot was required that would still match the general features of the historical conflict. In the end, we changed:

  • 77 characters (and their descriptions)
  • 13 types of units
  • more than 130 skills
  • more than 80 items
  • 23 types of buildings
  • 182 stages in 22 missions
  • 28,000 words in the Russian version and 32,000 for the English.

Some characters were changed so much that their gender was switched. For example, Hua Tuo, who we renamed Hugo had this for a biography when we started:

The most famous and perhaps the greatest physician to emerge from the Three Kingdoms, Hua Tuo was versed in all manner of medicine, but his specialty was surgery and traumatic injury. He is to this day known as “The Father of Surgery.”

Our adapted description is this:

A renowned scientist and professor of medicine who has been forced to put his skills to the test on the battlefield.

But then in the next set of materials we learned that the character had become a woman, because the phrase “Father of Surgery” had been changed to “Mother of Surgery” without any surgical intervention:

A renowned scientist and professor of medicine who has been forced to put her skills to the test on the battlefield.

Hua Tuo herself (himself?)

During adaptation, the changes included all the items: brave steeds became intimidating tanks, scrolls and books turned into hi-tech devices, and the traditional weapons of medieval Asia were redesigned as modern firearms and even some futuristic ray guns.

With a flourish of the pen, a fan transforms into… a minigun!

A great deal of the changes affected the quests, locations, and game mechanic, but we’ll talk about them more next time. The main point is that in this case, localization and development from scratch were pretty similar.

If you have a project that you want to release in a new market, write us at order@inlingogames.com and we will talk over the best script options together. Until next time!