The Challenge of Naming Games

The latest GameCareerGuide "Game Design Challenge" is to rename Katamari Damacy: if you had been working for Namco in 2004 and they had decided to give the game a new title, what would you have suggested? "Think up with something snappy that will appease the localization department, designers, and artists, who will likely create new cover art to accommodates the new title." Localization is something that not many people give too much thought to, but titles are the first step in shaping the public's perception of of a work (be it book, movie, or game).

It's a job I don't envy — my research this year has partially comprised of looking at translations going the other way (from English to Chinese), and it's been very enlightening to look at the various ways titles get translated. They range from near word-for-word translations to titles that have radically different emphases than their American counterparts. Add to that the job of translating everything inside a work, and that's a lot of acculturalization that needs to be done. What games have done it well? What have really fell on their face? And if you had a chance to rename something - or tweak interior translations - what would it be?

Game Design Challenge: Rename Katamari Damacy [GameCareerGuide]