The last few years have been an incredible time for fan translations, but here’s a doozy: Square’s combination racing and role-playing game Racing Lagoon is now fully playable in English.
Racing Lagoon, first released on the original PlayStation back in 1999, wasn’t a critical or commercial success for Square at the time. While the game received middling reviews from Japanese press and reportedly only moved around 141,000 units in its first six months, Racing Lagoon’s reputation as a stylish cult classic landed it on a 2009 list of Famitsu readers’ most wanted sequels.
Watching any Racing Lagoon footage at all makes it obvious why everyone was so enamored with this game almost a decade later. It just oozes cool, from the retro, almost vaporwave aesthetics to the smooth soundtrack of jazzy bangers.
Sadly, Racing Lagoon never left Japan, forcing English-speaking players to either learn the language (which, I mean, most of us probably should anyway) or stumble through its adventure with a third-party walkthrough. The possibility of experiencing Racing Lagoon in English became one of those pipe dreams that everyone hopes to see materialize but mostly assumes never will.
Enter a Canadian translator known as Hilltop. After wrapping up work on another PlayStation-era obscurity, Dr. Slump, Hilltop quickly set their sights on Racing Lagoon. They released their first Racing Lagoon patch, an English translation of the game’s prologue, in late June before building a team that steadily worked their way through subsequent chapters.
And now, in less than five months, Racing Lagoon is fully translated, a monumental achievement that would have sounded highly unlikely at the start of 2021.
“Over 20 years later, it is finally time for the rest of the world to experience one of the most unique and memorable RPGs ever created,” Hilltop’s announcement post reads. “I want to extend my deepest thanks to the rest of the team and to everyone who kept the dream of this game’s localization alive.”