How Halo 4 Is Now Upsetting Japanese Fans

Master Chief is one of video gaming's icons. Much like Mario and Sonic, the Halo series protagonist has become a video game company poster child. However, with the upcoming release of Halo 4, many Japanese gamers are not happy with how the helmeted gun-toting warrior is sounding.

On August 24th, Soutaro Tojima, the audio director for Halo 4 announced that there would be a change in the Japanese voice over cast for the main characters, Master Chief and Cortana. While the English version voices would remain as Steve Downes for Master Chief and Jen Taylor for Cortana, the Japanese cast (originally Atsuki Tani and Akiko Koike) would be replaced by voice actors Rikiya Koyama and Ayumi Fujimura.

The change in cast was almost immediately met with a stream of confused, worried and angry twitter posts directed at Tojima and his decision. Tojima replied that the voice cast choice was "strongly influenced by 'my own feelings'" and that when the game is released and people play it, if they are disappointed by the cast, it will be entirely his responsibility. Unsatisfied with Tojima's response, Japanese fans have put up an online petition to have the original voice actors reinstated.

While the Japanese Halo fanbase is a fraction of its Western counterpart, it is still significant enough in the eyes of the developers to warrant a Japanese voice cast version of the game and not just a subtitled version. A character's voice and what they sound like are an incredibly important factor in defining how people perceive them. Changing the voice of such iconic characters could be seen as extremely ballsy, extremely arrogant, or both. As small as the Japanese fanbase may be, alienating them is probably not such a good idea. Let's just hope Tojima's gamble pays off.

Halo 4 is scheduled for release on November 6.

騒動の発端と経緯 [Halo4 吹き替えキャスト変更問題まとめ@wiki]


Comments

    I never understand this, the amount of japanese games that are released internationally without dubs is huge but the other way around and it has to be in japanese.

      Dubs are almost always worse, as they often change characters behaviour and actions to suit the voices, although I have seen some dubs I prefer over the original versions. Hellsing and Hellsing Ultimate being the prime example.

        Also, Rahxephon. Er... and some others I can't remember.

          Cowboy Bebop. Even the original creators think the English dub is superior on that one. Don't ask me for a source, though: it's been nearly a decade since I read that.

            DragonBall Z's another that comes to mind. Usually I prefer subs, but the English Dub was a real improvement.

              I think I preferred Evangelion's dubs as well.

                Yes! I mean, at first I thought there was only so much screaming of, "MISATOOOOO" I could handle in English, but after getting the DVDs and switching to Japanese... wow.

            Absolutely agree, English on C.Bebop is far better.

        Fullmetal Alchemist is a personal dub over sub favorite of mine. Same for Black Lagoon.

    Wait, Japan has Halo fans? That IS news!

      Well yeah, it's one of the few western titles that they can pronounce without breaking their jaws.
      I still giggle a bit when watching Full Metal Alchemist, every time someone says E-du-wa-do E-lu-ri-ku
      (This is no slight against the Japanese or their language)

    Japenese voice acting is generally garbage anyways. From original productions to voice dubbing, most of the Japanese voice acting that is being applied to the character(s) and situation(s) dont match and is out of place. This is because of the phonetics and the vocalization of Japanese language. Dont get me wrong, I'm not bashing the Japanese language. Japanese voice acting and dubbing is usually two things. Verbalized really fast, even if the situation don't demand it and it's more often then not a loudly vocalized situation. The context of the script is usually poorly translated/ misinterpreted. And second, usually translated or produced without proper vocal expression(s) and emotion(s). Watch a strictly Japenese production and you will see what I mean. Everyone is speaking loudly, and really quickly almost all the time. And all of it is pretty much devoid of emotion.

      Congratulations, you win internet douchebag of the day. for someone who knows Japanese their voicing is just fine. So sorry you have no idea about tone or diction of the language. Speaking from a western perspective is pretty well irrelevant

    Considering how many people are annoyed about Sam Fisher, I guess you can kind of understand just how annoying this must for the Japanese fans.

    To be honest - like the others said - I am surprised that Japan even has enough Halo fans for this to make the news though......

    It's a pretty understandable reaction, tho. Who wouldn't be a little sad if anyone but Peter Cullen had voiced Optimus Prime in the latest Transformers game? Or, if Nolan North was swapped out just for Uncharted 3? Or if the music for Halo 4 was changed to smooth jazz. It'd make the game feel unauthentic.

    So all twelve japanese 360 owners are upset? Seriously given how small the market of the 360 in japan is i'm surprised they even get a dub.

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