Codebreaking Reddit User Cracks Tunic’s Mysterious In-Game Language

Codebreaking Reddit User Cracks Tunic’s Mysterious In-Game Language
Image: Finji

We love to see an average joe with a very specific set of skills do the absolute most for no reason other than pure satisfaction.

Tunic is an action-adventure game developed by Andrew Shouldice, and has been released as a timed exclusive on Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC last month. The game takes inspiration from early Zelda titles while still holding its own, and forces players to think hard about their next steps.

Tunic‘s difficulty is all part of its charm though. What little help the game is willing to provide is contained in its ‘instruction manual’. However, the instruction manual in question isn’t written in any known language. The whole thing is instead written in Tunic’s ‘fox language’. While it’s definitely an immersive aspect of the game, some players may find it a little hard to navigate.

Thankfully, one Reddit user by the name of ‘oposdeo’ has taken it upon themselves to translate the Tunic language. In the Reddit post, oposdeo says that they actually got the game with the intent to crack the language, and in turn has written up a ‘handy guide’ for their own use. The post reads:

I picked up the game a bit ago really eager to crack this language. I still haven’t gotten my shield yet, so I don’t know much about the actual game and how it intends (if at all) to teach the language. But I managed to crack it, and I wrote up a handy guide for my own use as I translate all of the text in the game. I figured y’all might appreciate it. I’ve translated maybe 10 guidebook pages to find all these symbols, so I’m quite confident in them, though maybe there’s a couple rare ones missing. Of the 44 English phonemes, I think 2 are not used, since they have very similar alternatives, and I think the “ure” phoneme in “pure” is treated as “ore” in this game, as the symbol is used for words like Your and North, despite there not being a formal “ORE” phoneme.

ADDENDUM: One thing I didn’t realize when I wrote this is that the middle edge in the consonant part is irrelevant. It’s always there if either the edge above or below it are filled in. If you ignore it, you can think of the shape as being more like a hexagon with one point in the middle (and indeed, you may see writing like that in game sometimes)

The Tunic language reference sheet is shown below.

tunic language reference sheet
Image: oposdeo / Reddit

You can check out the full post, with added updates from the original poster here.

This is an incredible piece of work. Of course, those going into the game can choose to play without the reference and figure it out by themselves, but something like this reminds me of the first Ni No Kuni game that had a physical Wizard’s Companion that you could reference while playing the game. What makes this different is that this isn’t an official release, but rather the result of hard work done by an unaffiliated  programmer that ‘likes to solve puzzles a lot’. Very cool stuff.

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