Hero modder spends 3,000 hours translating Planescape: Torment into Japanese

(Image credit: Beamdog)

Planescape: Torment, the classic RPG we ranked at number 11 in our latest list of the top 100 games on PC, is well-known for its wordiness. Its script is 950,000 words long. Which is presumably why, when it was released in Japan, only the manual was translated. 

Official localizations in French, German, Korean, Polish, and Czech are available for the Enhanced Edition these days (though the latter two don't have translated audio, just text). Japanese players remained out of luck, unless they could read English of course. Until one volunteer, a member of the translation circle TRANAZ, sat down for 3,000 hours translating every single word of philosophical rambling, descriptions of the structure of the multiverse, and a floating skull flirting with zombies. They even programmed their own font tool, and the end result has scratched-up menu text that actually looks nicer than the smooth English font.

TRANAZ reached out to Torment's developer to ask about distributing the language pack and were told that sharing it with other players was fine, so long as it was distributed for free with the understanding that the rights to the text remain those of the copyright holder. And that's why, 21 years after its original release, players can download PST_JPMOD and finally experience Planescape: Torment in Japanese.

(Thanks to Patrick Alexander on Twitter for spotting this.)

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and Playboy.com, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.