On the forum, valued community member, member of The Witch Hunt and one of the faces behind the upcoming Steam release of the Umineko question arcs, UsagiTenpura, has prepared an announcement from The Witch Hunt to everybody interested in reading Umineko on Steam. With her permission, I will have posted the announcement here on the blog, as written by her.
The Witch Hunt translation of Umineko is solvable.
Considering all the time fans from across the world put into it, there’s nothing I’d rather say.
Unfortunately, I’d have to stretch the definition of solvable a bit to do so.
True, the puzzles as a whole can be answered with our first translation, but in Ryuukishi’s own words, there are “treasure chests” hidden throughout the series for people paying attention. Many of these treasure chests end up being at least as important as the main story, and we ended up crushing several of them. A few were outright translation errors, though most probably couldn’t have been translated without guessing an answer first.
The end result is that no one in the English community has ever experienced Umineko in full, except for a few lucky people with access to Japanese knowledge. Even the excellent manga renditions couldn’t possibly have told Umineko in quite the same way as a Visual Novel. (Though this is not one of those manga adaptations that you’re allowed to skip if you’re a fan of the original. Read them.)
To rectify this, the Witch Hunt has put in more hours this past year than any previous one in the history of our team. Building this Steam version involved editing more than 75% of the lines in the original translation (almost 90% in EP1) and well over 3,000 images for HD support. And that’s even before the Mangagamer pass that included drastic improvements to every chapter. Nearly all of the text changes were to bring our paranoid, hyper-literal translation more in line with what we had in Rose Guns Days, getting the scenes to actually read well instead of worrying about every conceivable loophole that might be hiding a clue we didn’t know about. Unfortunately, if nearly every line doesn’t sound quite right, the chances of you noticing something that’s supposed to sound strange are pretty darn small.
Also, we’ve had some practice since then.
In the end though, what really matters are those scenes strewn throughout the series that will finally make sense, especially if you’ve never reread EP1-4. Umineko is a VN built to be read multiple times, and I guarantee you that using Steam as an excuse to try it again will turn it into an entirely different game.
This should hopefully address some concerns people have over the quality of the new translation. Rest assured that the Steam release of Umineko will be the best translation of Umineko available anywhere in the world. Let us know what you think of this announcement and the upcoming release in the discussion below!