A Wachenröder English translation patch is finally happening thanks to enterprising fans of the long-lost and Japan-only strategy RPG, and it’s already playable.
Published by Sega and made by developer TNS Co. back in 1998, Wachenröder was likely the last game of its kind from Sega as it sold poorly, due to it being released near the end of the Sega Saturn’s lifecycle – the only platform it was released on.
The Wachenröder English translation patch is based on the famous translation guide from writer Glenn A. Rudy and translator Yumi Makita. Modder Knight0fDragon is now applying the translation to the game itself (via Sega Saturn Shiro), with the hope of making the entire game playable in English after more than two decades.
While it’s only been a week or so since the fan translation was confirmed, a playable build was demoed showing off the first hour or so up to its first battle, with all in-game dialogue already in English. The in-combat menu is still in Japanese, however this is an in-engine UI change and will likely be more difficult for the team to achieve.
Wachenröder takes place in a Victorian world and features a darker RPG storyline rife with war, death, pollution, and a society mostly tired with life itself. Its art direction is mostly what made the game achieve cult status and is strongly inspired by 20s-30s avant-garde German art and even includes the real-life Wiener Werkstätte logo on its case, disc, and in-game itself.
Wachenröder may have been another strategy RPG that didn’t innovate with gameplay, but its aforementioned art direction got heads turning.
Many of the key staff on the game were recruited from the anime industry, like artist Range Murata (Last Exile, Blue Submarine No. 6.) and even had game veterans like character designer Katsumi Yokota (Panzer Dragoon Saga, Front Mission Alternative). Hardcore Gaming 101 praised the game as a “real masterpiece when it comes to art direction and storytelling.”
A long-running theory on Wachenröder is that it uses the same engine as Shining Force 3, when the folks working on the fan translation have confirmed this is not true.
“Wachenröder is not the same engine as Shining Force 3,” Knight0fDragon said. “The file structure is different, the compression method is different, the rendering techniques are all different, I am unable to find any way the two games are similar.”
Coming from this, modders working on the fans translation patch noted this is an alpha of an alpha build, so it’s still very early and there are several text bugs that can make some text hard to read. Furthermore, they noted Wachenröder is not an easy game to translate, as it requires lots of unpacking, fixing, and editing.
They noted when the “main translation” process starts, many of the bugs and issues will be resolved and the majority of the translation work should progress smoothly and quickly.
We’ll keep you guys posted as the Wachenröder English translation patch keeps progressing.