Today is quite a momentous day: the original Muv-Luv is now available in English from Steam! Check it out here!
I got to take a quick peek at the game at Anime Expo, and I spent much of yesterday playing through the pre-release, and I’m thrilled to report that so far, the translation is amazing. I have played this game numerous times for over 12 years and I have a very strong sense of how I would have wanted it to read in English, and this translation is right there. To finally be able to play this game in English, and to know that it is how I always pictured it, is a strange and exciting feeling.
(They also went with “Surface Pilot” for the translation, which scores massive points with me. This is the official English term used in all Muv-Luv media, so using this term in the English translation shows an immense respect for the franchise. When I think back on how close they seemed to be to going with “Eishi”, I realize what a miracle it is that we get to enjoy this translation instead.)
If you’re only familiar with the old Muv-Luv release from 2003, you’re going to be shocked at the improvements made to the game since then. I’ve mentioned some of them before, but for anybody still on the fence about supporting this release, I’ll go over them in greater detail:
This release seems to be based on the most recent version of the game, the PS3 version (this version was also used for the Vita release). For Extra, this means the pre-menu OP is “LOVE STEP” by Minami Kuribayashi. The in-game OP continues to be “Muv-Luv”, as in the 2003 release. New EDs are included for the Chizuru, Kei, and Miki endings – “I will” remains the ED for Sumika and Meiya. For Unlimited, the OP is now “sion” by Masami Okui rather than “Muv-Luv” – this is the only opening sequence from the old versions of either Muv-Luv or Alternative to be completely removed from the game. The ED for Unlimited is unchanged.
The most obvious change from the 2003 version is that this game now uses the same system as Alternative. The game appears in widescreen and without a dedicated dialogue box. All sprites now have eye and mouth movement.
All TSF scenes in Unlimited have been completely redone in the Alternative style. This includes using Alternative TSF sprites, and directed using the more advanced AGES techniques from Alternative. The TSF HUD has been completely replaced with the Alternative HUD, including character comm sprites.
Music from Alternative now appears throughout Muv-Luv. Most importantly, “Briefing” now plays during briefing scenes in Unlimited.
Reading it on the page, these changes may not seem like much. But when you actually play the new version, I promise you will be blown away. Muv-Luv now actually FEELS like the same game as Alternative. It actually feels like a real trilogy, rather than different games separated by 3 years of development.
There’s also a small bonus for hardcore Muv-Luv fans. There are some small differences in setting between the original 2003 Muv-Luv release and Alternative. Most notably, in the original Muv-Luv the idea seems to be that Yuuhi was the Emperor of Japan, as Meiya is described as being related to the Emperor. By the time they released Alternative, they changed their minds about that (I think I read once that they decided depicting the Emperor in their Imperial Japan fantasy was a bit too sticky, politically), so now Yuuhi is a Shogun nominated by the Emperor. For the re-release of the original Muv-Luv, they actually went back and rewrote (and rerecorded) several lines to match up with this new setting. It doesn’t really affect the story, but I appreciated that the original game no longer contradicted the later works.
Of course, it’s tradition in this industry for re-releases to include new artwork and CGs, so given that the PS3 version is the newest version, we get all the new art that wasn’t included in the original version.
I’ll put up another post dedicated to the actual game itself . . . eventually. (Just like the Muv-Luv franchise, I don’t keep any deadlines I try to set for myself anyway.)