Check Out This Behind-the-Scenes Video on the Localization of Majora’s Mask
Posted on January 15 2023 by Leslie Jacobson
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask holds a special place in the hearts of many Zelda fans. Released only two years after Ocarina of Time, it was an amazing achievement in the gaming industry to put out a game that quickly as a follow-up to the success of its predecessor. Its three-day cycle that affected gameplay, its numerous side quests that focused on characterization, and its darker themes of loss, grief, and even death make it unique among the Zelda series, let alone video games in general.
Line by Line is a documentary-style video by Javed Sterritt (aka Good Blood) that follows Jason Leung, who wrote the English screen text for Majora’s Mask. The video follows Leung’s early career as a writer for Nintendo Power and explains how he was there for the hype and lead-up to the release of Ocarina of Time. Then he shares how he landed the task of localizing the text for Majora’s Mask. He explains the enormous amount of pressure he felt to do a good job to honor the legacy of the Zelda series and the work done by previous localization expert, Dan Owsen. Leung even got to visit the Nintendo offices in Kyoto and work with Eiji Aonuma, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Mitsuhiro Takano, the script supervisor for Majora’s Mask.
Javed Sterritt uploaded a different version of this documentary some time ago, but pulled down the video due to some errors in the reporting. He re-made the documentary to correct those errors.
Line by Line is part of Sterritt’s Hyrule Journals series. His previous video, Ocarina of Time – A Masterclass in Subtext, is a video essay detailing the cultural influences and deeper meanings in Ocarina of Time. If you haven’t watched his previous video, I highly recommend it. You can still enjoy Line by Line even if you have not watched the first video though.
Learning that the themes of loneliness and loss were based on the development team’s own feelings in regards to the amount of hours they were putting in to get the game completed in under two years was surprising. Perhaps that’s why the story of Majora’s Mask resonates with so many players, that it was based on real-world experiences.
Check it out, and let us know: What do you think of Leung’s efforts at writing the screen text for Majora’s Mask? Is there a line from the game that you love?
Source: Javed Sterritt (Good Blood)
Leslie is a mom, a cosplayer, an educator, and a fervent fan of The Legend of Zelda series. She lives in an area of the United States that reminds her of the Akkala region in the fall and Hebra the other 11 months of the year. She owns The Legend of Zelda t-shirts older than most of her students.