Richard Mark Honeywood is a video game translator who worked with Square Enix on the Dragon Quest series, among other franchises. A graduate of the University of Sydney, Honeywood obtained degrees in computer science and Japanese studies and first joined then Squaresoft in 1997. He remained with the company through the merger with business rival Enix, and departed in 2007 to work for Blizzard Entertainment to serve as global localization manager for the World of Warcraft MMO. In November of 2010 he resigned from Blizzard to work with Level-5, and has remained with the company since.
History with Dragon Quest
After the merger of Squaresoft and Enix in 2003, the resulting company reflected upon it's library of franchises and their success in the international market due to Squaresoft's breakout hit with Final Fantasy VII. At the same time, development of Dragon Quest VIII was already underway with Level-5 converting the series to true 3D after the previous entry's implementation of two-dimensional sprites on polygonal backgrounds. As 3D titles are viewed as more easily marketed to Western audiences, a push to reboot the series' international standing to make it more professional began within Square Enix.
Richard Honeywood was assigned to this project due to his past directorial achievements with Xenogears, Chrono Cross, and Final Fantasy XI. Quickly forming a rapport with the Dragon Quest production team in Japan, Honeywood stated his intent for this project would be to localize it in such a way so that it would be distinct when compared to the scripts for Final Fantasy titles and to further help the game stand out amongst the glut of RPG titles that were being released in the PlayStation 2's lifecycle. Pointing out that the Dragon Quest series is strictly fantasy-inspired as opposed to the cyberpunk that Final Fantasy had become, he proposed that the use of British English would compliment the settings of the games better than the American English that Enix of America used for their localizations as well as reference the Elizabethan English used for the Nintendo Entertainment System releases of the first four games.
Honeywood's proposal was reviewed by member of the Dragon Quest staff in Tokyo, and in spite of push-back and criticism from the American branch, approval was granted. With this first hurdle cleared, Honeywood's next goal was to reach out to past translators Enix of America used in the late 90's and early millennium to create staff continuity between the two "eras" of the games. Matt Alt and his wife Hiroko Yoda were recruited into his team through this effort, and the two would continue to work on the series in the future. In addition, Plus-Alpha was contracted in to assist with the project due to the quality of their work and their status as natural-born United Kingdom citizens. With his team now fully assembled and flown to Tokyo, Honeywood began the long process of reinventing the series for Western audiences.
Impact on the series
Richard Honeywood's influence on the international standing of Dragon Quest titles is monumental, with the style guide he crafted during VIII's development paving the way for all future releases. The emphasis on alliteration, word play, and assonance were products of his intent to reflect the humor and whimsy in the Japanese dialect that were lost upon previous translation efforts, and established a definitive syntax for the series. As the video game industry has continued to grow since his original proposal pitch in 2004, not to mention the increasing presence of RPGs, Honeywood has succeeded in establishing Dragon Quest as a distinguished presence in the market place without compromising the spirit of the original language.
As Yuji Horii is directly involved with the production of each entry in his series, his approval for every localized term was required. Every name, whether it belong to a character, monster, item, or spell was reviewed before it could be implemented. Spells in particular proved tricky to pull off to his satisfaction, as Horii insisted that the onomatopoeia naming convention seen in the Japanese language was maintained--a point he made due to his vocal dissatisfaction with the previous terms employed by Enix of America. This is why the -le and ka- suffixes and prefixes were added to the spell root words, keeping the onomatopoeia and creating distinct tiers of strength for the spell lines that can be understood at a glance.
Work history with Squaresoft and Square Enix
|Parasite Eve||Special Thanks|
|Final Fantasy VIII||Localization engineer|
|Chrono Cross||Localization director|
|Final Fantasy IX||Localization engineer|
|The Bouncer||Assistant localization director|
|Final Fantasy X||Localization engineer|
|Final Fantasy XI||Localization director|
|Sword of Mana||Localization|
|F.F. Crystal Chronicles||Localization director|
|Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King||Localization director|
|Dawn of Mana||Localization|
|Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker||Localization director|
|Dragon Quest Swords||Localization director|
|Dragon Quest IV||Localization director|
|Dragon Quest VI||Special Thanks|