Note: This blog post will only focus on the differences between the Japanese and North American versions. As I was not able to gain access to either the Korean or Chinese versions while they were up.
Rusty Hearts is a Korean Beat’em Up MMO developed and released by WindySoft in 2011. The MMO is no longer active however it did receive four different versions in it’s lifespan. There were Korean, North American, Japanese and Chinese servers made for the game. Due to the nature of it being an MMO, ESRB, CERO nor GRAC have given it a rating. Although it’s safe to say, it’s recommended for people aged 15+.
Surprisngly enough, the Korean MMO received it’s English localization 4 months after the Korean version was launched. The launch dates for each server are as follows:
- South Korea: May 11, 2011
- North America: September 20, 2011
- Japan: December 13, 2012
- China: August 8, 2013
The server shutdown for each server are as follows:
- South Korea: January 4, 2016
- North America: September 25, 2014
- Japan: March 27, 2014
- China: N/A
Localization for an MMO works quite differently from localizing an offline game. Yes, a good localization will keep the core story and dialogue from the original and translate it, losing as little as possible. However when it comes to an MMO, there is slightly more leeway in terms of content. For example, it’s common for each server in an MMO to get it’s own exclusive event or items.
Generally speaking, the North American version of Rusty Hearts followed the Korean version quite faithfully, it was just a few months behind. The Japanese version of Rusty Hearts received quite a few exclusives. The most major one being that the publisher, SEGA, created an anime opening for the game which no other version had. On top of that, SEGA had J-Rock band “Breakerz” to perform the opening theme.
The Rusty Hearts opening animation is on YouTube however it has blocked all IPs outside of Japan, so it’s quite hard to find but you’re able to enjoy it here:
On top of this, SEGA redrew all of the player character art. Most NPCs had the artwork done by WindySoft but the player characters all used entirely new artwork in game. SEGA also created their own promotional artwork for the game rather than using the existing Korean artwork.
While all versions of the game are dubbed in each server’s respective languages, it should be noted that the North American dub only dubs voiced scenes and not battle dialogue as well. The North American version uses the Korean voices for battles. The Japanese version however, the dubs are all throughout the game. It should also be noted that (At least the playable characters) all have quite famous and big name voice actors in the Japanese version. For those curious, here is a list of the voice actors.
- Frantz Kruger: Hikaru Midorikawa
- Angela Strraughend: Miyuki Sawashiro
- Tude Macloud: Kazuya Nakai
- Natasha Borzenkova: Hiromi Hirata
- Edgar Grosvenor: Ai Nonaka
- Roselle Vergerius: Chiaki Takahashi
- Leila Vergerius: Kanae Itou
- Meilin Chen: Asami Shimoda
- Ian: Norio Wakamoto
One last major difference the Japanese version had from the other versions was that it included a stamina system. It limited how many dungeons a player could run through in a day, without stamina, you were done for the day. This was in the Korean version originally but taken out shortly after it’s release. The North American server didn’t have this feature at all (Most likely because Publisher Perfect World Entertainment knew they would get backlash from it). Surprisingly the Japanese version kept the stamina system all the way from the beginning till it’s shut down.
It’s clear SEGA had passion for Rusty Hearts and wanted to bring a Korean MMO to the Japanese market, sadly their efforts weren’t rewarded. As lack of support from both WindySoft and Perfect World Entertainment painted a bad picture for both the Korean and North American versions of the game. This led to SEGA pulling the plug way before either version did. Thankfully, SEGA was not discouraged despite their first attempt at localizing a Korean MMO failed. They decided to pick up an MMO of a similar genre, “Closers” and it’s looking stronger than ever with even more effort put into the localization than Rusty Hearts. It even seems like they’re marketing it better than Korean publisher, Nexon.