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I had previously asked this on Arqade but it seems it was off-topic, hopefully this network is a better place to ask.


I've noticed that for a number of games, different localisation versions sometimes differ in the titles. A notable example are the Professor Layton series, in which the Diabolical Box, Unwound Future, and Last Specter are named as Pandora's Box, Lost Future, and Spectre's Call in the European versions (respectively). I can see how the Japanese names would differ (e.g. "Mask of Miracle" instead of "Miracle Mask") due to it being a different language, but I can't understand why the English titles for the European versions should have different names from the US versions.

What makes the situation even more confusing is that the Curious Village, Miracle Mask, and Azran Legacy aren't subject to this and have the same names in both the European and US versions.

Can anybody enlighten me as to why developers/publishers do this? To my knowledge the games are more or less identical in every other way, apart from British/US English spelling differences (and the exclusion of the London Life minigame in the Spectre's Call). Another example would be Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, known as Luigi's Mansion 2 in Europe, which again makes no sense to me.

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This is not a phenomenon limited to games; it also occurs in other media. There are a variety of reasons it might happen (which apply equally well to games and non-games):

  • Preparing a game for release in another country isn't just a matter of translation; sometimes the name of a title, character, item, what-have-you needs to be changed to fit better with the culture idioms and expectations of the target country (the US publisher for the Harry Potter series thought that children wouldn't want to read a book with "philosopher" in the title).

  • In the case of numbered titles, intervening numbers may not have been released in all countries (as with the early Final Fantasy games in the US).

  • Legal issues, such as trademarks and such, that differ between countries may prevent the use of one name and thus force a name change.

  • Names may be changed to capitalize on the success of other names; for example, Doki Doki Panic (although this is perhaps a borderline example, since art assets were altered as well).

  • Sometimes the developer or publish just plain wants to, for one reason or another (see the difference in the title of The Golden Compass in the US and UK).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah thank you, that clears it up nicely. I'd forgotten that other media does this sometime too, the Harry Potter one had always confused me! \$\endgroup\$ – puggsoy Jun 27 '14 at 2:51

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