The journal Studies in Eastern European Cinema has recently published the article Adapting Contested National History for Global Audiences in Attentat 1942 and Svoboda 1945: Liberation written by Vít Šisler, Jan Švelch, Shawn Clybor, and Ondřej Trhoň. The article is available in open access.
The original abstract: The video game Attentat 1942 (2017) and its follow-up Svoboda 1945: Liberation (2021) received worldwide recognition and numerous awards for their representation of Czechoslovak history. Drawing upon the personal experiences of several members of the development team at Charles Games, including translators and historians, the article addresses the challenges involved in adapting Central and Eastern European historical narratives for players unfamiliar with the regional context, but also for countries (i.e. Germany) with stringent rules on video game depictions of Nazi symbolism. By doing so, we critically examine how the development team strove to maintain historical accuracy and authenticity not only in the games’ development but, more specifically, in their localization. The article builds on existing research on video game localization, which sees localization as a complex set of processes involving not only translation of in-game texts, but also more fundamental adjustments related to globalization and internationalization. The article complements a self-reflexive design case analysis with a reception study, based on a thematic analysis of foreign language reviews in the specialized press, to explore how regional historical themes are perceived by reviewers, and whether, or to what extent, localization affects these perceptions.