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Diablo II in Italian, a half job

In the world of Mac games there is a mystery that, though incomprehensible and full of some contradictions, even laughable, is really not very funny due to the frustrating, humiliating and even irritating implications that it presents for the Italian users of the Apple world. We are talking about the incredible story of not converting and marketing in our Diablo II language.

Many of you will wonder why we call "seemingly incredible" the apparently customary fact of not locating a game in our language. The simple explanation derives from the fact that the failure to convert Diablo II into Italian more than a reasonable commercial choice or a weighted decision appears to all intents and purposes the result of what appears to be a series of evaluations (or not evaluations) that are difficult to tie with a convincing logical thread.

To understand why this belief of ours we have to go in order and starting from the release of the PC version in Italy of Diablo II.

The Blizzard game unlike the first version was presented by its Italian distributor (the Varese leader) for the first time totally in Italian: box, manuals and even the software had been translated into our language. An event of no secondary importance since it is a role-playing game where dialogues and texts are indispensable in order to get to the bottom of the adventure and be able to fully enjoy all its implications. On that occasion, some Mac users who also had a PC bought the game, a decision taken a little to anticipate the times on the presentation of the Mac version and a bit to have the Italian version available. With great surprise, inserting the second and third CD contained in the box into the drive, which are used respectively for playing and for non-interactive scenes, it turned out that they were burned in hybrid format and contained the files also for MacOs. But not only. Even the manual and this, too, indispensable for finding one's way among the thousand options, weapons, characters and enemies, had been translated into Italian and carried the instructions also for Mac. Only the installation CD was not hybrid.

The news put the world of Apple into a state of fibrillation. Perhaps, one could read in many of the emails received by our editorial staff, Leader was also going to release a Mac version of Diablo II, perhaps it would have been enough to wait a few more weeks, perhaps finally one could legitimately hope that a game that, alone, can justify the sale of a Mac as a gaming machine would also have been available in our language, perhaps it would have been enough to wait for the release in the USA of the Macintosh version that was not yet available.

Hope was strengthened when the Mac version was released in the US. The copy Macity came into possession on the day of its commercialization, in the context of the MacWorld Expo last July 20th, was entirely hybrid.

Our hopes and our readers' hopes for began to falter when, upon returning to Italy, our staff began a series of tests to verify the compatibility between the two Italian and English versions. The installed in English for Mac (obtained with the copy purchased in the USA) did not recognize the game discs (hybrids) of the Italian version and the install disc of the Italian version, as our readers had anticipated, did not contain the installer of the Mac version. Result: despite having the Mac installer available, the hybrid discs sold in Italy are useless.

All hopes for were not lost. Leader announced on his Internet pages, in fact, that he would soon start selling the Mac version too and even if it was clearly read that this would have been entirely in English existed, given that the US records were hybrid, the hope that the game would be was also released in Italian.

So our editorial staff, as soon as the summer holiday period ended, contacted the people in charge of the company and here that all hopes have definitively fallen.

"The Mac version that will arrive on the Italian market – said Simone Isella, product manager of Diablo II – entirely in English. There will be no Italian version. I would like to point out that the decision is not ours, but of Blizzard. Unlike other publishers, Blizzard takes care of every aspect of marketing at home, including localization. All we do is take the games that come to us already boxed, apply the Siae sticker and put them in stock ”. According to our interlocutor to the Leader there are very few possibilities to influence this choice "which is entirely in charge of the management of the producer. We, in addition to the rest, speak with Havas Interactive which is located in France and which in turn must interact with Blizzard in America ". But some idea of ​​why Blizzard has created Italian CDs in a hybrid version (including also a manual for Mac in Italian) and then not completing the work by also making the first CD in Italian to the Leader you will have … "No. I can only say – Isella told us – that at Blizzard they are very precise and attentive. If they have made such a choice they will have had their good reasons ". What for example? “The market share of the Mac world that in Italy is very small. Obviously they did not consider economically justified to convert the first disc for Mac as well ”. If it were so it would be a bitter pill to digest but it could be understood. But in this case we are actually not faced with a policy of savings but of waste of resources. In fact we have two uselessly hybrid game CDs and a useless Italian manual. Eh gi, because the version distributed in Italy of Diablo for Mac will not even have the manual in our language, despite this, with the instructions for Mac, is included in the PC version. Really paradoxical.

The reason why all this does not have logical explanations and the parts we consulted, no one can or wants to provide convincing explanations. We can therefore only formulate hypotheses such as supposing that we are dealing with a case of Blizzard myopia, or that the competence in the Mac sector on the part of the company (external to Blizzard and Leader) that took care of the localization in Italian was so limited to carefully avoid intervening on the Mac version provided to them in the game's golden master.

What is certain and that from this story nobody comes out without some damage. The distributor has no factor to convince consumers to buy the product he sells, since this is a version that is in no way different from the American one that can be purchased anywhere on the Internet, the manufacturer does not benefit from having invested to hybridize two discs. on three and to print a manual in Italian, and consumers who will be forced anyway to deal with a non-localized product. Of all this situation, Leader, who is the contact person closest to us, could certainly be a spokesman for Havas Interactive, pointing out the paradoxical nature of the situation. "We'll think about it" was the response from the distributor's managers. Macity and a few thousand Italian users of the Mac platform, chewing bitter, count on us.