NIS America has officially announced English localizations for Trails From Zero (Fall 2022) and Trails to Azure (2023), the Crossbell duology that fans have been waiting years for. Despite releasing almost ten years ago, the Crossbell games never received an official localization, although an incredibly talented group of fans known as The Geofront created fan translations of both games. In a fairly unprecedented move, NIS America has announced that they’ll be partnering with The Geofront and using the fan translations as the basis for official localizations.
The Crossbell games take place in between Trails in the Sky and Trails of Cold Steel, and focus on a part of the Crossbell Police known as the Special Support Section. Here’s the game’s description from its Steam page “Lloyd Bannings returns to his hometown to follow his late brother’s footsteps and join the Crossbell Police Department. However, he finds himself assigned to a ragtag new division called the Special Support Section, which performs odd jobs and helps people in need. But he and his new teammates slowly discover that their vibrant city hides a dark criminal underbelly…as well as a few terrible secrets.”
The version of the games launching in the West is actually based on the PS4 remasters Zero No Kiseki Kai and Ao No Kiseki Kai. KillScottKill from The Geofront confirmed that the team actually translated the new story beats and text in the Kai versions as well, which will be used in the Western releases.
It’s incredibly uncommon for a publisher to embrace a fan translation to this degree, but the quality of work The Geofront has put in is clear. The Geofront released its translation patch for Trails From Zero in March 2020 and very recently released the patch for Trails to Azure earlier this year. The patches have since been pulled from The Geofront site, as the team urges fans to support the official localizations. Trails From Zero and Trails to Azure were just more than just simple fan translations, as The Geofront also put a lot of effort into programming and adding in features like language support, debugging, a sound test feature, and more.
Omgfloofy, the co-founder of The Geofront, said in a statement “I legitimately did not expect this to go the way it has, and everyone with NIS America has blown away my expectations. We’ve been in communication with them—though some of us have not been as active as others (coughlikemyselfcough)—and the team working with the games has been amazingly receptive to everything we’ve done and what we want to discuss with them regarding the games.”
The Geofront also has another project in the works translating the PSP title Ys vs Trails in the Sky, an arena-brawler that crosses over Falcom’s two biggest franchises. Seeing NIS America partner with a fan translation group is a first, and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone else follows suit in the future.