Sometimes, a community of enthusiasts can produce a higher quality product in less time and with less money.
A simple idea that combines my frustration of missing localizations with the creative power of an enthusiast fan base.
Put simply, I've been extremely frustrated recently with SCEA's policies on subtitled games. Namely, if it ain't got an English dub, it's digital only. As someone who refuses to buy digital-only games until better consumer protection laws are passed, this means that if I want to play Orochi Warriors 3, One Piece: Pirate Warriors, Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, or Way of the Samurai 4 on the PS3, I need to import it from the UK (a more enlightened place, apparently, where these games get disc releases). And don't think I haven't.
I do not know why this is a sticking point with SCEA, but I can only assume that it is because they think Americans are xenophobic idiots. And while this may be true for certain parts of the country, I'm fairly certain that the lack of dub isn't exactly going to stop someone who intends to buy Way of the Samurai 4. Before this turns into a blog, let me just say that the gist of this game idea is to simply let us dub our own games.
The practical way this works is that players can record their own sound files for every single sound in the game. Every crash, beep, and line of dialogue can be recorded over by an owner of the game. These files can be shared through a single network database, grouped by the types of sounds (and rated by the community of course - the community loves to rate things). So you can download a new set of ambient sounds to go with your novelty clown combat noise pack.
For dialogue lines, they are grouped by character. So, if you go through a game and record all the lines of dialogue for Jimmy the Guy Person, someone else out there can download your interpretation of Jimmy for when they play the game. You can also do Sally the Stable Girl if you want, or perhaps download someone else's reading of her lines. You can pick and choose the best actors of the best quality to accompany your extra play throughs. Even better, for games that have the budget to localize the text into many languages, but not the dub, you can rely on the players to provide language specific dubs. (And they will too. There's a very popular bootleg version of Modest Destiny translated into Russian out there).
Yeah, I imagine that the initial result will be a bunch of teenagers turning the characters into obscenity factoriess, but I think if you look at the mod scene for games like Skyrim, you can see that when you have a game that people honestly like, they will put in the time and effort into making it better if they have the ability to. I guarantee you that a few players will get together and produce a high quality dub that is likely better than professionals could create. This is because players are driven by their enthusiasm for a game, not quarterly profits or shrinking budgets.
Obviously, the games still need to be translated. But increasingly, I'm seeing fan translations to newly released games with reams of text in them. Why not support these loving fans who just want to help your share your creation with the world, by building in the ability to manipulate the localizations directly (and optionally) without resorting to piracy and rom hacking to get it done. Make it so the players actually buy your game to play these translations, rather than steal it.
And if you are one of those players who, for some reason, wants to play a JRPG without having to put up with all that scary Japanese voice acting, wait a month. The players will have provided you with a high quality dub that would easily put the likes of Chaos War and Shining Force 3's commercially released dubs to shame. For free.