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The Epic Quest to Find an Indie Classic’s Missing Translator After 10 Years

By Weilin Li
Sep. 29, 2022 updated 04:00

On September 15th, several online posts about an old JRPG named Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins spread quickly on game forums like Baidu Tieba and Saraba1st.

Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins has a cult following among Chinese players and even has a community-translated Chinese version of excellent quality. Many fans see this as an opportunity to finally have an official Chinese version of the game.

However, there’s a problem. The person who created the translation ceased all trace of activity 10 years ago, in December 2012.

Runia was released in 2008 and set its stage in a medieval European fantasy world, where the protagonist investigates the cause of a disaster by exploring a town and the sprawling underground ruins within.

The game’s total size is less than 40MB, but packed within is a very comprehensive world and a great story full of amazing turning points.

Fans are quick to express their affection, calling Ruina a classic JPRG; it’s good enough to rewrite “the standard of what an excellent RPG is”, and they sometimes “played the game with tears” because of the deeply touching story.

Screenshots of Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten RuinsScreenshots of Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins

The unexpected announcement at Tokyo Game Show 2022 excited fans of Ruina. Kadokawa Guangzhou is responsible for the game’s development, and the original developer Shoukichi Karekusa will join the project as a supervisor. This will be a complete overhaul of the game’s UI and control system and will add to the plot.

Right after the announcement, fans began to question if the famous “Mr. Rolls Translation” would be included as part of the new release. The translation was done with passion and style and has long been considered the must-have mod for Chinese players. In their eyes, keeping this version of the translation is key to the remake keeping the charm of the original.

When the local community realized they couldn’t find the maestro, they undertook a quest of their own to find what became of him. If he could not be reached, then the game's official release would most likely not be able to include his translation.

It first started with a post on the game’s tieba forum since this is where Mr. Rolls was most active. Admins described the situation and called for help to find the long-missing translator.

The post left a message by copying @The Heir of Natural Rolls in the forum of Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins.The post left a message by copying @The Heir of Natural Rolls in the forum of Ruina: Fairy Tale of the Forgotten Ruins.

Then the effort expanded to Saraba1st, the most popular hard-core nerd forum in China. The response was shockingly heartwarming. Many players expressed their love of the game and helped keep the posts active and trending to draw more attention to the search for Mr. Rolls.

Player zris said: “Upvoting this post, hope to find him, Ruina changed my impression about this type of game,” while Sneering Cat said, "If we can find him, the process will be regarded as a good tale."

On Saraba1st, Player zris said: “Ruina changed my impression about this type of game.”On Saraba1st, Player zris said: “Ruina changed my impression about this type of game.”

The search made little progress at first, with no hint of Mr. Rolls or his whereabouts. Player shinnfin made a joke stating, It’s actually pretty cool to be completely off to the internet.

As the search dragged on to more mainstream platforms, the anxious enthusiasts finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Players found Mr. Rolls’ credentials on QQ, a popular Messaging app, and made contact with him.

A player named Empty Hot Wind stated that Mr. Rolls had been contacted.A player named Empty Hot Wind stated that Mr. Rolls had been contacted.

Apparently, Mr. Rolls did intentionally choose to disappear from the public eye. He asked the players that reached out to him to leave him be, and allow him to live a solitary life. However, they claimed that he had already contacted Kadokawa, the game’s publisher, and expressed his willingness to allow the game to use his translation.

“That's all he told me,” Empty Hot Wind, the person who reached Mr. Rolls, said.

The Runia forum on Tieba confirmed the authenticity of this exchange. Out of respect for Mr. Rolls, the forum affairs team of Ruina decided not to further publicize information on this matter.

Because of Mr. Rolls’ wishes and privacy concerns, the forum affairs team and players have voluntarily deleted relevant posts looking for him. Mr. Rolls will not be returning to the forums or social media, but for all Runia fans, his legacy will remain, as an official part of the game, getting its long-deserved recognition.