Q43: I played VLR in English with Japanese dialogue, and I was really curious why “Claydolls” was localized to “Myrmidons”.
Is this also why one of the bomb codes was different in the U.S. version (so that the +1 code would give you Myrmidons instead of Claydolls?)
I feel like Claydolls would still have been great in English because of the similar pronunciation to Cradle (Pharmaceutical).
(The following answer was written by Localization Editor, Ben Bateman) The short version is that in a narrative for an English-speaking audience, “Clay dolls” sounds kind of weird. It’s not a word you’d ever hear unless it was referring to exactly that thing, and in this case, it’s being used in a more metaphorical sense.
This makes more sense in Japanese, because “doll” (or, more accurately, “ningyou”/人形) is frequently used as a metaphorical way to refer to someone who is being manipulated or controlled by someone else.
Unfortunately the term “doll” isn’t used that way metaphorically in North America, which makes the term somewhat awkward. Although we knew we would (unfortunately) lose the allusions to Cradle Pharmaceutical, we ultimately decided that a term that “sounded better” and more accurately communicated the nature of the organization “Clay Dolls” referred to would be better.
We ultimately settled on the term “Myrmidons” for a couple reasons. For one, it sounds cool. For two, it refers to a group of people in Greek history who were famous for being excellent warriors and loyal in the extreme—both things that describe the organization Dio belongs to. It was also used for a period of time to mean “a loyal follower, especially one who executes orders without question, protest, or pity – unquestioning follower” so the hits just kind of keep on coming.
It also has an interesting tie, in a way, to the story Zero Sr. tells about termites, since the word “myrmidon” in Greek means, roughly, “ant people” and they were in fact supposedly created from ants. Ants aren’t technically termites, but we figured it was close enough.
So while something was admittedly lost (the clever phonetic connection to Cradle), some other connections were gained, and we got a term that sounded better and more natural in English.