French publisher Third Editions is something of an oddity. They produce high-quality full-length books chronicling the lore, development and history of popular game series. They’re lovingly crafted, artisan-quality books which take great care to evoke the worlds they explore in rich detail.
Until now, founders Nicolas Courcier and Mehdi El Kanafi have produced and printed the books exclusively in their native French, but thanks to a positive reaction to their work on Reddit, they’ve opted to take a shot at Kickstarting English translations of some of their 40 book collection.
They’re asking for $111,988, but they fully explain where each dollar will go. It’s refreshing to see such a detailed breakdown of the costs involved in producing these high quality books, Third Editions lays it out in plain English on their Kickstarter page. Faithful translations are expensive, and so is expanding their logistics network to the US. The publisher goes on to describe how they anticipate demand for the books to be much higher in English than in French – owing in part to the larger US and UK markets.
— Third Editions EN (@ThirdEditionsEN) August 30, 2016
Just four days in, they’re nearly halfway to their goal, and it’s no surprise. The books are truly unique, and they’re more than just grown up strategy guides. Third Editions takes great pains to analyze the genesis of a game series, the role that each game plays in the overarching lore, and how gameplay matured over time.
These are scholarly explorations of video games that have shaped the industry, like the Legend of Zelda, or Final Fantasy VII. They also take a crack at more recent series like Dark Souls, with its rich lore and deep, enigmatic gameplay design.
Third Editions has tackled Half-Life, Bioshock, Metal Gear, Silent hill, and the most iconic entries in the Final Fantasy series (including Final Fantasy VI), but their Kickstarter aims to bring the three most popular entries – Final Fantasy VII, Zelda, and Dark Souls – to English-speaking audiences first.
The rest of the catalogue, Third Editions says, could come later depending on how well the Kickstarter does – they might even add some as stretch goals.