This paper will report on the multimodal complexity and creativity of game localization through a qualitative investigation of the English and Italian scripts of Lollipop Chainsaw (henceforth LC), a third-person comedy horror action video game created by the Japanese game designer Suda 51 and written by James Gunn, a screenwriter. LC uses a particular type of humorous discourse that relies on the disparaging representations of cultural stereotypes (American ones in particular), clichés from super hero movies and horror films, along with meta-references to gaming. This study will pinpoint the elements that represent the core of the software’s semantic and communicative dimensions, or that gist which should pertain to both source and localized versions in order to trigger equivalent players’ responses. The following sections will cover the main aspects of game localization and transcreation, as well as the multimodal nature of humour in LC. Then, after the presentation of the selected corpus of extracts, the analysis will compare the source excerpts, the official Italian translation, and the alternative renderings produced by a number of postgraduate students of foreign language and translation—the subjects of this research—so as to investigate the influence of critical multimodal discourse analysis on the production of scripts that foster equivalent experience, as is demanded when performing transcreative reformulations of video games.
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