Guide: How to play Borderlands 2 in Japanese with English subtitles (PC)

Borderlands 2 in Japanese

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the original English voice acting for Borderlands 2. In fact, Dameon Clarke, the voice actor who plays Handsome Jack, recently won the Spike TV Video Game Award for Best Performance by a Human Male. But if you are a gamer who frequently watches Japanese anime (like myself), you might be interested to know that Borderlands 2 has a pretty decent Japanese audio dub.

If you are able to read and understand Japanese, just simply right click on Borderlands 2 in your Steam library, select Properties, and under the Language tab, choose “日本語 (Japanese)”. Wait for Steam to finish downloading the necessary files, and you’re all set. If you need English subtitles, it is possible to play the game with Japanese voices while retaining the original English text, but you need to perform the following extra steps (instructions taken from this YouTube video’s description):

NOTE: This is done with the North American digital Steam release of Borderlands 2)
(DISCLAIMER: Backing up files is always good practice!)

1. Right click Borderlands 2 in your Game Library (In Steam)
2. Click Properties
3. Click the Language tab
4. Select Japanese (日本語)
5. Let the game patch and update. ***Do not run the game yet.***
6. Navigate to:
/%DIRECTORY WHERE STEAM IS INSTALLED%/Steam/SteamApps/common/Borderlands 2/WillowGame/CookedPCConsole/
7. In this directory you should see a “Japanese” folder.
***IMPORTANT: Duplicate this folder by copy/pasting it and renaming it to whatever you would like. (I named mine Japanese_2) You should now have two copies of the Japanese audio voice over folders. IF YOU FAIL TO DO THIS STEP, you will not be able to hear NPCs.***
8. Go back to the Language tab for Borderlands 2 in Steam and change the language back to English.
9. Let the game patch and update. ***Do not run the game yet.***
10. Navigate back to the /CookedPCConsole/ folder in step 6.
11. Copy the Japanese audio voice files you previously made a copy of (From step 7) back into the “Japanese” folder. In my case, I moved the files from “Japanese_2” back into “Japanese”
12. Navigate to:
Documents/My Games/Borderlands 2/WillowGame/Config/
13. In this directory you should see a file called “WillowEngine.ini”. Open it in notepad.
14. Locate the following lines:


15. Change these to:


16. Save the file.

Note: If you want to revert back to English voices, simply undo Step 15 and change all of the lines back to the ones shown in Step 14.

The overall voice acting quality of the Japanese dub is what you would expect from an anime, but a few of the character voices seem to be mismatched (Angel, Roland). Also, many of the original jokes and references have unavoidably been lost in translation. Handsome Jack’s “butt stallion” for example, has been translated into “chin stallion” [チンスタリオン], which means “penis stallion” in English.

Playing Borderlands 2 in Japanese has made me appreciate the game’s English writing more, even though I found the majority of its jokes to be off the mark and unfunny. It is one of the rare games where you have to play the game in its original language in order to get the full experience, and I do feel that gamers without a native understanding of English will be missing out.

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  • MiChi1c

    Cool post…im otaku my self, haha bl engine just made it better for us huh?