Kitase inquires about localization of Final Fantasy

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Keyblade Master
Oct 28, 2013
In an interview with USgamer, Yoshinori Kitase inquired of the interviewer what he thought of the overall localization of the Final Fantasy franchise. While on the short side, I thought the article to be a thought provoking read. Do you guys have any opinions and criticisms of current and past localizations? Here's a link to the article if you decide to give it a read.


Warrior of Light
Sep 27, 2013
I didn't have any problems from the XIII localization, but I read A Real Reborn's is kind of bad. And the Dissidia ones were jokes. Really, I don't care about celebrities voicing characters, I just want the characters to sound good and not overacted, or cheesy.
I recently came across a comparison of the English and Japanese texts for the analects in FFXIII which as you should know, contain excerpts relating to the mythology and history of the game's universe. It's fascinating stuff, until you begin to realise that the English version is just inferior to the Japanese because some details are translated in a way that they're rendered ambiguous and unclear. I don't have the link anymore and neither do I have a specific example in my head unfortunately, but it's a reminder that sometimes localisation can suffer in places not immediately clear to the player.

A script that suffers here and there isn't going to significantly tarnish a game experience for me, and I acknowledge that at times, something that sounds stupid is a result of the Japanese script also having a bad day at that particular instance, though it shouldn't stop a translator from taking some creative liberties to make it sound less silly. I remember Serah at one point in FFXIII-2 being confounded that a certain elevator to Cocoon which isn't due for completion until a few years later, is finished and up and running...even though she clearly went through a time portal with Noel and they both acknowledged it. Keeping this makes Serah needlessly seem like a slight moron. It's minor I know, but such is the task of localising a whole Japanese RPG anyway.

To also hear that Realm Reborn has...questionable voice acting and voice direction is disconcerting. It makes me wonder why, especially when in my opinion the voice direction never had it so good when it came to FFXII. Lightning's voice grows increasingly more monotone with each game and until we start hearing some actual English voices for FFXV, I'm a bit concerned about that side of the localisation process. They can do it, but lately it smells like a bit of complacency and questionable choices. If it's bad and the script is bad as well, it doesn't matter how much great voice talent you have if what they have to work with negates how good they can sound in the final product.

That being said, I still think FFXII's localisation is undoubtedly the best in the series, evoking that sense of authenticity you would expect to see in a setting like Ivalice. The script is a bit confounding at times, and not for the average layman to instantly understand. I suppose it can come across as a wee bit pretentious as well, though funnily enough I respect the fact that there are a few lines that make me think of Game of Thrones, like "mummer's farce".
Nov 29, 2013
I personally did not find XII's localisation to be the best. I thought it paled in comparison to Final Fantasy Tactics on PSP, another Ivalice-based game. The dialogue gets a little superlative at times, but I find it to be better.

One thing I'd agree on is the XIII series' constant ambiguity. I had to play through the games a few times in order to fully grasp the story and mythology.

I've played A Realm Reborn and it's not terrible. Some people question the localisation team's constant use of "must needs" in the dialogue and other strange things in the translations, but you'll fine plenty of writing to praise.

Barring the voice acting, it isn't bad at all.
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