Legends of Localization: Final Fantasy IV

Final Fantasy II for the Super NES is one of my all-time favorite games. I remember often wondering what the Japanese version of the game was like – back then I didn’t even realize it was known as Final Fantasy IV in Japan! But now that I’m older and am a professional translator/localizer (see my list of translations here) I can go back and compare the two versions of the game.

So let’s take a look at the Japanese Final Fantasy IV and the North American Final Fantasy II and see how they differ! We’ll also take a look at the localization process for the game and see what worked, what didn’t work, and why.

While we’re at it, we’ll also take a look at Final Fantasy IV Easy Type, which was a simplified Japanese version of the game for players who were new to RPGs. The differences between these three versions should be interesting!

From time to time we’ll also look at some of the later translations of the game, including:

  • The Playstation version, to see how the second official translation tried to improve in some spots but failed in others
  • The J2E fan translation patch, to take a closer look at the inner workings of fan translations and see the pros and cons of such projects, as well as the problems they tend to face
  • The GBA translation, to see how the third official translation tried to improve even further over the previous two
  • And sometimes we’ll look at the DS translation and PSP translation, to see how modern game localization compares to game localization in 1991

This is going to be a lot of work (and a lot of reading!) so it’ll take some time to finish it all. I’ll be updating this site periodically with new sections and revisions to old sections, so check back every once in a while!

Status:
I’ve finished playing through all three versions of the game and am slowly updating the existing pages with pics and info sent in by people. More info here.

I’m also looking into doing print versions of my localization comparison projects, starting with MOTHER 3. I don’t think FFIV will be the first one (plus it’d be like a million pages long) but I haven’t decided how I’m going to juggle that with these FFIV updates. Luckily, some kind readers have been sending screenshots from various different versions of the game, so that’ll be a plus as I make my way through future pages. More info on the book-related stuff here, although nothing’s set in stone yet of course.

Latest updates:

I often go back to update existing pages with new stuff. Some of the latest updates were on: