What’s Up With the iOS/Android Final Fantasy Translations?

Square-Enix recently developed a new port of Final Fantasy VI for mobile devices – right now it’s only available on Android devices but I think an iOS version is coming soon. I think the release took a lot of fans by surprise, or at least people like me who don’t follow mobile gaming too much.

Anyway, Final Fantasy fans immediately pointed out that there’s already a glaring typo in the very first scene of the game – “esper/Esper” has become “espier”!


Typos in games are pretty common and all, but it’s a surprise to see such a major mistake only SECONDS into the game! Especially coming from a top-tier publisher like Square-Enix.

The weird thing is, this isn’t an isolated event. The mobile version of Final Fantasy IV also has a major typo: Cecil’s title went from “Lord Captain” to “Load Captain”!


And again, this happens only seconds into the start of the game!

I’m not too familiar with it, but the Final Fantasy IV: The After Years port for mobile devices apparently has a whole slew of issues of its own, including typos, control code issues and many naming inconsistencies:

Note: In Japanese, Golbez is known as Golbeza, but he’s always been called Golbez in every English release. Even in this mobile version he’s known as Golbez in the script, cutscenes, and voice acting and all that… except for some of the menus, which call him Golbeza. According to this Reddit thread, the translation has a bunch of other similar inconsistencies.

I haven’t played any of the mobile Final Fantasy games myself, but now I’m genuinely curious:

  • Are all these mobile Final Fantasy games full of typos and mistakes like this? Or are the examples I’ve posted just isolated events?
  • How did Square-Enix, a top publisher, let these simple issues slip by?
  • I’ve heard that even though these mistakes are well-known, there haven’t been any updates to fix them. Is that true?

Final Fantasy scripts are gigantic and I’m sure the translators and editors involved were probably really stressed. I totally know the feeling of having a super-tight schedule and the pressure of crunch time… but I’m seriously puzzled by how this keeps happening 😯

Anyway, if you’ve played through any of these versions of the games and can share any insight, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter! And if you can get any screenshots of weird typos or control code issues or anything else, please share those too!

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  1. If it was just the UI stuff that had issues, I’d say it was just a lack of quality control for the new elements. The fact that the script, presumably taken from the GBA version, also has a glaring issue like that is amazing. Did they transcribe it by hand? Even if they somehow lost the GBA script already, ripping it out the of the ROM would take less effort than transcribing it would.

    It’s hard to view these ports as anything other than cheap cash ins. I’m not sure what’s more amazing, that they actually bothered to redo the graphics in higher resolution, or that the “upgraded” graphics look worse than simply scaling the originals up without any filters…

      1. Yep, I’m familiar with the GBA script. That’s why I (and Mato’s hidden text) suggest maybe someone had to transcribe it by hand. Which makes almost no sense, even if the text had to be in a different format with different control codes, it’s far easier to convert it than transcribe it.

    1. Yeah, which just makes the typo even more bizarre, since the new line codes are obviously being taken from the GBA script. Unless someone transcribed the text -exactly- as it appeared in the GBA version, breaks and all.

  2. I don’t understand why they all look so bad. It’s like you’re not allowed to make a mobile game unless you use a dull, flat interface with generic sans serif font for everything.

    Even otherwise faithful ports often suffer from this and it really doesn’t do much for the game’s aesthetic.

  3. Squeenix has been releasing offense after offense when it comes to mobile (All the Bravest being the worst example). Wouldn’t surprise me if this was yet another cynical rush job to grab some cash.

  4. I feel like I’m the only one who actually liked mobile TAY πŸ™ [I’ve personally been dreaming of a DS-style remake of it for years lol]

    A bit more seriously, apparently the Android version has been updated/patched since release. Does it fix these typos and other errors? The iOS version (which I play) hasn’t been updated since release, so I wouldn’t know of any changes.

  5. The thing that bothers me about the first two is that they’re each the first scene in their respective games, Load Captain is the first bit of text in the entire game. You think that’d be easy to catch.

  6. I’m going to be the mean elephant in the room here, but why the hell can’t they get people to proofread these things carefully?

  7. When I saw the last screenshot, I thought, “Cool, they’re finally calling him by him Japanese name”. This feeling was instantly deflated when I read the italic text beneath it.

    Squenix’s recent mobile cashgrabs HAVE been quite disappointed. I’m still saving money for Bravely Default, as that looks pretty good. Not sure if that counts as “mobile”, though.

    1. Bravely Default is very good, honnestly. It seems to be where they put all their money.
      And i will never consider handled game “mobile”.

  8. Regarding the “Load Captain” error, rather than a transcription typo it’s possible some editor saw “ロード” in the Japanese version and somehow thought “Load” made more sense than “Lord.” In any case, the most surprising thing is that they haven’t fixed such a glaring mistake that takes place so early into the game despite releasing multiple updates.

    1. The scripts aren’t retranslated from Japanese, they’re just the script from an earlier English release with a number of typos added in. It’s unlikely anyone cross-checkd eve a single line with the Japanese original.

    2. The Load/Lord thing happened with official materials for Kirby’s Dream Land 2, which mentioned an enemy called Load Kibble. I have no idea why they didn’t just refer to him as Sir Kibble like in every other English-language Kirby game.

  9. I remember you said to me in an email once that you believed that the scripts could have easily been copy/pasted in from the DS version (FFIV). Why would there be a unique typo then?

    1. Yeah, that’s why some of us are confused here in the comments – if the translated scripts weren’t already in a handy format for the developers to use, then the next logical step would be to rip the text out of a previous version of the game using programming tools. It’s not too hard, especially for experienced programmers.

      Yet given the typos and purported control code mistakes, it seems like they’ve actually been re-typing the script text by hand for some reason. If so, that’s like the most old-fashioned, error-prone method possible… which is why we’re confused. Why would they do it that way? It’s pretty bizarre.

  10. I think I figured it out: it seems to be the same reason Ragnarok got changed to Kangaroo in Tales of Phantasia: Microsoft Word Spell Check!


    I guess someone ran the spell check and mistakenly pressed Replace on the first mistake it reported.

  11. That “Load” mistake reminds me of Kirby’s Dream Land 2, where in the enemy roll call Sir Kibble is called “Load Kibble”. Apparently it was both mistranslated and typoed!

  12. i suspect the localisation on these games was mostly a copy-paste job done by the Japanese staff & they never had a native English speaker test it properly (or at least not one familiar with Final Fantasy who would be able to spot things like naming inconsistencies); while they would have been able to drop in the main script untouched from a previous version, things like menus and graphical text are likely to have changed a lot between platforms so they wouldn’t be so easy to copy across & would have to either be matched up and typed in manually or just retranslated entirely, depending on how much was changed, and that’s where these mistakes crept in. of course that doesn’t excuse a company the size of Square Enix from doing proper QA but it seems like the most likely scenario.

  13. I think it must have been an early typo-ridden script from the beta DS English translation. They did release the unfinished Super Famicom Final Fantasy V English script by Woosley as the US PS1 version after all.
    Konami did the same with the Silent Hill compilation…
    But that would be extremely stupid.

    I know however that their English script for iOS Secret of Mana port was exactly the censored/abridged SNES script with very minor alterations, but for languages other than English they actually bothered to translate it from scratch straight from Japanese. A French fan-translator was attempting a retranslation a while ago but found this out by verifying every Japanese line, so he just inserted the French iOS script back in the SNES rom.

    Can’t really understand their reasoning.

  14. According to a review I read, the iOS version of the Phoenix Wright games was also filled with piss-poor text programming. I’m not sure myself how such works, but aside from typos there are also points where the text overflows or they repeat the same message twice?

    Not playing any of these mobile versions but all this just seems like for whatever reason these big companies just forgot how to program this stuff to the point that they can’t even port.

    1. Oh lord yes it’s awful. It even makes it look like the wrong person is speaking sometimes. I swear they added some new typos to it as well.

  15. Yeah, the whole thing seems to be garbage. The character profiles are a pretty hilarious one. The pictures you see on the menus of the SNES versions are colourized reproductions of the original Amano character art. While smartphones have resolution high enough for the original Amano art to be used, they instead have some traced-by-an-intern reproduction art instead.

  16. Another weird thing, is that I’m pretty sure they never call him Golbeza in the Wii port of After Years. I’m sure I’d have remembered that…I don’t know if the script in the ‘mobile’ version is based on that script but…huh.

    1. Actually, that’s right…is there not a Vita version of that game too now? Is it’s dialog basically the same as the Wii one?

      1. Brendan Burke

        PSP, not Vita, but outside of retranslating certain terms to match FF4 DS, the script’s mostly the same.

  17. “How did Square-Enix, a top publisher, let these simple issues slip by?”

    It doesn’t seem like this version of FF6 had any QA testing at all — You can’t even finish it because it bugs out during a cutscene in the middle of the game. The whole thing is just really bad.

  18. Part of the problem is that these games don’t work well with a touch screen.

    The worst offenders have been Chrono Trigger (with all it’s movement based mini-games, such as climbing Death Peak) and Secret of Mana (the whole thing), but all of them suffer to some extent.

    Really though, I take a look at a lot of these iPod… um… iPhone… er… iPad… I’m just going to say “iTem” from now on, yeah, iTem ports are done in a shoddy way. The menus have new transparency and such, but by and large their positioning and borders evoke “online Flash game banged out in two days” rather than “professional game”. Look at those menus and you may notice the same thing. I certainly did when comparing the menus between the DS and iTem versions of the Phoenix Wright games. They just seem to have had more polish on them on the console versions.

    But I do love that new high res artwork… So here’s the deal. I would love it if they actually took the time to port these to the 3DS (which is selling great). Unfortunately, the 3DS has a much lower res screen. Actually, Vita versions would be great. They could charge a somewhat higher price to justify spending some time to actually polish up the games, include the FMVs from the Playstation releases, and most importantly include actual button based controls. (I’m aware there are third party controllers for iTems, but they’re third party and too many companies, including Square Enix, have utterly failed to support them.) The quality of these ports is basically inexcusable. Don’t apologize Square-Enix, just be better. This has been your detached and stoic parent speaking.

    1. To add, yes I would love to see them actually retranslate these games and not just edit the same ol’ GBA translations again and again. I am also very curious to see if that censored scene with Celes is back to it’s uncomfortable original in this version (I understand it was censored due to the timeliness of it’s release in Japan right around one particular news worthy horror story that happened there at the time, but I think enough time has passed that it can be reverted without media blow back).

  19. Wow ! Final Fantasy 6 had a good art style that has aged well, the generic, washed over filter looks horrible. This on top of messing up the translation.
    Mobile gaming is the AIDS of video games

        1. Well, if it’s anything like the 80s crash, it will only affect console gaming in the United States, while console gaming elsewhere and PC gaming everywhere will continue on.

          Besides, people have been predicting an “inevitable” crash for over half a decade. It’s sure taking its time.

  20. Call me insane but I’ve never seriously played through FF6, even though I had I’ve had it available for years, on the PS-One and on Super NES emulators. It’s odd since I’ve passed FFIV and V, VII and Chrono Trigger, so it’s not like I don’t love me some classic Square games.

  21. I just watched the trailer for the ios version…

    They… didn’t do what they did for the PSP version of IV… Wow, that is painful to look at. Some of the battle backgrounds seem perhaps redrawn, but largely the sprites lost a LOT of detail in the “higher resolution” versions. Wow, that looks uglifying.

    I gave too much credit in simply ASSUMING that the graphics would actually look better as they did in FF IV Complete and FFV ios. They really didn’t even try for this though. I mean, my word, the sheer lack of effort. They just shoved it out didn’t they?

  22. The end names in FF6 still use the the Japanese names for Cyan, Terra, Sabin and Strago, calling them Cayenne, Tina, Mash and Stragus.

  23. This reminds me of the typo in FFII(Famicom)’s intro where it says “γ¦γ£γŸγ„γ—γͺγ‘γ‚Œγ°γͺγ‚‰γ‹γ£γŸ” where it should be γͺらγͺγ‹γ£γŸ. I guess not much has changed.

  24. Are all these mobile Final Fantasy games full of typos and mistakes like this? Or are the examples I’ve posted just isolated events?
    It’s not just Final Fantasy games, proving that the errors are Square’s. At the beginning of Breath of Fire II on the GBA, once Ryu (your character) has found his sister in front of the hibernating dragon, his father says some stuff that includes the phrase “you’re mother”. I even took a screenshot as evidence (I play in an emulator on my Android).

  25. I’m Japanese. Although I bought this Final fantasy vi (English script version), I realized this won’t be resource for learning English.
    However, I somehow can understand what they’re trying to tell us, because that script looked as if I wrote.
    As I expected, Japanese English level is still no good, isn’t it.
    I appreciate you everyone for reviewing properly. I wonder why that Apple store’s reviews are praising too much.

  26. Man, those mobile Final Fantasy ports are ugly as hell. I think it’s the “regular ol’ modern-day computer font” look to the text that does it, as I find the newer RPG Makers’ fonts ugly for the same reason — just looks wrong to have text in a pre-3D-era video game (or even a remake of one) look like somebody typed it up in 3 seconds in MS Word or something.

  27. Actually, I just looked at a screenshot of the ‘espier’ error that I took myself from the port. It says “an Esper’s”, so I’m betting damn well they were updated at some point in time. I’m just surprised I saw this image of ‘espier’ after, looking at the screenshot I took in-game for a while which said “Esper’s” regularly.

    The script is great in the Android version as it is. Just a few typos in the album feature. Ignore all those who will trash mobile gaming or the ports simply because the art style doesn’t look like what they grew up with.

  28. I can’t speak to the FF mobile releases, but the (awful) Romancing SaGa 2 mobile localization did get some patches to fix some of the awkward dialogue (as well as a control code issue that caused the game to unavoidably softlock partway through an optional boss fight, but that goes beyond just being a localization tweak)


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