A number of readers recently sent in some e-mails about a certain line in Secret of Mana for the Super NES that appears to have referenced Final Fantasy VII, years before Final Fantasy VII came out!
Here’s a look:
So the question is, did Secret of Mana reference Final Fantasy VII years before Final Fantasy VII come out?!
It’s been a long time since I played Secret of Mana, but something about these screenshots seemed odd, so I took at look at the Japanese release and the English release:
|Seiken Densetsu 2 (Super Famicom)||Secret of Mana (Super NES)|
Side-by-side, this text is:
|Japanese Version (basic translation)||English Version|
|Girl: Hello! You guys should offer a prayer here too!||Girl: Hi! Have you come to meditate?|
So, nope, it looks like the Japanese game and the English game don’t make any reference to Final Fantasy VII 🙁
Instead, it turns out that this reference to Cloud and Aeris/Aerith is part of a ROM hack called “Secret of Mana Enhanced”. This project’s aim was to replace the game’s fixed width font with a variable width font to make it look more presentable and readable. And while the hacker was at it, he expanded and rewrote the game’s script. It’s not actually a retranslation, though, it’s just a script edit/rewrite.
Man, it would’ve been amazing if the official game had referenced Final Fantasy VII like this, and the way Square’s games were connected at the time almost makes it seem possible. There was even that Xenogears reference in Final Fantasy VII:
Sadly, though, this Secret of Mana/Final Fantasy VII connection isn’t official.
Actually, on a similar note, I recently received this e-mail from Theodore:
Have you heard of Secret of Mana Enhanced? It’s a Fan Translation of Secret of Mana that uses a variable-width font and takes advantage of the extra space to expand the script. I’ve heard that some of the script is restored content from the original Japanese, and some of it was made up by the patch’s creator. I’d really like to know more about it, but I guess this would have to be a long-term project. At least there wouldn’t be as many versions to compare as FFIV.
I’ve been asked a few times to do a comparison of Secret of Mana Enhanced with the official translation, but since it’s more of a fan hack than a retranslation I’m not sure it would be all that informative. There are some retranslation projects in the works though, and there’s also the iOS version, so maybe those would make better comparisons someday. Although, from the looks of it, the iOS version might just have the same script as the Super NES one:
I was a huge fan of Secret of Mana back in the day, and a friend of mine has even done some of the early comparison legwork, so there’s definitely a chance I’ll take a detailed look at it someday/someyear!