Square Enix fast-tracking FFXIII localization - Report

Producer Yoshinori Kitase says publisher is aiming to "minimize" lag between Western release of anticipated JRPG and its Japanese launch later this year.

The potency of Square Enix's upcoming role-playing game Final Fantasy XIII was on clear display in Japan three weeks ago, when a brief demo spiked sales of Sony's PlayStation 3, the only system that the game has been announced for in the island nation. And though Japanese gamers will have to wait only until the end of 2009 to explore FFXIII's world, Square Enix confirmed earlier this year that Western gamers won't see the game on the Xbox 360 and PS3 until, at the very earliest, April 2010.

This battle will occur...eventually.

Be that as it may, the publisher hopes to minimize the delay between the Japanese and Western rollouts of the heavily anticipated game. Speaking to UK gaming site VideoGamer, FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase said, "Traditionally the Final Fantasy numbered series, it takes about half a year between the release in Japan and the release in North America, and another half a year before it's released in Europe. But we would like to minimize this, this time."

Kitase stated that the publisher plans to trim time off of the global rollout by streamlining certain development tasks. "For example, we have already started recording English voices, and also the text localization has been in progress, too," he said. "Normally we complete the Japanese version first, then move on to the US and EU versions, but this time there are some tasks that are happening simultaneously. So this time we're hoping to release sooner than a year later [in Europe] than the Japanese release."

A North American Square Enix representative had not responded to requests for an updated release window as of press time. For more on Final Fantasy XIII, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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179 comments
moh2in
moh2in

this is gonna be EPIC!!!!!

ChinoStylz
ChinoStylz

So tempted to pick it up when released in Japan... Gonna have to leave real early to get a decent spot in line though.

PhantomFactor
PhantomFactor

By far the best spoken words in the above walkthrough are "I think I just slapped that guy, did I just slap that guy? ... I think I did."

Sammonoske223
Sammonoske223

Yeah, the international version will release in japan before we even see the American original game. SE is just taking too long and is thinking of Japan release to much. This should be released world wide at the same time. Japan can have the international game.

Strathdor
Strathdor

They should be doing all the voice acting at the same time. I can't believe they just focus on one language when doing recording. Seriously sad to see this is how the Japanese do things.

snooker8th
snooker8th

wow... the graphics look really good. I was worried they wouldn't be ps3 standard any more for the battles... I hope the English voice acting is similar to the Japanese I hated the voice acting in FFX but FFXII was done well!

snooker8th
snooker8th

It will be delayed another 6 months from April 2010... don't hold your breath people. Square Enix are behaving like morons lately.

slipknot61174
slipknot61174

Wow, as long a wait as it is for XIII, I still can't help but be intrigued by the inevitable "international" edition that'll release down the line for the Japanese market that will have played XIII to death before our domestic eyes even manage to SEE the damned game... Maybe all this could've been averted if Square had decided to go all multiplatform "worldwide" release BEFORE they finished the PS3 version of the game.

Fady117
Fady117

The sooner the better, but they shouldn't overwork themselves too.... i mean, fast work may yield bad results, so if they need time to make the US and EU versions, they should have it. Otherwise people will get bad interpretations and the company will eventually get the blame...

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

@xxxkinkykevxxx, i did not mean less content but that EU version can get extra content like new bosses or weapons etc, this has happened before.

Matt-Tribal
Matt-Tribal

Thank God! Beginning to lose faith in Square Enix but this a nice pick me up. After reading previous posts I hope they do get it right though, but the sooner the better really.

Abed_1990
Abed_1990

@ Spider-Jim i have to agree with you, even tho it sucks that we have to wait this long for the game to be released...i'd rather have a quality game that took long to translate instead of one that sounds cheasy. and FF12 was amazing in that area and every other aspect as well ;)

sillycatsteven
sillycatsteven

is Kitase serious? i hope they are doing the same for all of their games. look at star ocean 3!! xbox only for english verson, but they are releasing a ps3 verson for JPN... WTH are they thinking!! they'd already done the translation and made a ps3 verson, it wouldn't take that much work to put them together. little extra expense => global market = lots more profit... o_O|||

prioritymail
prioritymail

I don't see why this game is taking so long to make, and imagine how long it would take to make it to the us had they been waiting to do the localized versions until later... For the amount of time put into making this game, it better be the best game I have ever seen.

Caging
Caging

What took SquareEnix THIS long to figure this part of the business model out? Arrogance. If they were really clever they would have realised the GLOBAL market has more value than just concentrating on your local market for all these years and keeping the best bits for the local market,Or re-translate thier version poorly which has been done time and time again. As usual the Japanese companies are the last to realise the global market value of any of thier products. They better learn to open Up before they fall into stagnation in the long term.

Spider-Jim
Spider-Jim

Yes , that's good as long as they don't skimp. 12 has an impressive script and excellent acting/dialogue. I was quite impressed. So I will be happy as long as quality is not lost!!!

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

..........why does it take so long to translate Japanese into English? i mean come on, we have 26 letters in our alphabet, and 2 forms (standard and cursive, which both are similer to each other.) while japanese has 3 forms, and symbols usually have more then one letter per symbol.......should it really be that hard? and alot of European languages aren't to hard to pick up. so why does it take so long to translate. (this is just my statement, and know this.....i only know enlgish so i don't know the real difficulty of translation.)

Grandstream
Grandstream

On the one hand, April 2010 isn't so bad...as long as its out by the summer, i'm happy. secondly, this FF has potential. Because while SE may contemplate work between Versus 13 and the next FF (pfft!), DLC is a definite for both of these.

Battlefield53
Battlefield53

This better be the best game I've ever played, i love final fantasy, can't get enough, but if this doesnt have at least 150 hrs of gameplay, it has totally not been worth the wait...

elmo4040
elmo4040

I love the video. can't wait for the new one. But...all the lame convo during the video sucked! Just play the game a little so I can check it out....

mep69
mep69

Yep i also totally agree with ckin

TruthOpinionSpk
TruthOpinionSpk

And I agree with ckin. Subtitles ftw. Star Ocean 3 would've been infinitely better if we had the Japanese voices. The english ones were so lame.

TruthOpinionSpk
TruthOpinionSpk

angaox, you ever made a script? you ever translated a script? do you have any idea the amount of work that goes into a script? Well, okay, the script is now finished and translated. Now you need some actors. You need ones that don't suck, which take time to find. Once the cast is assembled, then the hard part begins. You know how long it takes to make a movie? Well, same thing goes into this one, but instead of good body language + believable dialogue, you've gotta match good (english, german, spanish, wtf-ever) dialogue with Japanese mouth flaps, which ain't an easy feat. all this takes a lot of time. People always criticize for others being too slow until they get into whatever they accused them of being too slow at and finally realize how fast time flies. I know you really, really want to play your Final Fantasy XIII, but a lot of work has to be done first. Play something else in the meantime and forget about FF XIII. The wait will be much less severe. :D

Land-0-Funk
Land-0-Funk

Does anyone else play through half of FF games and then just get bored and move on to something else? Regardless I'll still be buying this :D

Cobra1010
Cobra1010

Well kangaox i dont think resident evil 4 and 5 or even any other resident evils had japanese voices. They use english voices and just puts jap subs in for the jap version so thats probably why its faster. But good to hear they are now doing japan and english voices near the same time, rather than waiting till jap version is complete. Hopefully this cuts the time in half so we only get to wait 3 months to play this. I hope the EU version won't have any differences other than having other EU languages substitles cause im in the EU but im gonna import this from US.

kangaox
kangaox

i cant see why they cannot Produce their games like Capcom have done with the last 2 Resi's no long then a week for the japenese version and the western versions to be released! SE need to lift their game.

Stryder_18
Stryder_18

Looks like I'm waiting another year. But I know cutscenes will be up on youtube w/ english translations so no big. Now I just want some info on Versus XIII, I'm way more interested in that one!

ckin-
ckin-

Well if they've already begun to do the english texting, and even voice, then what stops them to release the PS3 version, if it's done before the 360, in JPN, US and EU at the same time? There aren't any region codes these days and most have TV's to play the NTSC games. So what are stopping them, really? I don't even want the english voice, just give me english text with japanese voice!

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

The last FF title I played was FFXI on PS2. I played that title for a year. That game was certainly not a traditional FF game. Before that was FFX on PS2. One of my favorite games of all time. I skipped over the spin-offs and FFXII. XII intrigues me, but it's too late for me to turn back to that game. Instead I look forward to FFXIII. I've already been waiting so long for this game that I am content just sitting back and waiting for a release date. I already know that it will take me about 6 months to 1 year to finish the main story once I finally get it. The videos have looked sweet so far. I bought my PS3 with FFXIII as one of the exclusives I had to get. It may not be exclusive any more and I do have an Xbox 360, but I have a feeling the PS3 version will be the best version to have... _

zeke2040
zeke2040

well at least i don't have to wait for the american verion of the game... i'm getting the japanese verion cause i could read and understand it... so i'll let you all know how the game is , when i get to play it half a year before all of you's...

omnislash_13
omnislash_13

I beg to differ, I think it will be the highest selling FF in years. I'm very glad they're doing this, I hate how long it takes to record other languages and do subtitles. When I heard no FF13 till April I thought that was ages, I neglected the fact it will be closer to christmas till I get a copy, because they record more than just English for the European title. Any news that it will be hitting sooner is very welcome in my eyes... but I'm honestly hoping for FF versus 13 more.

Nuk1euz
Nuk1euz

I agree with rygar9 100%. FF3 is one of the best FFs i ever played, and one of the best RPGs i ever played (third, to only Chrono Trigger and Earthbound) What Square needs to do is make Chrono Trigger a series.

rygar9
rygar9

i'll bet it will be the worst selling ff title to date. they gave to much credit to sony. i was playing ff on nintendo way before sony even came out with the ps.i'll never forget buying ff 3 for the nintendo. it cost me 75 bucks but when the world blew up and i thought it was over. i thought man that was lame. then you pop up on a island and eat fish and build a raft. thats when i really thought they had a great franchise. then they did'nt release another numbered one till ff7. i have them all but they'll never make another one like ff3 .

angelGP32
angelGP32

well, for as long as this is taking, there's no reason why this game shouldn't be the most polished and best FF of the series. If the game disappoints after taking this long to bring out, I have a feeling it's going to leave a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouths for Square-Enix games and hurt them in the long run, so hopefully Square is taking this time to make this game better than it has to be.

rockutd
rockutd

Oh well wat games can we look forward to after the dust has settled on this one

ThAdEa82
ThAdEa82

Ok fine, it'll take a while...but dont tell us it will be out in 2008, then 2009, and now 2010. Thats bull!

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

they should really just release the Japanese version, followed by an "English" version in US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and anywhere else that a large number of people speak the language... it's all well and good that in the european version I get to have German subtitles... but I don't really care lol... and after that they should translate to the other languages that take forever to translate to. but since they're doing the English translation during the development (should have really done that before >.>) it should be done quicker... and with the PS3 being practically region free if they don't release in UK with the US... then import ftw...

gunshin82
gunshin82

Meh, getting the import as soon as it's out in the "Land of the Rising Sun". Hopefully, they'll be English subtitles, otherwise, it'll be just like old times when most games in Japan never made it too Europe.

Retro_Guru
Retro_Guru

I never understand why there is such a big delay between the EU and NA releases.

FathaLove
FathaLove

Despite XII's snooze-fest of a battle system I still have high hopes for XIII. ATB ftw.

Zombunny
Zombunny

as long as the US version is region free then I am set, bugger waiting so long just import

xxxkinkykevxxx
xxxkinkykevxxx

flyingteddy Posted May 6, 2009 9:28 am GMT i see this as good and bad news, it would be great to get it earlier but one side effect of getting the game later is that you get more content. they wont be giving less content the game is made, its the translations that take so long

banana23man
banana23man

crossing my fingers that we do get the game earlier. remember crisis core? man, that was a long wait.... :(

gamerfrom1982
gamerfrom1982

the sooner the better, lets hope it takes less than a year ... (I doubt it though)

zombey1333
zombey1333

Whoo yay! Hopefully too much isn't changed that we'll get screwed hard when they release their remix version :P

Blu-Fan-Boy
Blu-Fan-Boy

well at least we know that they are working to put it out now! :D

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

i see this as good and bad news, it would be great to get it earlier but one side effect of getting the game later is that you get more content.