"No one goes to Disneyland to see Mickie Mouth" - Final Fantasy 14 devs reflect on localization challenges

Final Fantasy 14 (opens in new tab) isn't just an MMORPG dressed up in Final Fantasy trimmings. It's a numbered entry in a series that dates back more than three decades. With 2018 marking FF14's own 5-year anniversary, there's quite a bit of history for the game to reference and builds upon. But sneaking in so much as an easter egg or reference to a past title isn't always easy.

"There's always that question of accuracy vs. consistency vs. nostalgia," FF14's co-lead world and lore developer Koji Fox explained in a recent interview. "Should the mistranslated Chupon [a boss from Final Fantasy 6] remain Chupon, because that is what people grew up with, or should it be changed to Typhon to restore the original writer's vision? Should we follow the spelling of a spell in Final Fantasy 1 or Final Fantasy 3? What about espers, and eidolons, and primals?"

These decisions aren't made in a vacuum, and particularly important characters must be approved by the "Final Fantasy Committee" - a team of experts who ensure that what came before is represented in the best way possible. "The choices can be difficult," Fox said, "but we try to balance what is best for FF14 (as its own entity), while paying the proper respects to what has come before."

And if you doubt the importance of even a simple misspelling, Fox sums it up well: "No one goes to Disneyland to see Mickie Mouth."

Final Fantasy 14's easter eggs and references aren't just for other games in the franchise - did you catch the FF14 x Monster Hunter crossover (opens in new tab) event? And if you're more interested in new stuff, there's also plenty of totally fresh content as well, thanks to last year's Final Fantasy 14: Stormblood (opens in new tab) expansion. 

Sam Prell

Sam is a former News Editor here at GamesRadar. His expert words have appeared on many of the web's well-known gaming sites, including Joystiq, Penny Arcade, Destructoid, and G4 Media, among others. Sam has a serious soft spot for MOBAs, MMOs, and emo music. Forever a farm boy, forever a '90s kid.