ROM Hacks: Final Fantasy VI - Retranslated for the SNES

Started by RHDNBot, August 18, 2019, 10:17:51 AM

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Update By: hairy_hen

As a popular game whose localization for the SNES was highly memorable, the script writing for Final Fantasy VI is a topic frequently discussed in fan circles.  But the sheer number of translation errors in its original English release, compounded by the alterations and inaccuracies found in later versions, have had the result of obscuring and distorting many of the details of the story.

In response to this, user hairy_hen decided that it would be appropriate to rewrite the script for Final Fantasy VI, in order to create a version for the SNES that faithfully presents all of the story and character details found in the Japanese original.  Drawing upon his experience as a story editor, and closely following the live translation featured on Legends of Localization, hairy_hen went through the entire game and rewrote the dialog line by line, in order to restore all of the missing and distorted information.  With the details presented in a correctly translated form, the internal logic of the story becomes much clearer.  The focus of the plot is more unified and comprehensible, and the flow of each conversation becomes consistent in tone and coherence.

The overriding goal was to be as accurate to the intent of the original script as possible, but to keep the text in a form that would read naturally in English, rather than trying to replicate the quirks of Japanese grammar.  With debates about the wording of specific lines often overshadowing discussions about the story, hairy_hen found it necessary to take an objective approach to the merits and shortcomings of previous releases.  Consequently, while he did retain some of the memorable "flavor text" from earlier versions, he eliminated any changes in the dialog that interfered with the meaning of the story, and generally preferred to rewrite rather than hang on to the earlier phrasing.

The character of Cyan, whose speech had been somewhat mangled in previous releases by incorrect application of archaic grammar, was rewritten most extensively of all.  Researching works dating from the time of Early Modern English allowed Cyan's dialog to be written in a way that convincingly reflects the usage from this period, while remaining clearly understandable to a modern audience.  Additional documentation about the specifics of the style is also provided.

The project's aims also included the translation of non-story text; and therefore the game's enemies, items, spells, and other abilities were renamed for the sake of accuracy.  Most of these used the official names from Square Enix, but some were changed as needed in order to more closely reflect the Japanese originals.  Mistakes in their accompanying descriptions were also corrected.  To streamline the experience of the player, bug fixes were applied to eliminate potentially game-breaking glitches in the original code, and a few small enhancements such as B-button dashing were included for convenience.  The Japanese title screen and uncensored graphics are also present in this version.

Since the Legends of Localization video series made it plainly obvious just how many previously undocumented translation mistakes the game actually contained, the necessity of creating a version that would rectify all of the issues became clear.  This release, therefore, is aimed at anyone who prefers to play the game in its original form for the SNES, but without any of the associated textual problems.  With its focus on story, Final Fantasy VI: Retranslated is designed particularly to appeal to those who wish to immerse themselves in the world of the game, and to experience a version that adheres as closely as possible to the intentions of the game's writers.

RHDN Project Page

Relevant Link

butane bob

Am i reading this correctly? Is this another re-write instead of an actual translation? Did the author actually translate the Japanese script? Or just re-write it based off what Clyde said in an off the cuff live stream?


Technically, this project can be considered both a translation and a rewrite.  The live stream upon which it is based was very detailed in its analysis of the Japanese script, and also compared the differences between multiple translations and what made each one accurate or otherwise on a line by line basis.  With so much information being presented, it was a relatively simple task (albeit a very time-consuming one) to make a version in English that restored everything that been omitted or distorted in other versions.  Additional information from the later articles was also utilized, and other sources were checked for any lines that were missed or if there was any doubt about what they meant.

Translation and localization often involve a degree of subjective choice, so it would be completely impossible for anyone to claim to have made the ultimate version of anything involving conversion from one language to another.  Nonetheless, the accuracy level of this script is quite high.  It was written from the perspective of a story editor focused on bringing cohesion to the plot and character threads that had been obscured by translation inaccuracies, and as such it is most concerned with conveying the underlying meaning of the Japanese dialog.

In the project's readme file is a link to an annotated copy of the script with many notes on what the Japanese source said, how it was often misrepresented in the SNES release, and how this version compares to each.  Those on the fence about trying this version may benefit from reading it to gain a clearer understanding of the story details, and to see whether the writing style is in accord with their preferences for this game.


Oh, aye, that sounds like some good craic. Lemme give that a whirl.


can this hack work on the ted woolsey uncensored edition?

Heaven Piercing Man

Quote from: maximo806 on August 19, 2019, 07:40:35 PM
can this hack work on the ted woolsey uncensored edition?

If I'm getting this right, this is a fork of that hack. So TWUE tries to read more like the SNES localization, while this goes for the faithful script, and are both similar under the hood.


I'm assuming this is merely a script hack and graphics censorship is still intact.


Quote from: Heaven Piercing Man on August 19, 2019, 09:31:49 PM
If I'm getting this right, this is a fork of that hack. So TWUE tries to read more like the SNES localization, while this goes for the faithful script, and are both similar under the hood.
:huh: I'm kinda confused, what does that mean?


Quote from: maximo806 on August 20, 2019, 01:57:19 PM
:huh: I'm kinda confused, what does that mean?
A fork means it takes TWUE's code and modifies it, while still using it as a base.  Like how coral builds, except TWUE isn't dead.


Quote from: theprophetagp on August 19, 2019, 09:52:16 PM
I'm assuming this is merely a script hack and graphics censorship is still intact.

As stated on the project page: "previously censored graphics have been restored to their original forms."


Quote from: VladimIr V Y on August 21, 2019, 08:27:30 AM
I'm sorry, but I really wish people would stop retranslating FF6 for the Nth time and direct the effort towards SNES games what never were translated to English in the first place. FF6 is a great game, OK, but please, stop being so obsessed with it. This is the third large retranslation project in the recent years and it's getting ridiculous.
I was going to say the same, but I couldn't word it so well. Between the retrenslations, the rewrites, and the addendum patches who just changes a line or two so that they are either "more truthful to our beloved Whoseley translation from our childood" or "more faithful to the japanese original", it's impossible to follow anymore. Same for FF4.

Also when it comes to translations to other languages, there's plenty of room for more or even improvement of already translated games. FF6 has already at least 4 french translations, but all are based on the Whoseley version. Direct fan translations from Japanese to French are rare, and the only one I'm aware of (Chrono Trigger) retains so much text translated literally with japanese grammar I'd rather play the "old" fan translation based on the US translation, despite the obvious inacuracies.

Chicken Knife

I can understand the complaints about yet another FF6 retranslation only to an extent. People generally get into rom hacking to do their own passion projects, not to set out to fill the translation gaps for obscure Japanese games. Are there hackers who have gone from 1 obscure project to another out of a sense of pure duty to the community? I'm sure there have been but it's as rare as it is admirable. I assume that a lot of the people who do that work actually have a passion for those obscure Japanese games. No one is getting paid to do this work. We ultimately do this for our own satisfaction, so of course an extremely popular game would attract more attention.

Then we have other considerations like FF hackers having vastly better tools available that lower the barrier of entry into doing this. And the forums on FF projects get 10x the attention of most other fan translation projects.

I think this is one of those situations that just is what it is and there is no point in griping about it.

As for me, a picky FF fan who has witnessed a lot of pros and cons of various translations, I'm always up for exploring a new one. And this one seems to be worth exploring.


Would it surprise people to learn that while I was working on the script for this project, I had absolutely no plans to release it publicly?

For a long time I thought of this solely as something that I would have fun with for my own sake.  I only played Final Fantasy 6 for the first time in the spring of 2018, and didn't know anything about its script problems at all until I came across the Legends of Localization articles on the subject.  The more time I spent watching Mato's video series, the more astonished I became at the sheer number of translation problems he was pointing out, many of which had serious negative effects on the meaning of the story.  Since I hadn't seem them addressed in a meaningful way anywhere else, I decided to do it myself using the information he provided.  But it wasn't until I looked around at comments on various websites, and encountered others who were also dissatisfied with the state of this game's translation, that it occurred to me that other people might actually enjoy playing the game using the script I had written.

I am neither surprised nor offended if the initial reaction of some is to be skeptical.  After all, most fans of the game have been playing it much longer than I have, and most likely have some level of attachment to other versions that have been around for a while.  Why should this version be any better than what's already out there, and what's the point of it even existing?  In response to that I can only say that my script delves quite deeply into the details and nuances of the story, many of which have been misrepresented in other versions due to translation errors, and that people who are interested in that sort of thing would seem to be the ones most likely to get something out of it.

As a writer and story editor, I had my own reasons for doing this project, and I had a good time working on it; but of course I recognize that not everyone else shares my priorities.  Having decided to put it out there for others, naturally I hope that anyone who does play it will find it be enjoyable and worthwhile (and certainly the feedback I've received from people who have played it has been very positive), but no one is obliged to pay any attention to it at all if they don't want to.

One need only investigate the matter a little for themselves to begin to understand why this project came about.  Read the Legends of Localization articles on the subject, or watch the video series, or read the annotated script I provided: they all lay out in extremely specific detail exactly what the translation problems were and how the story has been distorted as a result of them.  If after having done that, you still don't think there's any point to it, then fair enough; but you may find that things appear quite different once you've looked through the information available on the subject.

Mato's script comparison:
My annotated script:


I for one am glad for your work. It looks pretty clean and polished. I also like the approach you took and appreciate how open you've been about the whole process.


Don't listen to the haters, I'm also glad this thing exists, there's nothing quite like it so it fills that gap of preference.

Really there's not much more to say then what Chicken Knife already said, and it's pretty ridiculous for others to expect you or others to do some random obscure B or C tier game instead, just because something already exists in english.


Quote from: Special on August 21, 2019, 08:17:22 PM
Don't listen to the haters, I'm also glad this thing exists, there's nothing quite like it so it fills that gap of preference.

Really there's not much more to say then what Chicken Knife already said, and it's pretty ridiculous for others to expect you or others to do some random obscure B or C tier game instead, just because something already exists in english.
Same hat.  Three things that are constant in hacking: Mario levels, Pokemon hacks, and FFVI script cuts/bugfixes.  This is not a bad thing.  Passion projects are just that, people will hack what they want to.  Many do continue on to other projects, which does sometimes include translating something that hasn't been yet.

(Speaking of talk about CT's translations though, I'd like to repeat what I said in my own thread: you may use anything from Bugfix and Uncensoring for a translation to another language if you'd like.  It's mostly prepared for that, as the Catalan translation can attest.  I do like the sound of translating CT from scratch though.)

Heaven Piercing Man

I'm down with this too, because FF6 needs a better Spanish patch and this hack is the perfect base. The official Spanish translation for GBA and Steam is good, but it's written in European Spanish which makes it unbearable for LatAm players, and the last patch for the SNES version is too faithful to the Woolsey script down to the blatant mistakes (Typhon is translated as Sucker, and Trine is literally translated as Train, for example)

The problem is that I don't have time to make it. Someday, someday.



I have played through the end of the Phantom Forest and up to Mobliz. I will now give my hot take.

I like it, and I mean it. This is superior in every way to every single other script this game has had done for it. This is the gold standard, folks. There's no two ways around it. And recall if you will that this is coming from someone who's done one of these himself.

At that time, 2011-12, I was going through a lot personally and did it just to keep my mind focused on something other than drinking myself into an early grave. I was aware of the great amount of debate on the subject of 'Faithfulness' to the original scriptwriter's intentions. I put it in obnoxio-quotes because I'm going to be a little obnoxious here.

I found most people's view of being 'faithful' to the original script, at that time, hollow at best. You did not get permission from the scriptwriter for FF6 to rewrite his work, so nothing you are doing is 'faithful,' generally speaking. There was no establishment of good faith in the first place. Woolsey had that, and so did Tom Slattery. You do not, unless you were one of those two men at the time that those translation projects were contracted by Squaresoft/Square-Enix. This was my feeling about it.

So, I then posited, it did not truly matter if I was faithful to the original script, and I was not ready and still am not ready and probably will never be ready to start learning Japanese when I have many more pressing concerns going on in my life.

This rewrite just changed my mind. Indeed, this reads a lot better. Moving from playing my own version to playing this is like trading in a worn-out pair of shoes for a fresh new pair. It feels good. And knowing that it is based on a very in-depth set of notes by Tomato (I've read through his Legends of Localization feature on FF4) makes it feel even better, because Tomato doesn't mess, he is a serious translator and scholar of Japanese.

Go ahead and get in the water, it's not gonna freeze you to death. The pool is open, folks.

EDIT: I also would like to report that the line in the Battle Captions (from Gau's introductory scene with Sabin and Cyan) which comes immediately after "He's having a rough time of it" needs a <P> tag appended to the end of it. The game just skips straight to the next line.

:) Nice to have someone experienced with FF3usME on hand, innit


Thanks for the great comments!  I'm always glad to hear that people enjoy my work.  I've been making additional updates to text formatting and such, so hopefully any issues have been found and dealt with.

One of the things I found while doing this is that are so many small details that fit together when translated accurately, but had been blurred out by changes in wording.  Little nuances of how the characters act, which add up to give a different impression over time, stood out to me almost as much as the major plot details which had gone missing.  As one example, the way Locke in the Japanese version does not announce his plan to use Celes as a decoy for Maria right away, but keeps giving her sidelong glances, and her increasing surprise as she begins to suspect what he is planning.  In English, this scene seemed more blunt and less interesting because he announced his plan right from the start, and part of the cuteness of this interaction was lost.  The animations of the characters were programmed to fit the flow of the conversation as originally written, but the bluntness of the translation had wiped out these subtle details.  It's good to be able to see them restored.


I'll take a look at this. I was planning on using the Woolsey Uncensored Version for my upcoming complete hack, but after the response to this, I'm intrigued.

A little while ago, I re-did the Opera Scene to include the lyrics from Distant Worlds V. They actually wrote lyrics that fit with the timing of the music. You can get it here: