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Back in 2006, Square-Enix introduced us to the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII concept, ostensibly a series of Final Fantasy games that share an overarching mythology, if not setting. This was originally intended to include the numbered series title Final Fantasy XIII, as well as PS3 exclusive Versus XIII and PSP title Final Fantasy Agito XIII.

Now we find ourselves in 2013 and one of those titles is missing in action, (leading many to assume it’ll never see the light of day) while another remains trapped in Japan with no hint that it might one day escape. Instead, we’ve received a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII (which, while I liked it, enjoyed a mixed reception at best), with another, Lightning Returns, on the horizon.

As I mentioned above, Versus XIII seems almost dead in the water; there’s been no word on it for some time now, beyond a rumour last year that it had been repurposed into Final Fantasy XV and would be unveiled at E3 that year. Obviously that didn’t happen, leading some to claim the game had been quietly mothballed. Square-Enix themselves have publically stated that Versus XIII is still in development, but after more than seven years of tinkering, it’s difficult to remain positive.

What makes this situation more aggravating is that the aforementioned PSP game, since renamed to Final Fantasy Type-0, was released in Japan nearly 18 months ago. It provably exists – development is long since finished, yet there has since been no word on a Western localisation, bar a couple of rumours that the Vita may see a port (due to the PSP being more or less a dead platform outside of Japan), leading to some online retailers listing it for pre-order. These listings have since been removed.

Back in September, while I was reporting the weekly DLC updates for 3DS rhythm-action title Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, I noted the release of Type-0‘s opening theme ‘We Have Arrived’ might be a positive sign for localisation. Unfortunately, since that rather epic-sounding track was issued for Theatrythm, we’ve had but one mention of Type-0 from Square; in a November 2012 interview with GameSpot, Director Hajime Tabata had the following to say:

“Due to market reasons, we are taking a clean slate in terms of our plans. We feel strongly about bringing this title to the fans in North America and Europe, so if an opportunity arises that can become a conclusive factor, we are prepared to go into consideration right away.”

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound massively positive to me. He’s basically confirming that no localisation work has even been considered at this stage, let alone begun.

All of which makes the news that dedicated fans are currently working on a Type-0 fan translation patch much more comforting than anything Square-Enix have to say. In the video below, you can see the early fruits of their labours.

Of course, fan translations are nothing new in gaming, certainly when it comes to jRPGs, but I doubt many thought such a high profile game would need such a patch. The legality of such is a little shaky (as you’ll need a ROM of the game to apply the patch to – so get importing if you’re interested), so it remains to be seen whether or not Square-Enix will take any action over these efforts. We can hope not; if Square-Enix won’t allow the vast majority of the world to enjoy this highly-rated and highly-anticipated game, then at least allow fans to translate it so we can import a Japanese version and still understand what’s happening. I’d much, much rather have an official English-language release, but that doesn’t seem likely; we can hope the publicity these fans’ efforts are garnering will prove that there is sufficient demand for Type-0 outside of Japan and the company springs into action. Until then, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on this translation patch, and I shall have to content myself with ‘We Have Arrived’ on Theatrhythm.

Links:
GameSpot’s interview with Hajime Tabata:
http://uk.gamespot.com/features/fantasy-star-talking-to-final-fantasy-scenario-director-hajime-tabata-6399208/
Kotaku’s coverage of the fan-tran patch:
http://kotaku.com/5983342/square-enix-wont-release-final-fantasy-type+0-in-north-america-so-fans-are-taking-over

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