FFXIV: Made in China?

If you’re a MMORPG player, you owe it to yourself to read Lum the Mad’s blog. Lum has been around the MMO scene forever, prior to going to work for Mythic on DAoC and further MMO adventures. Last week when Final Fantasy XIV launched for the Collector’s Edition, he uncovered startling signs that the game was actually outsourced to a Chinese developer.

Japanese players of Final Fantasy XIV soon noticed that their own version of the game dispensed completely with the “English” names in favour of names using Chinese characters exclusively.

Most noticeably, “Chocobo” (チョコボ – chokobo) was renamed to “馬鳥,” a meaningless word combining the character for “horse” with that for “bird.”

Chocobos thus became “horsebirds,” a phrase as ridiculous to Japanese ears as to western ones.

Curiously, some users also noticed that “index finger” was written in Chinese (食指) rather than Japanese (人差し指) – a very odd oversight indeed, unless it somehow transpired that the game was actually developed in China.

A commenter on our FFXIV review, Hiro, pointed out that the game went down for emergency maintenance yesterday to re-translate a huge list of item names from Chinese into Japanese. Here’s a screen capture of the list. So it is pretty obvious that Square-Enix outsourced development of Final Fantasy XIV to a Chinese developer and it actually wasn’t developed by the people who made Final Fantasy XI such a popular MMORPG. Maybe that’s why it sucks?