Richard Honeywood

Richard Mark Honeywood is a video game localization director and professional English/Japanese translator. He grew up in Australia, moving to Japan after graduating with degrees in computer science and Japanese from the University of Sydney. Honeywood initially worked for several Japanese video game developers as a programmer, but moved into localization after joining Square in 1997. He is credited with founding the localization department at the company which has been praised for its high quality translations. During his tenure at Square (later Square Enix), Honeywood expanded the team from Japanese to English translation to a partner of the development team, creating localized text and graphics for multiple languages and ensuring that the video game code supported multiple languages easily. In 2007, Honeywood left Square Enix for Blizzard Entertainment, where he served as the global localization manager for World of Warcraft until November 2010. He then moved to be the translation director for Level-5.

Richard Honeywood
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
Years active1993–present
Notable work
Xenogears, Final Fantasy XI, Dragon Quest


Honeywood grew up in Australia and spent time in Japan as a foreign exchange student in high school.[1] He earned degrees in computer science and Japanese at University of Sydney and spent his fourth year at its sister school, Hosei University.[2] He began his career as a game programmer at Rise Corporation, a subsidiary of Seibu Kaihatsu.[3] Honeywood and some members of this development team left Rise to form Digital Eden, a new company that worked on a number of Nintendo 64DD games in collaboration with HAL Laboratory. When it became clear that the 64DD's protracted development would render their efforts meaningless, Digital Eden agreed to disband without releasing a single game. Satoru Iwata, then-president of HAL Laboratory, personally offered Honeywood the opportunity to work on an early Pokémon game but he declined, instead joining Square in 1997.[3][4] Originally, he was to work as a programmer on Final Fantasy VII under Ken Narita. However, the impressive sales of Final Fantasy VII in Western markets prompted Square to look into improving the quality of its translated products—Final Fantasy VII was widely criticized for its rushed translation, which had been handled entirely by Michael Baskett, the company's only in-house translator at the time.[4] Compounding this critical staff shortage, text in the game could only be input in Shift JIS, a standard Japanese character encoding format, which was incompatible with spelling and grammar correction software. Honeywood and Aiko Ito were brought on as localization producers to recruit for a dedicated localization team within the company. This team established best practices with respect to code preservation—localization efforts for Chocobo no Fushigi na Dungeon and Tobal 2 were halted at the gate when a complete copy of the source code could not be pieced together from the disbanded development team's computers.[4] For Final Fantasy VIII, Honeywood had written a text parser that would automatically convert text from English ASCII to Shift JIS format required by the game engine's compiler, streamlining the translation process dramatically.[4]

Honeywood described Xenogears, his first translation project at Square and the first to be handled internally by the company, as "pure hell".[5][6] This difficult experience catalyzed many of the changes to the company's approach to localization, moving booths to always work very closely with the original development teams, improving communication with them, and introducing full-time editors.[7][8] Another key change was adding a familiarization and glossary creation period to the schedule, in which the team develops style and characterization guides for the project.[4] For Honeywood, a good localization takes into account the cultural differences between Japan and western territories. This sometimes involves rewriting dialogue or altering graphics, animations, and sounds. For instance, in Chocobo Racing, visual references to the Japanese folk heroes Momotarō and Kiji were changed to depict Hansel and Gretel, since the game was designed mainly for children, and Hansel and Gretel are better known in the west than Momotarō and Kiji.[7] According to Honeywood, trying to explain to the original development teams why some changes are needed can range from "frustrating to downright hilarious". Generally, older development teams trust the translators with making changes while newer teams can be more reluctant, though they usually build up trust gradually.[7]

During the development of Final Fantasy IX, Honeywood's team had expanded to allow translation from Japanese directly to French, Italian, German, and Spanish without English as an intermediate.[4] He also convinced the planning team to switch to ASCII characters. It was the last main Final Fantasy title in which translation began after the game was finished. Starting with Final Fantasy X, the localization team would get involved much earlier, collaborating to create the game script. As the first main series title to feature voice acting, the team faced problems in both making the dialogue more compatible with an English-speaking audience and lip-synching it to match the in-game characters, whose lip-movement was still for the original Japanese dialogue.[9] Honeywood spent four years working as localization director of Final Fantasy XI, translating new content concurrently with the Japanese version.[1] For this title, he was responsible for the auto-translation feature, which allows Japanese and English speaking players of the game to communicate quickly. He also established naming conventions for the playable races and coded an automated name generator for new players.[1] After Square merged with Enix to become Square Enix, he was tasked with managing localization for the Dragon Quest series.[3] In order to differentiate the series from Final Fantasy, Honeywood decided to localize Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King and future titles in the series in British English. As part of this work, he wrote a comprehensive style guide to standardize names across the entire series, which has been maintained and updated by other teams since.[3]

He moved to Blizzard Entertainment in 2007, serving as global localization manager for World of Warcraft from 2007 to 2010.[10] He was the localization director for Level-5 between 2011 and 2013. For Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Honeywood adapted the different Japanese accents of the original script into various British accents.[11] He pointed to a stand-up comedy routine midway through the game as a particular challenge for that project.[12]


Title Year[a] Platform(s) Notes[b]
Raiden II 1993 Arcade, PlayStation Programming
Viper Phase 1 1995 Arcade Programming
Senkyu 1995 Arcade, PlayStation Programming
The Raiden Project 1995 PlayStation Demo programming
SaGa Frontier 1998 PlayStation
Einhänder 1998 PlayStation
Parasite Eve 1998 PlayStation Special Thanks
Xenogears 1998 PlayStation
Ehrgeiz 1999 PlayStation Special Thanks
Chocobo Racing 1999 PlayStation
Final Fantasy VIII 1999 PlayStation
Chrono Cross 2000 PlayStation
Final Fantasy IX 2000 PlayStation
The Bouncer 2001 PlayStation 2
Final Fantasy X 2001 PlayStation 2
Final Fantasy XI 2003 PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360
Sword of Mana 2003 Game Boy Advance
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles 2004 Nintendo GameCube
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King 2005 PlayStation 2
Dawn of Mana 2007 PlayStation 2
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2007 Nintendo DS
Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors 2008 Wii
Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen 2008 Nintendo DS
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King 2008 PC
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty 2010 PC
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm 2010 PC
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation 2011 Nintendo DS Special Thanks
Inazuma Eleven Strikers 2012 Wii
Crimson Shroud 2012 Nintendo 3DS Special Thanks
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch 2013 PlayStation 3
Layton Brothers: Mystery Room 2013 iOS
  1. ^ Sorted by year of English language release
  2. ^ Credited as translator or localization specialist unless noted

See also


  1. ^ a b c Orner, Daniel. "Interview with Richard Honeywood about Final Fantasy XI". Final Fantasy Compendium. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  2. ^ Orner, Daniel. "Interview with Richard Honeywood". Final Fantasy Compendium. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "8-4 Play 4/22/2011: PROJECT CAFÉ OLÉ « 8-4". 8-4. 23 April 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Fenlon, Wesley (28 April 2011). "The Rise of Squaresoft Localization". Archived from the original on 2016-09-20. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  5. ^ Parish, Jeremy (11 March 2007). "GDC 2007: The Square-Enix Approach to Localization". Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  6. ^ Cidolfas (30 May 2004). "Interview with Richard Honeywood". FFCompendium. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Q&A – Square Enix's Richard Honeywood". Edge Online. February 2006. Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  8. ^ Jeriaska (27 April 2007). "Localization Tactics: A Conversation with Alexander O. Smith". Square Haven. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  9. ^ Birlew, Dan (2001). Final Fantasy X Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. p. 268. ISBN 0-7440-0140-4.
  10. ^ Honeywood, Richard (2016). "Richard Honeywood LinkedIn profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Spirited Away Animators Breathe Life Into Astonishing New Game". WIRED. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Ni no Kuni: the language of magic". Wired UK. Retrieved 28 December 2015.

External links


8-4, Ltd. (Japanese: 有限会社ハチノヨン, Hepburn: Yūgen Gaisha Hachi no Yon) is a Japanese video game localization company based in Shibuya, Tokyo. The company was founded in 2005 by Hiroko Minamoto and former Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) editor John Ricciardi. They were joined by Ricciardi's EGM colleague Mark MacDonald in 2008, who departed in 2016 to work as VP, Production of Business and Development at Enhance Games. It performs Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese translation and localization on a contract basis with credits including Monster Hunter, Nier, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, Tales, Undertale and more. The company is named after the final level of Super Mario Bros.

Alexander O. Smith

Alexander O. Smith (born February 8, 1973) is a professional English–Japanese translator and author. While his output covers many areas such as adaptation of Japanese novels, manga, song lyrics, anime scripts, and various academic works, he is best known for his software localizations of Japanese video games including Vagrant Story, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, and Final Fantasy XII. He currently resides in Kamakura, Japan, where he operates his own contract localization business, Kajiya Productions, and is co-founder of a translation and publishing company, Bento Books.

Characters of Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross (クロノ・クロス, Kurono Kurosu) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the PlayStation video game console. It is the successor to Chrono Trigger, which was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

While its predecessor, like most role-playing games at the time, only offered a handful of playable characters, Chrono Cross was notable for making 45 different characters available for recruitment over the course of the game, each with distinct backstory and speech patterns. The game's writer, Masato Kato, started with the core characters from Radical Dreamers, a rare, Japan-only visual novel he felt ultimately went unfinished, and greatly expanded the cast and scenario, while leaving the creation of some minor characters to various other members of the development team. The developers also created an "auto accent program", to apply accents and other quirks to character's dialogue, making the dialogue altered depending on who was present in the player's party.

Reception for the game from critics was very positive, with some publications, such as GameSpot, even giving the game a perfect score. However, reception for the cast of characters was more mixed; some critics were impressed by the quantity, variety, and individuality offered by the characters, where others complained of an emphasis of "quantity over quality".

Chrono Break

Chrono Break is a cancelled third mainline entry in the Chrono series of video games by Square (now Square Enix). While never officially announced by the company, commentary from Chrono series developers Masato Kato, Hironobu Sakaguchi, and Takashi Tokita have confirmed early plans for the game, alongside a number of trademarks filed in the game's name. However, the game would ultimately go unproduced, with many members of the internal development team either moving on to Final Fantasy XI or leaving the company in favor of freelance work. The game elicited much commentary from the company and the video game press in the following years, though as of 2019, all trademarks had expired, with no announced plans to work on the game.

Chrono Cross

Chrono Cross (クロノ・クロス, Kurono Kurosu) is a 1999 role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. It is the sequel to Chrono Trigger, which was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Chrono Cross was designed primarily by scenarist and director Masato Kato, who had help from other designers who also worked on Chrono Trigger, including art director Yasuyuki Honne and composer Yasunori Mitsuda. Nobuteru Yūki designed the characters of the game.

The story of Chrono Cross focuses on a teenage boy named Serge and a theme of parallel worlds. Faced with an alternate reality in which he died as a child, Serge endeavors to discover the truth of the two worlds' divergence. The flashy thief Kid and many other characters assist him in his travels around the tropical archipelago El Nido. Struggling to uncover his past and find the mysterious Frozen Flame, Serge is chiefly challenged by Lynx, a shadowy antagonist working to apprehend him.

Upon its release in Japan in 1999 and North America in 2000, Chrono Cross received critical acclaim, earning a perfect 10.0 score from GameSpot. The game shipped over 1.5 million copies worldwide, leading to a Greatest Hits re-release and continued life in Japan as part of the Ultimate Hits series. Chrono Cross was later re-released for the PlayStation Network in Japan in July 2011, and in North America four months later.

Dragon Quest VIII

Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, known in the PAL regions as Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King, is a role-playing video game developed by Level-5 and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 2. It was first released in Japan in 2004, and was later released in North America in 2005 and PAL regions in 2006, making it the first main series installment released in the PAL region. It is the eighth installment of the popular Dragon Quest series and it is the first English version of a Dragon Quest game to drop the Dragon Warrior title. A version of the game for Android and iOS was released in Japan in December 2013, and worldwide in May 2014.Dragon Quest VIII uses cel shading for the characters and scenery and is the first game in the series to have fully 3D environments and character models. The game retains most of the series' role-playing game elements, such as turn-based combat and the experience level system. Dragon Quest VIII follows the silent Hero, the main character, and his party of allies as they journey towards the goal of defeating the wicked Dhoulmagus. The kingdom of Trodain has been cursed by Dhoulmagus, with the King, Trode, and his daughter, Medea, transformed into a troll and a horse respectively, and it is up to the Hero to return them to their original form and save the kingdom. Dragon Quest VIII was both a critical and financial success, becoming a Sony Greatest Hits game.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

Development began in 1994, originally for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. After delays and technical difficulties from experimenting on several platforms, Square moved production to the PlayStation, largely due to the advantages of the CD-ROM format. Veteran Final Fantasy staff returned, including series creator and producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, director Yoshinori Kitase, and composer Nobuo Uematsu. The title became the first in the series to use full motion video and 3D computer graphics, which featured 3D character models superimposed over 2D pre-rendered backgrounds. Although the gameplay systems remained mostly unchanged from previous entries, Final Fantasy VII introduced more widespread science fiction elements and a more realistic presentation. The game had a staff of over 100, with a combined development and marketing budget of around US$80 million.

Assisted by a large promotional campaign, Final Fantasy VII received widespread commercial and critical success and remains widely regarded as a landmark title and one of the greatest games of all time. The title won numerous Game of the Year awards and was acknowledged for boosting the sales of the PlayStation and popularizing Japanese role-playing games worldwide. Critics praised its graphics, gameplay, music, and story, although some criticism was directed towards its English localization. Its success has led to enhanced ports on various platforms, a multimedia subseries called the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and an upcoming high-definition remake for the PlayStation 4.

Localization of Square Enix video games

The Japanese video game developer and publisher Square Enix (formally two companies called Square and Enix prior to 2003) has been translating its games for North America since the late 1980s, and the PAL region and Asia since the late 1990s. It has not always released all of its games in all major regions, and continues to selectively release games even today depending on multiple factors such as the viability of platforms or the condition of the game itself. The process of localization has changed during that time from having a one-person team with a short time and tight memory capacities to having a team of translators preparing simultaneous launches in multiple languages.

The companies' first major projects were Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, which each proved successful enough to launch video game franchises. Since then, the majority of the games produced by the companies have been localized for Western audiences, although the process was not given a high priority at Square until the international success of Final Fantasy VII. A dedicated localization department was consequently created at the company's Tokyo headquarters around 1998. Enix remained without a translation department until its merger with Square in 2003. In recent years, the process of localization has undergone changes, mainly due to difficult experiences with various titles. Most major titles are now developed with localization running in parallel to development, with more simultaneous releases and even occasional titles developed in localized form first in order to appeal to the Western market.

Samuel Foxe

Samuel Foxe (1560–1630), was an English diarist and politician. He was a Member of the Parliament of England for Midhurst in 1589 and for Knaresborough in 1593.

Xeno (series)

Xeno is a Japanese science fiction video game series created by Tetsuya Takahashi. The first entry was developed by SquareSoft, and subsequent entries have been developed by Monolith Soft, a company founded by Takahashi after he left Square in 1999. While the various games have no direct story connections, they have common thematic links and all sport the "Xeno" prefix, which Takahashi has variously described as a means of identifying his games and a symbolic representation of the series. All the games in the Xeno series take place within a science fiction setting with some fantasy elements, with its stories frequently featuring psychological and religious themes.

The first title, Xenogears, was originally proposed as a storyline for Final Fantasy VII, but was allowed to be developed as its own project. After Square shifted its focus onto the Final Fantasy series, Takahashi and several other Xenogears staff founded Monolith Soft and began work on the Xenosaga games. Both Xenogears and Xenosaga were intended to be six-part series, but differing circumstances caused plans to be cut down. After the premature end of the Xenosaga series, Monolith Soft began developing Xenoblade Chronicles, initially intended to be an original title. The games of the Xeno franchise have generally sold well and received positive press worldwide.


Xenogears is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. The debut entry in the wider Xeno franchise, it was released in Japan in February 1998, and in North America in October the same year. The gameplay of Xenogears revolves around navigating 3D environments both on-foot and using humanoid mecha dubbed "Gears". Combat is governed by a version of the turn-based "Active Time Battle" system. The story follows protagonist Fei Fong Wong and several others as they journey across the world to overthrow the all-powerful rule of Deus. The story incorporates themes of Jungian psychology, Freudian thought, and religious symbolism.

Created by Tetsuya Takahashi and his wife Kaori Tanaka as a proposal for Final Fantasy VII, it was allowed to be developed as its own project, first as a sequel to Chrono Trigger and then as a wholly original game with a science fiction premise. It was developed under the working title "Project Noah". The characters and mecha were designed by Kunihiko Tanaka, whose designs were portrayed during in-game cinematics through the use of anime cutscenes. Due to time constraints and the team's general inexperience, the second half of the game's plot was primarily told through cutscenes.

The game was nearly left unlocalized due to its religious content; its localization was handled entirely by Square Electronic Arts staff and translator Richard Honeywood, who described it as one of the most troublesome games of his career. The game received critical acclaim, with praise particularly going towards the storyline, gameplay, characters, and psychological and religious themes, but received criticism for the rushed pace of the second disc, due to a lack of gameplay and excessive narration. By 2003, the game had shipped over a million copies worldwide. It has since gained a cult following. While a direct sequel was never developed, Takahashi would later found Monolith Soft and develop the Xenosaga trilogy as a spiritual successor.

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