Back in November of 2016, a bit of an Internet storm erupted. In truth, it was something that I'm surprised to see is still happening in this day and age. A game publisher by the name of Braeve, as well as a service provider called DMM Games, brought a game to Japan called Chaos Saga. The free-to-play MMORPG lasted a whole day before it ceased to exist. The reason being, many Chaos Saga characters and monsters were clearly direct design clones from Final Fantasy XI and Final Fantasy XII...
In December of last year, publisher Braeve released an apology to those related to the Chaos Saga release. They claimed a foreign development studio called Lingyao was to blame for the copied character designs. It was only now, nine months after the ill-fated release of Chaos Saga, that the company made any move to reconcile with Final Fantasy publishers Square Enix. Today, Braeve and DMM Games released formal apologies. They both stated that they were very sorry for the problems they have caused for Square Enix. Both companies also wanted to make it clear that this would not happen again.
Braeve claimed that there was not enough staff on hand in their company to make sure the assets within the game were checked properly. This seems like a load of horse dung, considering there was a grand total of 24 FFXI and FFXII characters and monsters copyright infringements within Chaos Saga. There is absolutely no way even a small team of people would miss 24 clearly copied designs. Especially in the Internet age where things like reverse image search exist.
I can understand that a company that just licenses games and brings them to new countries might not always have an active interest in what they're actually putting out. In many cases, I'm sure publishers see localized versions of games as an easy cash grab. Throw a small localization team on it, do a half-way decent job, then release it in a different country to much success! That's exactly why there is a never-ending slew of badly translated romance simulators on mobile. Companies realized they're an easy way to make money, especially since they don't have to try very hard on the localizations. So why not?
Arguing for or against these poor localizations is a matter for a different day. The fact at hand is that no matter what the publishing company's goals were, they should have some hands-on time with the game. When you're localizing a game, you're actively looking at written text. That includes not only dialogue bubbles, but character and enemy names, and art assets. There is absolutely no way that at least one person shouldn't have seen these direct rip-offs from Final Fantasy. It's never a bad idea to check people's work, even if you're going for a quick buck.
It's 2017 and video games have been around for a long time. It can be difficult to come up with new ideas, but that definitely doesn't mean anyone should be allowed to stoop to pure plagiarism. They tell American students practically from their first class that copying off another classmate's paper is strictly forbidden. The word plagiarize is thrown in our faces constantly, along with cheating and copying. If schoolchildren are (very much) aware that this is a bad thing and shouldn't be done, how are adults doing it? The worst part is how did they think they were going to get away with it? Especially in Final Fantasy's country of origin.
Japanese audiences recognize a Final Fantasy rip-off when they see one! Color me sarcastically shocked. Chaos Saga is a game that really should never have existed. Maybe as a fan-project of some kind, where a super fan wanted to come up with their own storyline with their favorite characters and monsters from Final Fantasy. But as a real-life professional project, this is just a travesty. Tack on Braeve and DMM Games' “too little, too late” apologies, and I am thoroughly confused. Thanks to the diligence of fans, Chaos Saga was stopped before it got too far. But even still I'm left with is a bad taste in my mouth. Plagiarizing is never okay.