Games of the Year

RPGFan Games of the Year 2023: Best Localization

GOTY 2023 Best Localization Final Fantasy XVI

Winner: Final Fantasy XVI

Final Fantasy XVI is in a unique position to win this award as it was the only game in the franchise to prioritize its English dub; in fact, the English dub and motion capture were complete before Japanese recordings even began! Creative Business Unit III wanted the game to emulate darker fantasies created by Western writers, a gamble that royally paid off. Every character oozes in textural richness often lost in the dubbing process, such as how the subtleties of Ben Starr’s Eikonic performance as Clive Rosfield come through in the character’s facial expressions and mannerisms. In other words, the game’s emotional high points hit all the harder for English-speaking audiences as the characters simply feel more fluid than ever. At the same time, the game doesn’t discard its roots in magical crystals and whimsical beasts, resulting in a story that’s recognizably Final Fantasy while perhaps more than ever paying homage to the franchise’s inspiration from Western RPGs.

by Tim Rattray

Runner-Up: The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure 

It’s been a long time coming for the Crossbell games to see an official English localization, and with the release of The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure, that gap has finally been closed. But localizing Trails to Azure was no easy feat. It’s one of the densest games in the series, and there are a ton of dramatic events and important character moments that required skill and care to convey properly. Thankfully, the combined efforts of fan-translation group Geofront and NIS America resulted in a fantastic localization that is mostly worth the extraordinarily long 12-year wait. And with the series heading into Calvard with Trails through Daybreak, it’s good that we don’t have to wait any longer.

by Caitlin Argyros

Readers’ Choice: Best Localization of 2023

Winner: Final Fantasy XVI (38.3% of votes)

Runner-Up: The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure (25.9% of votes)

Tim Rattray

Tim Rattray

Tim has written about games, anime, and beyond since 2009. His love of JRPGs traces back to late-90s get-togethers with cul-de-sac kids to battle and trade Pokémon via link cables. In the early 2000s, this passion was solidified when Chrono Trigger changed his conception of what a game could be. A core focus of Tim’s work is mental health advocacy with a focus on how interactivity can be used to depict and teach about mental illness. He’s excited to share that insight with RPGFan’s readers, alongside a log full of side quests to explore the mutual passion we all share.