In a move ostensibly made to avoid offending the more easily-outrage-prone among Western audiences, Square Enix has reportedly censored a bit of dialogue from Final Fantasy XVI’s English-language script in order to downplay the brutal reality of the Iron Kingdom’s religious practices.

Clive Rosfield (Yuya Uchida) discovers the Shiva Dominant is his childhood friend Jill (Megumi Han) in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Clive Rosfield (Yuya Uchida) discovers the Shiva Dominant is his childhood friend Jill (Megumi Han) in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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One of several nations that make up the game’s world of Valisthea, the Iron Kingdom is defined by their following of the Crystalline Orthodox, a religion which rejects the idea of a singular ‘God’ – whose identity in-game is later revealed to be that of Ultima – in favor of worshiping the energy-supplying aether crystals that adorn the world’s geography.

Vivian Ninetales (Yuki Anado) recounts the history of the Iron Kingdom in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Vivian Ninetales (Yuki Anado) recounts the history of the Iron Kingdom in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

Per their faith, the Iron Kingdom also condemns the very existence of the Dominants, as they believe the ability for a human to both wield an Eikon and do so without expending the requisite amount of aether to be a perversion of their core beliefs.

As such, in an effort to cleanse their borders of what they believe are unholy abominations, the nation has taken to executing any and all children who are born with the potential to become a Dominant – a practice which has drawn the Iron Kingdom the ire of its geopolitical peers.

The Bastards unit prepare to engage the Iron Kingdom in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

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However, despite their disdain for the Dominants, the Iron Kingdom is not above exploiting them for political and military purposes, as seen in their capture and forceful exploitation of the Shiva Eikon’s latest host, Jill Warrick.

Eventually escaping from captivity with the help of the game’s protagonist Clive Rosfield, Jill spends her subsequent journey across Valisthea discovering what it means for her to be free and coming to terms with the fact that she cannot move forward in life while the Iron Kingdom’s unconscionable leader, the Crystalline Orthodox High Priest Imreann, still draws a breath.

Jill Warrick (Megumi Han) unleashes her full Shiva abilities in Final Fantasy XVI (2023), Square Enix

And despite the already bleak nature of the entire game, it is near the end of Jill’s revenge arc that Square Enix apparently decided American players could not handle hearing the truth of the High Priest’s atrocious deeds.

In the original Japanese version of the scene, as explained above by noted translator and Aitai Japan founder Audrey Lamsam, “The scene in FF16 where Jill confronts Imreann at the Iron Kingdom is incredibly graphic in Japanese. The English says that Imreann put the kids in chains, but the Japanese version says the children were all female and violated [sexually] before they were ‘sacrificed.”

“It’s really messed up,” she then opined, sharing a clip of the scene in the original Japanese. “I was actually shocked when I got listened to Jill’s line during my second playthrough with Japanese audio because the English version softened the violence a bit. It makes much more sense why Jill is so incredibly angry at Imreann- the meaning is much deeper, and Imreann is even more despicable.”

As an aside, it should be noted that though Lamsam was responsible for bringing this edit to widespread attention, she was not but not the first to discover it, as she later acknowledged that at least one user, @Christo76683141, had beaten her to the punch.

Specifically, in Japanese, Jill decries Imreann’s years of abuse and torture – in particular his daily sacrificing of exclusively female magic-users under the auspices of pleasing the crystals – by declaring,  “I have obeyed you all these years, I fought for you. All to protect these girls you kidnapped, just like me, so they don’t fall to the same fate. Yet what did YOU do? You violated them and killed these girls before my very eyes.”

But in English, Jill makes no mention of the prisoners being all-female nor their disgusting violation at the hands of the High Priest, instead exclaiming, “For years, I followed your orders. Fought your wars. All to protect the children you took, just as you took me. And what did you do in return? You put them in chains, and you slit their throats!”

[Time Stamp: 01:26]

As of writing, Square Enix has not offered any public comment on their censorious decision.

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    Spencer Baculi

    Spencer is the Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.