It appears there is exciting news for fans of all things Final Fantasy VII, as 2004's Before Crisis mobile title has received a well-made fan translation using RPG Maker. The game has only existed in Japanese because it was a region exclusive in Japan and never received an official localization in North American markets, but Before Crisis has now been translated to English.
The title was made as an action role-playing game and was both developed and published by Square Enix. As a prequel to the events of Final Fantasy VII, the events of this game take place a full six years before players meet Cloud and the members of Avalanche. Before Crisis holds the distinction of being the first original game for mobile devices made by Square Enix. Check out the original trailer below.
Whether or not the game falls under copyright infringement is yet to be seen. It seemingly does when one looks at images or gameplay footage, so the more relevant question is whether or not Square Enix will move to have the game removed from the RPG Maker forums.
For years, rumors persisted that the game would eventually receive a North American localization. While there appeared to have been plans to do so, it seems the entire project was scrapped when Western phones did not have sufficient hardware to meet the technical demands of the port.
Oddly enough, no efforts were made to localize the title in subsequent years when technology caught up. Considering the Final Fantasy VII brand is so strong that the localization would likely have had great success, it is open as to why attempts at localizing the game had been omitted. Regardless, Before Crisis is the only Final Fantasy VII-related game not to have been released outside of Japan.
In 2010, Hajime Tabata, a game director at Square Enix who has worked on many Final Fantasy titles, revealed that he would like to remake the game for Nintendo 3DS. However, it has been almost nine years since the initial announcement with no development on the matter, likely signaling that the project was informally cancelled at some point, if it even had a formal development plan within the company.
The story of Before Crisis concerns the actions of a number of Turks, who play a supporting role in the main storyline with regards to the activity of Shinra. It is very probable they will be an important aspect of the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Anyone curious about the translation should check it out sooner rather than later, since we do not know how long it will remain available before Square Enix take legal action.