Final Fantasy XIV Online
Final Fantasy XIV Online
September 30, 2010
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subdirectory_arrow_right Final Fantasy XVI (Game), Final Fantasy XIV Online (Game)
According to Final Fantasy XVI's creative director/scenario writer Kazutoyo Maehiro and the game's producer Naoki Yoshida in a 2023 IGN article, in the Japanese version of the game, Chocobos are referred to as "uma" (馬), which is the Japanese word for "horse". Initially, neither Maehiro or director Hiroshi Takai considered using Chocobos in the game at all, because according to Maehiro, "when thinking about the story, the worldview, and a feeling of reality, a horse just looked better as a silhouette when straddled." Yoshida elaborated that horses fit better when building a world based on European medieval gothic fantasy:

"In reality, horses are animals that can build strong partnerships with humans. We share a long history with them. Weapons involving horses also appear more realistic. Especially with the improvement in graphics being so remarkable, there is a chance that it becomes difficult to lie or deceive viewers, in a good way, and as a result, may impair the sense of immersion. Chocobos are based on birds, which first of all means they don’t stand on four legs, and that makes them more difficult to mount. When compared with a horse it might not feel as stable to ride a Chocobo, and their wings aren’t big and strong enough to take you to the sky, either."

Despite this explanation, Yoshida still instructed the development team to include Chocobos in the game in an effort to stay faithful to the series' long-standing elements. The Japanese version also still refers to them as Chocobos and horses interchangeably. Maehiro stated that he tried to tie the Chocobos into the history of Valisthea through partnerships with its people, in an effort to create something culturally familiar. He justified this by stating that in Japanese, they "sometimes refer to a car as 'legs', or not having a car as 'having no legs'; and in the same way, the people of Valisthea refer to Chocobos as 'horses'." He subsequently implied that actual horses may exist in other regions in the game's world, but that in Valisthea, Chocobos function as their regional equivalent to actual horses. Localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox also stated that he decided not to refer to Chocobos as horses in the game's English translation:

"I remember seeing it in the script and remarking, 'You're saying 'horse' here. You're sure that's OK?' But Maehiro said, 'Yes, this is what we wanted to do.' In English, we never really wanted to use the word horse, because Chocobos and horses are entirely different. It just sounded weird to us in that sense. But we do use words like 'steed'; and I think 'courser' [a medieval word for a warhorse,] as well."

The terminology in the decision to refer to Chocobos as horses resulted in confused or joking reactions from Japanese players online, since this is not the first time Chocobos were referred to as horses in the series. In the original 2010 release of Final Fantasy XIV Online, the kanji characters for horse and bird (鳥 , "tori") were used together as "horsebird" (馬鳥) in the Japanese script in place of the standard katakana for Chocobo (チョコボ). At release, several other katakana terms were replaced with kanji symbols, with some terms existing in-game as written in Chinese rather than Japanese. Square Enix offered several conflicting explanations for the changes, including the need to "build atmosphere", and to consolidate terminology with the then-upcoming Chinese-language release, but these did not help as the change caused an uproar among Japanese players, resulting in Chocobo being reincorporated into the Japanese version's script in a future update. The controversy would later be referenced in the 2013 reboot of Final Fantasy XIV Online through a piece of dialogue spoken by Golden Uma Doshin, a Quest NPC found in Central Shroud as part of the limited time quest "Turn Around, Beautiful":

"Chocobo... chocobo... chocobo... Nothing but horsebirds in this stable. A sight to disturb Eastern eyes, to be sure."
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IGN: Chocobos are Called 'Horses' in the Japanese Version of Final Fantasy XVI:

Censored Gaming: In The Japanese Version Of Final Fantasy XVI, Chocobos Are Called "Horses":

Destructoid: Final Fantasy XIV text issue turns Chocobos to Horsebirds:

Final Fantasy XIV Online wiki articles:,_Beautiful

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