English Canon: The mistaken capitalization of ‘Weapon’

Editorial by Shademp

Among the English speaking FFVII community it has become almost ubiquitous to write Weapon as “WEAPON”. In other words, repeating the style for the terms “AVALANCHE” and “SOLDIER”. Looking at the original game, Dirge of Cerberus and Crisis Core however, these terms are never written with all capital letters. I have searched the full game script of the original FFVII, both the PSX and PC versions, and found not even a single instance of the term “WEAPON”.

For a deeper analysis, and a picture gallery confirming these observations, continue reading.

Q: Why has the capitalized version become so common?
A: The answer can be answered in two ways. First, the Planet’s “Weapon” is a term that could be confused with normal “weapons” wielded by somebody’s hands. The capitalized version easily prevents any confusion that might otherwise arise. Second, the BradyGames guide for the original Final Fantasy VII uses the capitalized term in literally every reference. The ultimate effect of this has been that many will falsely remember reading “WEAPON” when recalling their playthroughs of FFVII, as this style has stuck so strongly in the community consciousness.

Q: Does the capitalization appear in any FFVII merchandise outside of the BradyGames guide?
A: Yes. It appears at least once in the Reunion Files, in Rufus’s character profile. In the plot synopsis for the character, at the top of page 34, a translation of the Japanese synopsis reads: “Rufus managed to survive an attack by one of the WEAPONs two years ago, but now he is confined to a wheelchair and infected with a fatal illness known as “Geostigma”.

The Reunion Files book does in no way change English canon. It was released by SoftBank in May 2006, before Dirge of Cerberus and Crisis Core. Following the guideline that both the official games and most recent content determines canon, ‘Weapon’ is without a doubt the current official localization standard.

Final words
Because the lower-case writing ‘Weapon’, with only the first letter being capitalized, dominates the official English titles, TheLifestream articles uses this standard.

The picture gallery below starts with battle- and field snapshots from the original game, followed by two photos of Dirge of Cerberus. Although many more references to the Weapons exist, this gallery should be enough to prove that we have done an extensive search through the original game’s script. Note that the battle text for the enemy “Ultimate Weapon” is a translation error, as it is meant to read “Ultima Weapon” just like the weapon and the materia/spell.