These days, it’s actually really hard to imagine the gaming industry without Final Fantasy. No matter if you’re a fan of RPGs or not, you’ll almost certainly have heard of the franchise. In fact, you’ve probably seen the adverts for Final Fantasy XV all over TV, billboards and YouTube, especially with the mobile game that is now available as well. But there was a time before this behemoth (pun intended) of a franchise existed and it is a story well documented amongst Final Fantasy fans.
However, in the effort to write up a really cool and educational post, I’m going to cover it once again! Why not, right? So, without further adieu, let’s dive into the deep end of Square Enix’s past and look at the history of Final Fantasy.
It’s All In The Name
It all started as the console market was being revolutionised by the brand new Nintendo Famicom, eventually released outside of Japan as the Nintendo Entertainment System. Around that time, a young 21-year-old developer joined a small company then known as Square, with hopes to bring them into the limelight of the computer games industry. His name was Hironubu Sakaguchi.
At that time, the Famicom was gaining huge strides due to the likes of Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda, which also meant that expectations of video games were rather high. Therefore, it was definitely a turbulent climate for a small company to try and make their way into.
Nevertheless, Sakaguchi and his team got to work on various games, including Rad Racer and a number of other titles. These games definitely showed off the development prowess of the team, but there was one huge problem; they didn’t sell.
So it was that Square was running out of money fast, edging closer and closer to bankruptcy. Many people would have just given up at that point, but Sakaguchi was determined to put his mark on the gaming industry before it was all lost. He and his team decided to try one final time, this time focusing their efforts on an epic fantasy adventure to rival games like Wizardry – a “final fantasy” if you will.
The Revival Of A Company
The appropriately named Final Fantasy hit the shelves in Japan on the 18th of December, 1987. This was also the same week that saw the launch of Phantasy Star from SEGA, and was just two short months ahead of Dragon Quest III as well.
However, Sakaguchi had a few tricks up his sleeve to help the game. Firstly, Square had brought on Yoshitaka Amano, the artist behind the Vampire Hunter D anime, to create the visual designs for the game. Secondly, the soundtrack was composed by Nobuo Uematsu which, when combined with the story and visuals, created a complete and well-crafted package that gamers could pick up and enjoy immediately.
It was this release that finally turned the tide for Square, dragging them back from the brink of bankruptcy. One single game proved so popular that it saved the entire company. So, if you’re ever wondering why Square Enix (as they are now called) are so protective about the series, it is because they literally wouldn’t exist without it.
A Not-So-Final Fantasy
Before the first game had even started to be localised for other countries, Square had started putting together plans for a sequel. How could they not, when the game had saved them all?
On top of that, their biggest competition (Enix’s Dragon Quest) series was producing new titles almost every year. Square had to compete, so another Final Fantasy was needed, despite the confusion that the name would cause.
At the time, RPG series tended to focus on sticking to pre-determined conventions. Whether this mention continuing with the same characters through each game, or at least keeping it within the same world, each game was an actual sequel to the last. Sakaguchi and his team decided to break away from that with Final Fantasy II. Instead, the game featured an entirely new world with new characters, backstory and a more complex plot.
Experimentation quickly became one of the staples of Final Fantasy sequels, beginning with Final Fantasy II. For example, a brand new leveling system was put into place. Rather than simply gaining levels from experience points, you powered up your skills by using them or weapons that were related to them. For example, using magic more often would make a character better at using magic. This was a huge change of gameplay direction for RPGs in general at the time.
Sadly, it didn’t get well received, due mostly to the fact that it meant you had to grind far more often. This was both frustrating and tiring for many players. So it was that development quickly moved to the third game in the series.
The 8-Bit Trilogy
Final Fantasy III marked the last game in the series to be released on the Famicom and NES. It continued the experimental attitude of the second game, although to a much smaller extent. That level of experimentation was moved over to the SaGa series instead.
Dropping the new leveling system, Final Fantasy III introduced the Job system. This allowed each character to take on the role of over 20 different “jobs”, or classes. These could be switched in and out at any time as well, meaning that each character could learn a vast array of abilities. It also added a tactical element to party structure, as you had to plan out how each party member would work and what role they would play.
The game, itself, was well recieved, helping to bring back some love to the series. However, it was a short-lived game and, despite building the framework for the rest of the series, quickly disappeared from memory.
The 16-Bit Era
So it was that Final Fantasy III ended the series’ run on the Famicom and NES. However, that was only because of the release of the Super Famicom (or the SNES outside of Japan). This brand new system launched the next generation for gaming, bringing the world into the 16-Bit era.
Square was, however, reluctant to throw all of their chips into one basket and fully commit to a new system. As such, they planned to create two new Final Fantasy games at the same time, named Final Fantasy IV and V respectively. IV would be released for the NES, which was now reaching the end of its life cycle, whilst V would be developed for the SNES.
Unfortunately, it was just too much for the company to handle, so they were forced to scrap the original NES game known as Final Fantasy IV. Thus, they put all of their focus onto the SNES game, changing its name from V to IV.
This version of Final Fantasy IV sort to refine the gameplay of its predecessors, doing away with the interchangeable job system in favour of predetermined classes for each character. This meant that the classes could be far more complex, but also helped the developers create a more in-depth storyline.
Final Fantasy IV added everything from meaningful relationships between characters to complex political struggles. Despite still being firmly rooted in the fantasy genre, this allowed the developers to show fans that they could expand the horizons of the series beyond standard tropes.
Experimentation continued as well, as Square made huge changes to the standard turn-based battle system that had been in place since the very first game. Final Fantasy IV was the first game to introduce the Active Time Battle system, which meant that characters would need to “rest” after each attack, with the rest time varying depending on the strength of the attack. It also meant that the Speed statistic suddenly became even more important.
This was because, the higher a character’s Speed (or Agility), the shorter their rest time was. Finally, it was Final Fantasy IV that saw the introduction of Save Points, which by today’s standards, is now seen as an outdated gameplay mechanic. However, at the time it was a brilliant addition that meant the pacing and length of the game could be greatly improved.
Interestingly enough, due to the fact that Final Fantasy II and III were not localised outside of Japan, when Final Fantasy IV came to the West on the SNES, it was renamed as Final Fantasy II. This was cover up the fact that we had essentially missed two full games (and wouldn’t be the last time this happened).
Making It Easy For The West
The J-RPG genre had never really been big in the West. In fact, it was still very much a niche genre until Final Fantasy IV (I mean II) came out on the SNES. It was that game which really introduced Western audiences to the genre. Therefore, Square wanted to take advantage of this and grow the Final Fantasy brand in the States as quickly as possible.
However, they had already needed to make Final Fantasy IV (II) easier than its Japanese counterpart for it to be successful. So it was that the view of developers became the idea that the Western audience just wasn’t able to handle the complexities of the RPG genre. So, Square decided to make an RPG just for Americans; Final Fantasy Mystic Quest.
It removed the free-roam aspects of the genre, as well as taking away control of all characters except for the main protagonist. In essence, it cut out all of the tactical elements and grinding, but kept the standard slow pacing. You can find out how well it turned out in my review of Final Fantasy Mystic Quest here.
In the end, it was a really bad decision. Even when Mystic Quest was released in Japan (amusingly named Final Fantasy USA), it didn’t sell very well at all. This was a learning experience for Square, who decided that they wouldn’t dumb down any future releases outside of Japan (thankfully).
The Fifth Fantasy
Final Fantasy V, having been developed whilst the world was experiencing Mystic Quest, finally released in Japan in December of 1992. It had been designed to give the deepest experience of a Final Fantasy game to date – that’s the reason why the West didn’t get the game.
With an updated version of the Job system, as well as an Ability System that connected to it, character depth was greatly improved. If you were to level up one class high enough, you could then unlock the ability to cross-equip some of that class’ skills onto another one (this idea would later be used as a key feature in Final Fantasy XIV).
Despite this, Square remained vigilant with their storytelling, creating unique characters rather than relying on nameless protagonists. The storyline was littered with memorable moments, grand villains and emotion. It was a really strong entry in the franchise – one that we didn’t get to experience outside of Japan, at first.
Goodbye To The 16-Bit
And so we come to the end of the SNES’ life cycle as well, and with it, the last in the second trilogy of Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy VI released on the 2nd of April, 1994. It marked a huge change for the series in terms of setting style, as it moved away from medieval fantasy and dove straight into steampunk.
The world mixed swords and magic with a society of industry and machinery. This was introduced to players immediately in the opening scene through the use of Magitek Armor right at the beginning of the game.
In the West, the game was hyped up through previews and ads across all sorts of gaming magazines. There was even an animated TV advert as well.
On top of this, Square had learnt their lesson; the game was not going to be made easier for the West. Instead, the game itself scrapped the Job system once again, focusing on the characters themselves (like Final Fantasy IV). Square also decided to buck the trend of J-RPGs of the time by expanding the game’s world, rather than narrowing storylines.
This meant that a whole host of sub-plots and backstory events were included. Considering the fact that gamers at the time weren’t used to open-world games or massive narratives at the time, this helped to make Final Fantasy VI really stand out from the crowd.
The game received glowing reviews across the board and, to this day, is very as one of the best games in the series as a whole.
All Lucky Sevens
First years, Square had been partnered with Nintendo. In fact, they even put together a tech demo for the Nintendo 64 that uses characters from Final Fantasy VI. This lead to many believing that the next Final Fantasy was an imminent N64 release.
However, since Nintendo was determined to stick with cartridges for the N64 whilst Sony had just released the PlayStation using CDs as a medium, the time for change had come. Square jumped ship to the new console. Many fans were outraged at first, viewing the company as traitors.
However, it turned out to be the right decision, as fans would soon come to realise.
Sakaguchi moved away from being the director of the next Final Fantasy game, instead acting as Producer due to the larger team needed to produce the seventh game. In fact, the team had grown four times as large compared to that of Final Fantasy VI! With Sakaguchi no longer in the director’s chair, Square put Yoshinori Kitase in the role instead – he was the director of the huge success that was Chrono Trigger.
Whilst the team had very limited experience with CGI graphics, through hard work they managed to start bringing everything together. It was at that point that they knew the Western audiences would be sold on the game, because of how amazing it looked. However, he was concerned about the Japanese audience and how they would react to the new Final Fantasy game being on Sony’s console and not Nintendo’s.
On the 31st of January 1997, Final Fantasy VII was released into the wild. Nervousness was certainly the feeling of the day in Square’s offices. However, within the first three days of release, Final Fantasy VII sold 2 million copies! Once it hit Western shores, that number jumped up to 10 million, sealing the deal and letting Square and its fans know that the jump had been the right move.
Square had dared to fight against two prevailing theories;
- Americans and Europeans would never play RPGs
- Americans and Europeans cared more about action than story
They took a stand to prove these ideas wrong, and they were successful. Final Fantasy VII was a runaway success that, to this day, is still beloved by millions. It has even lead to sequels and prequels called Crisis Core (PSP), Dirge of Cerberus (PS2) and Advent Children (movie). Sadly, Square has yet to reach quite that level of success again.
Divided We Stand
Moving on from Final Fantasy VII, Square had another lesson to learn. Final Fantasy VII had seen many delays during development due to poor planning. As such, Square decided to split their development team in two in order to plan and work on two new games at the same time.
Whilst this had been tried before when working on the original Final Fantasy IV and V, things had moved on considerably since then.
Thus, work on Final Fantasy VIII and IX began almost simultaneously. VIII would stick with the more modern style setting of VI and VII, whilst IX would return to the medieval world, filled with nostalgia. It was a bold decision.
Final Fantasy VIII was set in a world inspired by modern-day Europe and threw away much of the traditional leveling system. Whilst you still grew stronger through gaining experience points, you could actually improve your characters’ stats further by “junctioning” (equipping magic onto your individual stats). This also lead to the removal of MP (magic points), as Magic was “drawn” out of monsters or Draw Point, giving you limited numbers of each spell until you found another place or monster to draw it out of.
Despite the fact that the game received critical praise, earning scores of 9 or higher across the board, it split fans considerably. Some loved the game’s new style of gameplay and epic tale of romance, whilst others found the Junction system to be overly complicated and the Draw system tedious.
As for Final Fantasy IX, development was marred by confusion. To begin with, Square wasn’t sure whether they wanted it to even be a numbered sequel. This is because numbered sequels were considered the “bread and butter” of the franchise and the game was very much a nostalgic throwback to the older games. To be a numbered sequel, the game had to be worthy of it. In the end, it was.
Returning to the deformed character styles of Yoshitaka Amano, Square took Final Fantasy IX’s design back to the style of the older games, which adding in new gameplay features and a massive plot that spanned four discs.
It was largely considered a work of art upon release, actually being the highest rated game of the series so far. However, it ended up being the worst selling of the PlayStation era games, possibly due to the end of the 32-bit era coming ever closer.
The 32-Bit Swan Song
As we reached the end of the 20th century, the 32-bit era of the PlayStation, Sega Saturn and N64 was coming to an end as well. So, in order to get as much out of the 32-bit consoles as possible, Square began to release a bunch of spin-off and cash in titles.
These included Chocobo Racing, which was a Mario Kart inspired game with the main character being a chocobo with rocket-propelled shoes. There were also a few small RPGs featuring said chocobo as the main character.
However, amongst all of these cash in titles was one spin-off game that was truly worthy of the Final Fantasy name; Final Fantasy Tactics.
It was actually developed around the same time as Final Fantasy VII, but focused more on the traditional 2D graphical style of RPGs, except for the 3D world. The standard turn-based RPG battle system was replaced with a tactical RPG system, which resembled chess. On top of this, the Job system made a comeback, but in far more depth.
Despite the game featuring a brilliant and rich storyline, the hardcore tactical gameplay proved to be its downfall, at least at the time of launch. Sales were very poor, partly because everyone had recently fallen in love with the gameplay style of Final Fantasy VII. In fact, the game sold so badly that it wasn’t even released in Europe!
However, in 2001, Square decided to re-release it in the “Greatest Hits” line of games. This is the American version of Europe’s Platinum range of games. It was then that the game suddenly shot up in popularity. Sure, it may not have come close to the main numbered series in sales, but it sold well enough to spawn two sequels on the GameBoy Advance (which were nowhere near as good) and a port to the PSP with improved dialogue.
The New Millenium
The move into the 21st century marked yet another change in the Final Fantasy franchise. Having seen what CGI storytelling could do through Final Fantasy VII, VIII and IX, Sakaguchi began work on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
This was not the next game in the series, nor another spin-off title. Instead, it was completely CGI movie, similar to that of Dreamworks and Pixar. However, instead of creating cartoon graphics for kids, Sakaguchi and his team created a photo-realistic movie to show what they could do. It took three years to create and, to this day, is still one of the best reviewed videogame to movie adaptations.
However, it had almost nothing to do with Final Fantasy, except for the idea of the planet’s “spirit” being called Gaia. The Spirits Within was actually just a relatively standard science fiction film. Because of this, and the fact that it was far too deep and philosophical for a standard action movie, it failed miserably.
In fact, it was one of the biggest commercial failures and financial losses in movie history, nearly bringing Square back to the position they had been in before Sakaguchi first released Final Fantasy all those years ago.
The Tenth Release
Luckily for Square, the next game in the Final Fantasy series released very soon after. Sakaguchi, due to his involvement with The Spirits Within, had only acted as Executive Producer on this new game, but you could still feel his influence.
Having been in development for over two years, Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to appear on the newly released PlayStation 2. Once again, the team behind it had ditched traditional RPG design in favour of experimentation.
This lead to a battle system known as the Conditional Turn Battle system, where using certain actions meant that a character would have his or her next turn pushed further down the queue. On top of this, you could swap characters in and out of battle as long as they were still standing.
The other major point of experimentation worth mentioning, apart from the inclusion of voice acting for the first time in the series, was the Sphere Grid. In another effort to step away from traditional leveling, Final Fantasy X saw characters gain Sphere Levels which could then be spent to move around the Sphere Grid.
The Sphere Grid was a huge board full of nodes that contained skills and stat increases, as well as special lock nodes that need key spheres to unlock. In essence, it was a giant puzzle that you had to move the characters around in order to grow their stats and abilities. This added an insane amount of customisation to the characters, as you could choose how they developed depending on how you moved around the grid.
Finally, the developers ditched the World Map idea (except when you’re in an airship), favouring a “connected world” style of gameplay. This meant that there were no immersion-breaking changes in the size of the world. No longer would you step out of a town and suddenly be a giant character towering above the rest of the world as you moved to the next location. Instead, every single road, forest and town were part of one single world connected by loading zones.
Final Fantasy X marked the moment in time that the series turned around again, becoming the king RPGs once more. The gameplay and storyline where sheer brilliance and are remembered very fondly to this day.
The First True Sequel
Square was so elated with how well received Final Fantasy X was that they decide to do something they had never done before; make a new game with the same world and characters. For the very first time, Squaresoft made a direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game!
Because development and release of Final Fantasy XI were already looming, they had to choose a different naming convention. Thus, they named this new game Final Fantasy X-2, starting a new naming convention that would stick when they eventually made more direct sequels in the future.
Final Fantasy X-2 was very much a game about fan-service. It focused on being more light-hearted than the rather dark and depressing story of Final Fantasy X. A good example of this is when you first start up the game and are greeted with a pop concert.
Also, due to the fact that the game only featured 3 playable characters, the developers opted to bring back the Job system in order to give more variety to the characters. However, this was done through a “dress up” system, where you had to get different outfits to unlock the different classes.
Despite the fact that it doesn’t hold very fond memories with many Final Fantasy fans, it sold rather well.
A Historic Merger
For years, Square’s Final Fantasy series and Enix’s Dragon Quest franchise had been bitter rivals in the gaming industry. All of that changed shortly after the release of Final Fantasy X-2.
It was, at this time in Final Fantasy’s history, that Square merged with Enix to create a brand new entity that is still known as Square Enix today.
However, it also marked the end of Sakaguchi’s reign as the king of Final Fantasy. Following the merger, his new bosses took one look at the stain on his record caused by The Spirits Within and that was all there was to it. So, after working at Square for 21 years, Sakaguchi left the company he had helped to build and moved on to start a new business.
Multiplayer Final Fantasy
Final Fantasy XI was a game that caused a lot of controversy with fans when it was first announced. It was going to be a massively-multiplayer RPG (MMORPG) similar to World of Warcraft or EverQuest. This angered many longtime fans, similar to how Final Fantasy VII had done the same before release.
This was especially true in Japan, as online gaming hadn’t really been a success compared to the West.
However, Square Enix had a trick up their sleeve – one that they would use again later in the franchise’s life. You see, Final Fantasy XI was a cross-platform MMORPG, which meant that PC and PS2 players were able to play together on the same servers. This was a first in the industry. On top of this, the Job system returned, which meant that one character could play all of the classes in the game.
This was a huge selling point compared to other MMORPGs, as traditionally, you would have to “role”, or play as, multiple characters to try out and enjoy the different classes. Having all of them available on one character made life far more simple for gamers.
However, to this day, Final Fantasy XI is widely regarded as one of the most challenging MMORPGs. In fact, the game has one boss fight that became legendary when elite end-game players fought it for 20 hours straight, in a huge group, only to eventually give up before they could kill it.
Despite this, the game continued to run on a Pay to Play monthly subscription model for 14 years! The servers were eventually shut down and the game closed in 2016.
The Return of Nintendo
It wasn’t long after the release of Final Fantasy XI that Square Enix announced that they would be bringing a new game in the franchise to Nintendo’s GameCube console. It wouldn’t be a main numbered entry, but rather a spin-off series of its own known as Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.
The game featured multiplayer and returned to the more child-friendly graphical style of the original Nintendo Final Fantasy games. It sold relatively well, especially since the development team featured less than 20 people. As such, it has since gone on to create its own series on the DS and Wii consoles.
The Twelfth Battle
By the time Final Fantasy XII came out, the cards were already stacked against it. The next generation of consoles was already beginning as the Xbox 360 had been released and the PS2 was losing traction.
However, Square Enix was undeterred and created their most ambitious game to date. Utilising the idea of a connected world that they had perfected with Final Fantasy X, the team created a huge game world suitable for an MMORPG. However, the game wasn’t an online one, instead sticking true to the single-player RPG style.
The turn-based battle system was heavily altered again, with battle scenes removed from the game. Instead of running around and then being pulled out of the game map and into a separate battle scene randomly, enemies now appeared on the game map and battles took place in the game world. The active time battle system made a comeback, but with an MMORPG style twist as well.
The storyline was also set in the same world as Final Fantasy Tactics and another PSX game, Vagrant Story. This helped to capture the interest of fans of both of these games. It was very well received by critics, but due to the PS2 reaching the end of its lifecycle, sales were low.
It did, however, get a small sequel on the Nintendo DS a year later.
Lightning Strikes In Threes
With the PS3 coming out, fans of Final Fantasy waited eagerly for the next game in the series; Final Fantasy XIII. Originally slated to be the flagship game in a new collective series known as Fabula Nova Crystallis, it featured a strong, female lead character called Lightning who was dubbed as a mix between Terra from Final Fantasy VI and Cloud from Final Fantasy VII.
Final Fantasy XIII was an absolutely beautiful game, really showing what the PlayStation 3 was capable of. However, it was ultimately frowned upon by fans due to the simplistic combat system (you could let the game fight for you if you wanted to) and extremely linear first half of the game. It was even nicknamed as a corridor simulator by fans of the series.
Nevertheless, Square Enix developed a direct sequel, utilising the naming convention started with Final Fantasy X-2.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 focused on Sarah, Lightning’s sister, and featured the ability to travel through time. This was designed to remedy to feeling of XIII being too linear. However, the fact that you only had two playable characters (plus monsters that you could tame) meant that the battle system felt just as simplistic as the original game.
Despite the multitude of endings adding to the replayability of the game, fans were waiting for the other games in the Fabula Nova Crystallis instead. However, they were to be disappointed when one of them was taken away to be its own game (we’ll get to that) and the other just seemed to fade away (we’ll get to that too).
It wasn’t long after XIII-2 that we were then given Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the third game in this mini-series within a series. Taking place 500 years after the events of XIII-2, the game features a clock that was constantly ticking down to the end of the world.
With a Job system in the style of Final Fantasy X-2’s dress up game coming into play again, plus the fact that Lighting was the only real playable character, it was a very different Final Fantasy game. This was in keep with the idea of experimentation that permeates the franchise. However, by this point, fans were ready to move on from Lightning.
As mentioned earlier, one of the planned games for the Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos was taken out of the collective to become its own game. This became known as Final Fantasy Type-0 and was released for the PSP originally, before eventually getting an HD remake for the PS4.
Similar to the spin-off prequel to Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, Type-0 uses an action-battle system as the basis for combat. The game itself is a huge departure from the standard gameplay of the franchise, with 14 playable characters and (on the PSP version) multiplayer with a 3-minute time limit.
The game is structured using a mission-based format as well, similar to Crisis Core, and also features an arena mode as well.
An Era Reborn
The next game in the Final Fantasy series was Final Fantasy XIV, a second attempt to create an MMORPG after the success of FFXI. However, the original version of XIV was a disaster.
The game itself needed top of the range PCs to be able to even run the game. From there, it was full of bugs at launch and felt incredibly empty due to the size of the world and lack of NPC and monster population. Despite this, it did gain dedicated players who stuck with it.
However, Square Enix could see how badly the game was doing and, rather than risk tarnishing the Final Fantasy name again (like they did with The Spirits Within) they decided to take action. A new development team took over the game, adding in various patches to fix the most broken bugs whilst creating a storyline that led to the End of an Era event.
This involved one of the moons coming down to the planet, summoned by one of the antagonists. That moon subsequently exploded to reveal Bahamut, the king of dragons within it. Bahamut proceeded to obliterate the world whilst a powerful mage sent players’ characters into the future.
This was the end of the original Final Fantasy XIV and marked the day the servers were turned off.
The new team then went to work to rebuild the game from the ground up. This lead to new graphics and systems being used to make the game work better on all types of PCs, but also on the PS3 as well (plus the PS4 at a later date). Thanks to this, cross-platform gameplay was added successfully to the game as well.
The gameplay was altered and improved immensely as well, and a new storyline was written. This led to the game being relaunched as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.
In this new version, players of the original could continue with the characters that they already had, as the developers had written the plotline of these characters being sent forward in time. The new game took place 2 years after Bahamut’s attack and reintroduced previous players through one starting storyline and new players through a different one.
From here, the game became a resounding success and is currently one of the most popular MMORPGs available, with two expansion packs and additional content being added to the game for free every 3 months. There have also been a number of Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festivals around the world as well.
Final Fantasy XIV is the story of how Square Enix was able to salvage a completely failing game and turn it into a true success story.
Brotherhood And The Future
Finally, we’re going to talk about the third game from the Fabula Nova Crystallis; the one that just seemed to vanish. For years, no news was heard about this game, originally titled as Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Because of this, everyone had come to the assumption that this awesome looking game had been quietly cancelled.
Then, at E3 2013, everyone was focused on the PS4 and Xbox One, not really expecting anything of note to come from Square. However, when Sony’s press conference started, we got something no one was expecting. Tetsuya Nomura appeared on the screen to announce that he had a surprise for us all.
A trailer appeared, showcasing an utterly beautiful looking game from Square Enix. Part way through the trailer, Noctis, the main character of Versus XIII came into view, followed by some of the most amazing looking gameplay ever. Then, the Versus XIII logo finally appeared on the screen, only the shatter into pieces and be replaced with the title Final Fantasy XV.
The long lost game was back, and was now a main numbered title! The crowd erupted, and the game was alive.
It eventually released on the PS2 on the 29th of November 2016. With a massive open world, exciting and frantic gameplay and a story about brotherhood and friendship, it was a return to form for the series. Since then, it has seen numerous DLC added to it, including one that fixed one of the less popular sections of the games. This shows Square Enix’s continued desire to improve and make Final Fantasy games as good as they can be, first seen in how they handled Final Fantasy XIV.
With more DLC coming in 2019, set the end the story of Noctis and his friends, we can now start to look towards the future of Final Fantasy and the 16th numbered title in the series. Considering the success of both Final Fantasy XIV and XV, I think the future is a bright one.
And That’s All Folks
Final Fantasy has a storied history of twist and turns, successes and failures. It is one of the longest running video game series to date and looks set to keep going for a long time to come. It helped save a company from the brink of collapse, popularise the RPG genre in the West and create a devoted fan base.
Have you played a Final Fantasy game? Which is your favourite? What do you think the future holds for the franchise? Let me know in the comments below!