I had a year to decide how I was going to celebrate this momentous occasion. Last year I covered the history and impact of Final Fantasy in “Final Fantasy: Why the Vibrant Gaming Industry We Know Could Not Exist Without It”, and this year I have been playing my ass off trying to complete various Final Fantasy games. That’s how I came up with this idea, to show the cover art for the games along with a short description of them as well as the systems you can find them on. I originally wanted to cover the whole set of stories, but it would have been too laborious and honestly been a huge spoiler. So I have adjusted my original idea to this more practical format. I hope you enjoy.
For first-timers, here is a kind of Key Legend for those of you unfamiliar with abbreviations for game systems:
(PS1 = Playstation) (PS2 = Playstation 2) (PSP = Playstation Portable) (PS3 = Playstation 3) (PS4 = Playsation 4) (PSV = Playstation Vita) (NES = Nintendo Entertainment System) (SNES = Super Nintendo Entertainment System) (GBA = GameBoy Advance) (DS = Nintendo DS) (3DS = Nintendo 3DS)
4 young Orphans discover their destiny as the Warriors of Light and embark on a quest to restore light to the 4 Elemental Crystals. Will they succeed, or will the fall to the Fiends that Guard the Crystals, or their Master?
Systems You Can Find it On: NES, MSX2, Wonder Swan Color, PS1, GBA, Mobile Phone, PSP, Wii, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, 3DS, Wii U
Significance: This was the very first Final Fantasy game, released this day (12/18/17) 30 Years ago. It saved Square from Bankruptcy and has ever since greatly influence the gaming industry. If it were not for this game, you would not be reading any of this.
Final Fantasy II
Orphans fight an aggressive Empire in an attempt to save their friend Leon. Will they save him, or are they in for a terrible surprise?
Systems You Can Find it On: NES, Wonder Swan Color, PS1, GBA, Mobile Phone, PSP, Wii, iOS, Android, 3DS, WiiU
Significance: This is the first name where characters have pre-set canonical names which you can choose to change or leave the same.
Final Fantasy III
After an Earthquake opens up a cavern, a crystal gives 4 orphans incredible powers and sends them off on an important journey. Will the 4 young travelers be able to save the world from utter darkness?
Systems You Can Find it On: NES, DS, Wii, iOS, Android, PSP, Ouya, Windows Phone, WiiU, 3DS
Significance: Final Fantasy 3 was the first game to introduce the concept of the 2 world maps, overworld and underworld. It is also the first game to have Summoning.
Final Fantasy IV
When he begins to question the behavior of his King, the Dark Knight Cecil of Baron is stripped of his rank and sent to perform a dastardly task. Angered by what happened, Cecil embarks on a journey to stop the dark forces that caused all of this and threaten the entire world.
Systems You Can Find it On: SNES, Wonder Swan Color, GBA, DS, PS1, Wii, PSP, iOS, Android, Windows, 3DS, WiiU
Significance: Final Fantasy IV was the first Final Fantasy to introduce the Active Time Battle system to determine the order in which actions are determined. It is interesting to note this game was intended to be a release for the NES but they instead put their resources into making it a SNES Release.
Final Fantasy V
On a day when the winds stop and crystals shatter, a group of Heros must band together to put a stop to the catastrophe. Will they be able to save the crystals that sustain their world and defeat the evil entity behind the catastrophe?
Systems You Can Find it On: SNES, PS1, GBA, iOS, Android, Windows, Wii, WiiU, 3DS
Significance: Final Fantasy V apparently has an OVA Sequel.
Final Fantasy VI
After a young girl has her mind freed of an empires control by an ancient being, she embarks on a journey to prevent the repeat of a 1000-year-old catastrophe. With the help of her newfound companions, will she be able to stop the evil empire before they can unleash the power of rampaging gods?
Systems You Can Find It On: SNES, PS1, GBA, Android, iOS, Windows, Wii, WiiU, 3DS
Significance: This game had the largest cast of playable characters and also the largest selection of Espers. The last Final Fantasy on SNES.
Final Fantasy VII
Cloud and his companions must fight against an evil corporation to save the entire planet. But will the darkness from his past end up spelling disaster? As cities collapse and the planet cries, the heroes must overcome all obstacles before time runs out.
Systems You Can Find It On: PS1, PS4, Windows, iOS, Android
Significance: Final Fantasy VII was the first Final Fantasy game in 3D, also the first Final Fantasy game on the PlayStation and the first game to use multiple disks. It had a Multi-Million Dollar budget and a staff of 100 people. Most notably, it is considered one of the best video games of all time.
Final Fantasy VIII
A group of young mercenaries is sent to stop an attack by an aggressive empire, only to find a darker threat lurking under the surface. Now the young heroes of SeeD must set out on a journey around the world and above it. The future of not just the planet, but all of time and space itself is at risk and only they can save it.
Systems You Can Find It On: PS1, Windows
Significance: Final Fantasy VIII is the first final fantasy game where summoned espers take an active role rather than just resulting in a single devastating attack. It also is the first game with 4 disks.
Final Fantasy IX
After kidnapping a princess, 16-year-old Zidane and his companions set off on a journey of epic proportions. With the fate of the entire world on their shoulders, will they be able to stop invaders from another world from taking over all of Gaia?
Systems You Can Find It On: PS1, PS4, Windows, iOS, Android
Significance: Final Fantasy IX was the last game on the PS1. Additionally, it was the last title to use ATB until Final Fantasy X-2, a misguided sequel attempt by Square. It also used ATE, or Active Time Events that allow a player to events unfolding at multiple locations. Other than that, it was pretty average.
Final Fantasy X
A young man torn from his own city of Zanarkand wakes up on a beach to tales of its destruction 1000 years prior. Trying to solve the mystery, he joins a young summoner and her guardians on their pilgrimage to Zanarkand. Will they be able to defeat the creature Sin and solve the mystery of his arrival?
Systems You Can Find It On: PS2, PS3, PSV, PS4
Significance: Final Fantasy X was the first Final Fantasy game on the PS2, the first Final Fantasy game that did not have a world map, and the first 3D Final Fantasy game that did not require multiple disks. In addition, it was the first game since Final Fantasy III that did not use the ATB system, instead opting for a Conditional Turn-Based system or CTB for short. It is also the first Final Fantasy game to have a Sequel game developed for it, though that sequel was horrible. Final Fantasy X though is still my favorite game in the Final Fantasy series as well as the first Final Fantasy I ever played.
Final Fantasy XI
Vana’diel is a world steeped in myth and conflict. A hero must fight for his nation and stop the Shadow Lord and other threats to the world.
Systems You Can Find It On: PS2, Windows, X-Box 360
Significance: Final Fantasy XI is the first Final Fantasy to be crafted as an MMORPG. It is also the first Final Fantasy that did not have random encounter battles, opting instead to adopt a live battle system where a player can approach an enemy to start a battle or flee from the enemy to avoid one. Final Fantasy XI received 5 expansions and 16 of the original servers are still active today. It has received mixed reviews from critics, though fans have been more critical of some aspects of the game that seem forced or phony.
Final Fantasy XII
After a young street urchin tries to rob treasure from the palace treasury of Dalmasca, he embarks on a journey to stop a tyrannical empire. Will he and his companions be able to stop the fires of war or the entities that weave fate?
Systems You Can Find It On: PS2, PS4
Significance: Final Fantasy XII is the first non-MMO entry to the Final Fantasy series to use the ADB, or Active Dimension Battle system. It also introduces the “Gambit System” to determine the behavior of other party members when engaging enemies in battle. It is the last Final Fantasy mainline title for the PS2.
Final Fantasy XIII
After fleeing from a Purge in a town within the artificial sphere of Cocoon, Lightning and her friends meet her sister at the fal’Cie Anima and are branded l’Cie. Now they must embark on a journey to complete their Focus and in turn, save Pulse and Cocoon.
Systems You Can Find It On: PS3, Xbox 360, Windows
Significance: Final Fantasy XIII is the first Final Fantasy game on the PS3 and has 3 sequels. It adopts a hybrid of the ADB and the ATB, players can run from or approach an enemy, however if they encounter the enemy the game transitions to a different battle screen that utilizes the ATB. Rather than using traditional jobs, the game utilizes a Paradigm system to determine skill sets such as magic.
Final Fantasy XIV
After having a strange dream on the way to a city, the Hero must work with the Scions of the Seventh Dawn to save Eorzea and live up to the legacy of the Legendary Warriors of Light.
Systems You Can Find It On: PS3, PS4, Windows, OS X
Significance: Final Fantasy XIV is the second MMORPG from the Final Fantasy series. Facing major flaws and angry fans, the original servers were scrapped and shut down after a major redesign, and the game was relaunched as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. In its new format and running environment, the game performed much better and was easier to facilitate as a cross-platform title.
Final Fantasy XV
On his way to be wed to Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae, Prince Noctis of Lucis learns that Nifelheim has broken an armistice killing his father and taking over Lucis Capital of Insomnia. Now with the help of his close friends, Noctis must travel to the corners of Eos and recover the ancestral relics of the Lucii to stop the evil empire of Nifelheim and the apocalyptic Star Scourge.
Systems You Can Find It On: PS4, Xbox One, Microsoft
Significance: Final Fantasy XV is the most realistic Final Fantasy game to date, the most like everyday life in many ways. It utilizes the Active Cross Battle system, or ACB for short. It is also the closest release to this, the 30th Anniversary of the original 1987 game. With its HD Graphics and lush environments, it looks to be a tour de force for the senses.
Now for some Fan Service before my Closing.
In 30 years, this is what Final Fantasy has become. Along with these mainline games, there are many sequels, side stories, and spinoffs associated with this series. This game changes with the world and continues to tell breathtaking and heartbreaking stories. These are stories worth experiencing, stories I want to share with my baby siblings and maybe eventually one day with my children. This is the sum of a great legacy started 30 years ago from the date this post will be published on. In another 30 years, we can only imagine what it will be like. Certainly though, this is a series that has changed the gaming industry, as well as changed the lives of so many people who have played it. So happy birthday Final Fantasy, you are truly one of the masterworks of our society, a masterpiece of music, art, and storytelling.