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Final Fantasy
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Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy (Japanese: ファイナルファンタジー) is a very popular series of role-playing video games produced by Square (aka Squaresoft), now Square Enix. The Final Fantasy video game franchise originated in Japan in 1987 and was brought over to North America in 1990 and to Europe in 1998. It is also very popular in Australia and New Zealand. Games in the Final Fantasy series have been featured on the NES, MSX, SNES, Playstation, Wonderswan Color, Playstation 2, PC, Game Boy Advance, Gamecube, and cellular phone. It is the best-selling Square Enix game series. According to Square Enix's press release, it sold over 40 million units worldwide before the Square Enix merger, which went into effect on April 1, 2003. Final Fantasy is considered one of the most influential video game franchises ever.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Graphics
3 How to play
4 The games
5 Compilations
6 Spinoffs
7 Notable people
8 See also
9 External links

Overview

Most Final Fantasy games have a considerable level of detail given to the plot and character development. All the games in the series occur in different universes and were traditionally unrelated, except for the occasional cameo (such as Cloud's appearance in Final Fantasy Tactics, Kingdom Hearts and Ehrgeiz). Since the Square-Enix merger of April 1, 2003 (a badly chosen date; some could have thought it was an April Fool's Day joke), this policy of non-continuous games has been set aside, as evidenced by the direct sequel Final Fantasy X-2, and the reappearance of the world from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in Final Fantasy XII. There is a tradition where many of the games have characters named Biggs, Wedge, and Cid, as well as recurring creatures, such as Moogles and Chocobos. The battles in these games are usually semi-turn based, using a system known as the Active Time Battle - introduced in Final Fantasy 4. The battle system differs somewhat among all the games, particularly in the use of weapons, magic (such as Black, White, and Summon), items, and limit breaks (a.k.a. overdrives). Limit breaks were introduced in Final Fantasy 6.

The Final Fantasy series is known for its many references to history, literature, and mythologies from around the world, particularly in the later games. The earlier games also contain references to religion.

The series' name comes from Square's brush with bankruptcy, and is an excellent example of gallows humor. Head designer Hironobu Sakaguchi decided to make the company's last project a fantasy role-playing game, as the name of Final Fantasy implies. The game's success brought the company to profitability, and the Final Fantasy video game franchise was born. Since then the Final Fantasy franchise has been considered Square Enix's most important asset. Figuratively, the name of Final Fantasy can also refer to any successful last chance to escape bankruptcy or any successful last chance to escape death or halt personal loss, based on this business situation.

Yasumi Matsuno assumed the role of chief producer and designer. The character designers are Yoshitaka Amano (FF 1-6 and 9), Tetsuya Nomura (FF 7, 8, 10), and Akihiko Yoshida. Yoshinori Kitase is an integral part in the production of the Final Fantasy series. In October 2003, Kazushige Nojima, once an integral part in the Final Fantasy production, resigned from Square Enix. He worked on Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, and X-2.

Final Fantasy has been well recognized in the United States and Europe for its soundtracks. Nobuo Uematsu is the chief music composer of the Final Fantasy series. Other music composers include Masashi Hamauzu and Junya Nakano. Final Fantasy soundtracks and sheet music are getting more popular among non-Japanese Final Fantasy fans and have even been performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. On November 17, 2003, Square Enix U.S.A. launched an America Online radio station dedicated to the Final Fantasy series. It initially carried complete tracks from Final Fantasy XI and samplings from Final Fantasy VII through X. Many video game and MIDI Web sites offer MIDI renditions of Final Fantasy music pieces. Several Final Fantasy fans play songs from the series on the piano. Final Fantasy is known not only by the video game community, but also in music circles. The game series is possibly a musical topic as well as a video game topic, due to its recognition for its music. An orchestral Final Fantasy music concert in the United States was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall on May 10, 2004. That concert was a one-day sell out, meaning that all seats were sold out in one day. Most Final Fantasy fan sites offer Final Fantasy music files.

Although the franchise is extremely popular, it is not without critics. Some cite a lack of interactivity (overuse of Full Motion Video), rigid and often linear story structure and unoriginality. With the exception of Final Fantasy VII, the games that appeared in CD form on the Sony Playstation and Playstation 2 platforms that are scenario-written by Kazushige Nojima, are especially attacked by critics within the video game community. Final Fantasy II (of Japan), III, and V have been also attacked by critics. Nintendo's Legend of Zelda, Konami's Suikoden, Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto, Square Enix's Chrono, and Dragon Quest franchises have strong competition with Final Fantasy. Much of the Final Fantasy fanbase is believed to have conservative attitudes, especially since the time of Final Fantasy VII, and many critics have such attitudes. Some new school gamers and die-hard Final Fantasy fans believe that the nostalgia factor takes a role in many critics' opinions on Final Fantasy VIII, IX, X, and X-2.

Graphics

Final Fantasy graphics have transformed so much over the years, that without the names, the first and last Final Fantasy's might look completely different.

The Early Years

Final Fantasy began on the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1987. The system used by this first Final Fantasy would be used again in the next 6 Final Fantasy's (Final Fantasy I, Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy V, and Final Fantasy Mystic Quest). On the main world screen, smaller sprites were used because of graphical limitations, and in the battle screens, more detailed, full versions of one's character would show themselves. This technique would continue on the SNES, despite the fact that the Super Nintendo did not have the same limitations. However, as with any video game system, it would take a while for developers to get used to the technology. Not until Final Fantasy VI would Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) realize the capacity of the Super Nintendo console.

Final Fantasy IV saw the introduction of multiple colors (more than the very few that the NES could handle), and a lush, colorful world. Further, Final Fantasy V looks the most like Final Fantasy VI without using the completely detailed characters throughout. Final Fantasy VI would be praised by reviewers and players alike for its lucious graphics and beautiful special effects. The Playstation versions of all of these games came with additional FMV-sequences as an incentive to buy.

It is interesting to note that the early Final Fantasy's in Japanese consisted purely of hiragana and katakana. While this may seem easier to read, being that they are the more simple alphabets, it is not true. This gives the games the characteristic of "childish," despite their very serious demeanor. Many dialogues were simply clumps of text, making it especially hard for older gamers and foreigners learning Japanese. Finally, in Final Fantasy V, they began to use kanji. This would continue to get more advanced in Final Fantasy VI, and the trend would continue to make the games much more erudite.

The Next-Generation Age

1997 was a changing year for most young gamers. Their first Final Fantasy would be Final Fantasy VII--it was epic. For one thing, it marked the beginning of Squaresoft's separation from Nintendo, but it also marked a new age of graphics. Although the characters were sometimes pixelated, gamers paid no heed--the entire world was 3-Dimensional. With beautifully pre-rendered backgrounds (another trend that would continue until Final Fantasy IX), the world was alive. The game spanned 3 discs, making it even more epic. The characters were made slightly cute yet serious, in what some call a chibi-style. The only other Playstation Final Fantasy to do this was Final Fantasy IX, and to a much lesser extent. Final Fantasy VII was also the first to use FMV sequences, or Full Motion Video. These sequences were incredibly detailed, and the style for such things increased in each game in the series. However, FFVII's FMVs lacked consistency, with Cloud (the main character) being tiny in one scene, and ultra-detailed in the next.

Final Fantasy VIII decided to go for the realistic look, making it seem much more mature. While it is debatable which of the Final Fantasy stories is more 'deep' or 'mature,' VIII tried hard to make a less fun-loving atmosphere, and to some succeeded, and to others it failed. Despite selling well, like all other Final Fantasy's (although this phenomenon only truly started around VII), many ridiculed it. Still, this game kept the pre-rendered graphics from the previous game, leaving only characters and important objects to be 3D-rendered. Final Fantasy VII's FMVs were done in a very movie-like fashion, and it would be the first to truly utilize the dual FMV-3D technique. Using this technique, FMV would occur in the background while the users could still interact normally with their 3D characters, creating a very interesting and innovative mesh of both styles of graphical modeling.

Final Fantasy IX returned to the more "chibi" style, but used a lot more 3D models than the previous games. The FMV scenes were more detailed still, and the liberal use of FMV-3D sequences is quite apparent throughout the game. This would be the last in the official series to use pre-rendered graphics.

An interesting choice midway along the series would be Final Fantasy Tactics, a spinoff of the series, which used spritess again for the characters, creating a very neat and efficient way to deploy objects onto an environment for the developers. Moreover, the only real user-interaction besides preparations and shops took place in battle. The developers saw no need for fully 3D-rendered overhead battles.

After all this, Final Fantasy X was released, and shocked the public with its radically different style. Released on the Playstation 2, all environments were completely rendered in 3D, as well as the characters. Videos of the game played over and over praised the beautiful use of water-effects, water being a key theme throughout the game. The FMV-scenes in Final Fantasy X were astonishingly realistic, and hooked players from the first "Blitzball" sequence. Final Fantasy X also frequently used the pseudo-cutscene--while it would be an important event, it would not be rendered in FMV, and merely have voice-overs and enhanced story-significance.

Final Fantasy X-2 sported similar graphics as Final Fantasy X, with pop-singer cutscenes (FMV scenes). This 'pop-singer' focus of X-2 lost a lot of fans. However, the 'dress-up' system (a dumbed-down term for the 'job system' used by Final Fantasy V and later, in a transformed way, the Final Fantasy Tactics series) allowed for a variety in designs and costumes, renewing playability, allowing players to customize their party to the way they liked it.

After these PS2 sequels, there has not been a new true sequel yet, at least in the Final Fantasy sense (Final Fantasy X-2 would be a dictionary sequel, but any new game in the series is technically yet another number and sequel). While Final Fantasy XI released relatively recently as of this writing, the game is an MMORPG, and many consider it simply "Final Fantasy Online."

The much-awaited Final Fantasy XII is scheduled for release in late 2004 or early 2005, stateside. The game takes place in the more medieval world of Ivalice, the same setting as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (Characters in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance mention playing a game called "Final Fantasy," and a popular theory is that this game is actually Final Fantasy XII itself). The characters are similar to those in Final Fantasy X in design, but a total of five races exist, rather than just humans.

Game Screens

Here is a general look at the 5 traditional Final Fantasy scenes, which interestingly enough, will be changed in the new Final Fantasy XII. The games usually have several types of screens, or modes of interaction, broadly categorized as:

The games often feature various mini-games with their own graphical engines.

How to play

Final Fantasy immensely borrowed from its rival, Dragon Quest. Therefore, Final Fantasy is a menu-based role-playing video game series. Final Fantasy I set up the foundation for the basic battle gameplay, originally using panes in the original version as a guide. Final Fantasy II for the Famicom eliminated the panes that separated between the allies and the enemies. Final Fantasy VII transformed the Battle Screen to make it look three-dimensional, and that was ameliorated by Final Fantasy X. Like Dragon Quest, when walking on the field or in dungeons, the playable characters face random encounters. As they win the random battles, they gain experience points. Death is more of a threat in Final Fantasy I than in its successors. Generally, death is less of a threat in Final Fantasy than in Dragon Quest.

The games

Final Fantasy I

Main article: Final Fantasy 1

Only the first in the Japanese series was available in America until the fourth in the Japanese series. At the beginning of that first game the player chose one of six classes for four characters from a stock list: Fighters, Thieves, Black Belts, White Mages, Black Mages, and Red Mages. These four chosen characters, named by the player, became the Light Warriors, carrying four darkened orbs. The adventure started with the rescue of Princess Sara from Garland, allowing a small amount of gameplay before the game's true opening sequence, during which the song played is also present in other Final Fantasy games. This game featured various vehicles for use in crossing different terrains, including a pirate ship, a canoe, and ultimately an airship. This game has been re-released in an upgraded version in the package "Final Fantasy Origins" for the Sony Playstation, alongside Final Fantasy II, which was formerly Japan-only. Orbs are called crystals in Final Fantasy Origins, and Blackbelts are called Monks.

It has recently been announced that the Gameboy Advance will get a version of the game as well. This version and a GBA version of Final Fantasy 2 will be released in one cart as Final Fantasy III Advance. Final Fantasy 1 has also graced the cellular phone alongside Dragon Quest 1.

External Link: Final Fantasy Classic

Final Fantasy II

Final Fantasy II's plot revolved around four friends (Firion, Maria, Gus, and Leon) who survived an invasion of their hometown, Fynn, from the Empire of Palamecia. Their parents were killed by the Empire. Three of them met up again in the resistance headquarters in Altair, and from there they travel around the world and take on temporary companions in their fight against the Palamecian Empire. FF2 is stylistically very similar to its predecessor, using the same battle system and similar graphics (both in the original and in the remake). It is the first game in the series to have a playable female character (though the White Mage class from FF1 is thought by some to be female) and a man named Cid. Maria is Final Fantasy's first playable female character, and Leila is the second playable female character and a temporary one. FF2 also introduced Chocobos. The waters are in motion since FF2 (they were a still image in the original version of FF1). This game was never released in America or Europe until 2003 with the "Final Fantasy Origins" package enhanced for the Sony Playstation Console, alongside Final Fantasy I. The original Famicom/NES version was unofficially translated by NeoDemiforce in 1998. FF2 is not to be confused with FF2 for the SNES, which was the original US name for FF4.

It's has recently been announced that the Gameboy Advance will get a version of the game as well. This version and a GBA version of Final Fantasy will be released in one cart as Final Fantasy III Advance.

Final Fantasy III

For the NES/Famicom, this was only released in Japan, but it was long later translated into English through emulation by NeoDemiforce. The game featured 4 children on a quest to save the Crystals of the Elements from a force known only as the Dark Cloud. Traveling around the world, they go from the dark world to the Realm of Dreams, where they discover a plot by the gods to destroy the world. They can be changed into many character classes using the first incarnation of the job system that later was used in FFV and FFT. FFIII for the NES is not to be confused with FFIII for the SNES, which was the original US name for FFVI. The chances are unknown of whether Final Fantasy III will be remade for Sony Playstation.

Final Fantasy IV

Main Article:
Final Fantasy IV
For the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Sony Playstation. Final Fantasy IV introduced the Active Time Battle (ATB) system. It is the first game in the series to have more than one world map. It has introduced window color adjustment. The plot focuses on a main character named Cecil Harvey. The game begins when Cecil and the air force he captains (called the Red Wings) are forced to steal a Crystal. Cecil objects about this to his king, King Baron, who promptly deprives him of the command of the Red Wings and sends him off (along with his friend Kain Highwind) on an errand to carry a package to a place called Valley Mist, the home of Rydia of Mist. Starting from Mount Ordeals, the party soon encounters the Fiends of the Elements (Milon, Kainazzo, Valvalis, and Rubicant) who are planning, with their leader Golbez (Cecil's brother), to free the enslaved Zemus, a powerful black wizard trapped on the Red Moon. This game was released on the SNES as Final Fantasy 2 by Square of America. Many of the items, some of the characters abilities, and some spells have been dummied out of the first American version. A lot of things have also been censored in that version, including references to death, the background of Kain Highwind's father, religious content (such as the word holy and references to Christianity), sexual content, and references to bloodshed in the field. In the Tower of Zot, the scythe that was going to drop on Rosa, the game's female lead, was changed to a metal ball in the first American version of Final Fantasy IV. There is also an unofficial version of this game called FF4 Hard, which was translated into English from Japanese by players through emulation, as opposed to the standard version, which was translated into English by Square. The playable characters are Cecil Harvey, Kain Highwind, Rosa Farrell, Rydia of Mist, Tellah of Mysidia, Edward of Damcyan (known as Gilbert in Japan), Yang Fang Leiden, Palom of Mysidia, Porum of Mysidia, Cid Pollendina, Edge Geraldine, and FuSoYa. Final Fantasy IV was released a second time in the United States under Final Fantasy Chronicles alongside Chrono Trigger. The Final Fantasy Chronicles version is based on FF4 Hard. The censorship and feature omission that was done on the Final Fantasy 2 U.S. version have been reversed in the Final Fantasy Chronicles version.

External Link: Dawezy's Final Fantasy IV Network

Final Fantasy V

Main article: Final Fantasy V

For the Nintendo Super Famicom. It was not available in America until much later (in Final Fantasy Anthology). FF5 used the idea of a 'Job' system in which a character could become any type of warrior he/she wanted. FF5 involved the adventures of Butz (Bartz in PS1 version), Lenna (Reina in the re-released PS1 version), her sister Faris, Galuf and his granddaughter KuRuru (Krile in the PS1 version), who had to stop a powerful necromancer named X Death from taking all of the crystals of the elements, and using them to open a portal of nothingness, called the Mu. The party travels from their home world to the destroyed world of X Death, where they battle his plans. X Death, however, succeeds in melding the 2 worlds into one. Doing so to unlock the power of a thing called the void. Once they get the 4 hidden monoliths to open the way to 12 powerful weapons. The 4 characters battle X Death in the void (N Zone). This game's storyline would appear to be the main basis of the original Final Fantasy anime.

Final Fantasy VI

Main article:
Final Fantasy VI

For the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo Super Famicom. The plot focuses on a character named Terra (or Tina in Japan). The game begins with two of the Empire's henchmen, Vicks and Wedge, and Terra, whose mind is being controlled by a device called the Slave Crown. They attempt to take a frozen creature called an Esper from a northern town, and in the attempt, Terra is knocked unconscious, and later saved by a member of the underground rebel group, The Returners, campaigning against the Empire. There's no relation to the Empire in Star Wars, even though the names Vicks and Wedge were homages to the names of the two pilots (Biggs and Wedge) that accompanied Luke Skywalker in the final assault on the Death Star. Also, some game situations resemble ones from Star Wars, for instance, a rebel is free from prison by someone disguised as a soldier, and asks, "Aren't you a little short for a soldier?". This game was released as Final Fantasy III on the SNES by Square of America. It was re-released by Square EA on the Playstation with Final Fantasy V under Final Fantasy Anthology. Final Fantasy VI has the best graphics that the SNES has to offer, and it set the foundation for the following Final Fantasy games, making the Final Fantasy franchise have realistic computer graphics from the next installment on. The characters include Terra, Locke, Edgar, Sabin, Shadow, and the villain Kefka, among many others.

Final Fantasy VII

Main article:
Final Fantasy VII

For the Sony PlayStation and PC. This is the first release where the character's names aren't arbitrarily capitalized. It is also the first Final Fantasy with 3D-graphics. The plot focuses on a character named Cloud Strife. Cloud is beginning his employment for a group called AVALANCHE, headed by Barret Wallace, after quitting from the Shin-Ra Electric Power Company's super-soldier unit named SOLDIER for reasons that he cannot recall to become a mercenary. They are attempting to sabotage a Mako reactor, a device which drains energy from the Planet to generate electricity, to create monsters, and to create Materia, magical crystals. These reactors are created and maintained by the Shin-Ra EPC. However, Cloud goes beyond being a hired mercenary with AVALANCHE by his side, and is drawn in to a vast storyline, centering on Sephiroth, who was the ultimate SOLDIER member. Sephiroth has a striking, handsome appearance and is considered one of Squaresoft's most popular villians. He appeared in Kingdom Hearts as an extremely difficult secret boss, appearing through a literal sephiroth.

Final Fantasy VII seems to be the most popular Final Fantasy game. It is the best selling Final Fantasy game installment-wise. Final Fantasy VII will soon have a motion picture sequel, .

Final Fantasy VIII

Main article:
Final Fantasy VIII
For the Sony PlayStation and PC. This release featured a dramatic improvement in graphics and cutscene quality. A highly artistic addition to the series, it involved a group of orphans about 17 years of age who were adopted by a school for mercenaries called 'The Garden'. There are many such schools throughout the FF8 world and their main (but secretive) duty is to protect the world from the threat of powerful Sorceresses, as the last one caused a great war.

This addition to the series was surprising in its incredible level of detail, including ancient stories of a being that gave humans magical powers, an unknown force that makes radio transmissions impossible, the mysterious lineage of the game's main character Squall Leonheart and a burgeoning love between Squall and a young girl, Rinoa Heartilly. While many hold that FF8 created a new zenith in RPGs for artistry and character/plot development, critics disliked the opaqueness of Squall's motives and his unpleasant, unlikable and distant behavior, as well as the interminably long summoning cut scenes. Therefore, Final Fantasy VIII created controversy among Final Fantasy's pre-32-bit-era fans.

Final Fantasy IX

Main Article:
Final Fantasy IX

For the Sony PlayStation, released in 2000. This release is a return to Final Fantasy's roots - likable characters, a main character with an unknown past, and stereotypical examples of the original series' various character classes (unlike the "Job" system of FF5 and FFT, the characters can't change their type of fighting). The plot revolved around a mysterious villain who needs the people of a devastated culture to gain power as he disrupts the "flow of souls" in the natural cycle of life and death. There are several main characters: Zidane, Princess Garnet a.k.a. Dagger, Eiko, Amarant, Vivi, Adelbert Steiner, Freya and Quina. Chocobos and airships figure strongly in the gameplay. Intended as a return to the series' "roots" after the mixed reaction to FFVIII, it abandoned the sci-fi look of FFVII and FFVIII, reduced the length of cutscenes, and contains many references to the previous Final Fantasy games, especially Final Fantasy I (The fiends of Final Fantasy I, Lich, Marilith, Kraken, and Tiamat, were carried over, as well as a major villain called Garland).

Final Fantasy X

Main article:
Final Fantasy X

For the Sony PlayStation 2, released in 2001. Visually much like Final Fantasy VIII, in that the characters have normal proportions. There are some noticeable differences between Final Fantasy X and the previous members of the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy X introduced voice acting. Under the direction of Toshiro Tsuchida, the battle system is changed from the traditional "Active Time Battle" to a new "Conditional Time Battle" system which was more turn-based and ostensibly allowed for a greater degree of strategic depth. The leveling system has also received an overhaul, with the advent of the Sphere Grid. The story is still the primary focus (as seen by the linearity), aided by exceptional graphics, but some critics have an opinion in reverse of this regard.

The main character is Tidus (son of Jecht), a cheerful blitzball player from Zanarkand, who escapes an attack on his home city by a creature called "Sin". He is transported to the world of Spira, where he is enlisted in a quest to destroy the creature, which reappears every ten years to wreak havoc until defeated by a "summoner". Tidus joins the summoner Yuna of Bevelle (daughter of Lord Braska the High Summoner), and her guardians Wakka of Besaid, Lulu of Besaid, Auron, and Kimahri Ronso. Kimahri is Yuna's most faithful guardian. He knew Yuna for ten years before the events of Final Fantasy X. Tidus later meets Al Bhed thief Rikku. Wakka and Rikku are close associates of Tidus. They make up the playable cast of the game. Tidus of Zanarkand was voiced by James Arnold Taylor. Yuna of Bevelle was voiced by Hedy Burress. Wakka and Kimahri were voiced by John DiMaggio. Rikku the Al Bhed was voiced by Tara Strong. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X has created some controversy among fans of the older Final Fantasy games (especially fans of the games released on 8-bit and 16-bit systems) due to linearity, English voice acting, the addition of blitzball, and claiming that it has no world map. Critics disliked blitzball, and they complained about the Sphere Grid system and the voice acting. Many critics stated that Final Fantasy X was centered solely on graphics, complaining mainly about the storyline and gameplay. A few critics complained about the soundtrack. One notable song is Suteki Da Ne, performed by Rikki of Amami. It is derived from Yuna's Theme. There are four versions of Suteki Da Ne. The Eternal Calm video, interquel of Final Fantasy X and X-2, was never in English until the time of the American release of Final Fantasy X-2, when it was featured on the demo disc of the Official Playstation Magazine.

Note that Square developed a demo for the Nintendo 64 using characters from Final Fantasy VI in 3D. It was called Final Fantasy X, and was designed to test the capabilities of Nintendo's new platform. Square decided to stick with the Playstation and Final Fantasy VII instead, due to higher storage capacity and texture memory, among other factors. The X in this case represents a variable, not the numeral ten. That cancelled project is later known as Final Fantasy SGI after the release of the PS2 game Final Fantasy X.

Final Fantasy X-2

Main article:
Final Fantasy X-2

The first direct sequel in the series, Final Fantasy X-2 revolves around the character Yuna who was in FFX. The story is different from the other games in the fact that it is quite non-linear. You go through the game without having to see most of the story. The game also adopts the job system from FF5. The game also does not have any summon magic and has been rid of the sphere grid from FFX and utilises the basic experience point basis of character growth. The plot revolves around Yuna looking for her lost love Tidus (main character of FFX) you play with the characters of Yuna, Rikku (from FFX) and the new character Paine. The story eventually evolves to find out that a spirit from before Sin came was trying to use a giant machina(machine) that could destroy the world.

The characters use Dress Spheres, which give them abilities similar to a Job (Thief, White Mage, etc.). They can change the Dress Sphere used outside or inside a battle, and experience from the battle applies to abilities learned from a list unique to each Dress Sphere. Each character must learn each ability independantly.

Final Fantasy XI

Main article:
Final Fantasy XI

For Sony Playstation 2 and PC. A sharp break from the rest of the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy XI is an MMORPG. Final Fantasy XI takes place in the world of Vana'Diel, a world divided by three nations in friendly competition. The game has a traditional Final Fantasy plot told through cutscenes shown after the completion of special Missions. The Job system returns; each player can change his or her job in town. Play is otherwise similar to many MMORPGs, though quests, cash-earning and missions can consume as much time as leveling.

The game is server-side, meaning that all character information is stored in the company's computers and not your Playstation/PC. If you connect via Playstation, you need to subscribe to the online service as well as the game membership. PC players need only pay for standard internet access and game membership. Though this game was much anticipated most people consider it not a "true Final Fantasy game" especially since important characters like "arso" were not there.

Final Fantasy XII

For the Sony PlayStation 2. Possibly the last Final Fantasy game on the PlayStation 2 if Square keeps the tradition of three games per console. It was originally scheduled for a release during the last few months of 2003; however Square Enix postponed the Japanese release to middle 2004 and then, most recently, to 2005. The first piece of information released was a poster showing a huge city and its population back in 2002. Since then the main characters, basic plot, and game system details have been revealed.

The story is set in the world of Ivalice, the same world as the one seen in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics (though in the latter only the world name is the only similarity). The buildings and architecture appear to be Mediterranean in style.

The main character is Vaan, a seventeen-year-old thief of the Dalmaska Kingdom and a carefree boy who is consumed by thoughts of pirating and of owning an airship.

On the other hand is Ashe, the other main character of the game. Ashe is the nineteen-year-old heir to the throne of Dalmaska whose world is changed by the appearance of Vaan.

As of December 11th, two more characters, named Fran and Balflear, have been revealed. Fran is of the Viera race (seen in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance) and Balflear is of the Hume race. He uses a firearm and owns his own airship. Fran is a Fencer and an Archer. The game will probably sport many characters, as is the norm of a game developed by Square Enix's fourth production team.

As of December 17, 2003, Final Fantasy XII's battle system has been revealed to be similar to that of Final Fantasy X-2. Also, there will be three slots for crystals.

Preliminary trailers suggest that the game will have a graphical style extremely similar to Vagrant Story--a previous work of FFXII's new director Yasumi Matsuno.

On April 2004, a new character named Penelo was revealed. She is a sixteen-year-old and the neighbor and girlfriend of Vaan. Although she lost her family in the war, she is cheerful and thinks positively. She is not experienced in battle, but she bears extensive knowledge of military technology. She loves playing instruments as well as dancing. In addition, she works in a bazaar.

Quite recently, the sixth character had been revealed. Thirty-six-year-old Basch, a known traitor to Dalmaska, plays a part in the developing game. A character conflict is likely to arise as Basch is the murderer of Ashe's father (presumably the Dalmaskan king). His weapon of choice is the sword.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles

Main article:

For the Nintendo Gamecube. This is the first Final Fantasy game on a Nintendo console since Final Fantasy VI. Since Sony partially owns Squaresoft, the company that makes Final Fantasy, it seemed unlikely that it would ever see a Nintendo system again. However, Squaresoft created a 2nd party studio that included people who had worked on Final Fantasy games for Playstation to make Final Fantasy games for Nintendo consoles. This new Final Fantasy game shares little in common with its predecessors, aside from the name. For this latest game, the designers chose to abandon the Active Time Battle system in favor of real time approach. It is this approach that makes the game more akin to action RPGs, i.e. Diablo for the PC.

The world of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles is covered in a poisonous fog called Miasma. The only thing keeping civilization alive is the presence of Crystals, which have the ability to repel the miasma. Crystals come in two sizes - the small ones protect small groups of individuals, while the large ones are able to protect entire towns.

However, there is a problem...

The large crystals lose their ability to repel miasma after one year, and must be cleansed with Myyrh, which can only be gathered from Myyrh trees scattered throughout the land. Thus, your goal in the game is to go around gathering Myyrh to replenish the crystal protecting your hometown.

The game centers on the caravan that gathers Myyrh, led by the player. The Myyrh trees cannot give Myyrh more than once every other year, which means the player has to gather Myyrh from one set of trees one year, then another more distant set the next year, then on the third year returning to the first set of trees. This cycle continues until the game ends.

The main allure of the game is its multiplayer capability. Players use a Game Boy Advance with a link cable to the Gamecube, rather than controllers. This allows them to manage their character's status screens without them being displayed on the television. The (up to four-player) cooperative play is more expensive though; four Game Boys and four link cables are required for four players.

Compilations

Final Fantasy Anthology

For the Sony PlayStation. This game is a compilation of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI, including some CG movies and bonus features not available in the original games. In Europe, this compilation consists of Final Fantasy V and the "hard type" version of Final Fantasy IV, but not FF6. Final Fantasy VI was released for the Sony Playstation in Europe as a standalone game just before the compilation.

Final Fantasy Chronicles

For the Sony PlayStation. This was the second multi-release of old games for the PSX, including the "hardtype version" of Final Fantasy IV (which the "easytype version" was included in the Japanese release of Final Fantasy Anthology, but not in the US release. It was previously released in the US as Final Fantasy II for the Super Nintendo) and Chrono Trigger (also previously released for the Super Nintendo). FF4 featured new CG animation, while Chrono Trigger featured new anime style cutscenes.

Final Fantasy Origins

For the Sony PlayStation. This is the third (and presumably final) compilation of old Final Fantasy titles for the PSX. It includes the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II, both released for the NES/Famicom. Final Fantasy II was never previously released in the U.S., and Final Fantasy I was never previously released in Europe. Both games have undergone graphical and audio improvements and gameplay streamlining, unlike the other Final Fantasy compilation games. Due to a widespread dislike of the game by critics and fans alike, it is not likely that Final Fantasy III will ever see a U.S. release. See Final Fantasy Origins for more information. ''See also enhanced remake and Super Mario All Stars.

Final Fantasy III Advance

For the Gameboy Advance. This is both Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II in one cart. Although they will use the same graphics sprites of the Wonderswan/Playstation versions, the Gameboy Advance versions will have a new bonus dungeon for each game, the level of difficulty will be tweaked, the ability to save anywhere, and a new magic point (MP) system for Final Fantasy I. The Final Fantasy I Gameboy Advance remake will have a dungeon called, "Soul of Chaos" which contains items, weapons, and bosses from Final Fantasy III-VI. Final Fantasy II Gameboy Advance's special dungeon is called, "Soul of Re-Birth" that contains four of the characters who died in the main story returned as the heroes and they will experience new harder monsters and events. Square Enix hopes to release the game in Japan on Summer 2004.

Spinoffs

Notable people

See also

External links