Final Fantasy is likely one of the few names in gaming that simply makes me really feel fuzzy after I hear it. It’s the best Japanese role-playing franchise on this planet (possibly Dragon Quest competes with it in Japan, however that collection has by no means had the identical affect within the U.S.). And as of December 18, Final Fantasy is 30 years outdated.
Final Fantasy is a large collection. It has spawned 15 foremost installments and plenty of spinoffs, together with direct sequels like Final Fantasy X-2, preventing video games like Dissidia, and cellular efforts like Record Keeper. The franchise racked up gross sales of greater than 120 million video games worldwide.
The collection doesn’t have the benefits of many different classics, like Mario, Mega Man, or Sonic. Every foremost Final Fantasy recreation incorporates a new forged of characters set in a unique world, with solely mechanics, themes, and different random components (like most of them having some man named Cid) tying all of it collectively. Final Fantasy can’t financial institution on the starpower of any single hero or villain.
So what accounts for its longevity?
But it’s that fixed change that helps make Final Fantasy so fascinating. You can argue over which entry is the very best or worst, however they’ll all stand on their very own. This flexibility has enabled Final Fantasy to evolve and reinvent itself extra typically and with much less drama than a Zelda or Mario.
With this 30th anniversary, I’ve spent plenty of time serious about what makes Final Fantasy so particular. Other role-playing video games have higher battle mechanics and richer tales. But Final Fantasy excels at spectacle. Even the unique recreation for the Nintendo Entertainment System feels cinematic because the theme music flares over a single display screen of heroes gazing on the horizon.
As a child, I first found the collection with Final Fantasy III for the Super Nintendo (a recreation we all know now as Final Fantasy VI, as a number of the early video games didn’t hit the U.S.). I grew up with side-scrollers and platformers like Mega Man and Mario. Final Fantasy VI was the primary time a recreation engrossed me due to its characters and tales. It was additionally the primary time I found what I might name a “setpiece” in a video recreation: the opera scene. It stood out not due to any mechanics, however as a result of it felt distinctive and cinematic with its dramatic music and storytelling.
That top-tier presentation helped make Final Fantasy VII a phenomenon on the PlayStation in 1997. These days, it feels like all Japanese RPG can solely be so mainstream. But again then, everybody I knew who performed video games was taking part in Final Fantasy VII. Its use of computer-generated cutscenes with prerendered backgrounds created an expertise that felt revolutionary.
That custom of spectacle continues within the newest recreation, Final Fantasy XV. Its open world has large monsters and landscapes that give every part an unbelievable sense of scale. I used to be in awe in the course of the elaborate summon sequences, which have you ever summon a gargantuan god to offer you help in the midst of a battle.
Final Fantasy has been many issues. It’s a turn-based function taking part in, an motion RPG, a massively multiplayer on-line role-playing recreation, and extra. Final Fantasy could be no matter it needs to be so long as it may proceed to seize that sense of magic and spectacle that has made the collection so particular throughout its first 30 years.
The RetroBeat is a weekly column that appears at gaming’s previous, diving into classics, new retro titles, or how outdated favorites — and their design strategies — encourage at this time’s market and experiences. If you’ve got any retro-themed initiatives or scoops you’d prefer to ship my method, please contact me.
This article sources info from VentureBeat