With the recent release of Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition, we decided to bring PC gamers into this great JRPG series. Despite the fact that in 2017 the series turned 30 years old. It was sold in the amount of over 130 million copies and had a huge impact on the entire gaming industry, it remains an incomprehensible gimmick for many PC players in USA.
The reasons for this sad misunderstanding are quite understandable - almost all games in the series were released only on consoles, they did not have USA localization, and in general the JRPG genre is not popular in the CIS countries.
And in vain, because the best parts of Final Fantasy back in the distant 90s proved to the whole world that video games can be not only entertainment, but a real work of art.
Classic 2D era
The first part of the series was released back in 1987. The gameplay of Final Fantasy was based on the first installments of the Ultima series, which first introduced an open world, leveling and dialogue. In general, RPG in the usual sense for all of us. But Final Fantasy also introduced a number of its innovations: a party combat system and the ability to use vehicles to travel around the world.
By the way, the title "Final Fantasy" was given to the series for a reason. In the late 80s, Square Enix was not the most successful game developer and was on the verge of shutting down. Therefore, Final Fantasy was positioned by the creator of the series as the last game of the studio, the final fantasy, the last attempt to declare itself to the whole world.
A year after the release of the first part, Final Fantasy 2 came out, with completely different characters, plot and universe. The lack of communication between the various parts of the series is the hallmark of all Final Fantasy. So, if you start playing, for example, the game Final Fantasy XV, then you do not need to know anything about the previous parts of the series. In the third part, released in 1990, a system of professions was added, which made it possible to change the class of the main character of the game several times during the passage.
Final Fantasy IV brought to the series an intricate storyline with numerous characters and an innovative combat system, the foundations of which are still used in almost all modern JRPGs. The next 2 parts were not innovative and brought only cosmetic changes to the series, such as secret bosses and the ability to activate a special attack in battles when the player has a minimum of health.
Golden 3D era
Final Fantasy VII made a real splash in the world of electronic entertainment in 1997. The game used to the maximum the technical capabilities of the PlayStation and impressed with excellent 3D graphics and beautifully drawn 2D backdrops, as well as incredible CGI videos.
But this is all nonsense, what really made the game great is the dramatic storyline and amazing music of Nobue Uematsu, who popularized the genre of soundtracks for computer games. The success of the game was so great that in 2015, the Japanese announced the development of Final Fantasy VII Remake, a complete overhaul of the original game, to wild audience delight.
Two years later, Final Fantasy VIII was released, which did not bring significant revolutions, but was remembered by fans of the series for its intricate and melodramatic plot with a touching love story.
Final Fantasy IX was released in 2000 and, despite not the best sales and strange cartoon style of drawing characters, is considered one of the most important parts in the series. Today, none of the top best games of all time can do without the 9th part of Final Fantasy, and all thanks to the traditionally high-quality storyline and interesting gameplay.
Japanese developers have some kind of superhuman efficiency, because the next year they presented the revolutionary Final Fantasy X, which once again brought the series to the top of the gaming Olympus. Pre-rendered screensavers, stunning in their beauty, coexisted with finally fully three-dimensional graphics, which look quite good even today. And, of course, the tear-squeezing and convoluted plot are the main reasons that ensured the game sold 12 million copies.
The modern era: a shadow of past greatness
Square Enix, inspired by the success of the tenth part, decided to develop the series not in depth, but in breadth, creating a whole multimedia universe of Final Fantasy. Which, of course, influenced the quality of the numbered games in the series. One could already sense that something was wrong when in 2001 the Japanese decided to conquer Western cinema and released the film Final Fantasy The Spirits Within. Unfortunately, the film had nothing to boast other than impressive graphics and it flopped at the box office.
The next flop was Final Fantasy XI, which, quite unexpectedly, instead of a memorable solo journey, became a walkthrough online game. This is not what the fans of the series expected.
This was followed by a series of mid-quality spin-offs and Final Fantasy X 2, the first direct sequel to a numbered installment in the series' history. The game sold well, but was met negatively by gamers due to the frivolous plot and the minimum number of innovations.
In 2006, after a difficult five years of development, the developers finally presented the world with a new part of the series - Final Fantasy XII. To the delight of many fans, the sequel turned out to be almost on par with the previous parts of the series, and many game publications even called Final Fantasy XII the best game of the year. Among the shortcomings can be noted a simple plot, as by the standards of the series, and outdated graphics.
The next project in the series was Final Fantasy XIII, which was impressive with its visuals and promised to shake up the series, bring it fresh breath and new fans. Unfortunately, the shell of the game was really beautiful, but the content turned out to be rotten and secondary.
And as if the thirteenth part was not enough, the Japanese decided to finish off the reputation of their own series by releasing the passage Final Fantasy XIV in 2010. This was the second online game in the series, which was remembered for its simply idiotic recruiting system and numerous bugs. Fortunately, Final Fantasy 14 has improved significantly over the past 8 years, and now it doesn't seem like an ugly duckling compared to its big-name predecessors.
Here we are getting to the final part of our tour of the history of the most famous Japanese video game series. Final Fantasy XV managed to visit the production hell, change the name, several scripts, one game development director ... And now the continuation of the cult series is before us. Let's be honest, FFXV still falls short of the heights of the Golden Era games, but it is still a high-quality and exciting adventure, lasting a hundred hours.
For newcomers to the series who are still undecided about purchasing the game, we wrote 5 reasons to play Final Fantasy XV .
The Topic of Article: Final Fantasy Series Preview - A Detailed History of the Legendary JRPG.