Top 5 Best-Selling PlayStation JRPGs

PlayStation's Best-Selling JRPGs

The original PlayStation was home to many wonderful JRPGs. This week, we want to look at the top five based on the amount of copies sold. There’s a lot of Final Fantasy on this list, but I’m sure that does not surprise anyone. These numbers reflect sales on the PlayStation only, not any re-releases or remakes.

Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Coming in at the top of the list is Final Fantasy VII. Having sold just over 10 million copies, this game was the second highest selling game for the PlayStation console as a whole. The only game that sold more than Final Fantasy VII was Gran Turismo.

Final Fantasy VII was the first in the series to use full motion video as well as 3D graphics. It was by all accounts ahead of its time and is still regarded as one of the best video games ever made. Most fans consider it to be their favorite or at least one of their favorites in the series.

PlayStation Final Fantasy VII Cover
Three discs, one amazing RPG.

Characters from the game like Cloud and Sephiroth are known around the world, and are even featured in other spin-off games. They also make appearances in other franchises like Kingdom Hearts and Super Smash Bros.

We’ve certainly been seeing a lot of Final Fantasy VII lately with the Remake released last year and more is to come in the future. It is no surprise that Square wants to capitalize on the the success of Final Fantasy VII, even after 24 years.

Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

Next up is Final Fantasy VIII with just above 8.5 million copies sold. Being a more divisive title within the Final Fantasy franchise, VIII still saw a huge amount of success. VIII grossed more than $50 million in North America in its first 13 weeks, and $150 million on its release date in Japan. That made it the fastest selling Final Fantasy title until Final Fantasy XIII. That’s still pretty impressive considering XIII was a multi-platform release.

Final Fantasy VIII PlayStation box cover
Final Fantasy VIII is probably the most divisive in the series.

The main reason this game gets so much mixed feedback is because of its junction system. Stat boosts were replaced with this junction system and tied into magic. This meant that if you wanted to increase a character’s stat you needed to collect magic and assign it to that character.

However, this system took away the joy of casting magic away. If you were to cast magic, it resulted in giving up the same magic you were hoarding to boost your stats. It is a system that requires some getting used to and many were not pleased with it.

Despite the fanbase being split down the middle on this title, the sales were extremely high. FFVIII is very different in its approach to the franchise, which is what makes it so unique. Whether you enjoyed FFVIII is up to you, but it is the second best-selling JRPG on the PlayStation.

Final Fantasy IX (2000)

Yet another Final Fantasy title on the list, Final Fantasy IX is third at 5.5 million copies sold. Released in 2000 this game saw a return to a more traditional Final Fantasy and even fell into the medieval theme of the first game. FFIX was also the last Final Fantasy title to be solely composed by Nobuo Uematsu.

Final Fantasy IX’s return to its roots certainly pleased a lot of people. However, Final Fantasy VIII’s change of pace probably deterred a lot of people from IX. Final Fantasy IX is also along side Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VI, and Final Fantasy X, one of the entries many consider to be their favorite FF and for a very good reason. The game returned to a battle system similar to FFVII and did away with all of the changes that some did not enjoy from FFVIII.

Final Fantasy IX box art
Final Fantasy IX returns to a more traditional Final Fantasy experience.

FFIX’s story is one of the best in my opinion and features some of the best character development in the whole franchise. Zidane, Vivi and Freya are all among some of my favorite Final Fantasy characters of all time.

Dragon Quest VII (2001)

Square’s other JRPG franchise, Dragon Quest, never quite grew in popularity in the west as much as Final Fantasy did. Despite that though, Dragon Quest VII sold just over 4 million (the great majority of these sales took place in Japan) copies. It was released in 2000 in Japan and 2001 in North America. The North American release is titled Dragon Warrior VII.

In Japan, Dragon Quest VII was the best-selling PlayStation game. At the time Enix and Squaresoft were separate companies, but Enix eventually merged with Squaresoft. As such, this makes this entry the last Dragon Quest that was published by Enix alone.

Dragon Quest VII Dragon Warrior VII PlayStation Cover
Dragon Quest VII was the best-selling PlayStation game in Japan. The series has finally started breaking out in the west in the last few years.

This game is easily best known for its enormous size. The game can take more than 100 hours to complete, especially if you are trying to get 100%. Its class system, turn-based combat, and world exploration all make it a fantastic JRPG.

Final Fantasy Tactics (1998)

Final Fantasy Tactics sold almost 2.8 million copies and serves as the starting point for the Final Fantasy Tactics series. The game takes theme inspiration from previous Final Fantasy titles but features a battle system that was entirely new to the series.

This is a tactical game, so the characters move around on a grid shaped battlefield. Depending on you character’s level or job, some characters will be better suited to range attacks than others and won’t require closing in on the enemies on order to perform an attack.

Final Fantasy Tactics offered a brand new battle system never before seen by a Final Fantasy title.

Unlike other Final Fantasy games where random encounters could happen anywhere on the world map, in Tactics, areas that could spawn enemy encounters were marked in green on the map. The game also features a character class system which give players the ability to assign characters to different roles. There are some classic Final Fantasy classes present like Summoners, Black Mages (Wizards), and White Mages (Priests).

Tactics was well received and is still a cult classic to this day. Many are hoping for a rebirth of the Tactics series and I for one would not complain about that one bit.

Conclusion

The PlayStation had a pretty impressive library that included some fantastic JRPGs. The decision to use CD-ROM technology gave developers much more freedom when creating their games. Thanks to this media format, the PlayStation set itself apart from its main competitor (the Nintendo 64) which used cartridges, and that decision is what lead franchises like Final Fantasy to move over to the PlayStation.

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By Dakota Deitsch

I love all video games but primarily enjoy RPGs. Pokémon is my favorite franchise, but I’ll play any game really. I tend to game on PlayStation and on my Switch the most.