Final Fantasy (Series)

Genre: Japanese Role-Playing Game

Creator: Hironobu Sakaguchi

Developer: Square, Square Enix

Publisher: Square, Square Enix

Sales: 159 million units *As of 2020


Final Fantasy is a long running Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) series for video game consoles. It has received both commercial and critical success over decades. Because of its success, it is often the first thing that comes to mind when someone says JRPG or even RPG.


Series’ Origins


Final Fantasy’s first installment was released in 1987 in the form of Final Fantasy for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy was almost called “Fighting Fantasy” before the company settled on “Final Fantasy” in order to avoid trademark issues.

Prior to making Final Fantasy, Sakaguchi was not a well-liked figure within the company. Only a few employees volunteered to help him on his Final Fantasy project, and only after years of unsuccessfully trying to pitch the game’s idea to Squaresoft’s executives, at the time. Squaresoft would greenlight Final Fantasy, only after Dragon Quest showed that Role-Playing Games could be hugely successful in Japan.


Dragon Quest remained the king of Japanese RPG sales in Japan, but Final Fantasy was successful enough to save Squaresoft from the brink of extinction in the late 80s, and unlike Dragon Quest, Sakaguchi’s creation went onto become a global success.


Top Selling Title: Final Fantasy VII (13,258,000)


Released in 1997 on the original PlayStation, Final Fantasy VII was an influential title. The 7th installment in the Final Fantasy franchise brought J-RPGs into the mainstream and helped Sony’s debut console outsell the Nintendo 64 in the mid 1990s.


Final Fantasy VII is credited with igniting the golden era of Japanese Role-Playing Games as it drove the genre to previously unseen levels of commercial success during the late 90s and early 2000s. Final Fantasy VI did not sell well on the US, leaving many wondering whether Final Fantasy VII would be the one JRPG to finally break through western audiences.


Sony, who at the time faced fierce competition from Nintendo, and Sega, gave Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time) an unprecedented deal with major royalties for Squaresoft. This, even though Sony itself would publish the game outside of Japan. Sony, alongside Squaresoft, spent millions of dollars in a huge marketing campaign that went from TV spots, to major Magazine Advertisements and press coverage.


Sony’s gamble paid off as Final Fantasy VII arrived on US shores to universal critical acclaim, and chart-topping sales on September 7, 1997. Even today, Final Fantasy VII frequently ranks in the top three spots of “Greatest Final Fantasy Games Ever” lists. With more than 13 million copies sold across different platforms, and various re-releases, Final Fantasy VII remains the series’ most iconic, and commercially important entry.


Highest Rated Title: Final Fantasy IX (Metacritic: 94)


Hironobu Sakaguchi’s final ‘Final Fantasy’ entry on the PlayStation, is also the series’ finest chapter. As far as critical scores go, no Final Fantasy entry has ever received higher critic scores than Final Fantasy IX.


Final Fantasy IX ditched the futuristic, and steam punk scenarios of the series’ previous three entries in favor to a return to the Sword and Sorcery themes of the first five entries in the franchise.


Lowest Rated Title: Final Fantasy XIV Online (2010)


Final Fantasy XIV was so bad (49 Metacritic) that it was canned before it ever made it to consoles and had to be rebuilt by Square Enix in order to salvage it a few years later. Naoki Yoshida (Director) and his team built a new engine, and completely overhauled the game into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn which because a big commercial, and critical success in place of the FFXIV’s catastrophic failure.


Latest Title: Final Fantasy VII Remake


First teased as a PlayStation 3 technological demo in 2006, the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake finally arrived after 14 years on the PlayStation 4 home console. Powered by the Unreal 4 engine, the game updated the iconic cast of heroes, and villains with modern visuals. Remake in name, but a sequel set in an alternate reality, Final Fantasy VII Remake launched to positive reviews, but without the fanfare, or critical acclaim to match the original 1997 classic.

As part 1 of a planned multi-episode series, Final Fantasy VII Remake covers only an alternate reality of the Midgar section of the original game. While a sequel has been announced, there is no time frame or date announced for its release.


Titles (Main):


1987: Final Fantasy (NES)

1988: Final Fantasy II (NES)

1990: Final Fantasy III (SNES)

1991: Final Fantasy IV (SNES)

1992: Final Fantasy V (SNES)

1994: Final Fantasy VI (SNES)

1997: Final Fantasy VII (PS1)

1999: Final Fantasy VIII (PS1)

2000: Final Fantasy IX (PS1)

2001: Final Fantasy X (PS2)

2002: Final Fantasy XI *MMORPG (PS2)

2006: Final Fantasy XII (PS2)

2009: Final Fantasy XIII (X360, PS3)

2010: Final Fantasy XIV *MMORPG (Windows PC)

2013: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn *MMORPG (Windows PC, OS X, PS4, PS3)

2016: Final Fantasy XV (Xbox One, PS4, Windows PC)


Spin offs and Sequels:


1990: Final Fantasy Legend (GameBoy)

1991: Final Fantasy Legend II (GameBoy)

1992: Final Fantasy Mystic Quest (SNES)

1993: Final Fantasy Legend III (GameBoy)

1998: Final Fantasy Tactics (PlayStation)

2003: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)

2003: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (GameCube)

2003: Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)

2008: Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (DS)

2008: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (DS)

2008: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (Wii)

2009: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (DS, Wii)

2009: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Dark Lord (Wii)

2009: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (Wii)

2020: Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)