Believe it or not, it’s been nearly thirteen years since Final Fantasy IX released in North America. Okay, maybe it’s not that hard to believe. The last Final Fantasy title for the original PlayStation served as a reflecting point for the franchise, and interwove elements and themes from the classics with the gameplay of the new (at the time) titles.
NeoGAF member Mama Robotnik has a penchant for digging up relics from the past, and has uncovered a veritable treasure trove of concept artwork and pre-rendered backgrounds from the game. I’ve chosen just a few to feature here from the dozens available, but you can view them all by reading their post here.
The game itself started development in 1998 at Squaresoft’s Honolulu office, in the middle of Final Fantasy VIII‘s development in Japan. At first, the game was planned to be a spinoff, but it was eventually given a proper Roman numeral as development progressed. In around 1999, most of the staff that had wrapped production on Final Fantasy VIII were moved to the Final Fantasy X project such as: Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima, Yusuke Naora, and Tetsuya Nomura. This, of course, was due to Final Fantasy IX being deep in development. The game’s staff, including character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, eventually moved on to different projects like Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who conceived the game and wrote its scenario, regards it as his favorite in the series.
What fond memories do you have with Final Fantasy IX? Would you like to see Square Enix revisit this world at some point in the future — or would you rather “let memory be a memory”? What about Final Fantasy IX stood out to you as an example of what a Final Fantasy game should be? Do you agree with the decision that Final Fantasy IX should become a numbered title? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!
If you’re a fan of the music in Final Fantasy X, SaGa Frontier 2 or any Final Fantasy XIII title, you’re more than likely familiar with composer Masashi Hamauzu‘s impressionist style. A departure from Nobuo Uematsu’s melodic (almost songwriting) approach to composing for Final Fantasy, Hamauzu employs the piano and strings to great efficacy — evoking ambient joy, tension, or adventure in the games’ locales. Mina, seen performing in the video above, has a voice that permeates Final Fantasy XIII’s soundtrack in songs such as “Will to Fight“.
Their collaborative, IMERUAT, brings other Square Enix talent into the fold such as composer/arranger Mitsuto Suzuki — also known for his work on the Final Fantasy XIII series and The 3rd Birthday. The music video we feature today called “Giant” is from their first music video DVD out on April 24th. No doubt fans of Final Fantasy XIII will be able to see the musical similarities.
For more information on IMERUAT, you can click here. If you want to sample more of IMERAUT’s “Black Ocean” (which includes “Giant”), it’s available here at Wayô Records. You can also purchase the album here.
Have you seen this intriguing individual? He refers to himself as an Inspector Extraordinaire and Gentlemanly Hero. No, I assure you it’s not yours truly, but a denizen of Eorzea. He’s wanted on innumerable counts of breaking-and-entering, identity theft, and disturbing the sound curfew with what we assume is a rigid calisthenics routine. Where in the seven hells does the noise come from!? It’s a wonder he hasn’t ruined that dapper getup after all this time…
This charlatan was last seen “investigating” the events surrounding the Seventh Umbral Era about five years ago, accompanied by a Miqo’te lass who is more than likely his partner in crime. Last seen near the Coffer & Coffin, it seems he’s been on the lam ever since. I questioned an adventurer sporting fashionable earrings about his current whereabouts, sure to press for the finest details, but all they could do was point a vapid stare into Dalamud’s fire.
No doubt he has won over new conspirators in the five years that have elapsed. What do people find so compelling about an inspector who can’t even find his own eyebrows!? Others I’ve questions have pointed out that we look as if we brothers! The nerve! We look nothing alike!
Should you find yourself wandering through the wilds of Eorzea or drowning yourself in liquor and company in Ul’dah, know that a respectable cut of gil awaits you for any information regarding his whereabouts. A little blue bird told me he might be sending messages to his supporters here, but it warrants a further look. Until then, I remain in Gridania for the foreseeable future — until I’ve purged all the Woodsin from my bones for crushing a ladybug under my chocobo’s talon.
If you’re a North American fan of Final Fantasy, you’re likely aware of the widely-bemoaned “International” versions of Final Fantasy games. It turns out these Japan-only re-releases are anything but International as they include extra content overseas fans miss out on, dating as far back as Final Fantasy VII. In the case of Final Fantasy X, Europe was fortunate to have the extra content included on disc.
With the advent of Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD, North American fans have a chance to finally put their mastery of these games to the test on some of the extra challenges they have to offer. You may have had a peek at this stuff on YouTube (or through… less official methods) in the ten plus years that have elapsed, but we feel a refresher course for the International content is certainly due ahead of this year’s release.
Looking for a way to mix things up on D&D night? Magic just not magical anymore? Final Fantasy fan Kenley Kristofferson has the answer for you with Final Fantasy: The Card Game. In the video above, Kristofferson debuts his game which features a mix of rules from Magic: The Gathering, Clue, and War. The game is largely inspired by Dissidia: Final Fantasy, which united series heroes and villains in one title for the first time.
Featuring the characters of the first ten Final Fantasy games, you will draw four characters for your party and battle, level them up, and aim to defeat the “final boss”. You’ll collect equipment, magic, and jobs along the way to bolster your characters’ power.
The rules can also be adapted to fit a particular Final Fantasy, such as Final Fantasy VII, where every character is able to cast magic. To get started, you can download the cards and rules by visiting Kristofferson’s blog post here. He has also provided the assets to create more cards and encourages making up your own way to play, and the game can be easily expanded to include newer Final Fantasy titles.
Planning to give the game a spin? Have you had your own ambitions to create a Final Fantasy-like card game? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
This weekend you’re invited to Crystals For Life — a Final Fantasy series speed-running marathon hosted by a slew of Final Fantasy enthusiats from the speed-running community. They’ve all braved the winter to come together in Edmonton, Alberta to raise money for juvenile diabetes research in hopes to cure and prevent the disease from impacting many young lives. Crystals for Life has set the goal at $5000, with proceeds directly benefiting JDRF Canada.
Many Final Fantasy classics are on tap, as displayed in the above trailer, and the event kicks off at 5:45pm MDT (GMT-6) tonight. If you’re busy or out and about tonight, don’t despair! The stream will run all weekend and into the workweek with Final Fantasy VI as the finale on Tuesday night. Drop in, drop out, but make sure to tune in and say hello! You’ll also have the chance to win some top-tier Final Fantasy swag, so don’t miss it!
You can watch Crystals for Life here; the crew have provided a full schedule and more information on how to donate to the cause.
Anyone familiar with Final Fantasy X and its sequel Final Fantasy X-2 will find it easy to remember the music of Besaid. A small tropical village way out in the boonies, it’s definitely got that sleepy trope down pat — as do most “first towns” in many RPGs. Japanese band Meine Meinung understands the allure of the acoustic guitar at its finest in these songs, and uploaded a performance of a Besaid-themed medley; it represents Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Noriko Matsueda, and Takahito Eguchi’s contributions to each game’s soundtrack.
This is the newest entry in their series covering video game music located here, many of which come from the Final Fantasy series and other Square Enix titles.
For more music from Meine Meinung, click here to visit their official website!
I will try to keep this relatively short,and my aims are twofold here. One is to warn the viewers of this site not to make a purchase they will likely regret, and two is to generally get some word of mouth going to place pressure so that something like this does not happen again.
If you are a self respecting Final Fantasy fan, do not buy All The Bravest.
To start off with, the game initially has a lot going for it. Charming and in some cases absolutely gorgeous sprites, Final Fantasy music worthy of squeals, an ATB style battle system with humongous parties optimized for touch, and a localization effort that should be commended.
Everything seems fine on paper, and with so much Final Fantasy history crammed into one iOS title, one would expect to be simply overwhelmed by the bliss of nostalgia. However, that is not the case. Because underneath this shell of nostalgia is a game, if you can even call it that, devoid of any pleasure whatsoever.
There is no strategy, no customization, no player choice. None of the hallmarks of Final Fantasy are here. You simply go from one battle to the next (or backtrack to previous battles), wildly tapping or swiping at the screen until one side ultimately prevails.
And in a way, this is okay. Mediocre games exist, especially on mobile devices, but really on any platform. Games that are meant for casual play also exist, something easy to get into, something anyone can play. (But let’s keep in mind that even the cheapest and most popular of mobile games have some semblance of thought, action, or strategy to them that justified their popularity. Hell, one of the best most fully fledged iOS titles out there is indeed a Square Enix title, well loved and highly regarded by fan and critic alike.)
No, the problem is not that you are buying a title devoid of any meaningful game play in return for your dedication and nostalgic tendencies. The problem is that you are repeatedly being kicked in the balls while doing so. Over and over.
This is a money extraction app at its best. And let me make it clear, there is no problem with micro-transactions, and there is no problem with whatever ingenious payment models companies come up with for their entertainment applications. The issue here is how obnoxiously and without tact this game does it, essentially waving a middle finger at its most dedicated customers.
Let’s break it down shall we:
Initial Purchase – $3.99: For the final depth and quality of the game and the amount of money it will attempt to extract from you, the game should really be free to play, no excuses. You can find games orders of magnitudes better than this for free.
Characters – $.99 x 35 (Randomized purchases): I was initially enamored by this idea. Add characters from throughout Final Fantasy’s history to my party and have them simultaneously fight alongside each other in adorable art? Sign me up! I wanted my first purchase to be Seifer. Unfortunately, something that could have been such a fun little character shop is designed in a way to extract the maximum amount of cash. When you make a purchase from the character shop, you are randomly given a character. That’s right. Don’t get the character you want? Well, keep paying up!
Additional Worlds – $3.99 x 3: Once again, very neat in theory. Players can purchase additional worlds from other Final Fantasy titles (Midgar, Zanarkind, Archylite Steppe). And once again, I want to commend the excellent sprite work. But for what you are getting this should be a much cheaper purchase. And if the base product is not engaging in the first place, there really is no incentive to make further purchases.
Revive Items – $.99-$2.99: After you have been thoroughly swindled, the fun really begins. In the oft chance that you die (and you WILL die, if not by a random enemy then a boss encounter), the player is presented with three options. One is to go back and grind, which would actually be a viable option if doing so were even somewhat enjoyable. The other is to wait 3 minutes per character revive to continue playing. That is not simply three minutes total, which is kind of an odd game mechanic in and of itself, that is per character, meaning for a party of thirty will easily take over an hour. Why implement such a feature? Why, only to ask you to hand over more of your hard earned (and apparently easily relinquished) money. That’s right! You can revive your characters using Gold Hourglasses, which can only be purchased with real world money in convenient sets of 3, 8, or 20! Having fun?!
Look, I am a Final Fantasy fan through and through. I am A-okay with cheap ports if it means I can get Final Fantasy on every device. I have patiently waited an extra two years to be able to play Final Fantasy XIV on my PlayStation 3. Despite my loathing for everything and anything related to Lightning, I understand that a specific market (albeit shrinking) exists for those titles. And I still have high hopes for the future, even faith in Versus XIII.
But for a series and company whose fans already feel cheated, over-accommodating – and in the case of titles like Bravely Default and Final Fantasy Type-0 – ignored, releasing a lame cash in is a huge and truly perplexing mistake. With the game sitting at a Metacritic rating of 25% from critics and not even 10% from fans, its clear these types of moves damage the brand even further. And sometimes it is irrevocable.
For the love of god, do not reward this type of behavior. It is not just bad for Final Fantasy, it is bad for gaming in general.
You may remember YouTube variety duo Max and Sam from our previous feature Hay Fever Encounter have contributed a new entry into their Geekapella (that’s geeks and acapella combined, mind you) series with this entry featuring Final Fantasy VII. The video is set to “Opening ~ Bombing Mission”, the first song to play over the game’s bombastic introductory chapter.
For more from Max and Sam, check out their YouTube channel here, and their Tumblr here!
Our friends at UFFSite, RPG Site, and Nova Crystallis have been up to a little something-something from the 25th Anniversary for the Final Fantasy series. To commemorate those 25 years, fansites from around the community (including us at Final Fantasy Network) contributed to an e-magazine that takes a look at the series from our perspective. It’s a celebration of the series, its creators, and the memories made over its long lifespan.
The 129-page magazine provides a lot of insight into the past, present, and future of Final Fantasy — and it’s absolutely free of charge!
Keep in mind that it’s quite a large file, so those of you browsing on mobile devices be forewarned. Click the links below to download the magazine based on your preferred format. Don’t forget to let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below!