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Final Fantasy


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Final Fantasy (Games)
Final Fantasy (Games)
Final Fantasy (Games)
Final Fantasy (Games)
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Information about Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy (ファイナルファンタジー) is a console role-playing game created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, developed and published in Japan by Square (now Square Enix) in 1987 (33 years ago), and published in North America by Nintendo of America in 1990 (30 years ago). It is the first game in Square's Final Fantasy series. Originally released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Final Fantasy was remade for several video game consoles and is frequently packaged with Final Fantasy II in video game collections. The story follows four youths called the Light Warriors, who each carry one of their world's four elemental orbs which have been darkened by the four Elemental Fiends. Together, they quest to defeat these evil forces, restore light to the orbs, and save their world.

The game received generally positive reviews, and it is regarded as one of the most influential and successful role-playing games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, playing a major role in popularizing the genre. Praise focused on the game's graphics, while criticism targeted the time spent wandering in search of random battle encounters to raise the player's experience level. All versions of Final Fantasy sold a combined total of two million copies worldwide by Mar. 2003 (17 years ago).


Final Fantasy has four basic modes of gameplay: an overworld map, town and dungeon maps, a battle screen, and a menu screen. The overworld map is a scaled-down version of the game's fictional world, which the player uses to direct characters to various locations. The primary means of travel across the overworld is by foot, but a canoe, a ship, and an airship become available as the player progresses. With the exception of some battles in preset locations or with bosses, enemies are randomly encountered on field maps and on the overworld map when traveling by foot, canoe, or ship, and must either be fought or fled from. The player begins the game by choosing four characters to form a party, which lasts for the duration of the game.

The game's plot develops as the player progresses through towns and dungeons. Some town citizens offer helpful information, while others own shops that sell items or equipment. Dungeons appear in areas that include forests, caves, mountains, swamps, and buildings. Dungeons often have treasure chests containing rare items that are not available in most stores. The game's menu screen allows the player to keep track of their experience points and levels, to choose which equipment their characters wield, and to use items and magic. A character's most basic attribute is their level, which can range from one to fifty, and is determined by the character's amount of experience. Gaining a level increases the character's attributes, such as their maximum hit points (HP), which represents a character's remaining health; a character dies when they reach zero HP. Characters gain experience points by winning battles.

Combat in Final Fantasy is menu-based: the player selects an action from a list of options such as Fight, Magic, and Item. Battles are turn-based and continue until either side flees or is defeated. If the player's party wins, each character gains experience and gold; if it flees, it is returned to the map screen; and if each character in the party dies, the game is over. Final Fantasy was the first game to show the player's characters on the right side of the screen and the enemies on the left side of the screen, as opposed to a first-person view.

Each character has an "occupation", or character class, with different attributes and abilities that are either innate or can be acquired. There are six classes; Fighter, Thief, Black Belt, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage. Later in the game, each character undergoes a "class change"; their sprite portraits mature, and they gain the ability to use weapons and magic that they previously could not use. Final Fantasy contains a variety of weapons, armor, and items that can be bought or found to make the characters more powerful in combat. Each character has eight inventory slots, with four to hold weapons and four to hold armor. Each character class has restrictions on what weapons and armor it may use. Some weapons and armor are magical; if used during combat, some of these items will cast spells. Other magical artifacts provide protection, such as from certain spells. At shops, the characters can buy items to help themselves recover while they are traveling. Items available include Potions, which heal the characters or removes an ailment like poison or petrification; Tents and Cabins, which can be used on the world map to heal the player and optionally save the game; and Houses, which also recovers the party's magic after saving. Special items may be gained by doing quests.

Magic is a common ability in the game, and several character classes use it. Spells are divided into two groups: White, which is defensive and healing, and Black, which is debilitating and destructive. Magic can be bought from White and Black magic shops and assigned to characters whose occupation allows them to use it. Spells are classified by a level between one and eight. Each type of magic has four spells that can be learned per level, but only three of which can be purchased and equipped. White and Black Mages can potentially learn all of their respective spells, while other classes cannot use most high-level magic.


Final Fantasy takes place in a fantasy world with three large continents. The elemental powers on this world are determined by the state of four orbs, each governing one of the four classical elements: earth, fire, water, and wind. The world of Final Fantasy is inhabited by numerous races, including Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Mermaids, Dragons, and Robots. Each non-Human race has one "town" in the game, although individuals are sometimes found in Human towns or other areas as well. Four hundred years prior to the start of the game, the Lefeinish people, who used the Power of Wind to craft airships and a giant space station (called the Floating Castle in the game), watched their country decline as the Wind Orb went dark. Two hundred years later, violent storms sank a massive shrine that served as the center of an ocean-based civilization, and the Water Orb went dark. The Earth Orb and the Fire Orb followed, plaguing the earth with raging wildfires, and devastating the agricultural town of Melmond as the plains and vegetation decayed. Some time later, the sage Lukahn tells of a prophecy that four Light Warriors will come to save the world in a time of darkness.

The game begins with the appearance of the four youthful Light Warriors, the heroes of the story, who each carry one of the darkened Orbs. Initially, the Light Warriors have access to the Kingdom of Coneria and the ruined Temple of Fiends. After the Warriors rescue Princess Sara from the evil knight Garland, the King of Coneria builds a bridge that enables the Light Warriors' passage east to the town of Pravoka. There the Light Warriors liberate the town from Bikke and his band of pirates, and acquire the pirates' ship for their own use. The Warriors now embark on a chain of delivery quests on the shores of the Aldi Sea. First they retrieve a stolen crown from the Marsh Cave for a king in a ruined castle, who turns out to be the dark elf Astos. Defeating him gains them the Crystal, which they return to the witch Matoya in exchange for a herb needed to awaken the Elf Prince cursed by Astos. The Elf Prince gives the Light Warriors a key capable of unlocking any door. The key unlocks a storage room in Coneria Castle which holds TNT. Nerrick, one of the Dwarves of the Cave of Dwarf/Dwarf Village, destroys a small isthmus using the TNT, connecting the Aldi Sea to the outside world.

Outside the Kingdom of ConeriaAfter visiting the near-ruined town of Melmond, the Light Warriors go to the Earth Cave to defeat a vampire and retrieve the Ruby, which gains passage to Sage Sarda's cave. With Sarda's Rod, the Warriors venture deeper into the Earth Cave and destroy the Earth Fiend, Lich. The Light Warriors then obtain a canoe and enter Gurgu Volcano and defeat the Fire Fiend, Kary. The Floater from the nearby Ice Cave allows them to raise an airship to reach the northern continents. After they prove their courage by retrieving the Rat's Tail from the Castle of Ordeal, the King of the Dragons, Bahamut, promotes each Light Warrior. Using an air-producing fairy artifact known as Oxyale, the Warriors defeat the Water Fiend, Kraken, in the Sunken Shrine. They also recover a Slab, which allows a linguist named Dr. Unne to teach the Lefeinish language. The Lefeinish give the Light Warriors access to the Floating Castle that Tiamat, the Wind Fiend, has taken over. With the four Fiends defeated and the Orbs restored, a portal to 2000 (20 years ago) years in the past opens in the Temple of Fiends. There the Warriors discover that the four Fiends sent Garland (now the archdemon Chaos) back in time and he sent the Fiends to the future to do so, creating a time loop by which he could live forever. The Light Warriors defeat Chaos, thus ending the paradox, and return home. By ending the paradox, however, the Light Warriors have changed the future to one where their heroic deeds from their own time remain unknown outside of legend.


Final Fantasy was developed during Square's brush with bankruptcy in 1987 (33 years ago), and in a display of gallows humor, director Hironobu Sakaguchi declared that his "final" game would be a "fantasy" role-playing game; hence the title. When Sakaguchi was asked what type of game he wanted to make, he replied "I don't think I have what it takes to make a good action game. I think I'm better at telling a story." Sakaguchi's concept was a game with a large world map to explore and an engaging story. Sakaguchi took an in-development ROM of the game to Japanese magazine Family Computer, but it would not review it. Video game magazine Famitsu, however, gave the game extensive coverage. The development team was composed of seven people, while the other team at Square had about twenty. Sakaguchi stated that if the game did not sell, he would quit making games and return to college to make up a year. Only 200,000 copies were to be shipped, but Sakaguchi pleaded with the company to make 400,000 to help spawn a sequel, and it agreed.

The game's characters and title logo were designed by Yoshitaka Amano. The scenario was written by Akitoshi Kawazu and freelance writer Kenji Terada. Iranian-American freelance programmer Nasir Gebelli, who was living in Japan at the time, worked as the programmer for the game. Among the other developers were Hiromichi Tanaka, Kōichi Ishii, and Kazuko Shibuya. Following the successful North American localization of Dragon Quest, Nintendo of America translated Final Fantasy into English and published it in North America in 1990 (30 years ago). The North American version of Final Fantasy was met with modest success, partly due to Nintendo's then-aggressive marketing tactics. No version of the game was marketed in the PAL region until Final Fantasy Origins in 2003 (17 years ago).

The music for Final Fantasy was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, and was his 16th video game music composition. The soundtrack album was released together with the score of Final Fantasy II in 1989 (31 years ago). Some of the game's tracks became mainstays to the Final Fantasy series: the "Prelude", the arpeggio played on the title screen; the "Opening Theme", which is played when the party crosses the bridge early in the game and later referred to as the Final Fantasy theme; and the "Victory Fanfare", which is played after every victorious battle. The opening motif of the battle theme has also been reused a number of times in the series.

Versions and re-releases

Final Fantasy has been remade several times for different platforms, and has frequently been packaged with Final Fantasy II in various collections. While all of these remakes retain the same basic story and battle mechanics, various tweaks have been made in different areas, including graphics, sound, and specific gameplay elements. The game was first re-released for the MSX2 system and was published by Micro Cabin in Japan in Jun. 1989 (31 years ago). It had access to almost three times as much storage space as the Famicom version, but suffered from problems not present in Nintendo's cartridge media, including noticeable loading times. There were also minor graphical upgrades, improved music tracks and sound effects. In 1994 (26 years ago), Final Fantasy I•II, a compilation of Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II, was launched for the Famicom. This version was only released in Japan and had very few graphical updates. The WonderSwan Color remake was released in Japan on dec. 9, 2000 (20 years ago), and featured many new graphical changes. The 8-bit graphics of the original Famicom game were updated, battle scenes incorporated full background images, and character and enemy sprites were re-drawn to look more like the ones from the Super Famicom Final Fantasy games.

In Japan, Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II were re-released both separately and as a combined game for the PlayStation. The collection was released in Japan in 2002 (18 years ago) as Final Fantasy I & II Premium Package and in PAL and North America in 2003 (17 years ago) as Final Fantasy Origins. This version was similar to the WonderSwan Color remake, and featured several changes, such as more detailed graphics, a remixed soundtrack, added full motion video sequences, and art galleries of Yoshitaka Amano's illustrations. Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls is, like Final Fantasy Origins, a port of the first two games in the series for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 (16 years ago). The Final Fantasy version incorporates various new elements, including four additional dungeons, an updated bestiary, and a few gameplay tweaks.

Square Enix released a version of Final Fantasy for two Japanese mobile phone networks in 2004; a version for NTT docomo FOMA 900i series was launched in Mar. under the title Final Fantasy i, and a subsequent release for CDMA 1X WIN-compatible phones was launched in August. Another titular version was released for SoftBank Yahoo! Keitai phones on Jul. 3, 2006 (14 years ago). Graphically, the games are superior to the original 8-bit game, but not as advanced as many of the more recent console and handheld ports. Square Enix planned to release this version of the game for North American mobile phones sometime in 2006 (14 years ago), but it has yet to be released. For the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy, Square Enix remade Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy II for the PlayStation Portable. The games were released in Japan and North America in 2007 (13 years ago), and in PAL territories in 2008 (12 years ago). The PSP version features higher-resolution 2D graphics, full motion video sequences, a remixed soundtrack, and a new dungeon as well as the bonus dungeons from Dawn of Souls. The script is the same as in the Dawn of Souls version, aside from the new dungeon.

On Mar. 25, 2009 (11 years ago), Square Enix announced that the original NES version of Final Fantasy will appear on the Wii's Virtual Console service. It will be downloadable in Japan in May 2009 (11 years ago) and in North America in 2009 (11 years ago).


Final Fantasy has been well-received by critics and commercially successful; the original release sold 400,000 copies. As of Mar. 31, 2003 (17 years ago), the game, including all re-releases at the time, had shipped 1.99 million copies worldwide, with 1.21 million of those copies being shipped in Japan and 780,000 abroad. As of Nov. 19, 2007 (13 years ago), the PlayStation Portable version has shipped 140,000 copies. In Mar. 2006 (14 years ago), Final Fantasy appeared in the Japanese magazine Famitsu's Top 100 games list, where readers voted it the 63rd best game of all time. GameFAQs users made a similar list in 2005 (15 years ago), which ranked Final Fantasy at 76th. It was rated the 49th best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list.

Final Fantasy was one of the most influential early console role-playing games, and played a major role in legitimizing and popularizing the genre. According to IGN's Matt Casamassina, Final Fantasy's storyline had a deeper and more engaging story than the original Dragon Quest (known as Dragon Warrior in North America). Many modern critics have pointed out that the game is poorly paced by contemporary standards, and involves much more time wandering in search of random battle encounters to raise their experience levels and money than it does exploring and solving puzzles. Other reviewers find the level-building and exploration portions of the game as the most amusing ones. The game is also considered by many as the weakest and most difficult installment of the series.

The subsequent versions of Final Fantasy have garnered mostly favorable reviews from the media. Peer Schneider of IGN enjoyed the WonderSwan Color version, praising its graphical improvements, especially the environments, characters, and monsters. Final Fantasy Origins was generally well-received; GamePro said the music was "fantastic", and that the graphics had a "suitably retro cuteness to them". Reviews for Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls were generally positive, with Jeremy Dunham of IGN giving particular praise to the improved English translation, saying it was better than any previous version of the game. The PlayStation Portable version was not as critically successful as the previous releases; GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd cited the visuals as its strongest enhancement, but stated that the additional random enemy encounters and updated graphics did not add much value.

The theme song that plays when the player characters first cross the bridge from Coneria has become the recurring theme music of the series, and has been featured in most numbered Final Fantasy titles except Final Fantasy II. Final Fantasy was also the basis for the series finale of a video game-themed cartoon series Captain N: The Game Master entitled The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N. 8-Bit Theater, a sprite-based webcomic created by Brian Clevinger parodying the game, has become very popular in the gaming community since it started in Mar. 2001 (19 years ago).

Warrior of Light, based on Yoshitaka Amano's design of the lead character, and Garland are the respective hero and villain representing Final Fantasy in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Warrior of Light is voiced by Toshihiko Seki in the Japanese version and Grant George in the English version, while Garland is voiced by Kenji Utsumi in the Japanese version and Christopher Sabat in the English version.

Chaos, the final boss of the game, is referenced in Ivalice-set titles Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift as a summonable entity (known as an "Esper" in the former and a "Scion" in the latter) of the same name.


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