17 What-The-Heck Moments In The History Of The 'Final Fantasy' Games
Final Fantasy is one of the most beloved and relevant series in video game history, so it's only fair that we forget the wacky plots of the games just this once so that we can focus on the most bonkers events that took place during the development of these games.
The beginning of it all
There's an old-as-time myth that claims Squaresoft picked the name Final Fantasy because the company was dying and this was totally going to be their last game. The real reason it's called Final Fantasy? because the FF abbreviation sounds really cool in Japanese. Heck, they originally even wanted to go with the name Fighting Fantasy.
There's an illegal opium smuggling operation behind the scenes that Western Audiences don't know about
Think the many worlds of Final Fantasy look nice and friendly? Well, that's because they censored the very serious opium drug trade that's going on behind the scenes (at least in a Final Fantasy game for the Game Boy). Western players will only know about a “banana smuggling” operation.
They also don't know that Final Fantasy III Is actually Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI is the favorite of many die-hard fans and it was released in the US under the confusing Final Fantasy III title. Does that mean that the Japanese think that we only care for two of the previous five games in the series? Which ones, Square, which ones?!?!
Final Fantasy VII changed the world
Final Fantasy VII is the most popular game in the series, so there’s probably not much we can say about it that you don’t know already. Just kidding, it was originally meant to be a detective story in which we played as a Narc who was going after the heroes we now love. Also, the version we ended up getting has a demonic Aerith lying dormant deep within the game's code.
Final Fantasy VIII changed Final Fantasy (and fans weren't ready)
The success of VII made Squaresoft go ballistic and for FFVIII they gave characters a realistic look for the first time in the series and went wild in terms of graphic presentation, music, gameplay, and story. It sold very well and got great reviews, but it's still the most divisive entry in the series.
They made a Final Fantasy film (which almost sunk the company)
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was Square Enix's first big foray into movies. Despite its state-of-the-art visuals, it failed to capture the hearts of either fans or newcomers because it was little more than a generic sci-fi thriller that had nothing to do with what made the series popular. The failure of Spirits Within hit series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi so hard that he departed the company.
So Final Fantasy IX went back-to-basics
Square got scared and for Final Fantasy IX they went back to their classic super-deformed character models. We like to see games evolving so this was kind of a disappointment, but the back-to-basics approach ended up paying off for Square because this is one of the most beloved entries in the series.
But it also introduced the worst strategy guide in video game history
Not everything about IX was about preserving the past, however, as they attempted to innovate in the dumbest possible manner. The official Final Fantasy IX strategy guide contained no strategies whatsoever and instead contained a bunch of links to access said strategies on a now-dead website.
Final Fantasy X is the highest-selling game in the series
For Final Fantasy X, the company felt like innovating again, so they once again went with realistic characters and introduced fully 3D graphics for the first time. Final Fantasy X made use of the Playstation 2's popularity to become the best-selling game in the series despite some of the most awkward writing in the history of video games.
X was so successful they made a weird sequel
Square seemingly didn't learn the lesson they should've learned the first time they went all out and decided to greenlight the first-ever direct sequel to a Final Fantasy game. They believed they could do no wrong so they had the game starring a former priestess now turned into a popstar, and the result was.. another resounding success.
X-2 was successful enough to warrant a second and even weirder sequel
To commemorate the release of the remastered editions of X and X-2, Square Enix decided to release yet another sequel, this time in audiobook format. This time we got to witness the hero of the original getting decapitated after mistaking a mine for a ball. X-2.5 was soo poorly received that it was never edited in the US.
They completely mauled Final Fantasy XII for launch (and it still rocks)
Final Fantasy XII is the other wildly divisive entry in the series because it dropped the classic JRPG elements and went for more of an MMORPG vibe. Another thing they did was scrap the awesome main character that they had and replace him with a kid that nobody liked at the last minute. Why? Because they feared Japanese audiences wouldn't have enjoyed playing as an adult. Still, FFXII is one of the best entries in the series.
FFXIII is just a long ass corridor
Saying Final Fantasy XIII is divisive would be unfair because that game is hated by just about everyone who played it. Instead of the more open world of the previous game, we have a game world that's a never-ending corridor. The only remarkable thing here is how even the devs admitted it was crap.
FFXIV Was a total trainwreck upon release
FFXIV rocks now but it was a nearly unplayable mess upon release. They had to recall the whole thing and re-release it as Final Fantasy XIV plus the subtitle “A Realm Reborn”, which translates to Final Fantasy XIV: It's good this time, we promise.
Final Fantasy XV was even worse
What we ended up playing as Final Fantasy XV began life as two different games Square Enix had the beautiful idea of cobbling together. The end result was one game with the problems of two. On top of the wackiness that tends to power the plots of Final Fantasy games, now players also had to watch a movie that they sold separately and an anime series to understand the entire plot. A lot of people criticized the game for telling the story of four men who went on a road trip as if that's a bad thing, but the relationship between the four main leads is by far the best thing about it.
Ariana Grande exists in the Final Fantasy Canon
It's a mobile game, but that still counts. This is a pretty weird pick for the first famous person to enter the Final Fantasy canon, but this isn't just regular Ariana – it's Dangerous Ariana, so there's that.
The future is a mystery
The future of the series looks bright and grim at the same time. On the one hand, the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI looks great. On the other, the creators of Final Fantasy are now peddling NFTs, something the heroes of any Final Fantasy game would have hated.
Top Image: Square Enix