The Final Fantasy (FF) franchise has long established itself as one of the pillars of the video game industry. Many would even argue that it brought the creation of a genre itself: the Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPGs). It is beloved by millions, recognized by everyone in the world, and treasured by gamers of all ages.
However, reputation begets intimidation. With over 90 video games now brandishing the Final Fantasy flag, you cannot fault anyone for being intimidated. After all, Square Enix’s role-playing franchise is filled to the brim with strange gameplay systems and confusing story beats.
Whether you are a newcomer looking to get into the Final Fantasy wagon or a seasoned veteran trying to recall the birth of the JRPG king, you have come to the right place! In this article, we will examine how it became successful and what FF is about. Here is the story of one of the most beloved and longest-running video game franchises of all time.
What is Final Fantasy?
The original Final Fantasy is said to be Hironobu Sakaguchi’s final push to achieve success in the gaming industry. Sakaguchi, the creator of the series, supposedly made the original as his last game in the fantasy setting. Hence, the name of the franchise itself: Final Fantasy.
Little did he know, his desperate attempt to penetrate the market would succeed to capture the hearts of millions worldwide. Fast forward a bit, and Sakaguchi’s supposed final hurrah became the fastest-selling console RPG in a single day.
Since 1987, the FF franchise has enjoyed relative-to-great success with each title they pump out. Apart from the 15 mainline FF games (as of April 2022), Square Enix has also released countless spin-offs. The once humble RPG series that thrived in the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), now has a title that can be played in virtually all gaming systems today.
While dubbed by many as the king of JRPGs, the franchise tried various game genres over the years. Perhaps in the effort of literally welcoming everyone, the series had racing, fighting, and even rhythm games. Moreover, Final Fantasy has dabbled in other forms of media as well. On top of its ever-expanding library of games, the franchise has also released movies and 2 anime series.
Final Fantasy itself has since become a phenomenon. Nowadays, it would be rare to find anyone who hasn’t heard of the game franchise yet. That even includes non-gamers! And with another mainline entry on the horizon, we cannot help but get the feeling that Final Fantasy is nowhere near its ‘final’ stages just yet.
Do You Need to Play Final Fantasy Games Chronologically?
Final Fantasy games, specifically the 15 mainline entries so far, are drastically different from one another. While all of them are technically JRPGs, one title can have a completely different genre from another. Take, for example, FF 14 and 15. The former is an MMORPG, while the other is an open-world, action-adventure game.
With that said, although numerically ordered, you can play the FF games independently. You do not have to play Final Fantasy Games chronologically to fully understand each.
Each entry in the series has a standalone story comprising entirely new characters, settings, and even story themes. It is worth noting, however, that some have dedicated sequels to further flesh out their stories. FF 10 and 13, for example.
This approach gave fans the chance to have their own original respective entry point for the series. While some may have started from the original FF game, others may have been introduced to the series as far as the 15th entry.
This also brought forth varying degrees of appreciation for each entry in the series. Fans of a particular entry would fight with their lives to defend their favorite, thus, sparking countless debates. You can bet that almost every top Final Fantasy games list out there vary from one another because of this.
Common Things Present in Various Final Fantasy Games
Undoubtedly, FF games don’t necessarily connect. After all, one can exist without the other. Nevertheless, there are some things that fans of the franchise could easily tell are present across several titles. For instance, the traditional Japanese elements: fire, water, earth, and wind. As fantasy games, through and through, one could expect magic. These are the usual suspects when it comes to Final Fantasy.
Another is the crystals. You can never go through a single Final Fantasy game without the presence of a magical crystal. These shiny objects often represent the very source of the magic people in the game use to survive. They are also often the spark that lights up the game’s overall conflict.
While the previous examples are thematically relevant to the games, some small details tend to span across multiple FF games. One of which is the character Cid. You can encounter a character named Cid in several Final Fantasy games as either gender. However, he or she tends to always be a mechanic of some sort.
Give a few games a go and soon you’d identify these common elements within the series without trouble. May it be the overwhelming power of friendship, the zany hairstyles, or the world-ending antagonists. Final Fantasy games always give you something to genuinely enjoy.
Many of us have grown alongside Square Enix’s bread and butter of an RPG series, Final Fantasy. It touched the lives of gamers worldwide and molded them to become who they are today. To some, this franchise isn’t just another popular gaming series—it is their saving grace. And with it still going strong; you can bet that even more will come and feel the same. All hail the King of JRPGs: Final Fantasy!