Date: 2005 May 12 16:42
Posted by Ash
The next stage in the Final Fantasy RPG series, XII, recently pushed back its release date from the Autumn of 2004 to an Autumn release of 2005, creating a sigh of disappointment and yet not much surprise, to millions of gamers waiting for the next instalment. This is the biggest RPG franchise in the world and for many gamers, has made the Playstation 1 and 2 the must-have consoles to have, simply because it has a monopoly of these games. Ash explores the history and the reasons behind their popularity, and looks forward to the new game.
Though Sony and the Playstation is the console known for carrying the Final Fantasy games, it was Nintendo that first developed the series that gamers around the world have played and obsessed with. The NES carried Final Fantasy 1, 2 and 3 and were cute and simple little adventure games which although fun, didn’t especially do very well in the West. The Super Nintendo carried on this series with Final Fantasy IV, which was released in the USA in ‘Final Fantasy Chronicles’, (This game was released in a pack with ‘Chrono Trigger’, which itself deserves a mention, as it was a brilliant game consisting of time travel between several periods). Again it didn’t break any records as did Final Fantasy V, which never got a release in the US although it did earn a PSX translation later on. It was Final Fantasy VI which finally gave an indication to what was to follow, and this was last Final Fantasy released in the 16 bit format. Well known to SNES gamers, it carried the characteristics that came to exemplify the series, with an intricate plot, characters that you cared for, and beautiful set pieces, including a scene where the character you play has found himself as the lead in a play, acting out a role where his next choices have an affect on the plot line that is to be developed.
Nintendo then made a mistake that they would live to regret. They let Square go and form a partnership with Sony. This created Final Fantasy VII, one of the best games ever and still playable to this day. There is not much to say about this game that hasn’t been said, but it was a thrilling adventure which married perfect gameplay with a plot that twisted, turned and then thrust a dagger through the heart of the player ¾ along the way, with the death of a major playable character causing tears to well up in many an engrossed gamer. It was the first time where the game could be called an interactive movie, and the Playstation graphics did the job of creating beautiful anime-esque CGI scenes which drew gasps and wow from many a player. Parts VIII and IX were the last games in the series, and carried on this tradition of story worthy of anime and gameplay which forced the player to play to the end. Part VIII used realistic graphics which were awe-inspiring while IX harked back to the old school Final Fantasy games in some of the differences in its graphics and the way it played.
The Playstation 2 was obviously going to get a FF release, and X was worth the wait. The first game to carry voice acting, it continued the traditions that made it so great together with graphics that sometimes made it seem that you were playing ‘in’ an anime. The plot carried a philosophical edge to it which confused dream, reality and the nature of being ‘real’ that belied its position as ‘only’ a video game. Arguably it could easily have been made into a movie superior to the one that Square actually released as a motion picture.
Final Fantasy XI was a PC only release that was more to test the Playstation’s network capabilities than anything else. It is XII that everybody is waiting for and here are more details on its progress: FFXII. So what’s next for the game which has opened the people’s eyes to the possibilities of the interactive anime?