Final Fantasy Series
For fans of fantasy role playing games, the Final Fantasy franchise is a familiar sight. It has been ranked as one of the top fantasy video games in world and has received praise for everything from the series’ artwork to its music. Unlike traditional fight games like WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, Marvel Heroes, or even the more fantasy oriented Soulcalibur, the Final Fantasy series center on a group of heroes (instead of an individual) combatting an evil force while struggling with their own internal concerns and relationships.
Originally created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and released by Square Enix, Final Fantasy premiered in Japan in 1987. Currently, the Final Fantasy series consist of twelve games that have been released as an installation of the primary series. However, including sequels and spin-offs, there are twenty-eight games in total. It currently ranks as the second-best selling role playing game series ever, and the fifth-best selling video game series in the world.
Attempting to capture the popularity of other fantasy video games, like Dragon Quest, the original Final Fantasy focused on creating an immersive environment with well-rounded characters. Drawing on the norms of fantasy games, the lands were full of magical and powerful creatures, which aided or hindered the heroes on their quest. Future installments of Final Fantasy retained these basic characteristics, but featured independent stories which introduced new settings and a different collection of characters. Regardless, the series is marked by recurring elements including character/device names, plot themes (duality and self-discovery), supporting elements (potions, creatures, and modes of transportation) and game mechanics.
The Final Fantasy series has been credited with being a major innovator in the arena of console role playing games and popularizing ideas that are now common features of RPGs, as well as extending the market of role playing games beyond the boundaries of Japan. The series’ popularity has made it an easily recognizable part of popular culture, appearing on a variety of products (t-shirts, mugs, and costumes) and being referenced in numerous films, anime, TV series, and comics.
Arguably one of the best fantasy video games of all time, the Final Fantasy series has been favorably received by critics and gamers alike. Although each installment has been greeted with different levels of success, Final Fantasy is poised to remain at the top of the fantasy RPG pyramid.