Final Fantasy celebrates its anniversary this year, shows how far the series has come


When it comes to fantasy role-playing video games, it is clear that few game franchise are as well-known as Final Fantasy is. Actually, the series has been going strong for more than 30 years now, when video game designer Hironobu Sakaguchi created the first Final Fantasy game at former game developer Square (now known as Square Enix) back in the 1980’s.

It’s also hard to believe that game creator Sakaguchi thought that Final Fantasy would be his last game, as Square was in a delicate financial situation back then after having released a series of disappointing video game flops. But Final Fantasy turned out to be a rousing success, with players loving the game’s story, character building and clever turn-based combat.

A sequel followed in 1988, offering a deeper story and making quite a few improvements to the original’s gameplay, and it also sold millions, proving the public had fallen in love with the Final Fantasy games and paving the road for Final Fantasy to become a long-term success.

And now that Japanese publisher Square Enix is celebrating Final Fantasy’s 30th anniversary (the first of many events was held in Tokyo on January 31, as reported on Forbes) those who have been following the games  since the beginning will be reflecting on how far the series has come over the years. Actually, the recent Final Fantasy XV not only was the first game in the franchise to feature open-world gameplay, but also delivered top-notch visuals that wouldn’t look out of place in one of Hollywood’s animated movies.

Because while the Final Fantasy games have always delivered some of the best stories, characters and gameplay in the RPG genre, they have also been some of the best-looking games around, with games like Final Fantasy VII featuring cutting-edge visuals at the time (and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the old PlayStation classic too). But perhaps the highlight of the series is 2000’s charming Final Fantasy IX, a riveting game with a powerful story of betrayal and love and many great set pieces that is one of the best role-playing games ever made.

Of course, despite the great number of Final Fantasy games having been released to date there will likely be more Final Fantasy released in the future, and we already know that last year’s best-selling Final Fantasy XV will be getting fresh DLC this year, while a remake of 2006’s Final Fantasy XII is also in the works and will be available for Sony’s PS4 console this summer.

Final Fantasy VII (Square Enix)