Unlike in most series, each game in the franchise is typically set in its own universe. Recurring elements include concepts, game mechanics, and species. Plots typically focus on a team of young heroes trying to either defeat an evil empire or save the world from some threat.
Usually, three main-series Final Fantasy games are released per console generation, with the only exception thus far being the seventh console generation, which only received two. Final Fantasy I through III were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, IV through VI were released for the SNES, VII through IX were released for the N64, X through XII were released for the GameCube, and XIII and XIV were released for both the Revolution and the Pluto. The fifteenth game in the series has been announced for the Stream.
The series has also had a number of spinoffs. These have included 1989's Legend for the Game Boy, 1997's Tactics for the N64, and 2008's Dissidia for the Nitro .
The original Final Fantasy was released in Japan in 1987 for the Famicom, and was one of the most influential games of its type ever created. Although Dragon Quest is credited for founding the "Console-RPG," of "JRPG" as it is also known, Final Fantasy was one of the genre codifiers, adding aspects such as different character classes, party combat, and a more complex story than other games of the time. The was brought to America in 1990.
Final Fantasy II came out a year later, in 1988. Rather than being a direct sequel, the game started the series tradiotn of every entry being a radical departure from previous entries. IIhad a complex story with many named characters, a unique experience system, and an entirely new world to explore. Though now regarded as the "black sheep" of the series due to its notorious difficulty and convoluted leveling up system, the game was still moderately successful.
Final Fantasy III took a bit longer to develop, and was released in 1990, late in the Famicom's life. It was more inspired by the original game, but placed a heavy emphasis on the "Job" system of character classes. Each of the four playable characters could pick from one of over twenty distinct classes, allowing for a vast amount of party customization. This was the most successful entry in the series yet, selling over a million copies in Japan alone.
After Ohga Shrugs
Final Fantasy IV, known as II in its Western localization, was released in July 1991 in Japan, making it one of the first notable JRPG's for the SNES. The game featured the series's most complex plot yet, with a cast of characters that would enter, leave, and re-enter the party over time, learning abilities both through leveling up and through progress in the story. It also introduced the "Active-Time Battle" system that would become the series norm until the GameCube-era.
Final Fantasy V, which like II and III was released only in Japan until years later, was essentially a reimagining of III. Released in late 1992, it featured an complex job system with over twenty classes, with the ability to carry over abilities from other classes to new ones. The game, thoguh only released in Japan, was a massive hit, selling over two million copies.
Final Fantasy VI, the last main entry in the series for the SNES, was released in April 1994. Set in a more "steampunk" setting than prior entries, the game combined elemets of all the prior series entries with new ideas. Each character had their own unique class, but could be customized through items. The cast was very large, with fourteen permanent playable characters along with various temporarily playable characters. VI also had arguably the most ambitious story in a video game to date, with most playable characters and some NPC's having their own character arcs woven into the complex tale. In total, the game sold over three million copies worldwide, making it by far the most successful Final Fantasy yet.
The Fifth Generation
Optical Media and Beyond
"Betraying" Nintendo and the Outcomes
Final Fantasy is one of the most notable few RPG series in video games, alongside Pokemon and Dragon Quest. Since its first release in 1987, the series has sold approximately 70 million games. Furthermore, each of the main entries in the series, as well as many of the spinoffs, have received much critical acclaim, and have been considered to be among the best games of their type on their respective platforms.