Final Fantasy is one of the longest-running, most beloved gaming franchises out there. Since 1987, it has been pumping out a string of numbered entries and a bevy of spin-offs. Like most large franchises, this JRPG series had humble beginnings. The debut game, simply titled Final Fantasy, is quaint in several respects, but it is still a blast to play today. The following list will present ten lesser-known, interesting facts about the franchise's premiere title. Hopefully this deepens one's appreciation of the game and the series as a whole. Final Fantasy has a bright future ahead of it, but the past remains equally enjoyable today as it was more than thirty years ago.
10 It Was To Be Square Soft's Last Game
Before and during its release, Square Soft was far from the industry titan it is today, though it has been known as Square Enix since the early aughts. In fact, it was on the verge of going under in the mid 1980s. Had Final Fantasy not had such successful sales numbers, the game would have been the company's swan song. Fortunately, the game's success put Square back on track, starting its upward trajectory. If Final Fantasy was a commercial disappointment, Square might have closed its doors then and there, forever altering the gaming landscape.
9 The Name
The title of the game and franchise comes from several places. The most well-known reason is Square's financial straights, meaning this title would be their last if it didn't succeed. The second meaning was the franchise creator Hironobu Sakaguchi making the game as a last-ditch effort to stay in the industry. If Final Fantasy didn't win people's hearts and wallets, he would have quit his job and gone back to school. The last, and most pragmatic, reason was Sakaguchi wanting a title with a nice, alliterative ring that could be abbreviated as FF. According to Sakaguchi, the latter was more important in deciding the title than the meaning behind the word "final."
8 Release Dates
Simultaneous international releases are commonplace these days. With the internet connecting the world so efficiently, it only makes sense that all the hottest new releases reach everyone at the same time.
It was an entirely different story in the 80s, however. The game first came out in Japan in December 1987. Only after it became a hit in its native land did Nintendo of America translate it for Western audiences in 1990. That's right, Americans had to wait three years to get their hands on this classic.
7 PAL Version
While three years is a long time to wait for a game, it is nothing compared to what Europeans endured. The PAL regions didn't see an official release until 2003, when it came out on the PS1 as Final Fantasy Origins, a compilation featuring the first two games in the series.
For Americans, the wait wasn't difficult because the series didn't have its legendary reputation. For European fans, they couldn't experience the origins of their favorite franchise for more than ten years.
6 The Music
Music is integral to a series' identity. While RPGs have the habit of telling new stories in different worlds with each entry, certain musical themes and pieces often carry over, reminding gamers they are in the same franchise. Nobuo Uematsu composed Final Fantasy's music, and several pieces became mainstays throughout the years. While not intended, the piece of music opening the game eventually became the main theme for the whole franchise. Uematsu would go on to score every game in the series up until Final Fantasy XII.
5 Sliding Minigame
Final Fantasy has a hidden sliding puzzle minigame in which players must arrange numbered blocks in order from lowest to highest. Beating it nets a little Gil, but it is more interesting for the satisfaction of finding a secret.
To unlock it, simply hold A and tap B repeatedly while on the ship in the world map. Eventually, the puzzle will appear. The game was not planned, but programmer Nasir Gebelli snuck it in there. Most ports feature it, so one doesn't have to play the NES version to find it.
4 Here Lies Link
Games are known to throw shade at competing franchises, but it's all in good fun. Depending on the version, this particular jab either targets The Legend of Zelda or Dragon Quest. In Elfheim, a gravestone by a house reads either "Here Lies Link" or "Here Lies Erdrick." All Japanese versions carry the former, while the Dragon Quest nod is in the original NES version and Final Fantasy Origins. Later versions also have the Link reference in the English translation. Regardless of who is being called out, it's a pretty bold statement for a premiere title in a franchise to make.
3 Western RPG Influence
The series is often seen as the definitive JRPG franchise. This is funny for two reasons. Firstly, Japan had RPGs before this, like Dragon Quest. Secondly, the game took a lot of cues from its Western peers. Akitoshi Kawazu designed the battle system and was fond of Dungeons and Dragons as well as Ultima.
He included elements from those games. Elemental weaknesses, for example, were not par for the course in Japanese games until Final Fantasy. This influence was also integral in letting players choose their party's classes at the beginning.
As great as Final Fantasy was upon release, it wasn't foolproof. The game was chock full of bugs and glitches, most of which have thankfully been addressed in later versions. Several magic spells simply don't work, and one spell meant to lower enemies' evasion actually increases it.
Weapons with elemental strengths and status effects usually don't work. With this many bugs in it, it's a miracle it became such a hit. Had the internet been around back then, it would have been a different story.
1 Square Didn't Want To Make It
Hironobu Sakaguchi was intent on making an RPG, but Square was thoroughly against the idea. Their reason for the refusal was them thinking it wouldn't be successful. It's especially funny in hindsight because the game saved them from bankruptcy. After Dragon Quest became a hit, Square changed their tune, and allowed Sakaguchi to start development on the title. It just goes to show: publishers don't always know what's in their best interest.