I still remember the first time that I saw a Japanese Roleplaying Game (JRPG). Like many people of my generation, it was a Final Fantasy game, though not one so obvious as Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy VI (or Final Fantasy 3, if you’re familiar with the North American naming scheme), or Final Fantasy VII. No, it was Final Fantasy Legend II in all of its monochromatic glory on the Nintendo Game Boy.
I was at a friend’s house, and his cousin was also visiting. I’d never met the cousin, but he had a Game Boy (like me), so I liked him almost instantly. But, where I was eradicating (or, more accurately, being eradicated by) the Footclan in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or dodging winged-Moai statues in Super Mario Land, he had this slow, boardgame-like game, with numbers, equipment, a map, and so many other elements that I was unfamiliar with. In particular, I remember a fight with a tiger. The one pictured here, in fact. As I think back on it, I can only assume that it’s a low level enemy, fought in one of the early game environments. At the time, however, it was something different. Something frightening.
If you do your homework, however, you’ll quickly discover that my first experience with Final Fantasy was, in fact, not with Final Fantasy at all, but with Akitoshi Kawazu’s infamous SaGa series. See, when Square the developer of the Final Fantasy series, wanted to bring over Kawazu’s zany Makai Toushi SaGa, the first in the SaGa series, to North American shores, they decided that it made more sense to release the title under a respected and successful brand, Final Fantasy, rather than attempting to sell something new. It was the right decision. Final Fantasy Legend II became Square’s first million-selling product. Read More »
Yesterday, Final Fantasy VI (affectionately, and confusingly known as Final Fantasy 3 when it was first released in North America) turn 20 years old. The series changed significantly in the years that followed, so it’s fun to look back at this classic game and remember the impact it had on an entire generation of gamers.
Here’s a little bit of trivia: Scott Lynch named Locke Lamora, protagonist of his popular Gentleman Bastards series, after Locke Cole, one of the central characters in Final Fantasy VI!
What is your favourite memory from Final Fantasy VI?
The best news last week was that a 65 year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is reprising his role as Conan the Barbarian in an upcoming film. The best news this week? Dragon Quest VII, a much debated and eternally long volume in the much-loved RPG series, will be coming to Nintendo 3DS early next year. In Japan.
Even the synopsis, taken from the original Playstation release, is charming:
You play the role of a 16 year old boy who lives in the village of Fishbell and aspires to be a great fisherman, like your father Borkano. Once The Hero and his friends Keifer and Maribell start exploring Estard Island, they discover that there used to be more to the world than just their small piece of land. The trio will have to collect ancient tablet shards and use them to revive the lost continents, uncover why they were lost, and who erased them to begin with.
This immediately leaps to the top of my list of most anticipated games. Based on the above scan, the release appears to be a full-on remake, much needed for one of the ugliest (if charming) games of all time. Though this has only been announced for a Japanese release, the previous Nintendo DS remakes of Dragon Quest‘s 4-5 were well received in North America and sold respectably, suggesting that an announcement of an overseas release is likely an inevitability. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself.
Behind closed doors at E3, the largest videogame conference and tradeshow in the world, currently going on in Los Angeles, Square Enix, makers of the popular Final Fantasy series, debuted a stunning new game engine. The engine, dubbed Luminous Studio, was showcased in the form of a real-time short film inspired by Final Fantasy. The four minute film is a marvel of tech, art and sound design.
Keep in mind that what you’re seeing is being rendered in real-time, meaning that, if Square Enix’s projections for hardware specs are correct (and, to be fair, they’re probably optimistic), this is the potential level of quality that we could see in gameplay sections of videogames developed using Luminous Studio. It’s a little astounding. I remember, watching Toy Story, that I marvelled at the time when videogame graphics would surpass Pixar’s efforts. Watching this, I think it’s fair to say that real-time graphics have long ago left those films in the dust, even if they still can’t compete with Pixar’s latest films.