Final Fantasy VI
|Final Fantasy VI|
Japanese box art
Final Fantasy VI (ファイナルファンタジーVI Fainaru Fantajī Shikkusu ) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix), released in 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System as a part of the Final Fantasy series. Set in a fantasy world with a technology level equivalent to that of the Second Industrial Revolution, the game's story focuses on a group of rebels as they seek to overthrow an imperial dictatorship. The game features fourteen permanent playable characters, the most of any game in the main series.
It was ported by Tose with minor differences to Sony's PlayStation in 1999 and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance in 2006, and it was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in Japan in March 15, 2011, followed by the PAL region on March 18, 2011 and North America on June 30, 2011. The game was known as Final Fantasy III when it was first released in North America, as the original Final Fantasy III had not been released outside of Japan at the time. However, later localizations used the original title. Final Fantasy VI was the first game in the series to be directed by someone other than producer and series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi; the role was filled instead by Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito. Yoshitaka Amano, a long-time contributor to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the image and character designer, while regular composer Nobuo Uematsu wrote the game's score, which has been released on several soundtrack albums.
Released to critical acclaim, Final Fantasy VI was a landmark title for the role-playing genre and is now considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time. Its Super Nintendo and PlayStation versions have sold over 3.48 million copies worldwide to date as a stand-alone game, as well as over 750,000 copies as part of the Japanese Final Fantasy Collection and the North American Final Fantasy Anthology. Final Fantasy VI has won numerous awards since its release.
Like previous Final Fantasy installments, Final Fantasy VI consists of four basic modes of gameplay: an overworld map, town and dungeon field maps, a battle screen, and a menu screen. The overworld map is a scaled-down version of the game's fictional world, which the player uses to direct characters to various locations. As with most games in the series, the three primary means of travel across the overworld are by foot, chocobo, and airship. With a few plot-driven exceptions, enemies are randomly encountered on field maps and on the overworld when traveling by foot. The menu screen is where the player makes such decisions as which characters will be in the traveling party, which equipment they wield, the magic they learn, and the configuration of the gameplay. It is also used to track experience points and levels.
The game's plot develops as the player progresses through towns and dungeons. Town citizens will offer helpful information and some residents own item or equipment shops. Later in the game, visiting certain towns will activate side-quests. Dungeons appear as a variety of areas, including caves, sewers, forests, and buildings. These dungeons often have treasure chests containing rare items that are not available in most stores. Some dungeons feature puzzles and mazes, which require the player to divide the characters into multiple parties.
Combat in Final Fantasy VI is menu-based, in which the player selects an action from a list of such options as Fight, Magic, and Item. A maximum of four characters may be used in battles, which are based on the series' traditional Active Time Battle (ATB) system first featured in Final Fantasy IV. Under this system, each character has an action bar that replenishes itself at a rate dependent on their speed statistic. When a character's action bar is filled, the player may assign an action. In addition to standard battle techniques, each character possesses a unique special ability. For example, Locke possesses the ability to steal items from enemies, while Celes' Runic ability allows her to absorb most magical attacks cast until her next turn.
Another element is a powerful attack substitution that occasionally appears when a character's health is low. Similar features appear in later Final Fantasy titles under a variety of different names, including Limit Breaks, Desperation Moves, Trances, and Overdrives. Characters are rewarded for victorious battles with experience points and money, called gil (Gold Piece (GP) in the original North American localization). When characters attain a certain amount of experience points, they gain a level, which increases their statistics. An additional player may play during battle scenarios, with control of individual characters assigned from the configuration menu.
Characters in Final Fantasy VI can be equipped with a wide variety of weapons, armor and accessories (known as "Relics") to increase their statistics and obtain special abilities. Most of this equipment can be used by several different characters, and each character may equip up to two Relics. Relics have a variety of uses and effects, some of which alter basic battle commands, allow characters to use multiple weapons, provide permanent status changes during battle or use protective magical spells in response to being near death.
Although only two characters start the game with the ability to use magic, almost every character can learn to do so. Characters may equip magicite, which enables the summoning of espers, this game's incarnation of summoned monsters (including several recurring summons such as Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut and Odin, along with many new summons exclusive to Final Fantasy VI), as well as that of specific magic spells. If a character has a piece of magicite equipped, he or she will gain "Magic Acquisition Points" after most battles. As a character gains magic AP, he or she gradually learns spells from the magicite equipped and will gain additional statistic bonuses when leveling up, depending on the magicite.
Final Fantasy VI takes place on a large, unnamed world. During the course of the game, its geography and landscape change due to various developments in the game's plot. During the first half of the game, the world is divided into three major continents and referred to as the World of Balance. The northern continent is punctuated by a series of mountain ranges and contains many of the locations accessible to the player. Most of the southern continent has been taken over by the Empire, while the eastern continent is home to a large patch of land called the Veldt where monsters from all over the world can be found. Halfway through the game, the world's geographical layout is altered, resulting in its three large continents splitting into several islands of various size situated around a larger continent at their center. This altered layout of the game's locations is referred to as the World of Ruin.
In contrast to the medieval settings featured in previous Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy VI is set in a steampunk environment. The structure of society parallels that of the latter half of the 19th century, with opera and the fine arts serving as recurring motifs throughout the game, and a level of technology comparable to that of the Second Industrial Revolution. Railroads are in place and a coal mining operation is run in the northern town of Narshe. Additionally, several examples of modern engineering and weaponry (such as a chainsaw, drill, and automatic crossbow) have been developed in the Kingdom of Figaro. However, communication systems have not reached significant levels of development, with letters sent by way of carrier pigeon serving as the most common means of long-distance communication.
A thousand years before the events of the game, three entities known as the Warring Triad initiated a conflict that would come to be called the War of the Magi. This quarrel grew to catastrophic proportions, unleashing magical energy into the world which transformed afflicted humans into espers—magical beings who themselves were used as soldiers in the war. Eventually realizing the horrific calamity wrought by their hands, the Triad returned free will to the espers and sealed their own powers, becoming stone statues. Their only request was that the espers ensure their power remain locked away so it might never be used again. The espers carried their stone gods to a hidden land, sealing both they and themselves off from the realm of humans. The concept of magic gradually faded to legend and myth as mankind built a society extolling science and technology. At the game's opening, the most advanced nation is the Empire, a cruel and expanding dictatorship led by Emperor Gestahl and his clownish general Kefka. Approximately eighteen years before the events of the game begin, the barrier between the espers' land and the rest of the world weakened. Soon after, Gestahl takes advantage of this and attacks the espers' land, capturing several of them.
Using the espers as a power source, Gestahl initiated a research program to combine magic with machinery and infuse humans with magical powers, the result being a craft known as Magitek. Kefka became the first experimental prototype of a line of magically empowered soldiers called Magitek Knights, drastically impairing his sanity. At the opening of the game, the Empire is on the verge of rediscovering the full potential of magic by reopening the gateway to the world of the espers. However, Gestahl's military dominion is opposed by the Returners, a rebel organization seeking to overthrow the Empire and free its territories.
Final Fantasy VI features fourteen permanent playable characters, the most of any game in the main series, as well as several secondary characters who are only briefly controlled by the player. The starting character, Terra Branford, is a reserved half-human, half-esper girl who spent most of her life as a slave to the Empire, thanks to a mind-controlling device, and is unfamiliar with love. Other primary characters include Locke Cole, a treasure hunter and rebel sympathizer with a powerful impulse to protect women; Celes Chere, a former general of the Empire, who joined the Returners after being jailed for questioning imperial practices; Edgar Figaro, a consummate womanizer and the king of Figaro, who claims allegiance to the Empire while secretly supplying aid to the Returners; Sabin Rene Figaro, Edgar's brother, who fled the royal court in order to pursue his own path and hone his martial arts skills; Cyan Garamonde, a loyal knight to the kingdom of Doma who lost his family and friends as a result of Kefka poisoning the kingdom's water supply; Setzer Gabbiani, a habitual gambler and thrill seeker; Shadow, a ninja mercenary, who offers his services to both the Empire and the Returners at various stages throughout the game; Relm Arrowny, a young but tough artistic girl with magical powers; Strago Magus, Relm's elderly grandfather and a Blue Mage; Gau, a feral child surviving since infancy in the harsh wilderness known as the Veldt; Mog, a Moogle from the mines of Narshe; Umaro, a savage but loyal sasquatch also from Narshe, talked into joining the Returners through Mog's persuasion; and Gogo, a mysterious, fully shrouded master of the art of mimicry.
Most of the main characters in the game hold a significant grudge against the Empire and, in particular, Kefka, who serves as one of the game's main antagonists along with Emperor Gestahl. The supporting character Ultros serves as a recurring villain and comic relief throughout the game. A handful of Final Fantasy VI characters have reappeared in later games, such as Secret of Evermore. Additionally, Final Fantasy SGI, a short tech demo produced for the Silicon Graphics Onyx workstation, featured polygon-based 3D renderings of Locke, Terra, and Shadow.
Final Fantasy VI begins with Terra Branford participating in an Imperial raid on Narshe in search of a recently unearthed frozen esper (later identified as Tritoch; Valigarmanda in the GBA retranslation) found in the city's mines. The esper kills her controllers and the Imperial control over her is broken, but she is unable to remember anything about her past. Locke Cole, a treasure hunter, promises to protect her until she can regain her memories and helps her escape to the hideout of the Returners, a group of militants opposing the Empire. Along the way, they pass through the Kingdom of Figaro and meet Edgar Roni Figaro, the king, and his estranged brother, Sabin Rene Figaro, who join them. Banon, the leader of the Returners, asks for Terra's help in their struggle against the Empire, and she agrees. Just as the resistance is preparing to return to Narshe to investigate the frozen esper, the Empire attacks South Figaro. Locke heads to the besieged town to slow the Empire's advance, while the rest of the group makes their way via rafting down the nearby Lethe River. However, Sabin is separated from the group after a battle with Ultros, self-proclaimed "octopus royalty" and a recurring antagonist, forcing the various members of the Returners to find their own ways to Narshe in three different scenarios controlled by the player. In Locke's scenario, he must escape the imperial occupied town of South Figaro without detection. Sabin has been swept to a distant continent and must find a way back while Terra, Edgar, and Banon will continue to float down the Lethe River back to Narshe.
Eventually, the original party reunites in Narshe. Locke brings with him Celes Chere, one of the Empire's own generals, whom he saved from execution for defying the Empire's ruthless practices. Sabin brings with him Cyan Garamonde, whose family was killed during the Empire's siege of Doma Castle when Kefka ordered the water supply poisoned, and Gau, a feral child he befriended on the Veldt. In Narshe, the Returners prepare to defend the frozen esper from the Empire. After the player successfully thwarts the Imperial invasion, Terra approaches the frozen esper, prompting her to transform into an esper-like form herself. She flies away, confused and horrified by her own transformation.
The Returners set out to search for Terra and eventually trace her to the city of Zozo, though they are still shocked by her apparent existence as an esper. There, they also meet the esper Ramuh, who tells them that if they free various other espers from the Magitek Research Facility in the Empire's capital, Vector, they may find one who can help Terra. Vector is on the southern continent, to which the Empire does not allow maritime access, so the Returners go to the Opera House and recruit Setzer Gabbiani, who is believed to be the owner of the Blackjack, the only airship in the world. They then travel to Vector and attempt to rescue several espers, including Maduin, who is revealed to be Terra's father. However, the espers choose instead to give their lives to transform into magicite—the crystallized remains of their essences that form when they die and allow others to use their powers—which they bestow upon the Returners. Before the group can then escape, Kefka arrives and causes the Returners, including Locke, to momentarily doubt Celes' loyalty, much to her anguish. However, she provides proof to them of her support by covering for the group while the rest escape. The rest of the group then returns to Zozo, where Terra reacts to the magicite of her father, prompting her to gain knowledge of her past and accept herself as the half-human, half-esper child of Maduin and a human woman.
After reuniting with Terra, the Returners decide that it is time to launch an all-out attack on the Empire, and Banon asks Terra to attempt contacting the espers' land in order to gain their support. Terra succeeds in making contact, and when the espers learn that the others captured by the Empire previously have now perished, they become infuriated and enter the human world, where they destroy much of Vector. When the Returners arrive in the capital, they find Emperor Gestahl claiming to no longer have the will to fight, inviting the Returners to a banquet to negotiate peace. Gestahl asks Terra to deliver a truce to the espers on his behalf, to which she agrees. Accompanied by Locke, Shadow (a ninja mercenary hired by the Empire for the mission), Generals Celes and Leo, the player must then guide Terra to the remote village Thamasa in search of the espers, where they meet Strago Magus and his granddaughter, Relm Arrowny, who also accompany them.
Soon, they find the espers and Terra convinces them to accept a truce with Gestahl. However, during the negotiations, Kefka attacks the espers, killing each of those still alive and capturing the magicite that remains from their essence. Additionally, he kills General Leo, who is appalled by Kefka's dishonorable tactics and attempts to defend the espers. The Returners reunite, now aware that the peace was a ploy for Gestahl to obtain magicite and the stone statue remains of the Warring Triad within the espers' now-unsealed land. Kefka and Gestahl travel through the open gate to the esper world, find the Warring Triad, and prompt the island on which the esper world is located to detach and fly in the sky as an ominous Floating Continent. The Returners attempt to stop them from causing further damage, but despite their efforts, they are unable to prevent Kefka and Gestahl from gaining the power of the statues. Now empowered, Kefka promptly kills Gestahl and moves the statues out of their proper alignment, upsetting the balance of magical power and causing the destruction of most of the surface world. In the disaster, the Returners are separated from one another as Setzer's airship is torn apart.
One year later, Celes awakens from a coma on a deserted island and learns that the world has been devastated by Kefka. Much of its human population has died and its plant and animal life are slowly being killed by sickness to punctuate humanity's despair. Celes sets out from the Solitary Island to try to reunite with as many of her friends as she can find. One by one, in a series of mostly optional side-quests, the gamer has the opportunity to reunite the group, all still alive, as well as new allies Umaro and Gogo. Together, the reunited Returners launch a new offensive against Kefka, using the Falcon—an airship that belonged to a deceased friend of Setzer's—to reach Kefka's Tower and infiltrate it. Inside, the Returners battle their way through Kefka's defenses and destroy the three statues, the source of Kefka's newfound power. When destroying the statues, once the source of all magic, does not cause any noticeable reaction, the party realizes that Kefka has successfully drained the Warring Triad of power and has become the source of all magical power.
Making a final stand against Kefka, the characters destroy him, but since the gods' power had come to reside in him all magicite begins to shatter and Kefka's magically-maintained tower begins to crumble. Terra leads the characters out as she begins to weaken due to her half-esper heritage. However, before her father's magicite shatters, his spirit informs her that by holding to the human side of herself, she may survive the passing of magic. In the end, the party escapes Kefka's Tower aboard the Falcon. Terra survives, and the group observes the world's communities rejuvenating themselves.
Final Fantasy VI entered development after the release of its predecessor Final Fantasy V in December 1992. Series creator and director Hironobu Sakaguchi could not be as intimately involved as in previous installments due to his other projects and his promotion to Executive Vice President of the company in 1991. For that reason, he became the producer and split director responsibilities for Final Fantasy VI up between Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito: Kitase was in charge of event production and the scenario, while Ito handled all battle aspects. Sakaguchi supervised Kitase's cutscene direction and ensured that the project would coalesce as a whole. The idea behind the story of Final Fantasy VI was that every character is the protagonist. All members of the development team contributed ideas for characters and their "episodes" for the overall plot in what Kitase described as a "hybrid process". Consequently, Terra and Locke were conceived by Sakaguchi; Celes and Gau by Kitase; Shadow and Setzer by graphic director Tetsuya Nomura; and Edgar and Sabin by field graphic designer Kaori Tanaka. The scenario of Final Fantasy VI was written by a group of four or five people, among them Kitase who provided key elements of the story, such as the opera scene and Celes' suicide attempt, as well as all of Kefka's appearances. Then it was Kitase's task to unite the story premise provided by Sakaguchi with all the individual ideas for character episodes to create a cohesive narrative.
Yoshitaka Amano, a long-time contributor to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the image and character designer. His concept art became the basis for the models in the full motion videos produced for the game's PlayStation re-release. Tetsuya Takahashi, one of the graphic directors, drew the imperial Magitek Armors seen in the opening scene. By doing so, he disregarded Sakaguchi's intention to reuse the regular designs from elsewhere in the game. The sprite art for the characters' in-game appearance was drawn by Kazuko Shibuya. While in the earlier installments, the sprites were less detailed on the map than in battle, Final Fantasy VI's had an equally high resolution regardless of the screen. This enabled the use of animations depicting a variety of movements and facial expressions. Though it was not the first game to utilize the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 graphics, Final Fantasy VI made more extensive use of them than its predecessors. For instance, unlike both Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V, the world map is rendered in Mode 7, which lends a somewhat three-dimensional perspective to an otherwise two-dimensional game.
The original North American localization and release of Final Fantasy VI by Square for the Super Nintendo featured several changes from the original Japanese version. The most obvious of these is the change of the game's title from Final Fantasy VI to Final Fantasy III; because only two games of the series had been localized in North America at the time, Final Fantasy VI was distributed as Final Fantasy III to maintain naming continuity. Unlike Final Fantasy IV (which was first released in North America as Final Fantasy II), there are no major changes to gameplay, though several changes of contents and editorial adjustments exist in the English script. In a January 1995 interview with Super Play magazine, translator Ted Woolsey explained that "there's a certain level of playfulness and ... sexuality in Japanese games that just doesn't exist here [in the USA], basically because of Nintendo of America's rules and guidelines". Consequently, objectionable graphics (e.g. nudity) were censored and building signs in towns were changed (such as Bar being changed to Café), as well as religious allusions (e.g. the spell Holy was renamed Pearl).
Also, some direct allusions to death, killing actions, and violent expressions, as well as offensive words have been replaced by softer expressions. For example, after Edgar, Locke and Terra flee on chocobos from Figaro Castle, Kefka orders two Magitek Armored soldiers to chase them by shouting "Go! KILL THEM!", in the Japanese version. It was translated as "Go! Get them!" Also, when Imperial Troopers burn Figaro Castle, and Edgar claims Terra is not hidden inside the castle, Kefka replies "then you can burn to death" in the Japanese version, which was replaced in the English version by "Then welcome to my barbecue!". Similarly, as Magitek soldiers watch Edgar and his guests escape on Chocobos, one swears in Japanese, "Son of a bitch!", which was translated by Ted Woolsey as "Son of a submariner!". The localization also featured changes to several names, such as "Tina" being changed to "Terra". Finally, dialogue text files had to be shortened due to the limited data storage space available on the game cartridge's read-only memory. As a result, additional changes were rendered to dialogue in order to compress it into the available space. This translation was done in only 30 days by Woolsey alone.
The PlayStation re-release featured only minor changes to the English localization. The title of the game was reverted to Final Fantasy VI from Final Fantasy III, to unify the numbering scheme of the series in North America and Japan with the earlier release of Final Fantasy VII. A few item and character names were adjusted, as in the expansion of "Fenix Down" to "Phoenix Down". Unlike the PlayStation re-release of Final Fantasy IV included in the later Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation, the script was left essentially unchanged. The Game Boy Advance re-release featured a new translation by a different translator, Tom Slattery. This translation preserved most of the character names, location names, and terminology from the Woolsey translation, but changed item and spell names to match the conventions used in more recent titles in the series. The revised script preserved certain quirky lines from the original while changing or editing others, and it cleared up certain points of confusion in the original translation.
The soundtrack for Final Fantasy VI was composed by long-time series contributor Nobuo Uematsu. The score consists of themes for each major character and location, as well as music for standard battles, fights with boss enemies and for special cutscenes. The extensive use of leitmotif is one of the defining points of the audio tracks. The "Aria di Mezzo Carattere" is one of the latter tracks, played during a cutscene involving an opera performance. This track features an unintelligible synthesized "voice" that harmonizes with the melody, as technical limitations for the SPC700 sound format chip prevented the use of an actual vocal track (although some developers eventually figured out how to overcome the limitation a few years later). The orchestral album Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale features an arranged version of the aria, using Italian lyrics performed by Svetla Krasteva with an orchestral accompaniment. This version is also found in the ending full motion video of the game's Sony PlayStation re-release, with the same lyrics but a different musical arrangement. In addition, the album Orchestral Game Concert 4 includes an extended version of the opera arranged and conducted by Kōsuke Onozaki and performed by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, featuring Wakako Aokimi, Tetsuya Ōno, and Hiroshi Kuroda on vocals. It was also performed at the "More Friends" concert at the Gibson Amphitheatre in 2005 using a new English translation of the lyrics, an album of which is now available. "Dancing Mad", accompanying the game's final battle with Kefka, is 17 minutes long and contains an organ cadenza, with variations on Kefka's theme. The "Ending Theme" combines every playable character theme into one composition lasting over 21 minutes.
The original score was released on three Compact Discs in Japan as Final Fantasy VI: Original Sound Version. A version of this album was later released in North America as Final Fantasy III: Kefka's Domain, this version of the album is the same as its Japanese counterpart, except for different packaging and small differences in the translation of some track names between the album and newer releases. Additionally, Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale features eleven tracks from the game, arranged by Shirō Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito and performed by the Ensemble Archi Della Scala and Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano (Milan Symphony Orchestra). Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VI, a second arranged album, features thirteen tracks from the game, performed for piano by Reiko Nomura. More recently, "Dancing Mad", the final boss theme from Final Fantasy VI, has been performed at Play! A Video Game Symphony in Stockholm, Sweden on June 2, 2007, by the group Machinae Supremacy.
Nobuo Uematsu's rock band, The Black Mages, released a progressive metal version of Dancing Mad on their eponymous first album in 2003. Their 2008 album, subtitled "Darkness and Starlight", is so named after its premiere track: a rock opera version of the entire opera from FFVI, including the Aria di Mezzo Carattere performed by Etsuyo Ota.
Final Fantasy VI was ported to the Sony PlayStation by Tose and re-released by Square in Japan and North America in 1999. In Japan, it was available both by itself and as part of Final Fantasy Collection, while in North America it was available only as part of Final Fantasy Anthology. In Europe it was sold by itself. Fifty thousand limited-edition copies of the Japanese version were also released in Japan and included a Final Fantasy-themed alarm clock.
Final Fantasy VI's PlayStation re-release is very similar to the original Japanese release as seen on the Super Famicom. With the exception of the addition of two full motion video opening and ending sequences and new effects used for the start and end of battles, the graphics, music and sound are left unchanged from the original version. The only notable changes to gameplay (in addition to loading times not present in the cartridge versions) involve the correction of a few software bugs from the original and the addition of a new "memo save" feature, allowing players to quickly save their progress to the PlayStation's RAM. The re-release included other special features, such as a bestiary and an artwork gallery. On December 18, 2012 the port was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Japanese package.
Game Boy Advance 
Final Fantasy VI was ported a second time by Tose and re-released as Final Fantasy VI Advance by Square Enix in Japan on November 30, 2006, by Nintendo in North America on February 5, 2007, and in Europe on June 29, 2007, for the Game Boy Advance. It includes additional gameplay features, slightly better visuals, and a new translation that follows Japanese naming conventions for the spells and monsters. It does not, however, have the full-motion videos from the PlayStation version of the game. Four new espers are in this re-release: Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Cactuar, and Diabolos. Two new areas include the Dragons' Den dungeon, which includes the Kaiser Dragon, a monster coded but not included in the original, and a "Soul Shrine", a place where the player can fight monsters continuously. Three new spells also appear, and several bugs from the original are fixed. In addition, similarly to the other handheld Final Fantasy re-releases, a bestiary and a music player are included. Interestingly, even in the Japanese version, the music player is in English and uses the American names, e.g. Strago over Stragus. The package features new artwork by series veteran and original character and image designer Yoshitaka Amano.
Virtual Console 
The original Super Famicom version was released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on March 15, 2011, in PAL territories (Europe and Australia) on March 18, 2011, and in North America on June 30, 2011. The game was released in the West with its original North American title of Final Fantasy III.
PlayStation Network 
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||(PS) 9.5/10
Final Fantasy VI received critical acclaim and was commercially successful upon release - it is now considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time, and on many major gaming sites such as IGN, the best in the Final Fantasy series. As of March 31, 2003, the game had shipped 3.48 million copies worldwide, with 2.62 million of those copies being shipped in Japan and 860,000 abroad. Final Fantasy Collection sold over 400,000 copies in 1999, making it the 31st-best-selling release of that year in Japan. It received 54 out of 60 points from Weekly Famitsu, scored by a panel of six reviewers. Final Fantasy Anthology has sold approximately 364,000 copies in North America.
The game garnered rave reviews upon its original release. GamePro rated it as 5 out of 5, stating that "Characters, plotlines, and multiple-choice scenarios all combine to form one fantastic game!" Electronic Gaming Monthly granted a 9 out of 10 and named it game of the month, commenting that "RPGs with this much depth and realism come once in a blue moon". It won several awards from Electronic Gaming Monthly in their 1994 video game awards, including Best Role-Playing Game, Best Japanese Role-Playing Game, and Best Music for a Cartridge-Based Game. Additionally, they later ranked the game ninth in their 1997 list of the 100 greatest console games of all time. For their part, Nintendo Power declared the game "the RPG hit of the decade", noting its improved sound and graphics over its predecessors, and the game's broadened thematic scope. Moreover, they suggested that "with so much story and variation of play ... fans may become lost in the world for months at a time". In 1997, they ranked it as the 8th greatest Nintendo game, saying it "had everything you could want—heroes, world-shattering events, magic, mindless evil—plus Interceptor the wonder dog!" In April 2008, ScrewAttack named Final Fantasy VI the 3rd best SNES game, beaten only by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid. Nintendo Power listed the ending to Final Fantasy VI as one of the best finales, citing the great character moments that cement them as some of the most memorable Final Fantasy protagonists ever. They also listed the opera scene as being a demonstration of how touching and emotional role-playing games can be.
The game was still earning rave reviews after the release of its PlayStation version, with GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly rating it 4 out of 5 and 9.5 out of 10, respectively. Nintendo Power again ranked it as one of the best Nintendo games in 2006, placing it as 13th on their "Top 200 games on a Nintendo Platform", suggesting that it might be the "best" Final Fantasy ever. In 2005, multimedia news website IGN ranked Final Fantasy VI 56th on their list of the 100 greatest games, as the second highest ranked Final Fantasy title on the list after Final Fantasy IV. IGN described the graphics of the PlayStation re-release as "beautiful and stunning", reflecting that, at the time of its release, "Final Fantasy III... represented everything an RPG should be", inspiring statistic growth systems that would later influence titles like Wild Arms and Suikoden. Moreover, they praised its gameplay and storyline, claiming that these aspects took "all ... preceding RPG concepts and either came up with something completely new or refined them enough to make them its own", creating an atmosphere in which "[players] won't find it difficult to get past the simplistic graphics or seemingly out-dated gameplay conventions and become involved ...". In an updated version of the "Top 100" list in 2007, IGN ranked Final Fantasy VI 9th on the list, above all other Final Fantasy games in the series. They continued to cite the game's character development, and especially noted Kefka as "one of the most memorable bad guys in RPG history". In 2009, Game Informer put the SNES version of Final Fantasy III 8th on their list of "The Top 200 Games of All Time", saying that it "perfected the 2D role-playing game".
Readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu voted it as the 25th best game of all time in early 2006. RPGamer gave a perfect rating to both the original game and its PlayStation re-release, citing its gameplay as "self-explanatory enough that most any player could pick up the game and customize their characters' equipment", while praising its music as "a 16-bit masterpiece". Alternatively, they describe the game's sound effects as limited and the game itself as lacking in replay value due to having "one ending, one [fundamental] path through the plot, and ... [mandatory] sidequests". Additionally, they regarded the game's English translation as "unremarkable", being "better than some but worse than others", and offered similar comments for its gameplay difficulty. However, they referred to the game's storyline as its "... most unique aspect", citing its large cast of characters, "nearly all of whom receive a great deal of development", and the "surprisingly large number of real world issues, the vast majority of which have not been addressed by any RPG before or since, ranging from teen pregnancy to suicide". Overall, RPGamer regarded the game as an "epic masterpiece" and "truly one of the greatest games ever created".
The game's latest release, for the Game Boy Advance, also garnered praise. In 2007, the Game Boy Advance re-release was named 8th best Game Boy Advance game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the Game Boy Advance's long lifespan. In 2009, Final Fantasy VI was inducted into the IGN Videogame Hall of Fame, becoming the second Final Fantasy game to do so. The only other Final Fantasy to do so was the original Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy VI took the #1 spot on G4 TV's Top Must Own RPG's list in 2008.
In IGN's ranking of the Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy VI took the #1 spot as the best game in the series. Gamesradar has also ranked Final Fantasy VI #1 in a similar list. In 2012, IGN ranked Final Fantasy VI #1 in their list the "Top 100 RPGs", saying "Final Fantasy VI came to us just before the series, and gaming as a whole, leapt into a new generation of hardware. What a glorious finale to Final Fantasy's 16-bit ways. There are too many moments in Final Fantasy VI worthy of celebration to name them all. Biggs and Wedge leading Terra through the snow. The poisoning of Doma. Sandy boots. The destruction of the world. A tragic opera. Ultros! We hold these close to our hearts, and that's not even including Espers and the most poignant character themes in the series to date. So cheers, Final Fantasy VI. May your name follow us as we all tumble towards the future of art, entertainment, narrative, and everything that keeps us gaming." 
Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game (also known as the Final Fantasy SGI demo, or Final Fantasy x (not related to the actual 10th game in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy X) was a short demonstration produced by Square using characters and settings from Final Fantasy VI. Produced using new Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) Onyx workstations acquired by Square, the demo was Square's first foray into 3D graphics, and many assumed that it was a precursor to a new Final Fantasy title for the Nintendo 64 video game console, which also used SGI hardware. Square, however, had not yet committed to Nintendo's console at the time of the demo's production, and much of the technology demonstrated in the demo was later put to use in the rendering of full motion video sequences for Final Fantasy VII and subsequent games for the PlayStation. The demo itself featured Terra Branford, Locke Cole, and Shadow in a series of battles. The game was controlled largely through mouse gestures: for example, moving the cursor in the shape of a star would summon a dragon to attack.
On April 27, 2010, Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto stated that the development of a remake of Final Fantasy VI for the Nintendo DS was "undecided" due to "technical issues". Later, however, Square discussed remaking VI as well as V for the Nintendo 3DS.
See also 
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- Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11) "(NPC in Jidoor) You like art? No? Philistines!"
- Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11) "(Game opening) Long ago, the War of the Magi reduced the world to a scorched wasteland, and magic simply ceased to exist. 1000 years have passed... Iron, gunpowder and steam engines have been rediscovered, and high technology reigns..."
- Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11) "Left statue: The birth of magic... three goddesses were banished here. In time they began quarreling, which led to all-out war. Those unlucky humans who got in the way were transformed to Espers, and used as living war machines. / Right Statue: The goddesses finally realized that they were being laughed at by those who had banished them here. In a rare moment of mutual clarity, they agreed to seal themselves away from the world. With their last ounce of energy they gave the Espers back their own free will, and then transformed themselves... ...into stone. Their only request was that the Espers keep them sealed away from all eternity. / Center Statue: The Espers created these statues as a symbol of their vow to let the goddesses sleep in peace. The Espers have sworn to keep the goddesses' power from being abused."
- Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11) "(NPC in Vector) That guy Kefka? He was Cid's first experimental Magitek Knight. But the process wasn't perfected yet. Something in Kefka's mind snapped that day...!"
- Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11) "Wedge: Not to worry. The Slave Crown on her head robs her of all conscious thought. She'll follow our orders."
- Locke: On the surface, Edgar pretends to support the Empire. The truth is, he's collaborating with the Returners, an organization opposed to the Empire. I am his contact with that group... The old man you met in Narshe is one of us. Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- "Final Fantasy SGI Demo". RPGamer. Retrieved 2006-08-10.
- Terra: You... saved me? / Locke: Save your thanks for the Moogles! / Terra: Uhh... I can't remember anything... past or present... / Locke: You have amnesia!? Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Banon: Have you made a decision? Will you become our last ray of hope? ... / Terra: I'll do it! Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Locke: ...Where's Terra? / Celes: She changed into a...something, and...took off. She looked like... She looked like...an Esper... Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- (Unidentified character) Terra looks like she's in pain. / Ramuh: Her very existence strikes fear into her own heart. / (Unidentified character) How can we help her? / Ramuh: When she accepts this aspect of herself, I think she'll be all right. / (Unidentified character) We have to help her! / Ramuh: Then free those of my kind imprisoned in Gestahl's Magitek Research Facility. One of them can surely help her. Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Ramuh: Gestahl's method is incorrect. You can't drain a live Esper of all its power. It is only when we are reduced to Magicite that our abilities can be transferred in total... / Unspecified character: Pardon!? / Ramuh: When we transform into Magicite, our power can be relocated. / Unspecified character: Magicite...!? / Ramuh: That's what's left of us when we... pass away. Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- (An Esper) Our friends are all gone... We haven't much time left... We have no choice but to entrust you with our essences... / Esper: You want to help me... But... I haven't long to live. Just as Ifrit did before me, I'll give to you my power... Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Kefka: So that's it! Magicite... ... / Kefka: General Celes!! The game's over. Bring me those Magicite shards! / Locke: Celes! You... deceived me!? / Celes: Of course not! Have a little faith! / Kefka: G'hee, hee, hee! She has tricked you all! Celes, that's so... YOU! / Celes: Locke... Please believe me... / Locke: I... ... ... / Kefka: NOW!! / Kefka: Exterminate all of them! / Celes: Locke... Let me protect you for once... Maybe now... Now you'll believe me... / Kefka: Celes! W... What are you doing? Stop it!!! Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Terra: Father...? I remember it all... I was raised in the Esper's world. ... / Terra: I'm the product of an Esper and a human... That's where I got my powers... Now I understand... I finally feel I can begin to control this power of mine... Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Arvis: I see... Your plan would combine Narshe's money with Figaro's machinery to storm the Empire... not enough manpower, though... / Banon: We have to open the sealed gate... Terra!? / Terra: To the Esper World...? / Arvis: We'll never beat the Empire without them. / Banon: When the gate has been opened, the Espers can attack from the east. We'll storm in at the same time, from the north. No way around it. We MUST get the Espers to understand. We have to establish a bond of trust between humans and Espers. Only one person can do this... Terra... / Terra: Half human, half Esper... My existence is proof that such a bond CAN exist... I'll do it. I'm the only one who can! Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Gestahl: I've lost my will to fight... ... / Gestahl: I've ordered this war to be over! Now I must ask for a favour... After they devastated my Empire, the Espers headed northward, towards Crescent Island. They must be found...! We must tell them we're no longer their enemy. After all that I have put them through, it is up to me to set things right. That is why... I need to borrow Terra's power. Only Terra can bridge the gap between Esper and human. We must make for Crescent Island aboard the freighter from Albrook. Will you accompany me? Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Kefka: G'ha, ha, ha! Emperor's orders! I'm to bring the Magicite remains of these Espers to his excellency! Behold! A Magicite mother lode!! Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Setzer: We've been had!! The Emperor is a liar! ... / Edgar: I got to know the gal who brought us tea. After a while, she just blurted out the whole crooked plan. Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Cid: Celes... at last...! You're finally awake... / Celes: I... feel like I've been sleeping forever... / Cid: For one year, actually... ... / Cid: We're on a tiny, deserted island. After the world crumbled, I awoke to find us here together with... a few strangers. / Cid: Since that day, the world's continued its slide into ruin. Animals and plants are dying... The few others who washed up here with us passed away of boredom and despair. Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
- Celes: Terra! What's wrong? The Magicite... Magic is disappearing from this world... / Edgar: The Espers... They no longer exist... / Celes: You mean Terra, too? / Terra: Come with me. I can lead you out with my last ounce of strength. Square Co. Final Fantasy III. (Square Soft). Super Nintendo Entertainment System. (1994-10-11)
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- Square Enix's Official Final Fantasy VI Advance website (Japanese)
- Nintendo's Official Final Fantasy III (Virtual Console version) website (English)
- "Nintendo's Official Final Fantasy VI Advance website". Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. (English)