Final Fantasy VIII

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Final Fantasy VIII
The box cover of the PlayStation version of the game, showing three figures (from left to right a man, a woman, and a man) looking away from the viewer at different angles. The game's logo floats above them, while the background consists of a faded image of a woman wearing an elaborate costume.
North American box art showing (from left): Squall, Rinoa, and Seifer, with Edea in the background
Developer(s) Square
Distributor(s) Eidos Interactive
Director(s) Yoshinori Kitase
Producer(s) Shinji Hashimoto
Programmer(s) Ken Narita
Artist(s) Yusuke Naora
Writer(s) Kazushige Nojima
Composer(s) Nobuo Uematsu
Series Final Fantasy
Platform(s) PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Role-playing,Drama,Romance
Mode(s) Single-player

Final Fantasy VIII (ファイナルファンタジーVIII Fainaru Fantajī Eito?) is a 1999 role-playing video game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix). It is the eighth major installment in the Final Fantasy series. The game was the series' second 3D installment and the first to consistently use realistically proportioned characters, and introduced a new magic system to the Final Fantasy franchise which removed magic point-based spell-casting. Set on an unnamed fantasy world with science fiction elements, the game follows the story of a group of young mercenaries, led by Squall Leonhart, who are part of an organization named SeeD. Initially traveling to different countries to stop the sorceress Edea, their goal changes to stop a sorceress from the future named Ultimecia from compressing time.

The development of Final Fantasy VIII began in 1997, during the English localization process of Final Fantasy VII. It was produced by Shinji Hashimoto, and directed by Yoshinori Kitase. The music was scored by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu, and in a series first a vocal piece was written as the game's theme, "Eyes on Me", performed by Faye Wong. The game was positively received by critics, who praised the originality and scope of the game. It was voted the 22nd-best game of all time in 2006 by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu. The game was a commercial success; 13 weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII had earned more than US$50 million in sales, making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title of all time until Final Fantasy XIII, a multi-platform release. The game shipped 8.15 million copies worldwide by March 31, 2003. Originally for the PlayStation, it was later ported to Windows-based personal computers and became available on PlayStation Network as a PSone Classics title in 2009. As of December 2013, it has sold over 8.5 million copies worldwide.[1]


An overhead shot of three figures running through a jungle-like setting; a metal door and wire fences are visible above them.
An example of navigation on the field map, displaying use of pre-rendered backgrounds

Like previous games in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy VIII consists of three main modes of play: the world map, field map, and battle screen. Like previous titles, players navigate a single character across a small scale rendering of the game world between various towns and dungeons, which is rendered in 3D like Final Fantasy VII. Along with getting around traditionally by foot, by Chocobo, and by airship, Final Fantasy VIII also allows players to travel by car, by train, and via a Mobile Garden. Players must make progress in the game's story to obtain the airship and Mobile Garden, while chocobos can be acquired from special forests on the world map. Cars, which are similar to chocobos in that they can avoid fights, must be rented from cities that offer them and characters must carry reserve fuel with them to prevent them running out, while trains can only be used by boarding at stations in settlements or on the world map, and paying a fee for the ride. On the field map, players navigate controllable 3D characters around one or more 2D pre-rendered backgrounds, which represent environmental locations such as towns or forests. The battle screen is a 3D model of a location such as a street or room, where turn-based fights between playable characters and CPU-controlled enemies take place when triggered on either the world map or field map.

While common features from previous titles remain, such as the menu-driven interfaces, other elements received extensive changes or were removed, with Final Fantasy VIII including brand new features that are exclusive to it. One such new feature is the Junction system, which relinquishes the need for the typical weapon and armor systems used in previous titles in place of a system that allows for extensive optimization of a character's stats and abilities. Another new feature is the inclusion of a collectible card-based minigame called "Triple Triad".[2]

Junction System & Magic[edit]

Final Fantasy VIII uses a unique battle system known as the "Junction System", which acts as a substitute for armour and accessories used in previous titles, allowing a player to enhance the characters' statistics and determine what Commands a character will use in battles. The system is based upon the game's version of the classic summon-able monsters of the Final Fantasy series, referred to in-game as "Guardian Forces" (or "GFs"), wherein assigning at least one GF onto a character via "junctioning" allows for enhancements of stats through magic spells, the allocation of different Character/Party abilities, and the ability to use Battle Commands beyond the default of "Attack"; all GFs can allow a character to use a variety of Commands, with the most common being "Magic", "GF" (to summon the junctioned GF in battle), "Item" and "Draw" (to draw magic spells from a draw point or an enemy). While whatever GF(s) is/are junctioned to a character determine(s) what stats can be enhanced and what commands and abilities can be set, what kind of enhancement is made to each stat available depends on what magic spells are junctioned to it, which the character has acquired.[2] Whereas in previous titles, characters bought or acquired spells on their journeys and used magic points to cast them, characters in Final Fantasy VIII acquire spells by drawing and stocking them from either Draw Points in the game's environments or from enemies, or refining them from items; spells drawn from enemies can be cast, rather than stocked. Each character can stock magic into a quantified inventory, but are limited to carrying around 32 distinct spells, and 100 of each spell.

Junctioning magic to a stat to enhance it, improves a character and makes them more effective in battles; improving Strength, for example, increases the amount of damage done to an enemy, while improving speed, charges a character's ATB gauge more quickly. How much of an enhancement is made depends on the spell junctioned to a stat, for example, junctioning Fire to Strength garners a better improvement than Cure. Players can also perform Elemental Junctions, which can enhance a character's physical attack with an element type while improving their defences to element types, even nullifying or absorbing elemental damage, as well as performing Status Junctions, which can allow a character to inflict a status ailment on enemies or defend against such ailments being inflicted on them. Such junctions rely on a % value, to determine how effective it is; players can only junction one elemental and status ailment spell to attack, but up to four for defence. Players can either manually assign spells, or have them automatically assigned depending on the type of allocation - Attack will ensure a character makes strong physical attacks, Magic will ensure they inflict stronger magical damage, and Defence ensures they boost the Hit Points more.

Guardian Forces[edit]

Three characters in a battle with a monster which resembles a mechanical spider. A gray menu at the bottom of the image shows the characters' health and bars representing the time left until they can act.
A battle against X-ATM092, an early boss; Zell will summon Shiva when the blue bar that has replaced his ATB is drained.

The most common use of summoned creatures was always to summon one to perform a single devastating attack during battle and/or action, so expanding their use by providing them additional roles in Final Fantasy VIII was a significant departure for the Final Fantasy series. In the game, a GF serves as not only a powerful ally for the character/party in battles, but also as a potent support asset in and out of battles; in addition to their role in the Junction System, GFs can also earn EXP to increase their levels to improve them when summoned in battles, and can acquire AP to help them learn additional abilities to those they know; by default, a GF acquired either from the field or drawn from certain fights, will usually already have a number of abilities learned and be set at a level close to the active party's average level. Abilities that a GF can use to further assist the player during the game, are divided into five categories - Junction Abilities, Commands Abilities, Character/Party Abilities, GF Abilities & Menu Abilities. Learning new Junctions provides more stats that can be enhanced by magic spells, learning new Commands provide additional battle commands for a character to use, while learning Character/Party abilities provide additional abilities for use during battles and the game's environments. Learning GF abilities provide enhancements to their HP and to their attack power if they do damaging attacks. Learning Menu abilities provides the means for players to refine items and card into new items or magic spells, along with other useful benefits. A GF can learn a new ability by acquiring AP from battles, though the amount needed varies depending on the ability itself, or can be taught one through an item acquired by players during the game, even if they cannot learn it themselves with AP. All GFs have a limit on the amount of abilities they can learn - upon reaching this limit, they cannot learn a new one without forgetting one they currently know.[2]

GFs work differently to summon-able monsters when used in battles; not only must a character have a GF junctioned to them to use it, but they must also have the "GF" command assigned as well in order to summon them. In battle, when a GF is summoned by a character, the character's name, HP, and ATB gauge is replaced by the GF's name, HP and Summon Gauge, until it is summoned and performs its attack/action. Until the Summon Gauge is emptied completely, the GF takes the place of the character and receives any damage directed to them; if the GF loses all their HP before the gauge is empty, it is KO'ed and cannot be summoned until revived.

Weapons & Limit breaks[edit]

Whereas players had to often buy new weapons to replace existing ones for better damage and other improvements in previous titles, each major character in Final Fantasy VIII carries a unique weapon which cannot be replaced, but can be upgraded to a stronger version, affecting its appearance, power, and the % value of landing a hit.[3] In order to upgrade a weapon, players must visit a "Junk Shop" (the game's equivalent of the traditional weapon shop) in any of the world's towns and cities, and not only pay a small fee, but also provide the necessary materials for it which are detailed within a series of in-game weapon magazines. These materials are acquired from either enemies in battle or refining items.

In addition to a unique weapon, each character also has a unique special attack, or "Limit Break", which operate in a similar manner to the Desperation Attacks of Final Fantasy VI. Unlike in Final Fantasy VII, where a character had to receive sufficient damage to trigger a limit, Limit Breaks are triggered when a character's health is low or the character is under the influence of the spell Aura, can be prevented from triggering if the player is under certain status afflictions, and is merely an option besides attack when available.[4] For one character, Rinoa, most of her Limit Breaks activate randomly under certain conditions and are not triggered by low health or Aura.

Final Fantasy VIII is the first game in the series to introduce interactive elements to complement some characters Limit Break animations. These interactive elements range from selecting a target and making simple button presses, to well-timed button inputs or performing button combos, with successful application resulting in more damage being done. For other characters, even temporary additions, their Limit Breaks either require simple activation or making choice of what to use.[5] For the main characters, their Limit Breaks are influenced or improved in certain ways - Squall learns a new finishing move by upgrading his weapon; Quistis learns new abilities by using certain items acquired; Irvine needs ammo to use his, but can use different types; Zell and Rinoa learn new moves from certain in-game magazines, though the latter must have her dog learn it while being part of the active party.

Experience Points System & Level-Scaling[edit]

Final Fantasy VIII uses a levelling-up system that is quite different from the traditional one used in previous games in the series. While the system has similarities to those in previous games, in which characters are awarded EXP after battling and defeating enemies, who are predominantly encountered randomly, and which contribute to the continued strengthening and level-gaining of the characters, the system used in the games has major differences. Whereas gaining new levels required ever-increasing amounts of EXP to achieve (e.g., getting to level 2 might require 200 experience points, level 3 might require 400, etc.), in Final Fantasy VIII a level is earned after accumulating 1000 EXP, while improvements to stats through level-gain is minimal at best, emphasizing the need to rely on the game's Junction System instead for better stats. The amount of EXP earned in a battle is the same for each character, except the one who inflicts the final blow that wins it; that character receives a small bonus to the EXP that they earned. Furthermore, Bosses do not give any EXP, but do give significant amounts of AP.

Just as the characters level up and become stronger, so too do the enemies around the game world. Most enemies are scaled up in level to the average level of the active party, making them tougher in battles, which is in direct contrast to previous titles in the Final Fantasy series, in fact most RPGs, where enemies from previously visited locations in the game are often weak and easily defeated. However, some enemies do not receive level-scaling, and as such remain at static levels; some can be at weaker levels, others at higher, stronger levels. Enemies at higher levels become capable of inflicting and withstanding significantly more damage, may have additional special attacks, and will often carry either additional or new levels of magic spells on them.


Setting and characters[edit]

Most of Final Fantasy VIII is set on an unnamed fantasy world with one moon. The game primarily consists of modern elements, but does contain some futuristic elements. The planet contains five major landmasses, with Esthar, the largest, covering most of the eastern portion of the map.[6] Galbadia, the second-largest continent, lies to the west,[6] and contains many of the game's locations. The northernmost landmass is Trabia, an Arctic region. Positioned roughly in the middle of the world map lies Balamb, the smallest continent,[6] the island on which the game begins. The remaining landmass is small and mostly desolate, riddled with rough, rocky terrain caused by the impact of a "Lunar Cry", an event where monsters from the moon fall to the planet.[7][8] The southernmost landmass includes an archipelago of broken sections of land that have drifted apart. Islands and marine structures flesh out the rest of the game world, and a handful of off-world locations round out the game's playable areas.

The six primary protagonists of Final Fantasy VIII are: Squall Leonhart, a loner who keeps his focus on his duty to avoid vulnerability; Rinoa Heartilly, an outspoken and passionate young woman who follows her heart in all situations; Quistis Trepe, an instructor with a serious, patient attitude; Zell Dincht, a martial artist with a passion for hot dogs;[9] Selphie Tilmitt, a cheerful girl who loves trains and pilots the airship Ragnarok; and Irvine Kinneas, a marksman and consummate ladies' man.[2][10] Temporarily playable characters include Laguna Loire, Kiros Seagill, and Ward Zabac, who appear in "flashback" sequences, and antagonists Seifer Almasy and Edea Kramer.


SeeD cadets Squall and Seifer duel in a training session outside the Balamb Garden military academy, scarring each other in the process. Over the seas to the west, the Republic of Galbadia has invaded the Dollet Dukedom, forcing Dollet to hire assistance from the Balamb Garden branch of "SeeD", Garden's elite mercenary force. SeeD uses the mission as a final exam for its cadets;[11] with the help of his instructor, Quistis, Squall passes the mission's prerequisite and is grouped with Seifer and Zell. Seifer disobeys orders and abandons his team, forcing Selphie to accompany Squall and Zell for the duration of the mission. After the mission, SeeD halts the Galbadian advance; Squall, Zell, and Selphie graduate to SeeD status, while Seifer is disciplined for his disobedience.[12] During the graduation party, Squall meets Rinoa, whose personality is apparently the opposite of his.[13] When assigned with Zell and Selphie to help Rinoa's resistance faction in Galbadian-occupied Timber, Squall learns that a sorceress named Edea is behind Galbadia's recent hostilities.[14] Under orders from Balamb and Galbadia Gardens, Squall and his comrades—joined by Rinoa, Quistis, and Irvine—attempt to assassinate Edea.[15] However, the sorceress thwarts the attempt, stabbing Squall in the shoulder with an ice shard, and the party is detained.[14] During the attempt, Squall's party also learns that Seifer has left Garden to become Edea's second-in-command.[16]

After the team escapes along with a conscious Squall, Edea launches a missile attack on Trabia Garden.[14] Fearing that Balamb Garden is the next target of Edea's plan, the team splits into two units. Squall's group returns to Balamb to warn of the attack, but must first stop an internal Garden conflict incited by NORG, SeeD's financier.[17] Selphie's team travels to the Missile Base to stop the launch, but fails.[14] Squall inadvertently activates Balamb Garden's "mobile fortress" form, allowing the facility to evade the missiles; however, unable to control the Garden, it collides with the docks at Fishermans' Horizon.[18] While local technicians repair the Garden, the Galbadian Army invade in search of a girl named Ellone,[19] who had been staying at Balamb Garden until recently. Ellone eventually escapes to Esthar, the world's technological superpower. During Squall's meeting with Ellone, he learns that she had been "sending" him and his allies into flashbacks set 17 years in the past in a vain effort to alter the present.[20] The scenes center on Laguna and his two friends, Kiros and Ward. During the flashbacks, Laguna changes from a Galbadian soldier to the defender of a country village,[14] then moves from being the leader of a resistance movement against Sorceress Adel to the President of Esthar.[21]

Meanwhile, Squall confronts his personal anxieties fueled by ongoing developments,[22] such as Headmaster Cid appointing him as SeeD's new leader,[23] and his increasing attraction to Rinoa. While investigating Trabia Garden's wreckage, Squall and his comrades learn that they, along with Seifer and Ellone, were all raised (except for Rinoa) in an orphanage run by Edea;[14] after eventual separation, they later developed amnesia due to their use of Guardian Forces.[24] It is also revealed that Cid and Edea had established Garden and SeeD primarily to defeat corrupt sorceresses.[25] After these revelations, the forces of Balamb Garden and the Galbadian Army, led by Squall and Seifer respectively, engage in battle above the orphanage. After Balamb defeats Galbadia, the player learns that Edea is merely an unwilling tool for "Ultimecia",[26] a powerful sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time into a single moment; it is for this reason she has sought Ellone.[27] Edea loses a decisive battle against the SeeD, forcing Ultimecia to transfer her powers to Rinoa; Edea survives, but Rinoa enters a coma. Squall becomes obsessed with waking her and goes to Esthar to find Ellone, as he believes that she can help save Rinoa.[28]

While Rinoa is being treated on Esthar's space station, Ultimecia uses her to free Sorceress Adel from her orbital prison. Ultimecia then orders Seifer to activate the Lunatic Pandora facility, inciting a rain of creatures from the moon that sends Adel's containment device to the planet.[29][30] Having selected Adel as her next host, Ultimecia abandons Rinoa in outer space. Squall rescues her, and they return to the planet on a derelict starship. Upon their landing, delegates from Esthar isolate Rinoa for fear of her sorceress abilities,[31] forcing Squall to rescue her. They are met by the President of Esthar who reveals himself to be Laguna and apologizes for the incident and announces Dr. Odine's plan to let Ultimecia possess Rinoa, have Ellone send Rinoa (and thus Ultimecia as well) to the past and then retrieve only Rinoa back to the present, enabling Ultimecia to achieve Time Compression, as it would allow Squall's group to confront Ultimecia in her time.[32] To do this, Squall's team infiltrates Lunatic Pandora, defeats Seifer and Adel, and has Rinoa inherit Adel's sorceress powers.[33] Time Compression is thus initiated; Squall and his allies travel to Ultimecia's era and defeat her.

With Ultimecia defeated, the universe begins returning to normal; however, Squall is nearly lost in the flow of time as he witnesses the origins of the game's story, ghostly, sporadic apparitions of Rinoa, and a faceless portrait of himself. When a dying Ultimecia travels back in time to pass her powers to Edea, Squall informs Edea of the concepts of Garden and SeeD that she will create.[34] Afterward, he is able to properly recollect his memories and thus return to the present with Rinoa's help. Seifer, no longer a Garden member, is once again reunited with Raijin and Fujin; Laguna visits Raine's grave (and remembers his proposal to her) along with Ellone, Ward, and Kiros; and a celebration takes place in the Garden, with Squall and Rinoa sharing a kiss under the moonlight.[14]


Development of Final Fantasy VIII began in 1997, during the English-language translation of Final Fantasy VII.[35] As with much of the production of Final Fantasy VII, series creator and veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi served as the executive producer, working primarily on the development of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and leaving direction of Final Fantasy VIII to Yoshinori Kitase.[36] Shinji Hashimoto was assigned to be the producer in Sakaguchi's place, while the game and battle system were designed by Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito, respectively.[35][37] The card game Triple Triad was conceived and implemented by programmer Kentarow Yasui.[38] The concept was derived from trading cards which is a popular hobby in some parts of Japan.[39] Triple Triad was meant to keep the player's interest during long stretches without cutscenes. Originally, it was simply about collecting cards but Yasui considered this too disconnected from the main game and "begged" for the inclusion of an ability to transform cards into items.[38] The game's total development costs approximately ¥3 billion, with a crew of about 180 people, many of whom had previously worked on VII.[40]

Visual design[edit]

From the beginning, Kitase knew he wanted a thematic combination of fantasy and realism. To this end, he aimed to include a cast of characters who appeared to be ordinary people. Character designer and battle visual director Tetsuya Nomura and art director Yusuke Naora strove to achieve this impression through the inclusion of realistically proportioned characters—a departure from the super deformed designs used in the previous title. Additionally, Naora attempted to enhance the realism of the world through predominantly bright lighting effects with shadows distributed as appropriate. Other measures taken included implementing rental cars for travel in-game,[35] and the use of motion capture technology to give the game's characters lifelike movements in the game's full motion video sequences.[39] The FMV sequences were created by a team of roughly 35 people, with the total cinematic run-time being estimated at over an hour, approximately 20 minutes longer than the FMV sequences in VII.[40]

In an interview with Famitsu, Naora described that the game was generally designed to be a "bright, fresh Final Fantasy."[35] The designers felt a need to invert the atmosphere of previous games in the series, which had feelings of "light emerging from darkness".[35] This decision was easy for the developers to make, because most of them had worked on Final Fantasy VII and felt that a new direction was acceptable.[39] The world designs were also developed with the knowledge that most of the staff were now used to computer graphics, which was not the case with Final Fantasy VII.[35] The developers also noted that with Final Fantasy VIII, they attempted to "mix future, real life and fantasy."[35] As part of a theme desired by Kitase to give the game a foreign atmosphere, various designs were given to its locations using the style of internationally familiar places, while also maintaining a fantasy atmosphere. Inspiration ranged from ancient Egyptian and Greek architecture, to the city of Paris, France, to an idealized futuristic European society. Flags were also given to some factions, their designs based on the group's history and culture.[41]

To maintain a foreign atmosphere, the characters of the game were designed to have predominantly European appearances. The first Final Fantasy VIII character created was Squall. Desiring to add a unique angle to Squall's appearance and emphasize his role as the central character, Nomura gave him a scar across his brow and the bridge of his nose. As there was not yet a detailed history conceived for the character, Nomura left the explanation for Squall's scar to scenario writer Kazushige Nojima. Squall was given a gunblade, a fictional revolversword hybrid that functions primarily as a sword, with an added damaging vibration feature activated by use of its gun mechanism,[42] similar to a vibroblade.[43] His character design was complemented by a fur lining along the collar of his jacket, incorporated by Nomura as a challenge for the game's full motion video designers.[41] Additionally, some designs Nomura had previously drawn, but had not yet used in a Final Fantasy game, were incorporated into Final Fantasy VIII. These were the designs of Edea, Fujin and Raijin. The latter two had originally been designed for use in Final Fantasy VII, but with the inclusion of the Turks characters in that game, it was felt that Fujin and Raijin were unnecessary. Nomura had designed Edea before the development of Final Fantasy VII, based on the style of Yoshitaka Amano.[41] For the Guardian Forces, Nomura felt they should be unique beings, without clothes or other human-like concepts. This was problematic, as he did not want them to "become the actual monsters", so he took great care in their design. Leviathan was the first GF, created as a test and included in a game demo. After it received a positive reaction from players, Nomura decided to create the remaining sequences in a similar fashion.[41]

Story development[edit]

The plot of Final Fantasy VIII was conceived by Kitase, with the stories for the characters provided by Nomura and the actual scenario written by Nojima.[35][37] During the game's pre-production, Nomura suggested the game be given a "school days" feel. Nojima already had a story in mind in which the main characters were the same age; their ideas meshed, taking form as the "Garden" military academies. Nojima planned that the two playable parties featured in the game (Squall's present day group and Laguna's group from the past) would be highly contrasted with one another. This idea was conveyed through the age and experience of Laguna's group, versus the youth and naïveté of Squall's group.[41] Nojima has expressed that the dynamic of players' relationships with the protagonist is important to him. Both Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII feature reserved, quiet protagonists in the form of Cloud Strife and Squall. With Final Fantasy VIII, however, Nojima worked to give players actual insight into what the character was thinking; a direct contrast with his handling of Final Fantasy VII, which encouraged the player to speculate.[44]

Other media[edit]

In March 1999, one month after the game's release, Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania was published, a book that features an in-depth guide to Final Fantasy VIII and interviews with the developers.[45] An origami book was released in November 1999.[46] On September 22, 1999, a CD-ROM titled Final Fantasy VIII Desktop Accessories was released. It contains desktop icons, computer wallpapers, screensavers, and an e-mail application. It additionally features a stand-alone edition of the Triple Triad minigame, which allowed players to compete against one another via a local area network.[47]

Also in 1999, the ballroom dance scene of Final Fantasy VIII was featured as a technical demo for the PlayStation 2.[48] In 2000, a PC version was released for Windows. This port featured smoother graphics, enhanced audio, and the inclusion of Chocobo World, a minigame starring Boko, a Chocobo featured in one of the side-quests in Final Fantasy VIII.[49] For most North American and European players, the PC version of the game was the only means of playing Chocobo World, as the game was originally designed to be played via the PocketStation, a handheld console never released outside Japan.[49][50][51] In 2009, Final Fantasy VIII was added to the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation Network.[52]

On December 18, 2012, the game was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Japanese package.[53] An upscaled PC version was announced May 17, 2013, and was released on Steam December 5, 2013.[54][55]


Regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu wrote the soundtrack for Final Fantasy VIII. He tried to base the songs off of the emotional content of when they would be played, asserting that expressing the emotions he desires is more important than improving skills: "I think it will be a shame if we won't be able to cry as we play our own game". He could not determine a character's emotions solely based on the plot, instead using images of appearance and attire—"It's important to know when their emotions are at their height, but it usually takes until a month before release for them to finish the ending dialog...!"[56] In response to a question by IGN music stating that the music of Final Fantasy VIII was very dark and perhaps influenced by the plot of the game, Uematsu stated "the atmosphere of music varies depending on story line, of course, but it's also my intention to put various types of music into one game".[57] The absence of character themes found in the previous two games was due to Uematsu finding those of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII ineffective. Uematsu considers it reasonable to have character themes if each character has a "highlight" in the game, but he found Final Fantasy VIII only focused on Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly as a couple, resulting in the "Eyes on Me" theme.[57]

The original soundtrack was released on four compact discs by DigiCube in Japan on March 10, 1999, and by Square EA in North America as Final Fantasy VIII Music Collection in January 2000.[58] It was republished worldwide by Square Enix on May 10, 2004.[59] An album of orchestral arrangements of selected tracks from the game was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII on November 19, 1999, by DigiCube, and subsequently published on July 22, 2004, by Square Enix. The pieces were arranged and conducted by Shirō Hamaguchi for a live orchestra.[60] A collection of piano arrangements performed by Shinko Ogata was released under the title Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VIII by DigiCube on January 21, 2000, and subsequently re-published by Square Enix on July 22, 2004.[61]

The score is best known for two songs: "Liberi Fatali", a Latin choral piece that is played during the introduction to the game, and "Eyes On Me", a pop song serving as the game's theme, performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. Near the end of the production of Final Fantasy VII, the developers suggested to use a singer, but abandoned the idea due to a lack of reasoning based on the game's theme and storyline.[62] However, Nobuo Uematsu thought a ballad would closely relate to the theme and characters of Final Fantasy VIII. This resulted in the game's developers sharing "countless" artists, eventually deciding on Wong. Uematsu claims "her voice and mood seem to match my image of the song exactly", and that her ethnicity "fits the international image of Final Fantasy". After negotiations were made, "Eyes on Me" was recorded in Hong Kong with an orchestra.[56] The song was released as a CD single in Japan and sold over 400,000 copies,[63] setting the record for highest-selling video game music disc ever released in that country at the time. "Liberi Fatali" was played during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens during the women's synchronized swimming event.[64]

The music of Final Fantasy VIII has appeared in various official Final Fantasy concerts. These include 2002's 20020220 Music from FINAL FANTASY, in which the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra played "Liberi Fatali", "Don't Be Afraid", "Love Grows", and "The Man with the Machine Gun", the 2004 Tour de Japon series, which featured "The Oath", the Dear Friends series that began that same year and included "Liberi Fatali" and "Love Grows", and the 2005 More Friends concert, which included "Maybe I'm a Lion".[65][66][67][68] More recent concerts include the Voices – Music from Final Fantasy 2006 concert showcasing "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", and "Eyes on Me" and the international Distant Worlds concert tour that continues to date, which includes "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", "Man with the Machine Gun", and "Love Grows".[69][70] Several of these concerts have produced live albums as well.[71] Music from the game has also been played in non Final Fantasy-specific concerts such as the Play! A Video Game Symphony world tour from 2006 onwards, for which Nobuo Uematsu composed the opening fanfare that accompanies each performance.[72]

Other appearances and cameos[edit]

Final Fantasy VIII has made a cameo appearance in real-life media. In the 2000 film version of Charlie's Angels, two young boys are seen playing the game at night, with Squall and Quistis fighting a battle in Balamb Garden's Training Center, and one of them about to summon the Guardian Force Quezacoatl. At this time, the character Dylan (played by Drew Barrymore) appears at the patio door to ask for help and clothing after having just escaped an attempt on her life.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings PS: 89%[73]
PC: 80%[74]
Metacritic PS: 90/100[75]
Review scores
Publication Score
CGW 2/5[76]
Edge 9/10[77]
EGM 95/100[78]
Famitsu 37/40[79][80]
GameSpot PS: 9.5/10[81]
PC: 6.7/10[82]
GameSpy 90/100[83]
IGN PS: 9/10[84]
PC: 7.4/10[85]
Maximum PC 9/10[86]
PSM 10/10[87]
Publication Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly Game of the Year (Readers' Choice)[88]
IGN Best RPG of E3 1999[89]
Computer Gaming World 20th Best Game of 2000[90]
IGN 7th Best PlayStation Game[91]

Final Fantasy VIII received critical acclaim. Within two days of its North American release on September 9, 1999, Final Fantasy VIII became the top-selling video game in the United States, a position it held for more than three weeks.[92] It was also a bestseller in Japan[93] and the UK.[94] It grossed a total of more than $50 million in the 13 weeks to follow,[95][96] making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title.[97] In Japan, it sold roughly 2.5 million units within the first four days of release.[98] More than 6 million units were sold in total by the end of 1999.[99] As of March 31, 2003, the game had shipped 8.15 million copies worldwide: 3.7 million in Japan and 4.45 million abroad.[100] The opening cut scene in Final Fantasy VIII was ranked second on Game Informer's list of "Top 10 Video Game Openings",[101] and first by IGN.[91] GameSpy listed it as the 15th best cinematic moment in video games.[102] IGN additionally named the game's ending the third best of any game for the PlayStation,[91] while named it one of the series' best and most memorable moments.[103] Final Fantasy VIII was voted by readers of Japanese magazine Famitsu as the 22nd best game of all time in 2006,[104] and named one of the 20 essential Japanese role-playing games by Gamasutra, stating "[t]here's a lot that Final Fantasy VIII does wrong, but there's even more that it does right".[105]

Reviews of the gameplay have been mixed. IGN felt that it was the weakest aspect of the game, citing its Guardian Force attack sequences as "incredibly cinematic" but tedious,[84] sentiments echoed by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[78] They also regarded the battle system as intensely complicated, yet refreshingly innovative and something that "RPG fanatics love to obsess over".[84] Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine claims that the game's Junction system is a major flaw due to repetitive stocking of spells,[106] while the video game magazine Edge commented that the battle system consists of a "bewildering" number of intricate options and techniques that "most gamers will [...] relish".[77] GameSpot praised the game's battle system, commenting that the "possibilities for customization [with the Junction system] are immense".[81]

In general, Final Fantasy VIII has been compared favorably to its predecessors. Though questioning the game's lack of voice overs for its characters, Game Revolution praised its storyline and ending.[107] For their part, Edge labeled Final Fantasy VIII "a far more accomplished game than FFVII". On the other hand, the magazine also felt that the game's length left its story unable to "offer consistently strong dialogue and sub-plots". Additionally, it found some of the story's plot twists "not... suitably manipulated and prepared", leaving it "hard not to greet such... moments with anything but indifference". Overall, Edge considered Final Fantasy VIII to be "yet another outstanding edition of SquareSoft's far-from-final fantasies", summarizing it as "aesthetically astonishing, rarely less than compelling, and near peerless in scope and execution".[77] Electronic Gaming Monthly offered similar comments, stating that the game's character development "is the best of any RPG's" and that "Final Fantasy VIII is the pinnacle of its genre."[78] stated that while no other game in the series had stirred the controversy that Final Fantasy VIII had and that it was flawed, Final Fantasy VIII was a "daring, groundbreaking game [...] decidedly the most original console-style RPG ever created".[108] In 2002, IGN named the game the seventh best title for the PlayStation of all time, placing higher on the list than Final Fantasy VII and described as "[taking] all of its strong points, and [making] them better".[91]

The PC port received mixed reception. Maximum PC praised the full motion video sequences as "phenomenal", adding that while the gameplay took getting used to, they enjoyed the teamwork emphasized by it, and that the game's visual presentation added to its appeal.[86] GameSpy stated that while the game was not a "huge leap forward" from the previous title, its gameplay and visual appeal worked for its benefit, though that on a computer the pre-rendered backgrounds appeared blurry and the controls at time difficult with a keyboard.[83][109] GameSpot criticized the game for not taking advantage of the capabilities afforded to computers at the time, describing the PlayStation version as both looking and sounding superior, and recommending that the title was "not worth buying period" for the PC.[82] also described the port as inferior to its original counterpart, adding that its presentation was in turn detrimental to the reception the game received as a whole.[108] Computer Gaming World praised some of the changes made to the game in light of previous titles and the inclusion of the Triple Triad sub-game, though heavily criticized the port as "lazy" and "disappointing", stating that it only served to emphasize the original game's flaws.[76] Despite their complaints however, they named it the twentieth best game of 2000.[90]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Final Fantasy VIII sales on day of Steam release". Square Enix North America. December 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Square Electronic Arts, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual. Square Electronic Arts. pp. 20, 24, 28–36. SLUS-00892GH. 
  3. ^ Cassady, David (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide. BradyGAMES Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 1-56686-903-X. 
  4. ^ Studio BentStuff, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania (in Japanese). DigiCube/Square Enix. p. 64. ISBN 4-925075-49-7. 
  5. ^ Cassady, David (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide. BradyGAMES Publishing. pp. 6, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18–19. ISBN 1-56686-903-X. 
  6. ^ a b c "Final Fantasy VIII – World". Square Enix. Archived from the original on March 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  7. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Centra Civilization - A civilization in Centra 4000 years ago. These Centra people emigrated to other continents and founded the Dollet Empire to the west and Esthar to the east. Centra was destroyed 80 years ago by the Lunar Cry. 
  8. ^ Studio BentStuff, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania (in Japanese). DigiCube/Square Enix. p. 40. ISBN 4-925075-49-7. 
  9. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Scan description: Zell Dincht - Loves the hot dogs sold in the Garden cafeteria. Uses close combat fighting skills to defeat enemies with punches and kicks. 
  10. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Scan description: Ivrine Kinneas - An expert marksman. Can use specialized bullets to attack enemies. Doesn't perform very well under pressure. 
  11. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Xu: Our client for this mission is the Dollet Dukedom Parliament. A request for SeeD was made 18 hours ago. Dollet has been under attack by the G-Army since about 72 hours ago. 
  12. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Headmaster Cid: Seifer. You will be disciplined for your irresponsible behavior. You must follow orders exactly during combat. But I'm not entirely without sympathy for you. I don't want you all to become machines[;] I want you all to be able to think and act for yourselves. 
  13. ^ Square Electronic Arts, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual. Square Electronic Arts. pp. 6–9. SLUS-00892GH. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. 
  15. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: Our next mission... This is no ordinary mission. It's a direct order from both Balamb and Galbadia Garden. We're to [...] assassinate the sorceress. 
  16. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: So, you've become the sorceress' lap dog? / Seifer: I preferred to be called her knight. This has always been my dream. 
  17. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Raijin: I dunno. At first, they were sayin' somethin' 'bout roundin' up the SeeDs, ya know!? Now, everyone's either sidin' with the Garden Master [NORG] or the headmaster and fightin' everywhere, ya know!? 
  18. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Level/area: Fishermans' Horizon. Squall: I'm terribly sorry. It was inevitable... We lost control of the Garden. 
  19. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: Oh, and one more thing... It appeared that the Galbadians were searching for Ellone. That seemed to be their main objective in [Fisherman's Horizon]. 
  20. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Ellone: People say you can't change the past. But even still, if there's a possibility, it's worth a try, right? 
  21. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Laguna: A fierce debate ensued about who should govern this country after [Sorceress Adel] was gone. I wasn't paying close attention while they made me up to be this hero of the revolution, and I ended up being president. 
  22. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: (I hate having nothing to do. It gets me thinking too much.) (I hope Selphie and the others are all right. Was it wrong for me to let them go? I wonder how Quistis and Irvine felt about it.) (That sorceress... Who is she? Why fire missiles at the Garden? Is Seifer ever coming back? I'll get even with him next time.) 
  23. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Cid: This journey will involve many battles. A well-qualified leader is needed for this. Therefore, I am appointing Squall as your new leader. [...] He will decide our destination and battle plan. 
  24. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: ...Why is it that we forgot? We grew up together as kids... How's that possible...? / Irvine: How about this? The price we pay for using the GF. The GF provides us its power. But the GF makes its own place inside our brain... / Quistis: So you're saying that the area is where our memories are stored? No...! That's just a rumor the GF critics are spreading. / Zell: [You mean,] if we keep relying on the GF, we won't be able to remember a lot of things? 
  25. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Cid: [Edea] had been a sorceress since childhood. I married her, knowing that. We were happy. We worked together, the two of us. We were very happy. One day, Edea began talking about building the Garden and training SeeD. I became obsessed with that plan. But I was very concerned with SeeD's goal, that one day SeeD might fight Edea... 
  26. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Edea: ...I have been possessed all this time. I was at the mercy of Sorceress Ultimecia. Ultimecia is a sorceress from the future. A sorceress many generations ahead of our time. Ultimecia's objective is to find Ellone. 
  27. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Rinoa: There was a sorceress inside me. Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future. She's trying to achieve Time Compression. 
  28. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: Let's go, Rinoa. Let's go meet Ellone. Ellone will bring us together. 
  29. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Controller: The lunar world is a world of monsters. Didn't you learn that in school? As you can see, the monsters are gathering at one point. History's starting to repeat itself. The Lunar Cry is starting. 
  30. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Rinoa: But Edea's still...I can't guarantee anything, either, if Ultimecia possesses me again... You saw me. She controlled me in outer space and made me break Adel's seal. 
  31. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Descendant 1: Sorceress Rinoa. Hyne's descendant. / Descendant 2: Come with us. We must seal your power for the sake of the world. 
  32. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Doc Odine: There iz only one way to defeat Ultimecia. You must kill her in ze future. [...] Ultimecia probably needs to go back further in time to achieve time compression. Only Ellone can take her back further into ze past. [...] You will keep moving through ze time compression toward ze future. Once you're out of ze time compression, zat will be Ultimecia's world. It's all up to you after zat. 
  33. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Laguna: Adel will need to pass on her powers before being defeated. Rinoa, will you be willing to accept them? 
  34. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Squall: Both Garden and SeeD were your ideas. Garden trains SeeDs[;] SeeDs are trained to defeat the sorceress. 
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External links[edit]