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Final Fantasy VI

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Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI.jpg
Box art of the original Super Famicom (Japanese) release
Developer(s) Square
Publisher(s)
Director(s)
Producer(s) Hironobu Sakaguchi
Designer(s) Hiroyuki Ito
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
  • Yoshinori Kitase
  • Hironobu Sakaguchi
Composer(s) Nobuo Uematsu
Series Final Fantasy
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s) Role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Final Fantasy VI,[a] also known as Final Fantasy III for its initial North American release, is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Released in 1994, it is the sixth title in the mainline Final Fantasy series (and the last to use sprite based 2-D graphics). 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 2011. Nintendo re-released Final Fantasy VI in the United States in September 2017 as part of the company's Super NES Classic Edition.[1] The game was known as Final Fantasy III when it was first released in North America, as the original Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, and Final Fantasy V had not been released outside Japan at the time (leaving IV as the second title released outside Japan and VI as the third). However, most 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.

Final Fantasy VI was released to critical acclaim and is seen as a landmark title for the role-playing genre; for instance, it was ranked as the 2nd best RPG of all time by IGN.[2] Its Super NES 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 and is considered by many to be one of the greatest video games of all time.

Gameplay[edit]

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.[3]

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.[3]

Combat[edit]

A battle scene, with four of the heroes on the right and two larger four-footed monsters on the left. The figures are displayed on a green field with mountains in the background, and the names and status of the figures is displayed in blue boxes in the bottom third of the screen.
A battle in Final Fantasy VI

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[4]

Customization[edit]

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.[6]

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.[7]

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

The world of Final Fantasy VI changes dramatically. During the first half of the game, the planet is referred to as the World of Balance, and is divided into three lush continents. The northern continent is punctuated by a series of mountain ranges, the southern continent has been mostly subjugated by the cruel Gestahl Empire, and the eastern continent is home to the Veldt, a massive wilderness inhabited by monsters from all over the world. An apocalyptic event mid-game transforms the planet into the World of Ruin; its withering landmasses are fractured into numerous islands surrounding a larger continent. 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,[8] and a level of technology comparable to that of the Second Industrial Revolution.

One thousand years before the game, three quarreling entities known as the Warring Triad waged the War of the Magi. They used innocent humans as soldiers by transforming them into enslaved magical beings called espers. The Triad realized their wrongdoings; they freed the espers and sealed their own powers inside three stone statues.[9] As a precaution, the espers sealed off both the statues and themselves from the realm of humans. The concept of magic gradually faded to myth as mankind built a society extolling science and technology.[10] At the game's opening, the Empire has taken advantage of the weakening barrier between the human and esper domains, capturing several espers in the process. Using these espers as a power source, the Empire has created "Magitek", a craft that combines magic with machinery (including mechanical infantry) and infuses humans with magical powers.[11] The Empire is opposed by the Returners, a rebel organization seeking to free the subjugated lands.

Characters[edit]

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.[12] 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 Roni Figaro, a consummate womanizer and the king of Figaro, who claims allegiance to the Empire while secretly supplying aid to the Returners;[13] Sabin Rene Figaro, Edgar's independent brother, who fled the royal court to hone his martial arts skills; Cyan Garamonde, a loyal knight to the kingdom of Doma who lost his family and friends when Kefka poisoned the kingdom's water supply; Setzer Gabbiani, a habitual gambler, thrill seeker, and owner of the world's only known airship; Shadow, a ninja mercenary who offers his services to both the Empire and the Returners; 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 on the Veldt; Mog, a pike-toting 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 Palazzo, who serves as one of the game's main antagonists along with Emperor Gestahl. The clownish Kefka became the first experimental prototype of a line of magically empowered soldiers called Magitek Knights, rendering him insane; his actions throughout the game reflect his demented nature.[14] The supporting character Ultros serves as a recurring villain and comic relief. A handful of characters have reappeared in later games, such as Secret of Evermore. Final Fantasy SGI, a short tech demo produced for the Silicon Graphics Onyx workstation, featured polygon-based 3D renderings of Locke, Terra, and Shadow.[15]

Story[edit]

A mind-controlled Terra participates in an Imperial raid on Narshe to seize a frozen esper, who kills Terra's controllers. Terra is freed, but has amnesia;[16] she is discovered by Locke, who promises to protect her until she can regain her memories. They venture to the hideout of the Returners, befriending Edgar and Sabin in the interim. Banon, the leader of the Returners, asks for Terra's help in their revolution, and she agrees.[17] The characters venture to Narshe to investigate and protect the frozen esper; they are briefly split into three groups along the way, and are eventually joined by Celes, Cyan, and Gau.

With the help of Mog, the Returners defend the frozen esper from Kefka's forces. Terra approaches the esper, prompting her to transform into an esper-like form herself. She flies away, confused and horrified by her own transformation.[18] The Returners find Terra at the city of Zozo, where the esper Ramuh reveals that Terra needs the help of an esper imprisoned at the Imperial capital, Vector.[19] To reach Vector easily, the Returners travel to the Opera House and enlist Setzer and his airship. At Vector, they attempt to rescue several espers, including Terra's father, Maduin. However, the espers are already dying from Magitek experiments, and choose instead to offer their lives to the Returners by transforming into magicite—crystallized esper remains used by humans for their magic power.[20][21] The group escapes back to Zozo, where Terra reacts to Maudin's magicite; she accepts herself as the half-human, half-esper child of Maduin and a human woman.[22]

Terra enters the esper world to rally them for an offensive against the Empire.[23] The espers become furious when they discover the fate of their captured brethren; they enter the human world and destroy much of Vector. Emperor Gestahl declares a truce and requests that Terra deliver his terms to the espers.[24] After befriending Strago and Relm, Terra convinces the espers to accept the truce. However, Kefka arrives, kills the espers, and captures their magicite. The group learns that the truce was a ploy for Gestahl to obtain magicite and access the Warring Triad statues within the esper realm.[25][26] Kefka promptly kills Gestahl and moves the statues out of their proper alignment, upsetting the balance of magic and causing the destruction of most of the surface world. The Returners are scattered across the withering remains of the planet.

One year later, Celes awakens on a deserted island and learns that Kefka presides as a god-like ruler.[27] Celes searches the world for her lost comrades, though she is only required to reunite with Edgar and Setzer to conclude the story. The player can gather the other characters, as well as new allies Umaro and Gogo, via sidequests. After obtaining the Falcon airship, the Returners storm Kefka's Tower and defeat him; however, since Kefka has absorbed all of the power of the Warring Triad, his defeat signals the end of magic, including espers and magicite. Terra, if reacquired, begins to weaken due to her half-esper heritage.[28] Maudin's fading spirit informs her that she must hold on to her human half to survive. The party escapes, Terra lives, and the group observes the rejuvenation of the world's communities.

Development[edit]

Creation[edit]

Final Fantasy VI entered development after the release of its predecessor Final Fantasy V in December 1992.[29] The development of the game took just one year to be completed.[30] 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.[29][31][32] 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.[29][33] 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".[29] 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.[29][33] 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.[29][34] 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.[31][35][36]

Regular series character designer Yoshitaka Amano's concept art became the basis for the models in the full motion videos produced for the game's PlayStation re-release.[37] 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.[33][38] The sprite art for the characters' in-game appearance was drawn by Kazuko Shibuya.[39] 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.[40] Though it was not the first game to utilize the Super NES' 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.[41]

Localization[edit]

Images of a female Esper with her back to the screen from three releases of the game; the coverage level of her clothes on the bottom half of her body is different in each one
Graphics for the North American releases were edited to cover up minor instances of nudity. From left to right: Japanese SFC and GBA, North American SNES, and Western GBA releases.

The original North American localization and release of Final Fantasy VI by Square for the Super NES 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,[42] 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".[43] 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).[44]

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, Kefka swears in Japanese, which was translated by Ted Woolsey as "Son of a submariner!".[44] 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.[43] As a result, additional changes were rendered to dialogue in order to compress it into the available space.[43]

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.[37] The Game Boy Advance re-release featured a new translation by a different translator, Tom Slattery.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] The Wii Virtual Console release used the Final Fantasy III name of the SNES game.

Music[edit]

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.[48] It was also performed at the "More Friends" concert[49] at the Gibson Amphitheatre in 2005 using a new English translation of the lyrics, an album of which is now available.[50] "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.[51]

The original score was released on three Compact Discs in Japan as Final Fantasy VI: Original Sound Version.[51] 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.[52] 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).[53] Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VI, a second arranged album, features thirteen tracks from the game, performed for piano by Reiko Nomura.[54] 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.[55]

Nobuo Uematsu's former rock band, The Black Mages, released a progressive metal version of Dancing Mad on their eponymous first album in 2003. Their third 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.

In 2012, a Kickstarter campaign for OverClocked ReMix was funded at $153,633 for the creation of a multiple CD album of remixes of the music from Final Fantasy VI. Andrew Aversa directed the creation of the album, Balance and Ruin, which contains 74 tracks from 74 artists, each with its own unique style. The album is free and available at the OverClocked ReMix website.[56]

Re-releases[edit]

Release years by platforms
JP NA EU
SNES 1994 1994 N/A
PlayStation 1999 1999 2002
Game Boy Advance 2006 2007 2007
Wii VC (SNES) 2011 2011 2011
PlayStation Network 2011 2011 2011
Wii U VC (SNES) 2013 N/A N/A
Android 2014
iOS 2014
Windows N/A 2015 2015
Wii U VC (GBA) 2015 N/A N/A
New 3DS VC 2017 N/A N/A
SNES Classic 2017

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.[57]

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.[58] The re-release included other special features, such as a bestiary and an artwork gallery.[59] On December 18, 2012, the port was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Japanese package.[60]

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 July 6, 2007,[61] for the Game Boy Advance. This was the last Game Boy Advance game released in Asia. 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. Even in the Japanese version, the music player is in English and uses the American names, e.g. Strago over Stragus.[62] The package features new artwork by series veteran and original character and image designer Yoshitaka Amano.[63]

The original Super Famicom version was released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on March 15, 2011,[64] in PAL territories (Europe and Australia) on March 18, 2011, and in North America on June 30, 2011.[65] The game was released in the West with its original North American title of Final Fantasy III.[66] The Super Famicom version was later released on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan. On December 22, 2015, Square Enix released the Game Boy Advance version on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan.

Final Fantasy VI was released as a PSone Classic in Japan on April 20, 2011, and in PAL territories on June 2, 2011.[67] It was released in North America on December 6, 2011.[68] Mobile-optimized versions of the game were released on Android on January 15, 2014,[69] and iOS on February 6, 2014.[70] The versions include remade graphics.[71] A PC port was first leaked via PEGI then a couple weeks later Square Enix announced that a port of the Android version of Final Fantasy VI would be released for Windows PC via Steam. The game was released for Windows PC via Steam on December 16, 2015. The Steam release features everything from the Android version along with controls optimized for PC, Steam Achievements and Steam Trading Cards.

Nintendo re-released Final Fantasy VI worldwide in September 2017 as part of the company's Super NES/Super Famicom Classic Edition .[1]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings PS: 97%[72]
SNES: 94%[73]
iOS: 92%[74]
GBA: 91%[75]
Metacritic GBA: 92/100[76]
iOS: 91/100[77]
Review scores
Publication Score
1UP.com GBA: 9/10[78]
AllGame SNES: 5/5 stars[79]
Edge SNES: 8/10[80]
EGM SNES: 36/40[42]
PS: 9.5/10[81]
Eurogamer GBA: 9/10[82]
Famitsu SNES: 37/40[83]
PS: 54/60[57]
GBA: 31/40[84][85]
GameFan SNES: 295/300[86]
GamePro SNES: 5/5 stars[87]
GameSpot GBA: 8.9/10[88]
IGN SNES: 9.5/10[89]
GBA: 9/10[46]
Awards
Publication Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly Best Role-Playing Game,
Best Japanese Role-Playing Game,
Best Music for a Cartridge-Based Game,[90]
Game of the Month[42]
GameFan Megawards Role Playing Game of the Year,
Best Music[91]

Contemporary[edit]

Final Fantasy VI received critical acclaim and was commercially successful in Japan upon release. In mid-1994 Square's publicity department reported that the game had sold 2.55 million copies in Japan.[42] In the United States, where it went on sale in the last quarter of 1994, it became the year's eighth best-selling SNES cartridge;[92] despite this, it was not a commercial success in that region, according to Sakaguchi.[93] 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.[94] Final Fantasy Collection sold over 400,000 copies in 1999, making it the 31st-best-selling release of that year in Japan.[95] Final Fantasy Anthology has sold approximately 364,000 copies in North America.[96] Final Fantasy VI Advance sold over 223,000 copies in Japan by the end of 2006, one month after release.[97]

GamePro rated it 5 out of 5, stating that "characters, plotlines, and multiple-choice scenarios all combine to form one fantastic game!"[87] The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly granted it a unanimous score of 9 out of 10 and their "Game of the Month" award, commenting that it had set the new standard for excellence in RPGs. They particularly praised the graphics, music, and the strong emotional involvement of the story.[42] 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.[90] Additionally, they later ranked the game ninth in their 1997 list of the 100 greatest console games of all time.[98] Famitsu scored it 37 out of 40, making it one of their two highest-rated games of 1994 (along with Ridge Racer).[83] 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.[99] Moreover, they suggested that "with so much story and variation of play ... fans may become lost in the world for months at a time".[100] Nintendo Power also opined that the game plot was "not particularly inventive" and the "story is often sappy–not written for an American audience".[101][102]

In 1997, Nintendo Power ranked it as the eighth greatest Nintendo game, saying it "had everything you could want—heroes, world-shattering events, magic, mindless evil—plus Interceptor the wonder dog!"[103] In 1996, Next Generation said the scene in which Terra cares for a village of orphaned children "can perhaps be safely named as the series' finest hour ... no other game series has tackled such big issues, or reached such a level of emotional depth and complexity."[104]

Retrospective[edit]

In 2010, 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.[105]

With the release of its PlayStation version, GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly rated it 4 out of 5 and 9.5 out of 10, respectively.[98] Final Fantasy Collection received 54 out of 60 points from Weekly Famitsu, scored by a panel of six reviewers.[57] In 1999, 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".[106] 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".[107][108]

The game's release for the Game Boy Advance also garnered praise. In 2007, the Game Boy Advance re-release was named eighth best Game Boy Advance game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the Game Boy Advance's long lifespan.[109]

Final Fantasy VI is often regarded as one of the best titles in the series and one of the best role-playing video games ever created. In 2005, IGN placed 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.[110] In 2006, Nintendo Power ranked it as the 13th top 200 game on any Nintendo platform, suggesting that it might be the best Final Fantasy ever.[111] That same year, readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu voted it as the 25th best game of all time.[112] In 2008, Final Fantasy VI took the #1 spot on G4 TV's "Top Must Own RPGs" list.[113] That same year, ScrewAttack named Final Fantasy VI the third best SNES game, beaten only by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid.[114] 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).[115] In 2012, also IGN put Final Fantasy VI as number one on their list of the top role-playing video games, stating: "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."[2] In an updated version of the "Top 100" list in 2007, IGN ranked Final Fantasy VI as the ninth top game of all time, 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."[116] In 2009, Game Informer put the SNES version of Final Fantasy III eighth on their list of the top games of all time, opining that it "perfected the 2D role-playing game."[117] It fell from its seventh-place ranking the staff gave it in 2001.[118] In 2012, the staff of GamesRadar ranked it as the ninth best SNES game, stating that "for it to remain so effective and so moving for so long after its 1994 release means it is a true work of art, and demands to sit high atop any list, regardless of platform (we did already name it the 14th best game of all time)."[119] In 2017, the staff of IGN ranked it as the second best RPG game of all time, stating that "This willingness to explore heavy themes and unthinkable outcomes — made all the more poignant when set against dramatic set pieces and a soaring score — is one of the biggest reasons why Squaresoft’s 1994 magnum opus is so very special." [120]

Legacy[edit]

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 game demo 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.[15] 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 FMV 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.[15]

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".[121] Later, however, Square discussed remaking VI as well as V for the Nintendo 3DS.[122] In 2015, Tetsuya Nomura, director of the Final Fantasy VII remake, expressed interest in remaking Final Fantasy V and VI.[123]

Final Fantasy VI was included in the Super NES Classic Edition and is listed as Final Fantasy III for the North American and European release on September 29, 2017.[124]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In Japanese: Fainaru Fantajī Shikkusu (ファイナルファンタジーVI)

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "Top 100 RPGs of All Time". IGN. 2011-06-22. Archived from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  3. ^ a b Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy Anthology instruction manual. Square Enix. p. 39. SLUS-00900GH. 
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  6. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy Anthology instruction manual. Square Enix. p. 49. SLUS-00900GH. 
  7. ^ Square Enix staff, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy Anthology instruction manual. Square Enix. p. 47. SLUS-00900GH. 
  8. ^ Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. (NPC in Jidoor) You like art? No? Philistines! 
  9. ^ Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 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. 
  10. ^ Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. (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... 
  11. ^ Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. (Soldier) Open up! Give us back the girl and the Empire's Magitek Armor! 
  12. ^ Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. Wedge: Not to worry. The Slave Crown on her head robs her of all conscious thought. She'll follow our orders. 
  13. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  14. ^ Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. (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...! 
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  16. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  17. ^ Banon: Have you made a decision? Will you become our last ray of hope? ... / Terra: I'll do it! Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  18. ^ Locke: ...Where's Terra? / Celes: She changed into a...something, and...took off. She looked like... She looked like...an Esper... Square Co (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  19. ^ (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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  20. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  21. ^ (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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  22. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  23. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  24. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  25. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  26. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  27. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
  28. ^ 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 (1994-10-11). Final Fantasy III. Super NES. Square Soft. 
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External links[edit]