Final Fantasy VI

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
SeriesFinal Fantasy
Platform(s)
Release
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Final Fantasy VI,[a] also known as Final Fantasy III from its marketing for its initial North American release in 1994, is a role-playing video game developed and published by Japanese company Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Final Fantasy VI, being the sixth game in the series proper, was the first 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, long-time collaborator to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the character designer and contributed widely to visual concept design, while series-regular, composer Nobuo Uematsu, wrote the game's score, which has been released on several soundtrack albums. Set in a fantasy world with a technology level equivalent to that of the Second Industrial Revolution, the game's story follows an expanding cast that includes fourteen permanent playable characters. The drama includes and extends past depicting a rebellion against an evil military dictatorship, pursuit of a magical arms-race, use of chemical weapons in warfare, depiction of violent, apocalyptic confrontations with Divinities, several personal redemption arcs, teenage pregnancy, and the continuous renewal of hope and life itself.

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 in 2017. Its SNES 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.

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. In 2017, Nintendo re-released Final Fantasy VI 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 use the original title.

Gameplay

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.[2]

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, forests, and buildings. These dungeons often have treasure chests containing rare items that are not available in most stores. Dungeons may feature puzzles and mazes, with some dungeons requiring the player to divide the characters into multiple parties which must work together to advance through the dungeon.[2]

Combat

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.[3]

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.[4] 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.[3]

Customization

Characters in Final Fantasy VI can be equipped with a variety of weapons, armor and particular to this entry, powerful accessories known as "Relics". Weapons and armor increase combat capability mostly by increasing statistics and adding beneficial effects to attacks, by comparison, Relics have a variety of uses and effects, are almost entirely interchangeable among party members, and are extended in sophistication to alter basic battle commands and exceed normal limitations of the game's systems.

Although in Final Fantasy VI only two playable characters start the game with the ability to use magic, magic may later be taught to almost all other playable characters through the games introduction of magicite and the Espers that magicite shards contain. "Espers" are the game's incarnation of the series trope of "summons", powerful monstrous beings, several recurring in series history, such as Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut and Odin. Besides those that reappear here in Final Fantasy VI, there are approximately two dozen in total, with more added to later versions of the game.

Critically, the game uses the setting and plot to feature heavily around Espers and their remains when deceased (referred to as "magicite"). When equipped the playable characters in the menu, each magicite has a specific set of magic spells that it will teach a character. Additionally, some magicite grant a statistical bonus to a character if equipped when that character gains a level. Finally, when a character equips a piece of magicite, that character may summon the Esper that corresponds to that piece of magicite.[5]

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