Recurring elements in the Final Fantasy series

The logo of the Final Fantasy series

Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

The artwork for the series has been associated with multiple artists: the three most prominent being Amano, Nomura and Akihiko Yoshida: Amano designed characters up to Final Fantasy VI, Nomura has designed characters for multiple games since Final Fantasy VII, and Yoshida has been involved in Final Fantasy XII, XIV and titles associated with the fictional world of Ivalice. The original gameplay created by Akitoshi Kawazu was based around Dungeons & Dragons and Wizardry. Starting with Final Fantasy IV, the Hiroyuki Ito-designed ATB system took prevalence: variations of the ATB system have been used in multiple entries since then. These various aspects have been positively received by critics over the series' lifetime, contributing to its overall worldwide success.

Overview

Final Fantasy began with the development of the titular first game in the series: developed at Square, later dubbed Square Enix after its 2003 merger with Enix.[1][2] Final Fantasy was created as creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's last ditch attempt at success within the video game market: Sakaguchi had long wished to create a role-playing title, but the company had denied him the opportunity until then. The first Final Fantasy was released in 1987, and was a commercial and critical success that fueled the development of further titles.[1][3] The series garnered international popularity with the release of Final Fantasy VII (1997) for the PlayStation, which became the highest-selling Final Fantasy title to date.[4] Final Fantasy has become one of Square Enix's major gaming franchises; as of 2016, the series has sold 110 million copies worldwide across 48 video game releases.[5]