Final Fantasy has been one of the most enduring video game franchises in history. Aside from the continual installments of the main title through sequels (with a sixteenth entry coming soon), revisiting the prior titles through remakes and remasters have kept Final Fantasy in the gaming community’s awareness for both old and new fans.
However, the later updated versions that became available on different platforms left fans with a bad taste. This is due to these versions looking like hastily refurbished games, lacking the polish and quality that fans have come to expect from Square Enix.
But it appears that the legendary company has taken this feedback to heart and is doing a proper iteration of the 6 classic Final Fantasy entries from the pixel gaming era for the current gaming generation in the form of Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster. Find out more below!
The first 6 Final Fantasy games are well-regarded as masterpieces and literally groundbreaking in establishing the familiar elements we now associate with the franchise. Final Fantasy brought the party system, the elemental crystals, and the iconic classes such as Black and White Mages, Black Belts, and Red Mages. Final Fantasy II introduced Chocobos. Final Fantasy III introduced the Job System. Final Fantasy IV debuted the Active Time Battle (ATB). And so on.
These classic Final Fantasy games have had remakes before. One of the earliest versions of this was the Final Fantasy Collection on the Sony Playstation 1/PSX which repackaged Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI that were only previously available on the Super Famicom as separate ports. There would also be collections such as Final Fantasy Anthology and Final Fantasy Chronicles that included one or two of these titles. Although there were complaints about the slow loading times, these ports retained much of the original versions’ functions and features, albeit with additional bonus content such as art galleries and new FMV sequences.
Later on, updated ports for handhelds such as the Gameboy Advance and the Sony PSP would be released. For example, Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls for the Gameboy Advance re-presented the classic games with 16-bit graphics and mechanics. Gone are the annoying misses due to enemies already being defeated (thus wasting a character’s turn) that the old NES versions had. Moreover, there were extra content added to the game, such as the four extra dungeons not present in the original Final Fantasy.
The magic systems were also revamped, bringing them to the standard MP costs rather than the limited number of castings (which were a holdover from being inspired by the Dungeons & Dragons style of spell preparation and casting). These added features and bonuses were a welcome update, giving players quality of life changes and incentive to purchase both for nostalgia and for the new gameplay elements.
But as mentioned earlier, later remakes of these classic titles seem to have dwindled in production value. Many fans had considered the PC ports to be lackluster even compared to the previous ports on older consoles and handhelds. And this negative feedback is even more apparent when applied to the mobile versions.
Presenting the ultimate 2D remasters of the first six @FinalFantasy games, as the FINAL FANTASY PIXEL REMASTER series. Coming soon to Steam and Mobile! https://t.co/Prq6bnMI8q pic.twitter.com/XBsNUEhtDR
— Square Enix (@SquareEnix) June 13, 2021
The FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series will comprise FINAL FANTASY I through FINAL FANTASY VI, with each game releasing individually. For long-term fans that will be hugely exciting news - a chance to revisit some of their most beloved RPGs of all time in a way that perfectly captures the spirit of those original game.
Coinciding with this announcement, a teaser trailer had been released on the companies social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. The trailer reveals little in the way of what the actual remasters will entail. However, what we can glean from the Square Enix press release and trailer are:
- Each remaster of the Final Fantasy installments from I through VI will be released individually.
- These games will be released on Steam and mobile platforms.
- They will be 2D pixel remasters instead of the 3D graphical upgrades that other recent remasters have been (as in the case of Final Fantasy VII Intergrade).
Although Square Enix states these games will be using 2D pixels, they have not revealed whether they will be faithful recreations of the original titles as they were originally or if they will be re-presented with the more recent iterations. For instance, the trailer showed the 8-bit NES version of Final Fantasy I, but also the later 16-bit updated version.
On that note, it would be an interesting approach, re-introducing the games as they were originally designed for the consoles they were released in many years ago. However, while the graphics is no longer a huge factor in today’s gaming sensibility (especially on mobile platforms), the gameplay flaws of the originals might not be a welcome regression. Regardless, the idea of pixel accurate ports of these games has generated a lot of buzz among fans of the series, as evidenced in the responses on social media. But there are also dismayed responses that these remasters are not currently scheduled for release on current and next gen consoles.
Square Enix’s Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster will be coming soon on Steam, Android, and iOS platforms.