Final Fantasy - Impact and Legacy

Impact and Legacy

The Final Fantasy series and several specific games within it have been credited for introducing and popularizing many concepts that are today widely used in console RPGs. The original title is often cited as one of the most influential early console RPGs, and played a major role in legitimizing and popularizing the genre. Prior to the series, RPGs featured one-on-one battles against monsters from a first-person perspective. Final Fantasy introduced a side view perspective with groups of monsters against a group of characters that has been frequently imitated. It also introduced an early evolving class change system, as well as different methods of transportation, including a ship, canoe, and flying airship. Final Fantasy II was the first sequel in the industry to omit characters and locations from the previous title. It also introduced an activity-based progression system, which has been used in later RPG series such as SaGa, Grandia, and The Elder Scrolls. Final Fantasy III introduced the job system, a character progression engine allowing the player to change character classes, as well as acquire new and advanced classes and combine class abilities, at any time during the game. Final Fantasy IV is considered a milestone for the genre, introducing a dramatic storyline with a strong emphasis on character development and personal relationships. Final Fantasy VII is credited as having the largest industry impact of the series, and with allowing console role-playing games to gain mass-market appeal.

The series affected Square's business on several levels. The commercial failure of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within resulted in hesitation and delays from Enix during merger discussions with Square. Square's decision to produce games exclusively for the Sony PlayStation—a move followed by Enix's decision with the Dragon Quest series—severed their relationship with Nintendo. Final Fantasy games were absent from Nintendo consoles, specifically the Nintendo 64, for seven years. Critics attribute the switch of strong third-party titles like the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games to Sony's PlayStation, and away from the Nintendo 64, as one of the reasons behind PlayStation being the more successful of the two consoles. The release of the Nintendo GameCube, which used optical disc media, in 2001 caught the attention of Square. To produce games for the system, Square created the shell company The Game Designers Studio and released Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, which spawned its own metaseries within the main franchise. Final Fantasy XI's lack of an online method of subscription cancellation prompted the creation of legislation in Illinois that requires internet gaming services to provide such a method to the state's residents.

The series' popularity has resulted in its appearance and reference in numerous facets of popular culture like anime, TV series, and webcomics. Music from the series has permeated into different areas of culture. Final Fantasy IV's "Theme of Love" was integrated into the curriculum of Japanese school children and has been performed live by orchestras and metal bands. In 2003, Uematsu became involved with The Black Mages, a rock group independent of Square that has released albums of arranged Final Fantasy tunes. Bronze medalists Alison Bartosik and Anna Kozlova performed their synchronized swimming routine at the 2004 Summer Olympics to music from Final Fantasy VIII. Many of the titles' official soundtracks have been released for sale as well. Numerous companion books, which normally provide in-depth game information, have been published. In Japan, they are published by Square and are called Ultimania books. In North America, they take the form of standard strategy guides.

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Famous quotes containing the words legacy and/or impact:

    What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.
    Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466–1536)

    Television does not dominate or insist, as movies do. It is not sensational, but taken for granted. Insistence would destroy it, for its message is so dire that it relies on being the background drone that counters silence. For most of us, it is something turned on and off as we would the light. It is a service, not a luxury or a thing of choice.
    David Thomson, U.S. film historian. America in the Dark: The Impact of Hollywood Films on American Culture, ch. 8, William Morrow (1977)