Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FINAL FANTASY

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Final Fantasy
Developer - Square
Publisher - Square
Release date - April 8, 2003


Final Fantasy is a fantasy role-playing video game developed and published by Square in 1987. It is the first game in Square's Final Fantasy series, created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. Originally released for the NES, Final Fantasy was remade for several video game consoles and is frequently packaged with Final Fantasy II in video game collections. The story follows four youths called the Light Warriors, who each carry one of their world's four elemental orbs which have been darkened by the four Elemental Fiends. Together, they quest to defeat these evil forces, restore light to the orbs, and save their world.

The game was originally going to be called Fighting Fantasy, but the name was changed to Final Fantasy when the development team discovered Fighting Fantasy was the title of a series of single-player roleplay gamebooks.

Square believed the game would be the last title they ever released, as the company faced bankruptcy. Instead, the game was a great commercial success, received generally positive reviews, and spawned many successful sequels and supplementary titles in the form of the Final Fantasy series. The original is now regarded as one of the most influential and successful role-playing games on the Nintendo Entertainment System, playing a major role in popularizing the genre. Critical praise focused on the game's graphics, while criticism targeted the time spent wandering in search of random battle encounters to raise the player's experience level. By March 2003, all versions of Final Fantasy had sold a combined total of two million copies worldwide.


Story

Final Fantasy takes place in a fantasy world with three large continents. The elemental powers on this world are determined by the state of four orbs, each governing one of the four classical elements: earth, fire, water, and wind. The world of Final Fantasy is inhabited by numerous races, including Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Mermaids, Dragons, and Robots. Most non-Human races have only one "town" in the game, although individuals are sometimes found in Human towns or other areas as well. Four hundred years prior to the start of the game, the Lefeinish people, who used the Power of Wind to craft airships and a giant space station (called the Floating Castle in the game), watched their country decline as the Wind Orb went dark. Two hundred years later, violent storms sank a massive shrine that served as the center of an ocean-based civilization, and the Water Orb went dark. The Earth Orb and the Fire Orb followed, plaguing the earth with raging wildfires, and devastating the agricultural town of Melmond as the plains and vegetation decayed. Some time later, the sage Lukahn tells of a prophecy that four Light Warriors will come to save the world in a time of darkness.

Gameplay

Final Fantasy has four basic game modes: an overworld map, town and dungeon 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. The primary means of travel across the overworld is by foot, but a canoe, a ship, and an airship become available as the player progresses. With the exception of some battles in preset locations or with bosses, enemies are randomly encountered on field maps and on the overworld map when traveling by foot, canoe, or ship, and must either be fought or fled from.

The game's plot develops as the player progresses through towns and dungeons. Some town citizens offer helpful information, while others own shops that sell items or equipment. Dungeons appear in areas that include forests, caves, mountains, swamps, underwater caverns and buildings. Dungeons often have treasure chests containing rare items that are not available in most stores. The game's menu screen allows the player to keep track of their experience points and levels, to choose which equipment their characters wield, and to use items and magic. A character's most basic attribute is their level, which can range from one to fifty, and is determined by the character's amount of experience. Gaining a level increases the character's attributes, such as their maximum hit points (HP), which represents a character's remaining health; a character dies when they reach zero HP. Characters gain experience points by winning battles.

Combat in Final Fantasy is menu-based: the player selects an action from a list of options such as Attack, Magic, and Item. Battles are turn-based and continue until either side flees or is defeated. If the player's party wins, each character will gain experience and Gil; if it flees, it will be returned to the map screen; and if every character in the party dies, the game will be over and all unsaved progress will be lost. Final Fantasy was the first game to show the player's characters on the right side of the screen and the enemies on the left side of the screen, as opposed to a first-person view.

The player begins the game by choosing four characters to form a party, and is locked into that choice for the duration of the game. Each character has an "occupation", or character class, with different attributes and abilities that are either innate or can be acquired. There are six classes: Fighter, Thief, Black Belt, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage. Later in the game, the player has the option to have each character undergo a "class upgrade"; whereby their sprite portraits mature, and some classes gain the ability to use weapons and magic that they previously could not use.The game contains a variety of weapons, armor, and items that can be bought or found to make the characters more powerful in combat. Each character has eight inventory slots, with four to hold weapons and four to hold armor. Each character class has restrictions on what weapons and armor it may use. Some weapons and armor are magical; if used during combat, they will cast spells. Other magical artifacts provide protection, such as from certain spells. At shops, the characters can buy items to help themselves recover while they are traveling. Items available include potions, which heal the characters or remove ailments like poison or petrification; Tents and Cabins, which can be used on the world map to heal the player and optionally save the game; and Houses, which also recovers the party's magic after saving. Special items may be gained by doing quests.

Magic is a common ability in the game, and several character classes use it. Spells are divided into two groups: White, which is defensive and healing, and Black, which is debilitating and destructive. Magic can be bought from White and Black magic shops and assigned to characters whose occupation allows them to use it. Spells are classified by a level between one and eight, with four White and four Black spells per level. Each character may learn only three spells per level. White and Black Mages can potentially learn any of their respective spells, while Red Mages, the Ninja and the Knight cannot use most high-level magic.

Development

Hironobu Sakaguchi had intended to make a role-playing game (RPG) for a long time, but his employer Square refused to give him permission as it expected low sales of such a product. Moreover, only three of his colleagues volunteered to join this project headed by him because he was thought of as a "rough boss" in spite of his unsuccessful creations. However, when the RPG Dragon Quest was released and proved to be a hit in Japan, the company reconsidered its stance on the genre and approved Sakaguchi's vision of Fighting Fantasy, an RPG inspired by Ultima and Wizardry. According to the game's composer, the title was later changed to Final Fantasy as the game was thought to be the company's final project under the threat of bankruptcy. Sakaguchi also explained that the new title stemmed from his personal situation: had the game not sold well, he would have quit the games industry and gone back to university. In 2015, Sakaguchi revealed the name's real origin: the team wanted a title that would abbreviate to "FF", which would sound good in Japanese. The name was originally going to be Fighting Fantasy, but due to concerns over trademark conflicts with the roleplaying gamebook series of the same name, they needed to settle for something else. They eventually chose Final Fantasy. According to Sakaguchi, any title that created the "FF" abbreviation would have done. Commenting on the original story, Sakaguchi said that "Those days definitely seemed like end times, but honestly, any word that started with 'F' would’ve been fine.

Final Fantasy was developed by a team of seven core staff members within Square referred to as the "A-Team". Sakaguchi convinced fellow game designers Koichi Ishii and Akitoshi Kawazu to join the project. Kawazu was mainly responsible for the battle system and sequences, which he based heavily on the tabletop game Dungeons & Dragons and the RPG Wizardry. For example, enemies' weaknesses to elements such as fire and ice had not been included in Japanese RPGs up until that point. Kawazu had grown fond of such aspects of Western RPGs and decided to incorporate them into Final Fantasy. He also advocated the player's option to freely choose their own party member classes at the beginning of the game as he feels "the fun in an RPG begins when you create a character". The scenario was written by freelance writer Kenji Terada, based on a story by Sakaguchi. Ishii heavily influenced the game's setting with his idea of the crystals. He also suggested illustrator Yoshitaka Amano as character designer, but Sakaguchi declined at first as he had never heard the artist's name before. When Sakaguchi showed Ishii some drawings on magazine clippings and told him that this was the art style he was looking for, Ishii revealed to him that these were actually created by Amano, hence leading to his involvement in the game. The music for Final Fantasy was composed by Nobuo Uematsu and marked his 16th video game music composition. Iranian-American programmer Nasir Gebelli was hired to code the game. He initially tried to understand all aspects of the gameplay but was soon advised by Sakaguchi to just program the design concepts so he did not have to explain everything to Gebelli in detail. Among the other developers were graphic designer Kazuko Shibuya, programmers Kiyoshi Yoshii and Ken Narita, as well as debugger Hiroyuki Ito. When the project started to show promise, designer Hiromichi Tanaka and his "B-Team" joined to aid development. The lack of faith in Sakaguchi's team as well as its unpopularity within the company motivated the staff members to give their best.

Sakaguchi took an in-development ROM of the game to Japanese magazine Famicom Tsushin, but it would not review it. However, Famitsu gave the game extensive coverage. Only 200,000 copies were to be shipped, but Sakaguchi pleaded with the company to make 400,000 to help spawn a sequel, and the management agreed. Following the successful North American localization of Dragon Quest, Nintendo of America translated Final Fantasy into English and published it in North America in 1990. The North American version of Final Fantasy met with modest success, partly due to Nintendo's then-aggressive marketing tactics. No version of the game was marketed in the PAL region until Final Fantasy Origins in 2003.

1 comment:

  1. The primary means of travel across the overworld is by foot, but a canoe, a ship, and an airship become available as the player progresses. logo design

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