Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi and owned by Square Enix that includes video games, motion pictures, and other merchandise. The series began in 1987 as an eponymous console role-playing game (RPG) developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise.The franchise has since branched out into other genres and platforms, such as tactical RPGs, portable games, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and games for mobile phones. As of March 2007, there are twenty-eight games in the franchise—including twelve numbered games and numerous spin-off titles.The series has spurred the release of three animated productions, two full-length CGI films, and several printed adaptations of the video games.
Most Final Fantasy installments are independent stories however, they feature common elements that define the franchise. Such elements include recurring creatures, character names, airships and character classes. The series has popularized many features that are now widely used in console RPGs, and it is well known for its visuals, music, and innovation,such as the inclusion of full motion videos, photo-realistic character models, and orchestrated music by Nobuo Uematsu. The series has been commercially and critically successful; it is the fourth-best-selling video game franchise, only bested by Mario, Pokémon, and The Sims,and Square Enix's best selling series, with more than 85 million units sold as of July 7, 2008.Many individual titles in the series have garnered extra attention and their own positive reception. In addition, the series was awarded a star on the Walk of Game in 2006,and holds seven Guinness World Records in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2008.
The first installment of the series premiered in Japan on December 18, 1987. Each subsequent title was numbered and given a unique story. Since the original release, many Final Fantasy games have been localized for markets in North America, Europe, and Australia on numerous video game consoles, IBM PC compatible computers, and mobile phones. Future installments will appear on seventh generation video game consoles; two upcoming titles include Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. As of March 2007, there are 28 games in the franchise.This number includes the main installments from Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy XII, as well as direct sequels and spin-offs. Many of the older titles have been rereleased on multiple platforms.
Final Fantasy has spawned numerous spin-offs and compilations. Three Square games were released in North America with their titles changed to include "Final Fantasy": The Final Fantasy Legend and its two sequels. Final Fantasy Adventure is a spin-off to the Final Fantasy series and spawned the Mana series.Final Fantasy Mystic Quest was developed for a United States audience, and Final Fantasy Tactics featured many references and themes found in previous Final Fantasy games. In 2003, the video game series' first direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, was released.Square Enix has released numerous games featuring Chocobos, and the Kingdom Hearts series includes characters and themes from Final Fantasy.Vagrant Story, another Square game, is set in Ivalice, the same world featured in Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and Final Fantasy XII.Three Final Fantasy compilations—Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Ivalice Alliance, and Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII—share many themes. another spin-off is "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles" released for the Nintendo Gamecube which spawned a prequel for the DS called "Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Ring of Fates.