Final Fantasy as a franchise has never truly been “final,” as it approaches 15 numbered entries in the iconic JRPG series. It wasn’t even until Final Fantasy 7 where the series entered modern 3D graphics, and Final Fantasy 10 marks the first truly modern Final Fantasy game, with fully-voiced characters and 3D environments instead of pre-rendered backgrounds. That marks around nine classic mainline Final Fantasy games that have aged gracefully.
With Final Fantasy 7 Remake coming out next month, many are theory-crafting what could be the next classic Final Fantasy game to receive a full makeover. Considering Final Fantasy 7 is probably the most iconic and most popular entry in the franchise, it only made sense that this would be the first game to receive a fully-fledged remake. That being said, there are a few of other great entries in the franchise that deserve the remake treatment as well, for a variety of reasons.
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Final Fantasy 6
Putting aside the massive impact Final Fantasy 7 had on the franchise as well as western audiences and take it at face value, it almost doesn’t make sense why it was remade before Final Fantasy 6. The sixth entry in the Final Fantasy franchise is often widely regarded as the best entry in the entire franchise to date, and for good reason. Early RPGs on the SNES mostly remained consistent in sticking to strictly medieval fantasy concepts, and while that does still remain true for Final Fantasy 6, the sixth entry diverted from the typical JRPG formula at the time in a variety of ways.
Coming out as the last 2D entry in Final Fantasy‘s glory days on SNES, Final Fantasy 6 was the first in the series to mostly drop the medieval backdrop for something a bit more steampunk. There’s also tons of tropes that Final Fantasy 6 either adapted or changed significantly: Technology has supplanted magic (and was even thought to be extinct) in the game’s society, the iconic crystals that were in nearly every preceding Final Fantasy game were left behind, character backstories/relationships are fleshed out through subtle storytelling, the good guys actually undeniably lose halfway through the game’s story, and the second half of the game can be played almost entirely in a non-linear fashion.
Final Fantasy 6 was game-changing in a variety of ways, most of which are likely impossible to list entirely here. A lot of the storytelling concepts considered revolutionary at the time are still unique to Final Fantasy 6, meaning not many modern games have been able to replicate. A truly faithful remake of Final Fantasy 6 would be incredibly impactful, as it would show just how different and incredible this game truly was.
Final Fantasy 8
Often considered the “dark horse” of the franchise, Final Fantasy 8 took a lot of fundamental risks upon its original release. Circumstantially the game had near-insurmountable expectations as the follow-up to the insanely popular and successful Final Fantasy 7. It’s almost as if the development team at Squaresoft was painfully aware of this fact, and just decided to make something vastly different on purpose.
Final Fantasy 8 still stuck with the futuristic/modernistic approach that Final Fantasy 7 had popularized and Final Fantasy 6 began, but added in a lot of different aspects of classic Final Fantasy into the mix as well. The result was a heavily convoluted story full of disjointed plot points and an infamous cliffhanger(?) ending that was altogether confusing and inconclusive. The magic system in the game was heavily criticized for being incredible reliant on grinding using the “Draw” system. Many new players could easily get confused, as there’s a lot of preamble and things to know when starting Final Fantasy 8.
But overall, Final Fantasy 8 is still considered one of the better games in the franchise and would be a great choice for a full remake. Many of the core systems were revolutionary and vastly different from any other JRPG. Equipment was eschewed in favor of integrating “Guardian Forces,” the summons in the game, as equippable junctions that dictated character stat bonuses and how they were integrated into the battle party. Also Triple Triad is one of the most fantastic mini-games ever integrated into a game period, not just Final Fantasy.
Final Fantasy 8 on its own would vastly benefit from a full-remake, not just Final Fantasy 8 Remastered, as it would create an opportunity to refine and perfect all of the complex mechanics that were included in the first iteration. Along with that, it would also provide a second chance to tell a surprisingly rich story that was marred by inconsistencies from the first game.
Final Fantasy 9
As a sort-of return to form, Final Fantasy 9 was very much a new Final Fantasy game inspired by the classics at the time. The game completely severed itself from the previous futuristic entries in favor of traditional fantasy. While in most cases the preceding games, Final Fantasy 7 and 8 featured muted, hyper-realistic environments, Final Fantasy 8 was a game filled with color and cheer. It was specifically designed to be old-school, reminiscent and evocative of its classic 2D predecessors.
And not just aesthetically, Final Fantasy 9 brought back a lot of the known tropes and mechanics from older Final Fantasy games to pay tribute to the days of old. Even after Final Fantasy 9 has been re-released recently, the game’s art style still holds up fantastically. Each party member in the game represented an iconic class, such as Vivi being the black mage, Garnet being the white mage, or Steiner being the knight class. Much like the classic Final Fantasy games, the story starts very small and condensed, before turning into a globe-trotting and plot-twisting adventure evocative of classics like Final Fantasy 5 and below.
If anything, Final Fantasy 9 being remade would be a good gauge to see if fans still care about classic or traditional Final Fantasy games. Right now, the closest modern Final Fantasy game that sticks to traditional themes of the franchise is Final Fantasy 14, the still very popular MMO title. There hasn’t been a truly traditionally inspired, single-player Final Fantasy game since 9. It may be time to bring the series back to its roots, and a completely new entry may not be the best approach to do so.
The Next Remake
Fans are reaching unknown territory with the release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, a complete and total re-imagining of the original game in a modern format. Coming after Final Fantasy 15, yet another game that blended fantasy with reality, many have been wondering where the franchise could go next. Fans of course originally didn’t have any reason to expect a complete remake of one of the most iconic video games of all time. Now fans are wondering what could be next.
If anything, assuming there is another Remake in development within the next few years (or decade for that matter), it would make sense to remake something from the classic era of games. Even the producer of Final Fantasy 7 Remake has weighed in on the topic, even though his is not a concrete confirmation by any means. Final Fantasy 6 would be the most likely candidate considering it gets the most buzz. That being said, they’ve got over 10 numbered entries in the whole franchise Square Enix could choose, so it’s a toss up for now.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake releases on April 10th exclusively for PS4.
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