Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI, also known as Final Fantasy III from its marketing for its initial North American release in 1994, is a role-playing video game developed and published by Japanese company Square for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Final Fantasy VI, being the sixth game in the series proper, was the first to be directed by someone other than producer and series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi; the role was filled instead by Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito. Yoshitaka Amano, long-time collaborator to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the character designer and contributed widely to visual concept design, while series-regular, composer Nobuo Uematsu, wrote the game's score, which has been released on several soundtrack albums. Set in a fantasy world with a technology level equivalent to that of the Second Industrial Revolution, the game's story follows an expanding cast that includes fourteen permanent playable characters. The drama includes and extends past depicting a rebellion against an evil military dictatorship, pursuit of a magical arms-race, use of chemical weapons in warfare, depiction of violent, apocalyptic confrontations with Divinities, several personal redemption arcs, teenage pregnancy, and the continuous renewal of hope and life itself.
Final Fantasy VI was released to critical acclaim and is seen as a landmark title for the role-playing genre; for instance, it was ranked as the 2nd best RPG of all time by IGN in 2017. Its SNES and PlayStation versions have sold over 3.48 million copies worldwide to date as a stand-alone game, as well as over 750,000 copies as part of the Japanese Final Fantasy Collection and the North American Final Fantasy Anthology. Final Fantasy VI has won numerous awards and is considered by many to be one of the greatest video games of all time.
It was ported by Tose with minor differences to Sony's PlayStation in 1999 and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance in 2006, and it was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in 2011. In 2017, Nintendo re-released Final Fantasy VI as part of the company's Super NES Classic Edition. The game was known as Final Fantasy III when it was first released in North America, as the original Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III, and Final Fantasy V had not been released outside Japan at the time (leaving IV as the second title released outside Japan and VI as the third). However, most later localizations use the original title.
Like previous Final Fantasy installments, Final Fantasy VI consists of four basic modes of gameplay: an overworld map, town and dungeon field 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. As with most games in the series, the three primary means of travel across the overworld are by foot, chocobo, and airship. With a few plot-driven exceptions, enemies are randomly encountered on field maps and on the overworld when traveling by foot. The menu screen is where the player makes such decisions as which characters will be in the traveling party, which equipment they wield, the magic they learn, and the configuration of the gameplay. It is also used to track experience points and levels.
The game's plot develops as the player progresses through towns and dungeons. Town citizens will offer helpful information and some residents own item or equipment shops. Later in the game, visiting certain towns will activate side-quests. Dungeons appear as a variety of areas, including caves, forests, and buildings. These dungeons often have treasure chests containing rare items that are not available in most stores. Dungeons may feature puzzles and mazes, with some dungeons requiring the player to divide the characters into multiple parties which must work together to advance through the dungeon.
Combat in Final Fantasy VI is menu-based, in which the player selects an action from a list of such options as Fight, Magic, and Item. A maximum of four characters may be used in battles, which are based on the series' traditional Active Time Battle (ATB) system first featured in Final Fantasy IV. Under this system, each character has an action bar that replenishes itself at a rate dependent on their speed statistic. When a character's action bar is filled, the player may assign an action. In addition to standard battle techniques, each character possesses a unique special ability. For example, Locke possesses the ability to steal items from enemies, while Celes' Runic ability allows her to absorb most magical attacks cast until her next turn.
Another element is a powerful attack substitution that occasionally appears when a character's health is low. Similar features appear in later Final Fantasy titles under a variety of different names, including Limit Breaks, Desperation Moves, Trances, and Overdrives. Characters are rewarded for victorious battles with experience points and money, called gil (Gold Piece (GP) in the original North American localization). When characters attain a certain amount of experience points, they gain a level, which increases their statistics. An additional player may play during battle scenarios, with control of individual characters assigned from the configuration menu.
Characters in Final Fantasy VI can be equipped with a variety of weapons, armor and particular to this entry, powerful accessories known as "Relics". Weapons and armor increase combat capability mostly by increasing statistics and adding beneficial effects to attacks, by comparison, Relics have a variety of uses and effects, are almost entirely interchangeable among party members, and are extended in sophistication to alter basic battle commands and exceed normal limitations of the game's systems.
Although in Final Fantasy VI only two playable characters start the game with the ability to use magic, magic may later be taught to almost all other playable characters through the games introduction of magicite and the Espers that magicite shards contain. "Espers" are the game's incarnation of the series trope of "summons", powerful monstrous beings, several recurring in series history, such as Ifrit, Shiva, Bahamut and Odin. Besides those that reappear here in Final Fantasy VI, there are approximately two dozen in total, with more added to later versions of the game.
Critically, the game uses the setting and plot to feature heavily around Espers and their remains when deceased (referred to as "magicite"). When equipped the playable characters in the menu, each magicite has a specific set of magic spells that it will teach a character. Additionally, some magicite grant a statistical bonus to a character if equipped when that character gains a level. Finally, when a character equips a piece of magicite, that character may summon the Esper that corresponds to that piece of magicite.
Instead of the strictly medieval fantasy settings featured in previous Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy VI is set in a world that also has prominent steampunk influences. The structure of society is similar to that of the latter half of the 19th century, with opera and the fine arts serving as recurring motifs throughout the game, and a level of technology comparable to that of the Second Industrial Revolution. During the first half of the game, the planet is referred to as the World of Balance, and is divided into three lush continents. The northern continent is punctuated by a series of mountain ranges, the southern continent has been mostly subjugated by the cruel Gestahl Empire, and the eastern continent is home to the Veldt, a massive wilderness inhabited by monsters from all over the world. An apocalyptic event mid-game transforms the planet into the World of Ruin; its withering landmasses are fractured into numerous islands surrounding a larger continent.
The game alludes to a conflict known as the "War of the Magi," which occurred one thousand years prior to the beginning of the game. In this conflict, three quarreling entities known as the "Warring Triad" used innocent humans as soldiers by transforming them into enslaved magical beings called Espers. The Triad realized their wrongdoings; they freed the espers and sealed their own powers inside three stone statues. As a precaution, the espers sealed off both the statues and themselves from the realm of humans. The concept of magic gradually faded to myth as mankind built a society extolling science and technology. At the game's opening, the Empire has taken advantage of the weakening barrier between the human and esper domains, capturing several espers in the process. Using these espers as a power source, the Empire has created "Magitek", a craft that combines magic with machinery (including mechanical infantry) and infuses humans with magical powers. The Empire is opposed by the Returners, a rebel organization seeking to free the subjugated lands.
Final Fantasy VI features fourteen permanent playable characters, the most of any game in the main series, as well as several secondary characters who are only briefly controlled by the player. The starting character, Terra Branford, is a reserved half-human, half-esper girl who spent most of her life as a slave to the Empire, thanks to a mind-controlling device, and is unfamiliar with love. Other primary characters include Locke Cole, a treasure hunter and rebel sympathizer with a powerful impulse to protect women; Celes Chere, a former general of the Empire, who joined the Returners after being jailed for questioning imperial practices; Edgar Roni Figaro, a consummate womanizer and the king of Figaro, who claims allegiance to the Empire while secretly supplying aid to the Returners; Sabin Rene Figaro, Edgar's independent brother, who fled the royal court to hone his martial arts skills; Cyan Garamonde, a loyal knight to the kingdom of Doma who lost his family and friends when Kefka poisoned the kingdom's water supply; Setzer Gabbiani, a habitual gambler, thrill seeker, and owner of the world's only known airship; Shadow, a ninja mercenary who offers his services to both the Empire and the Returners; Relm Arrowny, a young but tough artistic girl with magical powers; Strago Magus, Relm's elderly grandfather and a Blue Mage; Gau, a feral child surviving since infancy on the Veldt; Mog, a pike-toting Moogle from the mines of Narshe; Umaro, a savage but loyal sasquatch also from Narshe, talked into joining the Returners through Mog's persuasion; and Gogo, a mysterious, fully shrouded master of the art of mimicry.
Most of the main characters in the game hold a significant grudge against the Empire and, in particular, Kefka Palazzo, who serves as one of the game's main antagonists along with Emperor Gestahl. The clownish Kefka became the first experimental prototype of a line of magically empowered soldiers called Magitek Knights, rendering him insane; his actions throughout the game reflect his demented nature. The supporting character Ultros serves as a recurring villain and comic relief. A handful of characters have reappeared in later games. Final Fantasy SGI, a short tech demo produced for the Silicon Graphics Onyx workstation, featured polygon-based 3D renderings of Locke, Terra, and Shadow.
In the town of Narshe, Terra participates in an Imperial mission to seize a powerful Esper encased in ice. Upon locating it, a magical reaction occurs between Terra and the Esper; as a result, the soldiers accompanying Terra are killed and Terra is knocked unconscious. Upon awakening, Terra is informed that the Empire had been using a device called a "slave crown" to control her actions. With the crown now removed, Terra cannot remember anything more than her name and her rare ability to use magic unaided. Terra is then introduced to an organization known as the "Returners", who she agrees to help in their revolution against the Empire. The Returners learn that Imperial soldiers, led by Kefka, are planning another attempt to seize the frozen Esper. After repelling Kefka's attack, Terra experiences another magical reaction with the frozen Esper; she transforms into a creature resembling an Esper and flies to another continent. Upon locating Terra, the party is confronted by an Esper named Ramuh, who informs the group that Terra may require the assistance of another Esper imprisoned in the Imperial capital city of Vector.
At Vector, the party attempts to rescue several Espers; however, the Espers are already dying from Magitek experiments and choose instead to offer their lives to the party by transforming into magicite. The group returns to Terra and observes a reaction between her and the magicite "Maduin". The reaction calms Terra and restores her memory; she reveals that she is the half-human, half-Esper child of Maduin and a human woman. With this revelation, the Returners ask Terra to convince the Espers to join their cause. To do this, she travels to the sealed gate between the human and Esper worlds. However, unbeknownst to the party, the Empire also uses Terra to gain access to the Esper world. There, Emperor Gestahl and Kefka retrieve the statues of the Warring Triad, raising a landmass called the Floating Continent. The group confronts Emperor Gestahl and Kefka at the Floating Continent, whereupon Kefka murders Gestahl. Kefka then tampers with the alignment of the statues, which upsets the balance of magic and destroys most of the surface of the world.
One year later, Celes awakens on a deserted island. She learns that Kefka is using the three statues to rule the world in a god-like manner, and that his rule is causing all life to slowly wither away. After Celes finds her lost comrades, they decide to confront Kefka and end his reign. Once Kefka is killed and the statues are destroyed, the magic and Espers disappear from the world, but Terra is able to survive by hanging onto the human half of her existence. The group watches the world rejuvenate itself.
Final Fantasy VI entered development after the release of its predecessor Final Fantasy V in December 1992. The development of the game took just one year to complete. Series creator and director Hironobu Sakaguchi could not be as intimately involved as in previous installments due to his other projects and his promotion to Executive Vice President of the company in 1991. For that reason, he became the producer and split director responsibilities for Final Fantasy VI up between Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito: Kitase was in charge of event production and the scenario, while Ito handled all battle aspects. Sakaguchi supervised Kitase's cutscene direction and ensured that the project would coalesce as a whole. The idea behind the story of Final Fantasy VI was that every character is the protagonist. All members of the development team contributed ideas for characters and their "episodes" for the overall plot in what Kitase described as a "hybrid process". Consequently, Terra and Locke were conceived by Sakaguchi; Celes and Gau by Kitase; Shadow and Setzer by graphic director Tetsuya Nomura; and Edgar and Sabin by field graphic designer Kaori Tanaka. Then it was Kitase's task to unite the story premise provided by Sakaguchi with all the individual ideas for character episodes to create a cohesive narrative. The scenario of Final Fantasy VI was written by a group of four or five people, among them Kitase who provided key elements of the story, such as the opera scene and Celes' suicide attempt, as well as all of Kefka's appearances.
Regular series character designer Yoshitaka Amano's concept art became the basis for the models in the full motion videos produced for the game's PlayStation re-release. Tetsuya Takahashi, one of the graphic directors, drew the imperial Magitek Armors seen in the opening scene. By doing so, he disregarded Sakaguchi's intention to reuse the regular designs from elsewhere in the game. The sprite art for the characters' in-game appearance was drawn by Kazuko Shibuya. While in the earlier installments, the sprites were less detailed on the map than in battle, Final Fantasy VI's had an equally high resolution regardless of the screen. This enabled the use of animations depicting a variety of movements and facial expressions. Though it was not the first game to utilize the Super NES' Mode 7 graphics, Final Fantasy VI made more extensive use of them than its predecessors. For instance, unlike both Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V, the world map is rendered in Mode 7, which lends a somewhat three-dimensional perspective to an otherwise two-dimensional game.
The original North American localization and release of Final Fantasy VI by Square for the Super NES featured several changes from the original Japanese version. The most obvious of these is the change of the game's title from Final Fantasy VI to Final Fantasy III; because only two games of the series had been localized in North America at the time, Final Fantasy VI was distributed as Final Fantasy III to maintain naming continuity. Unlike Final Fantasy IV (which was first released in North America as Final Fantasy II), there are no major changes to gameplay, though several changes of contents and editorial adjustments exist in the English script. In a January 1995 interview with Super Play magazine, translator Ted Woolsey explained that "there's a certain level of playfulness and ... sexuality in Japanese games that just doesn't exist here [in the USA], basically because of Nintendo of America's rules and guidelines". Consequently, objectionable graphics (e.g. nudity) were censored and building signs in towns were changed (such as Bar being changed to Café), as well as religious allusions (e.g. the spell Holy was renamed Pearl).
Also, some direct allusions to death, killing actions, and violent expressions, as well as offensive words have been replaced by softer expressions. For example, after Edgar, Locke and Terra flee on chocobos from Figaro Castle, Kefka orders two Magitek Armored soldiers to chase them by shouting "Go! KILL THEM!", in the Japanese version. It was translated as "Go! Get them!" Also, when Imperial Troopers burn Figaro Castle, and Edgar claims Terra is not hidden inside the castle, Kefka replies "then you can burn to death" in the Japanese version, which was replaced in the English version by "Then welcome to my barbecue!". Similarly, as Magitek soldiers watch Edgar and his guests escape on Chocobos, Kefka swears in Japanese, which was translated by Ted Woolsey as "Son of a submariner!". The localization also featured changes to several names, such as "Tina" being changed to "Terra". Finally, dialogue text files had to be shortened due to the limited data storage space available on the game cartridge's read-only memory. As a result, additional changes were rendered to dialogue in order to compress it into the available space.
The PlayStation re-release featured only minor changes to the English localization. The title of the game was reverted to Final Fantasy VI from Final Fantasy III, to unify the numbering scheme of the series in North America and Japan with the earlier release of Final Fantasy VII. A few item and character names were adjusted, as in the expansion of "Fenix Down" to "Phoenix Down". Unlike the PlayStation re-release of Final Fantasy IV included in the later Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation, the script was left essentially unchanged. The Game Boy Advance re-release featured a new translation by a different translator, Tom Slattery. This translation preserved most of the character names, location names, and terminology from the Woolsey translation, but changed item and spell names to match the conventions used in more recent titles in the series. The revised script preserved certain quirky lines from the original while changing or editing others, and it cleared up certain points of confusion in the original translation. The Wii Virtual Console release used the Final Fantasy III name of the SNES game.
The soundtrack for Final Fantasy VI was composed by long-time series contributor Nobuo Uematsu. The score consists of themes for each major character and location, as well as music for standard battles, fights with boss enemies and for special cutscenes. The extensive use of leitmotif is one of the defining points of the audio tracks. The "Aria di Mezzo Carattere" is one of the latter tracks, played during a cutscene involving an opera performance. This track features an unintelligible synthesized "voice" that harmonizes with the melody, as technical limitations for the SPC700 sound format chip prevented the use of an actual vocal track (although some developers eventually figured out how to overcome the limitation a few years later). The orchestral album Final Fantasy VI Grand Finale features an arranged version of the aria, using Italian lyrics performed by Svetla Krasteva with an orchestral accompaniment. This version is also found in the ending full motion video of the game's Sony PlayStation re-release, with the same lyrics but a different musical arrangement. In addition, the album Orchestral Game Concert 4 includes an extended version of the opera arranged and conducted by Kōsuke Onozaki and performed by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, featuring Wakako Aokimi, Tetsuya Ōno, and Hiroshi Kuroda on vocals. It was also performed at the "More Friends" concert at the Gibson Amphitheatre in 2005 using a new English translation of the lyrics, an album of which is now available. "Dancing Mad", accompanying the game's final battle with Kefka, is 17 minutes long and contains an organ cadenza, with variations on Kefka's theme. The "Ending Theme" combines every playable character theme into one composition lasting over 21 minutes.
The original score was released on three Compact Discs in Japan as Final Fantasy VI: Original Sound Version. A version of this album was later released in North America as Final Fantasy III: Kefka's Domain, this version of the album is the same as its Japanese counterpart, except for different packaging and small differences in the translation of some track names between the album and newer releases. Additionally, Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale features eleven tracks from the game, arranged by Shirō Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito and performed by the Ensemble Archi Della Scala and Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano (Milan Symphony Orchestra). Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VI, a second arranged album, features thirteen tracks from the game, performed for piano by Reiko Nomura. More recently, "Dancing Mad", the final boss theme from Final Fantasy VI, has been performed at Play! A Video Game Symphony in Stockholm, Sweden on June 2, 2007, by the group Machinae Supremacy.
Nobuo Uematsu's former rock band, The Black Mages, released a progressive metal version of Dancing Mad on their eponymous first album in 2003. Their third album, subtitled Darkness and Starlight, is so named after its premiere track: a rock opera version of the entire opera from FFVI, including the Aria di Mezzo Carattere performed by Etsuyo Ota.
In 2012, a Kickstarter campaign for OverClocked ReMix was funded at $153,633 for the creation of a multiple CD album of remixes of the music from Final Fantasy VI. Andrew Aversa directed the creation of the album, Balance and Ruin, which contains 74 tracks from 74 artists, each with its own unique style. The album is free and available at the OverClocked ReMix website.
Final Fantasy VI was ported to the PlayStation by Tose and re-released in Japan and North America in 1999. In Japan, it was available in both a standalone release and as part of Final Fantasy Collection, while in North America it was available only as part of Final Fantasy Anthology. In Europe it was sold by itself. Fifty thousand limited-edition copies of the Japanese version were also released in Japan and included a Final Fantasy-themed alarm clock.
Final Fantasy VI's PlayStation port is very similar to the original Japanese release as seen on the Super Famicom. With the exception of the addition of two full motion video opening and ending sequences and new screen-transition effects used for the start and end of battles, the graphics, music and sound are left unchanged from the original version. The only notable changes to gameplay (in addition to loading times not present in the cartridge versions) involve the correction of a few software bugs from the original and the addition of a new "memo save" feature, allowing players to quickly save their progress to the PlayStation's RAM. The re-release included other special features, such as a bestiary and an artwork gallery. On December 18, 2012, the port was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box package in Japan.
Final Fantasy VI was re-released as a PSone Classic in Japan on April 20, 2011, and in PAL territories on June 2, 2011. It was released in North America on December 6, 2011.
After the PlayStation, Tose then ported the game to the Game Boy Advance, on which it was released as Final Fantasy VI Advance. It was released in Japan by Square Enix on November 30, 2006, with Nintendo handling publishing in North America on February 5, 2007, and in Europe on July 6. It was the last game to be released on the Game Boy Advance in Asia, as well as the last one to be published by Nintendo on the system. It includes additional gameplay features, slightly improved visuals, and a new translation that follows Japanese naming conventions for the spells and monsters. It does not, however, have the full-motion videos from the PlayStation version of the game. Four new espers appear in Advance: Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Cactuar, and Diabolos. Two new areas include the Dragons' Den dungeon, which includes the Kaiser Dragon, a monster coded, but not included, in the original, and a "Soul Shrine", a place where the player can fight monsters continuously. Three new spells also appear, and several bugs from the original are fixed. In addition, similarly to the other handheld Final Fantasy re-releases, a bestiary and a music player are included. Even in the Japanese version, the music player is in English and uses the American names, e.g. Strago over Stragus. The package features new artwork by series veteran and original character and image designer Yoshitaka Amano.
The original Super Famicom version was released for the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on March 15, 2011, in PAL territories (Europe and Australia) on March 18, 2011, and in North America on June 30, 2011. The game was released in the West with its original North American title of Final Fantasy III. The Super Famicom version was later released on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan. On December 22, 2015, Square Enix released the Game Boy Advance version on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan.
Nintendo re-released Final Fantasy VI worldwide in September 2017 as part of the company's Super NES/Super Famicom Classic Edition .
Mobile platforms and PC
Ports of Final Fantasy VI for Android and iOS mobile operating systems were announced in 2013. The mobile-optimized versions of the game were released on Android on January 15, 2014, and iOS on February 6, 2014 with mobile-adapted controls and save features, but redrawn, slightly blurry graphics.
A Windows PC port, itself a port of the Android version, was released for Windows PC via Steam on December 16, 2015. The Steam release featured controls optimized for PC, Steam achievements and trading cards.
Final Fantasy VI received critical acclaim and was commercially successful in Japan upon release. In mid-1994 Square's publicity department reported that the game had sold 2.55 million copies in Japan. In the United States, where it went on sale in the last quarter of 1994, it became the year's eighth best-selling SNES cartridge; despite this, it was not a commercial success in that region, according to Sakaguchi. As of March 31, 2003, the game had shipped 3.48 million copies worldwide, with 2.62 million of those copies being shipped in Japan and 860,000 abroad. Final Fantasy Collection sold over 400,000 copies in 1999, making it the 31st-best-selling release of that year in Japan. Final Fantasy Anthology has sold approximately 364,000 copies in North America. Final Fantasy VI Advance sold over 223,000 copies in Japan by the end of 2006, one month after release.
GamePro rated it 4.5 out of 5 in graphics and a perfect 5.0 in sound, control, and fun factor, stating that "characters, plotlines, and multiple-choice scenarios all combine to form one fantastic game!" The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly granted it a unanimous score of 9 out of 10 and their "Game of the Month" award, commenting that it had set the new standard for excellence in RPGs. They particularly praised the graphics, music, and the strong emotional involvement of the story. It won several awards from Electronic Gaming Monthly in their 1994 video game awards, including Best Role-Playing Game, Best Japanese Role-Playing Game, and Best Music for a Cartridge-Based Game. Additionally, they ranked the game ninth in their 1997 list of the 100 greatest console games of all time. Famitsu scored it 37 out of 40, making it one of their two highest-rated games of 1994 (along with Ridge Racer). For their part, Nintendo Power declared the game "the RPG hit of the decade", noting its improved sound and graphics over its predecessors, and the game's broadened thematic scope. Moreover, they suggested that "with so much story and variation of play ... fans may become lost in the world for months at a time". Nintendo Power also opined that the game plot was "not particularly inventive" and the "story is often sappy–not written for an American audience".
In 1997, Nintendo Power ranked it as the eighth greatest Nintendo game, saying it "had everything you could want—heroes, world-shattering events, magic, mindless evil—plus Interceptor the wonder dog!" The same year, GamePro said it "still remains one of the most fun, innovative, and challenging RPGs to date." In 1996, Next Generation said the scene in which Terra cares for a village of orphaned children "can perhaps be safely named as the series' finest hour ... no other game series has tackled such big issues, or reached such a level of emotional depth and complexity."
In 2010, Nintendo Power listed the ending to Final Fantasy VI as one of the best finales, citing the great character moments that cement them as some of the most memorable Final Fantasy protagonists ever; they also listed the opera scene as being a demonstration of how touching and emotional role-playing games can be.
With the release of its PlayStation version, GamePro and Electronic Gaming Monthly rated it 4 out of 5 and 9.5 out of 10, respectively. Final Fantasy Collection received 54 out of 60 points from Weekly Famitsu, scored by a panel of six reviewers. In 1999, IGN described the graphics of the PlayStation re-release as "beautiful and stunning", reflecting that, at the time of its release, "Final Fantasy III... represented everything an RPG should be", inspiring statistic growth systems that would later influence titles like Wild Arms and Suikoden. Moreover, they praised its gameplay and storyline, claiming that these aspects took "all ... preceding RPG concepts and either came up with something completely new or refined them enough to make them its own", creating an atmosphere in which "[players] won't find it difficult to get past the simplistic graphics or seemingly out-dated gameplay conventions and become involved". RPGamer gave a perfect rating to both the original game and its PlayStation re-release, citing its gameplay as "self-explanatory enough that most any player could pick up the game and customize their characters' equipment", while praising its music as "a 16-bit masterpiece". Alternatively, they describe the game's sound effects as limited and the game itself as lacking in replay value due to having "one ending, one [fundamental] path through the plot, and ... [mandatory] sidequests". Additionally, they regarded the game's English translation as "unremarkable", being "better than some but worse than others", and offered similar comments for its gameplay difficulty. However, they referred to the game's storyline as its "most unique aspect", citing its large cast of characters, "nearly all of whom receive a great deal of development", and the "surprisingly large number of real world issues, the vast majority of which have not been addressed by any RPG before or since, ranging from teen pregnancy to suicide". Overall, RPGamer regarded the game as an "epic masterpiece" and "truly one of the greatest games ever created".
The game's release for the Game Boy Advance also garnered praise. In 2007, the Game Boy Advance re-release was named eighth best Game Boy Advance game of all time in IGN's feature reflecting on the Game Boy Advance's long lifespan.
Final Fantasy VI is often regarded as one of the best titles in the series and one of the best role-playing video games ever created. In 2005, IGN placed Final Fantasy VI 56th on their list of the 100 greatest games, as the second highest ranked Final Fantasy title on the list after Final Fantasy IV. In 2006, Nintendo Power ranked it as the 13th top 200 game on any Nintendo platform, suggesting that it might be the best Final Fantasy ever. That same year, readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu voted it as the 25th best game of all time. In 2008, Final Fantasy VI took the #1 spot on G4 TV's "Top Must Own RPGs" list. That same year, ScrewAttack named Final Fantasy VI the third best SNES game, beaten only by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Super Metroid. In 2009, Final Fantasy VI was inducted into the IGN Videogame Hall of Fame, becoming the second Final Fantasy game to do so (the only other Final Fantasy to do so was the original Final Fantasy). In 2012, also IGN put Final Fantasy VI as number one on their list of the top role-playing video games, stating: "There are too many moments in Final Fantasy VI worthy of celebration to name them all. Biggs and Wedge leading Terra through the snow. The poisoning of Doma. Sandy boots. The destruction of the world. A tragic opera. Ultros! We hold these close to our hearts, and that's not even including Espers and the most poignant character themes in the series to date. So cheers, Final Fantasy VI. May your name follow us as we all tumble towards the future of art, entertainment, narrative, and everything that keeps us gaming." In an updated version of the "Top 100" list in 2007, IGN ranked Final Fantasy VI as the ninth top game of all time, above all other Final Fantasy games in the series. They continued to cite the game's character development, and especially noted Kefka as "one of the most memorable bad guys in RPG history." In 2009, Game Informer put the SNES version of Final Fantasy III eighth on their list of the top games of all time, opining that it "perfected the 2D role-playing game." It fell from its seventh-place ranking the staff gave it in 2001. In 2012, the staff of GamesRadar ranked it as the ninth best SNES game, stating that "for it to remain so effective and so moving for so long after its 1994 release means it is a true work of art, and demands to sit high atop any list, regardless of platform (we did already name it the 14th best game of all time)." In 2017, the staff of IGN ranked it as the second best RPG game of all time, stating that "This willingness to explore heavy themes and unthinkable outcomes — made all the more poignant when set against dramatic set pieces and a soaring score — is one of the biggest reasons why Squaresoft’s 1994 magnum opus is so very special."
Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game (also known as the Final Fantasy SGI demo, or Final Fantasy x, not related to the actual 10th game in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy X) was a short game demo produced by Square using characters and settings from Final Fantasy VI. Produced using new Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) Onyx workstations acquired by Square, the demo was Square's first foray into 3D graphics, and many assumed that it was a precursor to a new Final Fantasy title for the Nintendo 64 video game console, which also used SGI hardware. Square, however, had not yet committed to Nintendo's console at the time of the demo's production, and much of the technology demonstrated in the demo was later put to use in the rendering of FMV sequences for Final Fantasy VII and subsequent games for the PlayStation. The demo itself featured Terra Branford, Locke Cole, and Shadow in a series of battles. The game was controlled largely through mouse gestures: for example, moving the cursor in the shape of a star would summon a dragon to attack.
On April 27, 2010, Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto stated that the development of a remake of Final Fantasy VI for the Nintendo DS was "undecided" due to "technical issues". Later, however, Square discussed remaking VI as well as V for the Nintendo 3DS. In 2015, Tetsuya Nomura, director of the Final Fantasy VII remake, expressed interest in remaking Final Fantasy V and VI.
Final Fantasy VI was included in the Super NES Classic Edition and is listed as Final Fantasy III for the North American and European release on September 29, 2017.
- Square Enix's Official Final Fantasy VI Advance website (in Japanese)
- Nintendo's Official Final Fantasy III (Virtual Console version) website (in English)
- "Nintendo's Official Final Fantasy VI Advance website". Archived from the original on February 6, 2007.(in English)
- Final Fantasy VI at MobyGames