Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII[a] is a role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation console. Released in 1999, it is the eighth main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Set on an unnamed fantasy world with science fiction elements, the game follows a group of young mercenaries, led by Squall Leonhart, as they are drawn into a conflict sparked by Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time. During the quest to defeat Ultimecia, Squall struggles with his role as leader and develops a romance with one of his comrades, Rinoa Heartilly.

Development began in 1997, during the English localization of Final Fantasy VII. The game builds on the visual changes brought to the series by Final Fantasy VII, including the use of 3D graphics and pre-rendered backgrounds, while also departing from many Final Fantasy traditions. It is the first Final Fantasy to use realistically proportioned characters consistently, feature a vocal piece as its theme music, and forgo the use of magic points for spellcasting.

Final Fantasy VIII was mostly well received by critics, who praised its originality and visuals while criticizing some of its gameplay elements. It was voted the 22nd-best game of all time in 2006 by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu. The game was a commercial success; it earned more than US$50 million in sales during its first 13 weeks of release, making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title until Final Fantasy XIII, a multi-platform release. A Microsoft Windows port followed in 2000, with the addition of the Chocobo World minigame. Final Fantasy VIII was re-released worldwide as a PSOne Classic on the PlayStation Store in 2009, for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, with support for PlayStation Vita in 2012. It was re-released via Steam in 2013 and in Japan in 2014. As of December 2013, it has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide.

Final Fantasy VIII
The box cover of the PlayStation version of the game, showing three figures (from left to right a man, a woman, and a man) looking away from the viewer at different angles. The game's logo floats above them, while the background consists of a faded image of a woman wearing an elaborate costume.
North American box art showing (from left): Squall, Rinoa, and Seifer, with Edea in the background
Developer(s)Square
Publisher(s)
Director(s)Yoshinori Kitase
Producer(s)Shinji Hashimoto
Designer(s)Hiroyuki Ito
Programmer(s)Ken Narita
Artist(s)Yusuke Naora
Writer(s)Kazushige Nojima
Composer(s)Nobuo Uematsu
SeriesFinal Fantasy
Platform(s)PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
Release
Genre(s)Role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player

Gameplay

Like the Final Fantasy games before it, Final Fantasy VIII consists of three main modes of play: the world map, the field map, and the battle screen. The world map is a 3D display in which the player may navigate freely across a small-scale rendering of the game world. Characters travel across the world map in a variety of ways, including by foot, car, Chocobo, train, and airship. The field map consists of controllable 3D characters overlaid on one or more 2D pre-rendered backgrounds, which represent environmental locations such as towns or forests. The battle screen is a 3D model of a location such as a street or room, where turn-based fights between playable characters and CPU-controlled enemies take place. The interface is menu-driven, as in previous titles, but with the typical weapon and armor systems removed and new features present, such as the Junction system. Also featured is a collectible card-based minigame called "Triple Triad".[1]

FF8battlexample2
A battle against X-ATM092, an early boss; Zell will summon Shiva when the blue bar that has replaced his ATB is drained.

For Final Fantasy VIII, Hiroyuki Ito designed a battle system based on summoned monsters, called "Guardian Forces", abbreviated in-game as "GF". Assigning ("junctioning") a GF onto a character allows the player to use battle commands beyond Attack with the main weapon, such as Magic, GF (to have a junctioned GF perform an action), and Item. Previous Final Fantasy titles provided each character with a limited pool of magic points that were consumed by each spell; in Final Fantasy VIII, spells are acquired ("drawn") either from enemies in battle, Draw Points distributed throughout the environments, or by refining items and cards. Spells are then stocked on characters as quantified inventory (up to 100 per spell and limited to 32 distinct spells per character) and are consumed one by one when used. Characters can also junction (equip) these spells onto their statistics—such as Strength, Vitality, and Luck—for various bonuses, provided the character has junctioned a Guardian Force.[2] The junction system's flexibility affords the player a wide range of customization.

These expanded mechanics for summons were a departure for the series; in previous titles, summons were relegated to a single action during battle. The junction system also acts as a substitute for armor and accessories, which were used in earlier games to modify character statistics. Moreover, where earlier titles required weapons to be equipped and tailored to the character, each major character in Final Fantasy VIII features a unique weapon which can be upgraded, affecting its appearance, power, and Limit Break.[3]

As in Final Fantasy VII, characters in Final Fantasy VIII have unique abilities called "Limit Breaks", which range from powerful attacks to support spells. While the characters in Final Fantasy VII receive Limit Breaks after incurring significant damage, in Final Fantasy VIII, Limit Breaks become available only at low health (hit points) under normal circumstances. The magic spell Aura increases the probability of Limit Breaks appearing, regardless of a character's remaining hit points, while various status afflictions can prevent Limit Breaks. They are similar to the Desperation Attacks of Final Fantasy VI, albeit more frequent.[4] Final Fantasy VIII also introduced interactive elements to complement Limit Break animations. These interactive sequences, which vary between character, weapon, and Limit Break, range from randomly selected magic spells to precisely timed button inputs. Successfully completing an interactive sequence increases the potency of the Limit Break.[5]

FFVIIInavigation
An example of navigation on the field map

Final Fantasy VIII features an experience point (EXP) system quite different from previous titles. The essentials remain unchanged: characters gain EXP after defeating enemies, which are typically encountered randomly throughout the game's environments. Earning a set amount of EXP causes the character to gain a level, which increases their overall statistics. While previous titles feature an EXP curve that increases with each level (e.g. getting to level 2 requires 200 EXP, level 3 requires 400, etc.), characters in Final Fantasy VIII gain a level after accumulating a flat rate of 1000 points. Enemy levels are based on the party's average level; in most RPGs, enemy levels remain stagnant. Some bosses have level caps to prevent the main quest from becoming too difficult. Higher-level enemies are capable of inflicting and withstanding significantly more damage, may have additional special attacks, and carry additional magic spells, allowing for Junctioning bonuses which themselves far exceed the bonuses imparted by level-gain. The game's unique EXP and level system allows a player to grind to maximum Level 100 before even beginning the plot, though this will result in far more powerful enemies.

In addition to gaining levels, Guardian Forces earn Ability Points (AP) after battles, which are automatically allocated to special abilities that Guardian Forces can learn. When a Guardian Force has learned an ability, that ability becomes available for any character or the character party, as is the case with field abilities. These abilities allow characters to attack more efficiently, refine magic spells from items, receive stat bonuses upon leveling up, access shops remotely, and use additional battle commands.[3][6]

Story

Setting and characters

Most of Final Fantasy VIII is set on an unnamed fantasy world. The setting is highly European in design and features a blend of modern and futuristic locales. The planet contains five major landmasses, with Esthar, the largest, covering most of the eastern portion of the map.[7] Galbadia, the second-largest continent, lies to the west,[7] and contains many of the game's locations. The northernmost landmass is Trabia, an Arctic region. Positioned roughly in the middle of the world map lies Balamb, the smallest continent,[7] the island on which the game begins. The remaining landmass is small and mostly desolate, riddled with rough, rocky terrain caused by the impact of a "Lunar Cry", an event where monsters from the moon fall to the planet.[8][9] The southernmost landmass includes an archipelago of broken sections of land that have drifted apart. Islands and marine structures flesh out the game world, and a handful of off-world locations round out the playable areas.

The six main protagonists of Final Fantasy VIII are: Squall Leonhart, a loner who avoids vulnerability by focusing on his duty; Rinoa Heartilly, an outspoken and passionate young woman who follows her heart; Quistis Trepe, an instructor with a serious, patient attitude; Zell Dincht, an energetic martial artist with a fondness for hot dogs;[10] Selphie Tilmitt, a cheerful girl who loves trains and pilots the airship Ragnarok; and Irvine Kinneas, a marksman and consummate ladies' man.[1][11] All but Rinoa are members of "SeeD", an elite military force based out of futuristic installations called Gardens. Temporarily playable characters include Laguna Loire, Kiros Seagill, and Ward Zabac, who appear in "flashback" sequences; SeeD cadet-turned-antagonist Seifer Almasy; and sorceress Edea Kramer. The main antagonist is Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time.

Plot

Squall and Seifer scar each other while training outside Balamb Garden. Meanwhile, the Republic of Galbadia invades the Dollet Dukedom, forcing Dollet to hire SeeD. The school uses the mission as a final exam for its cadets;[12] with the help of his instructor, Quistis, Squall passes the mission's prerequisite and is grouped with Seifer and Zell. Selphie replaces Seifer mid-mission when the latter disobeys orders and abandons his team. SeeD halts the Galbadian advance; Squall, Zell, and Selphie graduate to SeeD status, but Seifer is disciplined for his disobedience.[13] During the graduation party, Squall meets Rinoa, whose personality is the opposite of his.[14] When assigned with Zell and Selphie to help Rinoa's resistance in Galbadian-occupied Timber, Squall learns that Sorceress Edea is behind Galbadia's recent hostilities.[15] Under orders from Garden, Squall and his comrades—joined by Rinoa, Quistis, and Irvine—attempt to assassinate Edea.[16] During the attempt, Squall's party also learns that Seifer has left Garden to become Edea's second-in-command.[17] Edea survives the attempt, stabs Squall in the shoulder with an ice shard, and detains the party.[15]

After Squall's party escapes, Edea destroys Trabia Garden in a retaliatory missile strike and prepares to attack Balamb Garden.[15] Selphie delays the launch while Squall's team returns to Balamb Garden and activates its mobile functions to evade the missiles. Garden cannot be controlled, however, and it crashes into the docks at Fishermans' Horizon.[18] While Garden is being repaired, Galbadia invades the town in search of a girl named Ellone,[19] who had been staying at Balamb Garden. Before leaving, Ellone reveals that she has been "sending" Squall and his team into flashbacks set 17 years earlier in a vain effort to alter history.[20] The scenes center on Laguna and his friends as he evolves from Galbadian soldier to village protector to leader of an Estharian resistance against Sorceress Adel.[15] Ellone eventually escapes to Esthar, the world's technological superpower.

Meanwhile, Squall confronts his personal anxieties fueled by ongoing developments,[21] such as Headmaster Cid appointing him as SeeD's new leader,[22] and his increasing attraction to Rinoa. Squall and his comrades learn that they, along with Seifer and Ellone, were all raised (except for Rinoa) in an orphanage run by Edea;[15] after eventual separation, they later developed amnesia due to their use of Guardian Forces.[23] Cid and Edea had established Garden and SeeD primarily to defeat corrupt sorceresses.[24] After these revelations, the forces of Balamb Garden defeat the Galbadian Army, led by Seifer, aboard Galbadia Garden. Edea is also defeated by SeeD; however, the party learns that Edea is merely an unwilling host for Ultimecia,[25] who planned to use Ellone to help achieve time compression.[26] Ultimecia transfers her powers to Rinoa; Edea survives, but Rinoa enters a coma. Squall travels to Esthar to find Ellone, as he believes that she can help save Rinoa.[27]

While Rinoa is being treated on Esthar's space station, Ultimecia uses her to free Adel from an orbital prison. Ultimecia then orders Seifer to activate the Lunatic Pandora facility, inciting a Lunar Cry that sends Adel's containment device to the planet.[28][29] Having selected Adel as her next host, Ultimecia abandons Rinoa in outer space. Squall rescues her, and they return to the planet on a derelict starship and share a romantic moment; Ellone is captured by Galbadia shortly thereafter. After landing, the party encounters Laguna, now President of Esthar;[30] he reveals Dr. Odine's plan to allow Ultimecia to cast time compression on their terms so that Ellone can send SeeD into Ultimecia's time period.[31] At Lunatic Pandora, Squall's team defeats Seifer, rescues Ellone, and kills Adel; Ultimecia possesses Rinoa and begins casting time compression.[32] Ellone sends Squall's team into Ultimecia's era, where she is defeated before time compression can be fully achieved.

A dying Ultimecia travels back in time to pass her powers to Edea, but Squall inadvertently informs Edea of the concepts of Garden and SeeD that she will create.[33] Squall is nearly lost in the flow of time as he witnesses the origins of the game's story, sporadic apparitions of Rinoa, and a faceless portrait of himself. With Rinoa's help, he recollects his memories and returns to the present. A repentant Seifer reunites with Raijin and Fujin, Laguna and his friends visit his lover's grave, the SeeD celebrate at Balamb Garden, and Squall and Rinoa share a kiss under the moonlight.[15]

Development

Development of Final Fantasy VIII began in 1997, during the English-language translation of Final Fantasy VII.[34] As with much of the production of Final Fantasy VII, series creator and veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi served as the executive producer, working primarily on the development of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and leaving direction of Final Fantasy VIII to Yoshinori Kitase.[35] Shinji Hashimoto was assigned to be the producer in Sakaguchi's place, while the game and battle system were designed by Kitase and Hiroyuki Ito, respectively.[34][36] One of the development difficulties encountered was having three real-time characters exploring an environment at the same time.[37] The card game Triple Triad was conceived and implemented by programmer Kentarow Yasui.[38] The concept was derived from trading cards which is a popular hobby in some parts of Japan.[39] Triple Triad was meant to keep the player's interest during long stretches without cutscenes. Originally, it was simply about collecting cards but Yasui considered this too disconnected from the main game and "begged" for the inclusion of an ability to transform cards into items.[38] The game's total development costs were approximately ¥3 billion, which equated to around $16 million without inflation. The staff consisted of about 180 people.[40] American localization specialist Alexander O. Smith stated due to a lack of communication with the development team, they were surprised that an IT employee used a GameShark to access text files for localizing to Western audiences.

Visual design

FFVIIIgirls
From left, Tetsuya Nomura's designs of Selphie, Rinoa and Quistis

From the beginning, Kitase knew he wanted a thematic combination of fantasy and realism. To this end, he aimed to include a cast of characters who appeared to be ordinary people. Character designer and battle visual director Tetsuya Nomura and art director Yusuke Naora strove to achieve this impression through the inclusion of realistically proportioned characters—a departure from the super deformed designs used in the previous title. Additionally, Naora attempted to enhance the realism of the world through predominantly bright lighting effects with shadows distributed as appropriate. Other measures taken included implementing rental cars for travel in-game,[34] and the use of motion capture technology to give the game's characters lifelike movements in the game's full motion video sequences.[39] The FMV sequences were created by a team of roughly 35 people, with the total cinematic run-time being estimated at over an hour, approximately 20 minutes longer than the FMV sequences in VII.[37] Motion capture was used to give a general realism to character movement, but the team favored manual animation over relying on motion capture. A major challenge was the technical advances made since the release of VII, and the aim for more realistic characters.[39] A major issue with the cutscenes was having real-time character models moving across environments within an FMV.[37]

In an interview with Famitsu, Naora described that the game was generally designed to be a "bright, fresh Final Fantasy."[34] The main reason was that the team had dealt extensively with dark and "weird" imagery with VII.[39] The designers felt a need to invert the atmosphere of previous games in the series, which had feelings of "light emerging from darkness".[34] This decision was easy for the developers to make, because most of them had worked on Final Fantasy VII and felt that a new direction was acceptable.[39] The world designs were also developed with the knowledge that most of the staff were now used to computer graphics, which was not the case with Final Fantasy VII.[34] The developers also noted that with Final Fantasy VIII, they attempted to "mix future, real life and fantasy."[34] As part of a theme desired by Kitase to give the game a foreign atmosphere, various designs were given to its locations using the style of internationally familiar places, while also maintaining a fantasy atmosphere. Inspiration ranged from ancient Egyptian and Greek architecture, to the city of Paris, France, to an idealized futuristic European society. Flags were also given to some factions, their designs based on the group's history and culture.[41]

To maintain a foreign atmosphere, the characters of the game were designed to have predominantly European appearances. The first Final Fantasy VIII character created was Squall. Desiring to add a unique angle to Squall's appearance and emphasize his role as the central character, Nomura gave him a scar across his brow and the bridge of his nose. As there was not yet a detailed history conceived for the character, Nomura left the explanation for Squall's scar to scenario writer Kazushige Nojima. Squall was given a gunblade, a fictional revolversword hybrid that functions primarily as a sword, with an added damaging vibration feature activated by use of its gun mechanism,[42] similar to a vibroblade.[43] His character design was complemented by a fur lining along the collar of his jacket, incorporated by Nomura as a challenge for the game's full motion video designers.[41] Additionally, some designs Nomura had previously drawn, but had not yet used in a Final Fantasy game, were incorporated into Final Fantasy VIII. These were the designs of Edea, Fujin and Raijin. The latter two had originally been designed for use in Final Fantasy VII, but with the inclusion of the Turks characters in that game, it was felt that Fujin and Raijin were unnecessary. Nomura had designed Edea before the development of Final Fantasy VII, based on the style of Yoshitaka Amano.[41] For the Guardian Forces, Nomura felt they should be unique beings, without clothes or other human-like concepts. This was problematic, as he did not want them to "become the actual monsters", so he took great care in their design. Leviathan was the first GF, created as a test and included in a game demo. After it received a positive reaction from players, Nomura decided to create the remaining sequences in a similar fashion.[41]

Story development

The plot of Final Fantasy VIII was conceived by Kitase, with the stories for the characters provided by Nomura and the actual scenario written by Nojima.[34][36] During the game's pre-production, Nomura suggested the game be given a "school days" feel. Nojima already had a story in mind in which the main characters were the same age; their ideas meshed, taking form as the "Garden" military academies. Nojima planned that the two playable parties featured in the game (Squall's present day group and Laguna's group from the past) would be highly contrasted with one another. This idea was conveyed through the age and experience of Laguna's group, versus the youth and naïveté of Squall's group.[41] Nojima has expressed that the dynamic of players' relationships with the protagonist is important to him. Both Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII feature reserved, quiet protagonists in the form of Cloud Strife and Squall. With Final Fantasy VIII, however, Nojima worked to give players actual insight into what the character was thinking; a direct contrast with his handling of Final Fantasy VII, which encouraged the player to speculate.[44]

Other media

In March 1999, one month after the game's release, Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania was published, a book that features an in-depth guide to Final Fantasy VIII and interviews with the developers.[45] An origami book was released in November 1999.[46] On September 22, 1999, a CD-ROM titled Final Fantasy VIII Desktop Accessories was released. It contains desktop icons, computer wallpapers, screensavers, and an e-mail application. It additionally features a stand-alone edition of the Triple Triad minigame, which allowed players to compete against one another via a local area network.[47]

Also in 1999, the ballroom dance scene of Final Fantasy VIII was featured as a technical demo for the PlayStation 2.[48] In 2000, a PC version was released for Windows. This port featured smoother graphics, enhanced audio, and the inclusion of Chocobo World, a minigame starring Boko, a Chocobo featured in one of the side-quests in Final Fantasy VIII.[49] For most North American and European players, the PC version of the game was the only means of playing Chocobo World, as the game was originally designed to be played via the PocketStation, a handheld console never released outside Japan.[49][50][51] In 2009, Final Fantasy VIII was added to the PlayStation Store on the PlayStation Network.[52]

On December 18, 2012, the game was re-released as part of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box Japanese package.[53] An upscaled PC version was announced May 17, 2013, and was released on Steam December 5, 2013.[54][55]

Music

Regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu wrote the soundtrack for Final Fantasy VIII. He tried to base the songs on the emotional content of the scenes in which they would be played, asserting that expressing the emotions he desired was more important than improving skills: "I think it will be a shame if we won't be able to cry as we play our own game". He could not determine a character's emotions solely based on the plot, instead using images of appearance and attire—"It's important to know when their emotions are at their height, but it usually takes until a month before release for them to finish the ending dialog...!"[56] When IGN Music stated that the music of Final Fantasy VIII was very dark and perhaps influenced by the plot of the game, Uematsu said "the atmosphere of music varies depending on story line, of course, but it's also my intention to put various types of music into one game".[57] The absence of character themes found in the previous two games was due to Uematsu finding those of Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII ineffective. Uematsu considers it reasonable to have character themes if each character has a "highlight" in the game, but he found Final Fantasy VIII only focused on Squall Leonhart and Rinoa Heartilly as a couple, resulting in the "Eyes on Me" theme.[57]

The original soundtrack was released on four compact discs by DigiCube in Japan on March 10, 1999, and by Square EA in North America as Final Fantasy VIII Music Collection in January 2000.[58] It was republished worldwide by Square Enix on May 10, 2004.[59] An album of orchestral arrangements of selected tracks from the game was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII on November 19, 1999, by DigiCube, and subsequently published on July 22, 2004, by Square Enix. The pieces were arranged and conducted by Shirō Hamaguchi for a live orchestra.[60] A collection of piano arrangements performed by Shinko Ogata was released under the title Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VIII by DigiCube on January 21, 2000, and subsequently re-published by Square Enix on July 22, 2004.[61]

The score is best known for two songs: "Liberi Fatali", a Latin choral piece that is played during the introduction to the game, and "Eyes On Me", a pop song serving as the game's theme, performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. Near the end of the production of Final Fantasy VII, the developers suggested to use a singer, but abandoned the idea due to a lack of reasoning based on the game's theme and storyline.[62] However, Nobuo Uematsu thought a ballad would closely relate to the theme and characters of Final Fantasy VIII. This resulted in the game's developers sharing "countless" artists, eventually deciding on Wong. Uematsu claims "her voice and mood seem to match my image of the song exactly", and that her ethnicity "fits the international image of Final Fantasy". After negotiations were made, "Eyes on Me" was recorded in Hong Kong with an orchestra.[56] The song was released as a CD single in Japan and sold over 400,000 copies,[63] setting the record for highest-selling video game music disc ever released in that country at the time. "Liberi Fatali" was played during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens during the women's synchronized swimming event.[64]

The music of Final Fantasy VIII has appeared in various official Final Fantasy concerts. These include 2002's 20020220 Music from FINAL FANTASY, in which the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra played "Liberi Fatali", "Don't Be Afraid", "Love Grows", and "The Man with the Machine Gun", the 2004 Tour de Japon series, which featured "The Oath", the Dear Friends series that began that same year and included "Liberi Fatali" and "Love Grows", and the 2005 More Friends concert, which included "Maybe I'm a Lion".[65][66][67][68] More recent concerts include the Voices – Music from Final Fantasy 2006 concert showcasing "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", and "Eyes on Me" and the international Distant Worlds concert tour that continues to date, which includes "Liberi Fatali", "Fisherman's Horizon", "Man with the Machine Gun", and "Love Grows".[69][70] Several of these concerts have produced live albums as well.[71] Music from the game has also been played in non Final Fantasy-specific concerts such as the Play! A Video Game Symphony world tour from 2006 onwards, for which Nobuo Uematsu composed the opening fanfare that accompanies each performance.[72]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankingsPS: 89%[73]
PC: 80%[74]
MetacriticPS: 90/100[75]
Review scores
PublicationScore
CGWPC: 2/5[76]
Edge9/10[77]
EGM95/100[78]
Famitsu37/40[79][80]
GameSpotPS: 9.5/10[81]
PC: 6.7/10[82]
GameSpy90/100[83]
IGNPS: 9/10[84]
PC: 7.4/10[85]
Maximum PC9/10[86]
PSM10/10[87]
Awards
PublicationAward
Electronic Gaming MonthlyGame of the Year (Readers' Choice)[88]
IGNBest RPG of E3 1999[89]
Computer Gaming World20th Best Game of 2000[90]
IGN7th Best PlayStation Game[91]

Final Fantasy VIII received critical acclaim. Within two days of its North American release on September 9, 1999, Final Fantasy VIII became the top-selling video game in the United States, a position it held for more than three weeks.[92] It was also a bestseller in Japan[93] and the UK.[94] It grossed a total of more than $50 million in the 13 weeks to follow,[95][96] making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title.[97] In Japan, it sold roughly 2.5 million units within the first four days of release.[98] More than 6 million units were sold in total by the end of 1999.[99] As of March 31, 2003, the game had shipped 8.15 million copies worldwide: 3.7 million in Japan and 4.45 million abroad.[100] The opening cut scene in Final Fantasy VIII was ranked second on Game Informer's list of "Top 10 Video Game Openings",[101] and first by IGN.[91] GameSpy listed it as the 15th best cinematic moment in video games.[102] IGN named the game's ending the third best of any game for the PlayStation,[91] while UGO.com named it one of the series' best and most memorable moments.[103] Final Fantasy VIII was voted by readers of Japanese magazine Famitsu as the 22nd best game of all time in 2006,[104] and named one of the 20 essential Japanese role-playing games by Gamasutra, stating "[t]here's a lot that Final Fantasy VIII does wrong, but there's even more that it does right".[105] As of December 2013, it has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide.[106] According to Steam Spy, another 703,000 copies of the PC version were sold by April 2018.[107]

Reviews of the gameplay have been mixed. IGN felt that it was the weakest aspect of the game, citing its Guardian Force attack sequences as "incredibly cinematic" but tedious,[84] sentiments echoed by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[78] They also regarded the battle system as intensely complicated, yet refreshingly innovative and something that "RPG fanatics love to obsess over".[84] Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine claims that the game's Junction system is a major flaw due to repetitive stocking of spells,[108] while the video game magazine Edge commented that the battle system consists of a "bewildering" number of intricate options and techniques that "most gamers will [...] relish".[77] GameSpot praised the game's battle system, commenting that the "possibilities for customization [with the Junction system] are immense".[81]

In general, Final Fantasy VIII has been compared favorably to its predecessors. Though questioning the game's lack of voice overs for its characters, Game Revolution praised its storyline and ending.[109] For their part, Edge labeled Final Fantasy VIII "a far more accomplished game than FFVII". On the other hand, the magazine also felt that the game's length left its story unable to "offer consistently strong dialogue and sub-plots". Additionally, it found some of the story's plot twists "not... suitably manipulated and prepared", leaving it "hard not to greet such... moments with anything but indifference". Overall, Edge considered Final Fantasy VIII to be "yet another outstanding edition of SquareSoft's far-from-final fantasies", summarizing it as "aesthetically astonishing, rarely less than compelling, and near peerless in scope and execution".[77] Electronic Gaming Monthly offered similar comments, stating that the game's character development "is the best of any RPG's" and that "Final Fantasy VIII is the pinnacle of its genre."[78] UGO.com stated that while no other game in the series had stirred the controversy that Final Fantasy VIII had and that it was flawed, Final Fantasy VIII was a "daring, groundbreaking game [...] decidedly the most original console-style RPG ever created".[110] In 2002, IGN named it the seventh best title for the PlayStation, placing higher on the list than Final Fantasy VII; the publication felt that Final Fantasy VIII improved on the strengths of its predecessor.[91]

The PC port received mixed reception. Maximum PC praised the full motion video sequences as "phenomenal", adding that while the gameplay took getting used to, they enjoyed the teamwork emphasized by it, and that the game's visual presentation added to its appeal.[86] GameSpy stated that while the game was not a "huge leap forward" from the previous title, its gameplay and visual appeal worked for its benefit, though that on a computer the pre-rendered backgrounds appeared blurry and the controls at time difficult with a keyboard.[83][111] GameSpot criticized the game for not taking advantage of the capabilities afforded to computers at the time, describing the PlayStation version as both looking and sounding superior, and recommending that the title was "not worth buying period" for the PC.[82] UGO.com also described the port as inferior to its original counterpart, adding that its presentation was in turn detrimental to the reception the game received as a whole.[110] Computer Gaming World praised some of the changes made to the game in light of previous titles and the inclusion of the Triple Triad sub-game, though heavily criticized the port as "lazy" and "disappointing", stating that it only served to emphasize the original game's flaws.[76] Despite their complaints, they named it the twentieth best game of 2000.[90]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Final Fantasy VIII (ファイナルファンタジーVIII Fainaru Fantajī Eito)

References

  1. ^ a b Square Electronic Arts, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual. Square Electronic Arts. pp. 20, 24, 36. SLUS-00892GH.
  2. ^ Square Electronic Arts, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual. Square Electronic Arts. pp. 28, 33–35. SLUS-00892GH.
  3. ^ a b Cassady, David (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide. BradyGAMES Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 1-56686-903-X.
  4. ^ Studio BentStuff, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania (in Japanese). DigiCube/Square Enix. p. 64. ISBN 4-925075-49-7.
  5. ^ Cassady, David (1999). Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide. BradyGAMES Publishing. pp. 6, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18–19. ISBN 1-56686-903-X.
  6. ^ Square Electronic Arts, ed. (1999). Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual. Square Electronic Arts. pp. 28–35. SLUS-00892GH.
  7. ^ a b c "Final Fantasy VIII – World". Square Enix. Archived from the original on March 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-24.
  8. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Centra Civilization - A civilization in Centra 4000 years ago. These Centra people emigrated to other continents and founded the Dollet Empire to the west and Esthar to the east. Centra was destroyed 80 years ago by the Lunar Cry.
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  10. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Scan description: Zell Dincht - Loves the hot dogs sold in the Garden cafeteria. Uses close combat fighting skills to defeat enemies with punches and kicks.
  11. ^ Square Co. (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Scan description: Ivrine Kinneas - An expert marksman. Can use specialized bullets to attack enemies. Doesn't perform very well under pressure.
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  13. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Headmaster Cid: Seifer. You will be disciplined for your irresponsible behavior. You must follow orders exactly during combat. But I'm not entirely without sympathy for you. I don't want you all to become machines[;] I want you all to be able to think and act for yourselves.
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  28. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Controller: The lunar world is a world of monsters. Didn't you learn that in school? As you can see, the monsters are gathering at one point. History's starting to repeat itself. The Lunar Cry is starting.
  29. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Rinoa: But Edea's still...I can't guarantee anything, either, if Ultimecia possesses me again... You saw me. She controlled me in outer space and made me break Adel's seal.
  30. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Laguna: A fierce debate ensued about who should govern this country after [Sorceress Adel] was gone. I wasn't paying close attention while they made me up to be this hero of the revolution, and I ended up being president.
  31. ^ Square Co (1999-09-09). Final Fantasy VIII. PlayStation. Square EA. Doc Odine: There iz only one way to defeat Ultimecia. You must kill her in ze future. [...] Ultimecia probably needs to go back further in time to achieve time compression. Only Ellone can take her back further into ze past. [...] You will keep moving through ze time compression toward ze future. Once you're out of ze time compression, zat will be Ultimecia's world. It's all up to you after zat.
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External links

Characters of Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII, a 1999 best-selling role-playing video game by Squaresoft, features an elite group of mercenaries called "SeeD", as well as soldiers, rebels, and political leaders of various nations and cities. Thirteen weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII had earned more than US$50 million in sales, making it the fastest selling Final Fantasy title at the time. The game has shipped 8.15 million units worldwide as of March 2003. Additionally, Final Fantasy VIII was voted the 22nd-best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu in 2006. The game's characters were created by Tetsuya Nomura, and are the first in the series to be realistically proportioned in all aspects of the game. This graphical shift, as well as the cast itself, has received generally positive reviews from gaming magazines and websites.The six main playable characters in Final Fantasy VIII are Squall Leonhart, a loner who avoids vulnerability by focusing on his duty; Rinoa Heartilly, an outspoken and passionate young woman who follows her heart; Quistis Trepe, an instructor with a serious yet patient attitude; Zell Dincht, an energetic martial artist with a fondness for hot dogs; Selphie Tilmitt, a cheerful girl who loves trains and flies the airship Ragnarok; and Irvine Kinneas, a marksman and womanizer who uses his charm to mask his insecurities. Temporarily playable characters include Laguna Loire, Kiros Seagill, and Ward Zabac, who appear in "flashback" sequences; SeeD cadet-turned-antagonist Seifer Almasy; and sorceress Edea Kramer. The main antagonist is Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time.

Eyes on Me (Faye Wong song)

"Eyes on Me" is a pop ballad performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong as a love theme for the video game Final Fantasy VIII. The music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu with English lyrics by Kako Someya.

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy is a Japanese science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs/JRPGs). The first game in the series was released in 1987, with 14 other main-numbered entries being released since then. The franchise has since branched into other video game genres such as tactical role-playing, action role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, racing, third-person shooter, fighting, and rhythm, as well as branching into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, and novels.

Final Fantasy installments are generally stand-alone stories, each with different settings, plots and main characters, however, as a corpus they feature some identical elements that help to define the franchise. These recurring elements include plot themes, character names, and game mechanics. Each plot centers on a particular group of heroes who are battling a great evil, but also explores the characters' internal struggles and relationships. Character names are frequently derived from the history, languages, pop culture, and mythologies of cultures worldwide. The mechanics of each game involve similar battle systems and maps.

The Final Fantasy video game series has been both critically and commercially successful, selling more than 142 million games worldwide, making it one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. The series is well known for its innovation, visuals, and music, such as the inclusion of full-motion videos (FMVs), photorealistic character models, and music by Nobuo Uematsu. It has been a driving force in the video game industry, and the series has affected Square Enix's business practices and its relationships with other video game developers. It has popularized many features now common in role-playing games, also popularizing the genre as a whole in markets outside Japan.

Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX is a 2000 role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation video game console. It is the ninth game in the main Final Fantasy series and the last to debut on the original PlayStation. The plot centers on the consequences of a war between nations in a medieval fantasy world called Gaia. Players follow bandit Zidane Tribal, who kidnaps Alexandrian princess Garnet Til Alexandros XVII as part of a gambit by the neighboring nation of Lindblum. He joins Garnet and a growing cast of characters on a quest to take down her mother, Queen Brahne of Alexandria, who started the war. The plot shifts when the player learns that Brahne is a pawn of a more menacing threat, Kuja, who shares a mysterious history with Zidane spanning two worlds.

The game was developed alongside Final Fantasy VIII. Envisioned by developers as a retrospective for the series, it departed from the futuristic settings of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII by returning to the medieval style of the first six installments. Consequently, it was influenced heavily by the original Final Fantasy, and features allusions to the rest of the games. Despite this approach, the game did introduce new features to the series, such as "Active Time Event" cutscenes, "Mognet", and skill systems.

Final Fantasy IX was released to critical acclaim. It is often cited by critics and fans as one of the best Final Fantasy games, and holds the highest Metacritic score of the series. Final Fantasy IX was commercially successful, selling more than 5.5 million copies worldwide by February 2016. It was re-released in 2010 as a PSOne Classic on the PlayStation Store; this version was compatible with PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita support arrived in 2012. Ports featuring minor gameplay and graphical enhancements were released for various other platforms in the late 2010s.

Final Fantasy concerts

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 original Final Fantasy video game, published in 1987, is a role-playing video game developed by Square, spawning a video game series that became the central focus of the franchise. The primary composer of music for the main series was Nobuo Uematsu, who single-handedly composed the soundtracks for the first nine games, as well as directing the production of many of the soundtrack albums. Music for the spin-off series and main series games beginning with Final Fantasy X was created by a variety of composers including Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, Hitoshi Sakimoto, and Kumi Tanioka, as well as many others.

Music from the franchise has been performed numerous times in concert tours and other live performances such as the Orchestral Game Music Concerts, Symphonic Game Music Concerts, and the Play! A Video Game Symphony and the Video Games Live concert tours, as well as forming the basis of specific Final Fantasy concerts and concert series. The first such concert was the 20020220 Music from Final Fantasy concert on February 20, 2002, which sparked a six-concert tour in Japan entitled Tour de Japon: Music from Final Fantasy beginning in March 2004. A North American concert series titled Dear Friends -Music From Final Fantasy- followed from 2004–2005, and after its conclusion was followed with the More Friends: Music from Final Fantasy concert on May 16, 2005. Voices - Music from Final Fantasy was a concert held in Yokohama, Japan on February 18, 2006 focusing on vocal pieces from the series.

The longest running Final Fantasy concert series so far is the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy concert tour, which began in 2007 and continues to date around the world. The latest officially licensed concert is Final Symphony, featuring music from Final Fantasy VI, VII and X. All of these concerts have played only music from the main Final Fantasy series, and do not include music from the multiple spin-off series with the exception of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, the 2005 computer animated film sequel to Final Fantasy VII.

Final Symphony II

Final Symphony II is a symphonic concert tour first held at the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany on August 29, 2015 and performed through 2016. The concert tour features arrangements of video game music selected from the Final Fantasy series, specifically Final Fantasy V, VIII, IX, and XIII. It is divided into four acts, one per game, with the newest game, Final Fantasy XIII, first, and the oldest, V, last; all four arrangements are single-section arrangements, with the IX portion as a piano concerto. The tour is a follow up to Final Symphony, a similar tour of orchestral arrangement performances from Final Fantasy VI, VII, and X beginning in 2013 and continuing to date. The concert is produced and directed by Thomas Böcker of Merregnon Studios, with arrangements provided by Finnish composer and musician Jonne Valtonen, along with Roger Wanamo and Final Fantasy XIII composer Masashi Hamauzu. The original works were composed by Nobuo Uematsu and Hamauzu, and an introductory piece was composed by Valtonen. The premiere concert was performed by the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under conduction from Eckehard Stier, with guest performer Mischa Cheung joining the orchestra on piano.

Following the initial performance, Final Symphony II was performed in several other venues. It was first performed in London (United Kingdom) at the Barbican Centre by the London Symphony Orchestra on September 12, 2015. The London Symphony Orchestra then travelled to Japan to perform the concert in Osaka on September 27, and twice in Yokohama on October 4, the first time that a non-Japanese orchestra played a video game music concert in Japan. The 2016 performances of the concert were a concert on April 1 at the Tampere Hall in Tampere, Finland by the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and a June 9 concert by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra at the Stockholm Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden. The Tampere concert featured an extra encore piano performance in addition to the two encores performed at all concerts. A 2019 performance by the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra is scheduled for July 6 at the Philharmonic Hall Essen in Essen, Germany.

A video of the Stockholm performance of the Final Fantasy VIII section was released on September 23, 2016, and unlike the original Final Symphony no album release has been announced to date. The concerts have been heavily praised, both for the quality of the performance and for the quality of the arrangements. Critics have claimed the concerts to be one of the highest quality video game music orchestral performances produced, along with the original Final Symphony, with the second tour considered to have simpler arrangement styles than the first but in turn be more approachable to audiences.

Fujin

Fujin may refer to:

Fujin City, in Heilongjiang, China

Fūjin, Japanese god of the wind

Fujin (Final Fantasy VIII), a character in the game Final Fantasy VIII

Fujin, fictional character in the Mortal Kombat fighting game series

Fujin Road (Shanghai Metro), station on the Shanghai Metro Line 1

Fujin (Headgear), a Chinese men’s traditional headgear

Hideo Ishikawa

Hideo Ishikawa (石川 英郎, Ishikawa Hideo, born December 13, 1969) is a Japanese voice actor born in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. He works for Aoni Production.

He is most known for being voices for Kicchō Fukuda in Slam Dunk, Auron in Final Fantasy X, Itachi Uchiha in Naruto, Squall Leonhart in Final Fantasy VIII, Jūshirō Ukitake in Bleach, and Pierre de Chaltier in Tales of Destiny.

Kazushige Nojima

Kazushige Nojima (野島 一成, Nojima Kazushige, born January 20, 1964 in Sapporo) is a Japanese video game writer and is the founder of Stellavista Ltd. He is best known for writing several installments of Square Enix's Final Fantasy video game series—namely Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the Kingdom Hearts series. Nojima also wrote the original lyrics of Liberi Fatali for Final Fantasy VIII and both Suteki da Ne and the Hymn of the Fayth for Final Fantasy X.

Kokoro no Senshi

"Kokoro no Senshi" (心の戦士) is the second single by Japanese singer Angela Aki. It was released on January 18, 2006, reached number 9 on the Oricon Daily Charts, and number 13 on the Weekly Chart. It features the Final Fantasy VIII theme song "Eyes on Me" by Faye Wong and "Today", The Smashing Pumpkins cover.

In an Excite Japan interview, Aki reports composer Nobuo Uematsu as saying her version 'shed light on "Eyes on Me"'.

List of Square Enix companion books

Dozens of Square Enix companion books have been produced since 1998, when video game developer Square began to produce books that focused on artwork, developer interviews, and background information on the fictional worlds and characters in its games rather than on gameplay details. The first series of these books was the Perfect Works series, written and published by Square subsidiary DigiCube. They produced three books between 1998 and 1999 before the line was stopped in favor of the Ultimania (アルティマニア, Arutimania) series, a portmanteau of ultimate and mania. This series of books is written by Studio BentStuff, which had previously written game guides for Square for Final Fantasy VII. They were published by DigiCube until the company was dissolved in 2003. Square merged with video game publisher Enix on April 1, 2003 to form Square Enix, which resumed publication of the companion books.

Both the Perfect Works and Ultimania books have focused primarily on Square and Square Enix's role-playing video game franchises, such as the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts series; over 45 of the 75 books are for games related to the Final Fantasy series. Sometimes, multiple books have been written per game or revised editions have been published years afterwards. One of the books, Final Fantasy IX Ultimania Online, was solely published online as part of an experiment by Square Enix with online content delivery; another for Final Fantasy XI was planned, but the idea was abandoned as unsuccessful and all subsequent books have been published traditionally. The Ultimania series had sold over 10 million books by July 2007. All of the books have been released solely in Japanese, but in October 2017 Dark Horse Books announced that they would be publishing English translations of the three-volume 2012 Final Fantasy 25th Memorial Ultimania as Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive, for release starting in June 2018.

List of Square Enix compilation albums

Square Enix is a Japanese video game developer and publisher formed from the merger on April 1, 2003 of video game developer Square and publisher Enix. The company is best known for its role-playing video game franchises, which include the Final Fantasy series, the Dragon Quest series, and the action-RPG Kingdom Hearts series. For many of its games, Square Enix has produced albums of music containing songs from those games or arrangements of those songs. In addition to those albums, it has produced several compilation albums containing music from multiple games or series made by the company. These albums include music directly from the games, as well as arrangements covering a variety of styles, such as orchestral, piano, vocal, and techno. This list includes albums produced by Square, Enix, or Square Enix which contain music from multiple games in the companies' catalog which are not a part of a single series. The first of these was Personal Computer Music by Enix in 1987. Dozens of albums have been published since, primarily through Square Enix's own record label.

Several of the albums have sold well, placing on the Japanese Oricon Albums Chart. Drammatica: The Very Best of Yoko Shimomura reached position 179, as did SQ Chips. SQ Chips 2 reached position 102, Love SQ reached 176, Chill SQ reached 236, Symphonic Fantasies reached 102, More SQ reached 107, Cafe SQ reached 134, Battle SQ reached 72, and Beer SQ reached position 81. The music on the compilation albums was originally composed by numerous composers. Among those well-represented are Nobuo Uematsu, long-time composer of the Final Fantasy series; Masashi Hamauzu, composer of various Final Fantasy, Chocobo, and SaGa games; Yasunori Mitsuda, composer for the Chrono series and Xenogears; Kenji Ito, who composed for several SaGa and Mana games, and Yoko Shimomura, composer for the Kingdom Hearts series.

Music of Final Fantasy VIII

The music of the video game Final Fantasy VIII was composed by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack, a compilation of all music in the game, was released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in Japan, and by Square EA in North America. A special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game—arranged by Shirō Hamaguchi—was released under the title Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec Final Fantasy VIII, and a collection of piano arrangements—performed by Shinko Ogata—was released under the title Piano Collections Final Fantasy VIII.

The game's soundtrack is best known for two tracks: "Liberi Fatali", a Latin choral piece that is played during the introduction to the game, and "Eyes on Me", a pop song serving as the game's theme, performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. Reviewers were generally pleased with the music, although several cited issues while comparing the score to previous games or looking at individual tracks.

PocketStation

The PocketStation is a Memory Card peripheral by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation home video game console. Categorized by Sony as a combination of a Memory Card and a miniature personal digital assistant, the device features a monochrome liquid crystal display (LCD), infrared communication capability, a real-time clock, built-in flash memory, and sound capability. To use the device's memory card functionality, it must be connected to a PlayStation through a memory card slot. It was released exclusively in Japan on January 23, 1999.Software for the PocketStation was typically distributed as extras for PlayStation games, included in the CD-ROM, enhancing the games with added features. Stand-alone software could also be downloaded through the PlayStation console. The software is then transferred to the PocketStation for use. A built-in infrared data interface allows direct transfer of data such as game saves between PocketStation units, as well as multiplayer gaming.

The original Japanese ship date for the PocketStation was set for December 23, 1998, but it was delayed a full month. Sony only shipped an initial 60,000 units of the peripheral when it was released on January 23, 1999. It was initially available in two case colors: white and clear. It proved extremely popular, selling out all over the region. Sony planned to release the PocketStation outside Japan, engaging in promotional activity in Europe and North America, but the release did not occur. SCEA cited an inability meeting Japanese demand as the reason for the PocketStation's absence. Despite this, a few games, such as Final Fantasy VIII and SaGa Frontier 2, retained PocketStation functionality in their localized versions.The PocketStation's most popular game was Dokodemo Issho, which sold over 1.5 million copies in Japan and is the first game to star Sony's mascot Toro. The PocketStation was discontinued in July 2002 after having shipped nearly five million units.On November 5, 2013, it was announced that the PocketStation would be revived as an application for the PlayStation Vita, allowing users to play PocketStation format minigames for any classic PlayStation games that they own. Originally it was only available to PlayStation Plus members, it was later released to the general public. It remains an exclusive to the Japanese PlayStation Vitas.

The PocketStation also shares similarities with Sega's VMU for the Dreamcast.

Shirō Hamaguchi

Shirō Hamaguchi (浜口 史郎, Hamaguchi Shirō, born November 19, 1969) is a Japanese anime composer, arranger and orchestrator. He is best known for composing music to the anime franchises Girls und Panzer, One Piece, and Oh My Goddess! and arranging/orchestrating music in the Final Fantasy series. He frequently collaborates with fellow composers Kohei Tanaka and Akifumi Tada on anime scores.

Squall (disambiguation)

A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed.

Squall or The Squall may also refer to:

The Squall, a 1929 film by Alexander Korda

"Squall" (NCIS), an episode of the American television series NCIS

"Squall" (song), a single released by Japanese band D'espairsRay

Squall Leonhart, the main hero of the role-playing game Final Fantasy VIII

USS Squall (PC-7), a Cyclone-class patrol ship

Squall Leonhart

Squall Leonhart (Japanese: スコール・レオンハート, Hepburn: Sukōru Reonhāto) is a fictional character and the primary protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, a role-playing video game by Square (now Square Enix). In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall is a 17-year-old student at Balamb Garden, a prestigious military academy for elite mercenaries (known as "SeeDs"). He stands 177 cm (5 ft 10 in) tall. As the story progresses, Squall befriends Quistis Trepe, Zell Dincht, Selphie Tilmitt, and Irvine Kinneas, and falls in love with Rinoa Heartilly. These relationships, combined with the game's plot, gradually change him from a loner to an open, caring person. Squall has appeared in several other games, including Chocobo Racing, Itadaki Street Special, and the Kingdom Hearts series, as Leon (レオン, Reon).

Squall was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, with input from game director Yoshinori Kitase. He was modeled after late actor River Phoenix. Squall's weapon, the gunblade, also made so that it would be difficult to master. In order to make players understand Squall's silent attitude, Kazushige Nojima made the character's thoughts open to them. Squall's first voiced appearance was in the first Kingdom Hearts game, voiced by Hideo Ishikawa in Japanese and by David Boreanaz in English; Doug Erholtz has since assumed the role for all other English-speaking appearances.

Squall had a varied reaction from critics, with some judging him poorly compared to other Final Fantasy heroes due to his coldness and angst, and others praising his character development. Nevertheless, the character has been popular, and his relationship with Rinoa resulted in praise.

Xu

Xu or XU may refer to:

Science and technology:

X unit (symbol xu), a unit of length approximately equal to 0.1 pm (10−13 m), used for X-ray and gamma ray wavelengths

PSA XU engine, a series of petrol engines from PSAUniversities:

Xavier University in Cincinnati, United States

Xavier University of Louisiana, United States

Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China

Xinjiang University, Ürümqi, Xinjiang, ChinaOther uses:

Xu (currency), a former 1/100 subdivision of the Vietnamese Dong

Xu (state) (徐), a state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China

Xu (surname), one of two Chinese surnames (徐 or 许/許), transliterated as Xu in English

ǃXu, a name for the ǃKung group of Bushmen; may also refer to the ǃKung language or the ǃKung people

ǃXu (god), the creator god of the ǃKung

Xu, a minor character in the game Final Fantasy VIII

XU (intelligence organisation), a clandestine intelligence organisation in occupied Norway during World War II

Yoshinori Kitase

Yoshinori Kitase (北瀬 佳範, Kitase Yoshinori, born 23 September 1966) is a Japanese game director and producer working for Square Enix. He is known as the director of Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, and the producer of the Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII series. Kitase is an Executive Officer at Square Enix, the Head of Square Enix's Business Division 1 and part of the Final Fantasy Committee that is tasked with keeping the franchise's releases and content consistent.

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