Final Fantasy has been a part of our lives for 35 years, this year. Since its inception there have been 15 mainline games (with one getting a complete remake, another getting a “dark remake“, and a 16th on the way), countless spin-offs, MMOs, two movies, and tons of other entertainment mediums. Yet, the one game that stands alone as the most influential, most important, most lucrative game of them all is Final Fantasy VII.
Today, Final Fantasy VII celebrates its 25th anniversary. Upon its launch, Final Fantasy VII was heralded for its uber-realistic graphics, gameplay mechanics, beautiful music, memorable characters, a captivating story, and also for pushing the boundaries for what the PlayStation 1 was capable of, at that time. In fact, it was such a ground-breaking game, it sold over 13 million units, making it a huge financial success.
To this date, throughout Square Enix’s long history there is still no game that has been able to replicate that same kind of success. According to stats pulled from vgsales (which pulled from Square Enix official sales), Final Fantasy VII remains Square Enix’s best-selling game, with Tomb Raider (2013) coming in at #2 short by almost 3 million units.
Final Fantasy VII has been such a cash cow that it’s the only game in the Final Fantasy franchise to spawned multiple ports of the original game, 2 prequel games (Before Crisis/Crisis Core), a pseudo-sequel in Dirge of Cerberus, a film (Advent Children), a Battle Royale game with The First SOLDIER, a complete Remake of the original game that is still in progress, and countless other iterations yet to be announced. It is without a doubt, the most important IP in Square Enix’s arsenal.
For me, when I was growing up video games were a huge part of my childhood, but Final Fantasy VII was the first game to really “wow” me. It was because of how it was the first time a Final Fantasy game has felt realistic and immersive. It had its level of fantasy, to be sure, but there was so much realism; it pulled me in. Plus, there were characters that I could connect to and feel sad when they were taken away from me.
As I got older and re-played the game, I grew to appreciate it even more, because I finally started to understand the environmental message of the game. That’s just the thing about what makes Final Fantasy VII so special. Even when you think you understand the game, you find something new to appreciate and become awe-inspired by.
It’s so strange to believe that 25 years have passed since we first stepped off the train in Midgar, saw the plate fall, lost a dear friend, and saved the world. It’s one of my all-time favorite games and a game that left an indelible mark on the entire industry. I don’t think Square Enix would even really be the same if it wasn’t for the creation of this game.
Cheers to 25 years of Final Fantasy VII and all the developers behind the creation of this game and everything that came after!