The main composer (Nobuo Uematsu) also had a band ‘The Black Mages’ for a few years in the late noughties. A lot of my friends were big fans. Took a rock attitude to the final fantasy music rather than the orchestra angle.
I haven’t played the recent ones, but the early Final Fantasy games were absolute masterpieces, especially relative to the technology of the time. Final Fantasy I fits in 256KB and was written in 6502 assembly. In terms of game depth as well as story-telling, people were really pushing the bounds of what could be done. They shoved a lot of world into an amount of data that could still be printed off and read (an average novel is 1MB).
Of course, Final Fantasy had some ugly glitches, including spells that just didn’t work, and an unloved feature whereby if all parties attacked the same enemy and one had killed it, the other three would achieve nothing and waste a turn. Personally, I liked this. It meant that you couldn’t A-button your way through a battle. It added strategy. You had to know what you were doing.
I have a love/hate relationship with Final Fantasy. It was the beginning of my love of RPGs back in the day, with Final Fantasy II (IV) and III (VI) on the SNES, as it was for a lot of people. After that, though, I discovered more interactive western RPGs and more challenging dungeon-crawling RPGs, and the canonical Japanese console RPG lost a lot of its attraction. It feels like the genre has never really escaped Final Fantasy.
FFXII remaster just came out two days ago. It’s actually a remaster of the international version with a double job board (characters can have two jobs). I’m only 10 hours in but it’s a lot of fun.
I actually think Square-Enix missed the chance to release some sort of 30th Anniversary collection - the first 9 games (“classic FF”) in one or two PS4 discs would be awesome.
Ultimately, what ’killed” the FF franchise were executives who had no passion or interest in games. In the early and mid 2000s a lot of ambitious people joined the video game industry for the profits. This led to things like releasing direct sequels to games (FF X-2) and following modern Western trends (action, open world gameplay like in FFXV) for max profits.
While this “worked” - they have made a ton of money - it has reduced their reputation to almost nothing. The original team members, particularly Sakaguchi, always put his game design ideas over profits. This didn’t always work (Sakaguchi released an RPG for the Xbox 360, which no one has in Japan, because he didn’t like the PS3 or Sony), but it led to some of the best games ever.
Aside from the Witcher series, I was never able to get into Western RPGs like Elder Scrolls. I’ll always prefer a traditional JRPG over anything. Luckily, the Dragon Quest series is still going strong!
 “International” version that only came out in Japan!
Was FFX really that bad? I had tons of fun avoiding lightning strikes to get weapons. Aside from FFVII what should I play ?
FFX is great - I’m currently replaying it. I think you misread. I said FFXV.
FFXV. The newest. FFX was more or less on rails until you got towards the end. (To clarify what was meant by open world being bad.)