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Final Fantasy VI
Final Fantasy VI logo
ファイナルファンタジーVI
Fainaru Fantajī VI
Developer(s) Square Co., Ltd.
Publisher(s)
Japan Square Co., Ltd.
United States/Canada Square Soft, Inc.
Europe/Australia SCE Europe
Release date
SNES version:
Japan April 2, 1994
United States/Canada October 20, 1994

PlayStation version:

Japan March 11, 1999
United States/Canada September 30, 1999
Europe/Australia March 1, 2002

GBA version:

Japan November 30, 2006
United States/CanadaFebruary 5, 2007
Europe June 29, 2007
Genre Role-playing game
Game modes Single player, multiplayer
Ratings PlayStation:

ESRB:ESRB Teen Teen
USK:USK 12+
OFLC:MA15+ M15+
ELSPA: 11+
GBA:
ESRB:Everyone 10+Everyone 10+

Platform(s) Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance

Final Fantasy VI is the sixth installment in the Final Fantasy series, first released in 1994 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was directed by Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki Itō, who took over from series creator and producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, director of the five previous installments of the franchise. Long-time series contributor Nobuo Uematsu composed the musical score, while Yoshitaka Amano contributed to the image design.

Final Fantasy VI was the third installment in the Final Fantasy series to be released in North America (after the original Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy IV). As a result, it was first released in North America as Final Fantasy III to maintain naming continuity; however, when the next game, Final Fantasy VII, was released, it retained the number VII for its western localizations. Due to various content guidelines imposed by Nintendo of America at the time, several other changes were made to the original North American version, including restrictions against nudity and profanity.

The game's story focuses on a conflict between the Empire, a dictatorship slowly conquering the world, and the Returners, a rebel faction opposed to them. The Empire has acquired its great army through experiments with Espers, magical demi-gods that were thought to be myths. The Returners begin to seek magical power to fight the Empire on equal terms, and an amnesiac former imperial soldier, Terra Branford, eventually proves key to both sides for understanding magic and Espers.

Final Fantasy VI features fourteen playable characters, the largest cast of any game in the Final Fantasy series to date, excluding spin-off titles. The game is set in a fantasy steampunk-styled world, at a technological level roughly corresponding to Earth during the Second Industrial Revolution. It is also the last title in the series to be released for the Super Nintendo console and the last title to be renamed.

Final Fantasy VI was ported to the PlayStation and released in Japan in 1999, both individually and as part of the Final Fantasy Collection. In North America, this port is available as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology. In 2002, the PlayStation port was released individually in Europe and Australia. A new port of the game was released on the Game Boy Advance as Final Fantasy VI Advance on November 30th, 2006 in Japan and February 5th in North America.

Contents

Gameplay

The gameplay of Final Fantasy VI is similar in some ways to that of Final Fantasy V. Players can equip Espers that teach spells and give stat boosts, similar to the Jobs of the Job System. What abilities cannot be taught by Espers can usually be learned by equipping Relics, which give abilities like Jump and Two Hands to the equipped party member. The characters can also each equip a weapon, a shield, a helmet and a piece of clothing, each equipment piece often with its own unique properties such as stat boosts or elemental immunities.

Party Swapping

Final Fantasy VI's screen menu.

Unlike previous entries like Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V where the playable party is set and characters leave and join as the story dictates, Final Fantasy VI introduces the ability to change the party at almost any given time. Fairly early into the game, in a feature that would be repeated in later installments, players are allowed to form their own party from whatever allies the resistance has gathered. Each of these allies has a specific talent; For Example, Locke is a Thief, Cyan is a Samurai, Etc. At times, such as the infiltration of the Southern Continent, the storyline demands specific party members be taken along, but for the most part the player can use whichever party they like. This means that a total of fourteen playable characters - the largest playable cast in the main series - were created for the game, each of them representing a different aspect of the Job System and possessing their own fighting style.

Espers

Though some characters have special abilities similar to magic, the only characters to learn normal magic naturally are Celes and Terra, who even then have a very limited spell pool. The characters as a whole can only learn magic by equipping Magicite, or a few select weapons and armor. Magicite is the crystalized remains of a dead Esper, mystical creatures with intense magical power. Each character can equip a single piece of Magicite at a time, and each Magicite shard can only be used by a single character at any given time. Once equipped, Magicite teaches magic by way of Ability Points. Each Esper teaches a spell by a certain percentage rate, and winning Ability Points increases the equipped character's aptitude with that spell by the specified amount - once enough Ability Points have been won to put the percentage rate at 100%, the spell is learned and can be cast. Some Espers like Lakshmi teach several basic spells quickly, while others like Valigarmanda teach a small handful of powerful spells slowly. This system means that with patience, any character can learn any spell (with the exception of Umaro and Gogo).

In addition to teaching normal magic, the Espers also give access to Summon Magic. A character can summon their equipped Esper into battle one time, even if they know no magic themselves. At times these summons are merely more powerful versions of the spells they teach, like Ramuh, at other times they are entirely different, such as Quetzalli. Some Espers also give permanent stat boosts when the equipped character levels up. For example, Gilgamesh gives +2 Strength, Fenrir gives an additional 30% boost to maximum MP, and so forth. This means that characters could have their stats changed at will to suit whatever task the player wished them to - even physical fighters like Edgar could be powerful mages with enough leveling to increase their magic power. This system overall gives Summoned Monsters a much larger role in the strength of the party than previous installments, something that later installments like Final Fantasy VIII would expand on.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Characters

Various characters from Final Fantasy VI wandering about aboard the Falcon waiting for their turn to fight.
Main article: List of Final Fantasy VI Characters

Final Fantasy VI features fourteen permanent player characters, the largest number of any game in the main series, as well as a number of characters who are only briefly controlled by the player. Most of the main characters in the game are members of the Returners, an underground resistance movement dedicated to overthrowing the Empire, and almost every character is united in holding a significant grudge against said Empire, and against Kefka, one of its leading generals, in particular. Protagonist Terra Branford (ティナ Tina), for instance, is a half-human, half-Esper girl who spent most of her young life being bred as a weapon for the Empire. Cyan Garamonde (カイエン Kaien), on the other hand, a loyal knight of the kingdom of Doma, watched his family and friends die as a result of Kefka's poisoning of the castle's water supply. Other characters include Locke Cole (ロック Rokku), a treasure hunter (at various points of the game, he demands to be referred to as this instead of as a thief after being called such by several characters) and rebel sympathizer who is close friends with Edgar Roni Figaro (エドガー Edogā), the king of Figaro, who claims allegiance to the Empire while secretly supplying aid to the Returners. Edgar's erstwhile brother, Sabin René Figaro (マッシュ Masshu), has fled the royal court in order to hone his martial arts skills.

Celes Chere (セリス Serisu), a former general of the Empire, joins the Returners following her imprisonment for questioning imperial policies. Believing Celes to be the opera diva Maria, inveterate gambler and womanizer Setzer Gabbiani (セッツァー Settsā) later joins forces with the group, offering the use of his airship to transport the heroes around the world. Shadow (シャドウ Shadou), a high-priced ninja mercenary, offers his services to both Empire and Returners at various stages throughout the game. Shadow shares a mysterious connection with Relm Arrowny (リルム Rirumu), a young girl living in the town of Thamasa under the care of her grandfather, Strago Magus (ストラゴス Sutoragosu), an elderly Blue Mage and heir to a long line of magical warriors.

Gau (ガウ Gau), a feral child surviving since infancy in the harsh wilderness known as the the Veldt, eventually befriends the party, as does Mog (モグ Mogu), a talking Moogle from the mines of Narshe. Mog's fast talking and persuasive attitude convince Umaro (ウーマロ Ūmaro), a savage but loyal yeti also living in Narshe, to lend his aid to the party. Rounding out the cast is Gogo (ゴゴ Gogo), a mysterious, fully shrouded master of the art of mimicry who agrees to lend support only when the party finds their way to the lair in the stomach of a giant monster called the Zone Eater.

A handful of Final Fantasy VI characters have reappeared in later games, such as Secret of Evermore and Kingdom Hearts II. A short technical demo, Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game, produced for the Silicon Graphics Onyx workstation, featured 3D rendered versions of Locke, Terra, and Shadow.

Story

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)
A scene from the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VI.

Prologue

A thousand years ago, the War of the Magi erupted between three gods known as the Warring Triad. Faced with a need of powerful soldiers, the gods turned several groups of humans into magical creatures called Espers. Eventually, the gods realized that their war was having a negative impact on the planet. In order to repent, the gods freed the Espers that they created and turned themselves to stone.

When the war ended, the remaining humans and the Espers were burdened with differences in lifestyle, appearance, and opinion. As a result, the Espers retreated to a separate, hidden part of the world. Gradually, the human race has built a society based on technological power, while forgetting the existence of the Espers. Now the most powerful technology is in the hands of the Empire, an expanding political power led by Emperor Gestahl and his top generals — Kefka Palazzo, Leo Cristophe and Celes Chère — which rules harshly over much of the world. Driven by legends of the immense power of the Espers, Gestahl has initiated a research program to combine magic and machinery, and the result of this program is Magitek. The Empire has channeled the concept of Magitek into vehicles known as Magitek Armor, which allows a soldier to use the power of magic without having Magicite crystals or Esper alignment. However, in order to develop and maintain Magitek, the Empire is forced to use actual Espers. Though the magical energy of Magitek is weak, the Empire seems on the verge of rediscovering the full potential of magic, which Gestahl intends to do by reopening the gateway to the world of the Espers.

The Mysterious Esper

The game begins with two Imperial soldiers named Biggs and Wedge and an unnamed woman riding their Magitek Armors, on their way to the city of Narshe to examine a frozen Esper settled within. They enter the city, and the local guards begin to defend the Esper, but they are easily defeated. They also battle a Lightning Whelk called Ymir, but it is also defeated. As they approach the Esper, the unnamed woman reacts to its power. The magic pulse the Esper releases ultimately kills her companions and destroys her Magitek Armor. Later, the woman awakens in the house of a man named Arvis, who destroys her slave crown — the object that binds her will to the Empire's. She can't remember anything except for her name: Terra. The local guards arrive to capture the "witch," so he tells Terra to run away before she is caught.

Fleeing to the nearby coal mines, Terra is cornered by the local guards. As she backs up, the ground crumbles, and she falls down a newly-opened shaft. While unconscious, she remembers an Imperial general named Kefka, who had placed the slave crown atop her head to overcome her will and force her to follow his directions. She then remembers killing fifty of the finest soldiers of the Imperial army during a test exercise involving the Magitek Armor. Afterward, the leader of the Empire, Emperor Gestahl, gives a speech to his troops alongside Terra and the other generals.

Back at Arvis's house, a young man named Locke arrives. Arvis asks him to go after and locate Terra, so he immediately departs. When he finds Terra deep in the mines, she is still unconscious. The local guards arrive on the scene, and prepare to attack. Just then, a creature named Mog and his Moogle friends come to Locke's aid, and with them, he dispatches the local guards. Terra became conscious again, and together with Locke, escapes from Narshe through a hidden entrance.

Figaro Castle

Terra flees the town in the company of Locke, and the two travel to the kingdom of Figaro, located in a nearby desert. The King, Edgar, attempts to hide Terra from the Imperial ambassador Kefka, but Kefka sets his castle aflame after learning of Edgar's duplicity. The majority of the castle's residents escape safely, while Terra, Locke, and Edgar travel to South Figaro and thence to the Returner Hideout, where the Returner leader Banon convinces Terra to help them fight the Empire. Edgar's twin brother Sabin also joins them along the way, after the party defeats his former martial arts training partner Vargas in the mountains.

The party in the desert.

The Returners

When the Returners receive word the Empire has attacked South Figaro, Locke departs there in an attempt to stymie their advance, while Terra, Edgar, Sabin, and Banon sail down the Lethe River to Narshe. Sabin is separated along the way after battling an octopus named Ultros, and the next part of the game is split into three quests:

  • Terra, Edgar and Banon continue on to Narshe.
  • Locke infiltrates Figaro, and flees after rescuing a traitor Imperial general, Celes Chere.
  • Sabin travels to Doma Castle with the help of the assassin Shadow.

Cyan the Lonesome

The Imperial army is attacking Doma Castle. Cyan Garamonde, the loyal retainer of the King of Doma, along with several soldiers, defends the castle. While Shadow and Sabin are spying on the Imperial camp, General Leo is summoned to the Imperial capital city of Vector by Emperor Gestahl, which thus leaves Kefka in charge. Shadow and Sabin overhear Kefka's plans to slaughter the entire population of Doma, and they attack him, but he runs away. As the two are distracted and forced to fight some of the army, Kefka dumps poison into Doma's drinking water system, which kills virtually the entire population of Doma. Cyan and another soldier survive, as they didn't drink the poisoned water. Enraged by the death of the King, his family, and the people of Doma, Cyan rushes to the Imperial camp and attacks the army by himself. The pair witness this futile act, and attempt to aid Cyan. As a means of escape, Shadow, Sabin, and Cyan use three Magitek Armors and battle the remaining army at the Imperial camp, escaping into the wilderness.

As there is no one to return for, the trio proceeds to the Phantom Forest where they behold a strange train, located deep in the forest at a railway terminal, and board it. It is here that Cyan reveals that it is the Phantom Train, the last ride of the dead to the afterlife. It is also revealed here that Cyan has a case of technophobia, or fear of machines. The trio confront the train, battling the resident spirits aboard, and ultimately succeed in halting it. As they get off the train, the souls of the people of Doma, including his family, board. Cyan attempts to catch up to the train, but is told to remain behind by the spirits of his wife and son. Afterward, Cyan expresses feelings of sadness and guilt after saying his goodbyes to his family. The trio proceeds to the Barren Falls, where Shadow leaves the party, and the remaining two characters jump off the falls, arriving at the Veldt. Here, they meet a wild child named Gau. With the help of Gau, they managed to find a diving helmet (which is actually Gau's "treasure"), which they use to swim beneath the ocean, in the Serpent Trench, taking it all the way to the north. After they arrive at Nikeah, they ride a ferry to South Figaro, and proceed to Narshe.

Meeting in Narshe

The party watching the frozen Esper in Narshe.

The scattered party members reunite at Narshe just as Kefka leads a full-scale attack on the town. After the Returners successfully defeat him, they confront the frozen Esper, and it once again reacts to Terra's presence, turning her into an Esper-like creature. Terrified of what has happened to herself, Terra flies away. Tracking Terra to the western mountains, the Returners find her in the town of Zozo, under the care of Ramuh. Ramuh, also an Esper, tells them of the Esper's world, and the Empire's exploitation of them for their Magitek machinery. He mentions that Terra will be fine, and merely needs to come to terms with herself and her newly-awakened abilities, and requests the Returners infiltrate the Empire and rescue the Espers trapped there, in the meantime.

Celes decides to lead the expedition, and Locke accompanies her. At the southern Opera House, Locke learns of the high-rolling gambler, Setzer, owner of the Blackjack, the world's only airship, and of his desire for the star of the opera, Maria, a woman whom the Impresario mentions closely resembles Celes. However, the Impresario is distraught, as he has recieved a letter from Setzer proclaiming his love for Maria, and his intent to abduct her during an upcoming performance. With this information, Locke concocts a plan, and convinces Celes to impersonate Maria in the opera Maria and Draco, in hopes that she will be captured by Setzer in Maria's stead.

During the performance, which must be repeated if Celes does not sing the correct lines, Ultros decides to drop in and cause mischief again for the party. At the end of the battle, Setzer arrives on cue and abducts Celes, who he believes to be Maria. Locke slips aboard Setzer's ship, and Celes reveals that she is not, in fact, Maria. They tell Setzer of their plan to infiltrate the Empire, a plan which Setzer does not agree with initially, as he has no argument with the Empire, and does not want to initiate one. Knowing that Setzer is a gambler at heart, Celes challenges him to a game of chance: a coin toss to determine if Setzer will help them or not. If the coin lands heads up, he will agree to help. Setzer accepts the challenge. The coin is tossed, and lands heads-up. Setzer picks up the coin, and notes that it is the coin of Figaro, which bears the heads of Edgar and Sabin on either side. Sezter acknowledges his defeat at having been "hustled," and willingly decides to aid the Returners.

Celes' True Intentions

On the Southern Continent, the party infiltrates the Imperial capital of Vector and frees the Espers there. However, Cid and Kefka appear, and Kefka mentions rumors that Celes's defection was a ruse to plant a spy within the Returners, causing Locke to doubt her loyalty. To prove herself, Celes spirits Kefka away so the Returners can escape, and they rendezvous with Setzer and return to Zozo.

Terra's Past

Here, Terra's memories are restored by Maduin, who is revealed to be her father. Maduin and Terra reveal the details of Terra's birth between Maduin and a human named Madeline, and the Empire's attack on the Esper realm. Returning to Narshe, the Returners plan to lead a two-pronged attack on the Empire with the Espers. Terra, reluctant to help, nonetheless realizes her very existence is proof the two races can co-exist, and agrees. At the gate to the Land of Espers, Terra pleads for their assistance while the Returners battle Kefka, who has followed them. The Espers that emerge from the gate go on a rampage, damaging the Blackjack and partially destroying the city of Vector.

Gestahl's Motives

In the ruins of the Imperial palace, Emperor Gestahl tells the Returners the rampage has convinced him to call for a truce. As a sign of goodwill, he wishes to negotiate peace with the Espers, and requests that Terra accompany his forces on an expedition to locate them. The majority of the Returners remain behind to investigate Gestahl's motives, while Terra and Locke accompany General Leo to Thamasa. Also with them are Shadow, who has sold his skills to the Empire, and Celes, who is still at odds with Locke. At Thamasa, Shadow, Terra and Locke recruit the elderly mage Strago from the village, which was founded by the survivors of the War of the Magi. With Strago's help, they enter a nearby cave, where they find a magical shrine to the Warring Triad. After fighting Ultros again, and agreeing to take along Strago's young granddaughter Relm, they find the Espers and return to Thamasa.

Negotiations between the Esper Yura and Leo are cut short when Kefka arrives. Kefka promptly slays both the Espers and General Leo, and when the Sealed Gate opens and more Espers attack, Kefka again dispatches them. The repaired Blackjack arrives with the Returners just as Gestahl and Kefka find the Warring Triad and raise the Floating Continent. The Returners then find Shadow's dog, Intercepter, wounded, leading the group to believe Shadow is dead. The characters fly the airship above the Floating Continent, leaping out and battling their way across it, in order to reach Kefka and the Emperor. At the continent's summit, Gestahl attempts to have Celes kill the Returners and side with him. When she refuses, Kefka kills the Emperor and seizes the Triad for himself, pushing the statues completely out of alignment, and disrupting the delicate balance of magic in the world. Massive energies are released.

With the assistance of Shadow, who joins the Returners at last, the characters escape to the Blackjack, only to see it destroyed by the outbreak of magic known as the Apocalypse, released by the rupture of balance between the three Statues. New continents and seas are created and old ones destroyed by the onslaught of energy upon the planet. The entire world is annihilated. Millions perish.

The Day the World Changed Forever

A full year later, Celes awakens on a deserted island with Cid, who tells her it has been a full year since Kefka came to power. Using a raft Cid has built, Celes returns to the mainland, and quickly recruits Sabin and Edgar, but she is unsuccessful in convincing Terra to rejoin. Now believing that the rest of the Returners are alive, the three find Setzer in a bar at Kohlingen, who leads them to the Falcon, a second airship belonging to a lost friend. Using the Falcon, the four travel around the world and find the scattered ranks of the resistance, many of whom have attempted to make new lives for themselves in the new world, while others have become haunted by past demons the new world has dredged up.

The Gathering

Among other things, Terra is now taking care of the children of Mobliz after the adults perished in one of Kefka's magical rampages; Cyan resides in a cave trying to keep a young woman's dreams of her boyfriend alive, and Locke is searching for the Phoenix magicite to revive his girlfriend Rachel. With their ranks reassembled, the Returners attack Kefka's Tower, and confront Kefka at the summit. Here it is revealed that Kefka has become the God of Magic itself, and if he should die, Espers and magic will vanish from the world.

A God Named Kefka

Undeterred, the Returners battle Kefka and kill him, and without his influence, Magicite shatters, and the world shifts back to its original state. Terra promptly is weakened, but due to her finding love in the orphaned children of Mobliz, her human emotions allow her to survive as a full human being. The game ends as the Falcon flies around the world in triumph with the Returners enjoying the new freedom and life Kefka's defeat has brought to it.

Themes and Symbols

Taking place in a steampunk setting, Final Fantasy VI 's world is a world surrounded in rapid technological innovation and growth. In this innovation and growth, technologies of mass destruction, such as Magitek and magic infusions, emerge. Several of Final Fantasy VI's major themes include lust for power, mass destruction, and the nascent, intrinsic evil nature of humanity.

Final Fantasy VI was one of the first in the series to blame the world's evils entirely on humans. Unlike the prior installment Final Fantasy IV, where a demon was the root of all the world's problems, it is the greedy, corrupt, complacent, and/or power-seeking people who are the truly evil; prime examples would include Kefka and Emperor Gestahl. Both seek power, and both are willing to bring destruction to whomever or whatever lies in their path. Even the Returners cause mass destruction during their search for the power of the Espers at the Sealed Gate.

Terra, on the other hand, begins the game powerful, and sees her strength as a curse. Human lust for power is a theme seen throughout the first half of the game. This lust for power eventually results in the destruction of the world, when Kefka gains control of the Warring Triad statues, paralleling the development and reliance upon weapons of mass destruction in the real world.

When the world is finally destroyed, the themes of mortality, the value of human life, and nihilism emerge. This is first seen at the beginning of the game's second portion, where Celes considers suicide at Solitary Island. Hearing the stories of how the island residents committed suicide out of their feelings of boredom and insignificance, Celes eventually attempts to do the same, and throws herself off of the island's cliff. After failing her attempt at suicide, she finds significance inside the lost bandanna of Locke, and begins the game's second half. Also during the game's second half, Kefka's strong nihilistic beliefs are revealed through the many actions he takes.

His dialogue from the final battle, for example, is heavily influenced by nihilistic beliefs. His beliefs are conflicted with the philosophies of Terra Branford, however. After achieving self-discovery, Terra begins to greatly value human life. The dialogue during her speech at Mobliz greatly reveals the strength of her ideals. Before the final battle begins, Terra and Kefka argue with each other about these philosophies. During the game's ending, Terra sticks to her beliefs by guiding her allies to safety as the tower collapses. Along with this, Locke, Cyan, and the other Returners can also be seen opposing the philosophies of the god in the game's climax.

A slightly more minor theme in the game is the broader concept of love. Instead of focusing upon romantic love, the theme is somewhat varied. With her constant desire to take care of and protect others, Terra represents a motherly type of love. Shadow represents the embodiment of a father, with his caring for his daughter Relm, despite her not even knowing of his true identity. Along with this, there is the brotherly love between Edgar and Sabin, the platonic love between Setzer and Daryl, and the romantic love between Locke and Celes.

Music

Main article: Original Soundtrack of Final Fantasy VI

The soundtrack for Final Fantasy VI is the work of long-time series contributor Nobuo Uematsu. The score consists of themes for each major character and location, plus music for standard battles and fights with boss enemies, as well as for special cutscenes. The "Aria di Mezzo Carattere" is one of the latter tracks, played during a cutscene involving an opera performance. This track features an unintelligible "voice" that harmonizes with the melody — the limitations of the cartridge size prevented the use of an actual vocal track. The orchestral album Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale features an arranged version of the aria, featuring Italian lyrics, performed by Svetla Krasteva with orchestral backing. This aria is also found in the second full-motion video in the 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. Arguably the most famous sequence in the game, Electronic Gaming Monthly declared the opera scene one of the "20 Greatest Moments in Console Gaming" in 2002.

Final Fantasy VI: Grand Finale features eleven tracks from the game, arranged by Shiro Sagisu and Tsuneyoshi Saito and performed by the Ensemble Archi Della Scala and Orchestra Synfonica di Milano. Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VI, a second arranged album, features thirteen tracks from the game, arranged and performed for piano by Reiko Nomura. Additionally, 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 under the title Final Fantasy III: Kefka's Domain, available exclusively through mail-order from SquareSoft.

Development

Yoshitaka Amano, also a long-time contributor to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the image designer. Amano provided concept sketches to the programmers, who converted them into the sprites that feature in the game. Some liberties were taken during the conversion, such as the changing of Terra's hair from blond to green. The PlayStation release includes full-motion video produced specifically for the re-release: the character designs in these video sequences are based on Amano's designs, rather than the sprites in the game.

Though not the first game to utilize the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 graphics, Final Fantasy VI made much more extensive use of them than either of its two predecessors. Unlike both Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V, for example, the world map is rendered in Mode 7, which lends a somewhat three-dimensional perspective to an otherwise two-dimensional game.

Early screenshots of the original Japanese version of the game reveal some minor, different plans made during development. At the start of the game, instead of Valigarmanda being the frozen Esper, Maduin appeared encased in the ice. Though Final Fantasy VI is the first appearance of Biggs and Wedge (ビックス and ウェッジ), they were originally going to be called Les and Bafra (レス and バフラ).

Localization and censorship

SNES Logo

The English language localization for the Super Nintendo includes a number of changes to the original Japanese game. The most obvious of these changes is the alteration of the game's title, which was changed to reflect the fact that it was only the third Final Fantasy title to be released in North America. Unlike Final Fantasy IV (originally released in North America under the title Final Fantasy II), there are no major changes in gameplay, though certain editorial alterations exist in the English script. In a January 1995 interview with Super POWER 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." Some of the game's graphics are subtly changed to cover up instances of nudity.

Siren, Japanese graphic
Siren, North American graphic
Siren, North American Advance graphic
The North American graphics for Siren were edited to cover up a minor instance of nudity.

From left to right: Japanese Version, American SNES, and American GBA.

In addition, the English localization features several name changes. Some such alterations were necessitated by length restrictions (e.g. "Stragus" was shortened to "Strago"). Other changes were made in order for the game to meet Nintendo's aforementioned content guidelines, which, for instance, placed restrictions on the use of religious imagery, leading to the rechristening of the magic spell "Holy" to "Pearl." A number of changes were made simply because of cultural differences between Asian and North American audiences. For example, Terra's Japanese name, Tina, sounds exotic to Japanese speakers, but is a common Anglophone name. Finally, the text files had to be shortened because otherwise they simply could not have fit into the available data storage space of the cartridge ROM.

The North American and European PlayStation port retains the bulk of Woolsey's original translation, with a few minor changes, including the return to the original Japanese title of Final Fantasy VI, updated graphics, and a number of character and item names alterations. However, instead of using the original Japanese version of Siren, a third Siren sprite was used which had more censored than the original Japanese sprite, but less than the original North American release.

PlayStation

Final Fantasy VI was the third and last of the Super Nintendo Final Fantasy titles to be ported to the Sony PlayStation, and was released exactly one year after a similar port of Final Fantasy V, and two years after a port of Final Fantasy IV. It was followed by a remake of the original Final nd Final Fantasy II in the compilation Final Fantasy Origins. In Japan, the PlayStation port was released individually and alongside both Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V as a part of a limited edition boxed set titled Final Fantasy Collection. In North America, the port was released alongside Final Fantasy V as part of the Final nthology. In Europe, the game was released individually (along with a Final Fantasy X demo), making it the first time the game had ever been officially released in PAL-based territories.

Technically, the PlayStation port is very similar to the original Super Nintendo version. Aside from the addition of a few new full-motion video cutscenes before the original opening and after the original ending, the graphics and sound are unchanged from the original version. Unlike the re-release of Final Fantasy IV in the Final Fantasy Chronicles compilation, the script for the North American PlayStation release was essentially left unchanged (gil remained as "GP," Ultima Weapon remained as "Atma Weapon"). The only notable changes to gameplay involve the correction of a handful of computer bugs left in the original game, and the addition of a new "memo save" feature, which allows players to quickly save their progress to the PlayStation's RAM. Because of the volatile nature of the system's memory, memo saves are lost if power to the console is interrupted. Finally, the port includes a number of bonuses, including a bestiary and artwork gallery that can be accessed from the game's main menu, and which are revealed as the player progresses through the game.

Game Boy Advance

Advance Logo

A port of Final Fantasy VI for handhelds had been considered by Square in early 2001. However, the project failed due to the absence of an appropriate platform — the WonderSwan Color was not powerful enough to run the game, and Nintendo did not allow Square to develop on the Game Boy Advance, despite Sakaguchi's wishes.

Years later, after relations between Square (now Square Enix) and Nintendo improved, it was announced that Final Fantasy VI would be re-released on the Game Boy Advance under the title Final Fantasy VI Advance. This is consistent with the re-releases of Final Fantasy IV (released in North America on December 12, 2005) and Final Fantasy V (released in North America on November 6, 2006). Final Fantasy VI Advance was released on February 5, 2007. Some of the bugs of previous Final Fantasy VI releases were fixed, most notably the Evade bug. The game's palettes have been drastically lightened, and there is some choppiness and lag in the graphics when complex battle effects are used. Like the other Game Boy Advance re-releases, several extra features were added:

GBA version (top) vs SNES version (bottom)
  • Four new espers: Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Cactuar, and Diablos
  • A new three-party dungeon known as the Dragons' Den, featuring the originally-dummied enemy, Kaiser Dragon.
  • New equipment for each character.
  • New translation, more faithful to the original Japanese, but retaining Ted Woolsey's changed names, and some of the lines regarded by the fans as his best work.
  • Though it is largely unnoticeable, some enemy positions in battle and some screen positions in cutscenes are different, to accommodate the Game Boy Advance's more "squat" screen.
  • A new Soul Shrine Arena.
  • Bestiary.
  • Altered soundtrack.
  • Altered lighting palettes.

Trivia

The Game Informer cover.

See Also

Packaging Artwork

External Links

  • Final Fantasy VI Advance official site (Japanese)
  • Final nthology Official Site (North American)

This article uses material from the "Final Fantasy VI" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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