View Full Version : Ultima in the NES Version Was Intentionally Left Glitched

10-21-2014, 07:58 AM
I saw this article online and thought it was worth sharing here on EoFF. (http://www.siliconera.com/2014/10/20/final-fantasys-first-ultima-spell-useless/)

ďUltimaĒ has always been around in the Final Fantasy series, and itís almost always the strongest spell in the game. However, it didnít exactly start out that way, and a programmer recently blogged about a discussion he had with Hironobu Sakaguchi on why Ultima was useless in Final Fantasy II, which is where it was first introduced.

The programmer in question is named Hiromasa Iwasaki, who worked on various games such as Ys I & II, and various others during the Famicom and Game Boy era.

As some of you may know, when Final Fantasy II was originally released on the Famicom, one thing that was quite a popular topic at the time was the Ultima spell, which was very difficult to acquire, but was also practically useless.

Just to give you an idea of how useless it was, in the NES version of the game, Ultima was initially meant to increase its power relative to the level of other spells the caster had, but due to a bug, it caused the spell to do just around 500 damage at the most on a single target.

Baffled by how the seriesí most powerful spell ended up being so weak in its debut game, Iwasaki and other fellow developers spoke with Hironobu Sakaguchi, who directed Final Fantasy II, about how that ended up happening.

At the time, when Square tested the game out and saw the Ultima bug, it was definitely a problem, and Sakaguchi said ďHow did this happen? Fix it.Ē However, the person that programmed it replied with the following statement:

ďAll of that legendary stuff, it dates back to an age that didnít even have proper techniques. If you were to look at such things now in the presentís point-of-view, it would be natural that they look inferior. For this reason, itís a given that Ultimaís abilities would be bad.Ē

ďAs for those who struggled and ultimately acquired it only to find out that itís uselessÖ well, thatís something that often happens in life. So, Iím not going to fix it!Ē

Naturally, Sakaguchi was rather irritated by that reply and said ďwhatever, just give me the source,Ē so he could fix it himself. As it turned out, the programmer had ciphered the source, so he ended up being the only one who could do anything with it, and it was just left the way it was.

Iwasaki says that he canít say for sure whether the story from Sakaguchi was the truth, but either way, it makes for a good laugh.

Read more at http://www.siliconera.com/2014/10/20/final-fantasys-first-ultima-spell-useless/#hErI6zMJdqJhCP50.99

I'm really glad they fixed Ultima in Origins and onward. Even with the "that kind of stuff happens in real life" reasoning, it seems like a really lazy reason to not fix it and to essentially lie to the player for a good chunk of the game regarding Ultima's power. Sure, it may not be worth levelling up, but at least Origins and onward actually made it so that it could be as powerful as the game makes Ultima out to be, rather than only doing ~500 damage max no matter what in the Famicom/NES version.

10-21-2014, 06:38 PM
Kind of a lame ass excuse, if you ask me. It sounds more like the programmer couldn't be arsed into doing it. :D

10-23-2014, 11:55 PM
Whether it's true or BS, I actually quite like his reasoning. :lol:

Wolf Kanno
11-03-2014, 06:16 PM
This actually amuses me and considering leveling Ultima is a pain in the ass and it's just easier to dual-wield weapons for max damage I don't really see an issue here. I quite like the reasoning myself even if it means Minwu's sacrifice was all in vain.

11-03-2014, 06:21 PM
Gave me a laugh. I'd be just as irritated as Sakaguchi in that situation.

11-10-2014, 06:32 AM
Ultima was a good spell.

Old Manus
11-13-2014, 03:21 PM
As it turned out, the programmer had ciphered the sourceI always convert my code into ancient runes before committing it.