• Final Fantasy VI 20th Anniversary

    So about 20 years ago today, FFVI was released in Japan on the Super Famicom. It had the longest development of any FF before it clocking close to a seventeen month difference between it's release and it's predecessors release in 1992. It features the largest playable cast of any numbered FF with a party of 14 distinct characters, only FFTactics has it beat, and Type-0 is tied with it. The game dropped the heavier use of swords and sorcery and instead placed a heavier emphasis on steampunk and technology than any previous FF. Each character sprite averaged 45 different sprite animations and unlike previous FFs, the characters used the same field sprite as they did for battle, allowing VI to feature a more seamless visual transition from story, to exploration, to battles.

    The game experimented with different game play features to enhance the players experience including more interactive battle commands like Blitz and Slot, the introduction of puzzle style mini-games in dungeons, a rudimentary RTS mini-game, optional party members to recruit, special playable cinematic events, multi-party dungeons, and even a more open ended second act of the game that allowed the player to freely explore and recruit their former party in almost any order they choose. This change up from refining the old systems to finding news ways to reach the player and create a more engaging world would continue on into the PS1 era and beyond.

    The game returned to FFIV's heavier emphasis on character and story, creating one of the most perfect casts of characters to grace the genre, the core cast all introducing gripping stories and more complex characterizations rarely seen in the console genre before hand. The story of VI focuses more on character development and exploring who each of these people are as they struggle past their personal demons or come face to face with tragedy and terrifying revelations.

    Players will always remember the first time they met the mysterious and melancholic Terra Branford who searches to discover the origins of her magical power and connection to the Espers. She struggles in the beginning, no longer remembering who she really is, years of her life stolen from her by an evil empire that saw her only as a weapon. She travels with the Returners who don't make it a secret they see her as a tool to win their war against the Empire. The revelations of her heritage traumatizing her and making her question her identity as a human and as an esper. Eventually Terra finds solace being the surrogate mother for a town of orphans.

    The lovable adventurer Locke Cole who hides his guilt of failing to protect his lost love Rachael under his charming and roguish demeanor, but feels compelled to protect any lady in danger so he can feel redeemed for failing her. Locke teams up, and eventually falls in love with former Imperial General Celes Chere and finds himself at a crossroads as he feels conflicted with his feelings for a former enemy and his former love. :ffvipatpat:

    The womanizing machinist King Edgar Roni Figaro and his laid back, martial artist twin brother Sabin Rene Figaro who both went their separate ways thanks to the selfless act of brotherly love that decided the fate of their kingdom. The conflict eventually finds the brother reunited and helping the Returners stop the empire that murdered their father.

    The veteran samurai and tragic retainer of Doma, Cyan Garamonde who watches helplessly as Kefka's poison kills almost every man, woman, and child in his kingdom, including his king he swore to protect and his own wife and son. Cyan hides his devastation but remains haunted by it, until a climatic battle with his personal demons and the final words of the dearly departed free his soul.

    The rambunctious wild child Gau who is fun loving and adorable but his past is filled with the tragic story of his mother's death from childbirth and his father's madness casting him out onto the monster infested Veldt where he would be raised until adolescence.

    The cool, collected, and lovely Ex-Imperial General Celes Chere who betrays the empire after performing and bearing witness to the brutality of the regime on the rest of the world. Celes defiantly welcomes death in the beginning but a chance encounter and rescue by a certain roguish adventurer, melts her reserve and reveals a sensitive girl who is new to love and can kick ass, cast magic, and sing one hell of an aria.

    The lethal and stoic assassin Shadow and his dog Interceptor who crosses path with the party from time to time, and hides a past filled with grand theft, betrayal, and tragedy. Shadow hides his face to hide his guilt.

    The fatalistic gentlemen gambler Setzer Gabbiani who once flew the skies so care free with his close companion Daryl who he tragically lost in an airship accident. Wandering the world with no care for his life, reputation, or fortune, Setzer eventually becomes infatuated with an opera singer named Maria who he plans to kidnap in a show of grandeur only to be tricked by a certain ex-general.

    The kooky former monster hunter Strago Magus who gave up on his dream to hunt the Hidon to raise the child of a former friend. Eventually she becomes his entire life but even old men still have dreams and little lie and push by and old friend can help him achieve his life long dream.

    His bratty but gifted pictomancer granddaughter Relm Arrowny who has the power to make her painting come to life. She wishes to go on adventures and may have connections of a familial kind to a certain brooding assassin.

    The slam dancing mascot and most famous moogle Mog

    Mog's ferocious but simple-minded Yeti friend Umaro

    and FFV guest star and alter-ego of Adlai Stevenson, the Mimic-Master Gogo

    Most of all, Final Fantasy VI fans will remember the games most infamous villain, the sociopathic clown and court magician, Kefka Palazzo whose iconic laugh, funny one-liners, and soul crushing evil deeds have made him controversially one of the best villains in the series history. Kefka is a bit of a change of pace for the franchise, being less of the cool and collected darth Vader type or monster and instead being a sociopathic murderer with a god complex who kills and maims for the sheer enjoyment of it. Kefka racks up one of the series largest body counts and even instigates the near end of the world. Even today, Kefka still ranks high on villain lists in video games and remains an interest in fan debates.

    Final Fantasy VI may possess Nobuo Uematsu's finest video game score, creating iconic music that have been performed live around the world, remixed countless times, or simply hummed out loud by die hard fans. VI was one of the few games to feature a personal theme for every playable character, the use of opera technique and different classical composition styles including Fugues and aria, and created a soundtrack that was not only emotionally charged but had a musical consistency of style that was not heard of at the time. Nobuo pioneered MIDI techniques that revolutionized the sound of SNES games by Squaresoft.

    No one will forget stunning tracks like Terra's theme

    Or the famous Opera scene

    Dancing Mad

    and the game's ending track which is the longest track in the series and utilizes a leitmotif of every character theme.

    Final Fantasy VI changed the series and maybe even the genre when it first was released, 20 years later, it is still delighting fans, causing debates, and being enjoyed by new generations of Final Fantasy fans. So let now celebrate this 16-bit masterpiece and continue to discuss, debate and enjoy one of the greatest Final Fantasy's ever made.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Final Fantasy VI 20th Anniversary started by Wolf Kanno View original post
    Comments 12 Comments
    1. Psychotic's Avatar
      Psychotic -
      Fantastic piece. Happy 20th Anniversary, FFVI! You're looking quite good for your age
    1. Ayen's Avatar
      Ayen -
      This makes me want to play Final Fantasy VI.
    1. Sephex's Avatar
      Sephex -
      Awesome work. Definitely a SNES classic. The summers I spent going through this game...great times.
    1. maybee's Avatar
      maybee -
      Quote Originally Posted by ToriJ View Post
      This makes me want to play Final Fantasy VI.
      Same here

      EOFF lets play thing of FF 6 to celebrate guys ??
    1. Kalevala's Avatar
      Kalevala -
      I would be all for a let's play. FFVI was the first entry in the series I played, as well as my first RPG. Needless to say it made a good impression.
    1. Ayen's Avatar
      Ayen -
      >looks through his game library
      >remembers he doesn't own FFVI
      >falls to his knees and cries out in agony
    1. Jiro's Avatar
      Jiro -
      I'm due for a replay soon. What a wonderful game. Can't believe it has been 20 years.
    1. Flying Mullet's Avatar
      Flying Mullet -
    1. LadyJuxtaposition's Avatar
      LadyJuxtaposition -
      Happy 20th Anniversary FFVI! *goes to celebrate* :3
    1. maybee's Avatar
      maybee -
      Quote Originally Posted by ToriJ View Post
      >looks through his game library
      >remembers he doesn't own FFVI
      >falls to his knees and cries out in agony

      What ?

      You must change that and get it now
    1. metagloria's Avatar
      metagloria -
      *shrug* V is better.
    1. Vyk's Avatar
      Vyk -
      This is probably the game that changed the way I viewed video games. They finally started to become everything I knew they had the potential to become all along
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