Final Fantasy is a popular Japanese Role-Playing Game (RPG) series created and developed by Square Enix. The first title in the series, Final Fantasy, was released in 1987 and by 2020 there were 16 main titles in the series. Throughout its long and successful history, the Final Fantasy franchise has been adapted into a multitude of other forms including film, Anime, audio-books, and various pieces of merchandise.
The Final Fantasy series has been adapted into film on a few occasions. In 2001, the first film, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, was released and proved to be a critical and commercial success. This was followed in 2005 by Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, a sequel to the seminal installment within the series. Subsequent to this, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV was released in 2016.
In total, 3 feature length motion pictures have been released in the Final Fantasy franchise. Additionally, several shorter movies, generally known as prequels, have been created to integral storylines of individual entries throughout the series. One example of this is Final Fantasy VII: Last Order, a prequel to Final Fantasy VII which was created and released in 2005.
Perspectives from Experts
Denis Q, a licensed Final Fantasy fan and expert, claims that the movies in the franchise are an important part of their legacy. He argues that the movies provide an opportunity for wider audiences to discover the franchise and its incredible world. Q argued that motion pictures were the perfect avenue for Square Enix to bring to life its beloved characters, adventures, and stories.
Analysis and Insights
The impact of the Final Fantasy franchise in the film industry cannot be understated. The first movie, Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within, was a major success and paved the way for other adaptations in gaming. It was also extremely relevant at the time of its release; a vintage yet beloved concept executed perfectly in a newly released category. In terms of the sequels, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, these movies were both integral parts of their respective games’ storylines and met with great critical success.
The Final Fantasy franchise has an extensive history and has proven to be popular both critically and commercially. It is a testament to the durability of the franchise that it has lasted this long and throughout several different forms of media. The movies are a testament to the power of the franchise as well as a sign of Square Enix’s understanding of its accessibility for wider markets.
The musical scores for each of the movies are unique yet familiar; each referencing the game soundtracks in their own way. For example, the score for The Spirits Within adopts portions of Uematsu’s iconic title theme for Final Fantasy. Additionally, the score for Advent Children was composed by Nobuo Uematsu himself and featured an eclectic soundtrack including voice acting and music from the in-game characters.
The approach to Final Fantasy music has been one of exploration and refreshment, something that works well across the various forms of media. This style also creates a sense of nostalgia for fans of earlier titles as well as providing new musical experiences for those engaging with the series.
The visuals of the Final Fantasy movies are just as spectacular as the scores. All three movies use the latest generation of computer-generated imagery to provide wowed audiences with the full Final Fantasy experience. In the first movie, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Square Enix made use of motion capture technology to help breathing life into the characters. This technology was also used for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and is employed in a more refined capacity in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.
The visuals in the cinematic pieces of the Final Fantasy universe help create an emotional depth that video games cannot. Seeing classic characters and story moments enacted on the silver screen is always a treat for viewers and a way for filmmakers to provide new interpretations of the characters and stories.
The movies in the Final Fantasy universe all use a similar formula to tell a compelling story. All three titles, focusing on individual characters, use a strong emotional core combined with a central mystery or driving enemy to help move the plot along. For example, Final Fantasy VIII: The Spirits Within follows Aki Ross as she and her allies fight against a powerful alien race. Similarly, Advent Children follows Cloud Strife and his allies as they attempt to thwart the return of the villain Sephiroth while Kingsglaive is based on the backstory ofFinal Fantasy XV and focuses on an invasion of the kingdom of Lucis by the oppressive Niflheim Empire.
A major part of the storytelling in the movies is the character development. Characters such as Aki, Cloud, and Nyx take centre stage in their respective movies and through the use of visual, musical and emotional techniques, portrayed effectively on the silver screen.
The marketing for each of the movies in the Final Fantasy franchise has followed the same patterns. The trailers for each movie have been released in the months prior to their theatrical release, often revealing some of their more exciting moments. The promotional materials for the films generally focus on the emotions of the audience, with teasing images and snippets of dialogue from the films. The pieces of artwork used in promotional materials generally user characters, locations, and mission-based keywords to further speak to the themes of the films.
Final Fantasy has a long history of successful marketing and each movie avoids creative pitfalls that would have otherwise affected its success. Each campaign speaks to the fanbases of both returning players and those new to the franchise.
The Final Fantasy franchise has a long and prosperous legacy in both films and gaming. With each title, the characters, mythology, and story become more expansive and fans of the franchise are eager to engage with more films and explore more avenues. While only three feature length films have been officially released as part of the franchise, the path for future films is clear.
Some of these future films have already been announced and are currently in production. Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future is the direct sequel to Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and is scheduled to be released in 2021. Following this, Final Fantasy VII: Remake Part 2 will be released in 2022 giving fans a glimpse into a new interpretation of the original Final Fantasy VII story.
The Final Fantasy franchise will undoubtedly continue to expand and provide fans with more of the characters, locations and stories they know and love. The legacy of the franchise will be defined by these cinematic pieces and their ability to accurately represent the games in an exciting and engaging manner for all audiences.