Final Fantasy (ファイナルファンタジー, Fainaru Fantajī?) is a popular series of role-playing games produced by Square Enix (originallySquare Co., Ltd.). It may be the most widely distributed game series of all time, including both standard console games and portable games, two massively multiplayer online role-playing games, games for mobile phones, two CGI films (one being original, the other being being a sequel to Final Fantasy VII), and two anime series.
The first installment of the series premiered in Japan in 1987, and Final Fantasy games have subsequently been localized for markets in North America, Europe and Australia, on several modern video game consoles, including theNintendo Entertainment System, the MSX 2, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sony PlayStation, thePC, the WonderSwan Color, the Sony PlayStation 2, IBM PC compatible, Game Boy Advance, NintendoGameCube, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo DS, as well as several different models of mobile phones. It is Square Enix’s most successful franchise, having sold over 100 million units worldwide as ofJune 7, 2011.
As of 2012, fourteen games have been released as part of the main (numbered) series, but in total the Final Fantasy series includes numerous spin-offs, sequels, and subseries. It currently ranks as the second-best selling RPG series ever, and the ninth-best selling video game series in the world.
Square Co., Ltd. first entered the Japanese video game industry in the mid 1980s, developing a variety of simple RPGs for Nintendo’s Famicom Disk System (FDS), a disk-based peripheral for the Family Computer (also known as the “Famicom,” and known internationally as the Nintendo Entertainment System). By 1987, declining interest in the FDS had placed Square on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. At approximately the same time, Square designer Hironobu Sakaguchi began working on an ambitious new fantasy role playing game for the cartridge-based Famicom, inspired in part by Enix’s popular Dragon Quest (originally known in the United States as Dragon Warrior). Recognizing that the project could very well turn out to be Square’s last game, the project was titled Final Fantasy. Far from being Square’s last installment, however, Final Fantasy reversed Square’s lagging fortunes, and became Square’s flagship franchise.
Following the success of the first game, Square quickly began work on a sequel. Unlike a typical sequel, Final Fantasy II featured entirely different characters, with a setting and story bearing only thematic similarities to its predecessor. This unusual approach to sequels has continued throughout the series, with each major Final Fantasy game introducing a new world, and a new system of gameplay. Many elements and themes would recur throughout the series, but there would be no direct game sequels until the release of Final Fantasy X-2 in 2003, though Final Fantasy V received an anime sequel prior to this. After the merge with Enix, however, real game sequels have become increasingly prevalent. In a way, the Final Fantasy franchise has been a creative showcase for Square’s developers, and many elements originally introduced in the series have made their way into Square’s other titles, most notably two of its other major franchises, SaGa and Seiken Densetsu. -Source: Final Fantasy Wiki