Final Fantasy Series: A List of All Final Fantasy Games Since 1987

final fantasy series

By the power of the crystals and under the guidance of the Four Warriors of Light, here’s your much-needed list of every Final Fantasy game since 1987. 

Beginning in 1987, the Final Fantasy franchise has grown to encompass over 60 titles, most of which are video games. With numerous spin-offs—Tactics, Crystal Chronicles, SaGa, and Mana series—several animated television shows, movies, and two massive multiplayer online titles, Square Enix has established a well-known and incredibly popular brand. 

After scoring the ultimate comeback with the release of Final Fantasy I, the would-be bankrupt gaming company now employs almost 4,000 people and had a net income of 6,598 billion yen in 2014. In lieu of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV title, we’ve compiled a list of every Final Fantasy title since the very first Final Fantasy I.

1. Final Fantasy I (1987)

Final Fantasy I Gameplay.

After the four elemental orbs (or crystals in the Japanese version) go dark and the world becomes devoid of all elements, four Warriors of Light appear. With one of the darkened orbs in their possession, they begin their journey to restore light to a world of darkness.

Playable on the Nintendo Entertainment System (Famicon in Japan), Final Fantasy I was created as Square’s last game before they were meant to file for bankruptcy. However, the commercial success of the Final Fantasy title kept Square from having to close its doors. 

 Final Fantasy I title screen and battle. I think drinking is the best option here.

2. Final Fantasy II (1988)

Final Fantasy II Gameplay.

Final Fantasy II, released in Japan for the NES and then only later released in the United States, was the sequel to Final Fantasy I, but lacked any of the same characters or locations from the first title. This game begins with Firion, Maria, Guy, and Leon, who are attacked and left for dead by a group of Palamecian Black Knight Soldiers. After Princess Hilda rescues Firion, Maria, and Guy, the group sets off to find Leon.

Satan reincarnated as a giant bug, creature… thing? Anyway, they eventually find Leon.

Because Final Fantasy II wasn’t originally released in the U.S. until much later, Final Fantasy IV was originally titled as Final Fantasy II so American players wouldn’t be confused. 

The Emperor is pretty scary, so we aren’t sure why Leon appears to be napping. 

3. Final Fantasy: Legend I (1989)

Hmm… 666 HP. A good omen or a bad one when fighting against the Creator?

Part of the SaGa series and not initially part of the Final Fantasy franchise, Square decided to title the game Final Fantasy: Legend I before releasing it overseas on Game Boy. By calling the game Final Fantasy, Square hoped to sell more copies by connecting it with the already popular franchise. This marketing scheme worked as Final Fantasy: Legend I became Square’s first game to sell over a million units.

A layout of the Desert Town in Ashura’s World. 

4. Final Fantasy III (1990)

Final Fantasy III Gameplay.

Final Fantasy III, the third game in the Final Fantasy series and fourth installment in the franchise, begins with an earthquake opening up a mysterious cavern. Four orphans decide to explore the cavern and discover a crystal of light. With the crystal in their possession, the orphans embark on a journey to restore balance to the world. 

While only initially released in Japan in 1990 for the Famicom platform, Final Famtasy III wasn’t released in North America in 2006 for the Nintendo DS. 

The DS graphics are better than the NES graphics anyway.

5. Final Fantasy: Legend II (1990)

Like the previous Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy: Legend II is a sequel to Legend I, but the storyline, characters, and places are completely different. The game begins when the protagonist decides to set off on a journey to find their father, only to discover that he was part of a secret society that was dedicated to finding the MAGI, shards from an ancient statue that have magical properties. The hero sets off with a group of friends in search of the MAGI shards and, like Legend I, these characters have the ability to travel to other worlds (and also, they can kill gods).

You have a lot of opportunities to disappoint your mother. Don’t. 

As the second game in the SaGa series and the fifth game in the Final Fantasy franchise, Legend II was re-titled to boost sales overseas. While the game was initially released on Game Boy, a remake of it was released for the Nintendo DS and even included a multiplayer mode.

6. Final Fantasy: Adventure (1991)

Trailer for Adventures of Mana, the Final Fantasy: Adventure remake.

Like the SaGa series, Final Fantasy: Adventure is a spin-off of the original Final Fantasy series, and the first game in the Mana series. The main antagonist in this game, the Dark Lord of Glaive and his cohort Julius, attempt to destroy the Tree of Mana and doom the world. Your job as the protagonist is to stop this from happening.

Ah, look at those fine Game Boy graphics.

Originally released for the Game Boy, the game has undergone several remakes. The most recent remake was in February of 2016 with Adventures of Mana being released on iOS and Android devices. Although the Mana series went on to become its own, successful RPG franchise, we included it on our list because the original Final Fantasy Adventure game included chocobos. 

And also, this cat-monster… thing. Meow.

7. Final Fantasy IV (1991)

Final Fantasy IV Gameplay.

In the fourth game in the Final Fantasy series, a villain named Golbez takes control of powerful crystals and plans to destroy the world. As the dark knight Cecil, players try to prevent the world’s destruction. 

If the Demon Wall looks familiar, it should! It appears in the Great Gubal Library in Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward.

Because Final Fantasy II and III weren’t initially released outside of Japan, Final Fantasy IV was titled Final Fantasy II during its overseas release. Initially only playable on the SNES (Super Famicon in Japan), several remakes were released from 2007-2014 and are playable on the Nintendo DS, iOS, Android, and Windows.

Enemy battle from Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection. 

8. Final Fantasy: Legend III (1991)

Final Fantasy: Legend III Gameplay.

The third and final title in the SaGa series and the eighth installment in the Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy: Legend III combines fantasy and sci-fi elements in this action-adventure RPG. Three heroes are sent back in time to prevent a massive, global flood—courtesy of the Pureland Water Entity—from obliterating the planet. In order to defeat the Entity, players must collect pieces of their time traveling ship, the Talon, from the past, present, and future.


 
The game map included in the original release of Final Fantasy: Legend III

Initially released in Japan for the Game Boy, Legend III was not released overseas until 2 years later in 1993. In 1998, all three Legend titles were re-released in the United States, and, more recently, an enhanced remake of Legend III for the Nintendo DS was released in 2011.

With these graphics, this game could be Final Fantasy or Pokemon or Zelda. 

9. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest (1992)

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest Gameplay.

Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, like the Adventure title that came before it, is a spin-off of the Final Fantasy series. Similar to Final Fantasy I, players begin their journey as the hero Benjamin (or whatever you want to call him), who attempts to regain a set of stolen crystals—crystals that control the world’s elemental powers. The main antagonist, who isn’t revealed until the end of the game, wants to enslave mankind, and it’s up to Benjamin and his trusty, Old Man sidekick to save the day.

No, that’s not Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. 

Released on the Super NES, Mystic Quest is unlike other Final Fantasy titles because it has been vastly simplified. Originally marketed as a game for the entry-level RPGer, Mystic Quest has retained its reputation for being a beginner’s Final Fantasy.

10. Final Fantasy V (1992)

Final Fantasy V Gameplay.

Released only in Japan for the SNES and then released in North America on the PlayStation in 1999, Final Fantasy V follows the protagonist Bartz as he attempts to keep Exdeath, the story’s main antagonist, from resurging. Like Final Fantasy I, the crystals in this game also govern the world’s elements and act as a seal against Exdeath.

Bartz is wondering how this old man stays so trim and wrinkle-free.

Eventually achieving “Greatest Hits” status on the PlayStation in North America, Final Fantasy V initially sold over two million copies in Japan alone.

I’m not sure smoking would help Bartz in his fight against Melusine.

11. Final Fantasy VI (1994)

Final Fantasy VI Gameplay.

Final Fantasy VI features a group of rebels who want to overthrow an imperial dictatorship. Unlike other titles in the Final Fantasy series, this game allows players to play as any one of fourteen permanent characters.

For being played on an Android device, the graphics look pretty good.

Because Final Fantasy II, III, and V were not released outside of Japan until much later, Final Fantasy VI was titled as Final Fantasy III. Playable on the SNES, PlayStation, Gameboy Advance, Android, iOs, and Windows, Final Fantasy VI has been ranked as the number one RPG of all time.

Running the game makes your phone pretty hot, so those flames might actually burn you. 

12. Final Fantasy VII (1997)

Final Fantasy VII Gameplay.

Perhaps the most well-known and best loved video game in the Final Fantasy franchise, this iconic PlayStation game lets players take control of the famous Cloud Strife. As part of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE, Cloud and his group attempt to prevent Shinra, a mega-corporation, from sucking the life out of the planet to use as energy. When Cloud becomes embroiled in an even larger, world-saving quest, he eventually faces off against one of Square’s most iconic super villains, Sephiroth, the One-Winged Angel.

And you get to relive the depressing Aerith/Cloud subplot.

Considered one of the greatest games of all time and with a remake recently announced at E3 2015, Final Fantasy VII has sold more than 11 million copies since 1997.

Updated graphics for the cellular version. Who knows why Cloud has an extra leg coming out of his hip?

13. Final Fantasy Tactics (1997)

Final Fantasy Tactics Gameplay

Another spin-off to the Final Fantasy series is Final Fantasy Tactics, released for the PlayStation in 1997 (Japan) and 1998 (North America). Following the story of Ramza Boulve, a cadet who becomes involved in a military conflict known as the Lion War, players roam the fictional world of Ivalice while trying to keep two noble factions from warring over the throne. Like any Final Fantasy game, there’s a more sinister plot—and a few strange twists and turns—waiting to be discovered.

Also, these characters have some pretty killer hair. 

The first Final Fantasy game to have bitmap sprite characters and a playing field that turns, Tactics has become a cult classic since its initial release. 

Bitmap sprites, although updated, are still featured in Tactics for Android and iOS.

14. Final Fantasy VIII (1999)

Final Fantasy VIII Trailer for PC Release

Final Fantasy VIII, another extremely popular Final Fantasy series, lets players take control of the iconic Squall Leonhart (possibly the same Leon from Final Fantasy II) as he leads a group of SeeD mercenaries. While the initial antagonist is Edea, Squall and his mercenaries eventually discover that they must stop the villain Ultimecia, who wants to compress time.

I bet many of us remember Selphie when she was just a young girl in Kingdom Hearts.

Initially released for the PlayStation, but now playable on Windows, Final Fantasy VIII had sold 8.5 million copies by 2013. Named as the fastest-selling Final Fantasy game, VIII had amassed $50 million only 13 weeks after its initial release.  

Sure, Squall isn’t friendly, but the game does begin with him getting slashed in the face. 

15. Final Fantasy IX (2000)

Final Fantasy IX Gameplay

With ports for iOS, Android, and Windows released in early 2016, Final Fantasy IX follows the story of a thief named Zidane Tribal, who, with others, attempts to overthrow the Queen of Alexandria, Brahne. Like Final Fantasy VIII, the antagonist in IX changes when Zidane and his party realize that a more threatening force named Kuja is in cahoots with Brahne. 

Did anyone else ever wonder why Zidane has a tail?

Influenced by the earlier Final Fantasy titles and given the highest Metacritic score for any Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy IX has sold 5.3 million copies only 3 years after its release. 

Kudos to those who completed the mock sword fight on their first try.

16. Final Fantasy X (2003)

Final Fantasy X Gameplay

As the first Final Fantasy game to feature voice acting, the 10th installment in the main Final Fantasy series is about a young Blitzball star named Titus who finds himself in the mythical world of Spira after his city, Zanarkand, is destroyed by a villain named Sin. In Spira, Titus meets up with the summoner Yuna (amongst others) as she embarks on a pilgrimage to defeat Sin. 

Titus wants to get back to Zanarkand because island life is way too hot.

Unlike other titles in the series, Final Fantasy X is the first game to have a direct sequel, X-2. Both games, playable on PlayStation 2 and Windows, have sold 14 million units since 2013.

The gang’s all here: Kimahri, Auron, Wakka, Lulu, Titus, and Yuna. Also, flowers.

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