Why Final Fantasy Is Popular: 10 Reasons Its Loved By Millions

Why Final Fantasy Is Popular 10 Reasons Its Loved By Millions
Making your own Final Fantasy character is a dream come true for many fans!

Final Fantasy has been around since 1987, and has been a beloved franchise for millions ever since. But many tend to have the question, why do so many people love these games? Here we will break it down into 10 of the best reasons why these games are so popular. 


10. Compelling Stories 

FFVIII is a beautiful story of romance and destiny and self-discovery. 

One of the popular and easily noticeable reasons for Final Fantasy’s longstanding success is the story that goes into each title. While many of the games will share similar themes, (crystals, time travel, clones, forgotten memories, to name a few) each one tells that story in a different and interesting way. 

Titles like VII and XIII are about environmentalism and self-identity. VIII and X give us romance and a hero’s journey to save the world. This only scratches the surface. There’s a story for everyone, each one compelling and different in its own way. 

There’s always a lot of discussion around the story elements to any Final Fantasy game. It feels more like an interactive movie than a video game at times, giving us long, detailed cutscenes and dialogue. This may be hit or miss for some gamers depending on the type of games they prefer, however, it’s perfect for those that like character-driven, narrative-driven games. 



9. Interesting Characters and Designs 

FFXII has some of the most interesting character designs. Check Lulu’s dress!

Belts and zippers! Massive swords! Final Fantasy games, (especially those released around the early 2000’s) have a bit of a reputation for edgy character design. Even far before that, however, the character designs have always been unique and interesting, and each game has its own style and variety.  While there are a number of designers that work for Square Enix, Tetsuya Nomura is one the most notable figures in the company.  

He began working for Square Enix in 1990, and has done character designs for VII, VIII, and X, and has a heavy hand in Kingdom Hearts as a series, (but that’s a story for another day!) The edgy designs are popular, especially for those who grew up shopping at Hot Topic. From Squall's many buckles to the all-black skull motifs Noctis and his friends wear in  XV. 

Interesting and attractive character designs play a large role in a game’s popularity. With fandom culture stronger than ever thanks to social media making it easier to share fan works, an iconic character design will carry on and help prolong the popularity for a title. 



8. There’s a Game for Everyone. 


Gorgeous official artwork for FFVI.

Final Fantasy can feel like a daunting franchise to get into for someone who’s new to the series. There’s a large number of titles, not including any of the other “side games” and non-numbered games. But fear not! Each number is a stand alone story, and any sequel or prequel games are labeled as such. 

Each game has its own set of mechanics, maps, abilities, items and characters. Some are more complex than others. Anyone new to the series may benefit from playing a game like XV first, as this game takes a more relaxed approach to the Final Fantasy formula. If you want a classical turn based style game then any of the newly released pixel remastered games would be perfect! If you want something that’s challenging, or offers vastly different mechanics than the others then give VIII a try. If you’re an online gamer then XIV is a great MMORPG worth playing. Why, there’s even mobile games if you prefer! 

Everyone’s playstyle is different, and because of this everyone’s favorite Final Fantasy game will reflect that! So think about what you want out of the game and I’m sure you’ll find the right title for you! 


7. Familiar Mechanics


FFVI gives us that traditional turn-based combat.

 If you’ve played more than one or two Final Fantasy games then you may have noticed that there are a lot of common gameplay mechanics that show up in each game.  Many games will take these and find ways to tweak them and make it different from before, and some games will omit them completely. However, you often know what you’re getting yourself into when you load up a Final Fantasy title. 

The most common gameplay elements we see are the Summons, materia, combat mechanics (even in real time action games like VII Remake and XV), and ability boards. The stats are the same throughout as well. Vitality will always reduce the physical damage you take, Spirit will raise your magic capabilities, and so on. Materia is found in most games, with some exceptions. (The glass bottles full of magic in XV are pretty fun to hurl at your enemies to be honest!) 

There are quite a lot of titles under the Final Fantasy umbrella, but knowing that each one has overlapping gameplay makes playing each game feel less daunting. This way you can hop into the next game without having to stress over a new learning curve every time. 


6. Visuals and Worldbuilding


The boys in FFXV take a pitstop for the night admiring the sweeping landscape. 

Similar to the exceptional character design, the visuals and worldbuilding that go into each game are outstanding in their own right. From sweeping open world landscapes, to the dark underground dungeons, each location has its own vibe. When you pair that with stellar soundtracks by amazing composers like Yoko Shimomura and Nobuo Uematsu, the game becomes immersive and makes you feel like you’re there. 

If you like lore intensive games, Final Fantasy brings that to the table with ease. Each game has its own worldbuilding unique to its title, while again bringing back familiar themes and names. If no one has us, we know that Biggs, Wedge and Cid will always be there! There is a pantheon of summons that appear in game, however their roles can vary. In some games they’re nothing more than a strong materia summon, and in some like XV they play a much larger, plot intensive role.  

We’re not just talking about the “anime style” that Final Fantasy is known for. While that is a draw for many, it’s so much more than that. VII gives us Midgar, an industrial city running on Mako, and XII gives us airships and steampunk aesthetics. Each world is gorgeous, and there’s so much in-game information that can reveal pieces of the world around you when you know where to look. 


5. Interesting Spin-Off Games and Media


Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon is a fun and lighthearted story that lets YOU play a Chocobo!

The love for Final Fantasy can go far beyond the mainline games with a number. Square Enix loves to provide supplementary media to go with each game. Outside of that there are games inspired by the series, but doesn’t necessarily go with a specific title. 

Chocobo mystery dungeon is a great example of this. While it doesn’t correlate to a specific game, there are still common themes! Chocobo’s are only seen in the Final Fantasy games, and in one game you even work with a blonde guy named Cid! It’s a stand-alone story with a lot of charm and is a fun way to experience the world of Final Fantasy.  

Even Kingdom Hearts could be considered a Final Fantasy spin-off when you really look at it. It features cameos from VII, including Aerith, Yuffie, and Cloud, and Squall makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts 2, plus many others.  Final Fantasy Tactics and the Theathrythm games are also popular spin-offs that extend the Final Fantasy experience. With such a wide variety of games to play, it's easy to see how Final Fantasy can hold on to its popularity. 


4. Iconic Soundtracks

As soon as his theme sets in, you know Sephiroth is not far behind.

All you need to hear is that pumping cello and piercing violins to know that Sephiroth is near! One Winged Angel is one of the most recognized video game tracks, especially within the Final Fantasy community.

It’s easy for these games to truly tug on the heartstrings, but it would be nothing without the music. Notable moments are often marked by a moving motif, one you hear at the beginning, and may pay no mind to. It’s not until things really start to get serious, and you hear that theme again that the gravity of your situation really hits. 

An amazing soundtrack truly elevates the gaming experience. It provides tone and emotion and can often give insight to what the characters are going through, even when no one is speaking. This makes for a memorable experience. 


3. Well-Known Studio 

The Square Enix logo is iconic and a stamp of quality.

Square Enix, formerly Square Soft, is a well-known development studio and is beloved by long-time players. They have many other popular franchises under their name like Bravely Default, NeiR: Automata, and Kingdom Hearts to name a few. 

It’s not uncommon for gamers to have their favorite game developer studios. Similar to how we return to the same restaurant when we like their food, when you like someone's games you’ll want to come back and play more. 

Final Fantasy’s popularity does come in large part with Square Enix’s popularity as a company. While some argue that not all games are made equal, and some titles are stronger than others, the track record Square has will always have gamers coming back for the next one. 


2. Long Standing Nostalgia 


FFVII is a childhood staple for many RPG gamers.

If you’re sick of hearing fans of the series gush about VII well, that’s just too bad! Many of the notable and recognizable titles came out during many of our childhoods. Because of this, many will look back on the games they enjoyed as a child with fondness and reverence. 

Nostalgia is a big topic right now, and many of us return to the things we enjoyed when we were younger as we hit adulthood. There’s something really special about going back to a game you played almost 20 years ago.  

Whenever someone is looking for an RPG to play, if they haven’t already been recommended to play Final Fantasy then they will be soon. There’s always going to be the JRPG fan that will tell you to play Final Fantasy if you haven’t yet. (It’s me, I’m the JRPG fan telling you to go play Final Fantasy!) 


1. An Overall Fun and Wild Adventure

Adventure with your friends in FFXIV, a fun and immersive MMORPG.

At the end of the day, the games are fun! If none of the reasons listed so far is enough to convince you of why people love these games, then here’s this. Each world is different and gives us something new to explore. 

You get road-tripping boys in all black, eco-activism and self-discovery, military youth programs, and so much more. Each landscape is different, and each story is unique. Whether or not you choose to take it too seriously is up to you.  

A lot of gamers are here because they’re looking for some form of escapism. After moving through the trudge of day-to-day life, epic adventures and interesting stories are the perfect getaways. Final Fantasy games certainly deliver on this front, so it’s no surprise that the Final Fantasy franchise is as prolific and popular among so many people. 


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From book nerd to gamer and a bard at heart, I'm always chasing the next great heroic epic!
Gamer Since: 2002
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Viii (Switch)
Top 3 Favorite Games:Alice: Madness Returns, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Fallout 4

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