Closing Fantasy VI is the Most Essential Closing Fantasy
Purple lightning flashes, occluded by foreboding clouds the colour of ink. A somber melody performs, operatic and minor, every notice resounding from the press on an organ key. As if presenting a horror masterpiece — and never an RPG — the title, Closing Fantasy VI, rises in lettering of rust and burned paper, the rating reaching a harrowing and haunting apex, a chilling exclamation of Phantom of the Opera-stage audial gore.
As we’re faraway from the title display screen and brought from what have to be the harbinger of our collective doom, the setting adjustments dramatically. The clouds and lightning vanish. We’re drawn downward, into darkness. The soundtrack is now not operatic and terrifying however indicators the beginning of an journey, notes tinkling and dwindling as our gaze sweeps throughout the crags and lights of a distant metropolis, constructed from a mountainous cleft of stone.
An exposition is delivered to us, a chunk of narration that’s small intimately however sweeping in scope. The Conflict of the Magi. The misplaced energy of magic. Steam energy. Machines. The breadth of a thousand years. As we’re granted the fowl’s perspective of this small, frozen city, we see the bustle of smallfolk of their each day actions, of chimneys of their smoky inform of a fire fireplace, of rooftops encrusted with snow and iron engines burning coal. We minimize, once more, to iron and metal, to the magnificent ziggurat of imperial customary, and again once more to our lonely and deserted plateau of ice and stone.
Mankind, we’re advised, is about to repeat an abhorrent mistake.
A chilly wind howls and three figures attain the plateau, the metallic hooves of their magitek armors shuffling by way of tundra and untouched snowbank. Two of them — navy males, firm males — ruminate over their orders, and over the psychotic killer they’ve been tasked to babysit. An automaton, a girl, a strong cryptid of unnatural present has been assigned to their research of the city. She’s a assassin, a monster, in methods no totally different from the very Esper they’ve come to say.
Because the trio of magitek armors make their remaining method towards the chilly city of Narshe, a somber theme performs over the snowfall. We see names. Yoshinori Kitase. Hiroyuki Itou. Ken Narita. Tetsuya Nomura. Nobuo Uematsu. Yoshitaka Amano.
A Collaboration of Genius
Closing Fantasy VI can be the primary Closing Fantasy recreation not directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi. The primary Closing Fantasy recreation with break up administrators, Kitase for occasion and situation, Ito for the battles. Underneath Sakaguchi’s supervision, this may be Kitase’s first huge foray and cement him as a formidable director.
Closing Fantasy VI eschewed the protagonists of earlier video games to as an alternative try at making everybody — and nobody — the protagonist. Concepts for characters had been break up between designers: Terra and Locke by Sakaguchi; Celes and Gau by Kitase; Shadow and Setzer by Nomura; Edgar and Sabin by Kaori Tanaka. Tetsuya Takahashi, who would go on to create Xenogears, Xenosaga, and Xenoblade, labored on the sport’s graphics and was chargeable for the distinctive design of the magitek armors.
There’s no central important character in FF6 — all 12 of them are equally the “main character” so beginning with Celes [it] simply made sense within the total stream of the story. We had been involved that if we began it with Terra, it will place an excessive amount of relative significance on her story. Additionally, we needed to present Terra some additional backstory, and present what she had been as much as for the reason that world had been destroyed. (Staff interview, V-Jump 1994)
Closing Fantasy VI was a bunch effort, an anthology, each a celebration of what had come earlier than and a whole remodeling of what the title Closing Fantasy would come to imply.
Closing Fantasy, up till Closing Fantasy VI in 1994, had a largely unfastened definition of theme, tone, and make-up. Whereas mainstays had been already obvious — corresponding to reusing merchandise, spell, and creature names — there was little defining the collection other than its fantasy world settings. Up by way of the fifth entry within the collection, Closing Fantasy had retained its excessive fantasy aptitude of dragons, elves, and goblins towards shiny backdrops in locales influenced by western fantasy tropes.
Closing Fantasy VI can be a wrench, a pull to the opposite aspect, a darkish recreation about trade that took the collection’ concepts of revolt and empire into the stratosphere. Whereas sustaining a severe tone all through a lot of the sport, Closing Fantasy VI included sufficient of the levity established in earlier entries that it will not turn into laden by its themes. Whereas Closing Fantasy IV had been tonally darker than its brethren, Closing Fantasy V reintroduced an excessively goofy narrative that was bolstered by its swashbuckling, extradimensional plot.
Closing Fantasy VI would function the brand new anchor of the collection, the point of interest upon which a lot of the subsequent few generations would come to outline themselves.
The Spine of Closing Fantasy
For a lot of and most, the journey of Closing Fantasy started and ended with the seventh installment. Nonetheless a titanic fixture within the gaming consciousness, Closing Fantasy VII established itself with three-dimensional graphics, a Hollywood scope, memorable characters, and brutal themes. Closing Fantasy VII paved the best way for Closing Fantasy’s modernity, nonetheless touted by many as the best RPG of all time. Although earlier English localizations had tousled the numbering conventions of the collection from their Japanese counterparts, Closing Fantasy VII entered the western consciousness with no rationalization of its numbering or placement. It was the sport that it was, fondly performed and fondly remembered.
Everybody’s journey by way of Closing Fantasy is totally different. Because the years put on on, we’re met with resistance to play older entries within the collection, whether or not resulting from graphical resentment or accessibility points. Closing Fantasy VII, totally embraced by Sq. as the head of the collection, has loved many years of official fanservice that has helped reinforce its mainstream public picture. There have been many alternative celebrations and misfires within the collection throughout the years — many of the entries post-Closing Fantasy XII have met equally blended and rave successes.
Closing Fantasy would merely not be what it’s as we speak with out the existence of Closing Fantasy VI, and regardless of the gulf in years between releases, it has been sadly overshadowed by Closing Fantasy VII in too some ways. Nonetheless, if you’re on the lookout for the fusion of fantasy and science-fiction, the exploration of deeper themes, memorable and distinctive characters, and a world memorable on sight, Closing Fantasy VI is the place a lot of what we all know reached its stride. From the standpoint of builders and artisans, Closing Fantasy VI stays a pool of information, an enormous and excellent properly the place the collection can proceed reaching for the longer term by repeatedly entreating with its previous.
Closing Fantasy, as a collection, continues to attract from itself for reference and inspiration. The video games, whereas not having fun with numerical order below any phantasm of connective tissue, construct upon their forebears by crafting new and attention-grabbing worlds that purpose to really feel like Closing Fantasy by counting on tropes, characters, spells, areas, and extra that we will instantly acknowledge. Closing Fantasy XV, the latest entry within the collection, not solely borrowed from Closing Fantasy VI in really feel and scope however in design reference corresponding to its World of Destroy. Closing Fantasy XIV, now extremely profitable, has its bones in Closing Fantasy VI. Every thing from magitek armor to the Garlean Empire’s similarities with Gestahl, to together with the Phantom Practice, Doma, Ultros, and Typhon — even Kefka makes an look.
The attain of Closing Fantasy VI might be felt on this celebration of modernity, within the strongest Closing Fantasy tropes, all distilled from how properly they had been introduced in that recreation from 1994.
Extra Than A Traditional
After greater than 25 years, Closing Fantasy VI is greater than only a “classic.” It’s the explanation that Closing Fantasy has turn into the titan it’s, coherently fusing collectively all the collection’ most defining elements for the primary time in a approach that felt as if it had been pushing not solely the collection however the complete medium, ahead.
Closing Fantasy VI, as an alternative of retaining the job courses established in Closing Fantasy III and V, baked its courses into every of its extremely distinctive characters. Whereas 4 of them had been technically optionally available, from a gaming perspective none of them ought to go neglected. This eclectic perspective allowed the participant not solely to make the most of the characters for his or her differing abilities (Celes might soak up magic, and Sabin might use distinctive button enter assaults) however to craft a component the place their favorites had been established by taste.
The place Closing Fantasy IV additionally had characters who had been hooked up to jobs (Kain was a Dragoon and Cecil a Paladin), Closing Fantasy VI included a secondary customizable component in its Espers. As soon as Espers had been unlocked, equipping them would, over time, create stat adjustments within the geared up character in addition to enable them to completely be taught distinctive magical spells (a part refined in Closing Fantasy VII below the materia system). Even the restrict break as we all know it made its debut on this recreation.
Tetsuya Takahashi: This time, every of the characters has a definite potential, just like the job system, and you may consider their mounted skills as job instructions. I believe the battles even have extra technique than FFV. (1994 Game-On Interview)
Closing Fantasy VI is remembered for its distinguishing options. Past the “Mode A7” airship flight (a characteristic on the SNES that allowed airship journey to appear like it was occurring in a pseudo-third dimension) or its uniquely detailed sprites, Closing Fantasy VI is a recreation remarkably break up into two halves. The primary half of the sport is surprisingly linear, pushed by the fervent tempo of the sport’s story. Within the second half, we’re handled to the distinctive consequence of failure; Kefka has succeeded and the world has fallen to damage. The second half of the sport turns into largely optionally available, with the world torn aside and your get together scattered to its 4 corners.
When you be taught virtually instantly the place Kefka is, it’s as much as the participant to resolve what number of optionally available get together members, spells, Espers, and weapons they want to discover earlier than making the ultimate method. This can be a characteristic that we’d see emulated in later entries; Closing Fantasy XIII is sort of completely break up in half between the story within the first half and optionally available content material within the second. Closing Fantasy XV traverses its open-world with a aptitude of optionally available content material, emptied of story.
This distinctive mix of linear storytelling with freeform journey turns Closing Fantasy VI right into a slightly beloved component by way of its design, the place the shortage of a decided protagonist permits the participant to interact with the characters they discover most interesting, and rebuild the world with those they love.
Past a World of Destroy
Closing Fantasy VI is totally filled with memorable moments. The river sequence. The opera home. The World of Destroy. Memorable moments that will not solely stay within the minds of gamers for years however would turn into pinnacles of momentous design within the medium. Closing Fantasy VI is so fondly remembered as a result of it provides itself wholeheartedly to every of its moments, crafting not a singular fantasy journey however a collection of impactful occasions threaded collectively by a number of well-written characters.
This can be a role-playing recreation, however in its laurels relaxation the beginnings of splendor, the constructing blocks of a herculean future the place storytelling can be paced by impeccable character design. It’s no shock that after Closing Fantasy VI, a lot of the workforce can be absorbed by the wants of Chrono Set off, and its largest gamers would go on to make use of all the things they’d discovered within the creation of Closing Fantasy VI to make Closing Fantasy VII.
In tone, Closing Fantasy VI established itself by not shying away from the most important elements of being human. Whereas elements of the human situation had been represented within the earlier 5 entries, Closing Fantasy VI included topics corresponding to familial abuse, genocide, suicide, industrial warfare, colonialism, perpetual warfare, and violent narcissism in stretches rather more superior than what had been explored earlier than.
A number of the most memorable moments in Closing Fantasy VI are those most tough to swallow, corresponding to Terra caring for the youngsters within the orphanage or Celes making an attempt to kill herself. The second half of Closing Fantasy VI — the World of Destroy — takes lots of the recreation’s themes to satisfying conclusions which are extremely related in as we speak’s tumultuous occasions.
Yoshinori Kitase: “We originally planned for the party to save the world and defeat Kefka just as things were looking grim and the world was about to be destroyed. Then we started talking about reworking that.” (Via The Gamer)
The post-fantasy world gifted to us in Closing Fantasy VI feels just like the blueprint for what Closing Fantasy is now. If in case you have not performed this recreation in a while, I urge you to return and expertise it. Soak up all its charms and woes, and see for your self why it’s really the bones of what makes Closing Fantasy nice, a fusion of science fiction and fantasy components lovingly crafted with an essential story and endearing characters. Closing Fantasy VI not solely established what it meant to be a Closing Fantasy — what it meant to be an RPG — however totally diversified our expectations over what could possibly be doable in this sort of setting, this sort of recreation.
In the identical approach that Studio Ghibli’s Citadel within the Sky ignited imaginations that resulted in limitless artistic works, Closing Fantasy VI continues to encourage each inside the collection, and with out. Whether or not it is due to its memorable monster design, spectacular musical rating, or deeply nostalgic world, Closing Fantasy VI stays the end result of all the things that makes the collection nice.
We proceed to interact in discussions about what makes a Closing Fantasy recreation really feel like, properly, Closing Fantasy. Whether or not the collection has regained its footing or misplaced its approach, there’s little argument that Closing Fantasy VI not solely retains the spirit of the collection however exemplifies it.
Hironobu Sakaguchi: “It might sound like I’m patting myself on the back, but for an older game, Final Fantasy VI is honestly still a very fun game today. From here video games entered a world of 3D, and the scale of video games kept growing, but I felt that this in its own way is still a game that can be enjoyed today.” (Famitsu, via Siliconera)
[Final Fantasy VI is deserving of more than its horrendously ugly Steam and mobile ports — if you are going to play this game, please purchase or emulate the GBA edition.]