The Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, which includes modernized versions of Final Fantasies 1 through 6, is set to be released for consoles on April 19.
The remasters have been available on PC and mobile for a while but will be imminently arriving on Nintendo Switch and PS4. The new release date has been accompanied by a delightful fresh trailer, treating viewers to game scenes and a gorgeous orchestral arrangement of the Final Fantasy series’ central theme.
The release trailer promises “an experience to bridge the ages” and offers a new generation of gamers a chance to enjoy Square Enix’s classic sprite-based RPGs. It’s an excellent opportunity for anyone even remotely curious to delve into the franchise’s history.
Square Enix has often stumbled when remastering its older games. When Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster launched in 2021, they were notorious for having awful, difficult-to-read text (opens in new tab) due to poor font choice. It’s telling, then, that the first major feature touted in the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster trailer is the new, far more legible pixel font.
Though it may not be to everyone’s tastes, I see the new font as a marked improvement from the old. It does a good job of preserving the classic Final Fantasy aesthetic while maintaining legibility at higher resolutions. That being said, your mileage may vary with any matter of aesthetic taste. Why not watch the trailer below and judge for yourself?
Those first half-dozen Final Fantasy games were instrumental in inventing and popularizing dozens of RPG mechanics that remain the backbone of the genre today. The job system, introduced in Final Fantasy 3, would go on to inform future class-based combat systems.
In addition to obvious successors to this system, like MMORPG Final Fantasy 14 and Bravely Default 2, we also see similarities to the original job system in the likes of Yakuza: Like a Dragon and even Overwatch 2, which allows players to switch their team composition in a manner very similar to Final Fantasy 3.
Final Fantasy 6 also introduced an ambitious form of ensemble storytelling, reminiscent of modern serialized television like The Mandalorian and Better Call Saul. It’s from this ambitious form of storytelling that Final Fantasy 7 was able to craft its own distinctive character arcs, leading to the success of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and the hype around its imminent sequel, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
The first six Final Fantasy games are seminal parts of video game history. While possessed of their flaws and limitations, the Pixel Remaster is a great opportunity to revisit these classics and see the origins of widely beloved game mechanics and storytelling techniques, which are now commonplace in the industry.
The influence of these games could be the subject of dozens of books or academic papers and is far too great to account for here properly. What I do recommend, however, is experiencing these seminal games for yourself and with the release of the revamped Pixel Remaster, there’s never been a better time to do just that.