Final Fantasy is one of the longest-running video game franchises of all-time, with the original game releasing for the Famicom on December 18, 1987, and coming to the NES in May of 1990. With over 30 years of rich history, there’s plenty to celebrate. So, hop on your Chocobo and let’s explore Final Fantasy by the numbers.
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Final Fantasy as a franchise has sold over 144 million units across 54 entries in the series, grossing over $11.7 billion.
Although there are only 15 mainline entries in the series, there are a number of spinoffs and sequels that have expanded the world and lore of this interconnected anthology. Final Fantasy is far and away the best-selling franchise for Square Enix, almost doubling the combined sales of their next best-selling series, Dragon Quest and Tomb Raider.
In fact, of all the RPG series Square Enix have created, Final Fantasy has sold more than all of them – combined. This includes Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts, the Mana series, the SaGa series, both Chrono games, and the Drakengard/Nier series.
This breaks down to an average of 2.67 million units sold per title, a feat many games fail to achieve in their lifetime.
Compared to some of the largest RPG series of all-time, Final Fantasy reigns supreme. Final Fantasy has sold 2.6x as much as the Monster Hunter series, 2.8x the Elder Scrolls series, 3.7x the Fallout series, 4.4x The Witcher series, 5x as much as the Mario RPG series (this includes all Paper Mario games, Mario & Luigi games, and Super Mario RPG, combined), 5.5x the Borderlands series, 5.7x the Kingdom Hearts series, 7.2x the Tales series, and 15.4x the Persona series.
Looking specifically at the Final Fantasy series, the best-selling individual titles are as follows: Final Fantasy VII (PS1) has sold 13.1 million units in its lifetime, followed by Final Fantasy X (PS2) at 10.5 million units, Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) (which just celebrated its 20th anniversary by releasing a remastered edition of the game) has sold a very fitting 8.8 million units, Final Fantasy XV (PS4/Xbox One/PC), the most recent mainline entry in the series has sold over 8.1 million units, and finally Final Fantasy XIII (PS3/Xbox 360/PC) has sold over 7.7 million units.
Final Fantasy VII, the series’ best-selling game, is arguably one of the most popular games of all-time, led by the fan-favorite protagonist, Cloud Strife and his eco-terrorist buds. The long-awaited remake is almost here, scheduled to release on April 10, 2020. But, did you know that this isn’t the first time a remake was considered? An original remake of the game began back in the early 2000s, but was ultimately scrapped due to the scope of the project. The contemporary remake of the game was announced during E3 2015, and has been in the works ever since. It’s no surprise that this game was chosen to be remade, as the total sales of Final Fantasy VII as a sub-series exceed 23 million units, and include a prequel, sequel, and a movie.
One of the core elements of the Final Fantasy series is the idea of summons – powerful god-like creatures that can aid party members in battle. Over the years they have been referred to as Summons, Espers, Eidolons, Guardian Forces, Aeons, Avatars, and Primals. The first summons appeared in Final Fantasy III for NES and included: Chocobo, Shiva, Ramuh, Ifrit, Titan, Odin, Leviathan, and Bahamut.
Many of these have seen repeat appearances throughout the franchise. Of all the summonable creatures, only three have been included in all 12 games featuring summons: Shiva, Ifrit, and Bahamut. Although, Bahamut has technically been in 13 games, as he was a quest-giving NPC in the original Final Fantasy for NES. Odin and Ramuh are tied for second at 10 appearances, followed by Leviathan at 9 appearances, Titan at 8, and Phoenix at 7.
While the average number of summons per game is 13, across all fifteen mainline games there are 195 summons in total. That’s more summons available than there were Pokemon in Red and Blue.
Final Fantasy games, at their core, are about a group of unlikely heroes who are tasked with larger-than-life scenarios that they must overcome. Each entry features a party of different characters, each with their own personality and class, complete with special abilities. Throughout all fifteen of the mainline games, there have been 93 different playable party members. Final Fantasy VI has the most playable characters at 14, which includes four optional party members. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Final Fantasy II, III, and the most recent, XV, are all tied for the lowest playable party member count, at four.
Dungeons & Dragons, one of the original role-playing games, was a heavy inspiration for series’ creator Akitoshi Kawazu. The original Final Fantasy for NES featured many elements taken directly from the popular tabletop series. For instance, Mages originally functioned exactly like magic users in DnD, with them having to rest at an inn to replenish their magic. This was later replaced by the mana-based MP system. The series’ bestiary was also adapted straight from DnD and featured many of the same enemies including: Mindflayers, various Elementals, Tiamat, and even Black Pudding – commonly known as Flans later in the Final Fantasy series.
Another recurring element of the Final Fantasy games are airships, large skybound vessels that are used to transport the heroes all over the world. Have you ever wondered just how big an airship is? The only official measurements for airships come from Final Fantasy IX on the PS1, whose largest airship, the Invincible, is shown to be over 170 meters in length – or 557.74 feet. For comparison, the largest animal on Earth, the Blue Whale, measures 80 feet long, meaning the Invincible is the length of almost seven Blue Whales!
The Prima Vista, another large airship from Final Fantasy IX, measures 90 meters long – or 295 feet – a little more than half of the overall length of the Invincible. We know the mass of the Prima Vista to be 9077 tons, and based on these measurements, we can estimate the weight of the Invincible to be roughly 17,065 tons. In other words, that means the Invincible weighs over 34 million pounds. For comparison, the International Space Station measures 108.5m (or roughly 356 feet) long, and weighs 450 tons, meaning the Invincible is over 1.5 times as long and almost 38 times heavier!
Gil is the fictional currency used throughout the FF series that can be used to purchase items, weapons, armor, and more. Although it’s real-world worth has never been revealed, we can do some basic math to figure out what the US dollar equivalent is. Looking at the most-recent entry in the series, FFXV, which allows you to purchase ingredients for Ignis to cook with, we can get an idea of what the worth of Gil is. Unlike US currency, Gil is not decimal-based. It’s likely based off the Japanese Yen. It’s not necessarily a 1:1 conversion, though. For instance, Garula Sirloin can be purchased for 120G, if we estimated 120G to be equal to 120 Yen, that would equal about $1.11, which is a bit too cheap for sirloin steak. If we estimate that 1G is equal to 10 Yen, then that makes a cut of sirloin equal to 1200 Yen, or about $11.11, much more in-line with steak prices. So, that means 1G is equal to roughly 9 cents USD.
But, Final Fantasy isn’t anything without Cactuars, Chocobos, and Moogles. These recurring characters are a staple to the franchise. Cactuars are notoriously hard to hit enemies, but offer extremely high rewards for taking them down. They’ve made an appearance in 49 Final Fantasy games, as well as 16 non-Final Fantasy games including Mario Hoops 3-on-3, Dragon Quest X, and Monster Hunter World. Almost always, Cactuar’s signature move, “1000 Needles” makes an appearance.
Chocobos, giant yellow bird-like creatures, have dated back to the original Final Fantasy, and have appeared in over 50 subsequent games in the series, including an entire Chocobo subseries that spans 13 unique games. Chocobos are known best for their speed, with players able to ride them at different points. Their top speed is 20 mph, which is just slightly faster than a roadrunner, which tops out at 19.9 mph.
Lastly, Moogles are a mysterious race of characters that have been featured throughout the series beginning in Final Fantasy III. The name “Moogle” is a portmanteau of the Japanese words “mogura” – meaning mole – and “kōmori” – which means bat. These small, furry creatures have been quest givers, party members, summons, and everything in-between. Because of this, they are widely one of the most-recognizable characters in the series, kupo!
Hopefully you learned some interesting facts, although we’ve only just scratched the surface of this storied franchise. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out how Mario outsells every other game franchise. Which series would you like to see us break down next? Let us know in the comments below, and for everything else—stay with IGN.
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Matthew Adler is a freelance journalist who has played Final Fantasy games for over 20 years, and still feels like Final Fantasy VIII doesn’t get the love it deserves. Let him know your favorite game in the series on Twitter @matthewadler.