The Many Releases of Final Fantasy

In recent years, portable gaming has been greatly expanded. In addition to Nintendo’s & Sony’s handheld consoles, mobile games have flooded the smartphone & tablet landscape.

It can be argued that Apple iOS & Android could replace dedicated gaming devices or vise versa. In any case, major third-party developers are bringing hardcore experiences to mobile devices. Square-Enix is one of these companies that is supporting these platforms.

In the past three years, the famous JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) maker has brought well-known franchises such as Chrono Trigger to iOS and Android. It has also release new software such as Chaos Rings. Notably, Final Fantasy games are available on both operating systems.

FF4 is out for iOS but should be available on Google Play this Spring. This version of the game is from the DS remake.

Currently, the first four installments are on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad alongside Final Fantasy Tactics and Dimensions. Android has only FF I-III and Dimensions (FF IV and Tactics have yet to be released). Final Fantasy V (based on the GameBoy Advance version) is coming soon to smart devices with some graphical tweaks.

This flood of Final Fantasy remakes has some fans criticizing “Squeenix” about their strategy. The most common complaint is that there are too many re-releases, especially Final Fantasy IV. After all, the game is playable on Super Nintendo, PlayStation 1 & 3, PlayStation Portable & Vita, Nintendo DS & Wii, GameBoy Advance, iOS, and coming to Android this Spring.

Rather than seeing dozens of classic 2D-era games, some fans want more recent titles remade such as the ever-popular Final Fantasy VII.

Would it be awesome to play this gem on your smartphone or tablet? Unless you have an PS1 emulator, FF7 fans will have to wait for this classic to be released on iOS and Android. Until then, you can play it legally on PSN or Steam.

Although there is some merit to S-E’s many releases, I believe what they are is doing is not a totally bad idea. By expanding their library into the App Store & Google Play, more people will experience the series. This is especially great for those who either missed the series or too young to get to enjoy it.

My only criticism against Square-Enix is its app pricing. On both Google Play and the App Store, the cost of each game far exceeds any program. Compared to other developers, S-E charges a hefty price for newer content. As opposed to the budget $1 apps, most games are roughly $15-$20.

Check out Final Fantasy III for example. As of this writing, the game is $16 on Android and $9 on iOS (although it released at the cost of $16). Furthermore pricing isn’t consistent between platforms, especially comparing with PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s eShop where games are significantly cheaper (by about $5-$10).

However, I must admit the premium price tag holds value in S-E’s offerings. It is still much cheaper than console titles (which costs $60). In comparison to handhelds, they retail normally $40.

After all, Final Fantasy III (remade originally for the DS) costed $39.99 when it released in 2006. Once ported over to smartphones and tablets, it was about half the original price.

Plus, Square-Enix usually offers discounts and sales on their games on the digital marketplace. Final Fantasy I and II have been sold as low as a dollar on some occasions. Final Fantasy III was marked down by half  a year after its release on the App Store. This is just food for thought.

All this aside, I am excited for the Final Fantasy IV & V re-release on Android this year. The only thing I wish for is being able to use Bluetooth joypads. The virtual touchscreen controls are good, but using a controller with physical buttons would be swell.

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