|Final Fantasy IV|
Japanese Super Famicom cover art; the North American version displayed a "II" instead of "IV".
TOSE (PS, GBA)
Matrix Software (DS)
|Platform(s)||Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console|
|Genre(s)||Console role-playing game|
|Media||8 megabit cartridge (SNES)
1 CD-ROM (PlayStation)
64 megabit cartridge (GBA)
1024 megabit cartridge (Nintendo DS)
Final Fantasy IV (ファイナルファンタジーIV) is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) in 1991 as a part of the Final Fantasy series. The game was originally released for the Super Famicom in Japan, but has been ported by TOSE to the Sony PlayStation, Bandai's WonderSwan Color, and Nintendo's Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, with increasing changes. The game was re-titled "Final Fantasy II" during its initial release outside of Japan as the original Final Fantasy II and III had not been released outside of Japan at the time. However, later localizations used the original title.
The game's story follows Cecil, a dark knight, as he tries to prevent the sorcerer Golbez from seizing powerful crystals and destroying the world. He is joined on this quest by a frequently changing group of allies, several of whom die or appear to die throughout the game. Final Fantasy IV introduced innovations that became staples of the Final Fantasy series and role-playing games in general. Its "Active Time Battle" system was used in six subsequent Final Fantasy games, and unlike prior games in the series gave each character their own unchangeable character class.
With its character-driven plot, use of new technologies and critically acclaimed score by Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy IV is regarded as a landmark of the series and of the role-playing genre. It is considered to be one of the first role-playing games to feature a complex, involving plot, and is thought to have pioneered the idea of dramatic storytelling in an RPG. The various incarnations of the game have sold more than four million copies worldwide. A sequel to the game, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, was released for Japanese mobile phones in 2008, and worldwide via the Wii Shop Channel on June 1, 2009.
In Final Fantasy IV, the player controls a large cast of characters and completes quests to advance the story. Characters move and interact with people and enemies on a field map, which may represent a variety of settings, such as towers, caves, and forests. Travel between areas occurs on a world map. The player can use towns to replenish strength, buy equipment, and discover clues about their next destination. Conversely, the player fights monsters at random intervals on the world map and in dungeons. In battle, the player has the option to fight, use magic or an item, retreat, change character positions, parry, or pause. Certain characters have special options. The game was the first in the series to allow the player to control up to five characters in your party; previous games had limited the party to four.
Player characters and monsters have hit points (HP), with the characters' HP captioned below the main battle screen. Attacks reduce remaining HP until none are left, at which point the character faints or the monster dies. If all characters are defeated, the game must be restored from a saved game file. The player can restore the characters' hit points by having them sleep in an inn or use items in the party's inventory, such as a potions, as well as healing magic spells. Equipment (such as swords and armor) bought in towns or found in dungeons can be used to increase damage inflicted on monsters or minimize received damage. The player can choose whether characters appear on the front line of a battle or in the back. A character's placement impacts damage received and inflicted depending on the type of attack. The game's story is linear—the player can usually advance the game through only one path, although limited side quests are available.
Final Fantasy IV introduced Square's Active Time Battle (ATB) system designed by Hiroyuki Ito, who was one of the battle designers with Kazuhiko Aoki and Akihiko Matsui, which differed from the turn-based designs of previous RPGs. The ATB system centers on the player inputting orders for the characters in real time during battles. The ATB system was used in many subsequent Square games.
Each character always has certain strengths and weaknesses; for instance, a strong magic user may have low defense, while a physical fighter may have low agility. Like other Final Fantasy games, characters gain new, more powerful abilities with battle experience. Magic is classified as either "White" for healing and support; "Black" for offense; or "Summon" (or "call") for summoning monsters to attack or carry out specialized applications. A fourth type—"Ninjutsu"—consists of support and offensive magic and is available to only one character. Magic users, who account for eight of twelve playable characters, gain magic spells at preprogrammed experience levels or fixed story events. The developers have balanced point gains, items, and rewards to eliminate long sessions of gaining levels. Due to the Super Nintendo's greater processing power, Final Fantasy IV contains graphics improved over past Final Fantasy titles and concurrent Super Nintendo games. The game employs the Super Nintendo's Mode 7 technology to give enhanced magic spell visuals and to make airship travel more dramatic by scaling and tilting the ground for a bird's eye view.
Most of Final Fantasy IV takes place on Earth, also known as the Blue Planet, which consists of a surface world (or Overworld) and an underground world (or Underworld) inhabited by the Dwarves. A red, artificial moon orbits the planet, upon which the Lunarians live. The Lunarians are a race of beings from a world destroyed which became the asteroid belt, and are identified by a moon-shape crest on their foreheads. They created this artificial moon, resting until a time they believe their kind can co-exist with humans. A second, natural moon orbits as well, though it is never visited in the game.
Final Fantasy IV offers twelve playable characters, each with a unique, unchangeable character class. The main character, Cecil Harvey, is a dark knight and the captain of the Red Wings, an elite air force unit of the kingdom of Baron. He serves the king alongside his childhood friend Kain Highwind, the commander of the Dragoons. Rosa Farrell is a white mage/archer and Cecil's girlfriend. The Red Wings' airships were constructed by Cecil's friend, the engineer Cid Pollendina.
During his quest, Cecil is joined by others, including Rydia, a young summoner from the village of Mist, Tellah, a legendary sage of Mysidia, Edward Chris von Muir, the prince of Damcyan and a bard, and Yang Fang Leiden, the head of the monks of Fabul. The other characters are the black mage Palom and white mage Porom, twin apprentices from the magical village of Mysidia, Edward "Edge" Geraldine, the ninja prince of Eblan, and lastly FuSoYa, the guardian of the Lunarians during their long sleep.
Cecil and Golbez are the respective hero and villain representing Final Fantasy IV in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Cecil is voiced by Shizuma Hodoshima in the Japanese version and by Yuri Lowenthal in the English version; Golbez is voiced by Takeshi Kaga in the Japanese version and by Peter Beckman in the English version.
Final Fantasy IV begins as the Red Wings are attacking the city of Mysidia to steal the Water Crystal there. When Cecil, Captain of the Red Wings, afterwards questions the king's motives, he is stripped of his rank and sent with Kain to deliver a package to the Village of Mist. There, Kain and Cecil watch in horror as monsters from inside the package destroy the village. A young girl, Rydia, is the only survivor and summons an earthquake in anger, separating Cecil and Kain. Cecil awakens afterward and takes the wounded Rydia to a nearby town. Baron soldiers come for Rydia, and Cecil defends her.
Soon after, they meet Tellah, who is going to Damcyan Castle to retrieve his eloping daughter. Anna is killed when the Red Wings bomb the castle. Edward, Anna's lover and the prince of Damcyan, explains that the Red Wings' new commander, Golbez, did this to steal the Fire Crystal for Baron as they had stolen the Water Crystal from Mysidia. Tellah leaves the party to seek vengeance on Golbez for Anna's death. Cecil, Edward, and Rydia decide to go to Fabul to protect the Wind Crystal. There the Red Wings attack, and Kain reappears as one of Golbez's servants. He attacks and defeats Cecil; when Rosa intervenes, Golbez kidnaps her as Kain takes the crystal. On the way back to Baron, the party is attacked by Leviathan and thus separated.
Cecil awakes in Mysidia. There, he learns that to defeat Golbez, he must climb Mt. Ordeals and become a Paladin. On the mountain he encounters Tellah, who is searching for the forbidden spell Meteor to defeat Golbez. Cecil becomes a Paladin, while Tellah learns the secret of Meteor. Upon reaching Baron the party confronts the King of Baron, only to discover that he had been replaced by one of Golbez's minions. After defeating him, Cid arrives and takes them to one of his airships.
On the airship, Kain appears and demands Cecil retrieve the final crystal in exchange for Rosa's life. After the crystal is retrieved, Kain leads the party to the Tower of Zot, where Rosa is imprisoned. At the tower's summit, Golbez takes the crystal and attempts to flee. Tellah sacrifices himself to stop Golbez with Meteor, but only weakens him, although it does end Golbez's mind control of Kain. Kain helps Cecil rescue Rosa and Rosa teleports the party out of the collapsing tower to Baron.
In Baron, Kain reveals that Golbez must also obtain four subterranean "Dark Crystals" to achieve his goal of reaching the moon.  The party travels to the underworld and encounter the Dwarves who are currently fighting the Red Wings. They stop Golbez from stealing the Dwarves' crystal, and are rejoined by Rydia in the fight. They flee the underworld in the airship, and Cid sacrifices himself to reseal the passage to underworld. The party travels to the Tower of Babil where the crystals are being kept. When they reach the crystal room, the party falls through a trap door to the underworld. The heroes go to retrieve the eighth crystal before Golbez. Upon retrieving it, Golbez reveals he still has control over Kain, and takes the crystal. After learning of the Lunar Whale, a ship designed to take travelers to and from the moon, the party is rejoined by Cid, and travels to the surface and boards the ship.
On the moon, the party meets the sage Fusoya, who explains that Cecil's father was a Lunarian. Fusoya also explains that a Lunarian named Zemus plans to destroy life on the Blue Planet so that the Lunarians can take it over, using Golbez to summon the Giant of Babil, a colossal robot. They return to Earth and the forces of the two worlds attack the Giant. After the party breaks the robot, Golbez and Kain confront them, only to have Fusoya break Zemus' control over Golbez, in turn releasing Kain. Cecil learns that Golbez is his older brother. Golbez and Fusoya head to the core of the moon to defeat Zemus, and Cecil's party follows. In the moon's core, the party witnesses Golbez and Fusoya kill Zemus, but then quickly fall to his resurrected form, the spirit Zeromus. Cecil and his allies defeat Zeromus. Following the battle, Fusoya and Golbez opt to leave Earth with the moon. In an epilogue we see Kain atop Mt. Ordeals while everyone else reunites to celebrate Cecil and Rosa's wedding and their coronation as Baron's new king and queen.
After completing Final Fantasy III in 1990, Square planned to develop two Final Fantasy games—one for the Nintendo Famicom and the other for the forthcoming Super Famicom, to be known as Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V respectively. Due to financial and scheduling constraints, Square dropped plans for the Famicom game and continued development of the Super Famicom version, retitled Final Fantasy IV. A mock-up screenshot of the cancelled title was produced for a Japanese magazine, but little other information exists about it.
Final Fantasy IV was lead designer Takashi Tokita's first project at Square as a full time employee. Before this, Tokita wanted to make a career as a theater actor, but working on the game made him decide to become a "great creator" of video games. Initially Hiromichi Tanaka, the main designer of Final Fantasy III, was also involved in the development of the game. However, Tanaka wanted to create a seamless battle system that had no separate battle screen and was not menu-driven, and since Final Fantasy IV was not going in that direction, he changed development teams to work on the action RPG Secret of Mana instead. The development team of Final Fantasy IV was composed of 14 people in total, and the game was completed in roughly one year.
Initial ideas were contributed to by the game's director, Hironobu Sakaguchi, including the name of Baron's royal air force, the "Red Wings". As the game's lead designer, Tokita worked on all the game's events and contributed pixel art. He stated that there was a lot of pressure and that the project would not have been completed if he did not work directly on it. According to Tokita, Final Fantasy IV was designed with the best parts of the previous three installments in mind: the job system of Final Fantasy III, the focus on story of Final Fantasy II, and the four elemental bosses acting as "symbols for the game" as in the first installment. Other influences include Dragon Quest II. The themes of Final Fantasy IV were to go "from darkness to light" with Cecil, a focus on family and friendship bonds with the large and diverse cast, and the idea that "brute strength alone isn't power". Tokita feels that Final Fantasy IV is the first game in the series to really pick up on drama, and the first Japanese RPG to feature "such deep characters and plot".
The game's script had to be reduced to one fourth of its original length due to cartridge storage limits, but Tokita made sure only "unnecessary dialogue" was cut rather than actual story elements. As the graphical capacities of the Super Famicom allowed Yoshitaka Amano to make more elaborate character designs than in the previous installments, with the characters' personalities already evident from the images, Tokita felt the reduced script length improved the pacing of the game. Still, he acknowledges that some parts of the story were "unclear" or were not "looked at in depth" until later ports and remakes of the game. One of the ideas not included, due to time and space constraints, was a dungeon near the end of the game where each character would have to progress on their own—this dungeon would only be included in the Game Boy Advance version of the game, as the Lunar Ruins.
The score of Final Fantasy IV was written by longtime series composer Nobuo Uematsu. Uematsu has noted that the process of composing was excruciating, involving trial and error and requiring the sound staff to spend several nights in sleeping bags at Square Co. headquarters. His liner notes were humorously signed as being written at 1:30 AM "in the office, naturally." The score was well received; reviewers have praised the quality of the composition despite the limited medium. The track "Theme of Love" has even been taught to Japanese school children as part of the music curriculum. Uematsu continues to perform certain pieces in his Final Fantasy concert series.
Three albums of music from Final Fantasy IV have been released in Japan. The first album, Final Fantasy IV: Original Sound Version, was released on June 14, 1991 and contains 44 tracks from the game. The second album was Final Fantasy IV: Celtic Moon, released on October 24, 1991, contains a selection of tracks from the game, arranged and performed by Celtic musician Máire Breatnach. Lastly, Final Fantasy IV Piano Collections, an arrangement of tracks for solo piano performed by Toshiyuki Mori, was released on April 21, 1992 and began the Piano Collections trend for each successive Final Fantasy game. Several tracks have appeared on Final Fantasy compilation albums produced by Square, including The Black Mages and Final Fantasy: Pray. Independent but officially licensed releases of Final Fantasy IV music have been orchestrated by such groups as Project Majestic Mix, which focused on arranging video game music. Selections also appear on Japanese remix albums, called dojin music, and on English remixing websites such as OverClocked ReMix.
Because the previous two installments of the Final Fantasy series had not been localized and released in North America at the time, Final Fantasy IV was distributed as Final Fantasy II to maintain naming continuity. Later remakes of the game have been released in North America under the original title. While the game retains the storyline, graphics, and sound of the original, developers significantly reduced the difficulty for beginning gamers. Certain character descriptions and elements of backstory have been cut due to space limitations. For instance, Kain's background and relationship with his father and the motivations for Zemus's plans to colonize Earth are not in the game. Other changes include the removal of overt Judeo-Christian religious references and certain potentially objectionable graphics. The magic spell Holy was renamed White. All references to prayer were eliminated; the Tower of Prayers in Mysidia was renamed the Tower of Wishes, though the White Mage in the tower still calls it "Tower of Prayers," and Rosa's Pray command is absent. Direct references to death were omitted, although several characters clearly die over the course of the game. The translation was changed in accordance with Nintendo of America's censorship policies (at the time before the formation of the ESRB and its rating system).
In addition to its original release, Final Fantasy IV has been remade into many different versions. The first of these was Final Fantasy IV Easytype, a modified version of the game was released for the Super Famicom in Japan. The Easytype was modified to be even easier than its North American counterpart. In this version, the attack powers of weapons have been enhanced, while the protective abilities of certain accessories and armor are amplified.
A PlayStation re-release debuted in Japan on March 21, 1997. Ported by TOSE and published by Square Co., it was designed and directed by Kazuhiko Aoki, supervised by Fumiaki Fukaya, and produced by Akihiro Imai. This version is identical to the original game, although minor tweaks introduced in the Easytype are present. The most notable changes in the PlayStation release are the inclusion of full motion video opening & ending sequences, the ability to move quickly in dungeons and towns by holding the Cancel button, and the option of performing a "memo" save anywhere on the world map. On March 11, 1999, this version was released a second time in Japan as part of the Final Fantasy Collection package, which also included the PlayStation versions of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI. Fifty-thousand limited edition copies of the collection were also released and included a Final Fantasy-themed alarm clock.
This version was later released with Chrono Trigger in North America as part of Final Fantasy Chronicles in 2001 and with Final Fantasy V in Europe and Australia as part of Final Fantasy Anthology in 2002. The English localizations feature a new translation, although certain lines from the previous localization by Kaoru Moriyama - such as "You spoony bard!" - were kept, as they had become fan favorites. A remake for the WonderSwan Color, with few changes from the PlayStation version, was released in Japan on March 28, 2002. Character sprites and backgrounds were graphically enhanced through heightened details and color shading.
Final Fantasy IV was ported again by TOSE for the Game Boy Advance and published as Final Fantasy IV Advance (ファイナルファンタジーIVアドバンス Fainaru Fantajī Fō Adobansu ). It was released in North America by Nintendo of America on December 12, 2005; in Japan by Square Enix on December 15, 2005; in Australia on February 23, 2006; and in Europe on June 2, 2006. In Japan, a special version was available which included a limited edition Game Boy Micro with a themed face plate featuring artwork of Cecil and Kain. The enhanced graphics from the WonderSwan Color port were even further improved, and minor changes were made to the music. The localization team revised the English translation, improving the flow of the story, and restoring plot details absent from the original. The abilities that were removed from the original North American release were re-added, while spells were renamed to follow the naming conventions of the Japanese version, changing "Bolt2" to "Thundara" for example. A new cave at Mt. Ordeals was added featuring powerful armor and stronger weapons for five additional characters, as was the Lunar Ruins, a dungeon accessible only at the end of the game.
The game was remade again for the Nintendo DS for the Final Fantasy series' 20th anniversary, and was released as Final Fantasy IV in Japan on December 20, 2007, in North America on July 22, 2008, and in Europe on September 5, 2008. The remake adds a number of features not present in the original, such as voice acting, minigames, and some changes to the basic gameplay. The game was developed by Matrix Software, the same team responsible for the Final Fantasy III DS remake, and was supervised by members of the original development team: Takashi Tokita served as executive producer and director, Tomoya Asano as producer and Hiroyuki Itō as battle designer. Animator Yoshinori Kanada storyboarded the new cut scenes.
The original version of the game was released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan on August 4, 2009 and in North America on March 8, 2010. The latest version of the game is an enhanced port released in Japan on October 5, 2009, for iMode compatible phones. It retains features introduced in the Wonderswan Color and Gameboy Advance ports, while incorporating enhanced character graphics on par with those found in The After Years, as well as an exclusive "extra dungeon" available after completing the game.
In Japan, 1.44 million copies of Final Fantasy IV's Super Famicom version were sold. By March 31, 2003, the game, including the PlayStation and WonderSwan Color remakes, had shipped 2.16 million copies worldwide, with 1.82 million of those copies being shipped in Japan and 340,000 abroad. As of 2007 just before the release of the Nintendo DS version, nearly 3 million copies of the game had been sold around the world. By May 2009, the DS version of the game had sold 1.1 million copies worldwide.
Major reviewers have called Final Fantasy IV one of the greatest video games of all time, noting that it pioneered many now common console role-playing game features, including "the whole concept of dramatic storytelling in an RPG." Reviewers have praised the game for its graphics, gameplay and score. Reviewers have noted that Final Fantasy IV was one of the first role-playing games to feature a complex, involving plot. Nintendo Power proclaimed it set a "new standard of excellence" for role-playing games. It would later place ninth and twenty-eighth in the "100 Greatest Nintendo Games" lists of issues 100 and 200, respectively. In addition, the magazine GamePro rated it a perfect 5 out of 5 score in its March 1992 issue. In 2005 IGN ranked it as twenty-sixth on its list of greatest games of all time; it is the highest rated Final Fantasy title on the list, but in 2007, the game was ranked #55, behind Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy Tactics. Famitsu released a reader poll in 2006 ranking it as the sixth best game ever made. However, the game's original release was heavily criticized for the poor quality of its English-language translation.
Final Fantasy Collection sold over 400,000 copies in 1999, making it the 31st best selling release of that year in Japan. Weekly Famitsu gave it a 54 out of 60 points, scored by a panel of six reviewers. The Game Boy Advance version, Final Fantasy IV Advance, was met with praise from reviewers, although a few noted the game's graphics do not hold up well to current games, especially when compared to Final Fantasy VI. Reviewers noted that some fans may still nitpick certain errors in the new translation. The Nintendo DS version of the game was praised for its visuals as well, along with the gameplay changes and new cutscenes. It was a nominee for Best RPG on the Nintendo DS in IGN's 2008 video game awards.
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, also known in Japan as Final Fantasy IV the After: Tsuki no Kikan (ファイナルファンタジーIV ジ・アフター -月の帰還-) is the sequel to Final Fantasy IV, set seventeen years after the events detailed in the original. The first two chapters of the game were released in Japan in February 2008 for NTT DoCoMo FOMA 903i series phones, with a release for au WIN BREW series phones slated for Spring 2008. The game revolves around Ceodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa, and many of the original cast members will return, with some being featured in more prominent roles than before, among other new characters. After the mobile release, it was hinted that The After would be released outside of Japan. On March 25, 2009, an announcement was made by Satoru Iwata during Nintendo's GDC 2009 Keynote speech that the U.S. will see the Final Fantasy IV sequel released later this year on the Wii's WiiWare service.. Final Fantasy IV: The After Years first two chapters ("Main Story" which compiles Prologue, Ceodore's and Kain's Tales from original Japanese game and "Rydia's Tale") were released on June 1, 2009 in North America and June 5, 2009 on PAL territories. The additional chapters were released in the following months.