Final Fantasy VIII


Final Fantasy VIII

Infobox VG
title = Final Fantasy VIII


developer = Square
publisher = vgrelease|JP=Square|NA=Square Electronic Arts|PAL=SCE Europe (PlayStation)vgrelease|EU=Eidos Interactive (Windows)
designer = Yoshinori Kitase
writer = Kazushige Nojima
artist = Tetsuya Nomura
Yusuke Naora
composer = Nobuo Uematsu
released = PlayStation
vgrelease|JP=February 11, 1999|NA=September 9, 1999|PAL=October 27, 1999

Windows
vgrelease|NA=January 25, 2000|EU=February 18, 2000vgrelease|JP=March 23, 2000
series = "Final Fantasy"
genre = Console role-playing game
modes = Single-player
ratings = vgratings|CERO=B (12+)|ELSPA=11+|ESRB=T (Teen)|OFLCA=M15+|USK=12+
platforms = PlayStation, Microsoft Windows
media = PlayStation
4 CD-ROMs
Windows
5 CD-ROMs
requirements = Windows
266 MHz Intel Pentium II CPU, 64 MB RAM, video card with 4 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM drive, 300MB free hard disk space , DirectX 6.1, Windows 95 operating system or above
input = Controller, keyboard, mouse
nihongo|"Final Fantasy VIII"|ファイナルファンタジーVIII|Fainaru Fantajī Eito is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for Sony's PlayStation in 1999 as part of the "Final Fantasy" series. It was released for Microsoft's Windows-based personal computers in 2000. The game's story focuses on a group of young mercenaries who are drawn into an international conflict, and seek to protect the world from a sorceress manipulating the war for her own purposes.

"Final Fantasy VIII" is a departure from many traditional standards of the "Final Fantasy" series. It is the first game in the series to consistently use realistically proportioned characters, the first to feature a vocal piece as its theme music, and one of the only titles to deviate from the series' traditional means of increasing a character's power. In addition, it does not have a magic point-based system for spellcasting.

The game was positively received by critics and was commercially successful. It was voted the 22nd best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine "Famitsu". Thirteen weeks after its release, "Final Fantasy VIII" had earned more than US$50 million in sales, making it the fastest selling "Final Fantasy" title.

Gameplay

Like "Final Fantasy VII", "Final Fantasy VIII" consists of three main modes of play: the world map, the field map, and the battle screen. The world map is a 3D display in which the player may navigate freely across a small-scale rendering of the game world. Characters travel across the world map in a variety of ways, including by foot, car, Chocobo, train, and airship. The field map consists of controllable 3D characters overlaid on one or more 2D pre-rendered backgrounds, which represent environmental locations such as towns or forests. The battle screen is a 3D model of a location such as a street or room, where turn-based fights between playable characters and CPU-controlled enemies take place. The interface is menu-driven, as in previous titles, but with the typical weapon and armor systems removed and new features present, such as the Junction system. Also featured is a collectible card-based minigame called "Triple Triad".cite book | year=1999 | editor=Square Electronic Arts | title=Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual | pages=20, 24, 36 | publisher=Square Electronic Arts | id=SLUS-00892GH]

Junction system

This new system designed by battle designer Hiroyuki Ito revolves around "summonable" monsters, called "Guardian Forces" ("GF"). A character must have a GF assigned ("junctioned") to them before he or she can do anything in battle besides "Attack" with their weapon, such as "Magic", "GF" (summoning the GF to perform an action), and "Item". While previous "Final Fantasy" titles provided each character with a limited pool of Magic Points (MP) that were consumed by each spell, in "Final Fantasy VIII", spells are obtained ("drawn") from enemies, Draw Points distributed throughout the game's environments, and through refining items and cards. Spells are then stocked on characters as quantified inventory (up to 100 per spell and limited to 32 distinct spells per character) and are consumed one by one when used. Guardian Forces allow characters to "junction" these spells to their own statistics—such as Strength, Vitality, Evade, and Luck—for various bonuses.cite book | year=1999 | editor=Square Electronic Arts | title=Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual | pages=28, 33–35 | publisher=Square Electronic Arts | id=SLUS-00892GH]

The flexibility of this system makes it possible to build a powerful party early in the game. This alternative use of such summoned creatures was a significant departure for the "Final Fantasy" series, as they were previously used almost exclusively to deliver a single devastating attack during battles. Furthermore, junction replaced the equipment system of previous installments with a permanent, specialized weapon for each character. Each major character's weapon can be upgraded, increasing its power and changing its appearance. Armour and accessories are not included in the game.cite book | author=Cassady, David | year=1999 | title=Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide | pages=4 | publisher=BradyGAMES Publishing | id=ISBN 1-56686-903-X]

Limit Breaks

As in "Final Fantasy VII", each character has unique special attacks called "Limit Breaks" ("Special Arts" in the original Japanese version). Whereas Limit Breaks in "Final Fantasy VII" are triggered by filling the Limit meter through taking damage, in "Final Fantasy VIII", they are randomly available every turn when the character's health (Hit Points, or HP) is below 32% of its current maximum, and influenced also by the negative status effects the character is afflicted with. This system is similar to the Desperation Attacks from "Final Fantasy VI", which are triggered on rare occasions when a character is near death. The magic spell "Aura" increases the probability of Limit Breaks appearing, regardless of a character's remaining Hit Points.cite book | year=1999 | editor=Studio BentStuff | title=Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania | pages=64 | publisher=DigiCube/Square Enix | language=Japanese | id=ISBN 4-925075-49-7]

Another change is that most of the main characters' special techniques feature interactive elements, ranging from a slot machine design to fighting game-style button inputs. These elements, which are dependent on the character and the nature of the Limit Break, can be used to increase the potency of the attack.cite book | author=Cassady, David | year=1999 | title=Final Fantasy VIII Official Strategy Guide | pages=6, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18–19 | publisher=BradyGAMES Publishing | id=ISBN 1-56686-903-X]

Experience levels

Experience points are awarded following successful battles against randomly encountered enemies. When a character accumulates a certain amount of experience points, he or she gains a "level", which increases that character's base statistics. Unlike previous "Final Fantasy" games, however, randomly encountered enemies have no set level—their levels increase alongside those of the playable characters. Higher-level enemies are capable of inflicting and withstanding significantly more damage, may have additional special attacks, and carry additional magic spells. Statistic increases from "leveling up" are minuscule compared with those that are available through the Junction system.

In addition to gaining levels, Guardian Forces earn Ability Points (AP) after battles, which are automatically allocated to special abilities that Guardian Forces can learn. When a Guardian Force has learned an ability, that ability becomes available for any character—and, in some cases, the entire character party—to use, such as field abilities. Through learned abilities, characters can receive attack enhancements in battle, refine magic spells from items, receive stat bonuses upon "level up", have remote access to shops, and use additional battle commands.cite book | year=1999 | editor=Square Electronic Arts | title=Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual | pages=28–35 | publisher=Square Electronic Arts | id=SLUS-00892GH]

Plot

etting

Most of "Final Fantasy VIII" is set on an unnamed fantasy world with one moon. The planet comprises five major landmasses, with Esthar, the largest, covering most of the eastern portion of the map.cite web|url=http://na.square-enix.com/games/ff8/world.html|title=Final Fantasy VIII - World|publisher=Square Enix|accessdate=2007-03-24] Galbadia, the second largest continent, lies to the west, and contains many of the game's locations. The northernmost landmass is Trabia, an Arctic region. Positioned roughly in the middle of the world map lies Balamb, the smallest continent, the island on which the game begins. The remaining two landmasses are smaller and mostly desolate, riddled with rough, rocky terrain caused by the impact of a "Lunar Cry", an event where monsters from the moon fall to the planet.Centra Civilization
A civilization in Centra 4000 years ago. These Centra people emigrated to other continents and founded the Dollet Empire to the west and Esthar to the east. Centra was destroyed 80 years ago by the Lunar Cry. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co. |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] cite book | year=1999 | editor=Studio BentStuff | title=Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania | pages=40 | publisher=DigiCube/Square Enix | language=Japanese | id=ISBN 4-925075-49-7] The southernmost landmass includes an archipelago of broken sections of land that have drifted apart. Islands and marine structures flesh out the rest of the game world, and a handful of off-world locations round out the game's playable areas.

As part of a theme desired by director Yoshinori Kitase to give the game a foreign atmosphere, various designs were given to its locations using the style of internationally familiar places, while also maintaining a fantasy atmosphere. Inspiration ranged from ancient Egyptian and Greek architecture, to the city of Paris, France, to an idealized futuristic European society.cite web | author=Khosla, Sheila | title=Tetsuya Nomura's 20s | year=2003 | url=http://flaregamer.com/b2article.php?p=81&more=1 | publisher=FLAREgamer | accessdate=2006-07-15] Verify credibility|date=August 2008

Characters

The six main playable characters in "Final Fantasy VIII" are Squall Leonhart, a loner who keeps his focus on his duty to avoid vulnerability; Rinoa Heartilly, an outspoken and passionate young woman who follows her heart in all situations; Quistis Trepe, an instructor with a serious, patient attitude; Zell Dincht, a martial artist with a passion for martial arts and hot dogs; Selphie Tilmitt, a cheerful girl who loves trains and pilots the spacecraft Ragnarok; and Irvine Kinneas, a marksman and consummate ladies' man. Temporarily playable characters include Laguna Loire, Kiros Seagill and Ward Zabac, who appear in "flashback" sequences, and antagonists Seifer Almasy and Edea Kramer.

During the game's pre-production, character designer Tetsuya Nomura suggested the game be given a "school days" feel. Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima already had a story in mind in which the main characters were the same age; their ideas meshed, taking form as the "Garden" military academies. Nojima planned that the two playable parties featured in the game (Squall's present day group and Laguna Loire's group from the past) would be highly contrasted with one another. This idea was conveyed through the age and experience of Laguna's group, versus the youth and naïveté of Squall's group.Verify credibility|date=August 2008

To maintain the game's theme of a foreign atmosphere, the characters were designed to have predominantly European appearances. The first "Final Fantasy VIII" character designed was Squall. Desiring to add a unique angle to Squall's appearance and emphasize his role as the central character, Nomura gave him a scar across his brow and the bridge of his nose. As there was not yet a detailed history conceived for the character, Nomura left the explanation for Squall's scar to Nojima. Squall was given a gunblade, a fictional revolver–sword hybrid that functions primarily as a sword, with an added damaging vibration feature activated by use of its gun mechanism,cite book | year=1999 | editor=Studio BentStuff | title=Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania | pages=43 | publisher=DigiCube/SquareEnix | language=Japanese | id=ISBN 4-925075-49-7] similar to a vibroblade. [This weapon was recently featured in an "Electronic Gaming Monthly" article that discusses its practicality and historical precedents. See Evan Samoon, "Gun Show: A real military expert takes aim at videogame weaponry to reveal the good, the bad, and the just plain silly," "Electronic Gaming Monthly" 230 (July 2008): 49.] His character design was complemented by a fur ruff along the collar of his jacket, incorporated by Nomura as a challenge for the game's full motion video designers.Verify credibility|date=August 2008

With "Final Fantasy VIII" came the inclusion of some designs Nomura had previously drawn, but had not yet used in a "Final Fantasy" game. These were the designs of Edea, Fujin and Raijin. The latter two had originally been designed for use in "Final Fantasy VII", but with the inclusion of the Turks characters in that game, it was felt that Fujin and Raijin were unnecessary. Nomura had designed Edea before the development of "Final Fantasy VII", based on the style of Yoshitaka Amano.Verify credibility|date=August 2008

tory

"Final Fantasy VIII" begins as Squall duels with Seifer in a training session outside the Balamb Garden military academy. The two cadets scar one another's faces and are returned to Garden for treatment. [Dr. Kadowaki: Why don't you take it easy in training? Next time you might not be so lucky. / Squall: Tell that to Seifer. / Dr. Kadowaki: Quistis? Come get your student. Yes, yes... His injury's not serious. It'll probably leave a scar. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] Meanwhile, the Galbadian regime invades the Dollet Dukedom, forcing Dollet to hire assistance from the Balamb Garden branch of "SeeD", Garden's elite mercenary force. SeeD uses the mission as a final examination for its cadets; [Xu: Our client for this mission is the Dollet Dukedom Parliament. A request for SeeD was made 18 hours ago. Dollet has been under attack by the G-Army since about 72 hours ago. 49 hours into the battle, Dollet abandoned their position in the inner city. Currently, they have retreated into the nearby mountains and are reorganizing their troops. That's the current status. Now onto the mission objective. According to our reports, the G-Army is mopping up the Dollet troops in the mountain region. We're to make a landing at Lapin Beach. We're to eliminate the remaining G-Army within the city and liberate it A.S.A.P. Afterwards, SeeD members will intercept any G-Army forces trying to make their way into the city from the mountain region. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] with the help of his instructor, Quistis, Squall passes its prerequisite and is grouped with Seifer and Zell. Seifer disobeys orders and abandons his team halfway through the mission, forcing Selphie to accompany Squall and Zell for the duration. After the mission, SeeD halts the Galbadian advance; Squall, Zell, and Selphie graduate to SeeD status; Seifer is disciplined for his disobedience.Headmaster Cid: "Seifer. You will be disciplined for your irresponsible behavior. You must follow orders exactly during combat. But I'm not entirely without sympathy for you. I don't want you all to become machines. I want you all to be able to think and act for yourselves. I am..." ("Final Fantasy VIII")]

During the graduation party, Squall meets Rinoa, whose personality is apparently the opposite of his own.cite book | year=1999 | editor=Square Electronic Arts | title=Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual | pages=6–9 | publisher=Square Electronic Arts | id=SLUS-00892GH] When assigned with Zell and Selphie to help her Galbadian resistance, Squall learns that a sorceress named Edea is behind Galbadia's hostilities. Under orders from the Balamb and Galbadia Gardens, Squall and his comrades—now joined by Rinoa, Quistis, and Irvine—attempt to assassinate Edea. [Squall: "Our next mission... This is no ordinary mission. It's a direct order from both Balamb and Galbadia Garden. We're to... ...assassinate the sorceress. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] Despite a nearly flawless execution of the plan, the party is detained. Squall's party also learns that Seifer has left Garden to become Edea's "knight", her second-in-command. [Squall: So, you've become the sorceress' lap dog? / Seifer: I preferred to be called her knight. This has always been my dream. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ]

After the team escapes, Galbadian missiles deploy towards Trabia Garden. Fearing that Balamb Garden is the next target of Edea's revenge, the team splits into two units: Squall's group returns to Garden to warn of the attack, but must first stop an internal conflict incited by NORG,Raijin: "I dunno. At first, they were sayin' somethin' 'bout roundin' up the SeeDs, ya know!? Now, everyone's either sidin' with the Garden Master or the headmaster and fightin' everywhere, ya know!?" ("Final Fantasy VIII")] SeeD's financial supporter; while Selphie's team travels to the Galbadian Missile Base in attempt to stop the missile launch, but fails. Squall inadvertently turns Balamb Garden into a mobile fortress and manages to evade the missiles; however, he loses control, and the Garden collides with the docks at Fisherman's Horizon. [Squall: "I'm terribly sorry. It was inevitable... We lost control of the Garden." ("Final Fantasy VIII")] While local technicians repair the Garden, Galbadians invade in search of a girl named "Ellone", [Squall: "Oh, and one more thing... It appeared that the Galbadians were searching for Ellone. That seemed to be their main objective in FH. ("Final Fantasy VIII")] who had been staying at Balamb Garden until recently. Ellone eventually escapes to Esthar, the world's technological superpower.

During Squall's meeting with Ellone, he learns that she had been "sending" him and his party members into flashbacks set seventeen years in the past in order to change it. [Ellone: "People say you can't change the past. But even still, if there's a possibility, it's worth a try, right?" cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co. |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] The scenes center on Laguna and his two friends, Kiros and Ward. During the flashbacks, Laguna changes from Galbadian soldier to the defender of a country village to leader of a resistance movement against Sorceress Adel, and later goes on to become the president of Esthar.Laguna: "A fierce debate ensued about who should govern this country after Adel was gone. I wasn't paying close attention while they made me up to be this hero of the revolution, and I ended up being president." ("Final Fantasy VIII")]

Meanwhile, Squall confronts his personal anxieties fueled by ongoing developments, [Squall: (How long has it been since we started moving?) (There's not much more to do now. We've taken care of all the monsters in the Garden.) (Oh yeah... I still have to report to the headmaster. There's a lot of things I want to ask about, too.) (He's probably still busy, trying to reestablish order in the Garden.) (...We're in the middle of nowhere.) (Man, I'm bored...) (I hate having nothing to do. It gets me thinking too much.) (I hope Selphie and the others are all right. Was it wrong for me to let them go? I wonder how Quistis and Irvine felt about it.) (That sorceress... Who is she? Why fire missiles at the Garden? Is Seifer ever coming back? I'll get even with him next time.) cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] such as Headmaster Cid appointing him as SeeD's new leader, [Cid: This journey will involve many battles. A well qualified leader is needed for this. Therefore, I am appointing Squall as your new leader. From now on, Squall will be the leader. He will decide our destination and battle plan. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] and his increasing attraction to Rinoa. While investigating Trabia Garden's ruins, Squall and his comrades learn that—with the exception of Rinoa—they were raised with Seifer and Ellone in an orphanage run by Edea; they later developed amnesia due to their use of Guardian Forces. [Squall: "...Why is it that we forgot? We grew up together as kids... How's that possible...?" / Irvine: "How about this? ...The price we pay for using the GF. The GF provides us its power. But the GF makes its own place inside our brain..." / Quistis: "So you're saying that the area is where our memories are stored? No...! That's just a rumor the GF critics are spreading." / Zell: "So if we keep relying on the GF, we won't be able to remember a lot of things?" ("Final Fantasy VIII")] It is also revealed that Cid and Edea had established Garden and SeeD primarily to defeat corrupt sorceresses. [Cid: She had been a sorceress since childhood. I married her, knowing that. We were happy. We worked together, the two of us. We were very happy. One day, Edea began talking about building the Garden and training SeeD. I became obsessed with that plan. But I was very concerned with SeeD's goal, that one day SeeD might fight Edea... (cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] After these revelations, the forces of Balamb Garden and the Galbadian army, led by Squall and Seifer respectively, engage in battle above the orphanage. After Balamb defeats Galbadia, the player learns that Edea is merely an unwilling tool for "Ultimecia", [Edea: ...I have been possessed all this time. I was at the mercy of Sorceress Ultimecia. Ultimecia is a sorceress from the future. A sorceress many generations ahead of our time. Ultimecia's objective is to find Ellone. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] a powerful sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time into a single moment; it is for this reason she has sought Ellone. [Rinoa: There was a sorceress inside me. Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future. She's trying to achieve time compression. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co. |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] Edea loses a decisive battle against the SeeD, forcing Ultimecia to transfer her powers to Rinoa; Edea survives, but Rinoa enters a coma. Squall becomes obsessed with waking her and goes to Esthar to find Ellone, as he believes that she can help save Rinoa. [Squall: "Let's go, Rinoa. Let's go meet Ellone. Ellone will bring us together." cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co. |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ]

While Rinoa is being treated on Esthar's space station, Ultimecia uses her to free Sorceress Adel from her orbital prison. Ultimecia then orders Seifer to activate the Lunatic Pandora facility, inciting a rain of creatures from the moon that sends Adel's containment device to the planet. [Controller: "The lunar world is a world of monsters. Didn't you learn that in school? As you can see, the monsters are gathering at one point. History's starting to repeat itself. The Lunar Cry is starting." ("Final Fantasy VIII")] [Rinoa: But Edea's still... I can't guarantee anything, either, if Ultimecia possesses me again... You saw me. She controlled me in outer space and made me break Adel's seal. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] Having selected Adel as her next host, Ultimecia abandons Rinoa in outer space. Squall rescues her, and they return to the planet on a derelict starship. Upon their landing, delegates from Esthar isolate Rinoa for fear of her sorceress abilities, [Descendant 1: Sorceress Rinoa. Hyne's descendant. / Descendant 2: Come with us. We must seal your power for the sake of the world. cite video game|title=Final Fantasy VIII |developer=Square Co |publisher=Square EA |date=1999-09-09 |platform=PlayStation ] forcing Squall to rescue her. President Laguna apologizes for the incident and announces Dr. Odine's plan to let Ultimecia possess Rinoa, have Ellone send Rinoa (and thus Ultimecia as well) to the past and then retrieve only Rinoa back to the present, enabling Ultimecia to achieve Time Compression to occur, as it would allow Squall's group to confront Ultimecia in her world.Doc Odine: "There iz only one way to defeat Ultimecia. You must kill her in ze future. ...There is no normal way to jump to ze future under normal circumstances. But there iz still a way! It iz because Sorceress Ultimecia plans to compress time. Compressing time with magic... Vat good will it do for ze sorceress to compress time? There may be many reasons, but it doesn't matter. ...In order for Ultimecia to exist in this time, she must take over ze body of a sorceress from ze present. But ze machine must have a limit. Ultimecia probably needs to go back further in time to achieve time compression. Only Ellone can take her back further into ze past. Zat iz why she iz desperately seeking her. We must take advantage of Ellone's power. ...Once Ultimecia iz in ze past, she'll use ze time compression magic. ...Ultimecia also goes back to her own world. Vat would be left is ze time compressed world. Past, present, and future will all get mixed together. You will keep moving through ze time compression toward ze future. Once you're out of ze time compression, zat will be Ultimecia's world. It's all up to you after zat." ("Final Fantasy VIII")] To do this, Squall's team infiltrates Lunatic Pandora, defeats Seifer and Adel, and has Rinoa inherit Adel's sorceress powers. [Laguna: "Adel will need to pass on her powers before being defeated. Rinoa, will you be willing to accept them?" ("Final Fantasy VIII")] Time Compression is thus initiated; Squall and his allies travel to Ultimecia's era and defeat her.

With Ultimecia defeated, the universe begins returning to normal; however, Squall is nearly lost in the flow of time as he witnesses the origins of the game's story. When a dying Ultimecia travels back in time to pass her powers to Edea, Squall informs Edea of the concepts of Garden and SeeD that she will create. [Squall: "Both Garden and SeeD were your ideas. Garden trains SeeDs. SeeDs are trained to defeat the sorceress." ("Final Fantasy VIII")] Afterward, he is able to properly recollect his memories and was able to regain consciousness and thus return to the present. The ending cinema depicts the events after Squall and co.'s return to the present. Seifer is once again reunited with Raijin and Fujin; Laguna visits Raine's grave (and recollects his proposal to her) along with Ellone, Ward, and Kiros; and a celebration takes place in the Garden, with Squall and Rinoa embracing one another under the moonlight.

Development

Development of "Final Fantasy VIII" began in vgy|1997 during the English language translation of "Final Fantasy VII".cite web | author=Coxon, Sachi | year=1998 | title=Interview with Yoshinori Kitase, Tetsuya Nomura and Yusuke Naora | url=http://members.tripod.com/PlayStationJapan/main.html | publisher=PlayStation Japan | accessdate=2006-07-15] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 As with much of "Final Fantasy VII"'s production, series creator and veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi served as the executive producer, working primarily on the development of "" and leaving direction of "Final Fantasy VIII" to Yoshinori Kitase.cite web | author=Coxon, Sachi | year=1998 | title=Interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi | url=http://members.tripod.com/PlayStationJapan/Sakaguchi.html | publisher=PlayStation Japan | accessdate=2006-07-15] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 Shinji Hashimoto was assigned to be the producer in Sakaguchi's place.

From the beginning, Kitase knew he wanted a thematic combination of fantasy and realism. To this end, he aimed to include a cast of characters who appeared to be ordinary people. Character designer and battle visual director Tetsuya Nomura and art director Yusuke Naora strove to achieve this impression through the inclusion of realistically proportioned characters—a departure from the super deformed designs used in the previous installment. Additionally, Naora attempted to enhance the realism of the world through predominantly bright lighting effects with shadows distributed as appropriate. Other measures taken included implementing rental cars for travel in-game,Verify credibility|date=August 2008 and the use of motion capture technology to give the game's characters lifelike movements in the game's FMV sequences.cite web | author=Final Fantasy Shrine site staff | title=Final Fantasy VIII Kitase, Nojima, Naora and Nomura Interview | url=http://www.ffshrine.org/ff8/ff8_interview.php | publisher=Final Fantasy Shrine | accessdate=2006-07-15] Verify credibility|date=August 2008

Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima has expressed that the dynamic of players' relationships with the protagonist is important to him. Both "Final Fantasy VII" and "Final Fantasy VIII" feature reserved, quiet protagonists in the form of Cloud Strife and Squall Leonhart. With "Final Fantasy VIII", however, Nojima worked to give players actual insight into what the character was thinking; a direct contrast with his handling of "Final Fantasy VII"'s script, which encouraged the player to speculate.cite web | year=2001 | title=Behind The Game The Creators | url=http://www.square-enix-usa.com/games/FFX/btg/creators.html#1 | publisher=Square Enix North America | accessdate= 2006-04-12] This approach to "Final Fantasy VIII" is reflected by the frequent use of dialogue that takes place solely within Squall's mind, allowing the player to read his thoughts and understand what he is thinking or feeling even when he keeps those thoughts to himself.

In 1999, the ballroom dance scene of "Final Fantasy VIII" was featured as a technical demo for the PlayStation 2. [cite web | author=Nelson, Randy | date=1999-03-02 | title=PS2: Demos to Die For | url=http://ps2.ign.com/articles/072/072823p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2007-09-15] In vgy|2000, a PC version was released for Windows. This rerelease featured smoother graphics, enhanced audio, and the inclusion of "Chocobo World", a minigame starring Boko, a Chocobo featured in one of "Final Fantasy VIII"'s side-quests.cite web | title=Final Fantasy VIII PC Interview | url=http://www.ffshrine.org/ff8/ff8_pcinterview.php | publisher=Final Fantasy Shrine | accessdate=2006-08-10] Verify credibility|date=August 2008cite book | year=1999 | editor=Square Electronic Arts | title=Final Fantasy VIII North American instruction manual | pages=38–40 | publisher=Square Electronic Arts | id=SLUS-00892GH] For most North American and European players, the PC version of the game was the only means of playing "Chocobo World", as the game was originally designed to be played via the PocketStation, a handheld console never released outside Japan.cite web | author=Calderman, Dan | year=2000 | title=Chocobo World Playable on PC | url=http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q1-2000/010600c.html | publisher=RPGamer | accessdate=2006-08-10] cite web | author=IGN Staff | year=1999 | title=FFVIII PocketStation Opens Up Chocobo World | url=http://psx.ign.com/articles/068/068855p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2006-08-10]

Audio

Regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu wrote and directed , which was released on four Compact Discs by DigiCube in Japan, and by Square EA in North America. Additionally, a special orchestral arrangement of selected tracks from the game—arranged by Shiro Hamaguchi—was released under the title ', and a collection of piano arrangements—performed by Shinko Ogata—was released under the title '.

The score is best known for two songs: "Liberi Fatali", a Latin choral piece that is played during the introduction to the game, and "Eyes On Me", a pop song serving as the game's theme, performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. The latter song was released as a CD single in Japan and sold over 400,000 copies, [cite web | author=Square Enix USA site staff | title=Nobuo Uematsu's Profile | url=http://www.square-enix-usa.com/uematsu/profile/index.html | publisher=Square Enix USA | accessdate=2006-03-17] placing it as the best-selling video game music disc ever released in that country until the release of "Hikari" by Utada Hikaru for "Kingdom Hearts". "Liberi Fatali" was played during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens during the women's synchronized swimming event. [cite web | author=Suds | title=Video Game Music In the Olympics! | year=2004 | url=http://vgmusic.com/news/older/2004/q3.shtml | publisher=Video Game Music Archive | accessdate=2006-08-29] Verify credibility|date=August 2008 [cite web | title=The Culture of Videogame Music | year=2005 | url=http://www.empirearcadia.com/community/com-016.htm | publisher=Empire arcadiA | accessdate=2006-08-29] Verify credibility|date=August 2008

Reception

VG Reviews
Edge = 9 of 10
EGM = 9.5 of 10
Fam = 37 of 40 [cite web | author= KK | url= http://www.zelda-fans.com/archives/2006/02/highest-scoring-games-in-famitsus-history/ | title=Highest Scoring Games in Famitsu's History | accessdate=2007-07-11] Verify credibility|date=August 2008
GI = 9.5 of 10
GSpot = 9.5 of 10
IGN = 9 of 10
GR = 89.8%
MC = 90 out of 100
Within two days of its North American release on September 9, 1999, "Final Fantasy VIII" became the top-selling video game in the United States, a position it held for more than three weeks.cite web | title=Final Fantasy VIII Tops Videogame Charts | year=1999 | author=IGN Staff | url=http://psx.ign.com/articles/071/071008p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2006-03-16] Aside from grossing a total of more than US$50 million within the first 13 weeks to follow,cite web | title=FFVIII Sells Six Million Copies Worldwide | author=Sato, Yukiyoshi Ike | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps/rpg/finalfantasy8/news.html?sid=2440392&mode=all | year=1999 | publisher=GameSpot | accessdate=2006-03-16] cite web | title=FF8 Breaks Sales Records | year=1999 | author=IGN Staff | url=http://psx.ign.com/articles/073/073032p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2006-03-16] in Japan, it sold roughly 2.5 million units within the first four days of release,cite web | title=Final Fantasy VIII Is Out! | year=1999 | author=IGN Staff | url=http://psx.ign.com/articles/070/070170p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2006-03-16] and during 2006 was voted by readers of Japanese magazine "Famitsu" as the twenty-second best game of all time. [cite web | author=Campbell, Colin | year=2006 | title=Japan Votes on All Time Top 100 | url= http://www.next-gen.biz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2401&Itemid=2 | publisher=Next Generation | accessdate=2006-03-11] More than six million units were sold in total by the end of 1999. [cite web | title=Final Fantasy VIII Sells One Million | year=1999 | publisher=Gamasutra|url=http://www.gamasutra.com/newswire/news/index19991206.htm]

Reviews of the gameplay have been mixed. Multimedia news website IGN felt that it was the weakest aspect of the game, citing its Guardian Force attack sequences as "incredibly cinematic" but tedious,cite web | author=Lundigran, Jeff | year=1999 | title=Final Fantasy VIII Review | url=http://psx.ign.com/articles/153/153847p1.html | publisher=IGN | accessdate=2006-07-13] sentiments echoed by "Electronic Gaming Monthly".cite web | year=2004 | title=Final Fantasy VIII PS Review | url=http://egm.1up.com/do/reviewPage?cId=2016961&did=2 | publisher=1UP.com | accessdate=2006-07-26] They also regarded the battle system as intensely complicated, yet refreshingly innovative and something that "RPG fanatics love to obsess over". "Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine" claims that the game's Junction system is a major flaw due to repetitive stocking of spells,cite web | year=2004 | title=Final Fantasy VIII PS Review | url=http://egm.1up.com/do/reviewPage?cId=3119200&did=3 | publisher=1UP.com | accessdate=2006-07-13] while the UK-based video game magazine "Edge" commented that the battle system consists of a "bewildering" number of intricate options and techniques that "most gamers will ... relish".cite book | year=1999 | editor=Editors of EDGE magazine | title=EDGE Autumn 1999 | pages=87 | publisher=Future Publishing] GameSpot praised the game's battle system, commenting that the "possibilities for customization [with the Junction system] are immense".cite web | author=Vestal, Andrew | year=1999 | title=Final Fantasy VIII for PlayStation Review | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps/rpg/finalfantasy8/review.html | publisher=GameSpot | accessdate=2006-07-13]

Critics have compared the other aspects of the game to previous "Final Fantasy" installments. Gaming Age cited the storyline and graphics as two major improvements over "Final Fantasy VII", while considering the music "hardly a step up...".cite web | author=McTague, Bob | year=1999 | title=Gaming Age Review - Final Fantasy VIII | url=http://www.gaming-age.com/reviews/archive/old_reviews/psx/ff8/ | publisher=Gaming Age | accessdate=2006-07-13] Though questioning the game's lack of voice overs for its characters, Game Revolution praised its storyline and ending.cite web | author=Liu, Johnny | year=1999 | title=Game Revolution Review Page - Final Fantasy VIII | url=http://www.gamerevolution.com/oldsite/games/sony/rpg/final_fantasy_8.htm | publisher=Game Revolution | accessdate=2006-07-16] For their part, "Edge" labeled "Final Fantasy VIII" "...a far more accomplished game than "FFVII". On the other hand, the magazine also felt that the game's length left its story unable to "offer consistently strong dialogue and sub-plots". Additionally, it found some of the story's plot twists "not ... suitably manipulated and prepared", leaving it "hard not to greet such... moments with anything but indifference". Overall, "Edge" considered "Final Fantasy VIII" to be "yet another outstanding edition of SquareSoft's far-from-final fantasies", summarizing it as "aesthetically astonishing, rarely less than compelling, and near peerless in scope and execution...". "Electronic Gaming Monthly" offered similar comments, stating that the game's character development "is the best of any RPG's" and that "Final Fantasy VIII" is the pinnacle of its genre".

Merchandise

In the month of "Final Fantasy VIII"'s Japanese release (February 11, 1999), a beginners' guide and a postcard collection were released. These were followed in March by "Final Fantasy VIII Ultimania", a book that features an in-depth guide to "Final Fantasy VIII" and interviews with the developers. A sticker album ("Final Fantasy VIII Seal Book") and a pictorial transcript of the game ("Final Fantasy VIII Memorial Album") were released in June and September respectively. An origami book was released on November 19, 1999.

On September 22, 1999, a CD-ROM titled "Final Fantasy VIII Desktop Accessories" was released. It contains desktop icons, computer wallpapers, screensavers, and an e-mail application. Additionally, "Final Fantasy VIII Desktop Accessories" features an edition of the Triple Triad minigame from "Final Fantasy VIII", creating the ability to play against opponents via a local area network. [cite web | author=Sato, Yukiyoshi Ike| title=New FFVIII CD-ROM Announced | url=http://www.gamespot.com/ps/rpg/finalfantasy8/news.html?sid=2448835 | publisher=GameSpot | accessdate=2007-01-08]

The European release of "Final Fantasy VIII" saw a relatively large amount of merchandise being packaged together with the game for an initial run special release at no extra cost. These were all sold in a large rectangular box which contained a "Final Fantasy VIII" t-shirt, a PlayStation memory card and a selection of "Final Fantasy VIII" stickers to put on a PlayStation memory card.

References

External links

* [http://na.square-enix.com/games/ff8/ Official "Final Fantasy VIII" website]
* [http://www.final-fantasyviii.com/ Official European "Final Fantasy VIII" website]
* [http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy_VIII "Final Fantasy VIII"] at Wikia; incorporates information originally found on Wikipedia


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