The Complete History of Final Fantasy: Every FF Game Ever Made


The Complete History of Final Fantasy: Every FF Game Ever Made

Key Points

  • The Final Fantasy franchise has been around for over 35 years and has released over 100 games.
  • The main plot element in most Final Fantasy games involves a group of characters fighting against an evil villain for world domination.
  • Recurring elements in the franchise include rebellion, a second more powerful villain, and the presence of magical orbs and crystals.
  • Cid, Biggs and Wedge, and Gilgamesh are some of the recurring characters in the series.
  • There are 16 main entries in the Final Fantasy series.
  • Numerous spinoff games and series have been released, including sequels, prequels, and alternate universe stories.

The lore surrounding the Final Fantasy franchise is one of the most complex and layered in all of video game history. Originating in 1987 and still going strong more than 35 years later, Final Fantasy has exceeded over 100 games throughout its prolific run. How could a person possibly keep them all straight? With the help of this comprehensive game guide, you should be much better equipped to tackle the entire franchise head-on. This is the complete history of Final Fantasy, stretching from the first game to the upcoming FF releases slated for 2024.

History of Final Fantasy: An Overview

The latest main entry in the



Final Fantasy XVI

, came out in 2023.

©Diego Thomazini/Shutterstock.com

Since the groundbreaking first entry in the series was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1987, the Final Fantasy series has been telling the story of a group of characters fighting off an evil villain fighting for world domination. That’s a little vague, but even the most casual FF players know there’s no better way to put it. It’s the one basic plot element that links the bulk of the franchise. The Final Fantasy franchise uses this basic setup to explore the various internal struggles, personal tragedies, and inner passions of its main characters.

Many games throughout the history of Final Fantasy feature a nation’s population in a state of rebellion. The game’s protagonists almost always fight on the side of the rebellion against the forces of evil seeking total control. Often, there’s also a big reveal of a second (much more powerful) villain in FF games. You can usually put money down on the main villain not being who they make themselves out to be. There’s typically another villain or force who’s actually been pulling the strings all along. Other minor recurring elements include amnesia, possession, identity, and sacrifice.

We’d also be remiss not to mention the magical orbs and crystals that usually show up in your average Final Fantasy game. Since the very beginning, crystals and orbs have been positioned as the central life force of the game’s world. For this reason, the main conflict of each main game usually involves a fight for control of these crystals or orbs. Fighting styles throughout the series have progressed from turn-based combat to Active Time Battles to Open Combat Systems (with many games featuring a mix of the three).

Recurring Characters

Before we dive into the 100+ games in the history of Final Fantasy, it’s important to reiterate that the numbers in FF games are used in reference to volumes, not sequels. Most Final Fantasy games feature stories unrelated to the ones from the games that came before. While they all take place under the broad umbrella that is the Final Fantasy universe, there are countless characters, storylines, and game elements that vary from game to game.

With that being said, some characters show up more often than others. Most notably, there’s Cid: a human character who has appeared in almost every main title since Final Fantasy II in 1988. He was originally intended to be a wise, intelligent figure not unlike Yoda from the Star Wars universe. Over the years, this basic principle has allowed him to show up in a dizzying number of forms and roles.

Biggs and Wedge are two other recurring characters who, like Cid, can credit their creation to Star Wars. Their names are pulled straight from George Lucas’s franchise, and their role is that of comic relief — sort of like droids R2-D2 and C-3PO. They first appeared in Final Fantasy VI in 1994. Gilgamesh deserves a mention, too. He first showed up in Final Fantasy V in 1992 and has made many different cameos since. Now, let’s run through the 16 main titles in the FF series.

Main Entries

There are two different versions of

Final Fantasy XIV

using different engines, servers, and gameplay.


These 16 FF games (plus one alternate version) serve as the main volumes in the history of Final Fantasy. Whether it be the game’s inaugural entry in 1987, its first journey online in 2002, its differing versions of FF14 in 2011 and 2013, or its latest volume in 2023, each of these volumes is set in a new place within a different fictional universe under the FF banner.

TitleRelease Year
Final Fantasy1987
Final Fantasy II1988
Final Fantasy III1990
Final Fantasy IV1991
Final Fantasy V1992
Final Fantasy VI1994
Final Fantasy VII1997
Final Fantasy VIII1999
Final Fantasy IX2000
Final Fantasy X2001
Final Fantasy XI: Online2002
Final Fantasy XII2006
Final Fantasy XIII2009
Final Fantasy XIV: Online 2010
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn2013
Final Fantasy XV2016
Final Fantasy XVI2023


While there are many offshoots and one-offs in the history of Final Fantasy, it took until 2002 for the very first FF sequel to be released. Since then, there have been a few other spinoffs released for consoles and mobile platforms alike. The most recent of the bunch, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, came out in 2022. It’s a prequel to the first game set in an alternate universe.

TitleRelease Year
Final Fantasy X-22003
Final Fantasy X-2: Last Mission2004
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years2008
Final Fantasy Grandmasters2015
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin2022

Ivalice Alliance Series

Game Boy Real Time Strategy Games

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

brought the Ivalice Alliance series to the Game Boy Advance.


The Ivalice Alliance series is one of the earliest spinoff series in the history of Final Fantasy. Launching in 1997 with Final Fantasy Tactics, the series last saw an entry in 2013 with Final Fantasy Tactics S. (As is often the case in the FF franchise, this was merely a short-lived mobile game and not a console title.)

TitleRelease Year
Final Fantasy Tactics1997
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance2003
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions2007
Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift2007
Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings2007
Final Fantasy Tactics S2013

Fabula Nova Crystallis Series

You already know that crystals play a key role in the history of Final Fantasy. But did you know there’s a deeper mythos than what meets the eye? The Fabula Nova Crystallis series of spinoffs explores these crystals more in-depth than any other titles in the FF franchise. It began in 2011 and wrapped in 2016.

Interestingly, throughout this sub-series, FF creator and developer Square Enix gives full creative freedom over the mythos to each new development team. This allows them to create new lore surrounding the crystals however they see it. Also worth mentioning? They’re all loosely linked to Final Fantasy XIII.

TitleRelease Year
Final Fantasy Type-02011
Final Fantasy XIII-22011
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII2013
Final Fantasy Agito2014
Final Fantasy Awakening2016

Final Fantasy VII Spinoffs


Final Fantasy VII

continues to be a landmark entry in the




As the first in the history of Final Fantasy games to embrace 3D graphics over the traditional 2D graphics used by the previous games in the series, 1997’s Final Fantasy VII was quite a big deal (to say the least). This importance was further underlined by the number of spinoffs to come out of the game over the years. This includes a remake in 2020 and an upcoming sequel to the remake slated for 2024.

TitleRelease Year
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII2004
Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding2005
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII2006
Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode: Final Fantasy VII2006
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII2007
Final Fantasy VII (Remake)2020
Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier2021
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion2022
Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis2023
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth2024

Final Fantasy XV Spinoffs

Like Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy XV is another massively important entry in the ongoing series. From companion films and series to other expanded universe media, this fifteenth volume was the biggest and most prominent FF release until Final Fantasy XVI dropped in 2023. Its open world, action-based battles, and other remarkable elements all broke new ground for the franchise.

Its size and success spurred the establishment of the Final Fantasy XV Universe. Naturally, this included many spinoff games. New FF15 games continue to be released today, with the most recent dropping for mobile devices in 2022. As of this writing, there are nine games in the Final Fantasy XV Universe in all (including the flagship game.) 

TitleRelease Year
Platinum Demo – Final Fantasy XV2016
Justice Monsters Five2016
A King’s Tale: Final Fantasty XV2016
Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire2017
King’s Knight: Wrath of the Dark Dragon2017
Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV2017
Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition2018
Final Fantasy XV: War for Eos2022

Final Fantasy One-Offs

front cover of final fantasy adventure game

Final Fantasy Adventure

was the first of many



©mobygames.com – License

Apart from all these spinoffs and offshoots in the history of Final Fantasy, there has also been a slew of FF one-offs over the years. Starting way back in 1991 with Final Fantasy Adventure and spanning all the way to 2019’s Final Fantasy Digital Card Game, these supplemental releases deepen the FF lore in their own unique ways.

TitleRelease Year
Final Fantasy Adventure1991
Final Fantasy Mythic Quest1992
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light2009
Voice Fantasy2010
Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade2012
Final Fantasy All the Bravest2013
Pictlogica Final Fantasy2013
Final Fantasy: World Wide Words2014
Final Fantasy Record Keeper2014
Heavenstrike Rivals2014
Final Fantasy Portal App2015
Mobius Final Fantasy2015
Final Fantasy Digital Card Game2019

Final Fantasy Subseries

Lastly, let’s round up the numerous subseries throughout the history of Final Fantasy. If you weren’t confused before, just wait until you see how many different games fall under this category. (And don’t even get us started on the Chocobo lore. That requires an explainer all to itself.) The connections between FF games are loose by design, but the connection between these subseries is hanging onto the history of Final Fantasy by mere threads. Nevertheless, these are all the FF subseries entries from over the years.


  • Final Fantasy Artniks (2012)
  • Final Fantasy Artniks Dive (2014)

Brave Exvius

  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (2015)
  • Final Fantasy Brave Exvius Tap! (2017)
  • War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius (2019)


  • Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon (1997)
  • Chocobo’s Dungeon 2 (1998)
  • Chocobo Racing (1999)
  • Chocobo on the Job (2000)
  • Chocobo Anywhere (2002)
  • Chocobo Land: A Game of Dice (2002)
  • Chocobo Anywhere 2: Escape! Ghost Ship (2003)
  • Choco-Mate (2003)
  • Chocobo Anywhere 2.5: Infiltrate! Ancient Ruins (2004)
  • Chocobo Anywhere 3: Defeat! The Great Rainbow-Colored Demon (2004)
  • Chocobo de Mobile (2006)
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo Tales (2006)
  • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon (2007)
  • Cid and Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon: The Labyrinth of Forgotten Time (2008)
  • Chocobo and the Magic Picture Book: The Witch, the Girl, and the Five Heroes (2008)
  • Chocobo Panic (2010)
  • Chocobo’s Crystal Tower (2010)
  • Chocobo’s Chocotto Farm (2012)
  • Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy! (2019)
  • Chocobo GP (2022)

Crystal Chronicles

  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles (2003)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (2007)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King (2008)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time (2009)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord (2009)
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (2009)

Crystal Defenders

  • Crystal Guardians (2008)
  • Crystal Defenders: Vanguard Storm (2009)


  • Final Fantasy Dimensions (2010)
  • Final Fantasy Dimensions II (2015)


  • Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008)
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (2011)
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (2015)
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia (2018)


  • Final Fantasy Explorers (2015)
  • Final Fantasy Explorers-Force (2018)


  • The Final Fantasy Legend (1989)
  • Final Fantasy Legend II (1990)
  • Final Fantasy Legend III (1991)
  • Romancing SaGa (1992)
  • Romancing SaGa 2 (1993)
  • Romancing SaGa 3 (1995)
  • SaGa Frontier (1997)
  • SaGa Frontier 2 (1999)
  • Unlimited Saga (2002)
  • Emperors SaGa (2012)
  • Imperial SaGa (2015)
  • SaGa: Scarlet Grace (2016)
  • Romancing SaGa Re;univerSe (2018)
  • Imperial SaGa Eclipse (2019)
  • SaGa: Emerald Beyond (2024)


  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (2012)
  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (2014)
  • Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival (2016)
  • Theatrhythm Final Bar Line (2023)

Final Fantasy: Unlimited

  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited with U (2002)
  • Final Fantasy: Unlimited on PC – Meikyū ~ Kuroki Yume no Kioku ~ (2003)

World of Final Fantasy

  • World of Final Fantasy (2016)
  • World of Final Fantasy: Meli-Melo (2017)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Final Fantasy?

Final Fantasy is a highly successful, long-running series of over 100 role-playing video games created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. These games vary in plot, theme, and mechanics, but are broadly known for their captivating narratives, diverse characters, and intricate RPG mechanics. They often take place in imaginative, fantasy-themed worlds of crystals, magic, and mythos.

What is the first Final Fantasy game?

The first Final Fantasy game was released in 1987. Japanese video game company Square (now Square Enix) faced extreme financial challenges at the time. The game’s eventual success helped bring the company back from the brink of failure. Creator Hironobu Sakaguchi’s unique vision and strong leadership effectively shaped the franchise’s identity and has continued to influence its direction over the years.

How many Final Fantasy games are there?

While there are only 16 main volumes in the Final Fantasy franchise, there are over 100 different spinoffs, sequels, remakes, and offshoots throughout the series’ 35-year history. (That’s not even counting all the animated films, shows, books, and other media that have come out of the FF universe.)

What's the significance of crystals throughout the history of Final Fantasy?

Crystals are a central motif across the Final Fantasy series. They represent various essential forces or elements in the game’s world depending on the volume in the series. The crystals often play a vital role in the plot, serving as sources of power or balance in the game’s universe. Don’t be surprised to see them show up in just about every FF game.

Do you have to play Final Fantasy games in order?

Unlike other franchises, the numbers in Final Fantasy game titles do not refer to sequels. It’s better to think of them as volumes. In other words, you can hop in anywhere in the series and won’t get lost. Most Final Fantasy games are not directly connected in terms of characters and settings. Each typically features a unique world, storyline, and cast of characters. Even recurring characters like Cid feature new looks and attributes from game to game.

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