Square Enix rings in the new year in style, announcing that PlayStation One classic Final Fantasy 9 will be coming to PC and mobile platforms in 2016.
Square Enix announced its intent to release Final Fantasy IX on PC, Android, and iOS devices in Japan sometime in 2016, although the developer has not indicated when or whether or not North American or European gamers will have to wait for a localized realize afterwards. Square’s announcement that the title will be featured on both Android and iOS devices is a welcome surprise for mobile gamers, however, as some fans are still awaiting an Android release of Final Fantasy VII to match its successful iOS port counterpart.
Square Enix appears to be following the same blueprint that characterized the warmly-received Final Fantasy VII ports, as the JRPG giant has promised to update Final Fantasy IX with graphical improvements and modern game features like auto-save and high-speed mode. The latter feature has been a huge boon in other RPG ports, as it provides gamers with a means to speed through the grindier parts of games and enjoy what they purchased the title for. The newly released trailer for Final Fantasy IX doesn’t show much more than cutscenes, but the battle system appears to have undergone a slight visual upgrade and appears smoother in its execution than its PS1 counterpart.
Series fans might find it odd that Square Enix has chosen to skip over Final Fantasy VIII and move right to porting over Final Fantasy IX, but Square has shown they have an acute awareness of which Final Fantasy titles gamers love. While Final Fantasy IX never enjoyed the commercial success Final Fantasy VII did, it was released at a time Sony gamers were almost unanimously migrating over to the PlayStation 2 and suffered for it. The game itself is often considered to be one of the greatest Final Fantasy games ever made, and marked a departure from the sci-fi trappings of the two games that preceded it to a more familiar and enthralling steampunk-infused medieval setting.
Square Enix is definitely spotlighting Final Fantasy a lot more in 2016 than they have in recent years. On top of Final Fantasy IX, Square also had Final Fantasy VI rated for PC, hinting towards another major re-release of a beloved series installment. It’s not all modern upgrades and visual tweaks for the Japanese developer either, as the brand new Final Fantasy XV is now playable from start to finish and looking like it will meet its release date target for 2016. With Final Fantasy VII Remake still waiting in the wings after all of the other Square Enix releases, it appears that the Final Fantasy series is returning to the form that made it the most popular JRPG series for years.
While dedicated fans eagerly await more details on Final Fantasy VII Remake or Final Fantasy XV, the announcement of a PC and mobile port of Final Fantasy IX should give gamers yet another title to look forward to in the coming year in the meantime. After all, fans will have to commute places in between future Final Fantasy XV play sessions – why not compliment that travel with a little bit of Final Fantasy IX nostalgia and relive a classic game that really didn’t get enough recognition for its contribution to the genre?
Are you a fan of Final Fantasy IX? Would you like to see Square Enix do a full remake of the titles they are porting to PC and mobile should Final Fantasy VII Remake be a success? Let us know in the comments below.
Final Fantasy IX will release in Japan for the PC, iOS, and Android platforms in 2016. A North American/European release date has not been confirmed.