How often do you examine videogame logos? Not regularly, we’d suspect, as there’s not a lot to look at beyond letters and possibly an emblem. But in the case of Final Fantasy, each logo has a distinct message to convey, and with XIII fresh in our minds and XIV on the horizon, we figured it was time to go through all the info tucked away in each game’s logo.
Some contain key plot points, so be prepared for minor-to-major spoilers.
The original NES logo was a no-frills affair. Square assumed this would be the only game, not the start of a phenomenon.
Years later it was remade for the original PlayStation, bundled together with FFII as Final Fantasy Origins. It was then given a modern logo depicting the Warrior of Light. That’d be the faceless, nameless, personality-less hero of the first game, perhaps best recognized in his red-haired 8-bit guise.
Yep, remade again. This time for PSP to celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary. Still the Warrior of Light and still from artist Yoshitaka Amano, whose art drapes just about every single logo in this article.
FINAL FANTASY II
The first sequel wasn’t released in America until 2003, 15 years after its Japanese launch. When it finally arrived as part of Final Fantasy Origins (bundled with the original), it came complete with an updated logo that stars the game’s major villain, creatively dubbed “The Emperor.” Hey, that’s all we needed back then.
Just like the first game, part two was reborn on PSP with a slightly touched-up logo. Once again, The Emperor takes center stage. Not much else to report.
FINAL FANTASY III
The second sequel didn’t officially make the leap to US audiences until the 2006 DS remake, which featured bland-o hero Luneth brandishing two swords. Don’t get this confused with the US Final Fantasy III, which was actually Final Fantasy VI. If you didn’t already know that, I’m amazed you’re still reading this article. But thanks all the same!
FINAL FANTASY IV
Like we said, Square didn’t release Final Fantasy II or III in the US, so when it decided to bring part IV to the Super NES, it did so with a bare-bones text logo that read “Final Fantasy II.” Oh, there’s a sword standing in for the “T.” Very cute.
Meanwhile, Japan used the true logo, seen here with one of the game’s coolest characters, Kain Highwind. His actions move a great deal of the story along, easily earning his top-billing status on the front of the package.
The 2008 DS remake opted to showcase the villainous Golbez instead, a worthwhile swap as he was responsible for most of Kain’s misdeeds. Y’see, Golbez brainwashed Kain into performing various nefarious acts against Cecil, the main protagonist. You later find out Golbez was in turn being manipulated by Zeromus, the game’s true villain who lives on the Red Moon, one of the planet’s two orbiting satellites. And thus the complex Final Fantasy story is born.
Golbez is ultimately redeemed, and revealed to be of lunar descent as well as Cecil’s long-lost brother, but has done too much evil to remain on planet. Once Zeromus is offed, Golbez leaves with the rest of the Lunarians aboard the Red Moon, which exits orbit and takes off into the space sunset. Sort of like a Death Star without the lasers.
The After Years is a direct sequel that hit WiiWare in 2009, released as episodic DLC. It begins with the return of the Red Moon (the one that left at the end of FFIV), and ends deep inside the True Moon, which is revealed to house The Creator, who plans to eliminate all life on the FFIV homeworld. So, that’s why the logo features two spherical objects – they’re the Red and True moons, two immensely important pieces of FFIV lore that turn out not to be moons at all.
FINAL FANTASY V
A fair bit easier to explain than FFIV, that’s for sure. This is simply a wind drake, which you’re able to ride around the planet for quick and easy travel. They’re sort of an endangered species in the FFV world, and carry the main cast to and from a few key plot points. They’re not exactly the backbone of the story, but are important to several of the main characters, namely the two princesses Lenna and Krile.
Next page: Continuing down the list with Final Fantasies six, seven, eight and nine!