The similarities: Gameplay similarities like turn-based battle systems, magic spells, party members, towns, and an overworld are all intrinsic to the JRPG genre, but this similarity goes a bit deeper. The steampunk-meets-Tolkien world is the basis for Final Fantasy VI-X as well as Lost Odyssey, while LO’s immortal leads suffer from amnesia, a malady suffered by too many FF characters to name. Just like later FFs, LO’s story is told through a number of epic, melodramatic cutscenes. And as a final capper, LO’s soundtrack is the work of Nobuo Uematsu, the composer for the vast majority of FF games.
How’d this happen? Hironobu Sakaguchi created and oversaw the Final Fantasy franchise all the way up to Final Fantasy X, and eventually made a full-fledged Final Fantasy movie. That film was poorly received, very unprofitable, and pushed Square to the brink of bankruptcy, which led to Sakaguchi’s dismissal. A couple years later, Microsoft was in desperate need of exclusive games to sell Japanese audiences on the Xbox 360, so MS helped Sakaguchi fund the creation of his new dev company, Mistwalker. It’s hard to tell whether it was Sakaguchi’s desire to make a game so similar to FF or Microsoft’s, but Lost Odyssey was the result, alongside Blue Dragon, a game with unmistakable similarities to Dragon Quest. Neither made the 360 a hit in Japan, and Sakaguchi would go on to direct yet another spiritual successor to FF: The Last Story for Wii.