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Final Fantasy IV (2007)

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Final Fantasy IV (ファイナルファンタジーIV Fainaru Fantajī Fō?) is a role-playing video game for the Nintendo DS. It is an enhanced remake of the original Final Fantasy IV, which was released in 1991. It was released as part of the campaign for Final Fantasy series 20th anniversary on December 20, 2007 in Japan and in North America on July 22, 2008. The game was released in Europe on September 5, 2008. It was released to Steam on September 17, 2014.

The game was developed by Matrix Software, the same team responsible for the Final Fantasy III remake, and was supervised by members of the original development team: Takashi Tokita served as executive producer and director, Tomoya Asano as producer and Hiroyuki Ito as battle designer. Animator Yoshinori Kanada storyboarded the new cut scenes.

Final Fantasy IV was well received by critics and fans alike; it was praised for being sufficiently faithful to the original while expanding on many gameplay and story elements.[1][2][3]

Gameplay

Final Fantasy IV retains the original Active Time Battle System from the initial Super Nintendo release. Similar to the previous remake of Final Fantasy III on the Nintendo DS, the control of stylus is limited and optional in order to retain the same control input while allowing other players to use the Nintendo DS's unique touch control scheme.

However, the remake features a new ability system known as the Augment System, or the Decant Ability System (デカントアビリティシステムDekanto Abiriti Shisutemu?) in the Japanese version. The system allows for certain character-only abilities to be transferred to other characters who did not have them in the original and previous releases of Final Fantasy IV. Up to three abilities can come from temporary party members. When leaving the party, temporary characters will yield abilities of their own, the number of which is dependent on how many abilities they were given. There are also other abilities; some scattered around the world, and some that become available after certain story events.

This new system entails another new feature: command menu customization. All commands in a character's battle menu, except the Items command, can be replaced with augments. This includes individual abilities that are ordinarily contained in a group (e.g. Curaga can be added directly to Rosa's command list, rather than only being accessible through the White Magic sub-list).

The Augment System was devised to replace the system in Final Fantasy IV Advance where the characters that were temporary in the original version became playable again at a certain point. The developers felt that this system changed the game too much.[4]

Other exclusive enhancements to the DS version of the game include:

  • Minigames: Unlike the main game, the minigames are stylus-control only. Their function, aside from being fun diversions, is to increase the power of Rydia's personal Eidolon, Whyt (ポーチカ Pōchika?, Pochika in the Japanese version), who takes her places in the battle line-up, and acts under computer control according to abilities set to him by the player. The minigames can be played in either single-player or wireless (not Online) multi-player.
  • New Game Plus[5]: Allows players to start a new game with certain enhancements, such as rare or secret items and equipment, carried over from a previous completed game. Certain other new features are only available in a New Game Plus, such as hidden bosses on the face of the moon and the summit of Mt. Ordeals.
  • Namingway: Because of the voice-acted scenes, he can no longer change character names. After realizing this, he travels the world, changing his name to fit each occupation he takes up. Examples of his name changes include "Mappingway" (charting the maps on the lower screen), "Campingway", and "Weddingway". Following Namingway around the world and engaging in his side quest yields numerous rewards.
  • Fat Chocobo, Bestiary, Video/Music Player: Like Namingway, because of new enhancements (in this case, the item limit being removed), Fat Chocobo can no longer serve his original purpose. Instead, he can be called in order to access the new bestiary and video/music player, as well as the Whyt minigames. Any full motion video that has been viewed in the game's story may be replayed. The music player includes Edward strumming his harp and giving information on the selected track.[6]
  • New Translation: The English translation of previous incarnations was replaced with a new one. The new translation, by the same translator responsible for retranslating Final Fantasy VI Advance and the DS version of Chrono Trigger, features a notably different version of the Mysidian legend. Members of the localization staff also appear in the game's hidden Developers Room and refer to a famous line from the original translation.

Plot and setting

According to director Takashi Tokita, the scenario writer and lead game designer of the original release, three quarters of the original script had been left out of the original Super Famicom version.[5][7] In a Q&A feature in the official Square Enix Members page, Tokita corrected this by saying that the original story script was never cut, but during the development of the original release, the game's text could not fit and had to be revised to a quarter of its intended size.[8]

Story

The original storyline of Final Fantasy IV is retained, and some of the previously missing script has been worked into the DS version in the form of flashbacks, including both Golbez becoming Zemus's pawn and the childhoods of Cecil, Kain, and Rosa. There are also brand new scenes.

Audio

In June 2007, Square Enix held a casting for a vocalist to sing a rendition of Final Fantasy IV's "Theme of Love" composed by Nobuo Uematsu.[9] Megumi Ida was selected from approximately 800 applicants to perform the theme song[10] "Tsuki no Akari" (月の明り Tsuki no Akari?, literally "moonlight"). The song was arranged by Kenichiro Fukui, with the lyrics penned by scenario writer Takashi Tokita.[11] The song only appears in the Japanese release of the game, over the ending credits - international versions cut the song in its entirety and replace it with a music track from the game itself.

Voice cast

One of the biggest additions to the DS version of Final Fantasy IV is voice acting, which can be turned off if the player so desires.

Character Japanese voice actor[12] English voice actor
Cecil Shizuma Hodoshima Yuri Lowenthal
Rosa Yūko Kaida Kirsty Pape
Kain Kōichi Yamadera Liam O'Brien
Rydia Noriko Shitaya Daniella Macey
Tellah Gorō Naya Lee Everest
Edward Ryō Horikawa Sam Riegel
Palom Rie Kugimiya Megan Harvey
Porom Rie Kugimiya Hunter MacKenzie Austin
Yang Tesshō Genda Jackson Daniels
Edge Hiroya Ishimaru Taliesin Jaffe
Cid Ichirō Nagai Stephen Martello
Fusoya Banjō Ginga Michael McConnohie
Golbez Takeshi Kaga Anthony Landor
Scarmiglione Konishi Oonishi Dameon Clarke
Cagnazzo Takeshi Aono Michael McConnohie
Barbariccia Yūko Kaida Kirsty Pape
Rubicante Norio Wakamoto Lee Everest
Anna Hitomi Akino Zarah Little
Mysidian Elder Ryuji Saikachi William Frederick
Kluya Banjō Ginga Ralph Lister
Zeromus Ryō Horikawa Michael McConnohie

Development

The official developer blog (maintained by producer Tomoya Asano) has outlined several key features of the remake. As in the original, players can reform their party with whomever they choose as party leader. When the player enters the menu, the party leader will now appear on the bottom screen where the player can read their thoughts about what is happening in the story at that time (the development team suggests players check this feature often for humorous anecdotes).[13]

Other developer blog entries have focused on the art and programming of the game. According to the art director, Matrix tried to make each location of the game feel unique. For example, the desert kingdom of Damcyan has taken on a Middle-Eastern flair, Fabul has been given a Chinese feeling, and Eblan has been given the feeling of a Ninja residence, which was not possible in the Super Famicom edition due to limited data capacity.[14] Final Fantasy IV displays more characters and enemies on screen during battle compared to Final Fantasy III, which required the modeling team to reduce the number of polygons per character[15] The main programmer also suggests that the game is much larger than Final Fantasy III from a data standpoint, and compressing all the data to fit on a 1Gb ROM was difficult largely due to the voice data.[15]

Reception

As of July 9, 2008, the game has sold 612,044 copies in Japan.[16] Worldwide it has sold 1.1 million copies.[17]

Final Fantasy IV (2007) was well received by critics. It was a nominee for Best RPG on the Nintendo DS in IGN's 2008 video game awards.[18]

References

  1. Anderson, Lark (2008-07-11). Final Fantasy IV Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2009-12-11.
  2. Bozon (2008-07-09). Final Fantasy IV Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-12-11.
  3. Di Fiore, Elisa (2008-07-25). Final Fantasy IV. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2009-12-11.
  4. Official Blog: Character Abilities. Square Enix (2007-10-05). Retrieved on 2007-10-05.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Final Fantasy IV Update. IGN (2007-05-17). Retrieved on 2007-09-30.
  6. Official Blog: Jukebox. Square Enix (2007-11-02). Retrieved on 2007-11-02.
  7. x3sphere (2007-05-16). Final Fantasy IV DS remake not just pretty graphics. exophase.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-30.
  8. Square Enix (2008-09-05). Final Fantasy IV Fan-powered Q&A Part 1. member.square-enix.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-27.
  9. Square Enix staff (2007-05). 「愛のテーマ」ヴォーカリスト募集要項 (Japanese). Square Enix Japan. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03 Retrieved on 2007-05-12.
  10. Megumi Ida performs Theme of Love. Matrix Software (2007-11-16). Retrieved on 2007-11-16.
  11. ‘Tsuki no Akari’ a highlight of Final Fantasy IV DS. Siliconera (2007-07-20). Retrieved on 2008-07-21.
  12. Gantayat, Anoop (2007-09-28). Final Fantasy IV Voice Cast Announced. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-09-30.
  13. Official Blog: Party Leader Thoughts. Square Enix (2007-09-19). Retrieved on 2007-09-19.
  14. Official Blog: Art Direction. Square Enix (2007-10-12). Retrieved on 2007-10-12.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Official Blog: Programming. Square Enix (2007-10-27). Retrieved on 2007-10-27.
  16. Weekly Famitsu, issue 1020
  17. Results Briefing: Fiscal Year ended May 31, 2009. Square-Enix.com (May 19, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-07-21.
  18. IGN DS: Best RPG 2008. IGN.com (2008-12-15). Retrieved on 2008-12-19.

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