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THE GENESIS OF A LEGEND The core development team was just seven members strong. It included IranianAmerican freelancer Nasir Gebelli, a man who’d prove so instrumental in the series’ creation that FFII’s production would briefly follow him back to America so his work could continue. Also present were Akitoshi Kawazu and Hiromichi Tanaka, both of whom continued to work with Square and Final Fantasy right up until 2010’s FFXIV. Rounding out the creative staff was Nobuo Uematsu, a young graduate and budding musician working at a music rental store to make ends meet. “Among this group of friends that I had at that time, there was this one guy who predicted everyone’s future,” Uematsu told in 2008. “He said, “Next week, something is going to happen, and it will eventually take Nobuo Uematsu to the world. You will be widely known.”

“The business side of the company, after taking a look at the completed product, said, “This is only going to sell so much.” And I don’t remember exactly what the number was but the forecast was around 200,000,” Uematsu recalled. For Sakaguchi, it wasn’t enough. “I argued within the company, and pleaded: ‘If we only make this many, there’s no chance of a sequel – please make it 400,000’. But Uematsu in the studio for the costs were high, so as a company all FFIX. they could think was ‘that’s a lot of money!’ despite having this great game.” Uematsu remembers Sakaguchi’s tenacity for his creation seeing him handling his own guerilla PR campaign - something the careful, crafting PR departments of today’s company would balk at. “In the first pack that came from the Sakaguchi’s masterpiece. production facility, he took every single ROM to every publication that was out there at that time, and he basically did his own PR with the first Final Fantasy.” “So I considered him a very strong and brave man at that time for him to have gone out and done his own PR for his game. That was a moment we probably won’t forget.”

“That following week was when I met Sakaguchi-san on the street, and he said, “Why don’t you come to the company because we need someone to really make music for our upcoming games and our creations.” “That happened exactly the week after the guy made that prediction. He told me that I needed to believe in him, but at that time I didn’t really believe in him. Now I do.” The talent was in place to make a hit game - even if the team wasn’t aware of it - and Sakaguchi led them in crafting his vision. Included was a large world with numerous locations to explore and a surprisingly indepth class system for the time. The game was good - but when the finished product was presented to Square the company’s management were at first reluctant to get behind it.

Sakaguchi, meanwhile, remembers a Square that did finally listen, creating significantly more than the initially planned 200,000 copies, showing faith in FF. Yoshitaka Amano’s art remains synomynous with the series.

“The reason it became such a hit was thanks to Square’s management taking a chance – for which I’m really grateful,” he explained. Square made 400,000 copies for Japan - and sold them all. After success with a localized Dragon Quest, Nintendo of America translated Final Fantasy and released it in North America in 1990. Despite having to wait until 2003 to reach Europe, the original Final Fantasy has shipped over 2 million copies worldwide in its various incarnations.

Production of cartridge games was The rest, as they say, is history. expensive, and producing a lot of any new Final Fantasy’s original US By Alex Donaldson [@APZonerunner], Co-owner of title was a risk even for large companies. Box Artwork. &


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Final Fantasy: Celebrating 25 Years  

A free fan-made digital magazine intended as a celebration of 25 years of the Final Fantasy series. Featuring contributions from a large num...

Final Fantasy: Celebrating 25 Years  

A free fan-made digital magazine intended as a celebration of 25 years of the Final Fantasy series. Featuring contributions from a large num...

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