Final Fantasy (ファイナルファンタジー Fainaru Fantajī) is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and is developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft). The franchise centers on a series of role-playing video games, but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise. The series began in 1987 as an eponymous video game developed to save Square from bankruptcy; the game was a success and spawned sequels. The video game series has since branched into other genres and platforms, such as tactical RPGs, portable games, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, and games for mobile phones.
Although most Final Fantasy installments are independent stories, they feature common elements that define the franchise. Such recurring elements include plot themes, character names, and game mechanics. Plots center on a group of heroes battling a great evil while exploring the characters' internal struggles and relationships. Character names are often derived from the history, languages, and mythologies of cultures worldwide. The series has been commercially and critically successful; it is Square Enix's best selling series, with more than 85 million units sold, and the fifth-best-selling video game franchise. (more...)