The best Final Fantasy games – as chosen by the franchise’s creators

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The best Final Fantasy games – as chosen by the franchise’s creators

To celebrate the launch of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, series creators name their favorite entries

Today marks the launch of Dissidia Final Fantasy NT! To celebrate, we wanted to answer the timeless question: what’s the best Final Fantasy?

This single question causes so much debate. I had the distinct pleasure of asking some of our most famed Final Fantasy developers in Japan what the best entry in the series is, and why.

The developers’ comments are listed in alphabetical order…

Akihiko Matsui

The best: Final Fantasy II
Why: Both the character development system that allowed a high level of freedom and the dramatic scenario were superb; even looking back on it now, it’s a masterpiece. It may be safe to say that the Final Fantasy series didn’t turn into a small collection of works because of Final Fantasy II. It was also because of this game, that I aspired to take part in the production of video games myself.


Akitoshi Kawazu

The best: Final Fantasy V
Why: [It has the] best battle system.


Hajime Tabata

The best: Final Fantasy
Why: As a player, you are suddenly thrown into the world of the game, but as you progress, you begin to see the story, and the title appears on screen along with beautiful music. The gameplay style and direction/presentation shown in this sequence is essentially the starting point for Final Fantasy. After taking on a mainline title myself, I understand this, more than ever.


Hiroaki Kato

The best: Final Fantasy Tactics
Why: The world of Ivalice and the job system are superb!


Ichiro Hazama

The best: Final Fantasy VI
Why: The visuals using sprite artwork are beautiful and unparalleled, and the music is also fantastic. As we all know, it’s the best. The story for each and every character is drawn out in detail, and just the overall level of perfection as a piece of work is over the top. This title is what made me interested in the company called Square.


Motomu Toriyama

The best: Final Fantasy XIII
Why: Because I can confront any powerful enemy if I’m with Lightning, the strongest heroine.


Naoki Yoshida

The best: Final Fantasy III & Final Fantasy VII
Why: Rather than these titles being what I consider to be the best, I consider Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy III to be the most impactful. As for Final Fantasy VII, the content of the game was impactful on all vectors, from the visual expression seen back then, to the universe, character design, and volume of content. The power this title holds is similar to MMORPGs, and it’s precisely worthy of being called “the game that has it all”.


As for Final Fantasy III, I consider it a masterpiece in terms of the “game experience” since it essentially completed the Final Fantasy system from the early stages, such as the job system and active time battle. I feel like these two Final Fantasy titles serve as an origin, the reason the Final Fantasy series continues to this day. I’d also like to continue creating games that stack up against these titles, so I’d like to ask for everyone’s continued support for the Final Fantasy series!

Shinji Hashimoto

The best: Final Fantasy
Why: Although Final Fantasy VII was the first title I took part in, when you consider the franchise’s origin, it’s none other than the first title in the series. The first title that lead to Final Fantasy’s 30th anniversary, the “Warrior of Light,” it was a profoundly memorable encounter.


Takashi Katano

The best: Final Fantasy V
Why: The job system was so outstanding and fun that I put many hours into this game.

Takashi Tokita

The best: Final Fantasy IV
Why: The best Final Fantasy!? That’s an extremely difficult question… I haven’t played all of the Final Fantasy titles, but if I were to choose one, then it would have to be Final Fantasy IV. This is not only because it was the first Final Fantasy title that I was deeply involved in, but because it also shaped the basis for how I make games, with themes such as light, darkness, and the meeting and parting of characters. The fact that I was able to create its sequel “Final Fantasy IV: The After Years” was also quite moving.

Takeo Kujiraoka

The best: Final Fantasy X
Why: I dwelled on the overwhelming emotion and sadness for about three days after the ending. While it was the first Final Fantasy title to be voiced, I felt that it had already perfected its usage. This was also the first game I played for more than 100 hours (and ended up playing 200 hours more after clearing the main game). I played through every single [piece of] content that was available.


Toshiyuki Itahana

The best: Final Fantasy IX & Final Fantasy XIV
Why: Final Fantasy IX is the most memorable Final Fantasy title for me as a developer because it greatly impacted my designs. As a player, I would consider Final Fantasy XIV to be the best Final Fantasy title. I don’t think there is any other title in the MMO genre in which I can resonate with the game’s protagonist “Warrior of Light” to this degree, where I consider the in-game characters as friends, occasionally resent them, and feel delighted about meeting them once again. I feel like I’m living and crafting the future of this epic narrative in another world that truly exists along with other players.


Yoshinori Kitase

The best: Final Fantasy V
Why: I like all the Final Fantasy games, but let me choose Final Fantasy V this time. It was the first Final Fantasy title I took part in, and here, you can find the job and ability system in its completed form!

Do any of the above responses surprise you? More importantly, what is your favourite Final Fantasy, and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Regardless of your differences of opinion between your family and friends, finally you can determine which Final Fantasy is best in Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, available today. In case reading through that didn’t get you hyped enough, check out the launch trailer above. Join the fight.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT

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  • Does Dissidia NT have PS4 Pro support?

    How come all of these Square Enix games ignore 1080p-display PS4 Pro owners and lock them out of enjoying downsampling/supersampling?:

    Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

    Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn/Heavensward/Stormblood

    Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD

    Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD

    Life is Strange: Before the Storm

    • probably because of the same reason that none of SE’s games that are on both PS4 and Vita have cross-buy…

  • Wow! Great job on getting the opinion of so many of the creators! As for me, even though a lot of the titles have had a big impact on me on a personal level (starting from VII and VIII and going all the way to XV), I would have to choose IX. It was the first game I played that I felt I connected with and just overall had so much fun with. And despite its cartoon-ish design, there was so much depth and so many life lessons in there that it remains unforgettable. So yeah, it’s IX for me.

  • Motomu Toriyama nice try man but Lightning is not even in the top 5 best female characters in Final Fantasy.

    • …according to you.

    • Funny how people like you never bring up the fact that Lightning became the female Japanese fan favorite? Or how people (especially new generation at that time) get sick and tired of the same old same old females after FF7-12 did the prayer girl, kooky girl and sexy girl. Something that was already done well in Final Fantasy 7 and overstayed it’s welcome afterwords. It’s like they wanted something new or something.

    • Or the fact that Lightning is the Japanese fan favorite females.

    • Lightning is just gender swapped Cloud, the director even said that.

      Also I have no idea where you got the “Japanese favorite” thing from. Other than the thing where they asked 200 18 year olds (people who probably hadn’t played most of the other games) and she only got 4% of the vote.

  • I liked that they used Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for the Final Fantasy Tactics representative. FFTA FTW!

  • Try to find Hiroyuki Ito but cant see his comment . Look like he dont exist anymore

  • You’ve got the answer wrong…

    It was of course Final Fantasy VIII ?

    • I totally agree! I don’t know why VIII doesn’t get appreciated all that much (maybe it’s the Draw – system which is indeed not the best part of the game), but story-wise, the rest of the battle system and the card mini game make it my favorite as well.

      I always thought IX was one of my favorites as well, but after playing through the HD version I realized it missed the impact of VII, the addiction level of X and the perfection of VIII.

      I’m hoping on  FF VIII HD and even more on a remake soon (keep it turn-based people! Just get rid of the Draw system… Look at The Legend of Heroes on how to build a great contemporary turn-based battle system)!

    • Agree too, I liked FFVIII the most, and I might be one of the few that really liked the draw system, it’s a bit grindy though.

      I got disappointed and suprised when IX HD came out, because they had skiped VIII, but hopefully it’s the next one, unless they go back to the first six or evev Tactics.

  • I have a feeling that Final Fantasy Type Zero will be one of the PS Plus games this month for some reason.

    Remember, you heard it here first!

  • X was the last great FF for me. They all suck since then and XV was the biggest disappointment of the generation for me.

    • X is basically XIII with a few unannoying characters and a different battle system. You’re still running down a corridor pretty much the entire game, you’re still almost doing pretty much the same plot.

      It’s unsurprising it was directed by the same guy.

    • I loved that one too. Especially the PS2 version. Music was pure magic. XD

  • I’m pleasantly surprised how many of them consider FF V the best.

  • Of course Toriyama would pick his own game here.

    • Dude, that’s like saying Rian Johnson picking The Last Jedi as his favorite Star Wars movie. Gee, I wonder why they would say that?

  • Never played the old 2D ones seriously. PS1 generation FTW. FFVIII is my absolute favorite. VII and IX silver and bronze. VIII was not only my first FF (no idea how the series had slipped me before that, but I suppose the more ‘mature’ character models in VIII caught my attention. Back then I didn’t really like cartoony looking games so this was the perfect introduction to the series for me. Me and a friend just rented it one day and he didn’t like it that much so I took it home, was hooked on it from the start and bought it immediately after.

    In a way it was also my first introduction to a real RPG. There was Zelda before that, but I had never really experienced an RPG with that kind of character development, story, atmosphere, cutscenes (!!) .. From then on JRPG’s, and particularly FF, became my favorite form of RPG. But I didn’t like 10 that much, the difference in design and linearity in specific. 12 did better for me, mostly because it was a technical powerhouse that nicely showed what to get out of the PS2 at the end of its generation. And then the 13 trilogy was ok in general, but not for FF games imo, and western developers started getting a lot better in console RPG’s. I figured that would be the end of my interest in the series but then I really liked XV again. Not up to PS1 standards, but definitely the best FF since then imo. So at least I got hopes for the series again. I doubt I’ll ever get into the spin-off stuff, though.

  • VII is my fave. First game I played with proper story to it, and it hit me hard. Still play through it every couple of years. (Where’s my remake?!)

    X and XV are the most fun to play for me – battles are great. V, VI, VIII and ix all stand out as having fab stories and characters although VIII looses it at the end for me.

  • So I-VI are the best games. How about releasing a collection for PS4? :P

  • I love that Toshiyuki Itahana named XIV :) It took me a while to admit this to myself, but it’s my favourite too. I love it more than VII, which has been my favourite game for many many years!

  • I suppose most people will love the first one they played. For me that was an American version of Final Fantasy II on the Super NES. It was the first time I had experienced that type of game and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I can still hum the opening music on the flying air ships. So hard but so good.

  • Played ’em all (all original versions except GBA remakes of 1/2) and it’s gotta be VI, IX and VIII for me. Opinion of VIII remains split among the fanbase but I think there can be no doubt that VI and IX are the most complete, high quality packages and thus, the best.

  • I’m “shocked” no one picked XV… ..bwahaha.

    The guy who picked XIII should be fired. Also Tabata and Nomura for turning the series into boring trash with terrible characters and useless stories.

  • My favorites: X, X-2, IX.

    That’s it.

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