Final Fantasy Graphics Progression

Timeline created by Sky115
  • Final Fantasy 1

    Final Fantasy 1
    The graphics of the first final fantasy game were 8-bit sprites, which are a collection of still images quickly replacing eachother to give the illusion of movement. They started out with very little detail and few colors, but improved as the games went on. It was originally released on the NES.
  • Final Fantasy II

    Final Fantasy II
    Final Fantasy II was released on the "Family Computer" which is what the NES was called in Japan. It was not released in the US at this time. The graphics are still sprites but with a bit more detail to characters and environments.
  • Final Fantasy III

    Final Fantasy III
    The third installment of the FF series was also only released in Japan on the NES or Family Computer. Again there are slight improvements to the level of detail, but still pretty much the same formula as far as graphics go. They couldn't improve that much working on the same hardware.
  • Final Fantasy IV

    Final Fantasy IV
    Things get a bit confusing here because this was actually called Final Fantasy II because only Final Fantasy I had been released outside Japan prior, but it's called IV now. This was the first release for the Super NES so there was a pretty nice graphics improvements. Still using 2D sprites but detail is much better, and the environments especially improved here.
  • Final Fantasy V

    Final Fantasy V
    Final Fantasy V was released in 1992 on the Super Famicon which is the Japanese name of the Super NES, but this was another Japan-only release. Graphically we just see minor improvements over the FFIV look nothing groundbreaking.
  • Final Fantasy VI

    Final Fantasy VI
    Final Fantasy VI is an odd case like FFIV because it was the 3rd FF game released in North America, so it was originall called FF III here, but eventually was normaled to VI internationally. This is the last FF game on the Super NES. Again there were detail improvements to the sprites, and the detail of combat backgrounds was improved a lot, almost to the point of making the characters look out of place in my opinion.
  • Final Fantasy VII

    Final Fantasy VII
    3D! FFVII was the first FF title to appear on the Sony Playstation, and represented a huge leap in the graphics quality. Many envrionments were 2D, but characters were all 3D rendered and looked especially good in combat scenes, a bit ridiculous running around the world, but still 3D. The cutscenes were also very nice looking, and quite large. The game came on 3 CDs, but they were just to hold the cutscenes, the entire game otherwise was actually on each CD.
  • Final Fantasy VIII

    Final Fantasy VIII
    Final Fantasy 8 was also released on the Sony Playstation, and had some substantial improvements over VII. The combat graphics were not improved a ton, but the real progress could be seen outside of combat, where characters models were much nice, and many more environments were 3D.
  • Final Fantasy IX

    Final Fantasy IX
    FFIX was the final FF game made for the Sony Playstation. It is somewhat of an interesting case because it was stylized to look reminiscent of the older games, just with nice 3D models and environments. They didn't try to make people look so realistic as they did in VII and VIII.
  • Final Fantasy X

    Final Fantasy X
    The next console upgrade brought us FFX. In this game we saw, with the new Playstation 2 hardware, quite an improvement in realism of the characters and environments. This was the first FF game to have 3D backgrounds and also facial expressions and mouth movement (for the new voice acting).
  • Final Fantasy XI

    Final Fantasy XI
    FFXI was a very different game than previous titles in the franchise because it was an MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. None of the previous FF games had features online play. Graphically FFXI was not much more impressive than FFX as far as looks, but it probably took a lot more hardward to run the large environments and large number of players and enemies simultaneously on screen. It was released first on the PS2 in Japan in 2002, then on PC in Japan and NA in 2003.
  • Final Fantasy X-2

    Final Fantasy X-2
    FFX-2 was released on the PS2 about when FFXI was coming to North America. Minor improvements graphically since FFX. First sequel to a FF game.
  • Final Fantasy XII

    Final Fantasy XII
    FFXII was the last FF game released on the PS2. There were minor improvements from X and XI graphically, but they also spent some hardware making the game flow better with changes like no more transition into a special mode for battles.
  • Final Fantasy XIII

    Final Fantasy XIII
    FFXIII was the first Final Fantasy game released on the Playstation 3. This, of course, means great graphical improvements since the last game. In addition to remarkably realistic-looking people with impressive facial expression and flowing clothes and hair, the environments are also very rich and detailed.
  • Final Fantasy XIV

    Final Fantasy XIV
    Final Fantasy XIV is Square's second attempt at a MMORPG. FFXI was fairly successful, and the response to FFXIV was somewhat lacking. It was released first for the PC in 2010 and they plan to release it on the PS3 in 2013, with a patch to improve on some of the shortcomings. Graphically it is very similar to FFXIII.