Disputes long taken for granted origin
Why‘s it called FINAL fantasy if there’s a load of ’em, an internet commenter snickers before calling American football “hand egg” and ordering three more bacon meme t-shirts from Epic Threadz.
The trodden joke has an equally trodden answer: “Final Fantasy” represented the last gasp for developer Square Enix and the last shot for series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who would continue to make “final” fantasies for 16 more years.
But what if that’s wrong? Or at least not the entire story?
According to Sakaguchi, the team wanted a title that had a simple abbreviation in the Roman alphabet (FF) and a four-syllable abbreviated Japanese pronunciation (“efu efu”). Because of the setting and style, “fantasy” was an easy choice. “Final” wasn’t the first choice of adjective, however.
The initial proposed name was “Fighting Fantasy,” but it was already taken by a tabletop game. And so it is, Final Fantasy.
“To be sure, we had our backs to the wall when we were developing Final Fantasy,” Sakaguchi said, “but really, anything that started with an F would have been fine for the title.”
Of course, Sakaguchi’s explanation doesn’t discount the fact that “final” could’ve carried some import, even if it was a secondary choice shoehorned into an earlier-made decision. Famed series composed Nobuo Uematsu was thought to have clarified the origin behind the name six years ago in a Wired interview. Uematsu confirmed Sakaguchi’s often repeated explanation that he would have had to quit and go back to university had the game not been successful, but at that time Uematsu agreed that the ultimate reason for the name was that Square was going belly-up and the folks working on it figured it was their last production.
At the least, Sakaguchi’s explanation adds a new wrinkle to what has always been an inalienable piece of gaming history.