The Final Fantasy series of video games is 25 years old this year, with the first title, unsurprisingly called Final Fantasy, released in 1987. Since then there have been 14 games released in the main series, with countless other spin-offs and connected sequels.
All of the Final Fantasy games belong to the RPG genre, although the art direction, style of gameplay, and methods for battling foes while growing your characters have changed considerably through the years. The titles have varied in quality, as has the popularity of the series. But there remains a core group of fans who love everything to do with Final Fantasy. The following websites are where they hang out.
Final Fantasy Wiki
Final Fantasy Wiki is the first place all committed or budding Final Fantasy fans should head to online. The Final Fantasy Wiki contains more than 12,000 pages, all broken down into categories on the homepage.
All the games, characters, creatures, and locations are here waiting to be discovered and explored. There are images and videos, chatrooms and forums, and links to other sources for all things related to Final Fantasy.
Best Feature: Clicking on ‘Random Page’ will take you to a, well, random page (what else did you expect?) This could cover a topic you have never thought of exploring before or throw up a piece of media you have never seen before.
Final Fantasy Network
Final Fantasy Network comprises news, reviews, and features, as well as various community tools. In compiling this list I found many Final Fantasy sites no longer being updated, but Final Fantasy Network is still seeing a steady stream of content.
You can sort content via either category or game title, the latter being a great feature for those who have only dipped into the series. There are also links to spaces on external sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.
Best Feature: Some of the updates are news and videos you won’t find elsewhere. For instance, information pertaining to a concert tour by the composers of some of the iconic Final Fantasy music.
Eyes On Final Fantasy
Eyes On Final Fantasy comprises news posts, a forum, a chatroom, a Wiki, and a random selection of blog posts that defy classification. This looks to be an active community, with every corner of the site being used.
There are usually hundreds of people on the site at any one time, which is pretty good for an unofficial website dedicated to a niche topic. And the range of content means one click invariably leads to another.
Best Feature: The forum is packed to the rafters with threads on everything related to the Final Fantasy series, related games, and gaming in general.
Hell And Heaven Net
Hell and Heaven Net has recently undergone a makeover, but it has been online since 2001. In that time an extensive news archive has built up, as have resources for all the Final Fantasy games right up to Final Fantasy XIV.
Each game is explored thoroughly, with information including the story and battle system, tips and secrets, and even the music and artwork. This is a site for true fans who want more than the games themselves can offer.
Best Feature: Not content with just covering the Final Fantasy series, Hell and Heaven Net also ventures further into the world of Square-Enix RPGs, with Kingdom Hearts and Grandia amongst those featured.
Final Fantasy Forums
Final Fantasy Forums is an unofficial community for fans of the series. The statistics tell you how good a resource it is, with more than 18,000 members reading almost 1 million posts in more than 44,000 threads.
The forum is broken down into various sections, with Square-Enix, individual titles, and movies and television shows related to the series all given their own space to breathe. There are also sections where more-mainstream discussions can be had.
Best Feature: There is a whole section dedicated to role-playing and role-players. This is where those who create new worlds, realities, or versions of themselves can let their imaginations run free.
The Final Fantasy series has some intense fans who play little besides the titles released by Square-Enix. It also has its haters; those who cannot, and likely never will, understand the appeal. What’s clear is that this series is going nowhere, with more games planned for the future. Unfortunately there is still no sign of that Final Fantasy VII remake, but perhaps the next-gen consoles will deliver.
Whether you love or hate the Final Fantasy series please feel free to air your views. Which Final Fantasy game is your favorite of all time? Alternatively are there any that you hated? If you know any other websites dedicated to the Final Fantasy series (that are still being updated) then please let us know in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Andrew Evans