Final Fantasy I Soundtrack (Pixel Remaster), 2021, Nobuo Uematsu / Various
So much has been written about the original 1987 Final Fantasy, its influence analysed in such detail that there’s little to add. Like many other early Square titles, it was modelled on an earlier game – in this case, the enormously successful Dragon Quest. However, against the odds, Square managed to actually improve on the source of its inspiration, with a grander story, lusher presentation and more accessible – or just less tedious – gameplay. What’s more, Final Fantasy brought JRPGs to the attention of Western console gamers, many of whom would have never played anything like it before (unless they were familiar with computer RPGs). The rest, as they say, is history. Even though the Final Fantasy franchise’s popularity arguably peaked in the late 90s and early 00s, it remains a commercial juggernaut and one of gaming’s biggest IPs, with each new mainline release a tremendously expensive blockbuster title.