Whatever Happened to Final Fantasy IX?

Final Fantasy IX - Black Mage

With the ever-impressive Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn hitting the market over the summer, I’m left to ask important questions. Questions of deep thought and heavy weight, the sort that hang in the mind of all JRPG fans everywhere. The one, single question that’s been burning in our minds for years upon years at this point. Whatever happened to Final Fantasy IX​?

Certainly, everyone remembers that Final Fantasy IX existed. It had to, since we’re now on number fourteen (sixteen if we’re counting sequels, twenty if we’re counting Game Boy games). You can find Zidane in Dissidia for the PSP, and you can certainly find evidence of people having enjoyed Number 9. But when you get right down to it, no one talks about it.

I have an opinion on that: It was not a bad game. I liked it well enough. After Final Fantasy VIII, which sucked out loud, Squaresoft promised a return to more traditional Final Fantasy themes, and that’s exactly what they gave us. The story was a touch slapped together, but certainly better than the previous game. The ability system was leaps and bounds ahead of the junction system. It was, quite frankly, a breath of fresh air.

Only, then the next game to come out was Final Fantasy X. Another game I liked well enough, but it’s rather polarizing. People either love it or they hate it, and they want to talk about that. They want to complain about Blitzball, or the sphere grid. Or they want to tell you how Blitzball was fun, and the sphere grid was perfectly intuitive. They want to talk about how whiny Tidus was, or their pet theory that the game plays better if you imagine that Tidus was actually Yuna, and Yuna was the only one who could see him (okay, that’s my pet theory, but think about it!)

You see what’s happened, though? In an article about Final Fantasy IX, I’ve talked about Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, and said almost nothing about Final Fantasy IX. I’ve said nothing about the story, the gameplay, or the characters. Not because they were bad, but because they weren’t particularly good, either.

That, then, is the answer. What ever happened to Final Fantasy IX​​? It had the misfortune to be a mediocre-to-decent game that came between two games that were surrounded by incredibly strong opinions. Which is too bad, because Vivi was the most awesome Final Fantasy character ever.

Bye, Kupo!

  • graham_cracker90

    Naive is too small a word to describe this slapdash article. Both 8 and 9 were in fact well received, 9 being universally described as one of the best games on the PlayStation. 94% on Metacritic for example. You main argument for it being ‘mediocre’ is that you went off on a tangent in your own article… not only does that not make any sense, but it shows that you have no ability to craft an unbiased discussion. Simply dismissing the story, the gameplay, or the characters as ‘not particularly good’ without any form of examples or reasoning show you to simply not have a fondness for the game. So please edit the article title to say “I played Final Fantasy 9 once and can’t remember if I liked it and stuff, not heard much about it since so I guess that means it’s bad”

    • Alcoholic Luigi

      Actually, I really liked FF9. My point was not “look at how mediocre FF9 was”, but rather, “FF9 was a good game, why do we not mention it more often when discussing the good FF games?”

      Maybe I just hang with the wrong people, but when people talk about the good FF games, they tend to bring up 4, 6, and 7. They tend to not say a whole lot about 5, most people seem to dislike 8 (I hated 8, but I won’t get into those details here. They aren’t really important for this discussion), and the reception of 10 is rather mixed (I liked 10, as I said, but I recognize that it’s polarizing).

      So, uh, I don’t know why you think I don’t like FF9. I own it, along with several of the figurines, and Vivi remains the greatest FF character ever. And I agree that it was well-received at the time. My point was that I don’t understand why more people don’t bring it up when talking about FF games, and my opinion is that they don’t bring it up because it came between a notoriously bad FF game and a notoriously polarizing FF game.

      • graham_cracker90

        Reading your article seemed like a bashing of FF9, but I fully understand your point now. I think the problem is that when the topic of Final Fantasy has ever come up, with friends or online – 4,6,7 AND 9 are given as the gold standard of the series. So I have never seen 9 be ignored.

        It is very true that 8 and 10 were polarizing (I happen to love 8, but that is surely nostalgia talking as I do recognize it’s flaws) and having a game that made little controversy come out in the middle made it’s impact dwindle over time for some. So I can see your point.

        • Alcoholic Luigi

          And you, sir, are awesome. I even said so on my facebook!

          Keep being awesome!

          • graham_cracker90

            No problem. Final Fantasy 9 is my all time favorite game, so any negativity (however mild) hurts my brittle hubris :)

            Keep drinkin’, Luigi

    • dragondad13

      Don’t forget FFT! Everyone forget’s that one. Yes it wan’t anything like the others, but still and AWESOME game no the less! I love all Final Fantasy games, but since 11 it seems they are pulling away from what really made those games great. One day I hope they see their folly, but that like asking for snow in July!

      • Josh Wirtanen

        Final Fantasy Tactics is definitely one of the best games in the FF series. The story was remarkable.

  • Markymarker

    It is quite refreshing to see difference of opinion discussed instead of toppling over with insults. Cheers guys!

    • Josh Wirtanen

      Oh, absolutely. This is one of the best comment threads ever.

  • charmingtuber

    I don’t agree with the article at all, really. FFIX is one of my groups favorite RPGs, and we talk about it all the time. I see more references online to Nine than eight. (or any others besides seven and ten, really)

    I loved VIII, as well, but I seem to be alone in that opinion.

    • Josh Wirtanen

      In my experience, I’ve seen a lot of talk around IV, IV, VII, and X. I’ve always felt that these were the “big” Final Fantasy games. I feel like I see VIII referenced a lot, but outside of my personal group of friends, I almost never see IX come up in conversation. Oddly enough, I never played IX, but I always thought the concept looked really cool. It’s on my bucket list.

  • fluxxed.x1

    Well… this is a rather pointless article. What happened to IX? Let’s talk about other games and then call it a mediocre game.

    Look, opinions and all, but if you were to actually bother looking, you’ll find there’s plenty of praise for IX, heck it is the highest rated FF on Metacritic.

    But sure, it is mediocre and nobody talks about it.

    • Alcoholic Luigi

      You may notice that I said I really liked FF9. It’s still true. It ranks right up there as one of my favorite Final Fantasy games.

      It’s just that it wasn’t a game that stirred up much hype or controversy. FF7 was the big hype bomb. FF8 was the game everyone hated. FF9 didn’t have a lot of time before they were already announcing FFX, which was on a new system and so of course it was going to get a lot more hype.

      “Highly rated” and “talked about a lot” are not the same thing. Like you said, “if you go looking”. I don’t have to look for people talking about FF7, I’ll find random FF7 stuff just by hanging out on the internet. I’ll find FF8 hate by posting the word “gunblade” on Facebook. People are *still* making fun of the awkward laughing scene from FFX.

      FF9? You don’t stumble across a lot about FF9.