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Why it matters: Square Enix confirmed this month that the final release in its “pixel remasters” of the early Final Fantasy games wouldn’t make it to launch in 2021. However, a recent magazine screenshot suggests visual enhancements far beyond the previous remasters.
When Square Enix initially revealed remasters of the first six main Final Fantasy games, it planned to launch them all in 2021 on Steam and mobile. Final Fantasy V dropped on November 20, leaving a small window for FFVI to land in 2021. However, last week the publisher announced it had to push the remaster to February 2022.
As if in apology, Square Enix added some bonus music tracks and wallpapers for customers who pre-purchase the game, which they’ll be able to get when it arrives. Famitsu magazine’s December 2021 issue suggests the final remaster’s extended development time might be because it’s had the most work done on it.
The screenshots look like the original Super NES version, and the other pixel remasters (below), except for one showing Final Fantasy VI’s famous opera scene rendered in 3D (above). The style looks similar to the 2.5D graphics Square Enix used for Octopath Traveler and will apply to the Dragon Quest III remake. None of the other pixel remasters contain changes like this, and this is the most significant visual upgrade Final Fantasy VI has ever seen.
The first PC versions of Final Fantasy V and VI, which Square Enix released in 2015, were criticized for their messy graphics. The pixel remaster of V, in contrast, has maintained a positive review rating on Steam over the last month, so one can expect VI might as well.
Playing Final Fantasy VI right now presents a difficult choice between the Game Boy Advance version with additional content and superior English translation or the original Super NES version’s much-lauded sound quality. This new PC remaster could settle that choice and extensively update one of the SNES’s most critically-acclaimed games.