IGN Video Game Hall of Fame
Final Fantasy III (US) (Inducted 2009)
Final Fantasy III (US)

Published by: Square
Developed by: Square
Platform: Super NES
Year Released: 1994
Genre: RPG

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Final Fantasy VI was released stateside in 1994. But at the time, we didn't know it as such. Having only been privy to two other canon Final Fantasy titles up to that point, FFVI was released as Final Fantasy III on the SNES. Name confusion aside, gamers quickly warmed up to the title. Familiar RPG gameplay was mixed with a revolutionary magic system in the form of Espers and a highly-customizable accessory system known as Relics. When combined with an unreal fourteen playable characters, game length that could easily meet or exceed one-hundred hours, and a second half of the game tinged with non-linearity, Final Fantasy VI provided gamers with an experience they simply never had before. And for many ardent RPG purists, they've still never recaptured the spirit of Final Fantasy VI, even fifteen years after its release.

And of course, Final Fantasy VI's story is legendary in the world of RPGs, a genre where story is first and foremost. A fascist empire led by an ambitious man named Gestahl creates a dangerous piece of technology known as Magitek. Magitek (magic technology) is the result of extensive and immoral experimentation with Espers, mythical beings that once lived side-by-side with humans. But when Emperor Gestahl unleashes the power of the Espers, it's not he, but his lieutenant named Kefka that becomes the real power-hungry menace. The Returners, a resistance group led and populated by many of the game's playable characters springs up as a result. Opposed to the expansion of Gestahl's dangerous cult of personality and the technology he's unleashed on society, The Returners do battle with the forces of the Magitek Empire to stymie their advance and keep the world from being destroyed. But it's what results in The Returners' initial failures that are at the heart of Final Fantasy VI's plot, because the world isn't saved. In fact, quite the opposite is initially true.

There are few videogame series as storied as Final Fantasy. With dozens of titles existing under the moniker, an addition to the franchise has to hold its own in a realm already heavily-dominated by its brethren to be considered truly great. And to many gamers, Final Fantasy VI is the dominant game in the series (and perhaps the genre as a whole), with an intricate storyline, intriguing characters, and a disturbingly-demented and memorable bad guy that still haunts the hallowed halls of gaming villainy to this day.

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