Hironobu Sakaguchi, the mastermind behind the acclaimed Final Fantasy series, has finally addressed the long-standing urban myth surrounding the origin of the franchise’s name. For years, it was believed that Final Fantasy received its name because it was supposedly Sakaguchi’s farewell project and Square’s final game before potential bankruptcy.
However, in a recent interview commemorating the series’ 35th anniversary and the release of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster series, Sakaguchi reveals that this myth is indeed not true and even suggests that he may have unintentionally contributed to its perpetuation.
Inspiration from Fighting Fantasy and Dragon Quest
When asked about the origin of the name Final Fantasy, Sakaguchi explains that it was partly influenced by the RPG gamebook series Fighting Fantasy and the popular Square Enix franchise Dragon Quest. According to Sakaguchi, Dragon Quest was commonly referred to as “Drakue” in a shortened form.
The development team wanted to adopt a similar abbreviated title for their game but decided to use the Roman alphabet. Thus, they came up with “FF.” Sakaguchi adds that while they initially considered using “Fighting Fantasy,” they encountered trademark issues, which led them to reluctantly choose Final Fantasy as a “last resort.”
The Grand Meaning Behind the Name
Surprisingly, the profound meaning associated with the name Final Fantasy can be attributed to an unexpected source: a primary school English teacher. Sakaguchi recalls receiving a postcard from a class, stating that their teacher had explained that ‘final fantasy’ in English translates to ‘the ultimate illusion’ in Japanese.
Intrigued by this interpretation, Sakaguchi embraced it wholeheartedly, proclaiming it to be the true meaning of Final Fantasy. As he received the postcard, he knew instantly that they had found the perfect name. He enthusiastically shared this revelation with everyone present, cementing “the ultimate illusion” as the essence behind Final Fantasy.
The Unforeseen Legacy
Thanks to the combination of inspiration from Fighting Fantasy and Dragon Quest, along with the unexpected revelation from a diligent English teacher, Final Fantasy acquired its iconic name. Without these influential factors, the beloved series might not have been known by its distinctive title.
However, the notion that Final Fantasy saved Square from bankruptcy remains a separate tale, possibly shrouded in Sakaguchi’s own illusions and aspirations.
As fans continue to cherish the vast worlds and captivating stories within the Final Fantasy universe, they can now appreciate the true story behind the renowned name, a tale intertwined with inspiration and linguistic interpretations.
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