It's quite hard to believe, but it has already been 10 years since the release of Final Fantasy XII. Arriving as the last numbered Final Fantasy game on the PlayStation 2, it served as Yasumi Matsuno's final credit before he left Square Enix (although he did later return as a freelancer for Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together).
Looking back, Final Fantasy XII is a game that brought much to the table, but at the same time divided fans and critics when it was released because of this. Those who have since revisited the title now see that perhaps it was ahead of its time, offering one of the most expansive, customisable and complex gameplay systems (Gambit System) and featuring a story that focussed more on political struggles than that of the relationships between angsty teenagers.
Although rumours have persisted for quite some time, unfortunately the only bit of hope we have for a Final Fantasy XII HD Remaster at this point comes from the mouth of Distant Worlds' conductor Arnie Roth, but with this list, we hope to give you some interesting nuggets of information to tide you over until we are able to experience this title again on a current general console.
So without further adieu, here are 10 facts about Final Fantasy XII you might not have known and you will hopefully feel are pretty darn interesting.
Chronologically, Final Fantasy XII Is The First Game of the Ivalice Franchise
Created by Yasumi Matsuno in 1995 when he joined Square, the world of Ivalice grew to become the Ivalice Alliance. This included titles such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, and, of course, Final Fantasy XII.
Not much was known about the timelines between the various games until it became common knowledge thanks to the Final Fantasy XII Ultimania Omega. In this book, it was confirmed that the events of Final Fantasy XII occur before Final Fantasy Tactics. When Final Fantasy Tactics A2 was being released, it was also revealed in an interview with IGN that both Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance A2 also take place after Final Fantasy XII.
The only game then remaining is Vagrant Story (if we're ignoring Tactics S/Crystal Defenders sub-franchise). Despite Matsuno stated that he never this game to be set in the same world as Tactics and Final Fantasy XII, there are plenty of rather pertinent references and it is therefore assumed that Vagrant Story is the last chronological game in the Ivalice series.
Final Fantasy XII Was Originally Supposed To Be Online
When Final Fantasy X, XI and XII were announced, it was revealed that Final Fantasy X would be the last offline experience in the franchise. Everything afterwards, including Final Fantasy XII, were planned to be online games.
This was changed during the planning phase, as confirmed by Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu in an interview with IGN.
We have since only had one further online title (Final Fantasy XIV), with none others announced to be in the pipeline. It's also been announced that Final Fantasy XI's console service (PS2 / Xbox 360) will be ending on the 31st of March, 2016, but that the PC service will continue.
It Was The First Final Fantasy Title To Receive A Perfect Famitsu Score
Although it wasn't the first Matsuno title to receive a perfect score from Famitsu (Vagrant Story did in 2000), Final Fantasy XII was the first in the Final Fantasy franchise.
Since that time, Final Fantasy XIII-2 is the only other Final Fantasy title to receive the same accolade, although Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 did come close (scoring 39/40).
Offers the First Villainous Cid in the Series
You might love Cid in many of his other iterations, but Final Fantasy XII offered fans their first villainous Cid.
Moonlighting as a mad scientist in Final Fantasy XII, Cidolfus Demen Bunansa (or Dr. Cid for short) also had a rather close relationship with a main cast member.
This would start up something of a trend, with Cid Raines appearing in Final Fantasy XIII as an antagonist and Final Fantasy Type-0 featuring Cid Aulstyne as the main villain.
Scene Where Penelo Is Tied Up Was Cut From Japanese Version Due To Real Life Events
At the time of Final Fantasy XII's release, a serial killer named Tsutomu Miyazaki was in the spotlight. He was given the death sentence for abducting and murdering 4 girls in Saitam and Tokyo Prefectures and his death sentence was carried out in January 2006, two months before Final Fantasy XII's release.
Although Square has not officially said that this incident was what made them remove the scene, they did say that this specific scene was cut due to incidents in the real world that would have made it a difficult thing to release at the lower age rating that they wanted.
This also marks one of the very few times where a scene was cut from the Japanese version of a Final Fantasy game, but was retained in the Western release.
Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System Was Due To Be Called Final Fantasy XII: Annex
Due to the sheer significance of the chances appearing within Final Fantasy XII International, Hiroyuki Ito who served as producer and director, did not want it to be compared to previous International releases.
It was therefore due to be called Final Fantasy XII: Annex. However, due to the strong Zodiac theme running throughout and perhaps because Ito wasn't able to implement all of the changes he wanted, they settled on Zodiac Job System and ended up throwing International back in as well.
First Final Fantasy Main Series Game To Feature Completely Different Summons
At this point, Final Fantasy fans were used to seeing the staple summons in their numbered releases; Bahamut, Shiva, Ifrit, etc. However, for Final Fantasy XII they were cut in favour of sticking with the Ivalice summons.
The summons featured in Final Fantasy XII, as they were in Final Fantasy Tactics, therefore relate to the signs of the zodiac, with exception of Zordiark, Keeper of Precepts, who was based on Ophiuchus which is another constellation.
Vaan/Ashe Had Already Appeared In A Game Before Final Fantasy XII Even Released
Both Vaan and Ashe appeared in another Square Enix title (Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Special) two years before the release of Final Fantasy XII.
They were later joined by Penelo and Balthier for Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable, but this released in Japan after Final Fantasy XII.
Square Enix has since been reluctant to follow this trend, with Noctis Lucis Caelum not being added to any other Square Enix properties until Final Fantasy XV has been released.
Only 500 Gabranth Helmets Were Made
Positioned as the most expensive piece of Final Fantasy XII merchandise, the full-size Judge Gabranth helmet is rather rare. Indeed, there were only 500 of these suckers ever made.
Even now, this serves as one of the most sought-after pieces of merchandise for collectors and prices can get pretty high for this piece, with eBay listings often going for over $1,000.
Final Fantasy XII is the Only Game In The Main Series to Remain on One Console
Although many have found love for Final Fantasy XII and critics praised the game when it was first released, Final Fantasy XII still remains the only game in the main series to be available on one console, the PlayStation 2.
Hopefully this will change should Square Enix decide to release a Final Fantasy XII HD Remaster to remedy this situation.