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The Surprising Final Fantasy Game Getting An Animated Series

"Final Fantasy" games have been around since 1987, when the very first role-playing title in the series was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System. In case you've lost count, players are now waiting for the 16th installment in the main series, which will be a PlayStation 5 timed exclusive when it releases. However, as fans wait for more news about Final Fantasy 16, a more surprising new piece of information about the franchise has come out. A "Final Fantasy" game is being slated for production as an animated series aimed at 8- to 13-year-olds. 

The announcement comes out of France-based Cyber Group Studios. The company said it had entered into an exclusive option agreement with developer Square Enix to create an adventure animation series aimed at family audiences and players who know the world inside the game.

Dominique Bourse, COO of Cyber Group, said in a press release, "The opportunity to reach such a large crowd with hundreds of millions of fans around the world as well as a new public of both kids and adults is an immense challenge that we feel extremely proud about." If you had to guess which "Final Fantasy" was getting the animation treatment, we doubt this one would be your first bet.

Why Final Fantasy 9 is special

This isn't the first time "Final Fantasy" has been adapted to another medium, although Kidscreen reports that this does mark the first time the ninth game will be turned into an animated kid-oriented series. Why "Final Fantasy 9?" 

In case it's been a while since you've played the game (it was last released for the Switch in 2019), here's the plot: Protagonist Zidane and the noble (but thievery-oriented) Tantalus theater troupe kidnap the princess Garnet/Dagger, who turns out to be a willing victim. She and her personal guard, Adelbert Steiner, fall in with Zidane as they seek to defeat a malevolent force that wants to destroy their world. We're talking war, crystals, monsters, clones, airships, black mage armies, and the kind of plot twists, music, and charm that make up the quintessential "Final Fantasy" charm. 

"Final Fantasy 9" was a return to the dominant medieval fantasy roots of the franchise, after the previous two games embraced even more modern themes than usual (the games always mixed tech with fantasy, but we're talking modern realism and steampunk sci-fi here). Other games in the series have also become fan favorites, but this one "has its own style and energy that hadn't quite been done before or since," VG24/7's Alex Donaldson said in 2020. He attributed this to a diverse development team and to it being the last title in the franchise to be driven by the vision of series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. "After this game, there was a turn toward really focusing on the latest visual technology and cinematic presentation," he said. 

It will be interesting to discover how Cyber Group deals with the big themes of "Final Fantasy 9" — like lifedeathidentity and existentialism — and how it translates them into a family-oriented TV series.