Final Fantasy Countdown: Final Fantasy V
Back in the 1990s, Square believed the common western gambler was a little … well … underprivileged. The US market got a greatly reduced version of Final Fantasy IV. Role-playing games that even made it to Europe were always delivered together with a thick solution book, with Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest an ultra-simple RPG was knitted especially for fans in the West and the fantastic Final Fantasy V was thought to be in the Square house so complicated and demanding that it wasn’t even offered outside of Japan.
And yet, before the late English version as part of the Final Fantasy Anthology on PSone, there were already four attempts to bring Final Fantasy V to the West. First, Square wanted to localize the game itself under the title Final Fantasy III. But translator Ted Woolsey said in a 1994 interview: “We know it’s a great title, but it didn’t do that well in tests with various focus groups. Even if more experienced gamers were excited about the complex character development, it just isn’t accessible enough for the average gamer. A little later rumors circulated about a US release under the title Final Fantasy Extreme, but nothing came of it either.
Two attempts were then made on the PC: first by a team called Top Dog Software and later by Eidos, who at that time sold the PC versions of Final Fantasy VII and VIII. In short, all the attempts failed, the fans were a bit more angry each time, and when it looked like Final Fantasy V would never make it to the West, they took matters into their own hands: Final Fantasy V was one of the first games which was completely translated into English by the fans via a patch.
Final Fantasy V was already significantly prettier on the Super Famicom than its direct predecessor.
It was the job system that is so highly valued today that American focus groups and developers were so insecure that Final Fantasy V was even referred to as the ’90s catchphrase? Extreme ?? wanted to provide. The system really wasn’t that complicated. Each of the four characters starts in the neutral freelancer class. Freelancers can use all weapons and armor, but do not have particularly impressive combat values or special abilities. After a short playing time, however, the first six classic jobs are available: Fighter, white magician, black magician ?? no big surprises so far. At the end of the game you finally have a choice of over 30 jobs, including exotic jobs like the berserker, the dancer or the geomancer whose special advantages need to be found out first.
In contrast to Final Fantasy III, you can now change jobs at any time and without any disadvantage. Defeated opponents bring you money and experience points as well as ability points with which the jobs are leveled: You get a special skill for each job level. The knight can grab his sword with both hands and thus do more damage, the magician can use more powerful spells … However, two new elements of the job system make it dramatically superior to the previous incarnation in Final Fantasy III. Learned talents are transferred to the character and he can use them later at any time, even if he has long since changed jobs. So you can give the weak healer the monk’s fighting talents, you can equip the fighter with magical abilities or you give the ninja the ability to hold a sword in each hand.