Final Fantasy 9's been one of the most beloved entries in the long-lived Final Fantasy series since the game's initial 2000 release. What's more, its recent arrival on the Nintendo Switch introduced a swath of new fans to the whimsical game. That might be what prompted Square Enix to take an in-depth look at the game through its new "Inside Final Fantasy" series.
Square Enix intends for Inside Final Fantasy to be an ongoing series that provides an inside perspective on the development of Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy 9 is as good a place to start as any: I only played through the game very recently myself, and I finally learned what makes it so special to so many RPG fans.
Inside Final Fantasy 9 is about twenty minutes long, and it's packed full of anecdotes about the development process, heart-warming stories, and discussions about the media that directly influenced Final Fantasy 9's development. For instance, it seems Final Fantasy 9 was inspired in no small part by the Jim Henson movie The Dark Crystal. I can definitely see the resemblance between Final Fantasy 9's human characters and the fae "Gelflings" that populate Henson's movie world (especially Zidane). That said, The Dark Crystal is significantly more grim than Final Fantasy 9 thanks to death and darkness galore.
By contrast, Final Fantasy 9's team intended for the adventure to be all about "Living!" (Yes, exclamation mark included) The end result is a memorable tale of love, hope, and being true to your heart before all else. The team even recalls a touching letter from a young fan who was going to kill himself before he played Final Fantasy 9 and saw how Zidane and his friends live life "with all their heart."
I dig it. You should dig it, too. Inside Final Fantasy 9 is a great start to this new series, and I'm hoping we see more before too long. Final Fantasy 9 can be purchased across multiple platforms, though some versions have a frustrating music bug.