I’m Delighted To See Fantasian, Sakaguchi’s Swan Song, Finally Getting Some Love

Prepare for a classic Final Fantasy-esque adventure with a twist.

Story Highlights

  • Fantasian, Sakaguchi’s last work and a throwback to his roots is finally getting a PC and console release.
  • With a classic design akin to FF6 and a little hand-crafted diorama magic, Fantasian deserves more love.
  • It’s good to see mobile games getting appropriate attention and not just flat-out dismissal.

The name “Final Fantasy” has essentially become an icon in the gaming industry, especially in the JRPG domain. The series, alongside Dragon Quest, was responsible for many of the genre’s long-running conventions and continues to serve as an influence for games to this day. We owe it all to the legendary mind of Hironobu Sakaguchi.

But did you know that Final Fantasy isn’t the only thing Sakaguchi was responsible for? In fact, we’re about to get one of his gems you probably didn’t even know existed, courtesy of the recent Nintendo Direct. Let’s see what Fantasian is all about.

YouTube video

Mistwalker And Fantasian, Origins

Before I start yapping about Fantasian, let me tell you a little about Hironobu Sakaguchi’s side project, Mistwalker.

Though responsible for many legendary projects at Square Enix, it seems the restrictions of the corporate giant were a little too much for the creative stuff Sakaguchi had in mind. Thus, he wanted a faraway hut of his own where he could plan a getaway once in a while. This led to the creation of the independent studio Mistwalker.

Anyone here a fan of Mistwalker Studios? It was formed by the original Final Fantasy creator and they made three big console RPGs.
byu/Asad_Farooqui inJRPG

If you were an active participant in the Xbox 360 era, I’m sure you’ve heard the name on more than one occasion. That’s right, Mistwalker was responsible for some of my favorite RPGs of the console, including Blue Dragon, and the highly underrated Lost Odyssey I’d give anything to see revived. That’s not all, Sakaguchi continued to extend his Final Fantasy expertise to mobile platforms as well.

Lost Odyssey deserves more recognition | Source: IMDB
Lost Odyssey deserves more recognition | Source: IMDB

This is when stuff like Terra Battle and Fantasian came into play. 

Fantasian, Classic Design With An Artistic Twist

Sakaguchi’s time at Mistwalker is when he experimented like crazy. He even created a surfing game, for crying out loud. However, the end of his game-making days was upon him due to his age. That’s when he decided to revisit his roots one last time. Fresh from playing the crown jewel called Final Fantasy 6, he decided to base what would probably be his last project on this masterpiece he had very fond memories of. This is essentially the origin story of Final Fantasy 6.

Final Fantasy 6, the magnum opus | Source: Nintendo
Final Fantasy 6, the magnum opus | Source: Nintendo

Sakaguchi expressed his love for the classic design choices of past JRPGs, and I agree that they’re extremely unique and entertaining, not “boring and old-fashioned,” as some people believe these days. Anyway, he called upon his buddy Nobuo Uematsu for that delicious Final Fantasy music and set on a journey to recreate the long-lost magic.

Fantasian is where PS1-era FF lives on…and that’s amazing.
byu/SirSprite inJRPG

However, a simple “blast to the past” wasn’t going to cut it. That’s when Sakaguchi came up with the highly bizarre idea of using hand-crafted dioramas instead of 3D models. Over 150 original, hand-made models were meticulously crafted and scanned into the game. That’s what I call taking “a personal touch” to the extreme. Of course, this was a ten on the scale of time consumption, but it was also a ten in artistic beauty.

Couple that with an ingenious score from Nobuo Uematsu, and Fantasian is a mindblowing painting, one with turn-based combat and a story sprinkled over.

The story revolves around the amnesiac Leo and his band of allies, but the gameplay is where things get interesting. Alongside the traditional turn-based mechanics and random encounters, the game introduces the “Dimengeon” system. In simple words, it’s a magic bottle that entraps the enemies of random battles, allowing you to skip them. 

You'll find Fantasian pretty entertaining | Source: u/RHax21 (Reddit)
You’ll find Fantasian pretty entertaining | Source: u/RHax21 (Reddit)

Sounds too good. There has to be a catch, right? You guessed it, the bottle is not limitless. When it “breaks,” all the random encounters you skipped suddenly become a big problem. Strategically using this feature is the key to success. All in all, Fantasian is a highly entertaining JRPG combining beloved classic game design with some creative shenanigans.

Glad To See Mobile Games Getting Some Attention

I know what you’re thinking. A Sakaguchi game based on the legendary FF 6, why haven’t I heard of it? It’s because Fantasian is a mobile game, a collaborative project between Mistwalker and Apple. With mobile gaming considered inherently inferior, it’s no wonder even the good ones go unnoticed.

Opinion: FANTASIAN is the most underappreciated iOS game of all time
byu/silentrocco iniosgaming

But now, Fantasian’s time in the shadow has come to an end. An enhanced version called Fantasian Neo Dimension is coming to Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X|S. You can finally witness this beautiful gem in all its glory, and experience Sakaguchi’s final work.

And while we’re on the topic, I’d like to say that it’s good to see that mobile gaming has come a long way. Not only are the games getting mainstream attention now, but the platform itself is now capable of running console-level games, not just minimalistic creations. The latest iPhone can even run AAA games.

Mobile gaming has come a long way, and I hope it continues to evolve. It’s no longer the “we don’t consider it true gaming” device.

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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