The latest chapter in the Final Fantasy series, Final Fantasy IX, has been released for the Sony PlayStation. (Note: The game is also playable on the PlayStation 2.) Most retail outlets should have the game on sale by tomorrow morning; those who ordered their copy from an online retailer should receive their copies tomorrow or soon afterward. Final Fantasy IX is expected to retail for $39.95.
The "final" in "Final Fantasy" is especially significant with Final Fantasy IX. Not only is Final Fantasy IX the last Final Fantasy game on the PlayStation, but it is the last Final Fantasy to contain a single digit in its title. When developing the game, Square took all this into consideration and opted to take the game back to the roots of the series. Gone are the cyberpunk cities and factories of Final Fantasy VII, the space stations and satellites of Final Fantasy VIII; taking their places are the castles, the dragons, the crystals, and the lighthearted characters that were the trademark of the series prior to its arrival on the PlayStation. Final Fantasy IX spans four discs and features character design by Yoshitaka Amano, who has not served as character designer since Final Fantasy VI (released in the U.S. as Final Fantasy III).
For a more detailed description of the game, including play mechanics, character descriptions, and more, be sure to read our full preview.