The Final Fantasy gaming franchise is no stranger to branching out into other media, including CGI films, anime, manga, novels, trading card games, and even a radio drama. Now, one of the franchise’s numerous entries is getting a television adaptation, and the Final Fantasy animated series will be based on a fan-favorite entry.
According to Kidscreen, Square Enix’s popular video game, Final Fantasy IX, is getting an animated adaptation, produced and distributed by Paris-based Cyber Group Studios. The studio inked the deal with Square Enix to adapt the title as an animated series aimed at eight-to-13 year-olds. In addition, the studio will also handle worldwide distribution, licensing, and merchandise for the upcoming show, which is expected to enter production by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.
Episode length and episode count still remain unknown as the production studio finalizes their pitch to the broadcasters. However, Cyber Group Studios’ CEO, Pierre Sissman, stated that the Final Fantasy games have a solid co-viewing potential and that the company was attracted to the gaming franchise’s popularity. In addition, Sissman also said there’s a chance to expand the brand with new characters and adventures, aiming the content to newcomers and fans alike.
Though plenty of detail still remains under wraps, like the episode count and length, there’s also very little detail about the upcoming show’s plot. Sure, it’s based on Final Fantasy IX, but that only means that it would borrow the elements of the game instead of adapting its original plot, which centers around a somewhat classical tale of a thief and a princess. The thief kidnaps the princess but later teams up with her to save the kingdom from evil forces – a cliché tale as old as gaming itself. But at the end of the day, clichés can be a good thing.
The original Final Fantasy IX game was the franchise’s last entry on the original PlayStation, released in 2000, marking the end of the series’ 2D era. And while the entire series moved to 3D on PlayStation 2 and subsequent consoles, Final Fantasy IX remains a well-received installment in the franchise because of its story, characters, and gameplay elements, such as a turn-based battle system. It was the second highest-selling title in 2000 and 4th best Final Fantasy game in the series, as per fans’ voting.
It makes sense to see Final Fantasy IX’s narrative adapted and produced by a studio that focuses on shows for kids, especially given the title’s family-friendly plot. In the end, Cyber Group Studios has an impressive roster of over 40 well-received animated titles, including Calimero, Tom Sawyer, Mini Ninjas (also adapted from a video game), etc. It’s highly improbable that a studio with such an impressive track record can mess this one up, given the abundance of the Final Fantasy universe’s history, characters, and story elements. However, it still remains to be seen how the French studio tackles identity, purpose, reasonability, and other more mature themes of Final Fantasy IX.