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Are the Final Fantasy Games Connected?

Cloud Strife in front of a Mako Reactor in Final Fantasy VII: Remake.
Cloud Strife in front of a Mako Reactor in Final Fantasy VII: Remake. / Image courtesy of Square Enix

Are the Final Fantasy games connected? It's a question that's plagued the minds of many potential new players. Here's what you need to know.

If you've ever spoken to a JRPG fan (or spent more than two minutes in a room with me) you've probably been told to play a Final Fantasy game. With ports, remakes, and remasters aplenty, there's never been a better time to dive into the series. But, with 15 main entries and another on the way, it definitely looks a little daunting from the outside.

Seeing all of those Roman numerals lined up, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they're all part of one big overarching storyline. Fortunately, the truth is much simpler and means that there's an entry point for everyone.

Are the Final Fantasy Games Connected?

In short, no. The main series Final Fantasy stories are not connected. They do, however, share elements, themes, and reoccurring features but regardless of where you pick up the series it won't affect your experience.

Each main entry is its own self-contained story. You can pick up any entry, from Final Fantasy I to Final Fantasy XV, and follow the narrative fully. What might determine which entry you start with is the type of game you're looking for.

The famous JRPG series is known for its turn-based combat system, but many entries actually use a different system - particulary games released after Final Fantasy XI. Games such as Final Fantasy XIII use an Active Time Battle (ATB) system where time continues regardless of what's happening in-game, and players execute actions that deplete an ATB gauge. Final Fantasy XV is the first game in the series to make use of a real-time battle system, which might feel the most natural for newer players.

If you're looking for the quintessential Final Fantasy experience, games such as the original Final Fantasy VII, IX, or X are great starting points. Each of these makes use of turn-based combat, in some form. If you fancy an MMORPG, then Final Fantasy XIV is the place to be. But, if you want something that more closely resembles a standard Western RPG, then Final Fantasy XV or Final Fantasy VII: Remake are great games to test the waters.

It's a series loved by so many people and, for all of its merits and flaws, can provide some truly great gaming experiences. They're not for everyone, that's for sure; hopefully knowing that you can essentially start from wherever you want removes a little bit of doubt.