Final Fantasy 6 is one of my favorite games, so we are going to have seven different articles about Final Fantasy 6 over the course of three weeks. This week, there will be articles on Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and then the finale next Wednesday (just to be confusing). The Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play will resume on July 17. Now we continue Final Fantasy 6 coverage with…
Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster (released for Nintendo Switch in 2023) does not contain any of the dungeons or “extra content” of Final Fantasy 6 Advance (released for Gameboy Advance in 2006). That makes me sad.
When I first purchased Final Fantasy 4 (then FF2), it was a “used” rental copy with a mostly-dead save battery (well before I understood how a save battery could be replaced). I would constantly play that game with what would today be known as “speed run strats”, as I had like maybe three days before the game would reset, and all my progress would be wiped to the point that I had to watch Dark Knight Cecil venturing forth again (I still have PTSD from hearing the Red Wing theme to this day). Ultimately, it meant that I had very little time to “play around” in the final areas of FF4.
But Final Fantasy 6? That was a brand-new Christmas cartridge. That was a game with a working save battery! That was probably the first game I ever beat, and then “preserved” my completed save file. I had no problem wiping Super Mario World and its 96(☆) exits from existence to get going all over again, but Final Fantasy 6 was a different animal. I wanted to preserve the many feats and achievements that had brought me to Cyan having all his sword techs or Gau having a generally full list of monster rages. I could start a new game on one of the other save slots (and I did! This time with characters more appropriately named after my friends! With age comes wisdom!), but I was always going to save that completed save file that I had poured so much time and effort into.
But I was still young enough that I had to do something with that save file. I loved Final Fantasy 6, I loved its eventually broken world, and I wanted to do more with it. And this was still at least a year away from having the likes of Chrono Trigger or Super Mario RPG in my hands, so I literally had nothing else like Final Fantasy 6 available. I wanted more Final Fantasy 6, and I was able to get it through I M A G I N A T I O N.
I used the “party switch” feature to make little Final Fantasy 6 “plays”. I had exclusively Sabin wander around the planet, and had a running narration of his life in the World of Ruin before he hooked up with the party proper. I had Mog, Umaro, and Gogo get revenge on a giant worm because obviously Gogo was Mog’s girlfriend who had been turned into a mimic by Zone Eater. I transformed any ol’ party into a group of imps, got some use out of the imp equipment, and had them fight t-rexs in a forest while pretending that they were breaking a Kefka-induced curse.
Now, did I really believe in my heart that any of this was “canon” or something? Of course not. I was just playing with the toys I had, and I didn’t take it any more seriously than when I was younger and working on my fanfic magnum opus with my Ninja Turtle figures. And this was exclusively something “for me”, a bored only child, and not something I ever subjected my friends or parents to. In fact, this essay is the first I’ve ever told anybody about it, give or take maybe making a tangential reference to my own childhood on this very site.
But my point? My point was that I was bored, a preteen, and wanted just goddamned anything more out of Final Fantasy 6. I loved the game, I loved the world, and I wanted more. And, eventually, Final Fantasy 6 Advance actually presented more Final Fantasy 6. Was it amazing? No. Was it everything I ever wanted? Certainly not. But was it more? Was it something some 12-year-old could find, experience, and play until their mom yelled at them for waking up two hours before school because they just had to beat the Earth Dragon? Yes. It was cool that there was new content in Final Fantasy 6 Advance, and, while it may not have added anything significant to the themes of the game or whatever, it was available. It was fun to go through a new dungeon, or find and “capture” Leviathan or Gilgamesh. And I might not be able to experience any of that as a 12-year-old ever again, but I have been informed by reliable sources that there are more 12-year-olds out there, and they don’t have access to every game ever made like I apparently do. There is an Echo Goggle Bob out there right now who is only getting Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster because it was relatively cheap and his mom heard that it was good stuff, and he is begging for more content from the Final Fantasy 6 in his Switch library. Final Fantasy 6 Advance may not have revolutionized the experience or anything, but it had more.
And it kind of sucks that it looks like there won’t be more ever again.
You can always look at death of an author, hacks, or even the simple concept that the original game still exists. Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Perfect isn’t going to change the PSX or SNES versions (SNES version marginally available on the WiiU!), or make anything about the Advance editions “canon”. These new “editions” are already modified from their originals in ways that are superficial (Terra’s hair is greener, I guess) or significant (a non-Woolsey translation could certainly color someone’s interpretation of literally every bit of FF6), so they are not definitive preservation efforts anyway. Let ’em have a little more content. Let people have a little more game to play.
…. And that’s all before we get into the fact that the GBA-based Kaiser Dragon was apparently cut from the original, and was supposed to have some kind of weird dialogue or something according to included files. Is the Advance version offering new content that was always at least somehow intentional? We don’t know! Might be fun to see it in action, though…
Point is that Advance content should be in the Pixel Remaster, because I’ll be damned if I see more kids have to use their fuggin’ imaginations to get more content out of a game! I don’t want them to suffer like I did!
Next time on Final Fantasy 6: Let’s go crazy!