Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Square). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.
The artwork for the series has been associated with multiple artists: the three most prominent being Amano, Nomura and Akihiko Yoshida: Amano designed characters up to Final Fantasy VI, Nomura has designed characters for multiple games since Final Fantasy VII, and Yoshida has been involved in Final Fantasy XII, XIV and titles associated with the fictional world of Ivalice. The original gameplay created by Akitoshi Kawazu was based around Dungeons & Dragons and Wizardry. Starting with Final Fantasy IV, the Hiroyuki Ito-designed the ATB system took prevalence: variations of the ATB system have been used in multiple entries since then. These various aspects have been positively received by critics over the series' lifetime, contributing to its overall worldwide success.
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