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Why is Final Fantasy 8 never coming to PS4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch?

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Final Fantasy 8 (3)

UPDATE: Never say never, right? The Final Fantasy that deserves the most love, is finally getting an HD remaster and it looks damn good.

The funny thing is, I got a call [a couple years ago] from Square, because they wanted to rerelease the PC version, and they asked me if I knew where the gold master was. Yeah, they lost it.


Eidos President between 1997 and 1999 Keith Boesky, Polygon’s Oral History of Final Fantasy VII

It’s a tale as old as time: Square Enix spots a new platform to re-release classics on, announce a new collection of nostalgia and there we go, several Final Fantasy games ready to enjoy on your platform of choice. The glorious benchmark of Final Fantasy VII that rewrote the rulebook on hype in the 1990s, the magical Final Fantasy IX that returned the series to its roots and the wonderful fusion of sci fi and fantasy that is Final Fantasy X.

Wait a minute…there’s a number missing there. A Final Fantasy that is a masterpiece, still holds up well today and may just be one of the greatest love stories in the entire history of the game if you reject the official reality of what its development team had made canon and substitute with fan theories instead. I’m talking of course, about Final Fantasy VIII.

Final Fantasy 8 (6)

Many moons ago when I was chatting to Checkpoint Chat co-host organism Matty, he made an interesting point: Your first Final Fantasy will always be the best Final Fantasy in your opinion. He’s not wrong, and I’ll defend the eighth core title in the long-running series until the day I die. Even without my bias, you have to admit that Final Fantasy VIII is a special game.

It’s about love and loss, the value of memories and the bonds of friendship forged in the crucible of war. To me, it’s the game that broke me out of my shell during high school and rewrote my perspective and how I see the world. I’ve also played it an absurd number of times, on PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PS Vita and PC. Which coincidentally, are the only platforms that you’ll find Final Fantasy VIII on.

Final Fantasy 8 (1)

These days, you can find Final Fantasy VII on a wide range of platforms. In 2019, it’ll be joining Final Fantasy IX and the remasters of of X and X-2 on Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. So what’s the deal? Why is Final Fantasy VIII given the cold shoulder constantly? The answer, lies in two possible reasons that fans have debated across the internet for ages.

One makes technical sense, the other…is pure red tape that not even the fabled Lionheart gunblade could cut through. There’s a great summary over on VG247 over how Square Enix had a very laid-back approach to preserving the all important source code of their early PSX era Final Fantasy games, leaving developers over on the PC port side of the equation to awkwardly stitch buggy pieces of the games together into a product that was resting on the creakiest of foundations when released.

Final Fantasy 8 (5)

The PC port of Final Fantasy VII is a prime example of this, as the source code given to Eidos in 1997 was actually just an early and buggy version of that game. The source code was nowhere to be found, Eidos had to make do and even the team working on that port managed to lose their source version of the finished game.

Final Fantasy IX suffered a similar fate, although not to the extent that Final Fantasy VII did thanks to its staff being butter-fingered with one of the most historic games of all time. It stands to reason then, that such a lacksadaiscal approach probably saw a lot of Final Fantasy VIII’s original code lost to the sands of time.

Final Fantasy 8 (9)

Funny thing is though, is that the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII ain’t half-bad. Sure, there may be some visual inconsistencies such as muddy backgrounds that the sharper character models inhabit, but it’s generally a smooth and solid experience. What’s to stop that version being ported over alongside the recently announced Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions of VII, IX and X?

I’ll tell you what: A single song.

Sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one, and Final Fantasy VIII’s legacy could all come down to the Eyes on Me song that Nobuo Uematsu penned. Performed by Chinese superstar Faye Wong, Eyes on Me is a song that is intrinsic not only to the story of Final Fantasy VIII but the very heart of the game. It sums up the emotions, the battles and the story of that game, anchoring a tale that takes place across time and space.

Final Fantasy 8 (4)

Its composition can be heard during key moments, setting the stage and eventually being used for one of the most tender moments in all of Final Fantasy VIII, but said track may have fallen prey to musical rights issues that have prevented Square Enix’s magnificent RPG from appearing on more recent gaming platforms. While the melody has been heard in Dissidia Final Fantasy and the musical mash-up Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Wong’s angelic vocals have been persona non grata in those rare instances when the pure musical composition of Eyes on Me was utilised.

A pity really, because Final Fantasy VIII still stands out as a highlight of the PSX era. Its Junction system was ahead of its time, its world was impossibly huge for the era that it took place in and its themes feel as relevant today as they were twenty years ago in 1999.

Final Fantasy 8 (2)

Last Updated: June 11, 2019

35 Comments

  1. Still the best Final Fantasy game by far in my opinion!

    Reply

    • The D

      January 22, 2019 at 13:24

      My man 😀

      Reply

    • andrewsqual

      January 26, 2019 at 14:12

      I do like VIII even though the plot got crazy and worse from disc 1 on and the drawing thing was tedious. Still, I had fun playing 1 hundred card games as soon as you leave Balamb Garden at the start and then converting all those cards into magic and becoming super strong and I haven’t even gone to Ifrit yet lol. The leveling up was weird too woth 1000exp needed throughout the whole game every level.

      Reply

  2. Allykhat

    January 22, 2019 at 13:34

    The first FF game I watched someone play was 8. I loved the GFs from 8… Quetzalcoatl, Bahamut and Leviathan were my favorites. BUT. 9 was MY first FF game, and as you said, your first is always the best.

    My most memorable moment was spending weeks trying to beat the Soulcage in the Lifa tree only to wipe when it was so close to death and having Phoenix pop in, Rez everyone and deal the final damage to kill the cage. Good times 😛

    Reply

    • The D

      January 22, 2019 at 13:43

      I’m actually so excited for the Switch release of 9. I’ve never played it, and I am dead keen to give it some love.

      Reply

      • Allykhat

        January 22, 2019 at 14:53

        I wasn’t aware there was a switch port coming… And I just so happen to be getting switch in a month or so… Color me keen 😛

        Reply

  3. CrAiGiSh

    January 22, 2019 at 13:49

    Why is Final Fantasy 8 never coming to PS4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch?

    Because its not the best one 😛

    Reply

    • The D

      January 22, 2019 at 13:54

      This is how people get banned from the comments section.

      Reply

      • CrAiGiSh

        January 22, 2019 at 16:16

        /runs

        XD

        Reply

    • Umar

      January 22, 2019 at 16:32

      Do you want to get banned for spreading such blatant lies?

      Reply

      • CrAiGiSh

        January 23, 2019 at 15:19

        XD

        Reply

    • Biely Náčelník

      June 23, 2019 at 20:54

      Because is so best and good, that she newer needed Remake as FFVII. 🙂

      Reply

  4. Johnny Mike

    January 23, 2019 at 04:15

    So disappointing. This is my favorite video game of all time. I’d love a remaster. And for talks of remakes, this one is the most deserving, because it has the most potential to improve. For all it’s faults that could be corrected, it could be an amazing remake.

    Reply

  5. andrewsqual

    January 26, 2019 at 14:12

    Who said it isn’t? How many people were screaming asking where FFIX was a year and 4 months after FFVII came to PS4………………because FFIX was announced and released for PS4 about a year and 9 months later. So that means we will get FFVIII some point this year.

    Why can nobody else see this??? Oh and grass is green and Rockstar games will not be at E3 to announce GTAVI but you will probably do 400 million articles on that before June anyway.

    Reply

    • andrewsqual

      June 11, 2019 at 09:24

      Haha I was so right. FFVIII out this year.

      Reply

  6. Thish ish that Chrisssh

    February 16, 2019 at 00:38

    I don’t buy the lost code scenario. But copyright issues to the main theme… that’s just messed up.
    If that’s true and SE cared enough, they’d just have a new vocal theme song composed to replace the moments when Eyes On Me is played. You know how Stand By Me was made one of the official themes of XV? Do that.
    But they won’t. It’s still the red-headed stepchild of the series to them I’m sure.

    Reply

  7. Brandon

    March 14, 2019 at 00:01

    This is a super late reply since I’ve only just stumbled upon this, but it would be weird for Eyes on Me to be the only reason. We already essentially know the source code was lost and that VIII was more complicated in programming than VII due to its scope; also, the other HD rereleases of games (X, X-2, XII) have all included their theme songs, which were also commercially-released and whose melodies are also owned by Square. Even if there IS an issue with Faye Wong’s vocals, Square-Enix already has, what, three re-recordings they could use? There’s one by Angela Aki, one by Kanon, and then I think Susan Calloway also recorded a version, as did Crystal Kay (though she doesn’t seem to have a relationship with S-E).

    Reply

  8. Blaze

    March 30, 2019 at 17:50

    FF8 is one of my fave games hopefully some day they will remake into the switch

    Reply

  9. Charles Lescoe

    April 5, 2019 at 21:06

    This is just sad that something so petty would stop this. Final Fantasy 8 was and still is my favorite FF game. You would think that once its in the game its in the game and as long as said song isn’t used outside of the game then there would be no legal rights issues. I swear people are so damn petty

    Everyone has their favorites and to each their own, it comes down to taste. I loved 7 but why I love 8 more then any other comes down ultimatly to two things. 1 ilove the love story of a man who loved a woman but couldn’t be with her and ended up loving another whos kid would then fall in love with the kid of the first love.
    But mostly the draw system. No more leveling up materia, or stupid mana. You just take all the magic you want from your enemys and then can bolster it to make yourself stronger. The draw system was absolutly amazing.

    Reply

  10. Covarr

    April 7, 2019 at 21:59

    It’s interesting you should bring up the whole “lost code” thing. While probably true, this is almost certainly not the reason:

    First of all, the Steam rereleases of FF7 and FF8 have not seen their source code updated at all. Rather, they are the original games, but with a heavy amount of new stuff laid over the top to fix bugs, to add support for features such as HD rendering and OGG background music, and to make the game work right on modern machines. This work was largely done in the first place by the modding community, with the most notable engine fixes and modernizations done by a single modder going by the name Aali.

    At some point probably in 2011 or 2012, a company called DotEmu hired (or contracted) Aali. Incidentally, around the same time Square Enix contracted DotEmu to fix up the PC port of FF7 for modern machines. Aali was put to work and redid all his modding code to use DirectX instead of OpenGL, and his work is what eventually made it to Steam. This was, as far as I’m aware, done without access to the original source code; everything was based on reverse engineering done by Aali and the modding community between 1998 and 2012.

    The Android, PS4, iOS, Xbox One, and Switch ports, seemingly also done by DotEmu (it’s hard to track down for sure, as they’re totally uncredited, TOSE-style) are all literally just the PC version, wrapped in an emulator or interpreter of sorts to make it run on these devices. This has the unique side effect that many fan mods originally made for the PC version can be applied to these other versions without too much effort, provided you have a hacked console, jailbroken phone, etc.

    Here’s the thing. All that work Aali did to fix up FF7, first as a fan, then later for DotEmu? He did the same for FF8. Once again, without access to the original source code. So while a true code port is likely out of the question, a wrapper-style port should be just as doable.

    I’ve never heard the “Eyes on Me” theory before. While the original recording for FF8 hasn’t appeared in any other games, other arrangements (including arrangements of “Julia” and “Waltz for the Moon”, which themselves are arrangements of Eyes on Me) have appeared since. This suggests to me that maybe they own the composition but not the recording. If that is the case, I can’t help but wonder why they haven’t considered hiring another artist to do a new recording, which they could make sure they would own outright.

    Reply

  11. Spring

    May 2, 2019 at 20:05

    FF8 was my intro game to RPGs and final fantasy and I love it and still play it when I’m bored of other games. I would love to have a remake for newer systems.

    Reply

  12. Calle18smile

    June 7, 2019 at 16:43

    At the beginning it seems you are talking about me. I have been so obsessed with this game throughout the years since mid-school. I perfectly remind the days when i was completing the story for the first time (and beating the Weapons..). With ps3 i decided to buy a digital copy and started to note every detail catching my eye during the playthrough. Man, this game rocked my youth and sometimes i recall it with melancholy. It is something frozen in time (well, like the others). Somewhat sacred to me.

    Reply

  13. CarnageHeart

    June 11, 2019 at 10:10

    Yes it is.

    Reply

  14. truth8705

    June 16, 2019 at 06:46

    PLEASE PLEASE remake this classic and put it on the newest consoles. This game was my childhood.

    Reply

  15. Ayame

    June 19, 2019 at 19:34

    It is xD and I knew it was for a few years now xD in this exact year

    Reply

  16. ?22 Days until Astral Chain

    August 20, 2019 at 02:24

    This has aged well /s

    Reply

  17. Adrianna

    September 11, 2019 at 21:43

    And now it’s been released…

    Reply

  18. John McCracken

    September 19, 2019 at 02:45

    Don’t fret. It’s finally remastered and on Xbox

    Reply

  19. Michael Brooks

    September 26, 2019 at 04:25

    This article aged well.

    Reply

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