Publisher Square Enix revealed that a remastered version of its classic role-playing game Final Fantasy IX is due to launch for PCs and mobile platforms in Japan next year with an array of exclusive features and enhancements.
The Final Fantasy IX revamp follows up on the recent launch of a remastered Final Fantasy VII for PCs and the PlayStation 4 in North America.
Released for the original PlayStation in 2000, Final Fantasy IX marked a return to the series’ roots in terms of style and narrative themes. While its predecessors Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII shifted the series toward more realistic characters and settings, Final Fantasy IX instead evokes nostalgia for the 8-bit and 16-bit eras with more fanciful character designs and overt references to past Final Fantasy games.
Among other innovations, Final Fantasy IX introduced the Mognet in-game mail system, along with Active Time Events that give players a peek at what’s happening elsewhere within the game’s world at specific points during the storyline. Final Fantasy IX also includes a fully fledged collectible card game, Tetra Master, which pops up several times throughout the quest.
The new PC and mobile versions of Final Fantasy IX feature updated character models and high-resolution graphics, along with unlockable achievements and an auto-save option. Like the previously released port of Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix notes that the upgraded Final Fantasy IX will offer a high speed mode in addition to “several game boosting features.”
The updated PC and PlayStation 4 versions of Final Fantasy VII allow players to increase the game’s speed by a factor of three at any point, making it easy to speed through lengthy battles and story sequences. The revamped Final Fantasy VII also allows players to disable random battles and make their party members invincible during combat, eliminating the need to grind for experience and build character stats.
The revamped Final Fantasy IX will likely offer a similar set of features at launch. While a North American release for the remastered Final Fantasy IX has not been announced, a localization is likely, given that multiple Final Fantasy series remakes and remasters have hit Steam stateside in recent years. A release date for Square Enix’s Final Fantasy IX remaster is not yet known.