‘Final Fantasy VII’ Finally Comes to Nintendo, Two Decades After It Made PlayStation a Must-Have
A long-time fantasy has just come true for millions of Nintendo video gamers around the world.
Final Fantasy VII, the beloved adventure game that was first released in 1997—but not for Nintendo—was made available on the company’s Switch platform today, more than two decades after its debut.
The move is a major deal for video-game lovers, as Final Fantasy VII has long been considered one of the top titles of all time: In 2000, a readers’ poll on the geek-site IGN named it the best role-playing game of the 20th century. TIME also named it one of the best video games of all time.
But Final Fantasy VII also had a complicated history with Nintendo. In the mid 1990s, game developer Square, also known as SquareSoft, began working on a new Final Fantasy installment, one that would feature 3D gameplay. The company had a long relationship with Nintendo, which at that point was working on the soon-to-be-released, highly anticipated Nintendo 64 platform.
But according to an extensive behind-the-scenes account published in Polygon in 2017, the technological and creative ambitions of Final Fantasy VII would have been hard to pull off on Nintendo 64 cartridges. Instead, the company partnered with Sony, which had been developing PlayStation, its disc-driven attempt to compete to the mighty Nintendo brand.
At the time, “nobody had confidence in PlayStation,” one game-industry veteran told Polygon. “Nobody knew whether it would work, and most people thought that it wouldn’t. And the early pictures that came out, when it looked like a toilet bowl, confirmed everybody’s suspicions.”
Final Fantasy VII would put all fear about PlayStation to rest. The game was launched in the United States in late 1997 with a reported marketing campaign of close to $100 million, creating so much excitement that some retailers broke Sony’s street-date restrictions, just to meet demand. The game went on to sell millions of copies worldwide, and helped make PlayStation one of the most popular video-game platforms of all time.
Now, 22 years after it turned PlayStation into a contender, Final Fantasy VII finally arrives on Switch, where it retails for $15.99. That’s less than you would have paid in 1997—and you don’t even have to wait in line at CompUSA to grab a copy.