Final Fantasy XII is the twelfth main installment in the Final Fantasy series, developed and published by Square Enix, and the fourth game set in the world of Ivalice. It was released in March 2006 for the PlayStation 2, and was later re-released in Japan as an international version titled Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System, with heavy changes made to the character development system by introducing jobs. This version was re-released worldwide for PlayStation 4 in July 2017, and for Steam in February 2018, as an HD remaster containing new updates, titled Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. Final Fantasy XII was directed by Hiroyuki Ito, who also designed the battle system and supervised The Zodiac Age, with Akihiko Yoshida designing the main characters and Hitoshi Sakimoto producing the musical score. Later, on April 30, 2019 it was released for Nintendo Switch with minor updates.
The game is set in the continent of Ivalice, in which the Archadian and Rozarrian Empires wage an endless war for power, and Dalmasca has been caught between the two and annexed by Archadia. Dalmasca's princess, Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca, has created a resistance movement against Archadia to avenge her fallen kingdom, and along the way is united with a band of allies to seek a power capable of defeating the Archadian Empire.
Final Fantasy XII features vastly different gameplay from previous entries, with the most notable differences being the elimination of random encounters in favor of engaging enemies on the field with no separate battle screen using the Active Dimension Battle system. Characters are controlled with menu commands, or programmed using a gambit system. By purchasing licenses on a License Board with LP, characters can unlock the ability to equip new weapons, armor and accessories, as well as to make use of abilities such as White Magicks, Black Magicks, Time Magicks, Green Magicks, Arcane Magicks and Technicks. In the original, each character uses the same License Board, but in the Zodiac releases, different License Boards are used for different jobs, with characters each assigned a job. Locations are connected by an open world rather than a world map, with many side quests available to the player, such as Hunts.
Final Fantasy XII received widespread critical acclaim, and has retrospectively been listed as one of the best in the series. It spawned a direct sequel, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, for the Nintendo DS.
Like most of the other games in the series, the player characters will level, gain skills, cast magick, use summons, Limit Breaks, and fight monsters, but there are some great differences in the gameplay from the previous games.
To gain levels, the player must defeat enemies in the field to earn Experience Points (EXP). Only alive and active party members receive EXP. If there are multiple active characters in the party, the amount of experience will be divided evenly. Boss battles give no EXP, but do still give License Points (LP) used to purchase licenses on the License Board to learn new abilities and become able to equip new types of equipment.
Unlike with EXP, even reserve party members receive LP from battles. An individual character's ability to use Technicks, Magicks, Augments, weapons, armor and accessories is governed by licenses, along with bonuses to hit points and magic points. Like the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X, but less linear and more complex, the player has control over each character's individual development.
In the Zodiac versions what abilities a character can learn and what equipment they can use is dictated by their job. Once the player chooses a job for a character, it cannot be changed in the PlayStation 2 version. In the PlayStation 4 (after a patch), Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Steam versions, Montblanc will reset the player's License Boards when asked at the Clan Centurio Hall, and return all LP.
To use magick the player must buy the individual spells from a Magick Shop or a merchant (or find them from treasures in the Zodiac versions), and purchase the corresponding skill on the License Board. The use of magick requires MP (Mist Points), which can be restored through movement, the use of an item—such as an Ether—or by activating a save crystal.
In the PlayStation 2 versions Effect Capacity dictates how many magick spells and other special abilities can be executed simultaneously; all of the most powerful magicks use all of the effect capacity, meaning when the player casts the game's most powerful magicks other actions are queued until the spell animation has finished. This limitation is no longer an issue in the HD re-releases.
Summons, called Espers, are obtained through finding and defeating them, unlocking their license on the board. There are thirteen Espers, five found through the storyline, and the other eight lurking in hidden areas.
Each Esper can be purchased on the License Board after the player has defeated them. Only one character can purchase any specific Esper, and that Esper is linked to that character, removing its license from the other characters' License Boards. When the character summons the Esper, it replaces the other two party members. The Esper will briefly remain and fight as long as the summoner remains conscious.
Once the time is up, the Esper will unleash a special attack, given that the requirements for it are met, and disappear. The summon uses up a full segment of the MP bar for each rank the Esper has. For example the Esper Belias is a Rank I Summon and will use up one segment of the MP bar, while Zodiark, a Rank III Esper, will use up all three segments.
In the Zodiac versions Espers have a small role in further governing what skills characters can learn by opening new paths in the License Board. The MP bar system has been dropped and using Quickenings and summoning Espers uses a different gauge. The Espers are now controllable and the player can unleash their special attack at will.
The Limit Breaks are known as Mist Quickenings (Mist Knacks in the Japanese version). In the original version, each is available on the License Board for purchase by any character. Once a character has purchased a Quickening, that space is removed from all other characters' boards. Each character can purchase up to three Quickenings. There are eighteen Quickenings on the board. When a character uses a Quickening, one segment of their MP is used up. Upon purchasing the second Quickening the character's MP bar doubles and is segmented in two, and after a third segment is added it triples the available base MP. Each Quickening takes 50 LP to learn regardless of its rank.
Quickenings can be used during battle as long as the character has enough MP and is not incapacitated by status ailments. Quickenings can be chained: when used, all active party members who have learned Quickenings of their own will join in on the chain as long as they are not KO'd, under X-Zone, or afflicted with either Stop, Stone, Disable, Confusion, SilencedIn the International Zodiac Job System version, since Mist command no longer draws from the user's MP and instead uses a separate Mist gauge, a character afflicted with Silence can use Mist abilities such as Quickening and Summon, or Berserk. During the chain, the player can randomly get the Mist Charge command, which restores the party member's MP. The chain-building is restricted by the time limit and luck, as the available Quickenings are drawn up randomly. Normal Quickening attacks only damage the target enemy, but the player can create a specific combination of Quickenings to open a Concurrence, which deals heavy damage to the target and all targets nearby.
In the Zodiac versions, Quickening no longer uses MP, but has a gauge that functions closer to how Limit Breaks work in other games in the series. This meter can be filled up slowly by participating in battle, or fully by using a Elixir/Megalixir, or activating a save crystal. Each job has four Quickening licenses costing 50, 75, 100, and 125 LP. Once three Quickening licenses have been activated, the remaining one will disappear from the board of that character. This is most relevant to Shikari whose ninja sword licenses are locked behind Quickenings.
Final Fantasy XII uses a battle system called Active Dimension Battle (ADB). There are no random encounters as monsters move freely across the land and battles are conducted on the field map without transition. Enemies rarely surprise the party, although flying creatures attack from a higher elevation, and other creatures will spring out of the water or ground to attack. Docile monsters can become hostile if the party provokes them, such as by casting magick in their vicinity, or if the player attacks other creatures of the same genus.
Combat can be controlled manually or programmed via the use of gambits. The player can create a list of commands and dependencies to be carried out automatically by the characters to simplify the combat system. All commands relate to the character itself, the character's allies, or the enemies on screen.
Player can choose between Wait mode (default) and Active. In the Wait mode time freezes when the player is choosing the commands, but only one action can be executed at a time. If the game config is set on Active, multiple actions can be executed simultaneously (as long as the Effect Capacity is not saturated in PlayStation 2 versions). The player controls one character at the time, called the party leader, but the player can change party leader at any time. If the party leader is KO'd or otherwise incapacitated, the game prompts the player to choose another leader. The player can have up to three party members at any one time, and the rest are kept in the reserve party.
Reserve members can be swapped in any time, unless the character is currently being targeted by an attack or spell, or if the character is performing an action. The player is able to swap fallen allies, meaning the player will only get a Game Over once all party members in both active and reserve parties are dead.
Because battles take place on the fields, the Escape command works differently than in most other games in the series; to escape the player must run away, which can be aided by holding the to stop all character actions (although using this feature makes the characters unable to evade enemy attacks). Some enemies stop pursuing the player characters once they have moved far enough away, but some are more persistent and can only be thrown off by zoning out. Boss battles take place in closed arenas and cannot be escaped from.
A Battle Chain is initiated when a party defeats two or more of the same type of enemy in a row. The Battle Chain Level will increase as a party continues to consecutively defeat enemies of the same type.
As the Chain Level increases with each battle, enemies will begin to drop rarer and multiples of items, and with higher levels, activate healing and buffs on the player's party. If the player kills an enemy of a different type, enters a settlement (any area where only Vaan is controllable) or touches a save crystal, the chain will break and the Chain Level is reset to 0.
Traps are littered across the landscape and when stepped on deal damage and/or inflict the party with status ailments. Traps are normally invisible, but appear as glowing red circles if a party member is under Libra. Traps can be avoided by using Float or the Steel Poleyns accessory that makes the party invulnerable against traps. Some traps benefit the party by granting positive status effects and/or healing the party's HP.
Unlike in other single-player games in the series, the treasures are most often randomly spawning containing random treasures. The treasures can be re-spawned by zoning two zones out (original) or one zone out (Zodiac). Treasures can contain gil, gambits (original), equipment or items, and there is a small chance of receiving rare treasure with the Diamond Armlet equipped.
The original version also has so called "forbidden chests" that, when claimed, prevent the player from obtaining the game's ultimate spear, the Zodiac Spear, in Necrohol of Nabudis. This feature was removed in the Zodiac versions.
Weather and terrain
The area's weather and terrain affect the accuracy of ranged weapons and the damage dealt by elemental attacks. In stormy weather crossbows' and bows' accuracy is reduced, and, for example, in rainy weather Lightning damage is boosted while Fire damage is reduced. While terrain is mostly fixed, apart from the Giza Plains that shifts between dry and wet season, weather is often random, depending on what possible weather effects are available for the area.
On the map are the sovereign nation states of Dalmasca, Archadia, Bhujerba and the area once controlled by the Kingdom of Nabradia, including Nalbina Fortress. Ancient temples remain from ages past, like the Stilshrine of Miriam, Mt Bur-Omisace and the Tomb of Raithwall, as well as villages of indigenous people, like the garif and the viera. Between the civilized locations are the zones populated by monsters that vary in terrain even within the same area.
The Archadian and Rozarrian Empires compete in terms of military and political influence. The Archadian Empire is governed by the ruling family House Solidor, with an Imperial Senate who has little power. This has caused the Archadian Judges to serve the Emperor directly. The Judge Magisters command the Archadian Army, Archadian Imperial Fleets, Archadian Security and Police, as well as the Archadian Intelligence. Judge Magisters are feared and respected for their passion for the Empire and the defense of House Solidor. The small kingdoms of Dalmasca and Nabradia between the two empires thus find their existence endangered. Bhujerba is a skycity that pledges neutrality, built on a sky continent made airborne by the magicite in its soil.
Final Fantasy XII has a cast of six main characters that, once formed, never changes. Three guest characters (not including Hunt-allies) join the party during the story, and the player plays a different character during the prologue. According to the developers, there is no main character, as the game is "about numerous people, not just one person".
- Main cast
- Vaan is a street urchin and an orphan who lives on the streets of Rabanastre with his friend Penelo. He dreams of becoming a sky pirate in command of an airship and to travel the world.
- Penelo is Vaan's closest friend, an orphan who lost her family during a war between Dalmasca and Archadia. She dreams of being a dancer, and learned martial arts from her late elder brothers who were soldiers during the war. She joins the party along with Vaan to help prevent another war.
- Balthier, real name Ffamran mied Bunansa, is a sky pirate on the run from his past. He refers to himself as the "leading man".
- Fran is Balthier's friend and partner and a viera. Like Balthier, she is trying to shake off the past. She rarely speaks, but usually has words of wisdom to offer.
- Basch fon Ronsenburg is a disgraced knight who wants to protect his surrogate homeland of Dalmasca.
- Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca is the Princess of Dalmasca who does everything in her power to rebuild her fallen kingdom. She was married to Lord Rasler, Prince of Nabradia, and although their marriage was politically motivated, they nevertheless were in love.
- Temporary playable character
- Larsa Ferrinas Solidor/Lamont the youngest member of House Solidor, the ruling family of Archadian Empire. He seeks to bring peace to the world.
- Vossler York Azelas used to fight alongside Basch in the Dalmascan army, but after the war started the rebellion together with the Princess. He looks after Ashe as her closest ally.
- Reddas is a sky pirate from the Balfonheim Port. He seeks to stop the Empire from using nethicite to prevent the events of Battle of Nabudis from ever reoccurring.
Princess Ashe of the kingdom of Dalmasca married Prince Rasler of the neighboring kingdom of Nabradia to strengthen both kingdoms against Imperial oppression of the mighty Empires Archadia and Rozarria. When Archadia invaded Nabradia Rasler led the Dalmascan troops to war and was killed. King Raminas was ready to sign a peace treaty, but was murdered in a conspiracy concocted by Vayne Carudas Solidor—the heir to the throne of Archadia—and Judge Gabranth. After Ashe was announced to have committed suicide the kingdom became an occupied state to Archadia.
Two years later a street thief Vaan infiltrates the royal palace. He joins two sky pirates as a Dalmascan Resistance faction attacks the palace to remove the new Consul from power: Vayne. The trio is captured, and during their imprisonment runs into the alleged king-slayer and notorious traitor, Basch fon Ronsenburg, though he swears he was framed. As the party heads to save Vaan's friend Penelo from a gang of bounty hunters, they discover a potential ally in Vayne's younger brother, Larsa, and learn that Vayne is plotting behind the Emperor's back to his own ends. They find Princess Ashe alive and save her from the Empire, and Vaan, Penelo, Balthier, Fran and Basch join her on her quest to win back Dalmasca's sovereignty.
During their travels they learn that the Empire is after the magickal stones of unimaginable power known as nethicite. They learn the pieces of deifacted nethicite were granted to mankind by the shadowy immortals who deem themselves the Gods of Ivalice: Occuria. A rogue Occurian has lent its support to Archadia to overthrow the rest of the Occuria's rule, who have backed the descendants of Dynast-King Raithwall, and who now want Ashe to be their new Dynast-King. During the ensuing political turmoil Vayne becomes Emperor and Ashe's uncle of the supposedly neutral Skycity of Bhujerba assembles a Resistance army to free Ivalice in a response to Vayne's bid for world domination. Ashe must decide whether to wield the power granted to her by the "Gods" to free her kingdom, or whether to put faith in mankind being able to govern themselves free from Occuria's manipulations.
Ashe puts her faith in the allegiance she has wrought with Larsa who has instilled in her the belief the nations of Ivalice can co-exist peacefully. She casts aside the power the Occuria are offering, and sets out to kill Vayne and Venat as the war erupts in the air space above her homeland. As Larsa inherits the throne from the fallen Vayne and proposes peace, Ashe is recognized as the rightful ruler of Dalmasca, and peace returns to Ivalice.
The prominent theme is coping in the face of loss of family. Vaan lost his parents, and then his brother Reks in the war between Dalmasca and Archadia at the hands of Gabranth, thus giving Vaan an animosity towards the Archadian Empire. Like Vaan, Penelo lost her family to the war leading her to fear the Empire. Her view slowly changes as her friendship with Larsa develops, a member of the Empire's ruling family.
Ashe lost her husband, father, and kingdom to the Archadian Empire, and avenging them is her main motivation. Ashe's quest for revenge is used by the Occuria, who send a false apparition of her late husband to spur her thirst for revenge to use her to achieve their own ends. Ashe learns that exacting revenge is not something Rasler would have wanted her to do, and it will not bring him or her father back.
The theme of freedom is strong in Final Fantasy XII. Basch is physically imprisoned and breaks free with the party's help, but later comments the past can bind a man as strong as chains. Multiple characters seek to escape their past, only to find they must face it sooner or later. Fran leaves the woods to gain her freedom of the viera's traditionally restrictive lifestyle, but in doing so is permanently cut off from her family.
Balthier escapes an unbearable situation with his father by renouncing his identity, only to find he must confront his father's madness to move on. Vaan tries to obtain his freedom through becoming a sky pirate to explore the world as he pleases, but realizes it's his attempt to evade his problems. Ashe wishes to reclaim her throne and kingdom, and be free from the Empire's rule once and for all, but first has to overcome her hatred for the Empire and the role it played in robbing her of her loved ones and the downfall of the Dalmascan kingdom.
Like with much of the games set in Ivalice, Final Fantasy XII has deconstructive elements regarding religion and theism on the social and human condition. The gods of Ivalice are revealed to be mere living beings, and even the truths of Raithwall are shown to be their machinations to enact their own plans. Although Man is shown to be allowed his own fate, free from the gods—as depicted with Archadia—should mankind undertake one of evil with this freedom it leads to tyranny and dominance over others. Kiltia is shown as a religion in modest balance and order.
The nethicite alludes to the crystals, a recurring motif in the Final Fantasy series where crystals are the embodiment of divine and magical power. In Final Fantasy XII Archadia, an enemy Empire, steals pieces of deifacted nethicite from the kingdoms of the world to gain power. The same story arc has been used in the series numerous times, although Final Fantasy XII subverts the theme in that being "chosen" to wield the power of the crystal is something the player party must fight: Dr Cid and his machinations, as well as the influence of the Occuria. When Ashe becomes chosen to wield the power of the nethicite by the Occuria, she ultimately rejects it.
Developed from 2001 to 2006, Final Fantasy XII cost approximately 4 billion Japanese yen (35 million USD) to produce with a crew of more than one hundred people. Final Fantasy XII released two years later than planned, and its delay pushed Final Fantasy XIII to become a next-gen project for PlayStation 3. Its original director, Yasumi Matsuno, left the project mid-way.
In North America, the game was available in two versions—the standalone game with a suggested retail price of $49.99 and a "Collector's Edition" for an additional $10. The Collector's Edition is an exclusive title offered only by GameStop or EB Games. This edition includes the original game packaged in a steelbook case, along with a special bonus disc, which contains developer interviews, an art gallery, four U.S. and Japanese trailers, and a "History of Final Fantasy" featurette, which gives brief chronicles on all released and upcoming Final Fantasy games.
International Zodiac Job System
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System (ファイナルファンタジーXII インターナショナル ゾディアック ジョブシステム, Fainaru Fantajī Tuerubu Intānashonaru Zodiakku Jobbushisutemu?) was released on August 9, 2007 in Japan as part of both Final Fantasy 20th anniversary and Ivalice Alliance campaigns. It is the first game where Hiroyuki Ito has been credited as both producer and director.
Ito did not want the game to get an "International" title, for how different the game was going to be from the other International versions of Final Fantasy games, published previously; Ito wanted to call the game "Final Fantasy XII Annex". However, they ended up going with "Zodiac Job System". Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System was made by a small group of programmers, with only five main people working on it toward the end of the project. The small team brought on some limitations on what could be achieved, as Ito would have wanted bigger changes to the game than what could be done with the resources he had available.
- New features and changes
The game includes a new take on the License Board system, with twelve boards instead of one, each corresponding to a different zodiac sign and job. The number of jobs was set at twelve as Final Fantasy XII is the twelfth main installment to the series, and because there are twelve zodiac signs, a recurring theme in Ivalice games. The game already had fifteen different types of weapons and the jobs were planned around the idea of what kind of weapon would belong to what kind of job. Once a character chooses a job it cannot be changed. Isolated licenses can be accessed by unlocking Espers and Quickenings.
The Active Dimension Battle (ADB) system was tweaked; guests and Espers were made fully controllable, while pressing activates a Turbo mode, greatly increasing the game's speed. This mode had existed as a debug function in the original for doing Q&A, but was included as a new mechanic in Zodiac Job System as per Hiroyuki Ito's suggestion. The game features English voices and the widescreen 16:9 ratio support of the North American version, as well as a bonus disc based on the one initially released with the North American version. A new mode allows the player to hunt monsters and Espers in several series of small maps, to gain items and gil.
Trial Mode is a new game mode where the party must fight through 100 stages, each one containing stronger monsters. A battle against all five Judge Magisters is included as the ultimate Trial Mode challenge. Completing the Trial Mode mode unlocks New Game- where all characters start at their original levels (1/2/2/3/3/3) and never level up. New Game+ has characters start at LV90. Nothing carries over into these new save files. New Game+ can be started after completing the game.
The game has 16 new gambits and all gambits can be bought upon leaving Barheim Passage. Mist Knacks (Quickenings) no longer take up MP; instead, they have their own separate gauge. This also means that obtaining Mist Knacks does not increase MP; instead, characters get more MP as they level up. Small changes have been made for things like characters' stat growth, items, enemies, magicks, equipment, shop listings, hunt rewards, treasure respawns (they now respawn by just moving one screen away) and treasure item changes. The game has no damage limit anymore.
Unlike Final Fantasy X-2 International, which supported old Final Fantasy X-2 save files, Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System does not support save files from the regular Final Fantasy XII.
Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System has only been released in Japanese, but there is a fan project that translates it to English using the English data of the official US release. It requires both the original Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System game and the original US release. Translation for other languages can be done using official European releases instead of the US release.
During the Distant Worlds concert in Pittsburgh in August 2015, conductor Arnie Roth mentioned a Final Fantasy XII "remake" was in development, yet no such game had officially been announced by Square Enix. The next day, Roth retracted the "remake" part of his statement, apologizing for the error. A remaster of the game, based on the International Zodiac Job System version, was announced on June 6, 2016 for all major regions.
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age (ファイナルファンタジーXII ザ ゾディアック エイジ, Fainaru Fantajī Tuerubu Za Zodiakku Eiji?), the PlayStation 4 port was announced on June 6, 2016 and released in July 2017. This version is based on the International Zodiac Job System version. It has remastered graphics with high resolution textures and lighting effects, an implemented auto-save feature, and supports up to 7.1 ch surrounded stereo mode. The original people responsible for the localization return for the English version, Alexander O. Smith and Joseph Reeder. The original game's directors are not involved in Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, but are given progress reports as needed, although the core the team that worked on the original have returned to work on the remake. The project was led by Takashi Katano and Hiroaki Kato, who had critical roles in the making of the original, as most other projects leads had departed Square Enix since Final Fantasy XII's release.
On September 16, 2016, Square Enix released a trailer featuring story events and gameplay at the Tokyo Game Show.
When Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster became a success, the developers of Final Fantasy XII thought they should bring their game back as well, and the core members of the original development team were brought together even if it was difficult to find the time as everyone was on different projects. When the original Final Fantasy XII was created, it was made relatively high spec with the idea to create an HD version of it sometime in the future. The major difference between the original and The Zodiac Age is that Hiroyuki Ito is not directing; he lets the younger staff work on the battle design, although he is still overseeing it. Ito wanted The Zodiac Age to be easier to explore and easier to play, and thus the staff tried to accommodate those wishes when making changes to the game.
- New features and changes
Backgrounds, character models, movie scenes and all 2D parts, including fonts, have been upgraded to high definition. The game has 7.1ch surround support (the PS2 hardware was only able to handle a quasi-surround sound, Pro Logic II, but the PS4 can produce the audio in 7.1 for discrete surround sound). The game has both English and Japanese voices and both the original and newly re-recorded soundtrack (the player can switch between language and soundtrack in the game configuration). The soundtrack has eight new tracks, notably for locations that previously shared themes.
The game adds auto-save functionality (game saves automatically when moving to each new screen, excepting boss arenas), an improved high-speed mode, a transparent overlay map and the ability to invert the X and Y camera axes. When playing the digital download version, the player can play up to the point where Vaan pursues the Rogue Tomato and returns to the Rabanastre gate; the gate will not open until the download is finished, but the player can explore the desert up to the outpost and save their progress at a save crystal.
Each playable character can have two jobs, the second license board becoming available upon defeating Belias at the Tomb of Raithwall. Licenses are shared between both boards owned by a character. The Effect Capacity system that limited spell-casting in the PlayStation 2 versions has been removed. The game has 41 trophies. The Sky Pirate's Den was initially removed in exchange for the trophy/achievement system, but restored in patch 1.04 due to fan demand, operating in concert with PlayStation Network trophies where applicable.
- Release celebration
Celebrating the release of Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, mobile Final Fantasy games that were active at the time included collaboration events: Challenge Event Pawn Among Kings in Final Fantasy Record Keeper that also included a special login bonus, Light of the Skies in Mobius Final Fantasy, and Henne Mines in Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.
Total worldwide shipments and digital sales have exceeded one million units. To commemorate the milestone, Square Enix released a new illustration by Isamu Kamikokuryo, the art director, and a remastered version of the original title screen trailer.
The HD remaster version was released on Steam on February 1, 2018. In addition to the improvements added to the PlayStation 4 version over the PlayStation 2 original, the Steam version is further enhanced with new features:
- Mouse and keyboard support
- Compatible with 21:9 ultra-wide monitors - Up to three HD monitors can be used for a potential 48(16x3):9 experience.
- New Game Plus and New Game Minus are now accessible from the beginning of the game.
- Three background music options – The original, re-orchestrated and soundtrack versions are now available from the beginning of the game.
- Maximized License Points and Gil - New functionality added to grant players max License Points and Gil from the configuration screen.
- Full controller support and Steam Trading Cards
A Collector's Edition was available from the Square Enix Online Store for $149.99. It features an official Collector's Edition Steelbook™ with the original soundtrack, a five-piece Judge Masters Bust Set, six-card art set and a digital download code for the game.
Fans that purchased the game through Steam within the first week of launch received a 20% discount, a three-track digital music compilation, and a Steam Skin illustrated by Isamu Kamikokuryo.
Mods will not be officially supported.
The PC version also released on the Microsoft Store for Windows 10 on February 11, 2021 as part of Xbox Game Pass.
Nintendo Switch and Xbox One
The Zodiac Age was released on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One in April, 2019. It is now possible to reset and reassign jobs by talking to Montblanc in the Clan Centurio headquarters in Rabanastre. Resetting a job wipes its board and returns all LP and lets the player start anew. The ability to switch between three different gambit sets is added, and New Game+ now carries over belongings (New Game- does not).
|Game Informer||PS2: 9.25/10|
Final Fantasy XII was met with widespread critical acclaim upon release. It was praised in particular for its innovative gameplay systems that made a sharp change from previous titles, technical accomplishment on the PlayStation 2, presentation, and scenarios.
Many critics praised the gameplay and noted its stark change of direction from previous titles. Game Informer stated that while they were "apprehensive" at first, the result is "fast, efficient combat that is packed with strategy and dependent on characters' roles within the team". IGN stated that the Gambits allow players to "customize the behaviors of their partymates with an unprecedented amount of detail", overall stating the the gameplay was both fun and challenging. Eurogamer stated that the battle system changes are "by far the most dramatic to be introduced in any Final Fantasy title, and that they "change the structure of the gameplay entirely, while still leaving many of the core elements that attracted fans in the first place intact".
IGN called it the "darkest and most mature storyline" the series had seen, saying its plot has "more ups, downs, and surprises than any other title we can remember this year". Game Informer stated that the tone is "very different" from previous games, as "players feel like a cog in a much larger machine rather than a ragtag group of heroes who need to save humanity", citing the "looming sense of political intrigue that lends a grand scope to the events and drives the action forward" as making it seem like players a part of a much larger cause.
AllGame stated it has "some of the finest graphics and sound ever seen or heard on a PS2 to date", stating that "in a perfect world, every video game would feature the same amount of care, craftsmanship, and quality". Eurogamer stated that the production values are "unmistakably those of a Final Fantasy game", praising both the pre-rendered and real time scenes, and also calling its orchestral score "another masterpiece of videogame music". IGN gave the graphics score a 10/10, stating slowdown is a "non-factor, model detail is incredible, facial and skeletal animation is stellar", and when commenting on the sound, called the voice acting "top notch" and claimed that while its soundtrack "isn't the best in the series", it is still "extremely strong".
Final Fantasy XII is the first game in the series to get a perfect score from Famitsu Weekly magazine. It was named among the best PlayStation 2 games of 2006 by numerous video game publications and websites, including GameSpot, GameSpy, and IGN. Both Edge Magazine and Famitsu awarded it Game of the Year 2006. Final Fantasy XII also received nominations in the categories "Game of the Year", "Best Role-Playing Game", "Best Story", "Best Art Direction", "Best Character Design", and "Best Original Score" from awarding bodies, such as the Interactive Achievement Awards, Game Developers Choice Awards, BAFTA Video Games Awards, Spike Video Game Awards, Golden Joystick Awards, and the Satellite Awards. The game was awarded the "Double Platinum Prize" at the PlayStation Awards 2006, which was held on 25 July 2006. The PlayStation 2 game also received retrospective praise; in 2021, IGN placed it at the top of their list of best PlayStation 2 RPGs.
At the Japan Game Awards 2006 held on 22 September 2006, Ito accepted the "Grand Award" and "Award for Excellence" for Final Fantasy XII. He thanked the development team and playerbase, and said that the team was grateful for the awards as they could not possibly think about the game's reception during its creation.
When re-released as The Zodiac Age, the game was praised for aging well, for graphical improvements and for the job system. GameSpot summarized it as an "ideal definitive edition: one that improves the game over its original version across the board". Game Informer stated that the job system was the "crown jewel", praising it for wiping away the "frustration" and "uncertainty" in planning progression from the original, and stating it "produces distinct roles in combat and encourages you to use different characters", though it said that the "structure of the world" felt pulled "from an ancient MMORPG in which square footage is more important than content". IGN stated that the "storytelling, visual design, and gameplay feel just as fresh and interesting as they did over a decade ago", stating that the game visually "still looks amazing, filled with breathtaking vistas and fantastic creatures—a testament to how strong the original game's art design was".
Within two weeks, Square Enix announced in a conference that Final Fantasy XII sold over 2.38 million copies in Japan since release. They later announced that the game had shipped approximately 1.5 million copies in North America in its first week. As of March 2007, the game had shipped over 5.2 million copies worldwide.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age sold over a million copies worldwide within three months, and reached number one on the UK charts when launched.
IGN listed Final Fantasy XII as the second greatest game in the series behind Final Fantasy VI. In July 2007, Edge Magazine placed Final Fantasy XII 8th in their list "EDGE’S TOP 100 GAMES OF ALL TIME". It was the highest ranking Final Fantasy game, and the only one to appear in the top 10. In March 2009, Edge Magazine placed the game 25th in their list "The 100 Best Games To Play Today". As with their former list, Final Fantasy XII was the highest ranking Final Fantasy game. In the 2009 issue of the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, the game placed 8th in the list "The Top 50 Games of All Time". It was the highest ranking Final Fantasy game, and the only one to appear in the top 10. The list was decided on by "a crack team of industry experts", and games were ranked on their initial impact, lasting legacy, and how fun they were to play.
|Executive Producer||Akitoshi Kawazu|
|Game Design & Battle System Director||Hiroyuki Ito|
|Visual Design & Character Texture Supervisor||Hiroshi Minagawa|
|Main System & Event Programmer||Takashi Katano|
|Lead Realtime Rendering Programmer||Yoshinori Tsuchida|
|Programming Supervisor||Taku Murata|
|Main Character Design & Background Design Supervisor||Akihiko Yoshida|
|Art Direction||Hideo Minaba, Isamu Kamikokuryo|
|Visual Effects Director||Jiro Mifune|
|Background Visual Effects||Yoshinori Ogura|
|Lead Motion Designer||Takeo Suzuki|
|Event Motion Designer||Hiroaki Saotome|
|Hi-Polygon Facial Models & Textures||Takahiro Matsuhira|
|Hi‑Polygon Facial Motion||Takeshi Sadohara|
|Battle System Design||Kazutoyo Maehiro|
|Event Director & Scenario Director||Jun Akiyama|
|Scenario||Daisuke Watanabe, Miwa Shoda|
|Lead In‑Game Event Designer||Takeshi Iwabuchi, Masahiro Kataoka|
|Lead Map System Designer||Kazuhiro Kataoka|
|Lead Menu System Designer||Yuichi Murasawa|
|Sound Effects Director||Tsuyoshi Okahisa|
|Movie Direction||Eiji Fujii|
|Image Illustration||Yoshitaka Amano|
|Music Production & Composition||Hitoshi Sakimoto|
|Story & Concept||Yasumi Matsuno|
|Lead Production Coordinator||Hiroaki Kato|
|General Manager||Masashi Hiramatsu|
|Translators||Alexander O. Smith, Joseph Reeder|
|Editor||Morgan Morris Rushton|
- Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age
|Art Director||Ryotaro Takahashi (CGStyle)|
|Technical Director||Seiki Iwamura|
|Game Designer||Jun Akiyama|
|Composer||Hitoshi Sakimoto (Basiscape)|
|Music Editor||Keiji Kawamori|
|Sound Effect Director||Tomohiro Yajima|
|Movie Director||Kazuyuki Ikumori|
|Supervisors||Hiroyuki Ito and Hiroshi Minagawa|
- Actor Sir Patrick Stewart narrated the television commercial for the European and Australian versions of the game. Veteran voice actor Corey Burton narrated a commercial for the American version of the game.
|Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca||Mei Yoshikawa|
|Basch fon Ronsenburg||Makoto Onaga|
|Stunts||Mark "Cadogan" Lacampo|
Jay "Noe" Noyes
Keiichi "Stephan" Tada
Yukie "Fox" Yamada
The story of Final Fantasy XII has been released as a manga in Japan. The manga version expands on the storyline seen in the game and adds new events and characters.
Final Fantasy XII contains many references to the games developed by the same team, or based on the same world. For instance, a moogle named Montblanc runs a clan in Final Fantasy XII, and previously appeared as a main character in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Similarly, the player can acquire the Riskbreaker clan rank, a reference to the game Vagrant Story.
The names of the Archadian airships are taken from previous summons from the series, while all of the Resistance airships are named for previously appeared characters. The only airship with an original name is the party's airship, the Strahl.
- Final Fantasy XII Artwork
- Final Fantasy XII Walkthroughs
- Final Fantasy XII Merchandise
- Final Fantasy XII Allusions
- Final Fantasy XII Translations
- Final Fantasy XII Wallpapers
- Final Fantasy XII Maps
- Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age Arrives For PC On February 1 (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Square Enix Press Center
- FINAL FANTASY X / X-2 HD Remaster and FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE Available on More Platforms This April! (Accessed: January 15, 2019) at Final Fantasy Portal Site
- Ranking the Final Fantasy Games (page 2) (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at IGN
- Final Fantasy XII for PlayStation 2 Reviews (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at Metacritic
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age for PlayStation 4 Reviews (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at Metacritic
- Final Fantasy XII Pushes PS2 to Its Limit (Accessed: December 29, 2015) at Videogamesdaily.com
- Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania, p.466
- Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System Ultimania, p.323-327 (translation)
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Developers Talk About Their Return To Familiar Grounds (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Siliconera
- "I am working on FF12TZA along with @josephreeder" (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Alexander O. Smith's Twitter
- How Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is Getting the Band Back Together (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at USgamer
- The making of Final Fantasy 12 (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Polygon
- FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE - Tokyo Game Show Trailer 2016 | PS4 (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at PlayStation on YouTube
- Final Fantasy 12 Devs Explain Why It's Re-emerging After 11 Years (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at GameSpot
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age screenshots (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at RPG Site
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age shipments and digital sales top one million (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Gematsu
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on PC will feature new game plus and 'new game minus' (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at PC Gamer
- Final Fantasy XII - Review (dead) (Accessed: December 10, 2014) at allgame (dead)
- Edge (December 2006), p.74
- Electronic Gaming Monthly (October 1994), p.126
- Final Fantasy XII Review (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at Eurogamer
- Final Fantasy XII summary [PS2] (Accessed: April 17, 2018) at Famitsu.com
- Final Fantasy XII review (dead) (Accessed: June 21, 2009) at Game Informer
- A Welcome Return - Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at Game Informer
- Final Fantasy XII Review (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at GameSpot
- Final Fantasy XII Review (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at IGN
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Review (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at IGN
- FF XII Scores Perfect In Famitsu (dead) (Accessed: May 31, 2016) at GameSpot
- 20 Best & Worst 06 Best PlayStation 2 Game Readers' Choice Winner (Accessed: October 24, 2012) at GameSpot
- PlayStation 2 Game Of The Year: Final Fantasy XII (dead) (Accessed: October 19, 2013) at IGN
- GameSpy's Game of the Year 2006 PS2 Top 10 (dead) (Accessed: February 27, 2014) at GameSpy
- Final Fantasy XII is Edge's game of the year (dead) (Accessed: January 26, 2007) at Edge Online (dead)
- 速報！ ファミ通ゲームアワード2006開催！ 各受賞タイトルを一挙発表！ (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Famitsu.com
- 2007 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
- 7th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Game Developers Choice Online Awards
- Games Nominations 2007 (dead) (Accessed: January 31, 2010) at BAFTA
- Oblivion nabs Spike TV top honors (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at GameSpot
- Golden joysticks shortlists! (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at GamesRadar+
- 2006 11th Annual Satellite Awards (dead) (Accessed: January 07, 2010) at International Press Academy
- 「PlayStation Awards 2006」受賞タイトルについて (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at PlayStation JP
- Barrier, Ronny [IGN Games] (2021, March 17). The Best PS2 RPGs of All Time [Video]. IGN. YouTube.
- Japan Game Awards: 2006 (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Japan Game Awards
- Square Enix Conference Report (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at RPGFan News
- SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCES RECORD SHIPMENT WITH FINAL FANTASY XII (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at Square Enix
- Square Enix report (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at Square Enix
- Final Fantasy XII re-release passes one million sales (Accessed: December 29, 2017) at site name = Destructoid ?
- Edge's Top 100 Games of All Time (10 to 1) (dead) (Accessed: October 26, 2014) at Edge Online (dead)
- The Top 100 Best Games To Play Today (30 to 21) (dead) (Accessed: February 02, 2014) at Edge Online (dead)
- Guinness lists top 50 games of all time (Accessed: August 22, 2018) at Eurogamer.net
- Patrick Stewart to voice Final Fantasy XII (the ad) (Accessed: December 29, 2015) at Endgadget
- Official Japanese Site
- Official Japanese Site for the Zodiac Age remaster version
- Official North American Site
- Final Fantasy XII on Wikipedia
- Final Fantasy XII.net, a fansite
- Final Fantasy XII US - fansite
- Final Fantasy XII at the Final Fantasy Compendium
- VGMdb - Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack