Heads up: Next month, Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI will no longer be available via Steam. Square Enix will replace those games with the recently announced “Pixel Remaster” versions. Eventually.
“This game will no longer be available for purchase after July 27, 2021,” reads a note on the current Steam description for both games. “Instead, please purchase the pixelated remaster version … coming soon.”
This Pixel Remaster series was first unveiled at Square Enix’s E3 press conference earlier this month. Essentially, the first six Final Fantasy games will receive new releases, presented in a traditional, pixelated 2D art style. They’ll be available piecemeal via Steam and on mobile at an unspecified date. Details are otherwise scant.
Square Enix hasn’t announced a release date nor a price for the “remasters.” It’s further unclear whether or not existing Steam owners of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI will receive free or discounted copies of the new releases. (When reached for comment, a Square Enix representative didn’t immediately have any details.)
The Pixel Remaster series has already sparked some controversy, as detailed by an old vs. new sprite comparison on RPG Site. From the materials Square Enix showed at E3, it’s clear that the six Pixel Remaster games will feature yet another new set of sprites, but whether they do justice to or in any way improve on the original NES and SNES versions’ sprites is an open question.
Square Enix hasn’t always done such things justice. The soon-to-be-doomed PC versions of Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI were widely pilloried as shoddy ports of beloved games. The response was so bad that modders stepped in to extensively overhaul their visuals and other aspects to bring them closer to SNES standards. Even modded, though, these are not regarded as terribly good ports of the two classic JRPGs.
No one really knows what the Pixel Remaster games will look like. To date, we’ve only seen a brief trailer. Who knows: Maybe they land as faithful adaptations that capture the spirit of the originals. Maybe they look and play like Chocobo shit. But for some players, the only possible outcome is that they’ll be an improvement, even if only in the most marginal sense.
“The ones that are currently on [Steam] are already the ruined versions,” one user put it on Twitter. “So whatever replaces them could be a sidegrade at worst.”