Square Enix cannot seem to get it right when it comes to rereleases of its old Final Fantasy RPGs. For years players have been pissed that the PC versions were shoddy mobile ports that replaced the original pixel art with plastic, cheap-looking sprites that robbed the early games of their original aesthetic (in addition to just being extremely ugly). It was a cardinal sin.
If you wanted to play Final Fantasy 6 in its original form, your best bet was to emulate the original SNES or Game Boy Advance versions rather than play the ugly mobile ports. And though the bitterness has softened over the years, these crappy remakes always felt like a bit of a stain on Final Fantasy's reputation.
That's why it was such a pleasant surprise when, during Square Enix's E3 2021 press conference, it was announced that the first six Final Fantasy games were being remastered. Again. This time as the "Pixel Remaster," which implied Square Enix had finally listened to the complaints about the ugly art and was restoring the original pixel art (or improving on it in some way).
Today, we got a good look at the new art style and it's very much improved and looks suitably pixelated. But my god, just look at how awful the font is!
Aside from the fact that it clashes entirely with the new pixel art look, it's also just ugly and does nothing to evoke the high fantasy drama this series is beloved for. It looks especially hideous in dialogue boxes, where words are bafflingly squished together, leaving enormous chunks of empty space.
Naturally, it didn't take long for players to point this out on Twitter, where people began cracking jokes and expressing their confusion over the choice.
I see a lot of people complaining about the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster fonts who don’t understand the realities of game development. It’s actually super hard to change the default font in RPG Maker. pic.twitter.com/Z9Rs5AWm5cJune 30, 2021
srsly guys i have typography dot com open in a tab literally right now. they got a lotta good ones on there, guys https://t.co/DYiW8nHRkBJune 30, 2021
There are 5 different graphical elements, all with inconsistent pixel size/scale in this single corner alone. Can a designer get an oof in the chat? pic.twitter.com/kZvheoW0XhJune 30, 2021
It's a tiny detail, but it's honestly dried up my enthusiasm for these remasters. After all, these are RPGs with a lot of text in them—and despite being decades old Square Enix is charging between $12 and $18 for each one ($80 for the whole bundle). That's a lot of money to spend on ugly fonts. It's also just frustrating that Square Enix seems to bungle modernizing these games by screwing with the style in some way.
The first three Final Fantasy games of the Pixel Remaster are launching on July 28. Here's hoping Square Enix decides to change the font before then (or some divine modders intervene shortly after release).