What order should you play the Final Fantasy games?

This legendary game franchise has a frightening number of games to consider for newcomers.

Image via Square Enix

The Final Fantasy series, one of the largest franchises in gaming history, has turned into a legendary name among gamers, even among ones that haven’t even played the game, as its brilliance has been spread through word of mouth very well at this point.

With its first game releasing all the way back in 1987 and the newest installment set to release in Summer 2023, the franchise has been running for more than three decades with a ton of games under its belt.

But if you are a player that has not traversed the waters of the Final Fantasy series, it could be a little jarring to look at the extensive library of games that are all part of the franchise. The number of Final Fantasy games that exist steer close to the three-digit mark, with exactly 95 different games on its roster.

With such a large amount of games to choose from, we understand if it gets a little confusing to decide which game you should begin with when you’re just starting off with the series. Don’t fret, though, we’re here to help you out with that little issue.

What’s the best order to play the Final Fantasy games in?

Image via Square Enix

Even though there are 95 games with “Final Fantasy” in their title, not all of them are considered mainline series games, the majority of them being spin-offs. There are only 15 games in the series that are included in the mainline series—16 if you count Final Fantasy X-2, the sequel to X.

The rest of the games, which are spin-offs, are standalone titles and can be played in any order you like. Similarly, the mainline series games can also be played in a random order, even though it wouldn’t seem like that at first due to the games being numbered, indicating continuity.

There is, in fact, practically no continuity between the mainline series titles, being mostly unrelated to each other. The only things that carry over from previous games are the themes, monsters, and different versions of the same characters such as Moogles, a recurring race of creatures, or the engineer named Cid. This basically means that you can start off with any game in the mainline series that you want to without having to worry about jumbling up the plot and missing out on important progressions in the story. 

If we were to recommend a starting game for new players, it would be the first game in the series, Final Fantasy, to really experience the essence and roots of the game. The game was originally released for the NES but can be played on numerous free emulator websites online. Final Fantasy can also be purchased as part of a remastered bundle on Steam that features the first game until the sixth game, Final Fantasy VI.