Transmedia storytelling: “A Demise Caused By A Film”

Final Fantasy could be seen as a milestone in video game history. However, in 2001, Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the game series made the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, which almost led Square (the firm that made the game series) go broke, and resulted in the merger between Square and Enix.


Square rendered the film with the most advanced processing capabilities for film animation at that time. It was the first photorealistic computer-animated featured film,  it  cost $137 million, only the hair of the heroine cost $30 million. But at last, the film only gained $85 million at the box office. The film is blamed to be the demise of Square.


The film was directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi himself and Motonori Sakakibara, the director of the CG animation of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. However, neither of them had any experience of directing a literally film. Speaking of the plot, there aren’t any core elements of Final Fantasy series in this film, also has nothing much collides with the original game plot. As a science fiction film, it is more like a fantasy film, the story is about human fight against ghosts. Also, despite the game part, the story itself is stereotyped and flat. Due to the under estimating of the market, the director didn’t continue to use the music of Nobuo Uematsu, who created music for the game series but invited Elliot Goldenthal. As for the scriptwriting, none of the original writers of the games, like Kazushige Nojima and Kitase Yoshinori, took part in the creation of the scriptwriting. All of these reasons above made the film a real “final fantasy”.

Written by Liang Cao


  1. “Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (2001)”. British Film Institute. London. Archived from the original on 21 July 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  2. “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)”. Box Office Mojo. 1 January 2002. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  3. “Earliest film computer-generated animation with photorealistic characters”. Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  4. Briscoe, David (4 February 2002). “‘Final Fantasy’ flop causes studio to fold”. Chicago Sun-Times.



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