New Final Fantasy IX Remake Leaks Surface

It’s been a good time for Final Fantasy fans in the past week or so we got a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and also Memoria Project released a gameplay trailer for their Unreal Engine 5 Game. Among these there’s been more rumors/leaks regarding FFIX Remake, which we are going to break down – but I think its worth visiting all the previous evidence that we have collected so far regarding the plausibility of Final Fantasy IX getting a remake given the fact that there are many skeptics.

So let’s recap all the Final Fantasy IX Remake intel that we have so far over the years from all the sources

The Original Square Enix Nvidia Leak List

So originally back in November 2021, there was a big Nvidia leak that had games from multiple publishers – at the time of making the article around 85-90% of those games in that list have been announced or released. This evidence alone proves that the game has been in development or perhaps was canceled, the same logic does apply to Final Fantasy Tactics Remaster.

It’s another question however how long has the game been in the making if such an entry already existed within the Nvidia leak? Ironically there have been a lot of delays and many years of dev time with many more recent Final Fantasy titles Square has been working on like Final Fantasy XV.

Now before the Nvidia leak happened there was also another piece of evidence that was unveiled in summer.

Final Fantasy IX Animated Series Announcement

Back on June 22nd, 2021, it was announced that Cyber Group Studios would be adapting the Final Fantasy IX game into an animated series. Whilst Square Enix would be overseeing the project and seeing if it would be up to the standards of their IPs. So here is the original quote from Cyber Group Studios Press Release that states as follows:

Based on a fan favorite, FINAL FANTASY® IX, will be an adventure animation series primarily aimed at 8-13-year-old kids and family audiences with respect to co-viewing. It will also target and please game players, as the adaptation will maintain the world of the game thanks to the supervision of Square Enix, while incorporating some additional major production and entertainment value.

“We are honored and enthusiastic to participate with our friends of Square Enix in such a great adventure,” have both declared Pierre Sissmann, Cyber Group Studio’s Chairman of the Board and CEO, and Dominique Bourse, COO, who adds, “The opportunity to reach such a large crowd with hundreds of millions of fans around the world as well as a new public of both kids and adults is an immense challenge that we feel extremely proud about. It is a dream come true for our teams in France and in the U.S and we already look forward to creating a great piece of entertainment that respects this fantastic brand.”

So it’s been almost exactly 2 years since this announcement was done. There isn’t a definite timeline for how long it takes to create a season of animated series or anime, but according to some sources this does take around 9 to 12 months, so if we were charitable we could say it took ~3 months after the announcement to start working on and another 15 months to produce let’s say 13 episodes. There is an expectation here that something has been already produced given the time frame, so why not show any trailers or teasers about the animated series now? My analysis is that they are going to release it alongside the remake and use it as a cross-promotion tool.

There was also some wild theory somewhere that the game would be using the same engine that is being used to animate the show (Unreal Engine 5 or Unity for instance). This theory is supported by the idea that Cyber Group Studios’ portfolio consists lot more 3D Animated titles than it does 2D Animated series. We also have to question why exactly is Square not working with a Japanese animated studio instead. Just like they did with Last Order OVA or the other Final Fantasy anime clips they produced in the past. We know hiring an Anime studio is much cheaper so why exactly go with a French/American studio instead? Another plausible theory is to go for 3D Animated series since Japanese studios aren’t as adept with that as some Western ones.

Then back in May 2022 the animated series was supposed to be revealed at Las Vegas Licensing Expo, but no trailers came out and no evidence of there being any trailers or images showcased at the venue, its safe to assume at this point the series wasn’t complete, but i would bet they probably would have had teasers of sorts of the work they had done so far.

All arrows seem to point to the fact that the animated series was delayed coincidently closer to the launch of FFIX Remake (Or the partnership came to an end and Square pulled the plug, which is a plausible theory as well).

Daily Life of Japanese Game Illustrator Reveals

Then we are going to jump to November 26th, 2022 when a YouTuber known as Paolo from Tokyo did a video collab with Square Enix that featured almost waifu material woman working as an Illustrator. She was working on some Chocobo racing art and stuff that’s really not related to our topic, but when you actually scroll to 6:58 in the video you are going to be seeing an OG artist known as Toshiyuki Itahana who worked as a Character designer for Final Fantasy IX and Crystal Chronicles games.

In the clip, he said he was working on a game that has yet to be announced and a screen was blurred out to prevent leaks from happening. When you look into his art style and general contributions to other Final Fantasy projects he worked on he’s clearly a Chibi-style artist. It’s not a massive leap to assume that he’s working either

  • A) New Crystal Chronicles Game (I Don’t think there is demand tho)
  • B) Some New Mobile Game with Chibi Characters
  • C) Final Fantasy IX Remake
  • D) Brand new IP
  • E) Final Fantasy Tactics Remake?

Technically it could’ve also been Ever Crisis, but this game was already announced at this point so it’s not that. When you further down scroll in the video to 7:26 there is a Kuja & Zidane statue, which if anything is foreshadowing the eventual release of the Final Fantasy IX Remake. Also quite interesting that they decided to feature Itahana in the first place since the episode wasn’t really about him, he was indeed a supervisor though for the girl in the video so there is that.

Developer Statements & Sakaguchi Coming out of retirement?

Fast forwarding to late December 2022 the Producer of the Final Fantasy VII remake Yoshinori Kitase made a New Years statement that talked about a reveal happening this a for a game that is not related to the Final Fantasy VII Remake franchise. Here you can see an exempt original post from the official Final Fantasy Website regarding the “Big announcement” he was talking about.

Now we need to understand that this message is translated from the Japanese message, so there can be a bit different meanings when it comes to “Big announcement” and saying things like “the most exciting year yet”, but personally those are very loaded words to me and you have to talk about a high caliber title here and not some fucking Chocobo Dungeon remake obviously.

The thing here is though why is Kitase making this statement instead of some other producer from Square Enix? Is it a coincidence that they just chose someone to refer to a new title coming out or was it intentional? For the sake of theorizing we are assuming the latter – now here’s the thing Kitase had no involvement with either Final Fantasy IX or Final Fantasy Tactics, but he has been involved basically with everything regarding Final Fantasy 7 however.

The other titles that he was heavily involved with were Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XIII trilogy & Kingdom Hearts. It is not totally wild to say that there might be another Kingdom Hearts game in the works, that could be a spin-off or a side story of sorts or even Final Fantasy X-3 which i would personally very much love to see. He was also involved with FFVIII, but that game just got a remaster so i don’t think they are doing anything with that title anytime soon.

Ultimately, if he’s involved with this specific project that’s not announced yet, it’s unlikely that its Final Fantasy IX – but since some of the OG staff of FFIX isn’t any longer with Square like Hironobu Sakaguchi (Which we talk about in a second) would maybe mean he might get thrown in to be in charge of it given his vast experience.

Now back in late 2021, Sakaguchi made statements about retiring altogether from gaming and then basically retracting that and talking about bringing Fantasian to PC and making a sequel for it. Mistwalker Studios really shot themselves for not being multi-platform, but that’s another subject on its own. Sakaguchi talked about how he was pitched a project or two and another of those games is Dark Fantasy, it’s not also totally out of the picture Square talking to Sakaguchi to come aboard to work on Final Fantasy IX Remake in some capacity, whatever Square outsourcing the game partially to Mistwalker or in some other capacity.

I admit that Sakaguchi’s involvement might be a bit more far-fetched theory, but it’s still worth mentioning since we are spitballing all types of connections here anyways.

The New Final Fantasy IX Remake Leaks & Alleged Claims

Now that we have covered all the pre-existing leaks and rumors regarding the possibility of a Final Fantasy IX Remake it’s time to look into new data that has surfaced in the last couple of days and weeks. Starting off with the more legitimate source – which is a streaming clip from Game Mess Mornings and at the 30:45 timestamp Jeff Grubb reiterates that FFIX Remake is still in development at Square Enix and also he has gotten multiple confirmations on this just recently.

Previously Jeff Grubb was the guy who broke down the timeline for the PlayStation showcase event that happened last month, so he does have a reputable track record in the industry. Now he doesn’t seem to know much about the details of it, but makes the same assumption as i made which was that it won’t be as high a caliber reboot project as Final Fantasy VII has been. This further supports my theory that I talked about in my original video that the game will be much alike the original game in terms of its combat, but the graphics will be much closer to Memoria Project and World of Final Fantasy with added voice acting on top (with obvious other quality of life adjustments).

Then we have the “alleged” comments made in Resetera by Im A Hero Too that I would really take with a grain of salt since it could be just a random guy/girl talking absolute nonsense. People on the thread aren’t exactly accusing this person of being illegitimate though. Many other publications were reporting on these comments and so will we I guess, in other posts, there are statements about it being a PS5 Exclusive and on the other talking about not being a same caliber rework as FF7R, and then the last remark he made was that it’s going to be traditional, which I would translate as turn-based combat.

Now these statements kinda align with my theory which is that it’s not going to be the same budget as FF7R, and it’s not going to be a massive overhaul of the existing game, so staying the same with improved saving mechanics, maybe the ability, and item overhauls, voice acting, trance rework, a graphical overhaul, and faster turn-based battles. However, I have no hard opinion on the release date of the reveal or the game itself.

Given the fact that we got Tactics Ogre Reborn earlier this year, could mean that the same game engine is being used on Final Fantasy Tactics, which kinda would be a very plausible end-of-the-year release or reveal. I Do think we are going to get both games, but If I were to believe this person’s word it would mean that we get Tactics first before we touch FFIX and I’m fine with that, but this doesn’t align with my theory regarding the animated series (unless it’s really like 50 episodes long and takes a shit ton of time to produce).

But… what do you think of all of this? What is going to be that mystery game reveal this year? Drop a comment below and discuss!