Final Fantasy had long been a fan favorite for those who owned an NES or SNES. Squaresoft had planned on releasing a Final Fantasy game on the N64 but later changed it’s tune and switched to releasing their subsequent sequels on the PS1.
It had been rumored, in Nintendo Power, that the game would be released in late 1996 on the N64. This however proved to be false as Squaresoft announced that Final Fantasy VII was to be released on the PS1 instead. This left many Nintendo fans in shock, and many thought that Sony had bought exclusive rights to the franchise. This of course was not true but, it had been anticipated, after such success on NES and SNES that any sequels would come out on N64. There was even a tech demo from Squaresoft showing what they planned on doing with their new 3D graphics.
Though Squaresoft never announced that Final Fantasy VII was to be released on N64, the rumor mill made it seem as if they had. They later announced that the cartridge based format was not big enough to hold everything they wanted to do. Instead they chose Sony’s new PS1, which could hold up to 650 MB of data on one disc in comparison to only 64 MB max on a N64 cartridge. Squaresoft wanted pre rendered backgrounds and in depth cut scenes. Final Fantasy VII was a massive 1.32 GB file, which was a few PS1 discs. 1.32 GB on 64 MB N64 cartidges would have been approximately 22 cartridges. The most expensive Nintendo 64 games were 80 bucks a game and at 22 cartridges multiplied by 80… The game would of cost 1,760 dollars! This is of course considering they didn’t do any compressing. Resident Evil 2 showed that a PS1 game could be compressed onto an N64 cartridge but, that was one amazing technical feat all in itself.
As everyone knows, Squaresoft released Final Fantasy VII on PS1 and it ended up being a classic. Since then, not a single numbered Final Fantasy has been released on any Nintendo system, outside of rehashes of Final Fantasy 1 through 6. Since Squaresoft chose to go with Sony’s Playstation, they released 32 games on Sony systems and only 1 on a Nintendo system. Then Squaresoft became Square Enix and began to release games more equally on all platforms.
Squaresoft was a main contributor to Sony’s success and made everyone further question why Nintendo chose to handicap it’s powerful system with cartridges. The question of why they chose cartridges is for another time.