->''"You don't need a reason to help people."''
-->-- '''Zidane Tribal'''

The ninth entry into the [[RunningGag rib-rendingly]] popular ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series.

''Final Fantasy IX'' is [[RevisitingTheRoots a return to the series' roots]] and the classic MedievalEuropeanFantasy worlds, after the more futuristic approach of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII''. Both graphically and story-wise, it set a new standard for the games that followed it. Particularly, ''Final Fantasy IX'' is known for combining a sunny and light-hearted visual atmosphere with a very mature and thoughtful FromBadToWorse story. The game is additionally a celebration of Franchise/FinalFantasy's origins, and contains many, ''many'' references to Creator/SquareSoft's earliest few installments.

Zidane Tribal is a LoveableRogue and GentlemanThief with a dash of ChivalrousPervert thrown in. Along with the members of Tantalus, a troupe of thieves disguised as traveling entertainers, he plots to kidnap the princess of Alexandria and hold her for a nice hefty ransom. However, when she suddenly turns around and ''asks'' to be kidnapped to escape the clutches of her ([[FaceHeelTurn suddenly]]) evil mother, what kind of gentleman would say no?

As it turns out, Princess Garnet is holding more than a wish to see the world: she is harbouring powerful SummonMagic within her body, and the Queen will stop at nothing to extract it for the sake of [[TakeOverTheWorld world domination]]. Aiding the Queen is a mysterious ArmsDealer called Kuja, who is bolstering her armies with powerful [[ArtificialHuman artificial mages]].

Traveling along with Zidane are a cast of colourful characters: Vivi Ornitier, a young Black Mage who realises (to his horror) that Kuja's artificial mages look just like him; Adelbert Steiner, Garnet's incompetent but fiercely-loyal bodyguard; Eiko Carol, a BrattyHalfPint summoner with a major crush on Zidane; Freya Crescent, a Dragon Knight searching for her lost love; Quina Quen, a genderless chef thing looking for delicious things to eat; and Amarant Coral, a mercenary/monk with a strong grudge against Zidane.

The story focuses on the characters' efforts at self-discovery. Vivi must learn what he is and why he exists, as well as what this means for his life. Zidane must learn what he is as well, and how this has to do with TheManBehindTheMan, Kuja, and his friend Vivi. Garnet must learn the truth about her mother, her own origins, and the nature of the eidolons that are her birthright. Steiner must learn what honor and duty truly mean, when those he is loyal to stand opposed to one another, and his loyalty may be invoked to betray itself.

Freya must learn what's truly important in life, and what it means to lose a loved one, and most of all, how and why to go on fighting. Quina must learn about being a true gourmand, by sampling flavors from all over the world. Eiko must learn that TrueCompanions are more than just grabbing who you want for yourself, and that being on the losing end of a love triangle doesn't mean being alone. Amarant must learn that strength isn't the ability to crush one's foes, and that the [[ThePowerOfFriendship most elusive power of all]] is a thing he may never even understand.

''Final Fantasy IX'' was highly praised for being challenging, but extremely user-friendly. There is no penalty for leveling up, acquired skills can never be lost again, chocobos for encounter-free travel are very easy to come by, and optional scenes are just that: optional. The plot, too, is much less of a MindScrew than that of previous games, staying comfortably away from ''too'' much symbolism but still featuring some wonderfully surreal elements. Criticism of the game tends to focus on its "softer" art style, as well as the CharacterFocus on Garnet and Vivi to the exclusion of some other characters. The game was the least successful of the three offered on the original UsefulNotes/PlayStation, selling 6 million copies (VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII sold over 8 million, and VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII over 10 million; VideoGame/FinalFantasyX would go on to sell 6.6 million), despite retailing for considerably less due to the imminent release of the [=PS2=], though, said imminent release might have been the major factor, if people felt the choice was between the latest game or the latest console.

Despite the game's commercial shortcomings and tendency to be somewhat overlooked by fans, it released to massive critical acclaim. Notably, it is ''the'' most critically acclaimed game in the entire franchise, holding the highest Metacritic score out of every single Final Fantasy game.

Additionally, [[EnsembleDarkhorse Vivi]] is one of the most popular characters in ''Final Fantasy'' history. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds the ultimate woobie can destroy the biggest of monsters despite being nine years old.]] He had a somewhat [[{{Flanderization}} one-dimensional]] cameo in ''KingdomHearts 2'' as a result of his popularity.

Notably, series-creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has at one point stated that he considers this game to be the quintessential ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'', being a composition of all the key elements he has constantly been shooting for. Composer Creator/NobuoUematsu considers the ''FFIX'' soundtrack his best as well.

This was the [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment final]] ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' game of the Playstation cycle, and of the 20th century. The game saw an UpdatedRerelease on UsefulNotes/MicrosoftWindows, [[IOSGames iOS]], and [[AndroidGames Android]] in 2016. A UsefulNotes/PlayStation4 port was released in September 2017.

There is a [[Characters/FinalFantasyIX character sheet]]. Feel free to contribute.

!!This game provides examples of:
* FinalFantasyIX/TropesAToH
* FinalFantasyIX/TropesIToP
* FinalFantasyIX/TropesQToZ
->''C'mon, Princess. Let's ditch Sir Rustalot and get outta here!''