Badass Decay: Leviathan was one of the most powerful summons in early installments (second to Bahamut in III, the King of Eidolons in IV, one of three level 5 summons in V), but became more of a mid-game summon starting with VII, and is now a part of the 6-pronged elemental wheel seen in the latest installments, alongside "basic" summons like Ifrit and Shiva while his old role was effectively given to Alexander. Final Fantasy XV inverts this by making Shiva and Ifrit more badass and elevating them to Leviathan's level.
Final Fantasy X: The final boss Yu Yevon is something of an Almighty Idiot who doesn't use particularly powerful attacks or defenses (other than one flunky healing him for 9999 damage, but the party can easily outdo that kind of damage). One particularly well-known strategy involves exploiting his lack of Contractual Boss Immunity by inflicting the Zombie status on him, causing his own ally to damage him for quite a bit of damage. This is more or less the point, coming after very difficult battles: Yu Yevon was the driving entity behind Sin's constant regeneration and destructive impulses, but over millennia became entirely helpless without an Aeon to possess and turn into Sin anew.
Contested Sequel: Every Final Fantasy game somehow manages to become more controversial than the last one.
Critical Dissonance: The entire series. Critics almost universally give Final Fantasy games high scores. Fans on the other hand are a heavily fragmented Broken Base. Name any game in the series and, though the proportions will vary, you will find people who hate it, those who love it, and those who don't feel strongly either way.
It is generally agreed that the series has done this, but there is no absolute consensus to when this happened, being the subject of massive Flame Wars. General consensus is it happened somewhere from IV to VII (and old-school Japanese fans would readily assert III, but all non-Japanese fans missed that particular boat). Each game in that span, in their own ways, radically improved upon the gameplay, plot and/or characters compared to what came before.
It is also generally agreed that the A Realm Reborn relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV signified a second beard-growing in The New '10s. While there have still been debates about some of the games that followed, in general ARR's launch in 2013 marked a general improvement in the quality and effort put into Final Fantasy titles, with XIV itself taking a major lead position with its expansions.
A commonly believed though untrue story behind the series' title; it was called "Final Fantasy" because Squaresoft was going bankrupt and everyone in the company expected this to be their last game, and Hironobu Sakaguchi was considering giving up being a video game designer and decided to let this game decide for him. Instead the game was hugely successful, saved the company and Sakaguchi's career, and is now a pillar of the JRPG genre.
It's widely believed that the reason Square took the franchise to Sony was because of Nintendo's insistence on using Cartridges for the Nintendo 64. Over 20 years later, Square Enix announces they're porting VII, IX, X, X-2, and XIInote along with Crystal Chronicles, which did come to the Gamecube to a Nintendo system for the first time, specifically the Nintendo Switch, which is Nintendo's first cartridge-based system since the N64.
The story of Final Fantasy VII originally being meant for a Nintendo 64 release is well-known. However, one of the rejected prompts for the game went to become Xenogears, with both games releasing on the PlayStation and not the Nintendo 64. Shortly after Xenogears's release, its development crew would go onto found Monolith Soft, who would later make Xenoblade, a secondSpiritual Successor for Xenogears...after Monolith Soft had been bought out by Nintendo. And then things came full circle even more so when both Cloud and Shulk were add to the fourth Smash game, thus allowing them duke it out.
Tetsuya Nomura became this trope thanks to being the Creative Lead of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VIInote A Slew of Spin-Off titles focusing on expanding Final Fantasy VII. that was a major focus of the company in the early 2000s. When VII became a huge hit, Nomura not only became the go-to artist for many subsequent main series titles, but he became director and producer of several Compilation titles, and fans began to blame anything wrong with the series on him. This is despite the fact that outside the Compilation, he had only ever been an art and character designer. Note that this is exclusive for the pre-2010s games, as some 2010s-era games begin to credit him as a Creative Producer.
The XIII trilogy and XV saga both earned intense hatred for directors Motomu Toriyama and Hajime Tabata — "Toriyama'd" became shorthand for Trolling Creator during the XIII trilogy's run in the spotlight, and Tabata got a lot of flak for releasing XV as an Obvious Beta that he tried to finish with patches and DLC. In both cases, while they certainly merit some blame for the games since they directed them, neither is entirely at fault: the major criticism of the XIII trilogy was its confusing and nonsensical stories in XIII-2 and Lightning Returns, and Toriyama didn't write those two games, Daisuke Watanabe did. As for XV, its Troubled Production is infamous for spanning a decade from its initial reveal to its release (2006 to 2016) and Tabata was only director from 2012 on, and the project had a lot of behind-the-scenes problems that persisted into his tenure.
When Final Fantasy XIV was first released in 2010, it was panned heavily from critics and players alike for being full of glitches, having illogical gameplay mechanics, and having a lot of Cut-and-Paste Environments. Hiromichi Tanaka was the director at the time and was also the director for Final Fantasy XI. Tanaka got the blame for the failure that Final Fantasy XIV went through, which resulted with him being forced out of Square Enix (with a note that he had been one of Square's founders in the 1980s). Although he was rather famously awkward with the news media in general and made some specific gaffes during the initial press cycle for XIV, fans of the 1.0 game feel Tanaka was made to take the fall for a disaster that had a lot of responsible parties.
People think that the pretty, angsty protagonist only started happening when the games moved onto the Playstation. Either they do not know about Cecil Harvey, or they are actively practicing denial.
Percentage-based damage. The Gravity spell family—which first appeared in Final Fantasy V—is the most famous example of this: Gravity takes 50% of the enemy's HP, no matter how much HP he has. However this first appeared all the way back in Final Fantasy II with the Blood Sword, which always took a certain percentage of the enemy's HP, no matter how large it was.note The Blood Sword is unusual in that unlike just about every other percentage based function in gaming, it always did 1/16 of the target's max hp per hit. It was also possible to hit 16 times per turn, meaning it could easily OHK anything and everything.
Popular with Furries: Red XIII from VII, Kimahri from X, the Bangaa race, the various Behemoth breeds, and some of the summon designs ensure that a lot of anthropomorphic fan-art surrounds the franchise.
Sequelitis: Much like the beard-growing detailed above, it is frequently argued by some that somewhere between the very late 90s and through to about 2010 (with the release of the original XIV and Final Fantasy: All the Bravest), the franchise began to suffer quite badly from a case of sequelitis (with the aforementioned examples being extreme expressions of the malaise). Much like the beard-growing, however, precisely when the franchise began suffering serious issues, or whether the problem has even been entirely consistent, is one of the most mileage-varying topics one can discuss in the fandom (with a real risk of discussion becoming Flame Bait).
Silent Majority: Every game (in the main series, anyway) has gotten great reviews from critics and fans alike and sold millions of copies. You wouldn't know it from visiting online forums, where players will line up to tell you that each individual title (and especially the most recent one to be released) is one of the worst video games they ever played and almost ruined the series.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: As the series progressed, plots became increasingly complex and convoluted... and the individual games got more and more critical praise. VII is considered one of the greatest games of all time, nevermind that its plot is very confusing and was not translated very well to boot. Subverted with some later games; critics and fans have begun to single out poor and confusing plotlines as a weakness of the series.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Alongside Awesome Music, this is the other trope that most fans universally agree on, ranging from the elaborate opera scene and destruction of the world in VI, to the warping antics and titanic Astrals in XV. The most common ground for these are a) the ever-present summons, and b) the more recent fight scenes.
Win Back the Crowd: Many fans gradually grew disillusioned with how Square Enix handled re-releasing many of the older entries from 2014 onwards, with many of the games from I - IX being remade for mobile phones with varying degrees of cheapness before being sloppily ported to other platforms, culminating in the egregiously ugly V and VI remakes. When the Pixel Remaster series of remakes for Final Fantasy's I through VI were announced in 2021 with little fanfare, before soon being released with even less only on PC and mobile, along with the confirmation of each game lacking any of the bonus content from each of their different versions released over the years and the look of the games falling into similar pitfalls the aforementioned V and VI remakes did* Inconsistent pixel scaling between menus and the game, a cheap-looking font for EFIGS languages, and overly smooth shading on sprites, many were naturally sceptical of whether they would be any good. Come release, many were surprised to find the visuals looked nice, with really slick transitions and effects, the new arrangements of the soundtracks were excellent, and that each game had unadvertised balance changes that refined each game while staying true to the originals* FF1 uses the Vancian magic system while adding Ethers to restore magic charges mid-dungeon, FF2 tweaks various battle mechanics and how stat gains work so the whole party can get their stats up without needing to game the system, and FF3 removes the penalties and costs from changing jobs and tweaks all the jobs to generally be more useful. On the technical side of things, the PC versions have menus optimized for larger screens instead of being carried over from the mobile versions, support up to 21:9 ultrawide resolutions, and all versions have the pixel art of gameplay elements stay on a consistent grid. As a result, many have actually called the first three Pixel Remasters the definitive versions of each game and have regained some faith in how Square Enix is handling the series' older games.