This game in the Final Fantasy series was the first to use the Active-Time Battle (ATB) system, which has been a staple of the series ever since (barring Final Fantasy X).
In the US release of Final Fantasy II (often regarded as the "EasyType" Final Fantasy IV), many of the items that can cause magic were removed except for the Red and Blue Fang items, the latter of which is only shown in the opening of the game. Similarly, many items intended to cure one status ailment alone were replaced with Remedies.
In this version (EasyType) of Final Fantasy IV, Cecil's Darkness ability was removed. However, when you face Dark Knight Cecil atop Mt. Ordeals, he uses this ability against you repeatedly.
During the game, it is possible for you to freeze the game by entering and exiting areas 64 times. This became popularly known as the "8^2 Curse of Extinction" because of an official Square newsletter, "Ogopogo Examiner", that wrote it off as, not a glitch, but a plot device in which the final boss having finally tracked you down, judged you to be too nosy, and silenced you forever.
Final Fantasy IV was originally being developed for the Nintendo Famicom, but financing and scheduling constraints forced SquareSoft to move the project to the Super Famicom.
According to creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, the NES version of Final Fantasy IV was about 80% complete when the project was moved to the Super Nintendo. As of this writing, very little information is publicly available about the cancelled NES version.
Lead designer Takashi Tokita wanted to be a theater actor prior to joining Square. Final Fantasy IV was his first project as a full-time employee.
Hiromichi Tanaka wanted to develop a battle system that allowed more freedom in movement and didn't use scenes separate from gameplay in order to keep the game more action-oriented. But Final Fantasy IV was sticking with the original battle plan as the previous games, so Tanaka joined a different development team to work on what would become Secret of Mana.
The game's development was completed in around one year among a 14-person team.
The Active Time Battle (ATB) system was conceived and designed by Hiroyuki Ito. The inspiration for this battle system came to Ito when he was watching a Formula One race where racers were passing each other at different speeds.
Takashi Tokita recalled that he had to work on the game diligently due to the pressure he was facing, and that the game might not have been completed if he had not worked on it devotedly.
This game borrows notable elements from the previous three games: the job system from Final Fantasy III, the emphasis on the plot in Final Fantasy II, and the four elemental bosses acting as "symbols for the game" in the original Final Fantasy.
25% of the game's script had to be cut due to cartridge storage limits. Takashi Tokita took extra care to only cut "unnecessary dialogue."
One idea for the game never included was a dungeon where each character had to progress through the dungeon on their own. This dungeon was later added in the Game Boy Advance version as the "Lunar Ruins."
Nobuo Uematsu experienced great difficulty composing the game's soundtrack. Much trial and error occurred during the composition process and sound staff members had to spend several nights in sleeping bags at Square headquarters. Uematsu would often leave humorous memos for the staff to read such as "1:30 AM in the office, naturally."
Changes made to the American localization included decreased difficulty and removal of references to religious themes and death. The original Japanese team was worried that American players would have trouble adjusting to Final Fantasy IV since Final Fantasy II and III were never localized at the time.
Baron Soldier: ...!? I wasn't sleeping!
Tellah: You spoony bard!
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Black Mage: Sleep! Mmm? Aren't you sleepy? Mmm...
Mysidian Elder: Why is the King of Baron doing this? Why do you pursue the crystals so eagerly?
Cecil: I am Cecil, the ex-captain of the Red Wings. I could not disobey the King.
Mysidian Elder, to Cecil: As along as you depend upon the Dark Sword, you cannot defeat true evil. Moreover, you might be consumed with its evil at any time.
Crew Member 1: Why are we robbing crystals from innocent people?
Crew Member: Give us the Crystal of Water!
Rydia, to Edward: Crybaby! You are a man! You are a grown-up! you are not the only one who has lost loved ones!
Palom: Piece of cake!
Porom, to Tellah: Meteo is too dangerous [for you to use]! You are too old... Ooops...
The Mysidian Legend: One to be born from a dragon hoisting the light and the dark arises high up in the sky to the still land. Veiling the moon with the light of eternity, it brings another promise to mother earth a bounty and mercy.
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