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FF6 - Brave New World

Hack of Final Fantasy III


What started out with my initial desire to properly case everyone’s names turned into a rather innocent discussion between a co-worker of mine and I about ways to improve/fix the original game, which in turn (somehow) became this.

FF6 - Brave New World is a fairly complete overhaul of Final Fantasy VI, featuring…

  • Character-based esper restrictions & new stat boosts that promote greater diversity and allow for customized development.
  • Esper leveling system that disassociates esper bonuses from traditional levels.
  • New and reworked formulas which rescue everything that isn’t magic or magic evasion from the dump-stat heap.
  • Rebalanced equipment, items, spells, and skills that aim to remove dead weight and give players more (and better) choices.
  • A complete overhaul of enemies from their stats to their behavior to better challenge veteran players and newcomers alike.
  • Tons of bugfixes, as well as remedies to many of the game’s more annoying aspects (such as rage hunting taking a lifetime).
  • And much, much more, detailed in the Readme (particularly section 4).

One thing BNW is not is a difficulty mod. While it is harder than vanilla FF6, we wanted to keep it accessible to newcomers while at the same time giving veterans a new experience. Hopefully, we succeeded.

Curious about what other people are saying about BNW? Like the mod and want to let us know? Hate it and want to tell us how much we suck? Completely indifferent and just bored? Feel free to drop by what’s become the official forum for discussing BNW:

ROM / ISO Information:

  • Final Fantasy III (USA) - NOINTRO
  • CRC32: A27F1C7A
  • MD5: E986575B98300F721CE27C180264D890
  • SHA-1: 4F37E4274AC3B2EA1BEDB08AA149D8FC5BB676E7
  • SHA-256: 0F51B4FCA41B7FD509E4B8F9D543151F68EFA5E97B08493E4B2A0C06F5D8D5E2




ContributorType of contributionListed credit

User Review Information

The Definitive Way to Experience FF6

Reviewed By: Sir Newton Fig on 12 Mar 2021

If you played FF6 as a kid, chances are you think back fondly on your memories of experiencing the game for the first time. For years after, I wished I could do it all over again – and then I discovered Brave New World.

On the surface, this is the same old game you’ve loved for years – same faces, same story – but its core has been taken and re-forged anew in the fires of Mt. Doom. Once you have experienced the game this way, it will be hard to look back on vanilla FF6 and say, “you know what, that was a great game,” because you won’t be able to look back on vanilla FF6 at all.

This hack changes a lot of things, but its core philosophy is to be a total rebalance of the original. Admit it: FF6 is not a difficult game. Even without resorting to any of the myriad ways in which you can abuse its mechanics, you can stumble through it without really needing to think critically at all. The same cannot be said about BNW. In fact, BNW on the surface almost can’t be abused, and if you play the game from start to finish without grinding or over-optimizing, its difficulty falls in this magnificent sweet spot that is just right to keep a first-time player engaged and thinking without making them feel like they are without hope.

That said, the player *must* be thinking. You may see reviews for this game criticizing it for its challenge, or rather, for its claim to not be a “difficulty mod”. What these reviewers do not seem to appreciate is that BNW isn’t a game where you just hit stuff until it dies and top up your HP when it gets low. Challenges in BNW are like one of those little puzzle toys where you have to wiggle all the pieces in the right order to get them to come apart or put them back together. At first glance, they can give you trouble; but once you get the knack for it you can do it with your eyes closed. Enemies in BNW aren’t pushovers – they have extensively re-written AI scripts that include counterattacks and responses to stimuli that can be sussed out and worked around. So if you find yourself overwhelmed or eating a lot of unwanted counterattacks, ask yourself: “is there something I could try doing differently to make this easier?” Usually the answer is yes, and once you find that solution, you can move on. You, the player, must gain experience and level up alongside your team.

(If you bristle at the thought of having to think critically during random encounters, I ask you: what is the point of random encounters if they present no challenge to overcome?)

The lengths to which BNW goes to bring you a balanced experience go far beyond AI re-scripting. Equipment, spells and abilities all get some tweaking too, and you’ll be pleased to discover that some of the old abilities that never saw much use are now actually useful: Suplex, Sketch, Slots, and Bushido are all universally viable, to name a few. And the worthless abilities are either replaced with something useful or gone entirely (So long, Lv.4 Flare! And Spiraler, say hello to Chakra!)

But BNW’s crowning achievement is the way in which it recharacterizes the cast. Everything from the way a character talks (more on the script later…) to the abilities they can use has been tweaked, solidifying a personality and niche for each. Central to this is the new Esper system, wherein each character can only access a subset of the game’s Espers, resulting in each character having spell and stat growth options that are specific to their character. Gone are the days of everyone having Cure 3 and Ultima with 90+ Magic, and I say good riddance. Everyone has their own unique toolset, and the act of composing synergistic parties becomes a sort of cathartic art in a similar vein to building an optimal team of Pokémon or a Magic deck.

Compound all of the above with a list of quality-of-life improvements and bugfixes so long I would pass out from lack of sleep before enumerating them all (seriously, look at that Readme – it is a beast, but worth a scan), and you have a finished product that will redefine the way you think about FF6.

Now, let’s talk about the script. This has been a bit of a contentious topic in discussions about BNW, and I hope that this portion of the review can help temper your expectations before you dive in.

First up: this isn’t Ted Woolsey’s FF6. If you come into this expecting to see the script unchanged, I suggest you try to loosen that expectation now. Woolsey’s script was a rush job loaded with characterization inconsistencies and questionable localization choices. If you can set nostalgia aside and accept that as an argument worth considering, try to judge BNW’s script on its own merits.

Second up: yes, the script has references that break the 4th wall. One doesn’t put this much effort into rebuilding something without trying to turn it into something they find fun. I assure you that these moments are in the vast minority, but I can sympathize that if you like a certain level of immersion in your RPGs that this can be a bit jarring. My recommendation is to give it your best go as-is, and see if you can appreciate it the way the mod author intended – but if you find these bits too much to handle, don’t just throw the mod out the door, because there is an alternate script patch available in the download that reflavors these references.

Third up: yes, there are instances of foul language. This is part of the recharacterization I discussed earlier; and again, these moments are in the (even vaster) minority. My initial reaction to this was negative when I first played the game, but I’ve grown to appreciate what this adds to the flavor profile of the experience. Again, if this isn’t your cup of tea, or if you intend for your children to experience this game too, there is another alternate script patch available to clean up the language; and, unless I’m mistaken, the two are compatible with one another.

In summary, FF6 - Brave New World is a game that redefines the original in a way that makes it a brand new experience while still remaining familiar. It is challenging without being deliberately cruel, innovative without being contrived, and has its own personality that you can either grow to love or disguise with a paper bag.

Version 2.1b Recommended - Yes

User Reviews
A fresh new take on a classic. Almost didn't get it, SO glad I did.lobe02 Jun 20212.0Yes
The Definitive Way to Experience FF6Sir Newton Fig12 Mar 20212.1bYes
A Fantastic And Fresh FF6 Experience (long review)PokeFaize11 Mar 20212.0Yes
Great Hack but Spell Points (Magic Points) are wastedfoxguard909 Mar 20212.0Yes
A Fantastic Mechanical Update with an Enjoyable (not Mindless) Playthroughzeroedgeir28 Feb 20212.0Yes
Grindfest that requires you to play it as the developers intended.MysticLord09 Jan 20212.0Yes
"not a difficulty hack" my left footIkeTATARI09 Jan 20212.0No
Misleading presentation of hackxigix02 Oct 20202.0No
Really loved it until 2.0Croixraoul101 Jul 20202.0No
Challenging without being "hardtype", revised without being "different for the sake oSPennLUE10 Mar 20202.0Yes
A great way to experience FFVI again!Ok Impala!27 Jul 20191.9.0Yes
Definitely a Difficulty ModPhaxuji12 Jan 20202.0No
A fantastic mod, but the difficulty can be offputtingsarysa23 Apr 20181.9.0Yes
A good approach on character diversityXardas08 Mar 20181.6.1Yes
Lots of changes including save pointsKFCTwister18 Dec 20171.8.6Yes
People who say this isn't a good mod like ultima.Rotnflesh16 May 20151.6.1Yes
A Definitive FF6 Hackmagictrufflez01 May 20151.6.1Yes
This isn't a difficulty mod? Really?oubliette25 Mar 20151.6.0No