Final Fantasy is arguably the most important release in the entire history of Square Enix - or Squaresoft, if you'd prefer - and one of the biggest names in the video game business. For many years it was said that the game was so named because it represented the last throw of the dice for the studio; prior to Final Fantasy, Square hadn't had all that much success in the video game arena. The RPG changed all that, becoming a massive hit in its native Japan and founding a series which continues to be the jewel in Square Enix's crown, even today.
However, creator Hironobu Sakaguchi - who recently gave a talk on the history of JRPGs - has stated that this tale is false. He says that the original name for the game was in fact Fighting Fantasy, which couldn't be used because it clashed with the Fighting Fantasy series of "Choose Your Own Adventure" game books, created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone - the latter of whom would ironically become involved with Square Enix when the Japanese publisher purchased Eidos Interactive.
Sakaguchi says that he was keen to have a title which could be abbreviated to "FF" or "efu efu" - which apparently is a pleasing sound to Japanese ears. He does admit that the situation at Square was pretty dim at the time, but asserts that it had no impact on the naming of his most famous creation:
Those days definitely seemed like end times, but honestly, any word that started with 'F' would've been fine.
That's another gaming myth debunked, then.