Final Fantasy IV, a role-playing video game released by Square in 1991, revolves Cecil Harvey, a knight of Baron who embarks on a quest to defeat Golbez, a man that is controlling the king of Baron. During Cecil's quest, he is joined by his childhood friends Kain Highwind and Rosa Farrell, as well as other warriors from around the world who also seek to stop Golbez. The visuals of the characters were designed by Yoshitaka Amano. After its initial release, Final Fantasy IV was later ported to multiple consoles. In 2007, Square Enix released an enhanced remake for the Nintendo DS that added voice acting to both the Japanese and English versions.
The game's 2008 sequel, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years is set seventeen years after Final Fantasy IV and includes most of the characters from the original game as well as introducing several new characters. The story of The After Years primarily revolves around Ceodore Harvey, the son of Cecil and Rosa. In 2011, a third game in the series was released. Set one year after Final Fantasy IV and sixteen years prior to The After Years, Final Fantasy IV Interlude, was released for the PlayStation Portable, and featured several of the original Final Fantasy IV protagonists.
As Final Fantasy IV was the first game in the series on the Super Famicom, character designer Yoshitaka Amano took advantage of the console's graphical capabilities, designing much more elaborate characters than prior entries. Lead designer Takashi Tokita noted how he and the staff worked in making all of the game's cast fit into the story. The characters were well received by video game publications with several of them finding the cast innovative thanks to their characterization.
According to Final Fantasy IV lead designer Takashi Tokita, Final Fantasy IV was the first Japanese role-playing game to feature such "deep characters." The graphical capabilities of the Super Famicom allowed character designer Yoshitaka Amano to create more elaborate designs than he had done for previous games released for the Famicom. Tokita stated that although his inexperience may have hurt the story, the characters' personalities and roles made the story more appealing. Tokita also pointed out the variety of characters helped to appeal to a wider demographic, stating that the team worked hard to make all side characters fit into the story, something that, at the time, was difficult to do in Japanese media. For the Nintendo DS remake, the characters were handled by Airi Yoshioka. In Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the characters were designed by Akira Oguro.
Tokita stated that the inclusion of voice actors in the DS remake was pleasing for him, claiming that the voice-overs "allowed for a much more dramatic localization." The Japanese voice actors reflected Tokita's vision of the characters, but he noted that others did not feel the same way. English translator Tom Slattery had to change various parts of the original script for the voiced scenes in order for the characters' mouth movements to match the words they were speaking.