The series was conceived by Yoshinori Kitase, the original game's director, and Tetsuya Nomura, the main character designer. Nomura would become the main designer for each entry in the Compilation. Other returning staff include writer Kazushige Nojima, art director Yusuke Naora, and composer Nobuo Uematsu. The video games belong to different genres, with none of them being traditional role-playing games due to production pressures related to the genre. While the first title revealed was Advent Children, it ran into delays during post-production, so the first Compilation title to be released was the mobile game Before Crisis.
Of the core titles, Before Crisis is the only one still unreleased in the west due to issues with overseas platform compatibility and staff changes. Reception of titles in the Compilation has been mixed, with Advent Children being praised for its visuals and criticized for its confusing nature. Before Crisis and Crisis Core have received praise, while Dirge of Cerberus garnered a mixed response. The presentation of the Compilation as a whole has met with a mixed response, and later staff linked it to the decline of the Final Fantasy series' prestige in the West. The Compilation inspired the creation of Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy, a similar subseries of linked video games.
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII is an action role-playing video game split into 24 episodes, with episode delivery working via a monthly subscription-based distribution system. After going through beta testing in 2004, it was released on September 24, 2004 for NTT DoCoMo's FOMA iMode, and on January 30 and April 5, 2007 for SoftBank Mobile and EZweb respectively. The game was never released to western markets, despite plans to do so.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII is an action game featuring both first and third-person shooter elements. There was originally a multiplayer mode, but this was removed in the western version. It was released on January 26, August 15, and November 17, 2006 in Japan, North America and Europe respectively. The localized version received an overhaul before release, as the developers were not pleased with the Japanese version of the game. An International version, featuring the improvements made to the localized version, was released in Japan on September 11, 2008 as part of Square Enix's Ultimate Hits lineup. A mobile spin-off taking place during the events of the game, Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode: Final Fantasy VII, was released on August 22, 2006 in North America and July 26, 2007 in Japan.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is an action role-playing game. Crisis Core has the player controlling Zack Fair in a real-time combat system enabling the player to move Zack around, activate abilities and attack or block attacks from enemies. It was released on September 13, 2007 in Japan, and on March 24 and June 20, 2008 in North America and Europe respectively.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the first title conceived for the Compilation, the second to be released, and a direct-to-DVD sequel to VII. It was released in Japan on September 14, 2005, and on April 24 and 25, 2006 for Europe and North America respectively. It received a single special western cinema screening on April 3, 2006, at the Arclight Theatre in Los Angeles. A director's cut of the film, Advent Children Complete, was also produced, featuring graphical retouches, extra footage and rerecorded voice work for the English and Japanese versions. A Blu-ray exclusive, Advent Children Complete was released on June 2, 2009 in North America, on July 27, 2009 in Europe, and on October 7, 2009 in Australia. A demo for Final Fantasy XIII was included in the package.
Last Order: Final Fantasy VII, an original video animation detailing the destruction of the town of Nibelheim, a key event in VII. Last Order was packaged with a limited edition of Advent Children called Advent Pieces, released on September 14, 2005 in Japan and February 6, 2007 in North America.Advent Pieces was limited to a quantity of 77,777 copies. The OVA is no longer available to purchase.
Multiple pieces of tie-in media have been created for the Compilation, nearly all relating to Advent Children. To promote Advent Children Complete, a series of short stories were written by Kazushige Nojima under the umbrella title On a Way to Smile. The stories were later collected into a single paperback volume and released on April 16, 2009. An animated adaptation of one story, "Case of Denzel", was included in all copies of Advent Children Complete. Nojima also wrote Final Fantasy VII Lateral Biography: Turks ~The Kids Are Alright~, a novel set a short time before Advent Children. The novel was illustrated by Shou Tojima.
A mobile racing game based on a mini game from VII, Final Fantasy VII G-Bike, was released on October 30, 2014, for iOS and Android. A western release for the title was planned. It was developed by Japan-based developer CyberConnect2 as part of a planned subseries of mobile games based on VII's mini games. While related to VII and the Compilation due to its nature, the developers confirmed that it was not related to nor affected the Compilation itself. Due to difficulties delivering continual satisfactory service, G-Bike was shut down in 2015 without seeing a Western release.