This year is FFVI's 20th Anniversary, and yet SquareEnix not only treats this game like its not important (other than a good but not great iOS port), it ignores now days what made FFVI so great.
The debate is over with western publications and critics.....its now near unanimously held as the best Final Fantasy game in almost every major gaming website and magazine (more so now then say, 10 years ago)....IGN (who also named it the best RPG ever made), Gameinformer, gamesradar, Gametrailers, Destructoid, the escapist, to name a few. the debate now, is which is second best..IV, VII, IX, or X, with Tactics thrown in if spinoffs count. Why can't SquareEnix read the west? So what, its not as popular in Japan, but Final Fantasy is a global franchise and SquareEnix should respect that instead of moving the series more to local tastes and claim westerners don't get their games.
Why is FFVI so acclaimed?
1) Because instead of going with a convoluted mess of a plot, like its sequels do, it went with a simple plot, but with deep themes and focus on characters. But nope, Final Fantasy plots have become more and more ridiculous, with XIII needing a codex to understand the plot.
2) It was also a well directed game, an ur-example of game direction, so well done that all the little things can seem big. There are so many examples. Nevermind the big set pieces like the Opera or Celes's suicide attempt, hell FFVI actually has rare examples of deus ex machina pulled off well, where it adds to the story instead of hurts it. Contrast this with FFXIII's endgame...yuck. I cannot even think of a poorly directed moment in FFVI.....even some scenes in Mass Effect Trilogy have some poor direction, but FFVI? None.
3) Another factor, the excellent localization done by Ted Woolsey, only hampered by Nintendo of America's censorship policy at the time. He didn't translate it, he westernized it. Notice a Beavis and Butthead shout out early in the game? No wonder why Kefka is more popular in the west than in Japan. many of his famous quotes were written by Woolsey. But now, other than Smith translating Matsuno's stories, the localizations have gotten worse and much of it is to do with the treatment of their translators and the poor working environment they have.
4) Also, best open world storytelling I have ever seen in the World of Ruin. While there is much less of a plot, everything is connected through its powerful themes of finding meaning in life and to overcome the pain of losing a loved one. So instead of the plot holding things together, its the themes. Take that, Skyrim. Even Mass Effect 2 can't compare to how well done FFVI's World of Ruin is in open game design.
But now Final Fantasy is rife with poor direction, bad writing and storytelling, poor character designs, subpar localization, design decisions and story decisions to try to appeal to the fanbase instead of whats right for the story (see Vaan), and a move to more incorporation of Japanese pop culture and modernism thanks to Toriyama and Nomura (even getting backlash from Japanse gamers regarding FFXV). So instead of learning from what made FFVI the most acclaimed FF game, they are moving away from the values that made it great. Shame.