Final Fantasy VIII is a role-playing video game released for the PlayStation in 1999 and for Windows-based personal computers in 2000. It was developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) as the Final Fantasy series' eighth title, removing magic point-based spell-casting and the first title to consistently use realistically proportioned characters.
The game's story focuses on a group of young mercenaries who are drawn into an international conflict, and seek to protect the world from a sorceress manipulating the war for her own purposes. The main protagonist is Squall Leonhart, a 17-year-old loner and student at the military academy Balamb Garden, who is training to become a "SeeD", a mercenary paid by the academy.
The development of Final Fantasy VIII began in 1997, during the English localization process of Final Fantasy VII. The music was scored by Nobuo Uematsu, series regular, and in a series first, the theme music is a vocal piece, "Eyes on Me", performed by Faye Wong. The game was positively received by critics and was a commercial success. It was voted the 22nd-best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu. Thirteen weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII had earned more than US$50 million in sales, making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title of all time until Final Fantasy XIII, a multi-platform release. The game has shipped 8.15 million copies worldwide as of March 31, 2003.
The game became available on PlayStation Network as a PSone Classics title in Japan on September 24, 2009, in the US on December 17, 2009, and in Europe on February 4, 2010.