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Final Fantasy IX’s Moguri mod lets players play with beautiful, manually redrawn backgrounds

Plenty of older video games have gotten remasters in recent years. And in addition to that, plenty of old games have had modders come together to give their favorite games a bit of a facelift if the graphics didn’t remain up to snuff in recent years. Very few of these upscaling mods can boast the level of quality of the recently updated Moguri mod for Final Fantasy IX, however.

Having released a trailer yesterday on YouTube, the team behind version 8.2 of the Moguri mod went above and beyond in their efforts to beautify the now-20 year old game. The contrast between the (likely already upscaled for its time) 2016 Steam release of IX and the modded game is so stark that watching the transitions almost feels magical. According to the trailer, modders worked on 740 backgrounds, 5388 animation frames, and 1200 light layers in their pursuit for graphical improvement.

The trailer also notes that 11000 layers were redrawn, referring specifically to layer edges, for the project. This improved the clarity of layers versus 3d objects or moving backgrounds, allowing both to be seen in a much more crisp, distinct way. The backgrounds may have been upscaled with AI, but the fact that this edge cleaning all had to be done manually is a testament to the herculean efforts involved in taking XI to the next level.

Backgrounds weren’t the only things getting touch-ups, although they certainly make up the lion’s share of things the mod changes thanks to the sheer number of backgrounds in need of clean-ups. Moguri mod also packs 14 reorchestrated songs, higher (30) fps animated sequences, retextured world and battle maps, and even the area text has been upscaled to be a little friendlier on the eyes. The mod offers widescreen and analog support not previously available through the Steam release, and even gives players the option to revert text style to that of the PSX release of the game.

The Final Fantasy series has seen a lot of dedicated improvement from modders across the years – graphical overhauls or enhancement mods exist for virtually every game in the series that’s made it to steam – and the latest version of the Moguri mod, self-described as “the faithful enhancement of FFIX” is yet another triumph for fans of these series classics.

If you have a Steam copy of FFIX, you can find instructions on how to download and install the Moguri mod here.

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