Final Fantasy IX turns 20 years old today and still stands for me as the best entry in the series. The scale of the game, the fascinating characters and their backstories, the music, it all adds up to an experience I’m not sure Square Enix will, at least for me, ever be able to top.

While the game holds up relatively well after all these years, it isn’t without its visual and technical issues. This is where Moguri Mod comes in:

Moguri Mod is a faithful revamp of the PC version of Final Fantasy IX helped by deep learning techniques (ESRGAN). The most important changes are in the background arts, that are now cleaner, more detailed and higher resolution.

The mod looks very impressive. Here are a few of the features:

  • HD backgrounds (aided by AI and polished by hand)
  • Manual redraw of all 11k layer edges and area names
  • Features from Memoria Mod (16:9 widescreen, original font, analog support)
  • HD textures (worldmap, NPC, battles)
  • Many bugfixes

The team have put an immense amount of time and effort into Moguri. Since the project is fair use, there isn’t any way to support the team financially but — as the team mentions — sharing the project is highly encouraged and helps everyone involved get the recognition they deserve.

I haven’t played Final Fantasy IX in a long time but I’m going to install Moguri Mod and give the game another spin. It’ll be nice to return to Gaia after all these years away.