Final Fantasy VIII (???????????VIII, Fainaru Fantaji Eito?) is a console role-playing game developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) as the eighth installment in the Final Fantasy series. It was released in 1999 for Sony's PlayStation and in 2000 for Microsoft's Windows-based personal computers. Final Fantasy VIII is the first game in the series to consistently use realistically proportioned characters, and does not have a magic point-based system for spellcasting.
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. Players follow Squall Leonhart, a 17 year old loner and student at the military academy Balamb Garden, who is training to become a "SeeD", mercenaries who get paid by the academy. Development of Final Fantasy VIII began in 1997 while the English language translation of Final Fantasy VII was in process. The music was scored by regular series composer Nobuo Uematsu. The game is the first in the series to feature a vocal piece as its theme music, "Eyes on Me", performed by Chinese singer Faye Wong. The game was positively received by critics and was commercially successful. It was voted the 22nd best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu. 13 weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII had earned more than US$50 million in sales, making it the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title. The game has sold 8.15 million copies worldwide as of March 31, 2003.