Technically, it eluded US and European audiences. One of the ways they realized is existed was that they saw it in a Japanese strategy guide.
Ahh yes the Strategy guide,this was the Final Fantasy that had a guide where you had to log on to Squares new PlayOnline website enter codes that were in the guide to unlock secrets.....when people had paid for the guide expecting all that in and at the time they may not of even been on the internet(early 2000's),Square got a lot of shit from fans over that
page 46 of the FF9 piggyback guide
"No entry to the locked room in the windmill? Playonline discloses how to gain access..."
with the keyword E-DALIKEY you had to enter into the FF9 PlayOnline site
and there were lots of other little things like that scattered throughout the guide
worse thing was that when explaining this near the beginning of the guide it says :
"SquareSoft believes that all players should have 24hr access to the information pool"
yeah,thats why i have the guide so i can open the friggin thing when i want!!
(I think it was the same for the Bradygames guide in the U.S. and the Piggyback guide in the UK)
so this does not surprise me that even more was missing and this was how this 13 year mission got found out