Is this a #DissidiaNT blog post? Well, yes and no. I'm going to talk about a particular game that should have already graced our consoles but for some reason, has yet to do so. What game is this? Well, it's something I like to call Final Fantasy Warriors. Now, for anyone familiar with Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja's gaming history, I am more than sure that they are well knowledgeable with the ongoing series that they produce: Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors; a series that also spanned out towards there franchises. So with Gundam, Zelda, Fate, and many others getting their own game of this genre, why hasn't there been a Final Fantasy Warriors? Better question, can Final Fantasy fit into the hack and slash genre? I would sure like to get into it. I would like to put out some points that would make a case on why Final Fantasy could make for a great addition to the "Warriors" genre.
First and foremost, let's talk about the roster. Just that alone can truly allow for a good "warriors" game because there are a myriad of fighters and styles that exist within the Final Fantasy series. Just the default roster of Dissidia NT alone can offer some pretty good variety both in the Heroes and the Villains' side. Square Enix and Team Ninja had already set up the class system that exists (more or less) for the warriors world which are: Vanguard, Marksman, Assassin, and Specialists. Basically the strong fighter, the long distance shooter, the quick hitter, and the one that are a combination of two or all of the other types of fighters. From my experience of playing the warriors game, this has been a current trend with their characters and honestly, it works.
I don't need to go in details about which character can be what since Dissidia NT had already laid it out for us. And for any character who hasn't made a Dissidia appearance yet, it's easy to figure that out (Auron will be vanguard, Rikku will be assassin/or specialist depending on on how they use her Dresspheres, etc).
I mean, come on? Auron and Rikku in a hack and slash game? Are you kidding me right now? How about adding in other Final Fantasy characters that haven't gotten as much spotlight as they should? Like Ashelia, Celes (basically the entire FFVI roster in my opinion), the FFT characters? The other popular characters from FFVII like Yuffie and Vincent who haven't gotten a recent HD love (though that's going to chance with Remake pt. II)? So many potential for a good line up to choose from! Now I'm aware that there are going to be 'duplicate' characters, and then the issue where characters have more than one iteration and they are vastly different from every appearance... I said "issue" loosely because it's not really an issue, honestly. Can always go the 'easy' route like Dissidia NT did and make Yuna's skins just that, skins. Example, Yuna?
Or they can just have two versions of Yuna? Why not? As for the duplicate classes (Zidane and Locke, and then there's Rikku who I want added for sure), there's always a way around that. Locke and Zidane moved vastly different in Dissidia NT and they had their own moves and abilities. Besides, if anything else, it's all about the character. Let's be honest, I'd pick Rikku over Zidane even if they are similar in gameplay. I'm sure other FF fans who like a certain characters wouldn't let 'similarities' get in the way.
So how packed should we get the roster? How many different skins and outfits? Which version of each character? Which characters? All characters? I'm not going to lie. A Final Fantasy Warriors game that packs in EVERY single main characters would be awesome. I wouldn't use all of them religiously, but I sure wouldn't mind having a team with Rikku, Terra, and Tifa! But I'd put Auron, Vanille, and Fran in the same team too. Or Agrias, Vincent, and Cloud of Darkness. See, what a mix one can have! The abilities that can be thrown around and the combinations of attacks are endless! One can have hard hitting sword wielders, or mages, rogues, or mixes of all! The spamming melee, swiping the Buster Sword around or switching from gun blade to sword with Lightning--so much fun! If this was up to me, I'd want them all in there! If not initially, DLC at least! Imagine that! Seriously, this can make some serious fan service and money... as long as everything is in place.
Speaking of DLC, what about weapons' potential along with character additions. Weapons are an integral part of the Final Fantasy lore; better yet, they're attached to certain characters. While this should be a gameplay aspect, I feel that for a warriors game, they are far more cosmetic than they are gameplay mechanic. But I do feel that an iconic weapon like Cloud's Buster Sword and Ultima Weapon should definitely be more tied to a character story. But it should also be a gameplay mechanic as much as it is a story. Speaking of of story or gameplay, let's get into those.
I like the story of Dissidia NT. There's a rhyme and reason to it. Make it a continuation, make it a deviation, but keep it simple: light vs dark with a twist of Shinryu in the end! Yes, i still want that guy coming around to ruin the simple idea of Materia vs Spiritus! Somewhere along the line maybe we get a sprinkle of some key elements of Final Fantasy moments (FFVI moments please!) Or maybe some old rivalries get sparked up which can lead to solo character missions that can lead to power ups and/or new outfits. For anyone who has played Samurai/Dynasty Warriors, you know what I'm getting at!
Not to mention all the unexpected rivalries that will come along. The interactions would be a gold mine as icons from past and present collide once more but this time with a bigger roster! Yeah, I'm not expecting a grand Final Fantasy story, no not at all. They're already told within each game, but every character bringing something to a huge table would make it ridiculously fun. Imagine the conversation between Wakka and Cecil about raising a kid. Or Terra and Rikku (yeah, I know, I'll mention them a lot).
I want this interaction for crying out loud! I want to see these two fight against and with each other!
Anyone who has ever played or even seen a hack and slash game with the word "warriors" in the title would be very familiar with what this game could look like. You get a set stage, you hack through a bunch of enemies/minions, do a side task, find some bosses, defeat them, get a cut scene, and move on. Simple, mindless, but for what it is, a very fun formula. Being able to pick from three characters would also be ideal, but if we are talking next-gen console, how about four? I don't know. I'm down for either or more; less would make me scratch my head but if we are going to get a Final Fantasy Warriors, I shouldn't be too picky.
I will say that being able to use something similar to a gambit system that FFXII used so well to give AIs in the party some 'life' would be terrific. I don't expect it to be as extensive but something close would definitely make it a bit more immersive. Sure point an arrow through the map of what the player wants Cyan to do would do the trick, but imagine if he has "attack any enemy" first and "defend player" second prioritized. No need to constantly delegate, they'll just follow a plan until said plan needs to be changed. Imagine if the other party members can take care of the minor goals and actually do it adequately?
To break up the formula of hacking and slashing a tiny bit, take what makes both FFXV and FFVII R work and implement it on Final Fantasy Warriors (more the latter than the first). Perhaps an option to bring up the menu for a few abilities and/or magic could do some good. Though it might muddle the mindless hack and slash, but who knows? Might do some good, right? But I definitely think that staggering should take some kind of iteration akin to FFXIII and FFVII R's stagger system. Similar to Hyrule Warriors and its 'weak point gauge' mechanic, certain enemies like Behemoths shouldn't be pushovers by simple swipes and level 1 magic attack. There either has to be a combat based stipulation to fully take some HP off to deter it from being a complete mindless hack and slash.
There has to be a balance to make magic based characters feel different from the melees and them different from the fast paced rogues--menu bar system, or something of the like can definitely help. Or just go with the Dynasty/Samurai Warriors formula since they have a way of distinguishing Sima Yi and No. They feel different but the system still feels familiar.
And while most (if not all) FF characters should be able to cast magic, there really should be a focus on making magic user characters (Golbez, Rosa, etc) being far more superior with casting--maybe if we are going to use Hyrule Warriors as a comparison, the Focus Spirit, or MP for Final Fantasy's case, should be a bit more gratuitous for magic users. And while I don't expect every spell to be in a character's skillset, someone like Lulu should be able to have level 4 spells be in her strong attacks and something like Ultima or Flare reserved for an ultimate (mosou) attack.
There are a lot of sword wielders in Final Fantasy, but there are all kinds of close range fighters that uses all kinds of weapons within the roster of FF. Hyrule Warriors do a fine job really taking the elements of each character and make their close range forte feel and look different. Plenty of that can cross over with a bit of tweaking based on a character. Warrior of Light and Link can be easily compared if we are talking about Link using his sword and shield. Then we have Kaine and Mipha who wield similar weapons. Definitely characters who focus on up-close battles but fight and deliver vastly different.
Let's also not forget the Gunners, the Archers, and the shuriken throwers. They have a place in this game. Mamiya definitely let herself stick out in Kenshiro's Rage where everyone was punching minions to smithereens.
Clearly more can be added to spice things up in and out of battle. We can delve into mounts such as Chocobo and how they play a role, or get into item crafting (new recipeh!), leveling up shenanigans, and weapon modifications but those are rabbit holes that would go on for far too long. All I know is that there is plenty to enjoy that is familiar and there is plenty to add to make it feel like a Final Fantasy spinoff.
Now that we have talked about our roster and how they can/will fight, let's ask the question: who and what are they going to fight? Well, obviously the roster can feed itself with it's own versus idea but as far as the minions and the guys to hack and slash, well, Final Fantasy is in no shortage of monsters and humanoids to go up against. Just look at the line up of monsters there! We can have goons like slime, soldiers, bandits be the typical no-brainer enemies and then we can have the Iron Giants or Coeurl be the mid bosses or at the very least, archetypes to put a little twist on the repetitive gameplay. They can even put a spin on an enemies' design and make it original for the game itself. I mean, they did wonders with the designs of the summons for #Dissidia_NT! And if we are talking about making this a continuation/deviation/soft reboot of Dissidia, why not just take the same designs from that game and carry it over? Speaking of summons....
Now how will summon work? What? You think I wasn't going to talk about them? It's a Final Fantasy game! They are as iconic as the characters themselves! Of course I was going to talk about them! Well, I think they can be part of the mission; story based and all, akin to how they were treated in Dissidia NT. They can be a boss and they can add another depth to the gameplay for sure. Acquiring them would also unlock a new bar that one would build up by completing certain tasks (killing 'x' amount of enemies, combos, defending 'y' area, or whatever). I don't mind them being on-screen and doing a few moves as a temporary party member that we can't control; but having them just show up for a CG attack and seeing their powerful moves devastated the screen is also something I'm not against.
BOSSES! Bosses galore! Imagine how fun and unique it would be to have some of the iconic monsters of Final Fantasy appear in the game as special bosses! Sure we can have Sephiroth be a standard humanoid boss, but what if he has phase 2 form (same goes for Cloud of Darkness)? A huge Safer Sephiroth for our party to go against? Or how about Delita summoning Ruby Weapon or something? That would be epic and fitting. Come on, I'm not the only one thinking this is a good idea, right?
Square and their Final Fantasy games are known for their fantastic cut scenes. The one from Dissidia NT was no exception. Imagine snippets of these sprinkled all over Final Fantasy Warriors along with a beginning and ending cut scene?
I'm going to mildly talk about graphics because while this is definitely an important subject for this kind of game, it's kind of a given to me. It's a next-gen consoles so we'd get a beautiful game regardless. Honestly, even if this was next-gen, if they take the Dissidia NT graphics I would really enjoy it. Dissidia NT was a beautiful game and considering that a FF Warriors would require a bit more resources due to how much they have to add, I think going this route would be safe and still appreciated. Imagine seeing Rikku and Terra together in the same field with this beautiful HD models!
There was a certain amount of details, flare, and care with every character. Dissidia NT is a beautiful game, that's for sure and give it a few next-gen love, I think these models would still flourish. Enemies like the usual minions running around don't have to get as much detail, but to give them enough care would also do wonders.
As for the stages, well Dissidia NT had some good choices for backgrounds since they tried their best to pick a memorable stage from all the Final Fantasies involved along with a couple of original stages. They had a variety of sizes that changed the game a bit and an open playing field would be vastly different from a stage full of pillars and/or mountain steps.
Clearly to make it more 'Warriors-like', the stages have to be bigger and the is the perfect opportunity to expand on what Dissidia NT already did. Imagine the Narshe level going all the way to the village? Or maybe go to Balamb Garden? Midgar would be paying homage to what FFVII R accomplished and giving a nod to the past. And believe me, all of these can stay within the caliber of Dissidia NT. Would be fantastic!
The remixes of some of the classics within the Dissidia NT soundtrack is just amazing. Need proof? Listen to the Terra theme above!
All Dissidia games also took some of the most iconic Final Fantasy music and used them to full glory. The One Winged Angel always has ways to get the jives going or the Jenova battle theme. FFVIII's The Man with a Machine Gun also has ways to get things going.
But they also have original songs like "Dare to Defy". I honestly don't think they can mess this up. They have years to grab in terms of music--make it plain vanilla as it was, remix them, or make original music. I'm confident about this.
Advertisement & Merchandise
Advertisement is not my forte but I am aware of how important it is. They'd probably better go with an announcement in some major Square convention (streaming event) and continue to follow it up through time. Continue to sprinkle it through the months/years with character and stage reveals, and of course, story arc explanation and gameplay demonstation. All that teasing would pay off especially if the game is half way decent!
Merchandise, on the other hand, is something I swallow up. #PlayartsKai or #Bring_Arts, it would be a fantastic thing to push out! Characters like Fran, Rikku, AND Terra would make for awesome Bring Arts. Statues would also be appreciated. Now would the return on investment something Square would be looking at? I'm not sure, honestly but it's not hard to deny that there are a ton of Final Fantasy fans and collectors all in one. I don't have the exact data to back that up, but jeez, I'm sure would sell some good plastic goodies! Let's make that happen, Square!
To be honest, I wish I got the collector's edition of Dissidia NT now. Also, I think a Final Fantasy Warriors game should be cross platform. I think Square would be smart to go that route.
In conclusion, I do honestly feel that there are some grounds behind having a Final Fantasy Warriors game. Mindless hacking and slashing, tons and tons of fan service through character inclusion, homage to the old and a nod to the new, and all in all, the longevity it can possibly bring through merchandise, DLCs, and all of that. Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors have influenced Gundam Warriors, Hyrule Warriors, and the likes in the past. I feel that there is a want for it and it just has to be done "right".
So, let's make it happen, Square! Let's put out a Final Fantasy game that has the Dissidia concept, the graphics of NT, and the fan service and love that Final Fantasy history is capable of giving. It doesn't have to be too serious, but it has to have content. It has to remember that Final Fantasy is still worth something even if it's inside a very 'mindless' kind of game.
I would die a happy person if we ever see this happen. Trust me, I'll be one of the first to preorder! Here's to hoping.
Until Next Time!