Interview: Why make DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT free to play?

We talk to producer Ichiro Hazama about the launch of the free edition, pro strategies for the game and the time he fought Justin Wong.
By Duncan Heaney

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT Free Edition has something for everyone. FINAL FANTASY fans can take iconic characters into intense team-based battles, fighting game devotees get spectacular and strategic match-ups… and nobody has to pay a thing!

With the Free Edition now available on PS4 and Steam, we got in touch with Ichiro Hazama, producer of the game, to talk about the launch, his experience with the game and more.

Why is DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT going free to play?

We want as many people as possible to play our game! It really comes down to that. We want everyone around the globe to be able to enjoy the intense 3 vs 3 battles that can only be experienced in this title.

In your opinion, what’s the best thing about the game?

The greatest appeal of this game is that those 3 on 3 battles let you control characters from the FINAL FANTASY series. We also continuously update the game to make it more fun and comfortable to play.

Who's the most famous person you've played against?

Some of us participated in a user-generated tournament held in Kyoto towards the end of last year. The first team that we went up against actually won the tournament - we were no match for them.

As for a globally famous person, I had an opportunity to fight against Justin Wong at E3 2017. You wouldn’t believe it, but my team was able to win (although this was before release of the game)!

Have you played against or with other developers on the team? Who's the best?

The dev team, led by the director Takeo Kujiraoka, also participated in the tournament in Kyoto that I mentioned earlier, and ended up going against the winning team. As you’d expect, the opposition was really strong, and the dev team weren’t able to win against them.

The strongest person in the dev team is our Project Manager, who has played about 30,000 matches so far. As for our player base, the winning team at tournaments are always different, so I feel like the competition amongst the top groups is pretty strong.

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Who's your favourite character?

That would be Y’shtola from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online! Marksman characters give you a lot of different ways to play and it’s really fun to change strategies depending on the situation.

What tips can you give for the first week's playable characters?

In the first week, you can play as Cloud, Lightning, Golbez or Ace. Each plays quite differently and will require different strategies to use effectively. Here are some tips:

  • Cloud (Vanguard): Use Cloud’s EX Skill, Limit Break. Since his defense, range of attacks, and HP Attacks are strengthened during his Limit Break, you can use all of his attacks without much risk. What’s really important is how many times you can get into your opponent’s territory while the skill is active - the more the better.

  • Lightning (Assassin): It’s important to strategically switch between the short-range focused Commando and long-range focused Ravager paradigms. Being able to switch roles depending on the distance between you and your opponent gives you advantage during battle.

  • Golbez (Marksman): The challenge with Golbez is to avoid being dealt too many HP Attacks while attacking your opponents. Golbez controls magic by commanding his shadow dragon - while it’s summoned, his powers are top of the class among the Marksman characters. However, his shadow dragon leaves the stage for a little while if you’re hit by an HP Attack - he’s the weakest Marksman during that time.

  • Ace (Marksman): He has multiple strong tracking attacks and is the easiest Marksman character to use. His greatest ability is his EX skill Show of Hands. Ace can pull out cards - the more of the same colour cards you have, the stronger the Show of Hands skill will be. Don’t forget to use Show of Hands - the multiple active effects will give you advantage during battle.

(Editor’s note: for more tips, check out our guide: Tips for playing DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT)

Which summon do you recommend everyone picks to start with?

As each summon gives you different effects, the best option depends on the party you are in. None of the summons excels more than others, but it seems that people in Japan choose Alexander the most - it increases your max HP, and quickly recovers your bravery.

What's your favourite move in the game?

It would be Quick Block used by Jecht. He is a master of short range combat because of this move. It’s a difficult technique to master, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities that it creates, isn’t it?

How many matches have you played total?

I’ve finally surpassed 10,000 matches! I want to play more (even if my ranking doesn’t get any better)!

What's the best match you've played in, and why?

It was when the DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT’s Director, Project Manager and I went up against a team that included a famous pro fighting game player. We were matched against them three times on that day, and the third match was the best.

We’d already won one match and lost another. Then, when we won the third match by strategising aloud and helping each other as a team, we screamed with joy in front of our monitors! It was a moment when I strongly felt that fighting as a team is truly what makes DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT fun to play.

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT Free Edition is out now on Steam and PlayStation 4.

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