STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN in the words of the creatorsWith the game out now, Producer Jin Fujiwara and Director Daisuke Inoue share their vision for this exciting action RPG!
STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN has arrived - and if you’re expecting a typical FINAL FANTASY experience, you don’t know Jack.
Specifically, Jack Garland - the protagonist of this brutal new action RPG from Square Enix and Team Ninja. As Jack, you’ll explore beautiful environments and fight ferocious FINAL FANTASY foes, in a bid to defeat the ultimate enemy - Chaos.
To celebrate the game’s launch, we asked Producer Jin Fujiwara and Director Daisuke Inoue to give you one final overview of the game - and share their vision on everything from the combat to the pacing.
STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN follows Jack and his four companions on a quest to destroy Chaos and lift the darkness from the kingdom of Cornelia.
At the request of the King and the Royal Family, the group sets out to restore the brightness of Cornelia’s corrupted crystals, all the while driven by a growing hunger to defeat Chaos - even if they don’t necessarily understand why.
As they triumph over foe after foe, people begin to hope that they may be the fabled Warriors of Light - saviors foretold of by an ancient prophecy. And yet, nobody can imagine the truth that’s about to be uncovered….
The development team wanted to tell a distinctly different story than a traditional FINAL FANTASY game. That manifests itself in a few ways - most notably that hero Jack may not necessarily be on the side of the angels by the end…
The central story of STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is an imagined reinterpretation of how a certain boss in the very first FINAL FANTASY might have started down that path.
We’ve made it so the game can be enjoyed by pursuing the central story, but there are also some reports scattered throughout the game that delve into the world and lore, which means you’ll be able to feel how it links to the FINAL FANTASY series.
SOPFFO is a daring game in the way it shines a spotlight on a ‘villain’, who views the world from an entirely different perspective to the ‘Warriors of Light seen in previous games.
I hope that many more players find this direction to be compelling!
A fresh new take on FINAL FANTASY
It’s not just the story that’s doing something new - the gameplay is also a bold new direction for the FINAL FANTASY series.
Instead of a deliberate, command-based battles, this game throws you headfirst into the action. You’ll take on hordes of enemies in brutal encounters where your reflexes and skill are just as important as your battle strategy.
It’s intended to be very different experience for FINAL FANTASY fans, but one that the developers hope they embrace:
STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is an authentic action game unlike anything else in the FINAL FANTASY series to date… and with a villain as the protagonist, it also paints a darker world.
If you’ve played other FINAL FANTASY games, you might be a little unsure of this direction. However, as you play the game, I’m sure you’ll feel for yourself that this is unmistakably a FINAL FANTASY game.
You’ll see it in the intricate story that Jack, the protagonist, follows, which is both tragic yet hopeful. You’ll see it in the dungeons that use past instalments of the FINAL FANTASY series as a motif, in the job system, and in many other aspects of the game too.
STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is an action RPG - but there’s no feature that allows you to stop time while you choose the appropriate command. The game has been made so that it can be completed with a real-time action approach.
The RPG elements make it easier to make progress through the game by allowing you to find your own custom build, from choosing equipment to powering up stats like elemental alignment.
Your character’s strength relies on your ability to read the situation and make split-second decisions - observing enemy movements and determining the best time to attack, or whether to defend or evade.
At the same time, we’ve made it so that discovering a job you like and collecting more powerful equipment that suits that job will increase your character’s stats, making it easier to progress through the game.
You’ll learn how to defeat enemies through pure action tactics, by collecting equipment to increase your stats, or by crafting even better gear. Plus, you’ll be able to play for even longer with a harder difficulty mode unlocked after completing the game!
Pacing and length
The game’s action-packed approach makes STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN feel satisfyingly fast and immediate to play. There’s a lot to experience here, with a lengthy story, lots of jobs to explore and level up, a robust crafting and customization system and more.
The developers wanted to ensure that players spent the majority of their time… well, being players.
Although we’re calling FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN an action RPG, the overall structure of the game was constructed with a lot of care given to its pacing as an action game - in part because Team NINJA worked on the development, and they excel at creating these types of experiences.
We’ve intentionally made the structure of the cutscenes and similar elements less verbose than in other FINAL FANTASY games, meaning that you can play through the main story at a good pace.
If you progress through the main story at a good pace, you should be able to reach the end in about 40 hours of playtime.
However, there are of course gameplay elements you can explore in greater depth. For example, the job system, one of the iconic systems of the FINAL FANTASY series, has evolved into a new form that can only be realised in an action game.
There are 27 different jobs included, so you can develop the ones that best suit your playstyle, or you can elect to master them all - the choices are limitless!
Additionally, there are side missions that are separate from the main missions, and thanks to the ability to customise equipment at the Smithy, you’ll be able to play potentially forever.
If you’re familiar with action RPGs, you’ll know they can be challenging. Enemies are dangerous and can hit very hard - and learning to overcome these obstacles feels enormously rewarding.
While this experience is present in STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN, the game is intended to be enjoyed by everyone. To that end, there are multiple difficulty options that let you tailor the game to your liking - whether you want a smooth ride through the story, or something that will put you to the test.
Many people may view STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN as a punishing action game, but it is also possible to play at different difficulty levels.
The most casual difficulty is STORY, which allows players who may not be particularly confident with action gameplay to experience the story, whilst still enjoying the action gameplay, which is the game’s greatest appeal.
And for players who want to take on that punishing action, selecting the ACTION or HARD difficulties should more than satisfy.
Another way to face the challenges of this dangerous quest is to bring backup. STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN supports up to 3-player co-op, letting you team up online across each of the game’s expansive areas.
Despite the harshness of the game’s world, the team wanted the online experience to be as welcoming as possible.
Co-op modes in these kinds of action RPGs are often a little intimidating to jump into - unless you have a certain level of skill.
However, we’ve included all kinds of jobs in STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN, so even people who may not be the most proficient at action games can play and enjoy it.
For example, there are support jobs like White Mage and Red Mage, which allow you to provide backup for the party. The flexibility of the gameplay allows individual players to discover the job that suits them best, and consciously build a party formation that allows them to fulfil that particular role.
Many thanks to Fujiwara-san and Inoue-san. STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is available now on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store.
We hope you enjoy this exciting new FINAL FANTASY adventure. Remember - to stay up to date with news and information about the game, make sure you follow the team on social media.