Final Fantasy

There’s a free THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE demo for PS4 and Switch!

When is the demo available and what tracks are included? Here’s everything you need to know about this generous slice of rhythm action awesomeness.
By Duncan Heaney

Welcome to another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY… oh wait, it’s Monday, isn’t it?

We interrupt our regular schedule to bring new some super-exciting news: a free THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE demo launches February 1, 2023 on PS4 and Nintendo Switch! Not only that, but your progress carries over into the full game!

Read on, and we'll tell you all about it.

What songs are in the THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE demo?

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE is the biggest rhythm action game in the series, with a massive 385 FINAL FANTASY tracks in the standard edition alone - plus 27 more in the Deluxe Editions. Plus, there will be multiple DLC packs featuring music from other Square Enix series, like NieR, OCTOPATH TRAVELER, LIVE A LIVE, Mana, SaGa and more.

That’s a lot of music, and the demo gives you a generous selection of 30 tracks from that massive playlist.

Music Stages in the game fall into three types:

  • Battle Music Stage (BMS) - Defeat waves of enemies in time to up-tempo battle themes.

  • Field Music Stage (FMS) - Journey forth with a party across themed landscapes with relaxing field music.

  • Event Music Stage (EMS) - Play to the beat against the backdrop of unforgettable scenes from each title.

Here’s which tracks are included in the demo - and the type of stage you’ll play through:

FINAL FANTASY II

  • The Rebel Army (BMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • Town (FMS)
  • Main Theme (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY V

  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy V (BMS)
  • Four Hearts (FMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • Mambo de Chocobo (FMS)
  • Harvest (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY VII

  • Opening - Bombing Mission (BMS)
  • Let the Battles Begin! (BMS)
  • Fight On! (BMS)
  • The Chase (FMS)
  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIII

  • Defiers of Fate (BMS)
  • Saber’s Edge (BMS)
  • Blinded by Light (BMS)
  • March of the Dreadnoughts (FMS)
  • Desperate Struggle (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIV

  • Hard to Miss (BMS)
  • On Westerly Winds (FMS)
  • The Land Breathes (BMS)
  • Serenity (FMS)
  • Torn from the Heavens (BMS)
  • To the Sun (FMS)
  • Nemesis (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XV

  • Stand Your Ground (BMS)
  • The Fight Is On! (BMS)
  • APOCALYPSIS NOCTIS (Uncovered Trailer) (BMS)

How do I get the THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE demo?

The demo will be available to download from 1 February, 2023 (technically 31 January for some parts of the world):

  • Jan 31, 2023: 21:00 PST
  • Feb 1, 2023: 00:00 EST
  • Feb 1, 2023, 00:00 GMT
  • Feb 1, 2023: 01:00 CET
  • Feb 1, 2023: 11:00 AEDT

It’s free, so to get it, simply head over to the PlayStation Store or Nintendo eShop from then to start downloading it.

I played the demo and, wow - this game is really fun! How do I play more?

It is really fun! While the demo has a generous selection, it’s only a fraction of the amazing music in the final game, which is available from 16 February, 2023.

Plus you’ll enjoy the full suite of game modes, including Series Quests, where you can relive 29 past titles through their music and gain new songs and characters, the Multi Battle mode, the packed-out Museum and more!

And, of course, all your progress carries over to the main game, so those amazing scores you set now will still be there when you play!

The game’s available to preorder now. Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

These editions are available to preorder now. All digital pre-orders include a set of 15 ProfiCards that can be used in-game.

We hope you have fun playing the demo. Remember to join us back here on the Square Enix Blog each Thursday for THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY, where we showcase some of the amazing tracks in the game and more.

Also, be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media for news and updates about this toe-tapping rhythm action spectacle!

Experience a DIFFERENT FUTURE in STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Jack’s got a gun, a new Moogle ally and some dangerous new adversaries… including the Emperor and Omega! Find out all about them here.
By Duncan Heaney

Jack Garland has discovered the truth behind Chaos. He’s passed the Trials of the Dragon King and battled Gilgamesh… but his biggest challenge is yet to come.

The third and final additional mission for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is now available. Called DIFFERENT FUTURE, it pits Jack and his allies against threats old and new.

Read on and we’ll tell you all about it.


What is DIFFERENT FUTURE about?

Guided by an enigmatic moogle spirit, Jack and his allies travel to a city in another dimension.

Lufenians call this place Central. From here they observed a myriad of worlds and dimensions. Yet it took only the mad delusions of one Lufenian to bring it all to ruin.

Jack strides deep into the heart of this ghostly city to break the fetters of this karmic juggernaut once and for all.


New Characters

Jack will meet a few new faces during his multidimensional adventure, a few of which may be familiar to FINAL FANTASY fans…

Moogle

A spirit who comes to Jack and his allies for help in saving Lufenia from interdimensional interference and fixing a broken future.

The Emperor

The Emperor plans to take over the world, using all the magic and monsters at his disposal to do so, and his heart is set on the power of the crystals and chaos.

The Lufenian

A darkly deluded Lufenian who interferes with dimensions.

Driven by a desire to restore the world to its former order and beauty, she summons otherworldly weapons from dimensional distortions with the aim of eradicating not just Jack, but the world itself.

New enemies

Jack will face off against some powerful new adversaries during DIFFERENT FUTURE. He’ll need to be fighting at the top of his game to defeat these foes:

Omega

Omega is an interdimensional weapon with the power to destroy gods. It will hunt Jack down using its arsenal of skills more powerful than anything Jack has come across before.

Above: Delta Attack - as well as dealing damage, this move can petrify you as well, so watch out!

Above: Wave Cannon - a deployed arcane circle fires a powerful beam.

The Emperor

The Emperor appears before Jack and his allies, and he is hot on the trail of the moogle.

His motives for coming to this dimension are different from the Lufenian, and he seems to have no intention of teaming up.

Above: Thirst for Chaos - an arcane circle appears in the player’s wake, from which a number of magical orbs arise and explode.

Above: Demon’s Hymn - The Emperor summons a spectre who attacks you on his behalf. With this attack, he can summon gigas, coeurls and other monsters.


New jobs

Jack’s got a new weapon type: guns. Three new jobs that use firearms are coming in DIFFERENT FUTURE:

Musketeer

Hitting an enemy with the Job Action “Stun Bullet” can prevent them from performing unblockable attacks.

Hunter

While the Job Action “Analyse” is in effect, a counter will increase each time you attack an enemy. The higher the counter, the more easily you will be able to pierce an enemy’s resistance and strike their weak points.

Gambler

Use the job action “Roulette” to spin the wheel and use any two abilities chosen at random.


New Blacksmith Feature: Fabrication

Fabrication is a new feature of the blacksmith. Some say that it’s a Lufenian technology.

It allows you to make replicas of equipment using imitation materials and blacksmith materials. It also makes it possible to replicate chaos effects.

Imitation materials are versatile materials that can be used at a blacksmith’s. Imitation materials can be used as a substitute for other materials when upgrading equipment or synthesising new items.


How to get STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN: DIFFERENT FUTURE

DIFFERENT FUTURE is the third and final mission available through the Season Pass, so to play it, you should purchase that.

It also includes TRIALS OF THE DRAGON KING and WANDERER OF THE RIFT - both available to play now!

If you’ve yet to play STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN, you can purchase the Digital Deluxe edition which includes the Season Pass, digital mini-soundtrack, and digital artbook!

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is available right now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store:

We hope you enjoy this final content release for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN. Thanks to everyone who’s embraced chaos and joined Jack and his friends on this adventure.

To stay up to date with news and information about this and other FINAL FANTASY games, be sure to follow us on social media.

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: FINAL FANTASY V and FINAL FANTASY VI

This week, we turn our attention to two more classic FINAL FANTASY games featured in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE and the music that defines them.
By Duncan Heaney

Welcome to another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY!

FINAL FANTASY V and FINAL FANTASY VI were the last mainline games in the series to launch on the Super Nintendo, and the last to use the distinctive pixel art style. Talk about going out with a bang!

From the breezy freedom of FINAL FANTASY V to the epic narrative of FINAL FANTASY VI, the games stand up among the greatest RPGs ever - and of course, the music plays a big part in making them so fondly remembered!

Naturally, the upcoming rhythm action extravaganza THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE includes many tracks from these games. So lend us an ear, and we’ll discuss some of our favorites:


FINAL FANTASY V

There’s a ridiculous amount to enjoy in FINAL FANTASY V: the light-hearted tone, the memorably world and, of course, the expanded job system that gave players an unprecedented level of customization over their party.

Musically, the game is another masterpiece by Nobuo Uematsu, full of tracks that are as enjoyable to listen to today as they were back in 1992. It’s well represented in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE through the following tracks:

  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy V (BMS)
  • Home, sweet Home (FMS/EMS)
  • Four Hearts (FMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • To the North Mountain (FMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • Library of Ancients (FMS)
  • Mambo de Chocobo (FMS)
  • The Airship (FMS)
  • The Dawn Warriors (BMS)
  • Battle at the Big Bridge (BMS)
  • A New World (FMS)
  • In Search of Light (FMS)
  • The Decisive Battle (BMS)
  • The Final Battle (BMS)
  • Harvest (FMS)

Let’s take a closer look at some favorites:

Battle at the Big Bridge (BMS)

Iconic. There is no other word to describe this legendary track.

Actually, no, come to think of it there are quite a few - catchy, exhilarating, energetic and brilliant all come to mind. It’s no wonder that it’s become a signature track for the FINAL FANTASY series, appearing in multiple games since its debut in FINAL FANTASY V. You’ll hear it in games like FINAL FANTASY XII, the FINAL FANTASY XIII series, FINAL FANTASY XIV and many more!

The driving rhythms and fast tempo make it the perfect candidate for a rhythm action stage, and one that will really test your dexterity if you crank the difficulty up. Good luck!

Home, Sweet Home (FMS/EMS)

FINAL FANTASY V is one of the funniest games in the series - it has a wry wit that plays with the conventions of fantasy RPGs to often hilarious effect. Even so, there’s also a lot of heart behind the humor, as this track emphasises.

As the name implies, it’s the theme for the town of Lix - the home of main character Bartz Klauser. It’s strong melody easily conjures a sense of peace and belonging. You can go home again, and it sounds great.


FINAL FANTASY VI

FINAL FANTASY VI is the true definition of a ‘fan favorite’. It’s acclaimed for its amazing story, exciting gameplay, memorable characters… and of course, it’s superb soundtrack. For the final game on the Super Nintendo, Uematsu-san brought his A-game, delivering classic track after classic track.

Not only do the perfectly underscore the action, and sound great when listened to on the OSTs, they also make for really great rhythm action stages. Here’s which pieces are in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE:

  • Celes's Theme (FMS/EMS)
  • Locke's Theme (BMS)
  • Battle (BMS)
  • Edgar & Sabin's Theme (FMS)
  • Protect the Espers! (BMS)
  • The Decisive Battle (BMS)
  • Terra's Theme (FMS)
  • Grand Finale (BMS)
  • The Airship Blackjack (FMS)
  • Battle to the Death (BMS)
  • Searching for Friends (FMS)
  • Dancing Mad (BMS)
  • Kefka's Tower (FMS)

Let’s listen to some of these amazing pieces:

Terra’s Theme (FMS)

This theme echoes throughout FINAL FANTASY VI. This unforgettable melody first plays in the game’s famous opening, as Terra, Biggs and Wedge march towards city of Narshe in their powerful Magitek armor. It’s also the primary overworld theme for the game, with its sweeping melodies a perfect accompaniment for exploration and adventure.

It’s the perfect theme for the character of Terra too, with the melancholy flute-like sounds reflecting the struggles she faces throughout the game - from her enslavement by the Empire, to her own internal conflict about her dangerous powers.

It’s a unique track that helps give FINAL FANTASY VI such a strong identity of its own!

Searching for Friends (FMS)

Ok, we’re going to be dancing mad around spoilers here just in case some people haven’t played FINAL FANTASY VI.

At some point in the story, a certain person does a certain thing that has as certain set of consequences. The result is that the heroes are scattered around the world and must be reunited once more. During this airship-based search, the overworld music changes to this new theme: Searching for Friends.

It’s an amazing piece of music that captures the sense of hope and excitement that comes with getting the band back together.

Dancing Mad (BMS)

Kefka is one of the most memorable villains in FINAL FANTASY history. He’s not a tortured soul acting out of love like FINAL FANTASY XIII-2’s Caius Ballad, someone who’s been lied to like FINAL FANTASY VII's Sephiroth, or betrayed like FINAL FANTASY XV's Ardyn. He’s just an evil jerk.

So facing off against him is an enticing prospect - most players will be eager to give the laughing harlequin the smackdown he so richly deserves. Of course, Kefka doesn’t go down easy - it’s an epic knockdown brawl against a super-powerful foe with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. All that tension and drama comes through in this truly epic boss theme.


That wraps up another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY. You’ll be able to experience all these tracks in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, which launches February 16, 2023, for PS4 and Nintendo Switch!

Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 songs from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now. All digital preorders come with 15 ProfiCards to use in game:

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media:

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: FINAL FANTASY XIV

This week, we’re taking a musical journey to Hydaelyn to celebrate some of the amazing FINAL FANTASY XIV tracks appearing in the upcoming THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE!
By Duncan Heaney

Welcome to another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY!

If you’ve read the song list for THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE (and if not, you can see it here), you’ll notice that there are a lots of tracks from FINAL FANTASY XIV in the game. That’s appropriate because there’s a lot of FINAL FANTASY XIV.

With selections from the original A Realm Reborn soundtrack, and the Heavensward, Stormblood and Shadowbringers expansions, the upcoming rhythm action extravaganza shows the sheer breadth of the music in FINAL FANTASY XIV. What’s astonishing is just how consistently brilliant all that music is.

From completely original themes to complex tracks that pay homage to the rich musical legacy of the series, the music of FINAL FANTASY XIV is a consistently engaging audio tour that works wonderfully whether it’s accompanying your adventures in Hydaelyn or you’re simply listening to it through headphones.

It also makes for some superb rhythm action stages in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, and there are a massive 33 included in the base game:

  • Answers (EMS)
  • Hard to Miss (BMS)
  • On Westerly Winds (FMS)
  • The Land Breathes (BMS)
  • Serenity (FMS)
  • Primal Judgment (BMS)
  • Torn from the Heavens (BMS)
  • To the Sun (FMS)
  • Nemesis (BMS)
  • Under the Weight (BMS)
  • Engage (FMS)
  • Fallen Angel (BMS)
  • Good King Moggle Mog XII (BMS)
  • Ultima (BMS)
  • Through the Maelstrom (BMS)
  • A Light in the Storm (FMS)
  • Oblivion (BMS)
  • Ominous Prognisticks (BMS)
  • Ink Long Dry (FMS)
  • Heroes (BMS)
  • Locus (BMS)
  • Metal - Brute Justice Mode (BMS)
  • Exponential Entropy (BMS)
  • Moebius (BMS)
  • Rise (BMS)
  • The Worm’s Tail (BMS)
  • Wayward Daughter (BMS)
  • Triumph (BMS)
  • Sunrise (BMS)
  • A Long Fall (BMS)
  • What Angel Wakes Me (BMS)
  • Promises to Keep (BMS)
  • Who Brings Shadow (BMS)

Let’s take a listen to some of our favorites:


Torn from the Heavens (BMS)

The Prelude is a FINAL FANTASY staple, appearing in almost every game in the series. So to take that typically gentle melody and turn it into something as exciting and rousing as Torn from the Heavens is simply inspired.

It’s become a signature track for FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, echoing throughout the game and its expansions at key moments, performed live at concerts and appearing in titles like DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT and WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY MAXIMA.

It’s easy to see why - just try not to feel pumped up when listening to this!


On Westerly Winds (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIV fans know that all the best people start their adventures in the La Noscea region.

…alright, everyone from The Black Shroud and Thanalan - put down your torches and pitchforks, I’m just kidding! But I started my very first adventure in La Noscea, so the sweeping theme for this grassy, coastal region is burned into my brain.

And now, assuming you listened, it’s in yours too. You’re welcome!


Heroes (BMS)

Few games do ‘epic’ as… um… epically as FINAL FANTASY XIV.

Heroes is the final boss theme in FINAL FANTASY XIV: Heavensward and it underscores the dramatic battle extremely effectively. An arrangement of the expansion’s title track, ‘Heavensward’, it’s exciting, bombastic and has a palpable sense of climax.

And - spoilers - it also works brilliantly as a rhythm action stage.


Ink Long Dry (FMS)

If you want an example of just how musically diverse FINAL FANTASY XIV Online really is, you should take some time to listen (or re-listen) to this amazing dungeon theme from the Heavensward expansion.

The Great Gubal Library, once the biggest repository of knowledge in Eorzea, is now abandoned. Images of grand halls filled with dusty books are easily conjured by this eclectic and jazzy track.

It’s one of the more offbeat tracks in the game, so we’re delighted it’s included in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE!


Who Brings Shadow (BMS)

The story of FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers focuses on the battle between light and darkness, and those themes are explicitly captured in this amazing track.

The fusion of guitars, vocals, drums and chorus create a rollercoaster of a track that ebbs and flows, moving from measured and tense, to almost overwhelmingly intense.

It’s Masayoshi Soken at the very top of his game.


As you can see (or hear), there’s a lot of marvelous music in FINAL FANTASY XIV, and THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE brings it to the forefront in all its glory. If you’re a fan of the critically-acclaimed MMORPG, you’re going to get a real thrill out experiencing this music in a new way.

And if you’re not a fan of FINAL FANTASY XIV, you’ll likely become one after hearing the musical selection in THEATRHYTHM. If you like what you hear, you can always sign up to the free trial, which lets you play through the entirety of A Realm Reborn and the first expansion Heavensward up to level 60 for free, with no restriction on playtime.

As for THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, you’ll get to experience that very soon too! The game releases February 16, 2023 for Nintendo Switch and PS4. Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

These editions are available to preorder now. All digital pre-orders include a set of 15 ProfiCards that can be used in-game.

That’s it for this week’s THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY. Join us next time for another audio tour through the music of the FINAL FANTASY series! And be sure to follow us on social media for more news and information about THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE:

Join us around the campfire and see FINAL FANTASY XIV become live action

Every FINAL FANTASY XIV Online player has a story to tell. Our new video series shares a few of its own - and find out how we made it!
By Duncan Heaney

One of the best things about FINAL FANTASY XIV Online is that it’s your story.

Every player has dozens of tales to tell. We talk fondly of snatched victories and embarrassing defeats against powerful bosses, show off our unique looks and the gear we’ve crafted, laugh about good times at the Gold Saucer, and, of course, think back on the many friends we made along the way.

That’s captured in a new live action FINAL FANTASY XIV Campfire video series, which sees a group of adventurers sitting around the fire to swap stories. If you’ve ever wanted to see what the denizens of Hydaelyn would look like if they were pulled into our world… here you go.

The Dragoon takes the lead in the first video. He’s the newbie of the group, fresh from a great success and eager to jump into more adventures in future. Take a look:

The Warrior is the leader of the group. At least, she’s a warrior now. As she explains, she can take any role she wants, from front-line tank to helpful healer. Some players like to specialize on a single class, while others like to mix things up. In FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, it’s all possible.

Hydaelyn is a world full of adventurers, and the game has a real sense of community. That’s the subject of the White Mage’s campfire chat. She reflects on the many amazing experiences she’s shared with friends, and how having each other’s backs is the key to success.

The final video focuses on a Blacksmith, and how her interests go beyond simple questing. As a crafter, she can build her skills and make amazing weapons for the team - and that’s just one activity available to her. As she says, there’s always more to do in FINAL FANTASY XIV.

If all that sounds fun, then get online and start making your own stories. If you’ve yet to try the game, there’s a free trial available that lets you play through the entirety of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn and the first expansion Heavensward up to level 60 with no restrictions on playtime.

In terms of content, that’s essentially two full-size FINAL FANTASY adventures available to play for FREE. Head over to the official website to find out more or sign up:


Behind the Scenes

After all that, you may be wondering: how did we bring FINAL FANTASY XIV into live action?

The short answer is with planning, effort and a touch of technical wizardry. We’ve put together another episode that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the video series was made. Take a look:

2023 marks 10 years since FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn released, and the game continues to go from strength to strength. If you’re a fan of the game, you should join us at one of the FINAL FANTASY XIV fan-fests, taking place in Las Vegas July 28-29, 2023, London October 21-22, 2023 and Tokyo January 7-8, 2024.

For more information, keep your eyes on https://fanfest.finalfantasyxiv.com/.

Finally, to stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow the team on social media:

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: FINAL FANTASY III and FINAL FANTASY IV

We celebrate two classic FINAL FANTASY games and the incredible music they introduced to the series!
By Duncan Heaney

Welcome back to THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY!

For those just joining us, each Thursday, we take an audio tour through the FINAL FANTASY games and highlight some of the brilliant tracks that are set to make an appearance in the upcoming rhythm action extravaganza THEATHRYTHM FINAL BAR LINE.

This week, we’re looking at two more classic games from the series and their astonishing soundtracks. Prepare your ears because these games are melodic masterpieces.


FINAL FANTASY III

The third game in the FINAL FANTASY series introduced the now famous job system. This let characters switch between different roles over the course of the adventure, offering a dizzying amount of flexibility over how you set up your party.

The system was a big hit with fans - and very influential, with variations on the idea appearing in many other games, including FINAL FANTASY V, FINAL FANTASY XIV, STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN and even games like last year’s HARVESTELLA!

The music was equally memorable. Composer Nobuo Uematsu’s mastery of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s sound chip was unparalleled - as the following two tracks demonstrate.

Eternal Wind (FMS)

Exploring the world map is always a delight in FINAL FANTASY games, but it’s particularly memorable in FINAL FANTASY III thanks to this unforgettable theme. Despite the limitations of the early hardware, this beautiful piece still captures a palpable sense scale and wonder.

As with many beloved tracks in the series, Eternal Wind has taken on a life beyond its original game. This unforgettable melody echoes through future games, from the fast-paced remixes of DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT to FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers’ main theme.

In that sense, the name is appropriate - a track this good will live forever!

This is the Last Battle (BMS)

Fun fact: this is not merely the last battle, it’s also the first full boss theme in the FINAL FANTASY series!

What a way to begin! This multi-faceted track begins slowly with some mysterious tones that echo and repeat. Suddenly the track gains momentum, speeding up until the full theme kicks in proper.

That classic NES sound is utilized perfectly to create a fast-paced anthem that feels exciting and climactic. It definitely hypes you up for those tough battles with the Cloud of Darkness!


FINAL FANTASY IV

With FINAL FANTASY IV, the series jumped onto the next generation of hardware - the Super Nintendo. Not only did this result in a significant step up for visuals, it also raised the game for the sound.

FINAL FANTASY IV had the strongest emphasis on story yet, and the enchanting tale of Cecil, Kain and Rosa was brought to life thanks to the stunning soundtrack, once again by Nobuo Uematsu. The emotional heart of the game, and its sweeping sense of adventure was brought to life by tracks likes these:

The Red Wings (FMS)

The Red Wings are the elite air force of Baron, and the power and threat of this airborne armada is vividly brought to life by this theme. If you’ve played the game, you probably already have images of mighty airships soaring across the waves to their destination.

It also serves as a theme for the main character Cecil Harvey, capturing his bravery and troubled spirit perfectly.

Battle with the Four Fiends (BMS)

The Archfiends are no mere bosses. These super-powerful elemental monsters are the general of Golbez’s army, and some of the toughest battles that Cecil and his brave band of allies face during their adventure. It’s only right then that they get their own theme.

The excitement and danger of these tricky battles is driven home by this fast-paced theme. It makes each of these climactic battles feel as dramatic as possible - and makes for one heck of a fun rhythm action stage.


THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE launches February 16, 2023 for Nintendo Switch and PS4. Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 songs from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now:

That just about wraps up another Theatrhythm Thursday. Join us next week for another audio tour through the music of the FINAL FANTASY series!

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: FINAL FANTASY XV + The World Ends with You

This week, we celebrate some of FINAL FANTASY XV’s greatest music. Plus we’re Calling out the amazing soundtrack to The World Ends with You!
By Duncan Heaney

Welcome back to THEATRHYTHM THURSDAYS!

When you think of FINAL FANTASY XV, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is the audio. And we’re not just talking about: “I’ve come up with a new recipeeeeh!”

The soundtrack, spearheaded by the legendary Yoko Shimomura, brings the unforgettable world of Eos and the emotional saga of Noctis to life in every aspect. Vastness, danger, humor and tragedy - it’s all captured wonderfully through an expansive collection of music that stands tall, even amongst the consistently high standards of the FINAL FANTASY series.

Naturally, a selection of these tracks are included in the upcoming THEATRYHTHM FINAL BAR LINE, acting as music stages for you to play along with in exciting rhythm action gameplay.

Here are the tracks included in the base game:

  • Stand Your Ground (BMS)
  • Veiled in Black (BMS)
  • Valse di Fantastica (FMS)
  • The Fight Is On! (BMS)
  • APOCALYPSIS NOCTIS (Uncovered Trailer) (BMS/EMS)
  • Flying R (FMS)
  • Invidia (BMS)
  • OMNIS LACRIMA (BMS)
  • Up for the Challenge (BMS)
  • NOCTIS (FMS)
  • Somnus (FMS)
  • Hellfire (BMS)
  • Magna Insomnia (BMS)
  • Main Theme from FINAL FANTASY (FMS)
  • Shield of the King - Theme of EPISODE GLADIOLUS (FMS)
  • Home Sweet Home - Theme of EPISODE PROMPTO (FMS)
  • EPISODE IGNIS - The Main Theme (FMS)
  • The Dance of Silver and Crimson (BMS)

Now, let’s hear some of our favorites:


OMNIS LACRIMA (BMS)

Let’s go big or go home. And things don’t get much bigger than OMNIS LACRIMA!

This amazing track first plays when Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto are sent on a gem hunt by the cunning journalist Dino. Unfortunately, their path to the shiny stones are blocked by Zu - a giant slumbering bird.

The boys try to sneak past, but ultimately their efforts are for nothing - the beast awakens, unfurling its wings as the magnificent choral section at the start of this track explodes into life. It’s an incredible moment that perfectly encapsulates the scale, drama and visual splendor of FINAL FANTASY XV.

This track becomes a boss theme for the giant monsters you’ll find around Eos. From foul-smelling Malboros, to the screen-filling Adamantoise, every encounter feels epic and exciting thanks to this energetic choir, soaring strings and driving piano.

What can I say? This track is the best.


Valse di Fantastica (FMS)

This track only plays infrequently as you explore the plains, forests and roads of the world, but and whenever it does, it’s a joy.

This melodic waltz carries with it a palpable sense of adventure, as well as a hint of sadness - very fitting for the epic road trip that Noctis and his entourage go on in the game.

The combination of a strident rhythm, and soaring melody that builds as the song progresses makes it a perfect candidate for a Field Music Stage in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE - and it doesn’t disappoint.

I know this is one stage I’m going find myself playing over and over - purely to enjoy the music.


Home Sweet Home - Theme of EPISODE PROMPTO (FMS)

Now it’s time for something more… mellow.

FINAL FANTASY XV’s first three DLC episodes shone the spotlight on Noctis’ friends, giving players a much more intimate look at these very different heroes than the main game can afford.

EPISODE PROMPTO follows the wise-cracking photographer after he’s been separated from the rest of the team. Lost and alone, he embarks on a journey that risks shattering his very sense of identity - and this melancholy scenario is captured in the powerful theme by composer Naoshi Mizuta.

EPISODE PROMPTO is an enjoyable adventure to play that mixes up with the game’s mechanics with some well-implemented shooting and even a new vehicle. Plus it brings back Aranea (who - yes you were right - should have featured in our article about Dragoons)!

But that sense of tragedy and sadness echoes throughout, creating a memorable mood that sticks with you. We’re very glad it’s in THEATRHYTHM for all to hear!


Bonus: The World Ends with You

We also wanted to celebrate another amazing game this week - and it’s highly distinctive soundtrack.

The World Ends with You originally released for Nintendo DS in 2007 in Japan, and later for mobile devices and Nintendo Switch. It won acclaim thanks to its contemporary Tokyo setting, innovative action-based combat system and strong sense of fashion. It simply oozed cool.

That sense of style extended to the music, with a soundtrack that fused contemporary styles from pop to hip hop to create a truly unique sound.

The game went on to inspire a superb (and equally musically brilliant) sequel in NEO: The World Ends with You, and a well-received animation too. Now, tracks from the game are coming as DLC for THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE. Here’s just a taste of what to expect:


Calling (FMS)

Appropriately, this has become something of a calling card for the series. It’s a fantastically upbeat track that perfectly captures the uniquely stylish sensibilities of the game.

As a signature track of the series, versions of this song have appeared in other games too. It reappeared with a new arrangement in NEO: The World Ends with You and also features in KINGDOM HEARTS DREAM DROP DISTANCE - and by extension, rhythm action game KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory!


I hope you enjoyed this THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY. THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE is overflowing with amazing tracks like these and more - it’s a musical extravaganza that’ll delight anyone who loves these games, or just enjoys incredible music.

It releases February 16, 2023 for PS4 and Nintendo Switch! Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now:

To stay up to date with news about the game, be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media.

And be sure to bookmark the blog at https://www.square-enix-games.com/news and come back next week for another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY!

7 of the smartest Square Enix characters

Who’s the cleverest character in a Square Enix game? We take a look at just a few of the candidates.
By Duncan Heaney

Sure, Buster Swords and gunblades are awesome, but the greatest weapon of all… is the mind.

The power of intelligence can’t be underestimated - many Square Enix games feature characters who use intellect rather than brute force achieve amazing things.

We wanted to recognize just a few of these brilliant brainboxes - they may not always be on the side of the angels, but you still have to admire the power of their minds.


Grimoire Weiss - NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...

You’d expect an ancient tome to be full of knowledge, and that is indeed the case for Grimoire Weiss. Unfortunately for everyone else, he knows it.

This sentient book demands respect.

We mean that literally - he’s always telling people to treat him with reverence. What’s more, he’s something of a square - taking him seriously all the time would be exhausting!

But In fairness to the prickly page-turner, he is erudite, and though he’s missing chunks of his memories, he’s still able to guide the protagonist through many dangerous situations. A loudmouth he may be, but you won’t find a better buddy in NieR Replicant’s bleak world.


Hojo - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE

What do you get if you cross a genius level intellect with a total absence of ethics? You get Hojo… and he’s no joke.

The sinister (and suspiciously greasy) Shinra executive cares about one thing: the advancement of his scientific research. There is no line he won’t cross to achieve those goals - as Aerith and Red XIII discover to their horror.

The original FINAL FANTASY VII gave fans plenty of insight into the horrors that his brilliant brain has wrought, but FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE takes things even further. You get to spend some quality time in the heart of Hojo’s laboratories - and with the mutated monstrosities within.

In doing so, you get an even richer understanding of the sinister scientist’s deepest depravities… and just how dangerous his mind can be.


Chadley - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE

Hojo may be a horror, but it would be wrong to assume that everyone in Shinra’s Research and Development Division is a monster. Take Chadley, for instance.

This earnest young researcher enlists Cloud and company in his attempts to compromise Shinra from the inside. If the heroes help him with his research, he’s able to provide them with powerful new materia - the kind of stuff you can’t find in a typical store.

He also runs the Shinra Combat Simulator, which offers a place to train and earn valuable rewards. Although considering how brutal some of these fights are, maybe we shouldn’t be thanking him for that.


Cyrus - Octopath Traveler

Intelligence does not always equate to common sense - a fact perfectly demonstrated by Cyrus Albright.

This scholar works as a researcher and lecturer at the Royal Academy in Atlasdam, where he’s something of a hit with his students. Not just because of his enthusiasm for learning, or his impressive magical might, but also because… well, frankly he’s a stone cold fox.

Unfortunately for them, Cyrus cares about books, knowledge and unravelling the world’s mysteries - anything outside of those may as well not exist.

He’s completely oblivious to his love-struck students’ feelings - and this becomes the trigger for an unfortunate incident.

One young woman, aggrieved by his complete lack of interest, secretly reports a groundless rumor to the Headmaster that Cyrus is romantically involved with another student - the Princess no less! This results in Cyrus being chased out of the Academy.

Yet even this blatant attempt to capture his attention doesn’t reach him. Cyrus completely misunderstands the situation, believing that the fault lies with himself for not having noticed the young woman’s passion for her studies.

There’s just no helping some people…


Balthier - FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE

Intelligence comes in many forms: on this list so far, we’ve seen academic and scientific, but the self-proclaimed ‘leading man’ of FINAL FANTASY XII utilizes a brilliant mind in a different way: street smarts.

Balthier’s quick thinking and razor-sharp wit have made him the consummate air pirate. Along with his trusted companion Fran, he sails the skies of Ivalice getting into the kind of trouble that would end a lesser man.

From the moment he takes the stage in FINAL FANTASY XII, it’s clear that he’s a clever guy. But as the story progresses, and the flamboyant layers of his personality are peeled away, you slowly realize that there’s so much more to him than that…


Shinra - FINAL FANTASY X-2 HD

Not to be confused with the evil organization that the afore-mentioned Hojo and Chadley work for (let’s not go down that rabbit hole), this Shinra is a young genius who aids you throughout FINAL FANTASY X-2.

Although still a child, he’s a genuine prodigy whose technological prowess is invaluable to Yuna and her sphere-hunting companions. Not only does he help them decode and view the complex data storage devices called spheres, he’s also able to teach the team how to use the Garment Grid, which lets them switch jobs in combat.

All this and he hasn’t even hit puberty yet! You have to admit, that’s pretty impressive.


Haruka Kagami - The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story

The protagonist of The Centennial Case: A Shijima Story is polite, humble and unassuming… at least until a mystery needs solving.

The acclaimed novelist has an astonishingly keen mind. Once she starts putting all the pieces of mystery and clues together, like a puzzle in cognitive space, she lets nothing - and no-one - stand between her and the truth.

Whether it’s 100-year old murder, or a crime much closer to home, Haruka is able to spot the clues, form hypotheses and follow the path of logic to its conclusion - no matter how shocking it may be.


Thus endeth the lecture. We have presented just a few of the cleverest characters from Square Enix games, but we know there are many more.

So please share this article on social media - knowledge must be shared after all - and let us know who your favorite clever-clogs are.

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: FINAL FANTASY XIII

It’s time for a Lightning round! Let’s celebrate the amazing music of FINAL FANTASY XIII.
By Duncan Heaney

It’s time for another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY!

Today, we’ll be taking a look (and a listen) at the incredible audio of FINAL FANTASY XIII!

Before the game’s release, music fans had high expectations for the soundtrack… and composer Masashi Hamauzu didn’t disappoint. FINAL FANTASY XIII’s soundtrack was imaginative, exciting and extremely memorable - we bet some of you can hum the themes even now.

This unique sound makes it a real highlight of THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, too! The stirring field themes and thrilling battle tracks allow for challenging and super-fun music stages.

Here’s what tracks are included in the game (BMS denotes a Battle Music Stage and FMS is a Field Music Stage. Learn all about them here):

  • Defiers of Fate (EMS/BMS)
  • Saber's Edge (BMS)
  • Blinded By Light (BMS)
  • March of the Dreadnoughts (FMS)
  • The Sunleth Waterscape (FMS)
  • Fighting Fate (BMS)
  • Will to Fight (BMS)
  • The Archylte Steppe (FMS)
  • Dust to Dust (FMS)
  • Eden Under Siege (BMS)
  • The Gapra Whitewood (FMS)
  • Desperate Struggle (BMS)
  • Nascent Requiem (BMS)
  • Eternal Love (FMS) (Deluxe Edition Track)

Let’s highlight a few of the tracks we can’t wait to play:


Blinded by Light (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIII’s battle theme is seared into my brain - and I bet it’s the same for a few of you, too.

It perfectly captures the game’s exciting strategic combat system - fast-paced and so catchy you want to play again and again.

And in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, I expect many of us will do just that!


The Sunleth Waterscape (FMS)

This is another track that’s iconic to FINAL FANTASY XIII. As the name implies it plays as you explore the Sunleth Waterscape - a vast nature reserve on the floating continent of Cocoon.

In THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, you’ll get to play your way through this track, while your party traverses this familiar location. It may not have the same grandeur as its original game, but it makes up for it in cutesy charm!


Fighting Fate (BMS)

You’d expect a track with the title ‘Fighting Fate’ to be pretty epic and… yep. It’s pretty epic. Heard during your battles with Barthandelus, it’s a near-overwhelming cacophony of drums, brass and chorus that give the battles a truly climactic feel.

The lyrics are Latin, but rather brilliantly, they tie into the story itself. The villain even directly quotes them during the story.

“Ragnarok. De Die Irae, l'Cie Pultis. Tuum fatum sequeris. Tuum sanctuarium affligeas.”

Which (very) loosely translates as:

“Raganork, Pulse l’Cie, on the Day of Wrath Follow your destiny and destroy your home.”

As we said: epic.


You’ll get to play through all these tracks and a lot more on February 16, 2023, when THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE releases for Nintendo Switch and PS4.

Three editions of THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now:

That’s all for now - join us on the blog next week for another THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY. And be sure to follow us on social media too:

FINAL FANTASY: A celebration of Cids

We take a loving look at characters called Cid throughout the FINAL FANTASY series. Which is your favorite?
By Duncan Heaney
Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

What would FINAL FANTASY be without its Cids?

Almost every game in the series features a character with the name ‘Cid’. From cynical engineers to affable educators, each one is as distinct and memorable as the game he appears in.

It’s an important part of the series, so we thought it was long overdue to take a tour through the series to celebrate these fantastic FINAL FANTASY fellows.

So, without further ado, let’s take a loving look at some of the Ciddiest Cids who ever Cidded.

…no, we don’t really know what that means either.

The OG Cid - FINAL FANTASY II pixel remaster

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

This Cid was the first character in the series to have the name - and he’s more than worthy of it. He was the first to have an airship, beginning the series-spanning love affair between Cids and flight.

Initially, he operates his craft as a simple transport service, but as he’s drawn into the game’s central conflict, that airship becomes pivotal for the main heroes’ adventure.


Cid Haze - FINAL FANTASY III pixel remaster

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Cid Haze is an eccentric inventor from the town of Canaan, whose mechanical skills are only matched by his impressively bushy beard.

He faces many hardships over the course of FINAL FANTASY III, from incorporeal curses to the illness of his beloved wife. Despite this, he remains a positive, jovial figure who’s ready to help our heroes when they need it most.


Cid Pollendina - FINAL FANTASY IV pixel remaster

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

The next Cid didn’t just make airships - he made history.

Burly, boisterous and brilliantly-bearded, Cid Pollendina also has the distinction of being the first playable Cid in the series!

He’s the master engineer for the Red Wings - the air force of the mighty kingdom of Baron, and his unrivalled mechanical knowhow has turned the group into something to be reckoned with. Despite this job, he has a strong moral compass, and is unafraid to stand up for what’s right - even at the risk of his own liberty.

This Cid can also be somewhat brash, possessed of a level of self-belief that could be considered arrogance… if he didn’t have the skills to back it up. Despite his sometimes prickly personality, he’s a good friend to hero Cecil and a beloved character in his own right.

Plus, his eventual role as a party member raised the profiles of Cids for the entire series. In our book, that makes him a V.I.C: Very Important Cid.


Professor Cid Previa - FINAL FANTASY V pixel remaster

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

FINAL FANTASY V’s Cid swapped engineering for academia - though his penchant for tinkering remains intact.

Professor Cid Previa is a researcher, who has devoted his life to the study of elemental crystals that are fundamental to his world’s existence. He was responsible for crystal amplification devices, which brought prosperity to the areas that used them… until they didn’t.

Flaws with the design caused severe damage to the crystals, and the professor is riddled with guilt as a result. But this noble-hearted Cid isn’t one to stand around feeling sorry for himself and throws himself into more projects, determined to make amends for his mistake.


Cid Del Norte Marguez - FINAL FANTASY VI pixel remaster

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Cid Del Norte Marguez is a prime example of ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’

As the chief scientist for the evil Gestahlian Empire, Cid’s made some mistakes. His genius created the Magitek that gives the Emperor’s forces such power. He pushed his surrogate daughter Celes into armed service. And perhaps worst of all, he’s directly responsible for Kefka’s power and… unpredictable mental state.

It’s not exactly a glowing resume, is it?

Even so, this Cid is a surprisingly gentle man, who favors peace and diplomacy over violence. When he realises the dark truth behind his technology - and the darker intentions of those who use it - he takes action to try to put things right.

Plus, his relationship with Celes leads to some of the most powerful moments in the game…


Cid Highwind - FINAL FANTASY VII

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Arguably the most famous Cid of all, the high-flying Mr. Highwind has a very prominent role in FINAL FANTASY VII.

When we first meet Cid, he’s a broken man. Once he was to be the first person to travel into space, but an aborted launch and the shuttering of Shinra’s space program have left his dreams in ruins.

But when he’s drawn into Cloud and company’s conflict with Shinra, he finds renewed purpose. His skills with a spear make him a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, and he’s the natural choice of captain for the team’s airship. He even has a brief stint as leader when Cloud is otherwise indisposed.

In short, he’s an essential member of the team, and a Cid to be reckoned with.


Cid Kramer - FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

This unconventional Cid wears a lot of (metaphorical) hats. He’s the founder of the mercenary group SeeD and acts as headmaster of Balamb Garden, one of its training schools.

As befits an educator, he’s a kind and nurturing man, who wants his students to achieve their best - and to keep thinking for themselves. He takes every opportunity to push the closed-off Squall into embracing his potential as a leader.

Having an administrative role, rather than an engineering or piloting one, makes him something of an anomaly among his other Cids. He doesn’t even have an airship.

…or does he?


Cid Fabool IX - FINAL FANTASY IX

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Cid Fabool IX is the Regent of Lindblum, and a mechanical genius, responsible for inventing many airships, including the revolutionary Hilda Garde II.

At least… he was. By the time we meet him in FINAL FANTASY IX, Cid’s suffered an unfortunate transformation into an oglop, a condition that affects both his physical appearance and mental capacities.

Before you feel too sorry for him, he did bring it on himself - it’s his wife’s Hilda’s punishment for his infidelity.

Despite his flaws, this Cid is a wise man (or oglop) who has the best intentions in mind for his city and Princess Garnet and goes above and beyond to help the team throughout the game.

Oglop or not, he’s a Cid through and through.


Cid - FINAL FANTASY X HD

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

This surname-less Cid is the leader of the Al Bhed tribe, and - in true Cid-style - the captain of an airship.

While bossy and tactless, he’s a strong leader who is well-liked by his people. That may be because this Cid isn’t just technically adept - he’s also a man of action. If he has a plan in mind, he’ll follow through, no matter the consequences.

He has a close familial connection to members of the party - he’s the father of Rikku and uncle of Yuna and will do anything to protect his family. Even if it can be a little… extreme at times.


Cid - FINAL FANTASY XI

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Cid is the most accomplished engineer in FINAL FANTASY XI’s world of Vana'diel. His inventive genius isn’t unrecognised either as his work has brought wealth to Bastok and turned him into a person of influence within the Republic.

Typically found in his workshop in the Metalworks, Cid has plenty to keep budding adventurers busy, and has a major role in the Chains of Promathia expansion.

Yes, it involves airships.


Doctor Cid - FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

This genius scientist is the head of the Archadian Empire’s Draklor Laboratory.

A brilliant and insightful man, he believes his research and development of Manufactured Nethicite as a way to give humanity control of its own destiny. Of course, passion can give way to obsession…

Without wishing to give too much away, the doctor’s a very different type of Cid compared to previous games – and one of the most memorable. If you’ve played the game, you know what we mean. And if you haven’t… go play FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE and find out. You won’t regret it!


Cid Raines - FINAL FANTASY XIII

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

The youngest Cid in the series is also one of the most complex and elusive.

Cid Raines is a commander in Sanctum’s Guardian Corps, and captains the gargantuan airship the Lindblum (the series does love a callback!).

Despite working for the organisation pursuing our heroes, Cid’s a polite and friendly face, offering hospitality and co-operation to a captured Snow, and helping the party out on future occasions.

Of course, there’s more going on than his cultured demeanour would suggest, and the dashing young commander has complex motives and a few secrets of his own…


Cid Garlond - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Is this the hunkiest Cid in FINAL FANTASY? We couldn’t possibly comment but…

*looks at social media*

…apparently you can.

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online’s Cid Garlond is a defector from the warmongering Garlean Empire, who tries to use his powerful magitek creations to improve lives rather than take them.

Despite his complex past, including an inconvenient case of amnesia, he’s a warm, optimistic, and important ally for the Warrior of Light. His technical assistance, advice, and airship get the adventurer out of more than one scrape over the course of A Realm Reborn and its expansions.


Cid Sophiar - FINAL FANTASY XV

Cid Garlond from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Once a close companion of King Regis Lucis Caelum, Cid now runs a mechanics in Hammerhead, along with his granddaughter Cindy.

He’s more hands-off than other Cids, preferring to let Cindy take care of the nuts and bolts of the work, but he’s still an important figure in the game, providing technical support and even a boat to Noctis and his entourage.

Despite his gruff, curmudgeonly demeanour, Cid has a big heart and looks out for Noctis in various ways. Not only does he improve their weapons throughout the adventure, he’s also ready to deliver some brutal home truths that prepare the pampered prince for the trials ahead.


As you can see, the name Cid spreads far and wide across the FINAL FANTASY series. And of course, this is just the numbered entries - the spin-offs have plenty of Cids of their own too!

But this is long enough already, so we’ll end it here. Thanks for joining us on this celebration of Cids… but which is your favorite? Let us know on social media:

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: FINAL FANTASY + FINAL FANTASY II

This week, we take a listen to classic tracks from the original FINAL FANTASY and its musically majestic sequel! Let’s take a trip down memory lane…
By Duncan Heaney

This is where it all began!

The original FINAL FANTASY was a groundbreaker in 1987, offering an exciting and expansive adventure that continues to inspire the RPG genre. But it wasn’t just the gameplay that made it stand out - it was also the music.

Despite the limited sound capabilities of early consoles, legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu was able to create rich tones and memorable melodies that live on to this day. Many of the motifs that appear in this game echo through the entirety of the series and go a long way to helping the games feel connected - despite their very different settings and gameplay styles.

Playing through these tracks in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE may bring back feelings of nostalgia for older fans, but they also hold up as brilliant pieces of music in their own right. Here are the tracks in the game:

  • Opening Theme (EMS/FMS)
  • Main Theme (FMS)
  • Matoya's Cave (FMS)
  • Battle (BMS)
  • Castle Cornelia (FMS)
  • Mt. Gulg (FMS)
  • Miniboss Battle (BMS)
  • Final Battle (BMS)
  • Sunken Shrine (FMS)
  • Airship (FMS)

As ever, let’s dive into some of our favorites:


Opening Theme

The Opening Theme to FINAL FANTASY is instantly recognizable. This powerful melody has become the main theme for the entire series, appearing in multiple games over the last 35 years.

This track changes in style and instrumentation throughout the series, but every single version owes a debt to this - the OG FINAL FANTASY music track. What can we say - it’s iconic.


Battle (BMS)

Strong battle themes have been a consistent element of all FINAL FANTASY games, and it’s another element of the series that emerged fully formed in this original game. The original battle track is a fast-paced piece that reflects the excitement and danger of the game’s pioneering battle system.

You’ll be spending a long time on this theme, and it’s a testament to the incredible talents of Nobuo Uematsu that it never gets old.


FINAL FANTASY II

FINAL FANTASY II established what is perhaps the biggest trademark of the series - and we don’t just mean chocobos.

This game started the series’ tradition for change and constant innovation. While the team could have followed up the smash hit original with more of the same, they instead decided to mix things up with new mechanics like the proficiency system, where characters skills with weapons and abilities increased the more they used them.

Fans can debate whether they like the sequel or the original game more, but here’s something everyone can agree with: the soundtrack is another masterpiece. Working once again with the limitations of the era, composer Uematsu produced themes and melodies that stand the test of time.

You can play through many of them in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE:

  • Finale (FMS)
  • The Rebel Army (EMS/BMS)
  • Battle Theme 1 (BMS)
  • Town (FMS)
  • Main Theme (FMS)
  • Tower of the Magi (FMS)
  • Dungeon (FMS)
  • Battle Theme 2 (BMS)
  • Battle Theme A (BMS)
  • The Imperial Army (FMS)
  • Chocobo Theme (FMS)

Here are a couple of tracks that we can’t wait to play:


The Rebel Army (BMS)

Easily one of the most recognizable tracks from FINAL FANTASY II, the Rebel Army is a stirring march that sets the tone perfectly for this bold new adventure.

By listening to it, you understand how well it’ll work as a rhythm-action stage. The strong beat and instantly-hummable motifs seem tailor-made for a game like THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE. We look forward to setting some top scores on this one.


Chocobo Theme (FMS)

We’d be kweh-zy not to highlight the original Chocobo Theme!

FINAL FANTASY II was the first game to feature these fine feathered birds, and they’ve become integral to the franchise. Not only do they appear in almost every game since in some way, they’ve also inspired their own spin-offs, such as FINAL FANTASY FABLES: CHOCOBO’S DUNGEON (also represented in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE by the way).

It’s not just the birds who have become mainstays of the series though - it’s the music too. This theme repeats across the series and whenever it appears, it’s catchy, fun and instantly memorable. It just warks!


That’s all we have space for in today’s THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY, but we’ll see you next week for more magical music.

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE launches February 16, 2023, for Nintendo Switch and PS4. Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now:

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media:

FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series is coming to PS4 and Nintendo Switch!

FINAL FANTASY I - VI launch digitally on PS4 and Nintendo Switch Spring 2023… alongside a limited physical PIXEL REMASTER -FF35th Anniversary Edition. Find out more here.
By Duncan Heaney

December 18 is the 35th Anniversary of FINAL FANTASY, and we have some exciting news to celebrate: the acclaimed FINAL FANTASY pixel remaster series is coming to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch!

FINAL FANTASY I - VI will launch digitally for these platforms in Spring 2023. The games can be purchased individually or together as a bundle.

A limited physical edition will also be available on the same day:

The FINAL FANTASY I-VI PIXEL REMASTER -FF35th Anniversary Edition is a true celebration of the series, featuring some pretty awesome extras, including:

  • FINAL FANTASY I-VI COLLECTION - physical collection of all games for either PS4 or Nintendo Switch-
  • Anniversary Edition GOODS BOX.
  • A bonus lenticular sleeve for the game package.
  • 2-disc vinyl record set featuring newly arranged game music with exclusive cover artwork by Kazuko Shibuya
  • A specially compiled artbook showcasing beautiful character pixel art.
  • Eight stylized pixel art character figures in window packaging.

The FINAL FANTASY I-VI PIXEL REMASTER -FF35th Anniversary Edition is available exclusively from the Square Enix Store and is available to preorder now. Quantities are limited, so order now to avoid missing out.

A small run of a physical standard edition, FINAL FANTASY I-VI COLLECTION, will also be available exclusively from the Square Enix Store from Spring 2023. Again, quantities will be extremely limited, so be sure to preorder before it sells out:

For those who haven’t experienced these incredible games on PC and mobile, the FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series comprises FINAL FANTASY I through FINAL FANTASY VI, giving fans a chance to relive some of the most beloved RPGs of all time in a way that perfectly captures the spirit of those original games.

But if anything, we’re even more excited for new fans who’ll get to experience them for the very first time. These games are true masterpieces, and the FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series offers the best way to play them yet!

Let’s take a closer look at the games in the series.


FINAL FANTASY

This is the ironically named game that started it all. You take control of the Warriors of Light, off on a journey to defeat four fiends and restore peace to the world.

So many of the elements of the series that we’ve come to know and love make their debut right here in this very first entry: a massive world full of mystery, some iconic monster designs and that incredible music.


FINAL FANTASY II

The second game in the series introduces a new world, new characters and something that would become a trademark of the series: innovation.

The story focuses on the conflict between the hostile Empire of Palamecia and the rebel resistance. A small group of heroes is all that stands between the world and ruin.

FINAL FANTASY II demonstrates the developers’ willingness to push their boundaries and try new things. For example, rather than sticking to the predictable, the game features a proficiency system in which characters skill with weapons and abilities increase the more they used them.

Fun fact: this is the FINAL FANTASY game that introduced the world to chocobos! Now that’s a legacy.


FINAL FANTASY III

When darkness falls and the land is robbed of light, four young heroes are chosen by the crystals to head off an exciting journey across a vast and hostile land.

This critically-acclaimed entry in the series innovated with a flexible job system, which lets characters change their roles in combat at any time. Many of the most famous elements of FINAL FANTASY started here too - for example, it was the first to introduce summons, including series mainstays Bahamut and Shiva!


FINAL FANTASY IV

FINAL FANTASY IV delivers one of the richest and most powerful stories in the series. It’s filled with characters and scenarios that fans continue to love to this day.

It focuses on the dark knight Cecil, who finds himself stripped of his position and rank when he questions his king’s increasingly troubling orders. When he’s sent on a simple delivery mission with his friend Kain, the shocking events that follow send him and a group of allies on an incredible journey of betrayal, love and redemption.

This is the first game to feature the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, which combines turn-based and real-time elements to create fast-paced and strategic combat.


FINAL FANTASY V

The world of FINAL FANTASY V is on the verge of destruction because the elemental crystals that bring life and prosperity to the lands have lost their power.

The only hope lies in four heroes: Bartz, Princess Lenna of Castle Tycoon, pirate Faris and the mysterious Galuf. Driven together by fate, they set off on a quest that to save the planet itself.

As well as refining the ATB system, FINAL FANTASY V expands your strategic options massively through a greatly expanded job system, which let you customize your characters with 22 different jobs.


FINAL FANTASY VI

FINAL FANTASY VI is a game that’s beloved by fans and critics alike.

That’s partly thanks to its incredible setting and story. It’s set in a land where magic has disappeared, and humanity has instead turned to iron, gunpowder, steam and other technology.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say that magic is mostly gone - a young woman enslaved by the evil Empire still has the power. When she encounters a powerful ancient being called an Esper, she sets off a chain of events that will have epic and terrible consequences.


The FINAL FANTASY Pixel Remaster series is already available on PC via Steam, as well as iOS and Android:

FINAL FANTASY I-VI pixel remaster come to PS4 and Switch in Spring 2023. We’ll have more to share in the new year, so be sure to follow us on social media for news and updates:

THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY: CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII–

CRISIS CORE’s amazing soundtrack is a welcome addition to THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE! Let’s take a closer look at what to expect!
By Duncan Heaney

It’s a big week for FINAL FANTASY fans because Zack is back!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION released December 13 for (deep breath) PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam!

This prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII is a significantly enhanced version of the 2007 PSP classic and focuses on Zack Fair - a SOLDIER operative with close ties to many of the characters from that beloved RPG.

A number of tracks from that original release feature in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE - so what better subject could there be for a THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY?

The CRISIS CORE soundtrack was led by composer Takeharu Ishimoto and features a combination of fresh takes on classic FINAL FANTASY VII tracks and completely original compositions.

It’s an eclectic soundtrack that takes you from driving metal to somber piano - in other words as bold and full of personality as Zack himself!

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE contains six tracks from the series:

  • CRISIS CORE Theme - Succession (EMS)
  • The SOLDIER Way (BMS)
  • The Price of Freedom (BMS)
  • Encounter (BMS)
  • Timely Ambush (from FFVII 'Let the Battles Begin!') (FMS)
  • A Flower Blooming in the Slums (from FFVII 'Aerith's Theme') (FMS)

Let’s take a closer look - and listen - at a few favorites:


CRISIS CORE Theme - Succession (EMS)

The main theme of CRISIS CORE is not your typical FINAL FANTASY track. This beautiful and melancholy piano piece conveys a lot of emotion through its simple melody. The song hints at the deeply affecting journey that lies ahead of you.

In THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, this track is an Event Music Stage (EMS). That means you’ll see beautiful video scenes from the game as you play, and this makes this powerful track hit that much harder.

What? I’m not crying, you’re crying.


Encounter (BMS)

Feeling tired? A little worn down? Blast a few seconds of Encounter, CRISIS CORE’s battle theme, and your energy will surge back to full power! This track is exhilarating. The shredding guitars and surging rhythms really make you feel like you’re the heart of the action.

It’s a very different battle theme for FINAL FANTASY VII, but it really works. Its suitability as a Battle Music Stage in THEATRHYTHM is clear - you just know this one is going to test your rhythm-action expertise in a really fun way.


The Price of Freedom (BMS)

The price of freedom is steep.

That message sits at the very heart of CRISIS CORE - a painful lesson for Zack (and us!) to learn. It’s driven home by this wistful rock track, which conveys longing, joy, tragedy… all the things that that Zack himself experiences over the course of his adventures.

It makes for a very different kind of Battle Music Stage in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE - and a particularly memorable one.


You’ll be able to hear all these tracks from February 16, 2023, when THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE releases for Nintendo Switch and PS4!

Or you can hear newly arranged versions - as well as a host of other enhancements to the visuals, combat system and more - in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.


Bonus: Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered

This month also saw the release of Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered on PS5, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Steam, iOS and Android. Considering how good the music is in the game, it would be a crime not to take the opportunity to talk about it - especially as music packs from the SaGa games are coming to THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE as standalone DLCs and as part of the game’s Season Passes!

Ardent Rhythm (BMS)

This track is included in Season Pass 1, as part of a DLC pack for the SaGa series (THEATRHYTHM FBL SaGa Series Pack). And holy moly, it’s fantastic!

Composed by Kenji Ito, it’s an utterly unique combination of acoustic guitar, drums, and energetic vocals that sounds absolutely incredible. Beware though - it’s also an earworm that will lodge itself firmly in your brain for the rest of the day.

The music of the SaGa series is legendary - always inventive, sometimes experimental and consistently brilliant. If you’re coming to the series for the first time in Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered, prepare to discover this for yourself.


That’s all for this week’s THEATRHYTHM THURSDAY! Come back next week to hear some more amazing music from the game - and be sure to follow us on social media!

Tips and tricks for CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

Make Zack a SOLDIER First Class in every sense, with these tips, tricks and hints for the new action RPG!
By Duncan Heaney
Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Zack Fair has to endure a lot during CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION. Over the course of this aspiring hero’s adventures, he’s faced with challenges that push him to the limit both physically and emotionally. Still, nobody said being a SOLDIER operative was easy.

We can, at least, make it easiER. With the game out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, we thought it would be useful to share a few tips and tricks to let you hit the streets of Midgar running.

With this advice, you’ll be SOLDIER First Class in no time!

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Explore Midgar between every story beat to unlock new missions, minigames and sub-events

In between the big story moments, you’ll be deposited in Midgar and given free rein to explore the city. Make sure you take that chance because there’s tons to discover.

There are a few areas you’ll be able to visit again and again - the Shira Building, Sector 8’s entertainment district, and the Sector 5 slums. Exploring these areas and talking to the citizens will let you unlock new missions, discover fun minigames and much more.

Finding cool stuff is easy in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION because the game helpfully marks mission-givers and other important interactions on the map with a gold exclamation mark. Check the map screen regularly to make sure you’ve interacted with everything you can.

But while you’re at it, I recommend taking the time to talk to everyone in town, yellow exclamation mark or not. The residents of Midgar share different viewpoints that reveal a lot about the city - some are angry, others informative and a few are just plain weird (looking at you Shinra Building receptionist). And because this version is fully voiced, they bring the city to life like never before!

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Switch your materia frequently

As you fight through missions and the story in CRISIS CORE, you’ll level up the materia you have equipped. Once a piece has reached ‘Master’ level, it’s maxed out and won’t grow any further, so unless it’s fundamental to your current play style, consider switching it for something new.

The more master materia you have, the better. It means that when you start experimenting with materia fusion, you’ll be able to create much more powerful pieces than you would otherwise.

Zack only has a limited number of materia slots available (four at the start of the game, and later six when he’s promoted to First Class), so any master materia is taking up valuable space that could potentially be used to grow something else - even if it’s just an unleveled orb of the same type.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Use preset loadout sets to be ready for different challenges

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION lets you create up to five different loadouts of materia and accessories. This means you can prepare for different scenarios in advance, without having to spend lots of time faffing around in menus each time.

For example, I created multiple sets to accommodate common challenges in the game. My ‘boss killer’ set, for example, includes Materia and accessories that boost attack and defense. When I know a boss is coming (and in missions you can see them ahead of time), it only takes me a few seconds to switch to this loadout - and maybe add a piece of materia to take advantage of their elemental weakness - and give myself an edge over the opponent.

Another loadout I recommend setting up is the ‘Eek, I’m probably under-leveled for this’ set (In case you can’t tell, I’m no good at catchy names). That prioritizes materia and accessories that boost defense and raise Zack’s HP.

Many bosses have powerful abilities that can wipe out an unprepared SOLDIER operative in a single hit, but this loadout makes you more likely to survive those big attacks - or just take on missions you otherwise wouldn’t be strong enough for yet.

I’m sure you’ll find different sets that work for you and your playstyles, so take advantage of them. Remember - a little prep ahead of time can save you lots more in the future.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Consider the MP and AP cost of Materia

Materia Fusion unlocks fairly early in the story, and it opens up your options dramatically. By combining two pieces of materia, and spending some SP, you can create entirely new materia to equip.

Not only is this a lot of fun to play around with, it’s possible to create some insanely powerful pieces. You could, for example, create a version of Assault Twister that causes instant death on foes, or those coveted ‘-aga’ spells very early on.

Obviously, powerful materia is great, but be a little bit careful with how you use it - especially when you’re still low level. More powerful materia means more extravagant MP or AP requirements, and you may find yourself running out of both as a result.

While you can mitigate this a little by equipping other materia that boosts MP and AP or get a lucky roll on the DMW to use them without cost, it might be safer to hold these powerful pieces back until you’ve grown into them.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Prioritize the best mission rewards

Once past the opening of the game, Zack can embark on missions from most save points. More and more will become available as you play through the game, and it won’t be long before you have plenty of options available.

Which to embark on first is entirely up to you. However, I recommend looking at the rewards listed in the mission descriptions and prioritizing those that expand Zack’s skillset.

For example, one early mission is a rematch against Ifrit, which rewards you with his Summon materia. Making this one your first port of call means you’ll then be able to summon ol’ firey-chops during subsequent quests, making them potentially easier.

Other examples are the Keychain, which lets Zack add another accessory, or the Chocobo Feather which opens up new options in the DMW. There are plenty more to discover, but the key point is that the earlier you collect them, the sooner you’ll be able to make use of them.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Collect all chests when on a mission

While on a mission, you’ll see a counter in the top right corner of the screen showing you how many chests you’ve found. Be sure to explore thoroughly and find all the chests in the area.

Often chests will just contain an item, such as a Potion or Soma - useful, but not massively exciting. However, sometimes they’ll give you more valuable rewards, such as materia or accessories, and you won’t want to miss those.

Most chests are easy to find, but a few can be tricky. A good tactic is to check the map for obvious dead ends - there’s probably one tucked away there.

If you have missed one on a mission, don’t worry - you can always come back and replay the mission (there’s even a filter in the missions list to flag unclaimed chests), but it’s much more efficient to try to get them all on a single run.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Explore areas carefully - even if you have all the chests

Don’t assume that just because you’ve found all the chests in an area, there’s nothing else to discover. Some missions have other secrets, such as hidden monsters that, when defeated, unlock additional missions to complete.

For example, a certain mission contains a Tonberry, which will unlock an entire sequence of quests centered on the stubby grudge-holding horrors. One mission has you fighting literal hordes of the monster - which is both thrilling, and utter nightmare fuel for us long-time FINAL FANTASY fans.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

It’s okay to leave stuff for later

If you’re like me, you may feel compelled to try to do every possible mission before continuing with the story. Resist those completionist urges.

If you’re failing a mission constantly, even when buffing yourself up with materia, you’re probably just not quite ready to take on that level of challenge. Instead, return to the story - that mission will still be there when you get back. When you do, you’ll be inevitably stronger, more knowledgeable about the game, and more prepared for success.

Zack Fair and a Cactuar

Take down Boss’s Ability Gauges FAST

Sometimes a bar will appear on a boss. This means it’s preparing for a big attack, and you need to act.

Attacking the boss will let you reduce the potential damage of this assault, maybe even cancel it completely, but you need to move fast. Don’t worry about being clever, showing finesse or finishing off another target - just get right in there and wallop it with your strongest attacks before it’s too late.


CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION is out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam!

We hope these tips help - and if you have any of your own, why not share them with us on social media:

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION's Buster Sword… as a tree?

To celebrate the launch of the action-packed prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII, artist Simon O’Rourke has recreated the iconic blade as a tree sculpture. But how did he do it?
By Duncan Heaney

What videogame weapon is more iconic than the Buster Sword?

This massive blade is famously wielded by Cloud Strife in FINAL FANTASY VII, but what are its origins and how did it come into his possession? That’s one of the questions answered in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION - out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.

This greatly enhanced remaster of the beloved prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII stars Zack Fair - a young SOLDIER operative.

To celebrate the release of the game, we’re excited to unveil a one-of-a-kind tree carving of the legendary Buster Sword, created by the talented Simon O’Rourke, a renowned UK based tree sculptor and self-confessed video game enthusiast.

Take a look at him in action:

It’s an incredible work of art that captures the style and imposing scale of this magnificent weapon. But how did it come to be? We chatted to Simon to find out:


Hi Simon. How did you get started with tree sculpture?

I was an illustration graduate - a children’s book illustration specialist. I’ve loved art all my life, but I hadn’t really considered how to make it a career.

I needed work after university and ended up working for a friend of mine who’d just started a new tree surgery business - just to bring some money in, you know. He eventually offered me a full time job, and one day I saw someone carving with a chainsaw and had a lightbulb moment.

The idea for this art just clicked - and I decided to just give it a go. It snowballed from there and here we are!


How familiar with FINAL FANTASY VII series were you before this project?

Oh, I’ve loved gaming since the 90s. I cut my teeth on things like Doom and Quake. I’ve also always loved fantasy, so naturally was very attracted to FINAL FANTASY VII (laughs).

I like ‘medieval’ style games, and the crossover between almost medieval-style weaponry and science fiction backdrops in FINAL FANTASY VII really appealed to me. And of course, I’m from an illustration background, so I particularly love the styling of the game, the concept art… it’s all so up my street.

The Buster Sword too - it’s so iconic. It’s just a really epic-looking sword, so it was a good subject to carve. Turning it into a Christmas tree is perhaps a little off the wall, but a nice idea I think (laughs).

Though I’m not sure how much my wife appreciates it…

What inspired your design for this sculpture?

Well, Christmas trees are obviously pretty traditional at this time of year, and I’m always interested in playing with different styles. In terms of the design, I was inspired by the patterning on the blade of sword. You have this almost ‘circuit board’ feel, with these lovely diagonal lines curving into uprights.

I had this vision of the Buster Sword merging from the natural-looking tree at the base up into something much more sci-fi. I initially considered creating it as part of a natural tree but having such a heavy topweight of tree balanced on something carved could potentially be dangerous.

So I ended up creating the branches separately - again, these were inspired by those lines on the blade.


How do you ensure your work is sustainable and not environmentally damaging?

I don’t buy trees that are harvested - I would never cut down a tree for my carvings. I only use trees that have already been felled by tree surgeons.

There are many reasons why someone would have to take a tree down, but it essentially comes down to the ‘four Ds’: dead, dying diseased or dangerous. If a tree is designated as any of these, it’s marked to be removed.

While all the trees I use have been felled for a good reason, I also believe sustainability is important. That’s why I pay into a tree planting scheme to offset what I use.

Where did you source the tree for this project?

This tree is a Blue Atlantic Cedar that was felled by a tree surgeon, due to suffering from dieback, which is unfortunately going round the UK right now.

A dieback is a sort of airborne pathogen that gets into the tree via the leaves. Anything that kills the foliage on the tree basically signs its death warrant, as leaves are what the tree uses to get food from sunlight.

So this particular disease kills off the branch ends and starts a slow, but inevitable demise for the tree. Honestly, it’s kind of heartbreaking to see so many magnificent trees going down that route.

But I’ve been fortunate to take a few of them and give them a second life as carvings. That’s something I really like.


So how exactly do you go about turning a dead tree into a massive sword?

Well, lots of planning to begin with. And short answer, I removed all the parts of the tree that weren’t part of the carving (laughs).

I visualized the sword inside the tree before I did any cuts. I thought: how big can I make this sword and still be able to get it proportionally right? The proportions are the most important part for me - I measured and used calculated ratios to size the sword as big as I could get it for that tree.

Once I’d planned and measured everything out, I took all of the outer wood off. Over time, if there’s bark on the tree, it falls off and starts to look scrappy.

Then it was a case of carving it all. I’ve got a big range of chainsaws - I think of them almost as my paintbrushes. If I have big cuts to make, I’m going to use the big saws. When I get to the smaller details, I have really fine-tipped saws.

Once I got down to the level where I couldn’t use the chainsaws, I started using grinding tools and rotary tools. I don’t always use staining or coloring in my carvings, but for this I did. I used an ebony wood stain to create that gunmetal feel, while still being able to see the grain of the wood. It really makes the sword jump out, I think.

How long did it take?

Including prepping and making all the branches, it was around four days of planning and sculpting.


What were the most challenging things about creating this artwork?

The hardest thing was getting the lines parallel and straight - and getting the proportions of the Buster Sword right.

I find it easier to carve sculptures of natural life rather than mechanical things. That’s because mechanical - or in this case ‘engineered’ - subjects need to have perfectly straight lines. For this one, I used a laser level to make sure everything was absolutely perfectly aligned, but it’s actually much of a challenge to get these right compared to, say, an animal.

That’s the thing about the Buster Sword as a subject - It looks so simple, but there’s a lot of planning that has to go into it.


What elements of the tree are you most proud of?

I really like the touch of having the steel rivets in the hilt. I love the whole effect of the circuit design of the branches. And the contrast between the vertical sword and all those diagonal lines was really satisfying.


Finally, where can people go to learn more about you and your art?

My website has loads of information on - it’s https://treecarving.co.uk/.

My Instagram and Facebook feed are pretty active too - that’s where you can see the most recent work I’ve been doing.

Many thanks to Simon for his time - and his remarkable work. The Buster Sword makes a triumphant return in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, available today for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam.

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow us on social media:

FINAL FANTASY XVI launch date and pre-orders revealed!

When does the highly anticipated next entry in the FINAL FANTASY series release, and how can you get it? Read on for all the information.
By Duncan Heaney

The trailers for FINAL FANTASY XVI have revealed much about the game, highlighting the game’s intricate story and detailed world, showcasing the fast-paced Action-RPG combat and more. But one question remains on fans’ lips more than any other:

When can we play it!?

We’re excited to announce that FINAL FANTASY XVI launches globally for PS5 on June 22, 2023! What’s more, pre-orders for the Standard and Deluxe Editions of the game are now live, with a Collector’s Edition set going live on Monday, December 12 (pm GMT for European fans, 6pm PST for US fans) that… well, it’s pretty darn awesome, if we do say so ourselves.

The news was revealed at The Game Awards 2022, where a new trailer for the game also debuted. It’s titled ‘REVENGE’, a nod to Clive Rosfield’s motivation. Take a look:

Pretty good, right? And trust us - that’s barely a glimpse at the epic story and spectacular action that’s in the full game. When Producer Naoki Yoshida describes it as “a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride in video game form” he’s not kidding!

What versions of FINAL FANTASY XVI will be available?

There are three versions of FINAL FANTASY XVI available to pre-order. If you pre-order any edition of the game, you’ll some awesome pre-order bonuses:

  • The Braveheart (Weapon) DLC
  • Cait Sith Charm in-game item - an accessory that boosts your received Gil.

As for the different editions of the game available, allow us to explain:


FINAL FANTASY XVI Standard Edition (physical and digital)

As you’d expect, notwithstanding the special pre-order bonuses, the standard edition of the game includes:

  • The full game only

It's available to preorder now:


FINAL FANTASY XVI Deluxe Edition (physical only)

This version of the game includes:

  • The full game
  • A Special Clive Rosfield SteelBook® Case
  • A cloth map of Valisthea - where the story unfolds

It's available to preorder now on the Square Enix Store:


FINAL FANTASY XVI Digital Deluxe Edition (digital only)

Available to pre-order from the PlayStation Store, this version of the game includes:

  • The full game
  • A digital mini artbook that features some of the stunning illustrations and artwork from the game
  • A digital mini soundtrack showcasing a selection of tracks from composer Masayoshi Soken’s incredible soundtrack

The game's available to preorder now:


FINAL FANTASY XVI Collector’s Edition

Available exclusively from the Square Enix Store starting Monday, December 12 at 6pm PST / 6pm GMT, the FINAL FANTASY XVI Collector’s Edition is packed full of amazing items that make it a must-buy for any fan of the series. Included in this bumper package is:

  • Collector’s Box - A beautiful metallic-sheen box that features beautiful artwork by legendary FINAL FANTASY series illustrator, Yoshitaka Amano

  • The full game - includes the base game box, which features stunning reversible cover art

  • Premium Statue: Phoenix vs Ifrit - an exquisitely crafted figurine that depicts the battling figures of two key Eikons: Phoenix and Ifrit

  • Metal Eikon Pin Collection - a premium metal pin collection featuring eight Eikons

  • Special Clive Rosfield SteelBook Case - a beautiful metal case for the game that features art of the main character, Clive

  • Cloth World Map of Valisthea - this printed cloth represents the map of Valisthea, where the story unfolds

  • Blood Sword (Weapon) DLC - the fabled scarlet steel of Firion, hero of Final Fantasy II

Pre-order this version of the game from the Square Enix Store, and you’ll also get the following bonus items:

  • FINAL FANTASY XVI Pre-Order SteelBook Case
  • The Realms of Valisthea Wall Banners (6 inch height printed cloth banners)
  • Digital Mini Artbook
  • Digital Mini Soundtrack
  • Scholar’s Spectacles in-game item - an accessory that boosts Exp

Quantities of the Collector’s Edition are limited, so if you want this edition, with all the cool extras, we recommend you pre-order ASAP to avoid disappointment.

We hope you enjoyed the new trailer and are excited to experience the game from June 22, 2023. We’ll undoubtedly have more to share as we get closer to the big day, so be sure to follow us on social media for news and other updates!

Theatrhythm Thursday: The THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE track list

What FINAL FANTASY music can you experience in upcoming rhythm action extravaganza? Here’s the base game and deluxe edition’s track lists.
By Duncan Heaney

To say that THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE contains a lot of music is like saying that the Sahara Desert contains a lot of sand. While true, it doesn’t convey the sheer, mind-boggling quantities involved.

The new rhythm action game contains more than 380 tracks in the standard edition alone - plus 27 more in the Digital Deluxe Edition and DLC music packs featuring some of the best music from other Square Enix games!

Over the next few weeks, as part of our new 'THEATRHYTHM THURSDAYS' feature, we’ll be looking at some of the tracks in the game, sharing some memories of how they featured in their original games and maybe sharing a few sneak peeks of what they sound like.

First though, we thought we should share a list of the FINAL FANTASY related tracks revealed in the game so far.

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE Standard Edition

The base game contains a massive 385 tracks from across the FINAL FANTASY series. These tracks are played over three music stages:

  • Battle Music Stages (BMS) - Defeat waves of enemies in time to up-tempo battle themes.

  • Field Music Stages (FMS) - Journey forth with a party across themed landscapes with relaxing field music.

  • Event Music Stage (EMS) - Play to the beat against the backdrop of unforgettable scenes from each title.

Here’s what’s included:


FINAL FANTASY

  • Opening Theme (FMS/EMS)
  • Main Theme (FMS)
  • Matoya's Cave (FMS)
  • Battle (BMS)
  • Castle Cornelia (FMS)
  • Mt. Gulg (FMS)
  • Miniboss Battle (BMS)
  • Final Battle (BMS)
  • Sunken Shrine (FMS)
  • Airship (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY II

  • Finale (FMS)
  • The Rebel Army (BMS/EMS)
  • Battle Theme 1 (BMS)
  • Town (FMS)
  • Main Theme (FMS)
  • Tower of the Magi (FMS)
  • Dungeon (FMS)
  • Battle Theme 2 (BMS)
  • Battle Theme A (BMS)
  • The Imperial Army (FMS)
  • Chocobo Theme (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY III

  • Elia, the Maiden of Water (FMS/EMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • Eternal Wind (FMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • The Boundless Ocean (FMS)
  • Salonia (FMS)
  • Let Me Know the Truth (FMS)
  • Forbidden Land (FMS)
  • The Crystal Tower (FMS)
  • The Dark Crystals (FMS)
  • This is the Last Battle (BMS)
  • Crystal Cave (FMS)
  • The Invincible (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY IV

  • Theme of Love (FMS/EMS)
  • The Red Wings (FMS)
  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy IV (FMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • Battle with the Four Fiends (BMS)
  • The Airship (FMS)
  • Troian Beauty (FMS)
  • Tower of Zot (FMS)
  • Lunar Whale (FMS)
  • Within the Giant (FMS)
  • The Final Battle (BMS)
  • Another Moon (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY V

  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy V (BMS)
  • Home, sweet Home (FMS/EMS)
  • Four Hearts (FMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • To the North Mountain (FMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • Library of Ancients (FMS)
  • Mambo de Chocobo (FMS)
  • The Airship (FMS)
  • The Dawn Warriors (BMS)
  • Battle at the Big Bridge (BMS)
  • A New World (FMS)
  • In Search of Light (FMS)
  • The Decisive Battle (BMS)
  • The Final Battle (BMS)
  • Harvest (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY VI

  • Celes's Theme (FMS/EMS)
  • Locke's Theme (BMS)
  • Battle (BMS)
  • Edgar & Sabin's Theme (FMS)
  • Protect the Espers! (BMS)
  • The Decisive Battle (BMS)
  • Terra's Theme (FMS)
  • Grand Finale (BMS)
  • The Airship Blackjack (FMS)
  • Battle to the Death (BMS)
  • Searching for Friends (FMS)
  • Dancing Mad (BMS)
  • Kefka's Tower (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY VII

  • Aerith's Theme (BMS/EMS)
  • Opening - Bombing Mission (BMS)
  • Let the Battles Begin! (BMS)
  • Fight On! (BMS)
  • The Chase (FMS)
  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII (FMS)
  • Rufus's Welcoming Ceremony (FMS)
  • JENOVA (BMS)
  • Gold Saucer (FMS)
  • Cosmo Canyon (FMS)
  • The Highwind Takes to the Skies (FMS)
  • Judgment Day (FMS)
  • Birth of a God (BMS)
  • One-Winged Angel (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

  • FFVII REMAKE: Bombing Mission (BMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: Let the Battles Begin! - A Merc's Job (BMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: The Airbuster (BMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: J-E-N-O-V-A - Quickening (BMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: One-Winged Angel - Rebirth (BMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: Midgar Expressway (FMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: Main Theme of FFVII - Sector 7 Undercity (FMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: Collapsed Expressway (FMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: High Five (BMS)
  • FFVII REMAKE: Tifa's Theme - Seventh Heaven (FMS)
  • Hollow (EMS)

FINAL FANTASY VII Advent Children

  • Advent: One-Winged Angel (BMS/EMS)
  • Those Who Fight (Piano Version) (BMS)
  • Beyond the Wasteland (BMS)
  • Aerith's Theme (Piano Version) (FMS)
  • Battle in the Forgotten City (BMS)
  • Divinity II (BMS)
  • J-E-N-O-V-A (AC Version) (BMS)
  • Cloud Smiles (FMS)

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII–

  • CRISIS CORE Theme - Succession (EMS)
  • The SOLDIER Way (BMS)
  • The Price of Freedom (BMS)
  • Encounter (BMS)
  • Timely Ambush (from FFVII 'Let the Battles Begin!') (FMS)
  • A Flower Blooming in the Slums (from FFVII 'Aerith's Theme') (FMS)

LAST ORDER: FINAL FANTASY VII

  • Last Order (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY VIII

  • Ending Theme (FMS)
  • Waltz for the Moon (FMS/EMS)
  • Balamb GARDEN (FMS)
  • Blue Fields (FMS)
  • Don't be Afraid (BMS)
  • Force Your Way (BMS)
  • Shuffle or Boogie (BMS)
  • The Man with the Machine Gun (BMS)
  • Premonition (BMS)
  • Fisherman's Horizon (FMS)
  • Love Grows (FMS)
  • Ride On (FMS)
  • The Castle (FMS)
  • Maybe I'm a Lion (BMS)
  • The Extreme (BMS)
  • Liberi Fatali (BMS)
  • Find Your Way (FMS)
  • The Oath (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY IX

  • A Place to Call Home (FMS)
  • Behind the Door (FMS/EMS)
  • Vivi's Theme (FMS)
  • Swords of Fury (BMS)
  • Vamo'alla flamenco (BMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • Over the Hill (FMS)
  • Festival of the Hunt (BMS)
  • Roses of May (FMS)
  • Something to Protect (BMS)
  • Aboard the Hilda Garde (FMS)
  • Not Alone (FMS)
  • The Darkness of Eternity (BMS)
  • The Final Battle (BMS)
  • Dark City Treno (FMS)
  • Iifa, the Ancient Tree of Life (FMS)
  • Ipsen's Castle (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY X

  • SUTEKI DA NE (Isn't It Wonderful?) (FMS/EMS)
  • Otherworld (BMS)
  • Battle Theme (BMS)
  • Spira Unplugged (FMS)
  • Movement In Green (FMS)
  • Blitz Off! (BMS)
  • Thunder Plains (FMS)
  • Assault (BMS)
  • Servants of the Mountain (FMS)
  • A Fleeting Dream (FMS)
  • Challenge (BMS)
  • Fight with Seymour (BMS)
  • A Contest of Aeons (BMS)
  • Final Battle (BMS)
  • Mi'ihen Highroad (FMS)
  • Launch (FMS)
  • Via Purifico (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY X-2

  • 1000 Words (FFX-2 Mix) (EMS)
  • We're the Gullwings! (FMS)
  • "Let me blow you a kiss." (BMS)
  • The Farplane Abyss (FMS)
  • YuRiPa, Fight! No.1 (BMS)
  • The Bevelle Underground (FMS)
  • Their Resting Place (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XI

  • Vana'diel March (FMS)
  • "FFXI Opening Theme" (BMS/EMS)
  • Ronfaure (FMS)
  • Battle Theme (BMS)
  • Gustaberg (FMS)
  • Selbina (FMS)
  • Recollection (FMS)
  • Awakening (BMS)
  • Shinryu (BMS)
  • The Sanctuary of Zi'Tah (FMS)
  • Fighters of the Crystal (BMS)
  • A New Horizon - Tavnazian Archipelago (FMS)
  • Ragnarok (BMS)
  • Heavens Tower (FMS)
  • Sarutabaruta (FMS)
  • Voyager (FMS)
  • Melodies Errant (BMS)
  • Tough Battle #2 (BMS)
  • Iron Colossus (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XII

  • FINAL FANTASY (FFXII Version) (BMS)
  • Ending Movie (from FINAL FANTASY XII Original Soundtrack) (BMS)
  • The Archadian Empire - original - from FINAL FANTASY XII (FMS/EMS)
  • Boss Battle (BMS)
  • Streets of Rabanastre (FMS)
  • The Dalmasca Estersand (FMS)
  • Heart of a Child (FMS)
  • Giza Plains (from FINAL FANTASY XII Original Soundtrack) (FMS)
  • Flash of Steel (BMS)
  • Battle with an Esper (BMS)
  • Life and Death (BMS)
  • Phon Coast (FMS)
  • The Mosphoran Highwaste (FMS)
  • Struggle for Freedom (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIII

  • Defiers of Fate (BMS/EMS)
  • Saber's Edge (BMS)
  • Blinded By Light (BMS)
  • March of the Dreadnoughts (FMS)
  • The Sunleth Waterscape (FMS)
  • Fighting Fate (BMS)
  • Will to Fight (BMS)
  • The Archylte Steppe (FMS)
  • Dust to Dust (FMS)
  • Eden Under Siege (BMS)
  • The Gapra Whitewood (FMS)
  • Desperate Struggle (BMS)
  • Nascent Requiem (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

  • Warrior Goddess (EMS)
  • Etro's Champion (BMS)
  • Full Speed Ahead (BMS)
  • Paradigm Shift (BMS)
  • Groovy Chocobo (FMS)
  • The Last Hunter (BMS)
  • Crazy Chocobo (FMS)
  • Heart of Chaos (BMS)
  • Historia Crux (FMS)
  • Eclipse (FMS)
  • Noel's Theme - Final Journey - (FMS)
  • Plains of Eternity (FMS)

LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII

  • The Savior - LIGHTNING RETURNS:FINAL FANTASY XIII - (BMS/EMS)
  • LIGHTNING RETURNS - LIGHTNING RETURNS:FINAL FANTASY XIII - (BMS)
  • Crimson Blitz (BMS)
  • Chaos (BMS)
  • The Dead Dunes (FMS)
  • The Glittering City of Yusnaan (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIV

  • Answers (EMS)
  • Hard to Miss (BMS)
  • On Westerly Winds (FMS)
  • The Land Breathes (BMS)
  • Serenity (FMS)
  • Primal Judgment (BMS)
  • Torn from the Heavens (BMS)
  • To the Sun (FMS)
  • Nemesis (BMS)
  • Under the Weight (BMS)
  • Engage (FMS)
  • Fallen Angel (BMS)
  • Good King Moggle Mog XII (BMS)
  • Ultima (BMS)
  • Through the Maelstrom (BMS)
  • A Light in the Storm (FMS)
  • Oblivion (BMS)
  • Ominous Prognisticks (BMS)
  • Ink Long Dry (FMS)
  • Heroes (BMS)
  • Locus (BMS)
  • Metal - Brute Justice Mode (BMS)
  • Exponential Entropy (BMS)
  • Moebius (BMS)
  • Rise (BMS)
  • The Worm's Tail (BMS)
  • Wayward Daughter (BMS)
  • Triumph (BMS)
  • Sunrise (BMS)
  • A Long Fall (BMS)
  • What Angel Wakes Me (BMS)
  • Promises to Keep (BMS)
  • Who Brings Shadow (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY XV

  • Stand Your Ground (BMS)
  • Veiled in Black (BMS)
  • Valse di Fantastica (FMS)
  • The Fight Is On! (BMS)
  • APOCALYPSIS NOCTIS (Uncovered Trailer) (BMS/EMS)
  • Flying R (FMS)
  • Invidia (BMS)
  • OMNIS LACRIMA (BMS)
  • Up for the Challenge (BMS)
  • NOCTIS (FMS)
  • Somnus (FMS)
  • Hellfire (BMS)
  • Magna Insomnia (BMS)
  • Main Theme from FINAL FANTASY (FMS)
  • Shield of the King - Theme of EPISODE GLADIOLUS (FMS)
  • Home Sweet Home - Theme of EPISODE PROMPTO (FMS)
  • EPISODE IGNIS - The Main Theme (FMS)
  • The Dance of Silver and Crimson (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0

  • We Have Come (BMS/EMS)
  • War: Warrior Worth a Thousand (BMS)
  • The Earth Under Our Feet (FMS)
  • War: The White Weapon (BMS)
  • Tempus Finis (FMS)
  • Vermilion Fire (BMS)
  • Soar (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY: THE 4 HEROES OF LIGHT

  • The 4 Heroes of Light (FMS)
  • Fiend Encounter (BMS)

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

  • Jack's Theme (BMS)
  • Battle: Chaos Advent (BMS)
  • Battle: False Knight – Motif from "Battle" (BMS)

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY

  • Keeping the Peace from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY (FMS)
  • The Decisive Battle - arrange - from FINAL FANTASY VI (BMS)
  • The Troops' Advance from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY (BMS)
  • Battle 1 - arrange - from FINAL FANTASY IX (BMS)
  • DISSIDIA - ending - from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY (BMS)
  • DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY [FINAL TRAILER] (BMS)

DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY

  • Lux Concordiae from DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (EMS)
  • Canto Mortis -An Undocumented Battle- from DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (FMS)
  • Gate to the Rift from DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (FMS)
  • Cantata Mortis from DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (BMS)
  • DISSIDIA 012[duodecim] FINAL FANTASY [FINAL TRAILER] (BMS)

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY -Arcade-

  • "The Rebel Army" from FINAL FANTASY II (Arrangement) (BMS)
  • "Eternal Wind" from FINAL FANTASY III (DFF Arrangement) (BMS)
  • "Dancing Mad" from FINAL FANTASY Ⅵ (Arrangement) (BMS)
  • "Antipyretic" from FINAL FANTASY TACTICS (Arrangement) (BMS)
  • Massive Explosion (Short ver.) from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY -Arcade- (BMS)
  • God in Fire - arrange - from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY (BMS)
  • "Ominous Prognisticks" from FINAL FANTASY XIV (Arrangement) (BMS)
  • "The Beginning of the End" from FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0 (Arrangement) (BMS)

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

  • Dare to Defy (BMS)

DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY OPERA OMNIA

  • Spark from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY OPERA OMNIA (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition

  • FFCCR: Moonless Starry Night (EMS)
  • FFCCR: Today Comes To Be Tomorrow (FMS)
  • FFCCR: Promised Grace (FMS)
  • FFCCR: Monster Ronde (BMS)
  • FFCCR: Across the Divide (FMS)
  • FFCCR: Woebegone Creature (BMS)
  • FFCCR: United, Heaven-Sent (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: The Crystal Bearers

  • This Is the End for You! (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY Record Keeper

  • Battle at the Big Bridge~Ver.2~ FFRK Ver. Arrange (BMS)
  • The Decisive Battle FFRK Ver. arrange from FFVI (BMS)
  • The Man with the Machine Gun FFRK Ver. arrange from FFVIII (BMS)
  • Blinded By Light FFRK Ver. arrange from FFXIII (BMS)
  • The Chase FFRK Ver. arrange from FFVII (BMS)
  • UTAKATA FFRK Ver. arrange from FFType-0 (BMS)
  • Chaos Shrine FFRK Ver. arrange from FFI (BMS)
  • Stand Your Ground FFRK Ver. arrange from FFXV (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY TACTICS

  • Opening (EMS)
  • Prologue (FMS)
  • Trisection (BMS)
  • Apoplexy (BMS)
  • Antipyretic (BMS)
  • Precipitous Combat (BMS)
  • Ultima's Transformation (BMS)
  • Ovelia's Theme (FMS)

MOBIUS FINAL FANTASY

  • Warrior of Light - Mobius Final Fantasy (BMS)
  • Dancing Edge (BMS)
  • Magic Madness (BMS)
  • Femme Fatale (BMS)
  • Bloodthirst (BMS)

WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY

  • World of Battle (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY FABLE: CHOCOBO'S DUNGEON

  • Dungeon Hero X's Theme (BMS)
  • Raffaello Battle (BMS)
  • Pop-Up Duel (BMS)
  • Guardian of the Dark II (BMS)
  • Leviathan Battle (BMS)

FINAL FANTASY MYSTIC QUEST

  • Hill of Destiny (BMS)
  • Battle 1 (BMS)
  • Battle 2 (BMS)
  • Doom Castle (FMS)
  • Battle 3 (BMS)

THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY

  • The Chaos Shrine - TFF Menu Arrangement - From FF (BMS)
  • Return of the Warrior - TFF Menu Arrangement - From FFIII (FMS)
  • Battle at the Big Bridge - TFF Menu Arrangement - From FFV (BMS)

THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL

  • THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL Special Arrangement Medley (Long Version) (BMS)
  • THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL Special Arrangement Medley (EMS)
  • Choose Your Combatants - TFFCC Menu Arrangement - From FFT (BMS)

THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY All-star Carnival

  • Fight With Seymour - TFFAC Arrangement - From FFX (BMS)
  • Matoya's Cave - TFFAC Arrangement - From FF (FMS)
  • Prelude - TFFAC Menu Arrangement - From FF (FMS)
  • Main Theme of Final Fantasy V - TFFAC Arrangement - From FFV (BMS)
  • Locke's Theme - TFFAC Arrangement - From FFVI (BMS)
  • J-E-N-O-V-A - TFFAC Arrangement - From FFVII (BMS)
  • The Red Wings - TFFAC Arrangement - From FFIV (FMS)
  • TFFCC Special Arrangement Medley - TFFAC Arrangement - From TFFCC (BMS)
  • Battle at the Big Bridge - TFFAC Arrangement - From FFV (BMS)

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

  • THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE Special Battle Arrangement Medley (BMS)
  • FFVII Special Arrangement Medley - TFBL Arrangement - From FFVII (BMS)

BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY / BRASS de BRAVO

  • Moogles' Theme (FMS)
  • FF Medley (FMS)

BRA★BRA FINAL FANTASY / BRASS de BRAVO 2

  • Battle at the Big Bridge (BMS)
  • Mambo de Chocobo (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY TRIBUTE THANKS

  • Opening Theme (BMS)

Digital Deluxe Edition additional tracks

The Digital Deluxe Edition of THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and the Season 1 Pass. A Digital Deluxe upgrade for the physical and digital standard edition is also available if you want the additional tracks.

Here are the tracks included in the Digital Deluxe Edition that have been revealed so far:

FINAL FANTASY III

  • Zephyr Memories -Legend of the Eternal Wind- (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY VIII

  • Eyes On Me (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY IX

  • Melodies Of Life ~Final Fantasy (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY X

  • Zanarkand (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY X-2

  • Kuon -Memories of Waves and Light- (FMS)
  • ???

FINAL FANTASY XI

  • Distant Worlds (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY XII

  • Kiss Me Good-Bye-featured in FINAL FANTASY XII- (FMS)
  • Symphonic Poem "Hope" ~FINAL FANTASY XII PV ver.~ (FMS)

FINAL FANTASY XIII

  • Eternal Love (FMS)

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII–

  • ???

FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0

  • ???

FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES Remastered Edition

  • FFCCR: Sound of the Wind (FMS)

COLLABORATION TITLE

  • Aerith's Theme -Collab Arrangement- (BMS)
  • Cosmo Canyon -Collab Arrangement- (FMS)

Modulation - FINAL FANTASY Arrangement Album

  • Battle Theme 2 -Modulation ver.- from FINAL FANTASY II (BMS)
  • Battle at the Big Bridge -Modulation ver.- from FINAL FANTASY V (BMS)

BATTLE SQ

  • Battle SQ : FINAL FANTASY IX Not Alone (BMS)

SQ Chips

  • SQ Chips: FINAL FANTASY III "Go above the Clouds!~The Invincible" (FMS)

More SQ

  • More SQ: FINAL FANTASY Dugem DE Chocobo (FMS)

Sanctuary THE STAR ONIONS

  • Fighters of the Crystal (BMS)

SQUARE ENIX ACOUSTIC ARRANGEMENTS

  • Acoustic: The Decisive Battle (BMS)

SQUARE ENIX JASS -FINAL FANTASY-

  • Blinded By Light Jazz Arrangement (BMS)

Scions & Sinners: FINAL FANTASY XIV ~ Arrangement Album ~

  • Band: A Long Fall (BMS)

THE BLACK MAGES

  • Clash on the Big Bridge (FINAL FANTASY V) (BMS)

THE BLACK MAGES II~The Skies Above~

  • The Skies Above (BMS)

THE PRIMALS

  • Band:Rise (BMS)

As you can see, there really is a seemingly endless track list in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE - and we haven’t even discussed the Season Pass content yet!

We’ll share that information at a later time, but with music from the SaGa series, Mana series, LIVE A LIVE, The World Ends with You, NieR series and much more, it’ll be sure to be worth playing… and listening to!

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE launches February 16, 2023 for Nintendo Switch and PS4. Three editions will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now:

We’ll have a lot more to share about the game in the next few weeks, so be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media to learn more!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION: Tifa, Buster Sword and more!

Get a fresh look at the upcoming prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII in this brand new preview!
By Duncan Heaney
CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

It’s time for another look at CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION!

This highly-anticipated prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII launches in just a few weeks - December 13, 2022, to be precise, but before that, we wanted to give you another sneak peek at what to expect.

We have a lot to show you, including a look at fan-favorite character Tifa Lockhart, some new information about the magic and abilities in the game, and a brand new gameplay feature that involves the iconic Buster Sword! So let’s get on with it!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Introducing Tifa

  • Voiced by: Britt Baron

Zack doesn’t just cross paths with Cloud and Aerith - he also encounters another beloved FINAL FANTASY VII character: Tifa Lockhart!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Tifa is a young girl who lives in the town of Nibelheim. She’s also Cloud’s childhood friend.

Tifa is chosen to guide a Shinra investigation team, led by Zack and Sephiroth, to the Nibelheim mako reactor.


New feature: The Buster Sword battle stance

Once Zack acquires the Buster Sword, he can make use of Battle Stances and Strong Attacks.

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

This is a new gameplay element added for this new version of CRISIS CORE that allows Zack to expend AP (attack points) to take up a Battle Stance. This changes his regular attacks into heavy-hitting “Strong Attacks” or greatly enhances the damage done by abilities.

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Block enemy attacks using the defensive effects of the Battle Stance, then unleash an immensely satisfying counter strike action with Strong Attacks.

While performing a Strong Attack, Zack will not flinch if hit by enemy attacks and will continue his attack!


Minigames and sub-events

While playing through the story, Zack can take on various different minigames and trigger sub-events.

Completing minigames will earn items and gil, including some items that are required to trigger certain sub-events.

Physical fitness test (squats)

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

You can play the squats challenge in the training room of the Shinra Building. Perform more squats than the opponent can within one minute to win.

Building the flower wagon

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Sub-event involving building a flower wagon for Aerith. Hand Aerith the items to use as materials and build a unique creation.


Mail

As the story progresses, Zack will receive mail from various people.

Some emails supplement the story with extra background information and others reveal unexpected sides of different characters, allowing you to dive deeper into the world of CRISIS CORE.

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

There are also fan clubs for Sephiroth, Genesis, Angeal and Zack. After fulfilling the special conditions required to join, Zack will receive exclusive mails sent members of each club.

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Magic

By equipping Materia, Zack can access powerful magic. Using magic consumes MP - powerful spells will use an enormous amount, so be careful!

Here are a couple of spells you can use in the game:

Energy

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Magic that fires a projectile which homes in on an enemy and has a piercing effect upon impact.

Flare

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Magic that creates an explosion, inflicting massive damage to all enemies.


Abilities

Some materia lets Zack use powerful abilities in battle. Abilities consume AP and can be unleashed at the end of a regular combo. They increase in potency depending on the number of hits landed.

Let’s look at a couple:

Poison Blade

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Ability that initiates a slash attack that inflicts the Poison status ailment. Poisoned enemies will lose HP gradually over time.

Hammer Punch

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

A technique that inflicts damage that ignores mitigation effects provided by the target’s VIT stat. The more AP Zack has remaining, the higher the damage.


Summons

In battle, the DMW (Digital Mind Wave) system triggers randomized effects, based on the combination of numbers and images that appear on the slots.

When the DMW enters Summon mode, all the images change to summons and it becomes possible to unleash the summon monster’s Limit Break.

Here are a couple of these powerful Summons:

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Odin unleashes Zantetsuken!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Phoenix can use Rebirth Flame!


Chocobo Mode

Some mission rewards include additional images for the DMW. Once these images have been acquired, the DMW can transition into Chocobo Mode!

If the images align while in Chocobo Mode, you can use a Limit Break. Last time, we introduced some of these, including Chocobo Stomp, and Cactuar’s 1,000 Needles. Now, let’s reveal a couple more you could get:

Moogle: Moogle Power

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break
CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

The level of all materia that Zack has equipped will increase.

Cait Sith: Courage Boost!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break
CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Removes all negative status effects and temporarily enhances multiple attributes.

…or it could be a dud.

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Cait Sith Limit Break

Of course, if the images on the DMW don’t align in Chocobo Mode, you could get a ‘dud’ result that inflicts damage and stuns Zack.


That’s all we have to show for now - but you don’t have to wait long to see more. CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION launches on December 13, 2022, for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam!

It’s available to preorder now:

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY VII on social media:

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION Preview: Turks, Materia and more!

Take another look at the upcoming prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII. Discover some familiar characters, new mechanics and more!
By Duncan Heaney
Zack Fair and a cactuar

The release of CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION draws ever closer.

This new and enhanced version of the classic prequel to the original FINAL FANTASY VII tells the story of Zack Fair - a young SOLDIER operative working for the Shinra Company. The enthusiastic young hero is sent on a mission to investigate the mass disappearance of Shinra personnel, setting off a chain of events that will change his life.

The game launches December 13, 2022, for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch and Steam. That’s just a few weeks away, but for excited fans desperate to return to Midgar once more, the wait must feel agonizing.

We have just the thing to distract you then - a fresh preview of the game! Read on and we’ll look at some characters, Materia, mechanics and more!

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Characters

Unlike a certain spiky-haired blond, Zack is a real people person. During his adventures, he crosses paths with many fascinating characters.

We have three more to introduce today - and if you’re a fan of FINAL FANTASY VII and FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, you may just recognize them…

Reno

Zack Fair and a cactuar
  • Voiced by: Arnie Pantoja

Reno is a young, brash Turks agent who wields a rod. His flashy appearance and irreverent demeanor make him seem somewhat petulant and frivolous, but he always gets the job done in the end.

Rude

Zack Fair and a cactuar
  • Voiced by: William C. Stephens

Rude is another member of the Turks and joined at the same time as Reno.

Taciturn and unreadable behind his sunglasses, Rude is difficult to approach, but he’s actually a surprisingly compassionate man.

Hojo

Zack Fair and a cactuar
  • Voiced by: James Sie

Hojo is the current head of Shinra's Science Department. He was also the lead scientist of the Jenova Project and closely involved in the research that led to the creation of SOLDIER.

He continues to engage in unethical human experimentation.


Missions

Next, we’ll look at some of the gameplay systems in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, starting with Missions.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Missions are special SOLDIER assignments given to Zack by the Shinra Company and the citizens of Midgar, outside of the main story. New missions are unlocked when you fulfil specific conditions as the story progresses.

Completing missions will earn you rewards of Materia and items - with more valuable rewards offered depending on the mission’s difficulty.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Some missions feature boss enemies as targets. Defeat the target to complete the mission.


Ability Gauge

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Some powerful foes have access to special abilities. When using these, the enemy enters a “casting” state and an ability gauge appears.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

By attacking the enemy during the casting period, it’s possible to lower the gauge and reduce the damage taken.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Reducing the gauge to zero will prevent the enemy from using its ability at all!


Materia: Magic

By equipping Materia, Zack gains access to magic and abilities.

Magic consumes MP when used. In addition to ranged attack magic, there is also HP recovery magic and status-enhancing support magic. Here’s a look at a couple of spells that Zack can cast.

Electrocute

Zack Fair and a cactuar

This spectacular area of effect magic drops a thunderbolt on the target and the surrounding area.

Wall

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Wall is support magic that reduces the damage that Zack takes.


Materia: Abilities

Abilities are used by consuming AP. They can be unleashed at the end of a regular combo and increase in potency depending on the number of hits landed.

Vital Slash

Zack Fair and a cactuar

This is a sword technique where Zack raises his blade high before delivering a mighty strike. It takes some time for this ability to activate, but it will always cause a critical hit when it lands.

Thunder Blade

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Thunder Blade lets Zack imbue his sword with the power of thunder, then deliver a slicing attack. The ability has a wide area of effect, attacking many foes at once.


Materia Fusion

In CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, it’s possible to fuse two different types of Materia to create a new one!

When enemies are defeated, they provide SP that can be consumed to perform fusion. The Materia used in fusion are lost, but the process does allow you to create powerful Materia at an early stage and / or obtain rare Materia that are not usually available.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

For example, you can fuse “Fire” and “Poison” Materia to create “Dark Fire” Materia.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

Dark Fire Materia combines a fire element attack with the poison and silence effects.


Limit Breaks

In battle, the DMW (Digital Mind Wave) system triggers randomized effects such as enhanced status and the ability to use powerful Limit Breaks.

When the DMW lines up images of the same character, Zack can use a Limit Break ability based on the character featured.

Here are a couple of examples:

Cissnei: Lucky Stars

Zack Fair and a cactuar
Zack Fair and a cactuar
Zack Fair and a cactuar

Genesis: Apocalypse

Zack Fair and a cactuar
Zack Fair and a cactuar
Zack Fair and a cactuar

Summons

When the DMW enters Summon Mode, all the images change to summons and it becomes possible to unleash the featured entities’ Limit Breaks.

The designs of the summon monsters have been altered to match those in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

Zack Fair and a cactuar

The summon “Bahamut Fury” is unique to CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION and was designed by FINAL FANTASY VII character designer Roberto Ferrari!

If it comes up on the DMW, Bahamut Fury can unleash Exaflare!


Chocobo Mode

Some missions will reward you with additional images for the DMW.

If you have acquired specific images, such as Chocobo or Cactuar, the DMW can switch to Chocobo Mode.

If the images align in this mode, you can use Limit Breaks! Here’s a look at some of the attacks you can get from Chocobo Mode:

Chocobo: Chocobo Stomp

Zack Fair and a cactuar
Zack Fair and a cactuar

Cactuar: 1.000 Needles

Zack Fair and a cactuar
Zack Fair and a cactuar

It’s a dud!

Zack Fair and a cactuar

If the images in the DMW don’t align, you’ll get a “dud” result that inflicts damage and stuns Zack.


We hope you enjoyed this latest look at CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION. There’s not long to go until you can experience it yourselves - the game releases December 13 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam!

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, please follow FINAL FANTASY VII on social media:

9 of the best fighters and warriors in Square Enix games

Blade in hand, they dive into the heart of battle. Let’s celebrate some of our favorite fighters, warriors and generally awesome sword-swingers!
By Duncan Heaney

Warriors and fighters are a mainstay of any RPG. Sword in hand, these brave combatants dive into the heart of the action, relying largely on strength and skill with the blade to see them through.

We wanted to highlight some of these remarkable warriors of all types across our games.

But let’s be honest - this is a role that can be somewhat blurred - while some characters slot perfectly into the ‘fighter’ archetype, others have abilities that go beyond the blade. The important thing is that they all primarily rely on their weapons and their skills to win the day.


Squall - FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

The introspective Squall has trouble sharing his thoughts with others, but when he’s on the battlefield, you know exactly what he’s feeling. Most of the time it’s: “I’m going to hit you very hard with this gunblade”.

Squall has his fair share of flaws - he’s uncommunicative, reluctant to assume responsibility and wastes far too much time playing Triple Triad (although that may be just when we’re in control). Even so, he has an inner strength that draws people towards him - his friends know he’s someone they can rely on, even if he doesn’t.

Of course, his outer strength is pretty impressive too. He’s one of the few people able to wield a gunblade - a powerful weapon that lets him augment his strikes with a powerful blast for a little extra kick.

All said, we consider him among the greatest warriors in all of gaming. And if you don’t agree… whatever.


Beatrix - FINAL FANTASY IX

This Alexandrian knight is proud, brave and utterly loyal to Alexandria. Unfortunately for her, this loyalty is easily manipulated and she’s responsible for some truly heinous acts in the name of the queen.

However, we’re not here to judge her decision-making, which is… let’s say ‘mixed’ (destroying Burmecia: bad choice, opening her heart to Steiner: great choice), we’re celebrating her skills as a warrior. In this respect, she’s unmatched.

You face off against Beatrix multiple times in FINAL FANTASY IX and each time she destroys your group without breaking a sweat. She’s someone you quickly learn to fear and respect, so when she joins the party for a short time during a certain event, it’s a real thrill.


Ardbert - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

While some embrace the role of the villain, others have it thrust upon them. So it is with Ardbert, the Warrior of Darkness.

This powerful fighter is regularly at odds with the Warrior of Light. Ardbert first appears after the events of Heavensward to threaten both Hydaelyn and its greatest champions. He’s a constant threat who is brash, angry, and utterly loathes the very concept of “heroes.”

While his methods may be dangerous, his motivations are pure, as his singular focus is on saving his home. Over the course of the story, you begin to understand the rage and regret that drives him and even sympathise with his plight. He doesn’t want to be a monster - he just doesn’t see any other path.

He’s a truly compelling character in a game full of them and one of the most memorable warriors in the series.


2B - NieR:Automata

2B or not 2B? That is the question - because her fellow Android A2 is equally deserving of recognition as a warrior.

But with NieR:Automata The End of YoRHa Edition currently winning new fans on Nintendo Switch, it seems most appropriate to avoid spoilers and focus on the character you play as at the start of the adventure. And also because 2B is a formidable fighter.

As a member of the android military unit YoRHa, 2B is more than trained for combat: she’s designed for it. Her speed and agility, as well as her ability to wield multiple weapons, means she’s capable of taking on enemies that tower many meters above her. And often do.

She approaches each battle with focus and a no-nonsense attitude - but she has an emotional side too. It’s just a shame that the story of NieR:Automata means you don’t get to see it, right?

…shh! Spoilers!


Hikari - OCTOPATH TRAVELER II

You haven’t been properly introduced to Hikari yet - OCTOPATH TRAVELER II isn’t out until February 24, 2023.

But you should be excited because he’s one of the best warrior-type characters you’ll meet next year. Hikari is the younger prince of Ku - a nation that seems to always be at war. This kind-hearted fighter worries greatly about his nations’ people, who suffer greatly due to the endless conflict.

Despite his formidable skills as a fighter, he prays for a world without conflict, and sets off on a journey to try and bring peace to his nation.

So why’s he in this list? Is he a tantalizing tease of what’s to come? A display of confidence in a character we know you’ll adore? A shameless reminder to preorder OCTOPATH TRAVELER II? All of the above?

We’ll let you decide that for yourselves but take it from us: Hikari absolutely deserves his spot. We can’t wait for you to find out why.


Jack - STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Jack can do it all. Whether he’s a diving dragoon, tricksy thief or a punchy pugilist, the protagonist of STRANGE OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN excels at any job you equip him with.

He starts his journey, however, as a Swordsman - and when it comes to carving up foes, he’s one of the best in the biz. Whether he’s going to toe-to-tentacle with a Malboro, or facing off against one of the Four Fiends themselves, a greatsword is all he needs to come out on top.

And what greatswords they are! STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is full of beautiful gear, but these massive blades are particularly impressive - so much so that we commissioned prop-maker LittleJem to bring one to life!

We’ve said it over and over again by this point, but grouchy Mr. Garland really is a Jack of all trades… and definitely a master when it comes to the sword!


The Valkyrie - VALKYRIE ELYSIUM

The protagonist in Valkyrie Elysium was created by Odin to purify souls.

How does she do that? By beating the ever-loving daylights out of them of course!

Many of the darker souls left in the desolate ruins of Midgard manifest as undead, meaning they have to be defeated to be saved. Of course, the Valkyrie is more than up to the task - she was literally made for this.

She’s able to use multiple weapons, from different types of swords to spears, access Divine Arts to purify foes, summon Einherjar - spirits of fallen warriors - to help her in battle and more. Few fighters in action RPGs have so many options available to them in how they approach a battle.

Combined with her speed and agility, it all makes the Valkyrie a force to be reckoned with - few action RPG heroes are as fun and flexible to control as her!


Zack - CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

“What the…?!” I hear you gasp? “Not Cloud Strife?”

Look - blondie definitely deserves to make this list, but with CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION coming on December 13, it’s only right that Zack gets his time in the spotlight.

He’s more than worthy of it too. Zack is a skilled fighter who wields the iconic Buster Sword as much skill and style as any of its other owners. Whether he’s facing off against Wutai ninjas, mechanical monstrosities, or Summons like Ifrit, his speed and strength give him the edge he needs to triumph. He’s one of the few people to have beaten multiple 1st Class SOLDIER operatives...

But the size of the Buster Sword pales in comparison to the size of Zack’s heart. He’s a generous soul who believes in his friends and will do anything to protect them. He may start CRISIS CORE as SOLDIER 2nd Class, but he’ll always be 1st Class in our hearts.

Who needs Cloud, eh?


Cloud - FINAL FANTASY VII / FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

…oh alright, he’s equally awesome, so here he is. You can stop typing that Tweet now.


Those were just a few of our picks for our favorite fighters, but it’s barely scratching the surface of all the amazing characters out there. It’s a highly contested field - there are so many amazing warriors that everyone is sure to have their own favorite.

So let us know who you’d pick. Share your thoughts on social media - maybe we’ll do a follow-up that highlights your picks later!

VII reasons CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION is more than a remaster

This prequel to FINAL FANTASY VII has been revamped, with spectacular graphics, updated combat and more. Find out what makes this the definitive Zack experience.
By Duncan Heaney
Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

Zack is back!

CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam in just a few short weeks - and there’s a lot to be excited about.

Originally released in 2007 in Japan for PlayStation Portable (and then in 2008 in North America and Europe), CRISIS CORE is a prequel to the original FINAL FANTASY VII that tells the story of Zack Fair - a SOLDIER operative with strong connections to many characters from that classic RPG. Sent on a mission to investigate missing Shinra personnel, Zack finds himself on a powerful journey that will test his skills and resolve in equal measure.

But CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION is so much more than a mere remaster of that beloved game. It’s been massively upgraded and improved across the board, to create something that feels fresh, modern and thrilling.

But how exactly has it changed, you may be wondering? To help answer the question, we’ve put together VII - um, we mean seven - reasons why this version of CRISIS CORE is the definitive experience.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

1. The visuals have been drastically improved

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the latest version of CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– is that it’s quite the glow-up! To call the visuals improved would be a Midgar-sized understatement - almost every aspect of the game’s graphics has been completely reworked to make it look as beautiful as possible.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

Above: The original CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII–

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

Above: CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION


Of course, the original game was also quite a looker for its time - the team achieved amazing things on the PSP hardware. It’s regarded as one of the most beautiful games on the platform - so much so that the team briefly considered whether they needed to change it at all.

According to Producer Mariko Sato: “We thought about bringing the game over to modern platforms without changing the visuals. However, we put the original on a large screen, and saw lots of elements that gave us pause - both technical and in terms of audience perceptions.”

Executive Producer Yoshinori Kitase adds: “After FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, fans expect so much more from the graphics!”

As a result, almost every single visual aspect of the game has been updated and improved - characters are more detailed and expressive, locations look more natural, and even the user interface has been refined to look closer in feel to that of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

The result speaks for itself - this is one pretty game:

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

2. The battle system is faster and more fluid

A significant amount of work has also gone into updating the battle system to make it feel faster and more responsive. As Producer Sato herself says: “We did some serious fine tuning on this game!”

The original CRISIS CORE featured an action-based battle system, which let Zack attack enemies and choose attacks in real-time. It was (and still is) a lot of fun, but it’s also noticeably slower and more stop-start than many of today’s action RPGs.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

As a result, many aspects of the battle system, from attack timing and animations to the camera, have been tweaked or reworked to make battles far smoother. It’s now a lot snappier to control, and Zack attacks with much greater fluidity.

However, while the team refined a lot, they still wanted the game to retain that distinctive CRISIS CORE flavor. The result is a remaster that takes many of the ideas of the original game, refines and polishes them, and presents them in their ultimate form.

The result is combat that feels dramatic, super-satisfying and very distinctive.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

3. The DMW has been reworked

One of the most unique elements of the original CRISIS CORE is the ‘Digital Mind Wave’ (DMW) - and reworking this has been another area of intense focus for the team.

The DMW sits in the corner of the screen, and three slot wheels turn automatically during battle. When certain combinations of images and numbers come up, they’ll have different effects in battle. For example, getting ‘777 makes you invulnerable to attack for a short time, while ‘222’ cuts the cost of casting magic.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

In the original CRISIS CORE, certain combinations would pause the action to show you the effect - dramatic, but also arguably pace-breaking. Now, things flow a lot better. For example, in instances where the DMW triggers a cutscene, you can also now skip them if you want to get right back into the fight.

Limit Breaks also work differently now. In the original CRISIS CORE, getting three characters’ would cause Zack to launch a powerful attack. In CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, you can now store that Limit Break to use at a time of your choosing within the fight.

All these changes mean battles move faster, you have more control over Zack’s actions... basically, it’s even more fun!

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

4. Summons are somehow even more awesome

What would the FINAL FANTASY VII series be without its Summons?

When the DMW lands on three identical Summon images, Zack can utilize series classic mainstays like Ifrit, Bahamut and Odin. These formidable entities attack with all the flair and force you’d expect from them - actually no, even more.

The Summon Animations have been completely reworked compared to the original CRISIS CORE. If you thought they were dramatic before, you ain’t seen nothing yet - their new attacks feel much more powerful, and better integrated with the world of the game.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

5. Enemy attacks are more manageable

The story of CRISIS CORE puts Zack up against some powerful foes, including some of those afore-mentioned Summons. In the original CRISIS CORE, bosses would sometimes launch extremely damaging attacks - and not give you much warning to prepare before-hand.

These super-attacks are still in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, but a new mechanic has been added to give you a way to mitigate the damage.

When a boss is about to unleash a devastating assault, a new Ability Gauge appears on the screen. By attacking the enemy, you can reduce this gauge and the power of the attack. The lower you get it, the less damage it will do - and if you can reduce the bar to zero, the attack will be canceled entirely.

It’s a feature that changes your approach to boss battles, rewards skillful use of your own skills and magic… and gives poor Zack more of a fighting chance!

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

6. The whole game is fully voiced

In the original CRISIS CORE, certain important scenes had voice acting, but much of the dialogue throughout the rest of the game was presented with text alone. With CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, this is no longer the case!

Now, the entire game is fully voiced, from start to finish in English and Japanese. Every cutscene, side quest and incidental scene is brought to life by a talented cast of actors, making this dramatic story hit even harder than before!

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

7. The soundtrack has been newly arranged

For the original CRISIS CORE, composer Takeharu Ishimoto has created a wonderfully eclectic collection of music. This amazing soundtrack crosses genres and styles, incorporates many classic FINAL FANTASY VII themes, and introduces new ones that stick in the head… and the heart.

These tracks have been arranged for CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION, bringing them new depth. What’s more, he has returned to create new arrangements for some pieces!

It’s another reason that the game sounds as good as it looks!


As you can see, all these improvements make CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION much more than a remaster - it’s an all-round better game in almost every aspect. Yet arguably its greatest element remains unchanged: Zack Fair himself.

Zack and Angeal in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

The hero of CRISIS CORE’s big heart, loyalty, sense of humor and enthusiasm are every bit as endearing now as they were back in 2007. As Producer Sato says:

“He’s passionate and honest in all he does. He’s someone you’d really want around as a friend, a mentor or a junior colleague - the kind of person you’d feel proud to be like.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

You can reunite with Zack and this updated classic for yourselves from December 13, 2022, when CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam.

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY VII on social media:

Everything you need to know about STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN WANDERER OF THE RIFT

Jack vs Gilgamesh. If you’re a FINAL FANTASY fan, that’s probably all you need to know. But for everyone else, here's what you can look forward to in the new expansion.
By Duncan Heaney

Jack Garland vs Gilgamesh!

If you’re a FINAL FANTASY fanatic, that’s probably all you need to know about WANDERER OF THE RIFT - the second expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN.

The rest of you, however, may be wondering - what’s all the fuss about? With the new content now available to download and play, we thought we’d give you a brief summary of everything you need to know:


What is WANDERER OF THE RIFT?

This is the second part of the STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN Season Pass. Set after the previously released TRIALS OF THE DRAGON KING, it introduces the dimension-hopping Gilgamesh and a ton of new content, including a new job to play as, a new type of dungeon and new gear.

Oh, and also a tonberry blacksmith!

We’ll talk about what’s been added in a bit, but for any newer FINAL FANTASY fans…


Who the heck is Gilgamesh?

First introduced in FINAL FANTASY V, Gilgamesh is a figure who appears throughout the series. His portrayal can vary wildly between games, but he’s usually characterized by his many arms, a self-satisfied attitude and a love of swords that could charitably described as ‘obsessive’. He’s also often battled on big bridges.

In that first appearance in FINAL FANTASY V, he’s a recurring boss and a source of comic relief.

Gilgamesh as he appears in FINAL FANTASY V pixel remaster


Despite his fearsome appearance and self-satisfied attitude, he’s not much of a threat. His cowardly nature and inherent clumsiness mean that he’s as much a threat to himself as others - though he does help Bartz and the gang out by the end of their adventure.

The character - and his name - continue to echo throughout future games in the series. For example, he makes a memorable appearance in FINAL FANTASY VIII, replacing the summon Odin when Seifer cleaves him in two.

Gilgamesh as he appears in FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE


A personal favorite is his appearance in FINAL FANTASY XII, where he battles the party on a bridge, armed with legendary swords from across the series, including Cloud’s Buster Sword from FINAL FANTASY VII and Tidus’ Brotherhood from FINAL FANTASY X. Except, look a bit closer and you’ll realize they’re just knock-offs - and he’s just as full of empty bravado as you’d expect.

Gilgamesh as he appears in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online


We’d also be remiss not to mention Greg… uh, we mean Gilgamesh in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, where he‘s involved with one of the only characters with an ego as out of control as his own: Hildibrand Manderville. As the Warrior of Light, you’ll face off against him on several occasions, all crazier than the last. Have you ever fought as a green chicken?

A very different portrayal can be found in EPISODE GLADIOLUS for FINAL FANTASY XV. Here, you face off against a much more deadly Gilgamesh, as Gladio tries to prove he’s worthy of the title Shield of the King. The traits are still there - obsession with swords, bravado, but this time he’s got the skills to back them up.

There are plenty more examples we could pick from - from appearances in spin-off titles like Chocobo GP, to examples of the name being used, even if the character himself isn’t. But this is already becoming an essay, so let’s move on to the big question…


What’s Gilgamesh’s role in STRANGER OF PARADISE WANDERER OF THE RIFT?

As the name implies, the dimension-hopping warrior arrives in Jack’s world, and his appearance adds an unwelcome element of chaos to Jack’s plans. And you all know how he feels about Chaos…

Rest assured, you will have an opportunity to face off against Gilgamesh, but don’t expect him to be a joke or pushover like in earlier games. STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is all about fast-paced, challenging combat, so expect him to put up quite the fight!

Wielding swords and spears in both hands, he attacks Jack with fast, damaging attacks. You’ll have to dodge, block and use Soul Shield carefully, and look for openings for your own counter attacks.

Be careful though - he may also use his fabled ‘missile’.


What’s new in WANDERER OF THE RIFT?

The arrival of Gilgamesh also heralds the addition of tons of new content to STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN, including:

Rift Labyrinth

This mysterious labyrinth appeared when Gilgamesh appeared. A new story plays out while you take on a series of short, randomly generated dungeons.

The bite-sized and ever-shifting nature of these monster-filled mazes makes for a compelling gameplay loop that plays into the game’s strengths - the brutally satisfying combat and the massive selection of different jobs to play as.

Speaking of which…

Blue Mage job

Jack has some new tricks up his sleeve thanks to the addition of the Blue Mage job. He’s always been able to steal monsters’ abilities with Soul Shield and use them himself, but Blue Mage lets him take that to another level.

You’ll get the Blue Mage job after progressing a certain way through the Rift Labyrinth and it’s a fantastic addition to Jack’s toolkit. When you have instant abilities available, you can use R2 / RT to use them without using up a charge. Alternatively, you can hold the button to power them up with MP - with devastating results!

Dimension Bringer

Progress through the Rift Labyrinth and you’ll also gain access to Dimension Bringer - a very cool new command ability.

When you use it, enemies nearby will be slowed down, and every time you use a combo ability, the damage you inflict will go up. Also, while the effect is active, you can use a special attack in the place of Soul Shield and make it easy to chain combo abilities - it’s great for taking down foes really quickly… and quite stylishly too.

GILGAMESH difficulty

Accessible once you’ve beaten TRIAL OF THE DRAGON KING, this new difficulty mode will test your high-level gear loadouts like nothing else.

Not only can you take on enemies with higher levels than normal, you can also earn relic gear with Summon Blessings!

Summon Blessings

Some equipment contains special effects, received from the blesssings of Summons like Ifrit, Odin and Bahamut. These can be wildly useful effects that improve your stats based on the blessing value - so they’re well worth equipping!

To get these blessings, you first have to take acquired gear to a new tonberry blacksmith for appraisal. Don’t worry, it won’t take long - tonberries apparently work faster than they walk!

Monster Bells

These new items let you call on a monster to come support you in battle. First you need to find a summonstone and complete a special event with a monster, but when you do, you’ll be able to call them into the fray.

Taking on the hordes with a Malboro at your side? As awesome as it sounds.

Chaotic Monsters

These are not, as the name implies, monsters who lack organizational skills. Quite the contrary - they’re quite efficient at their job, which is primarily to murder Jack and his friends.

Chaotic monsters are super-powerful versions of beasts that are far more dangerous than the standard variety. But if you take the risk and take them, there are much greater rewards to be had. Provided you can beat them, of course.


As you can see, there’s lots to get stuck into in WANDERER OF THE RIFT. The new content is available now as part of the Season Pass for the game.

This also gives you the first additional mission: TRIALS OF THE DRAGON KING, as well as the yet-to-be released third expansion: DIFFERENT FUTURE!

If you’ve yet to play STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN and you’re eager for some Jack on Gilgamesh action, then the game is available to buy now for PS5, PS4, and PC via the Epic Games Store:

Finally, for more news and updates about the game, be sure to follow the team on social media:

New FINAL FANTASY XVI trailer… and new characters revealed!

Get the latest information on the upcoming RPG epic - and watch the new 'Ambition' trailer!
By Duncan Heaney

It’s here! The latest trailer for FINAL FANTASY XVI has arrived! But rather than us introduce it, we’ll hand over to the game’s Producer, Naoki Yoshida himself!


“I'm happy to announce that our newest trailer - Ambition - is now live. Rather than focusing on action as we did in our last reveal, this time we wanted to give the world a more in-depth look at FINAL FANTASY XVI's lore and its rich cast of characters - with the Dominants front and center.”

Naoki Yoshida, Producer, FINAL FANTASY XVI


You can watch the trailer right here, or head over to the FINAL FANTASY YouTube channel:

As Yoshida-san says, the new video takes you deeper into the realm of Valisthea, introducing some of the diverse nations vying for power and the rich characters who reside within them.

This includes a look at some Dominants - individuals who are blessed with the ability to call upon the power of dangerous creatures called Eikons. Some nations revere these powerful figures, others send them to the frontlines as weapons of war - and, as the trailer reveals, you’ll learn a lot about them over the course of the game.

We’re particularly excited to introduce you to two more today: the Dominants of Bahamut and Odin!


Dion Lesage - the Dominant of Bahamut

Dion Lesage is the crown prince of the Holy Empire of Sanbreque and leads its noblest order of knights: the Dragoons. He’s also the Dominant of Bahamut, the Dragon King.

This warrior prince is beloved among his people. His ability to turn the tide of battle means that songs of his heroism and the power of Bahamut are common among Sanbrequois bards.

But shadows are gathering in the Empire - and they may be enough to quell Bahamut’s light…

Barnabas Tharmr - The Dominant of Odin

Barnabas Tharmr arrived on the shores of Ash as a wanderer - with not land or title of his own. It was his skill with a blade that won him a kingdom.

Although the local beastmen revolted against his rule, Barnabas used the power of his Eikon, Odin, to quell their uprising near single-handedly, and successfully brought the entire Eastern continent under the Waloeder banner.

Barnabas may have an army and navy that rival any other in Valisthea under his command, but he’s still drawn to where the fighting is thickest - riding his spectral steed and sundering his enemies with his fabled black blade. Or sometimes you’ll see him observing the chaos from the sidelines, a grisly gleam of fascinating in his eyes.

When is FINAL FANTASY XVI released?

FINAL FANTASY XVI is set for release in Summer 2023. The game puts you in command of Clive Rosfield, a young man tasked to guard his younger brother Joshua - the Dominant of the Phoenix. Unexpected events set Clive on a dark and dangerous road to revenge.

You can see some new screenshots for the game here:

We’ll have more to share about the game as we get closer to release, but check out the latest status update below from Director, Hiroshi Takai:


“As the game edges closer to completion, the team has turned its full attention to debugging and final adjustments. Now that things are starting to come together, the game is sizing up to be something truly special.”

Hiroshi Takai, Director, FINAL FANTASY XVI


Check out the full developer messages on the official website, and to stay up to date with news and information about FINAL FANTASY XVI, be sure to follow on social media:

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN: WANDERER OF THE RIFT - a closer look

The next wave of content for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN arrives on October 26, 2022! Here’s what to expect:
By Duncan Heaney

The second mission in the STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN Season Pass is nearly here!

Titled ‘WANDERER OF THE RIFT’, the new content launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Epic Games Store on October 26, 2022!

It tells a new tale, set after the events of the original game, and the previously released TRIALS OF THE DRAGON KING. We’ll avoid going into detail to avoid spoilers for the story so far, but we can say a new visitor arrives before Jack Garland and his allies. Someone who are long-time fans of FINAL FANTASY and/or big bridges may well recognize…

As tantalizing as that trailer is, we’re sure you want to know more. So let’s take a closer look at what’s new in STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN: WANDERER OF THE RIFT!


New character: Gilgamesh

It’s Gilgamesh!

Able to wander freely between dimensions, Gilgamesh’s very existence is an oddity.

He rises to challenge Jack and his comrades, bringing chaos to the world.

Wielding swords and spears in both hands, Gilgamesh battles Jack and his comrades with an abundance of dynamic attacks.

When the time comes he may even use his fabled missile...

But Gilgamesh isn’t the only addition coming in Wanderer of the Rift…


New gameplay: The Rift Labyrinth

A strange labyrinth also manifested when Gilgamesh appeared in Jack’s world: the Rift Labyrinth!

A new story plays out as you conquer a series of randomly constructed short dungeons.

New job: Blue Mage

We all know STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN’s main man is a Jack of all trades - White Mage, Black Mage, Monk, Dragoon, Thief… he can do it all.

Now he has another job to add to his repertoire: Blue Mage!

The Blue Mage job is unlocked after progressing a certain way through the Rift Labyrinth. It lets Jack learn enemy abilities and turn them into his own powers.

When playing as a Blue Mage, you can push R2/RT to use Blue Magic when these instant abilities are available. Holding down the button lets you charge them up for an even more powerful attack.

This makes it possible to activate instant abilities without using up charges, and power them up with MP.


New Command Ability: Dimension Bringer

Dimension Bringer is a new command ability that Jack can learn in WANDERER OF THE RIFT.

Once activated, enemies in the vicinity will be slowed and the damage the player inflicts will increase each time an action ability is used.

While the effect is active, a special attack can be used in place of Soul Shield. Unleash the special attack and rapidly take down the foe with combos.


New ‘GILGAMESH’ difficulty level

WANDERER OF THE RIFT adds a brand new difficulty level to the game: GILGAMESH!

GILGAMESH difficulty is only playable if you’ve completed the TRIALS OF THE DRAGON KING, and it adds a whole new level of challenge to the game. Enemy levels are raised further, meaning that even more fearsome foes will appear to threaten Jack and friends.

When playing on GILGAMESH difficulty, you can obtain special relic equipment that comes with Summon Blessings attached - various special effects received from the blessings of summons like Odin, Ifrit and Bahamut. Equipping this equipment will improve your character’s capabilities based on the blessing value.

These blessings can be obtained by appraising relic equipment at the Tonberry Blacksmith.


New: Tonberry Blacksmith

You read that right - WANDERER OF THE RIFT adds a Tonberry Blacksmith to the game!

…what, you thought because they carry a chef’s knife, they could only work in the catering industry? It’s that kind of assumption that could make someone hold a grudge…


New item: Monster Bells

Since the world of STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is dangerous, it’s good to have a little help from time to time. In that respect, Monster Bells are just the thing!

These are items that let you instantaneously call up a monster to support you during battle.

To receive the support of a monster, you first need to find a Summonstone and then complete a special event with that monster.

You can increase your affinity with the monster through conversations, feeding it and using items.

When your affinity level increases sufficiently, you will receive Monster Bells that can be used in battle to temporarily call up the monster to fight for you.


New threat: Chaotic Monsters

When playing on the “GILGAMESH” difficulty level, monsters infused with Chaotic energy can occasionally appear in all missions, including the Rift Labyrinth. These are called “Chaotic Monsters”.

Chaotic status is indicated by the crown icon at the start of the monster’s name. These Chaotic Monsters are more dangerous than standard monsters of the same type - but they can earn you greater rewards when defeated.

As you can see, the new content expands STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN in a pretty dramatic way!

You’ll get to experience it all for yourselves on October 26, 2022 when WANDERER OF THE RIFT launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and the Epic Games Store.

To access this new content, you must have purchased the STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN Season Pass, which is available now. This also gives you access to TRIALS OF THE DRAGON KING, and a future third expansion: DIFFERENT FUTURE.

If you’re yet to experience STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN, then you should get on that. It’s a thrillingly brutal action RPG that acts as an unabashed love letter to all things FINAL FANTASY series while adding its own fresh spin and unique tale. The game is available now:

Finally, to stay up to date with news and information about the game, be sure to follow the team on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 18: Destiny’s Crossroads

We’re taking a deep dive into the 18th chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life.
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


“The Midgar Expressway" is an incredible track, featuring motifs from across the FFVII/FFVII Remake soundtrack. How much work went into creating this piece of music, was it one of the harder pieces to work on?

I remember that putting together the first arrangement demo for the crazy motorcycle bit at the beginning of "The Midgar Expressway" probably didn't even take a week to do.

I thought that keeping the bpm of 190 but changing the motifs in the subsequent parts would be really tricky, but when I actually got down to working on it, the power and momentum from the visuals guided me and I managed to create these sections without too much of a headache.

The feeling of being "in the zone" when I was working on this track was a valuable experience and really sticks in my memory.

Featuring guitars in all the different sections of "The Midgar Expressway" was one thing that I was quite particular about, so I decided to use the Advent Children versions for the sections from "Those who Fight" and "Let the Battles Begin".

Yoshinori Nakamura (TV ASAHI MUSIC CO., LTD.)

Why was the Motor Ball boss battle added into the motorbike mini-game as opposed to being a separate boss fight in the original FFVII? Was there ever a time when it was a separate boss fight?

That is a great question. The original script written up by Mr. Nojima actually had the last section of the game go from the Motor Ball battle to the Whisper Harbinger and finally the ending.

Mid-way through development we changed direction to make Sephiroth the final boss of this title and felt that having three boss fights in a row would spoil the tempo. Accordingly, we decided to use Motor Ball as the boss of the G-Bike section just before the final boss fights instead.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Whisper Rebrum, Viridi and Croceo seem to represent Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo from FFVII Advent Children, fighting to save their own future (referencing the entries that appear after using the Assess materia on each). Is this true?

The Whispers are capable of forming monsters from all the memories in the flow of time, and I think that includes the characters who exist or will exist in the timeline as well.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Next, the party are shown memories of the future as told in the original FFVII, was there ever a concern that this wouldn't be obvious to fans playing Remake with no prior knowledge of the original FFVII?

Cloud and the team do not really understand what they are seeing in the scene where they are granted memories of the future either, so it is fine if the full meaning behind the visions is not communicated to the player.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

The Midgar Highway stage was created specifically for motorbike riding action. I remember it was a large map and it must have been made in quite a different way to the regular stages in the game. Were there any difficulties or challenges in creating the highway?

It was hard work placing the clusters of buildings across such a wide area to match with the layout of Midgar, and a challenge unique to working within this setting. We constantly needed to check the compass directions to prevent the landscape deviating from the map of the city, asking ourselves what direction the Shinra Building should be visible from and where the position of the plate that forms the player's final destination should be.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

The battle with Sephiroth features various phases, differing party members depending on conditions set throughout the story and crazy camera angles throughout. How difficult was it to pull this all together?

There were numerous mechanics and systems specifically made for this battle, and it was one of the ones that we took a lot of care on, as well as one of the trickiest to pull off.

There were also a lot of bugs that needed fixing and it took a long time to make overall.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

One-Winged Angel - Rebirth is another wonderful arrangement of one of the most famous music tracks in videogame history. What was it like being entrusted to rearrange this track for FFVII Remake and how pleased are you with how it came out?

“One Winged Angel” is one of the most important music tracks in my whole life, so when I was asked to arrange it, I felt a great responsibility to make a good version, even if I had to use the rest of my life to do it.

It goes without saying that I like everything that the original composer, Mr. Nobuo Uematsu, has done, and I also loved Mr. Shiro Hamaguchi’s orchestration of "One Winged Angel", so the music of these two creators has had a massive influence on me.

When I set out to do my new version of the track, I first searched for what kind of arrangement would make a version of "One Winged Angel" that would satisfy me personally, something that did not damage any of the numerous appealing factors of the original and most importantly something that would not disappoint me or corrupt my childhood memories of hearing it

As the track name “One-Winged Angel - Rebirth” implies, the key word to explain this new arrangement is “rebirth”.

I mentioned this in the Ultimania Guide (Final Fantasy VII Remake Material Ultimania) too, but I remember seeing a comment from Mr. Uematsu somewhere in which he talked about how he approached the original composition by first creating a number of different motifs and then trying to piece them all together in the manner of a puzzle. I started my arrangement in the spirit of “re-constructing” that original puzzle, breaking it back down into its constituent phrases and then putting it back together in a new order.

On top of that, the battle is spilt into four separate phases, so I also had to make the arrangement for each phase fit with its own distinct character, while at the same time making sure that the excitement and tension built up gradually as the phases progressed.

I took particular care with phase 3, where Sephiroth shows his wing for the first time and the player’s party all come together, marking the start of the fierce final confrontation.

I felt that this was the point I needed to raise the player’s excitement level to its peak and decided to do that by bringing in the timpani drums from the introduction, the most distinctive phrase from the whole track. I then worked back to create the whole composition.

Nothing will really come of it if I say this, but in the end my personal favourite version of “One Winged Angel” is the original one! (Laughs)

However, I do think I achieved what I set out to do here and created a worthy remake of the track that would not bring shame to my memories of it.

Yasunori Nishiki (Additional Composers)

Are the attacks Cloud uses on Sephiroth here meant to resemble Omnislash from the original FFVII (and later shown in FFVII Advent Children)? What were the concepts behind the design of this heated battle scene?

I will leave the actual names and background behind the techniques he uses here to players' imaginations.

We did not envisage having a scene where Cloud and Sephiroth face off in a duel when we started the development, so we were very excited while making it.

At the start of the scene we deliberately made the camera movement similar to when the two of them fought in the original FFVII, in order to make it reminiscent of the original game.

Then it moves on to the action part, showing Cloud dauntlessly struggling against the all-powerful Sephiroth.

We consulted with a swordfight choreographer, who offered the opinion that because of the difference in the reach of their weapons, Cloud had little chance of winning if he tried to fight at a distance. Accordingly, we went on to choreograph it to have Sephiroth parrying and evading the attacks while Cloud continuously tries to press in and fight at close quarters.

It may appear to be a fairly evenly matched contest, but Sephiroth is not actually being pressed very hard here.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts of working on FFVII Remake. Is there anything you would like to say to fans who have been reading this whole blog series?

As it says at the end of the game "The Unknown Journey Will Continue", and Cloud and his friends will be on that journey for a while yet. From here on in the Whispers cannot act to maintain the destined timeline, so fans can look forward to seeing what kind of future awaits the team.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))


Thank you for sticking with us all the way through the blog series. The development team are currently hard at work on the second game, in which the story moves away from Midgar and expands out onto the world map. And it is not just the story! I will be working day and night to ensure that the game design also offers an even more thrilling ride and is packed with even more surprises than the first game.

I am very grateful for being given this opportunity to send my message out to all the fans.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited - and the series as a whole! Many thanks to all the devs for sharing their insight with us across all 18 chapters of the game.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Let’s take a closer look at THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Find out everything you need to know about this upcoming rhythm-action extravaganza in this deep-dive into the game!
By Duncan Heaney
Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Regular readers of the Square Enix Blog will know that we’re big fans of game music here.

Whether we’re exploring the history of FINAL FANTASY through its soundtracks, or taking an audio tour through gaming’s greatest deserts, oceans or forests (LA-HEE!), we love to celebrate the work of Square Enix’s amazing composers and sound teams.

So, suffice to say, we’re very excited about THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE. This upcoming rhythm-action game is a celebration of 35 years of incredible music from the FINAL FANTASY series… and beyond.

After the big reveal last week, we thought you might like a closer look at this exciting new game, so read on and we’ll take you through the game modes, stage types, tracks and more.

But first, for anyone who missed last week’s announcement…


What is THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE?

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

This new rhythm action game aims to revive your fondest memories of FINAL FANTASY through one of the series most powerful elements: the music.

It’s packed with musical gems, carefully selected from across the entire FINAL FANTASY series, from mainline numbered titles and remakes to side-stories, spin-offs and even soundtrack CDs!

As with the previous games in the series, you’ll press buttons to match moving triggers across multiple stage types, all of which test your reflexes, rhythm and understanding of each song’s structure. As you’d expect, these inputs are simple to perform, but with multiple difficulty levels and some truly devilish beats, you’ll find your skills tested in ways that make it very difficult to stop playing.

It also features a massive cast of 104 super-adorable stylized FINAL FANTASY characters, from iconic heroes like Cloud, Squall and Lightning to deeper dives that will make the most dedicated FINAL FANTASY fans ‘ooh’ in delight.

It's also the biggest collection of songs ever included in a THEATRHYTHM game, with a staggering 385 tracks included in the standard edition alone. Plus there is extensive add-on content coming that features music from beyond the FINAL FANTASY series.

So, that’s the broad overview - let’s take a closer look at the different elements of the game, starting with perhaps your biggest question…

…how does the game actually play?


The basics of gameplay

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

As you play, different circles will move across the screen. The red, yellow, and green circles are called “Triggers”.

When Triggers overlap with the white circles to the right of the screen - called “Trigger Marks” - you must make a well-timed move with a button or stick!

Each Trigger requires a different input:

  • Touch Trigger (red circle): Press a button.

  • Slide Trigger (yellow circle with arrow): Move the analogue stick in the direction of the arrow. If there are two arrows, you’ll have to use two sticks!

  • Hold Trigger (green circle and green line): Hold a button for the duration of the trigger and let go at the end.

  • Hold-Slide Trigger (green circle and line with arrow at the end): Hold a button for the duration of the trigger, and move the stick in the direction of the arrow at the end.


Difficulty levels

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE has multiple difficulty levels - all songs can be played at Basic, Expert or Ultimate difficulty. That means that the game can be played by all kinds of players.

If (like me), you’re a bit of klutz when it comes to keeping a beat, Basic is a great way to learn the ins and outs of each song - you can always go up to Expert when you have more confidence.

If you’re an experienced hand at music games, you should try the Ultimate difficulty level - this will give your digits and your sense of rhythm a real work-out.

Approximately a third of songs also have access to a fourth difficulty level: Supreme. This one’s for the real rhythm-action savants - good luck!


Music stages

Different songs will play in different ways, with three Music Stages:

BMS: Battle Music Stage

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

With BMS stages, you’ll defeat waves of enemies in time with up-tempo battle music! The track being played in the shot above is Veiled in Black from FINAL FANTASY XV, composed by the incomparable Yoko Shimomura!

FMS: Field Music Stage

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

In these stages, you’ll journey forth with your party with relaxing field music. The track shown above is The Dalmasca Estersand, from Hitoshi Sakimoto’s brilliant FINAL FANTASY XII soundtrack.

EMS: Event Music Stages

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

In these stages, you’ll play to the beat against a backdrop of unforgettable scenes from each title! Here we can see the stage for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s original song Hollow, composed by the legendary Nobuo Uematsu and performed by YOSH.


Game modes

There are lots of different modes in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE that do a great job of shaking things up.

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Series Quests: Advance through a total of 29 titles, clearing quests and unlocking characters and playable songs.

  • Music Stages: Play the music you've acquired to your heart's content and attempt to get a high score! You can also play with Simple Style controls, which use only a single button, or Pair Style, which lets you play with two players on one screen.

  • Multi Battle: Up to four players can face off in online multiplayer matches.

  • Museum: Peruse and enjoy the music, videos, and various collections you've acquired. You can also check detailed play records.


Series Quests

This mode is all-new for THEATRHYTHM BAR LINE - start here to collect songs and characters.

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Series Quests let you relive a total of 29 past titles and unlock their songs as you go. Choose from your favorite titles!

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

When you unlock a new title, you’ll also unlock its associated characters. You can also obtain enemy characters by clearing all the stages.

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

You’ll advance through a map by clearing each song’s stage. But there’s more to it than that. Each song has its own quest, such as “Defeat 10 Bombs,” to test your party formation skills.

Songs cleared in this mode are unlocked to play in Music Stages!


Endless World

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Once you complete a special title, Endless World will be unlocked!

In this stage, a random song is chosen each time, and quest difficulty increases gradually as you progress. Fail three quests and it’s over!

Your ingenuity and technique will be tested to see how far you can advance in a single attempt.


Multi Battle

Want to test your rhythm action skills against other players online? Head to Multi Battle and get ready to compete!

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

You can join another player's room or create your own and wait for opponents to come to you. If you want to play with just your friends, you can set a password to enter the room.

Once everyone is ready, select which song you want to play. The track will be selected at random from among the songs chosen by the players.

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Let the battles begin!

Those who fight further know that you can force your way to victory with Bursts! Fill the Burst Gauge to unleash special moves that can hinder other players or turn the tables to your advantage.

The battle heats up in the second half, where two burst techniques are activated at the same time! Stand your ground or risk careening into danger!

Some of the Bursts you can use are:

  • Fat Chocobo Time: A Fat Chocobo will appear on the lanes, hiding them from view and getting in your way.

  • Moogle Dance: A Moogle will appear near the Trigger Marks and hide the Triggers from view.

  • Point Freeze: Points will be frozen for a period of time and your score will not increase unless you get a RAINBOW CRITICAL or CRITICAL.

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

After Multi Battles, you can obtain a CollectaCard to add to your collection. Players take turns choosing one CollectaCard from a random set, starting with the first place winner. At the end, the players also exchange ProfiCards.


What songs are in the game?

With a massive 385 songs, pretty much every aspect of the FINAL FANTASY series is represented in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE.

Songs include:

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Opening Theme (FINAL FANTASY)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

SUTEKI DA NE (Isn’t It Wonderful?) (FINAL FANTASY X)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Battle On the Big Bridge (FINAL FANTASY V)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

J-E-N-O-V-A - Quickening (FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

We Have Come from FINAL FANTASY Type-0

Of course that’s barely scratching the surface of what’s in the game. From FINAL FANTASY VIII’s Liberi Fatali to FINAL FANTASY XIV Online’s Torn from the Heavens, there’s so much incredible music that we couldn’t dream of listing it all here.


Digital Deluxe Edition exclusive songs

What we can say is the Digital Deluxe Edition of the game comes with 27 additional, exclusive songs, including:

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Eyes On Me (FINAL FANTASY VIII)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Melodies Of Life ~Final Fantasy (FINAL FANTASY IX)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Zanarkand (FINAL FANTASY X)

Other tracks include Kiss Me Good-Bye -featured in FINAL FANTASY XII-, Distant Worlds from FINAL FANTASY XI and more!


DLC songs

A huge selection of music from some of the greatest Square Enix games will be available as downloadable content.

You’ll be able to play stages with music from:

  • SaGa series
  • LIVE A LIVE
  • The World Ends with You series
  • NieR Series
  • CHRONO TRIGGER and CHRONO CROSS
  • Mana Series
  • OCTOPATH TRAVELER
  • Xenogears

…and more!

Some specific tracks coming include:

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Song of the Ancients / Fate (NieR Gestalt / Replicant)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

OCTOPATH TRAVELER - Main Theme (OCTOPATH TRAVELER)

Screenshot of the Hollow EMS from THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE

Ardent Rhythm (Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song-)

There will be three Season Passes, each featuring different titles’ music tracks. Every Season Pass will contain 5 song packs for a total of 30 songs each. In total, 90 additional songs will be made available, bringing the total number of tracks in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE up to a gargantuan 502!


How do I get THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE?

Three editions of THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

All these editions are available to preorder now:


Wow! That was a lot of information, right? We hope that this musical extravaganza puts a song in your heart and a spring in your step when it releases February 16 for Nintendo Switch and PS4.

We’ll have much more to share about the game as we get closer to release, so make sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media to see news and updates!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 17: Deliverance from Chaos

We’re taking a deep dive into the 17th chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


What had Aerith been drawing on the walls in her room? Are there any particular details we should look out for?

The initial idea set down when designing the backgrounds for the game was that this was a huge drawing that Aerith put together from ages of 4 to 7. She started out by copying the flowers and creatures in the picture books she was given and gradually moved on to drawing the history of the Cetra people that she had heard from her mother as folk tales.

Each section was done as a separate image, but the interesting thing is how she has joined them all together by drawing the lifestream in an unconscious expression of the Cetra's philosophy that everything is linked.

Mizushi Sugawara (Environment Artwork)

Why do the Whispers show up in Aerith's room? They don't seem to be actively trying to change destiny at this point. Does Aerith have knowledge of the future?

If Aerith were to talk of the things she knew and reveal the truth to everyone here, that action in itself could change the destined timeline, so the Whispers move to prevent her doing so and protect the course of events. Aerith may have known the future but had her "memories" of it stolen by the Whispers until this time.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Sephiroth shows up again! The scene where Cloud attacks him and they clash swords is reminiscent of Advent Children, was this an intentional throwback?

It was indeed!

One of the objectives written into the concept plan for FFVII Remake was to create a playable game experience at the same graphical quality as Advent Children.

Advent Children was used as an overall reference for the quality of the cut scenes in the game, and our intentions might well show through particularly strongly in the scene where Sephiroth appears.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

How was The Drum devised in development? Was it always seen as a "final dungeon" for the game?

As the Shinra Building is the final location for Remake, where it was not in the original game, we needed to add in a new "final dungeon" between Sample H0512 and the President's Room.

There were a lot of twists and turns in the process of getting this dungeon to the form it finally took, but we felt that it would be best to expand the area with things that paid homage to what was in the original, rather than to put in completely new elements.

We ultimately settled on the idea of re-working the scene on floor 67 where the player peers into the pod storing Jenova's headless body, so that the pod itself is now recreated as a special research facility dungeon with Jenova at its core.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Why did you decide to split the party up during this section? The PHS labels on the communication devices to swap party members was a really nice easter egg for fans of the original FFVII (the PHS is how the player would swap characters in the original game) - how was it decided that this would be added in the game?

I had thought about having a section where Aerith is playable in the Shinra Building from the early stages of development, but because it was the final dungeon, I also wanted to put in a bit where the player experienced battle with all the characters again.

This was a fairly orthodox way to do it, but I decided to structure this section by having the party split into two teams, who then tackled the dungeon in parallel. We had set on the idea of changing between the two teams using communication devices at the level design stage, but we actually called them "communicators" at that point rather than PHS.

However, at some point the scenario team learned that they were called PHS in the original scenario script and this little touch came from the team's playful nature. I also like it a lot too.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Red XIII joins us in the combat but the player doesn't get to play as him, was there ever a time in development where he was intended to be playable? Conversely, was there ever a time when perhaps he wouldn't appear at all until the very end?

Red XIII was definitely going to appear in the story, so the battle designers looked into the best way of incorporating him.

There was a proposal to make him fully playable, but the decision to keep him as an AI controlled guest character in the first game was made when we considered that he only appears at the very end of the story and would not have much room to develop and level up.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

In the battle against Jenova Dreamweaver, the player is engaged in a fierce battle, but the way the BGM changes also adds a huge amount to the excitement of the situation (This goes even more for people who played the original game).

Was adding this kind of climax something outlined in the original briefing?

The original plan was to have the rapid tempo from the start, in a similar way to the same scene in the original FFVII, but when I thought about how it transitioned in from the cutscene immediately before the battle, I felt that it would raise the excitement even further if we started out with a lower tempo version instead and then ramp up to the high tempo during a later phase of the battle.

Even I felt the excitement building when I reached the final phase during the first test play of this scene.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

Was it important to show Barret dying and then being saved by the Whispers to prove that the Whispers are neither for nor against the party, simply trying to correct the course of destiny?

We showed Barret's predicament here as a representation of how the survival or not of a single person can change the destined timeline that the Whispers are trying to protect. However, Barret is pretty tough, so he might well have recovered by himself, even if the Whispers did not move to protect him.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

I found the Rufus battle to be quite challenging! Do you have any tips for players who might still struggle with it from time to time?

You need to firmly grasp Rufus' attack pattern and charge up your ATB for the opening when he reloads, then hit him with your abilities. Repeat that cycle to wear down his health a bit at a time.

He should be easier to beat if you stay calm, observe the situation while guarding and don't just attack recklessly.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

The battle with the Arsenal is interesting in that you can use the scenery to take cover and recover etc. Did you ever consider incorporating more elements of the environment into battles?

You use two long-ranged characters in the Arsenal fight, and I think we managed to create a battle where the scenery can be used effectively.

I was constantly thinking about how we could use the terrain for other battles too, as long as there were good ideas.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 18 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

7 of our favorite thieves and rogues in Square Enix games

These sticky-fingered heroes can be sketchy at the best of times - but we love them anyway! Here are some of the best thieves in videogames!
By Duncan Heaney
Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

Not every hero is a brave and noble warrior - games portray people in all walks of life, Including some that are a little… let’s say ‘morally flexible’.

Square Enix games feature their fair share of these rogues. They may technically have committed crimes, but we forgive them anyway. Because they’ve also stolen the most important thing of all… our hearts.


Erik - DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

Erik is an expert thief… and the best friend you could ever hope for.

The Luminary - the protagonist of DRAGON QUEST XI S - first meets this rascally rogue in prison. Before you think that this incarceration speaks badly to his profession as a thief, bear in mind it takes Erik a matter of seconds to break himself and the Luminary out of their cells.

In fact, his wits and ability to steal from foes make him constantly useful throughout the adventure. But his greatest attribute is his loyalty. Erik will stand by his friends even at the worst of times - and, as his side story in DRAGON QUEST XI S shows, at great personal cost if necessary.

Of course, Erik is set to make a welcome return in the upcoming DRAGON QUEST TREASURES - along with his equally loot-obsessed sister Mia.

The new game is set to arrive on December 9, 2022 for Nintendo Switch. It throws the young siblings into Draconia - a world of many dangers… and many more treasures. To learn all about it, check out our blog:


Locke - FINAL FANTASY VI pixel remaster

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

Perhaps Locke shouldn’t really be on this list. After all, he’s not a thief, he’s a ‘treasure hunter’.

Semantics aside (and Locke is always up for some antics), this nimble-fingered hero is a skilled acquirer of items, and these talents have made him a vital member of anti-Empire resistance group, the Returners.

When a job calls for care and discretion, such as smuggling Terra out of the city near the start of the game, he’s the first one they turn to.

Locke’s personality matches his roguish nature - he’s cheerful, charismatic, and quick with a quip. But behind that puckish charm is a heart that’s driven as much by guilt as justice - he’s wracked with regret after the death of his love, Rachel. That can make him more than a little overprotective towards some of the team.

Even so, there few thieves - sorry, ‘treasure hunters’ - you’d rather have in your corner. Because when the going gets tough, Locke is often the key to success.


Yuffie - FINAL FANTASY VII / FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

The characters in FINAL FANTASY VII don’t have ‘jobs’ in the traditional sense - the flexibility of the materia system means you can make characters anything you want them to be.

That said, Yuffie’s guaranteed a place on this list for one reason: she steals directly from the party! The nerve!

In the original FINAL FANTASY VII, this Wutai ninja can be recruited after leaving Midgar, and joins the party on their adventures. It would be easy to assume she’s just there to be a likeable and upbeat member of the team, but should you venture close to Wutai, you may be horrified to discover all your materia is missing… and so is Yuffie!

That sets off one of the game’s most memorable optional quests - as you team up with the Turks to catch the little thief… and an old enemy.

Of course, Yuffie makes a welcome return In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE’s extra episode - FF7R EPISODE INTERmission. She’s on a mission to steal important materia from Shinra, and true to form, she’s more than ready to pilfer a few things from her foes on the way…


Jack - STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

As we keep saying, the protagonist of STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is a Jack of all trades… and a master of most of them.

Jack’s able to take on multiple jobs, giving him access to unique skills and weapons in combat. That includes the Thief job, and its fantastic ‘Steal’ ability.

Of course, being a Thief in this game is a little different to most titles in the series. Jack doesn’t merely steal items - he steals abilities. He can then use these abilities against enemies, giving them a taste of their own medicine.

It makes for a fast and fun playstyle that captures the roguish spirit of classic FINAL FANTASY thieves - just admittedly with a lot more anger.


Rikku - FINAL FANTASY X HD

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

What do you get if you combine the deft hands of a thief with the skills of an engineer and chemist? You get one heck of a fun character!

Rikku is an upbeat young Al Bhed - a mechanically-minded tribe that are deeply mistrusted in the technophobic world of Spira. This background means that she’s adept at gathering resources and making use of them… often to explosive effect.

Her primary method of getting the components she needs is to take them from enemies - Rikku is able to steal items from almost any foe. She can then mix these items to create grenades, potions and much more.

She’s particularly useful against robots - if she steals from many of Spira’s machina monstrosities, she can dismantle them instantly.

All this makes for one of the most unique ‘thieves’ in the series to date. As the Al Bhed might say:

Cra'c cesbmo dra pacd!


Therion - OCTOPATH TRAVELER

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

OCTOPATH TRAVELER features eight very different heroes, each with their own stories, class and abilities. Therion is a thief, and he’s very, very good at his job.

We first meet Therion in the town of Bolderfall. He’s already a legend among the criminal community but attempts by fellow thieves to collaborate with him are firmly rebuffed.

A solo infiltration on the other hand… that’s his bread and butter. Rumors of a treasure in an impregnable mansion are all too enticing, and he quickly makes it into the mansion - he’s just that good.

Not only is he an adept infiltrator, Therion’s also a first-rate pickpocket. If you don’t believe us, ask… well, pretty much every NPC in the game.

So long as this shadowy sneak is in your party, you can attempt to pickpocket most townsfolk, and take their beloved items for yourself. That can be something as simple as a healing grape, but he can also nab powerful weapons, armor and more.

In short, Therion is a thief through and through. Wherever he goes, he leaves a path of empty pockets in his wake and although his moral compass may not always point north, he’s an undeniably useful member of the OCTOPATH TRAVELER crew.

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

Plus his theme music is incredible.


Zidane - FINAL FANTASY IX

Zidane from DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

The hero of FINAL FANTASY IX is cheerful, enthusiastic and social - he loves meeting people and making new friends.

This extrovert element to his personality may come from his time with the Tantalus Theater Troupe - a traveling company who use their plays to cover their less-than-legal activities. After all, what could be a better distraction than a good production of ‘I Want to Be Your Canary’?

Though seemingly content as a thief, Zidane’s life takes an unexpected turn when he attempts to steal a person - Princess Garnet of Alexandria. But unexpectedly, the princess wants to be kidnapped, and in the chaos that follows Zidane is thrust into an increasingly heroic role.

But even when fighting for the fate of the world, he’ll still find time to tease the strait-laced Steiner, or pick a pocket or two. In fact, his ability to steal from his foes is a vital skill - especially against bosses who often carry incredibly useful and valuable armor, weapons and accessories.

It’s clear that he’ll never fully give up his roguish ways – and why would we want him to?


Those were just a few of our favorite videogame thieves, but what about yours? Which rogues did we miss? Share your thoughts in the comments and on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 16: The Belly of the Beast

We’re taking a deep dive into the 16th chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
An old photograph from the Shinra museum

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


How important was it to start this chapter with the iconic shot of Cloud looking up at the Shinra Building?

The scene where Cloud looks up at the Shinra Building is fondly remembered by many players as the promotional image for the original game and still comes up with a lot of hits from image searches. It was quite difficult to reproduce and fit this scene into the structure of Remake, but we were adamant that we wanted to include it as fan service.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

The battle through the carpark section is one of my favourites in the game. By this point in the game it feels like the player has started to feel comfortable with and started to master the combat system, while the incredible "Operation Save Aerith" track plays in the background.

Was it important to keep this track playing at full volume throughout the area in order to drive a sense of urgency and keep momentum up?

"Operation Save Aerith" uses some of the same phrases from "Those Who Fight", but was made pretty much from scratch as a new battle theme dedicated to capturing the feeling of apprehension in this scene and to bring excitement to this series of battles.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

On the Shinra Building ground floor we get to play as Tifa and climb across monkey bars, who was responsible for this section and how did it all come together from concept design?

As part of the policy to give each character their own playable section, I wanted to show Tifa's efforts coming to the fore in the infiltration of the Shinra Building as the game moves towards its final climax.

At this point in the story Tifa is conflicted with doubt that Avalanche's actions were the cause of the Sector 7 plate collapse. I wanted to make the player experience her struggling to move forward under those circumstances and open a path for her comrades on her own.

Having her climbing the overhead ladders and moving across the chandeliers were elements we thought up to fit with the theme of infiltration.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

Compared to the original, the Shinra building feels more high tech and near-future in its design. How did you decide on the design direction for this location?

Shinra is always looking towards future economic growth and will discard older regions without a thought. The design direction for the Shinra Building was a part of that, as we wanted to show how Shinra keep all the high-tech secrets for themselves to drive the company's momentum, while the people of the city only receive the benefits of Shinra's cast-offs and may one day be discarded by them in turn.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

In the scene where the party climb the staircase, the music also mimics the effect of being short of breath. How was this achieved?

Mr. Toriyama had the idea of using the BGM as one element to express the character's fatigue at endlessly climbing the staircases. This was achieved by editing the original track and adding effects over it rather than by creating a different arrangement, and it was quite heavily altered in the end, which I think gives an interesting effect.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

The Shinra museum was a great way to introduce us to the company and its executives. How did you decide what to include in it? What was the inspiration behind the museum tour?

This museum shows exhibits designed to get people to view the Shinra Company positively, and is aimed at both Shinra employees and their families, as well as the wider population of Midgar. It tries to give the message that everything will be safe if you stick with Shinra.

To give this area the right appeal and make it feel convincing, I approached the design like an actual museum curator and created numerous assets for historical documents and exhibits that promoted the technology that the company had developed (especially things that did it in a visual manner).

I imagined it more like a company or facility archive rather than a regular public museum.

Mizushi Sugawara (Environment Artwork)

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

In one of the photos we can clearly see an adult version of Shinra from Final Fantasy X-2, can you tell us why he's there?!

We did this so players can enjoy the speculation, but it could just be a commemorative photo of one of the company employees cosplaying as him.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

The video sequence showing us The Ancients was stunning. Why did the team decide to show this as a pre-rendered video rather than generating everything in-engine?

There is a depiction of the construction of Midgar in the video sequence, and right from the start we had decided to request Visual Works (now Image Studio) to do it as a pre-rendered piece, in order to show this scene at a satisfactory quality

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

Who's the security guard Cloud meets in the Shinra Building? Was there ever a time when Kunsel was going to be included in FFVII Remake? It was a nice throwback to Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-

The guard was one of Cloud's colleagues from Crisis Core and this episode shows how he was previously a Shinra employee. If too many of his old colleagues showed up then it would probably destroy the Remake story and we might have Whispers appearing.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 17 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 15: The Day Midgar Stood Still

We’re taking a deep dive into the fifteenth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


In the original FFVII, there’s the jumping to the swinging wire moment (I failed so many times!) – were you tempted to try to bring that across to the new game like you did the reactor switches, squats etc?

In Chapter 15 the party use wire guns to climb up on the wreckage, but this idea actually came from a homage to the swinging wire in the original game.

We decided that it would make for a better result having something that could be used to traverse the dungeon throughout the chapter, rather than just as a one-off gimmick where you have to watch for the correct timing like it was in the original.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

As soon as this chapter starts, there is one ruined building that collapses as Cloud and the team pass by it. With the overall shock at the dire state the town is in and how naturally it collapses, players are likely to pass straight on by, but this seems like a scene that a lot of care and attention went into. Could you explain how this scene was put together, including the more technical aspects?

The collapsing buildings were created for us by a separate team of simulation specialists, after which we spent time tweaking them.

This did not involve moving each piece of rubble individually, and we actually only moved the top part of a single pre-destroyed model, which allowed us to depict large scale destruction with fairly light processing.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

There's a lot of aerial combat in this chapter, which must have been very difficult to implement for melee characters like Cloud and Tifa. Looking back on FFVII Remake and aerial combat as a whole, is there anything that the team might do differently if given another chance to develop the battle system?

This was something we were very torn about. We wanted to make it so that players who were not particularly skilled at action games could still fight fairly easily, but I think that there were possibly some issues left unaddressed here.

I would like to re-work the system overall so that perhaps characters could always choose to fight in the air to a certain degree, like Yuffie can.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

In the original FFVII, the Valkyrie is fought slightly later in the game. Why was this boss battle brought forward and how early in development was this decided?

In Mr. Nojima's original script, the Valkyrie actually appeared in the Shinra Building like it did in the original game, but we were a little concerned that there were too many repeated boss fights in the Shinra Building, which affected the tempo of the area, so we had it altered to be the boss of Chapter 15 instead. Another big factor was how this area sees the player moving over a cross-section of the fallen plate, so having a boss that could fly fitted in well here.

The change was made during the script creation phase, so it was comparatively early in the overall development process.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

The "Fires of Resistance" track that plays throughout this chapter is a real delight. How was this composed? Were the team given an outline of what's to happen during this chapter (and perhaps even shown early versions of the game running?) to decide how to create this dynamic, ever-changing, piece of music?

In Chapter 15 there is a feeling of despair after the great catastrophe that has just occurred, with the party in a heavy, sombre mood.

When I started work on “Fires of Resistance”, I wanted to make it a track that reflected the emotions of Cloud and his comrades at this point in the story but doing that was actually quite tricky to pull off. It was definitely a competitor for the track that took the most toil and effort for me to complete out of the whole game. I actually finished a whole other version of the track, which was abandoned during development, so the version that everyone hears in the game is actually “Fires of Resistance 2.0” (laughs).

I started work on the original version of the track by asking myself what kind of music would help me shake off the misery if I had come face to face with a tragic event or some kind of great disaster. The result of that approach was a track that had a curiously high energy to mask and break away from my feelings of sadness (a kind of empty bravado).Musically it was bold and reckless, with a fast tempo and an irregular metre, and to top it off, I did it in a Celtic style!

Basically, it had become a heaped down musical smorgasbord of a battle music track and had a sound that had not been seen in FFVII Remake before. I felt that this could be an interesting direction and rode out the momentum to also go on and do a version for exploration sections as well. However, when I took a step back and thought about it objectively, I realised that this was probably not the kind of energy that the scene has, and so I shelved the original attempt (laughs).

To put it simply, I tried throwing a curveball to get a bit of a unique reaction, but it just wound up falling flat (laughs).

For the second version of “Flames of Resistance” I brought a little more emotional restraint back to the process and unlike the first attempt where I had tried to mask the sadness, I faced it head on in the composition. I set out to keep the heavy and oppressive atmosphere of FFVII Remake from a sound perspective too, and the track settled into its current form. The way that the rhythm shifts from 4 beats to 5 beats then to 3 and back to 5 again is probably a leftover from the first version.

For FFVII Remake, I was immensely grateful that the composers were able to see detailed play videos of the chapters we were working on before production, that lasted between several minutes and several hours. On top of that, we also had the opportunity to play work in progress prototype builds, so it was easy to work out what kind of music was needed and what the most effective way to have it played would be before we moved on to putting together the actual composition.

It was also great fun and very rewarding being able to make proposals about the music direction based on the gameplay, such as where it might be good to play a variant of the current BGM etc.

Talking specifically about Chapter 15, I had originally thought to do this section with one battle music track and two exploration area tracks, but I felt that changing the music to be somewhat darker in the gloomy section in the middle would help add to the feeling of exhilaration when climbing the face of the collapsed plate and the feeling of liberation when looking down from the top later on. So, I proposed having that darker version as well.

In the end I created five different versions of the same composition for the plate cross-section area (excluding the boss and cut scenes) and the system switches between them dynamically based on the current gameplay.

FFVII Remake uses this kind of subtle music shifting throughout the whole game to enhance the experience, so I would recommend that players pay extra attention to the music to enjoy it even more during their second playthrough on Hard Mode!

Shotaro Shima (Globe Enterbrainz)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

It is a very small detail, but I noticed how in the scene where the team cross the steel girder bridge, there is a small stone right in the centre of the bridge to add a feeling of height and danger. Which section of the development team makes the decisions to add small details like that (e.g. is it the scenario team, the backgrounds team or the level designers) or is it more of a collaborative effort with all the teams getting together and discussing it?

There are many times when ideas like this come up during the debates at our checking meetings. Unfortunately I cannot remember the exact conversations that were had, but the small stone could well have been something born from those discussions.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

The shot of Cloud, Tifa and Barret looking out over the destroyed Shinra Building was used often in the marketing campaign for the game - was this a scene that the team spent a long time on perfecting? How did it change during the course of development?

As this is the first time that the player will look out over the ruined cityscape, their emotional reaction will be strong here, so we focused all our efforts on making the backdrop as beautiful as possible.

With the need to depict a wide area of the city, it took some time creating the required resources, but we had solidly fixed down the concept in the planning stages, so we were able to get on with developing the scene without getting lost. The construction of the backdrop and the post-effects were both very important here, so we were helped greatly by the backdrop and lighting teams too.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

The scene where Cloud, Tifa and Barret are looking out over the destroyed Shinra building at sunset really brings together the power of the distant vista, the lighting effects (lens flare etc.) and the smoke rising from the ruins etc.

What challenges were there on the VFX side when creating this scene?

As this is a defining and memorable scene from the game, we were careful in how we showed the lens flare effect here.

A lens flare moves in tandem with the camera movement, so we re-worked the point where the sunset crosses the characters position many times. The rising smoke and other effects were used to create a feeling of stillness and lingering tragedy.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

The battle with the Valkyrie is part of a huge set-piece that takes place over a few floors, how was this battle devised from concept planning right the way through to final development and implementation?

We started from the concept of creating a unique situation that involved combining the scene progression and battles with the crumbling, high-altitude terrain here.

We planned out the Valkyrie's abilities and the size of the area it is fought in to give the player the experience of starting on a narrow platform and the battle area gradually changing to trap them in a difficult corner that they then have to break out from.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

In this chapter we move into evening time and the lighting also adjusts to the colours of sunset, with a beautiful crimson sky. Were there any particular places or seasons you used for reference here?

Because you can also see the exposed Sector 7 slums in the distance after the plate collapse, the tones we chose for the sky in this scene were intended to give it a slight melancholy feel too, rather than just being beautiful. It is rare to find these kinds of colours in a normal sunset, so we used images of the evening sky after a typhoon had hit for reference.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)

Cloud, Tifa and Barret look out on the destruction of Sector 7

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 16 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 14: In Search of Hope

We’re taking a deep dive into the fourteenth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


Why did the team decide to include three separate resolution scenes (with Barret, Tifa or Aerith) at the beginning of Chapter 14?

We decided to include this scene showing the characters renewed determination in the second half of Remake to give players the same kind of experience as with the popular date scene from the original FFVII, which branched depending on which of the characters you had the highest affinity level with.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

The pedometer materia is a nice idea (having to take a certain number of steps while equipped to level it up). How did that make it into the game?

This was done because chapter 14 requires the player to walk around a lot of different areas, so we wanted to make all that walking as exciting as possible, not just with the story and setting, but also having something in the game system that contributed to it.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

I was able to spot Kyrie a few times throughout FFVII Remake, but more emphasis is put on her in the early part of this chapter. How was her inclusion in this chapter (and other sections of the game) decided upon? Did she ever have a larger role in the game that was edited down?

Kyrie was originally a character from the novel "The Kids Are Alright". We had her appear innocuously in the early chapters and then as a memorable presence in chapter 14, giving another perspective from a slum dweller. She does appear in other quests as well, so players impressions of the character might change depending on how they play the game.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

The scene where Barret, Tifa and Aerith make their decision really brought home how the facial animation is one of the most important elements used to increase the drama in the game. Applying these kinds of subtle expressions to the huge volume of cut scenes in the game must be no small task, so how is this handled on the technical side?

For cut scenes we actually do the facial motion capture at the same time as the body motion capture. A team of dedicated facial animators then takes that data and uses it to build up the facial expressions, aligning them for the different characters in FFVII Remake.

The motion actors and voice actors are different people, so we have to rebuild the lip synching almost completely from scratch. This is done using a tool that automatically sets up lip motions and then the animations are further refined to align with the actual voices.

The things that the animators create have not really changed, but we have put a lot of effort into allowing them to focus on the detailed creative work and automating the remaining work needed.

Akira Iwasawa (Facial Director)

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

How much extra work needed to go into creating the pull-up mini-game after developing the squats mini-game? Or were these created the other way around?

Also, beating Jules at the pull-ups is one of the hardest challenges in FFVII Remake. Did you mean it to be so challenging?

The squats and pull-ups mini games were both planned and developed together, so there were no special extras added later for the pull-ups or anything like that. There was one set of combined specifications that would be suitable for everything in both mini games.

I understand that there were varying opinions about the difficulty of the pull-ups game, and I made the decision to adjust it to be the hardest challenge during the final part of the development period. The contest with Jules is not compulsory for game progression and it is the last mini-game before the finale, so I felt that it would be more impactful to make this the ultimate challenge rather than just having it as something forgettable with a middling difficulty.

I had followed comments on social media about the pull-ups game and they were exactly what I had expected, so personally I am satisfied at how it turned out.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

I was delighted by the inclusion of chocobos in this chapter, I didn't expect to be able to travel around Midgar with them. Did the team ever consider other modes of transportation?

Chocobo Sam's personality was so strong that we had decided from early on in development that we wanted to use chocobos as a fast travel mechanic.

However, we ultimately put chocobo stops in more places than we had originally planned for, in order to make things more convenient for the structure of the side quests that appear in chapter 14.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

There are multiple versions of the chocobo theme used for fast travel here. Why did you include so many

We made it possible to hear lots of different chocobo themes because of Mr. Toriyama's idea that it would be more interesting and fun if they played randomly throughout the game.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

This chapter sees you revisit many locations – how did you ensure these areas still felt fresh and exciting to explore?

We increased the number of fast travel points and took care with where the side quests became available in order to avoid having the player go back and forth between the Sector 5 and 6 slums.

We also added the pedometer materia to make walking around the slums to complete side quests as fun as possible.

The biggest role of having optional side quests in the scene before heading to the Shinra Building was to give the player the feeling that they could make the decision to proceed on to the final part of the story when they wanted to.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

How did you decide which battles to include here - did you consider adding more fights?

In addition to the Coliseum, we also had Chadley's VR battle simulator, so we planned and decided on the different fight cards for them together.

We considered which opponents to offer based on getting an even spread of various different enemy types to fight, as well as which combinations we wanted to see together.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

Leslie plays a very important role in the story of this chapter, so how was his character designed and created? He was brought in from the novel, so please could you let us in on the particulars of how he came to feature in the game?

Leslie is also a character from the novel “The Kids Are Alright”, and the novels and other content outside of the game are a part of the FFVII world too, so he was included as another person who lives in Midgar and is involved with Cloud and friends.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Tifa beating Andrea at pull-ups

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 15 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Everything announced by Square Enix in the 13 September, 2022 Nintendo Direct

VARIOUS DAYLIFE’s surprise release! OCTOPATH TRAVELER II announcement! The return of THEATRHYTHM! A HARVESTELLA demo! New CRISIS CORE information! See all the big reveals here.
By Duncan Heaney
CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

If you were watching the latest Nintendo Direct, you may have seen we made a few announcements. Actually, it was more than a few - we revealed a lot of exciting information about new and upcoming games!

We showcased the next entry in the OCTOPATH TRAVELER series, unveiled the marvelously musical THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE, launched a brand new demo for HARVESTELLA, unleashed new information about CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION and more!

Oh, and we also released a game - VARIOUS DAYLIFE is out now!

But enough preamble - there’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get to it:


OCTOPATH TRAVELER II has been announced!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

The series that pioneered HD-2D is back!

Set for release on February 24, 2023, OCTOPATH TRAVELER II is a brand-new standalone entry in the series that will release February 24, 2023 for PS5, PS4, Switch and Steam.

You choose one of eight completely new characters and set off on an adventure. Along the way, you’ll meet the other seven characters, and maybe even join them on their own adventures too!

With no connection to the previous game, all players - even those who haven’t played an OCTOPATH TRAVELER title before, can enjoy the charming stories, strategic combat and stunning visuals that make that HD-2D style even more eye-catching than ever!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

The game is set in the vibrant world of Solistia, which comprises of an eastern and western continent divided by the sea. It’s a bustling era - large vessels navigate busy sea routes and the power of steam gives birth to new technologies. Some people are thrilled by the glamorous stars of the stage, while others are brought to tears by war, plague, and poverty.

Eight travelers from different regions in this diverse world set out on journeys for their own reasons. You’ll take control of this awesome octet and explore the land as you see fit, taking advantage of each hero’s unique talents along the way.

Everything that was great about the original game is back, including the Break and Boost system that makes every battle an exhilarating test of strategy - and of course, there are plenty of new features, too. Yes - that does include more interactions between party members.

To learn more about the game, check out the full blog:


THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE will put a song in your heart!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

Another classic series is making a return with THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE - arriving for PS4 and Switch on February 16, 2023!

This toe-tapping new game celebrates 35 years of amazing FINAL FANTASY music through fast-paced, endlessly replayable rhythm-action gameplay. The standard game features a massive 385 tracks from across the series, including FINAL FANTASY I through FINAL FANTASY XV, spin-offs and more!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

What’s more, the Digital Deluxe and Premium Digital Deluxe Editions and post-launch DLC will include music from additional SQUARE ENIX series, including the NieR series, SaGa series, LIVE A LIVE, OCTOPATH TRAVELER and more!

We don’t want to blow our own trumpet, but we’re pretty excited about this one! You can find out much more about the game modes, characters, track list and more in our dedicated blog:


VARIOUS DAYLIFE… is out TODAY!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

Surprise! VARIOUS DAYLIFE is coming to Nintendo Switch and Steam today… and PS4 very soon (September 15, 23:00 PDT in the US and September 16, 07:00 GMT in the UK).

Developed by the insanely talented team that brought you OCTOPATH TRAVELER, BRAVELY DEFAULT and TRIANGLE STRATEGY, this game is a distinctly different kind of RPG.

You play as a new arrival on a vast, largely unexplored continent. You’ll take on various types of work to help build your character, and head out on dangerous expeditions to explore new parts of the continent and collect vital resources to expand your settlement.

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

Unlike traditional RPGs, you don’t gain strength through battle, but instead by taking on jobs around town. Be it physical labor, secretary work or waiting tables, all the work you do makes you more capable of surviving your journeys into uncharted territory. Although you’ll still have to deal with the elements, hunger, and a few nasty surprises…

To find out more about the game, check out our full blog:

VARIOUS DAYLIFE releases today for Switch and Steam and September 15, 23:00 PDT / September 16, 7:00 GMT for PS4! Purchase the game before October 17, 2022 to get a digital artbook as an early purchase reward!

You can also get the game as part of a bundle with the TRIANGLE STRATEGY Digital Deluxe Edition on Steam. This will give you a 29% discount and the acclaimed strategy RPG when it launches on October 14, 2022!


A free HARVESTELLA demo is available today on Switch!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

Over the past few months, we’ve shown you all kinds of things about this brand-new life simulation RPG, from farming and cooking and making new friends, to battling monsters with the flexible job system!

But the best way to get the measure of this fantastic new adventure is to try it yourself! A free downloadable demo for HARVESTELLA is available today on Nintendo Switch. You’ll get to see how this adventure begins, learn about Quietus - the season of death - and enjoy a variety of gameplay, including tending to crops, socialising with townsfolk and adventuring in dangerous monster-filled dungeons.

Best of all, your progress will carry over to the full game when it releases physically and digitally on November 4, 2022!


New information about CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

You knew that the beloved Zack ‘The Puppy’ Fair was returning this Winter… and now you know when!

We’re excited to reveal that CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION launches for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam on December 13, 2022!

Not only is there a brand new trailer for the game, we just released a host of lovely new screenshots and awesome information about the game’s characters and battle system, which you can read right here:


The Life is Strange Arcadia Bay Collection is coming to Switch!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

Two of the greatest narrative experiences in gaming are coming to Nintendo Switch on September 27, 2022!

The Life is Strange Arcadia Bay Collection includes two award winning games: Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

These two titles have been optimized specifically for Switch, and feature improved character models, reworked lighting and more. The original Life is Strange has also been remastered with full facial capture, making it even more engaging (and emotional) than ever before!

The game is available to preorder now:

For more information, check out our blog:


Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered has a release date!

CRISIS CORE -FINAL FANTASY VII- REMAKE art

We’re happy to reveal that Romancing SaGa -Minstrel Song- Remastered is coming to PS5, PS4, Switch, Steam, iOS and Android on… (drum roll please…) December 1, 2022!

This new HD version of the legendary Romancing SaGa Minstrel Song (or just ‘Romancing SaGa’ in North America) features a host of improvements, including remastered HD graphics, additional features, refined gameplay and a host of quality of life features that make it even more fun to play.

With the Free-form Scenario System, which lets you experience the story differently depending on how you play, the unique ‘Glimmer’ and ‘Combo’ systems that let characters learn awesome abilities in the heat of battle, and a sublime soundtrack by Composer Kenji Ito, it’s the perfect game to warm your heart this Winter!


As you can see, there’s a LOT of Square Enix goodness to get excited about - right now and in the coming months!

We’ll have more to share about these games in the future, so make sure you follow Square Enix on social media for news and updates!

And that’s all from us for now. Why are you still reading this - go play VARIOUS DAYLIFE or HARVESTELLA!

The characters and combat of CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION

We take a new look at the upcoming RPG, including some familiar faces, more about materia, summons and how the DMW system works in-game.
By Duncan Heaney

First things first: we’re excited to announce that CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION has a release date: December 13, 2022!

That’s quite a holiday gift, and what better way to celebrate than by showing you some new screenshots, and revealing more information about the game?

First, take a look at the new trailer, then read on and we’ll discuss everything from the characters to the battle system!

What is CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION about?

Seven years before the events of FINAL FANTASY VII, the Shinra Company rules from Midgar, the city of mako, wielding an enormous level of influence and military power.

The story follows SOLDIER 2nd Class Zack Fair - a member of a group of elite operatives within Shinra with powerful combat abilities.

Zack, along with his seniors Angeal and Sephiroth, is sent on a mission to investigate the mass disappearance of his fellow SOLDIER operatives.

What he discovers will change his life - and the lives of those around him - forever.


Characters

You’ll meet many interesting characters in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION - some of whom you may recognize from the original FINAL FANTASY VII or FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

Of course, with CRISIS CORE being set a few years before those games, they may be a little different than you remember…

We previously introduced Zack himself, some of his SOLDIER colleagues and, of course, Aerith too (https://www.square-enix-games.com/news/crisis-core-final-fantasy-vii-reunion-closer-look). Today, let’s meet a few more unforgettable faces:

Cloud Strife

  • Voiced by: Cody Christian

Cloud is a rather introverted young man who joined Shinra because he aspired to be a SOLDIER operative like Sephiroth. He’s from Nibelheim, where a mako reactor is located, and serves as an infantryman.

Cloud meets Zack on one of his missions, where they become fast friends.

Tseng

  • Voiced by: Vic Chao

Tseng works for Shinra as the Vice Director for the Investigation Sector of the General Affairs Department - also known as "Turks".

He has a cool demeanor and isn’t one to show much emotion, but through his assignments, he and Zack develop a relationship of trust that is akin to friendship.

Cissnei

  • Voiced by: Kayli Mills

This young woman is the youngest person to ever join the Turks. Because of her upbringing in an orphanage, she finds herself unable to leave troubled people alone.

Lazard

  • Voiced by: Francis Ausley

Although the Director of SOLDIER is not a fighter himself, he is trusted as an understanding supervisor who keeps the operatives in line.

He has achieved this position at a young age, but his past remains mysterious.

Hollander

  • Voiced by: Jason Marnocha

Hollander is a scientist who used to conduct important SOLDIER-related research for Shinra. However, he was defeated in a power struggle and relegated to a marginal position in the company.

He is currently being pursued due to his suspected involvement in the “mass SOLDIER desertion incident”.

Yuffie Kisaragi

  • Voiced by: Brandilyn Cheah

Yuffie is the daughter of the leader of Wutai. Even as a child, she tries to fight the invading Shinra forces and protect Wutai - unfortunately, she is not yet fully capable and can’t get things quite right...

Ever since meeting Zack, she’s been sending him junk mail and pulling him into her treasure hunts.


Battles

Next up, let’s talk about the battle system!

Combat in CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION combines intuitive real-time action with a command system that lets you unleash the familiar FINAL FANTASY series magic and abilities.

The game also features the unique “Digital Mind Wave” (DMW) system, which triggers randomized effects such as enhanced status and the ability to use powerful “Limit Breaks," to make battles more strategic.

Read on, and we’ll explore multiple aspects of the battle system, from materia and abilities to how the DMW system works in practice.


Materia

By equipping materia, you will be able to use magic and abilities in battle and enhance your status. In addition, the effects of the DMW system can further enhance materia, allowing for even more powerful effects!

There are lots of different types of magic materia, which give you access to a wide variety of spells, including:

Fire

Fire magic that tracks the enemy and releases an exploding fireball.

Dark Thunder

A magic skill that deals lightning damage as well as poison and silence status ailments to enemies in its path.


Abilities

Also gained by equipping materia, abilities are skills that can be used by consuming AP. They typically consist of various melee attacks that utilize the sword and can be linked with standard attacks.

Here are a couple of examples:

Assault Twister

Zack spins twice on the spot, slashing surrounding enemies.

Jump

Zack jumps vertically, plummets toward the enemy and generates a shockwave.

While jumping, you can dodge enemy attacks.


The Digital Mind Wave (DMW)

The Digital Mind Wave - or DMW - is a system unique to CRISIS CORE. Slot reels automatically spin during battle and produce various effects depending on the images and numbers aligned.

When numbers align in the DMW, it’ll activate an effect corresponding to that alignment. For example, you may get the following effects:

  • 7 7 7: Invincible (limited time)
  • 6 6 6: Critical (limited time)
  • 5 5 5: Null Physical (limited time)
  • 4 4 4: AP Cost Zero (until battle ends)
  • 3 3 3: Null Magic (limited time)
  • 2 2 2: MP Cost Zero (until battle ends)
  • 1 1 1: Invincible (limited time)

Getting 7s on the DMW is beneficial and can have useful effects:

  • 7 7 * : MP Cost Zero + AP Cost Zero (limited time)
  • 7 * 7 : Null Physical (limited time)
  • * 7 7 : Null Magic (limited time)
  • 7 * * : AP Cost Zero (limited time)
  • * 7 * : MP Cost Zero (limited time)
  • * * 7 : Endure (limited time)

Limit Breaks

When the same images align in the DMW, you’ll also get a powerful Limit Break that corresponds to the pictured character. For example:

Angeal: Rush Assault

Tseng: Air Strike

Aerith: Healing Wind

Cloud: Meteor Shots


Summons

When the DMW enters summons mode, all the images on the reels become summons. The player can perform a Limit Break that features one of these powerful entities, including:

Ifrit: Hellfire

Bahamut: Megaflare


We hope you enjoyed this latest dive into CRISIS CORE –FINAL FANTASY VII– REUNION.

The game launches on December 13, 2022, for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam, and is available to preorder today.

We’ll have more to share about the game as we get closer to that wintery release date, so make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII on social media (including, finally, TikTok!) to hear the big news first:

Get ready to face the music in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE!

This rhythm action extravaganza is coming to Nintendo Switch and PS4 on February 16, 2023! Here’s everything you need to know about it.
By Duncan Heaney

Here’s some news that should be music to your ears: THEATRHYTHM is back… and it’s going to raise the bar (line) for rhythm action games.

THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE brings together the music of FINAL FANTASY and other Square Enix games in an audio extravaganza that celebrates some of the best soundtracks in all of gaming.

If you think that sounds good… hooo boy, you have no idea just how good! With 385 tracks as standard, and loads more coming to the game post-launch, plus a wealth of gameplay modes, it’s an absolutely massive package that will thrill FINAL FANTASY fans, rhythm action aficionados, and… well, basically anyone who loves music.

The game’s set to launch on February 16, 2023 for Nintendo Switch and PS4. Take a look (and listen) at the new trailer, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it.

What is THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE?

The new game is a rhythm action game that celebrates 35 years of amazing music from the FINAL FANTASY series, and beyond.

You’ll put together your dream FINAL FANTASY party, choosing from 104 characters, and exciting RPG battles play out alongside the rhythm action.

When playing, you’ll push buttons in time with the music to match triggers moving across the screen on three different types of stage, from traversing fields and taking on classic series monsters in battle, to reliving some of the series’ greatest moments.

It sounds simple enough, but like the best games in the genre, it’ll test your dexterity and timing - and your ability to get in tune with the track.

That said, the game is designed to be a game for everyone. Simple to learn controls and up to four difficulty settings mean you can jump in and start having a good time - whether you’re a rhythm-action savant or have the gaming equivalent of two left feet.

Which we guess would be two left thumbs?

Is there multiplayer?

There is! Another player can pick up a controller and complete stages locally in Pair Style.

Alternatively, you can head online for exciting Multi Battles where everyone plays together! It’s not just you against the music - as you play, Burst abilities can interfere with the other players’ plans and give you the opportunity to turn the tables.

And when the battle’s done, you can exchange ProfiCards!

What if you just want to enjoy listening to the music or watching the movies?

Over the course of playing the game, you’ll earn songs to listen to in the Music Player and movies to watch in Theater mode. It’s a great way to hear the sounds of the series without any pressure - just sit back and let the music wash over you.

And speaking of the music…

What music tracks are included?

The standard game includes 385 carefully selected music tracks from across the whole FINAL FANTASY series.

That includes pieces from the original FINAL FANTASY through to FINAL FANTASY XV in the main series, as well as remakes, spin-offs and various soundtrack CDs.

We don’t want to reveal the full list just yet, but you’ll be able to play iconic songs like One-Winged Angel (FINAL FANTASY VII), SUTEKI DA NE (Isn't It Wonderful?) (FINAL FANTASY X), Torn from the Heavens (FINAL FANTASY XIV Online) and many, many more.

The impressive tracklist expands even further into the Square Enix repertoire within the Season Pass(es) included with the Digital Deluxe and Premium Digital Deluxe Edition. Both of these digital editions also contain an additional 27 songs, including FINAL FANTASY VIII’s Eyes On Me (we’ll go into more detail on the different editions later in the article).

What will be available as part of the Season Pass?

Numerous additional music track packages will be released for the game after launch as part of the Season Passes, taken from the across the entire library of Square Enix games. These new packs will be released on an ongoing basis after launch - it’s like a concert that never ends!

Season Passes will include tracks from the NieR series, SaGa series, Mana series, The World Ends with You, OCTOPATH TRAVELER, LIVE A LIVE and loads more!

There are three Season Passes, each featuring different titles’ music tracks. Every Season Pass will contain 5 song packs for a total of 30 songs each.

What editions of the game can you get?

Three editions of THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE will be available at launch:

  • Standard Edition: Available physically and digitally, this contains 385 sounds from across the FINAL FANTASY series

  • Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Pass 1.

  • Premium Digital Deluxe Edition: Contains all songs from the standard edition, plus 27 additional tracks, and Season Passes 1-3.

These editions are available to preorder now:

When is THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE releasing?

All this audible awesomeness releases February 16, 2023 for Nintendo Switch and PS4. We’ll have much more to share about the game in the coming months, so be sure to follow FINAL FANTASY on social media for news and updates!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 13: A Broken World

We’re taking a deep dive into the thirteenth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


FFVII Remake wallows in the aftermath of the plate collapse a lot more than the original game. Why did you want players to confront the devastation first-hand in this way?

We decided to focus a whole chapter on the aftermath of the plate collapse in order to show the true impact of the situation in a more realistic way. This was the same idea as how we wanted to get across the aftermath of the reactor bombing mission on Sector 8.

The tragedy that Shinra creates, the fact that Avalanche was the original cause of it and the loss of several comrades are important factors for Cloud and the team's motivation later on in the story, so we took great care in how these scenes were depicted

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

The appearance of the slums changes drastically with the fall of the Sector 7 plate. Looking at all the debris and ruined buildings, it seems that the team did not just add debris to the existing location, but actually went to the trouble of creating another version of the same area again. Was this how it was done?

That is exactly what we did.

We needed to work on the ruined version after the original slums area was completed, so there was not a lot of time left to do it in. However, this is a very important scene for the overall story, so we did not want to cut any corners and it was exhausting for the team. Having said that, thanks to the interesting conceit that there was actually a secret test facility under the area, we were able to approach the design from a fresh perspective, even though we were really making the same location twice.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

The Failed Experiment boss in the lab has been designed with rich details, such as the patterns on its body that glow red or blue alternately.

How do you approach making these kinds of effects that are incorporated onto characters? Are they planned in co-ordination with the character team or added on once they have completed the design?

We actually incorporated emissive designs (using shaders that emit light) into some of the characters, and this system also allowed us to change the colour of the light used. We put effect particles over the character model and tweaked the visuals so it appears they are spilling out of the glowing sections.

The practical order in which this work was carried out involved a handover from the character team to the effects team, but we still all created the idea and worked on it together.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

The underground laboratories are hinted at earlier in the game by some NPCs, but I didn't think we'd actually visit them during FFVII Remake. Was it important to include these areas to start to set up some of the elements from the Compilation of FFVII?

We created the story and setting for FFVII Remake based on all the elements that are part of the world overall, including those from Compilation of FFVII. The underground facility in the Sector 7 slums is one area that these elements have been incorporated into in a memorable way.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Why was the decision made to allow the player to control only Barret during the underground sections of this chapter? Was it important to give him more screentime and re-establish his character as he had been away from the party for a while by this point? Cloud is absent for a big chunk of this chapter. Why did you make that decision?

I had decided from the start of development that we would definitely give each character their own playable sections, but there was a very clear reason to have the section where you controlled Barret in this chapter.

I felt that out of all the party characters, Barret would be the one who had the most heightened emotions here, with the chance that his friends and comrades from Sector 7 have perished in the plate collapse and the need to see the situation for himself. I wanted the player to take control of Barret and experience these mixed emotions alongside him, vicariously sharing the joy at saving Wedge and the despair at being unable to help his other comrades.

By having this as a playable section, I think we managed to portray his decision the next day in a convincing and believable way. It lets you see why he went as far as entrusting Marlene to Elmira so he could take direct action against Shinra.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Shooting the boxes as Barret is insanely satisfying. Is that why you added so many into the area?

The collapse of the Sector 7 plate is the big climax in the middle of the game, so I wanted to add some variation to the feel of the gameplay in this chapter.

I had just decided on making Barret the character used in this section and came up with the idea of differentiating it from the feel of the dungeons where you use Cloud by incorporating satisfying shooting mechanics with Barret's gun arm.

I really wanted to add a fresh feel to this section, so when it was first implemented, I actually requested for the team to put ten times as many Shinra crates down as you see now! (laughs)

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Was there always an opportunity to create a brand-new piece of music for this boss battle, rather than needing to rely on rearranging existing music from the original FFVII? The track "Infinity's End" plays during the boss battle at the end of this chapter and it's an absolutely stunning piece of music. How did this come together?

"Infinity's End" was originally ordered by Mr. Toriyama as a track to play during battles with enemies in the exploration sections rather than for a boss battle. Although originally created at a request for a new battle theme for FFVII Remake, the finished piece had a real sense of scale and momentum, so it was ultimately used for a boss fight.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

I love the multi-tiered boss battle, with Tifa and Barret fighting on different levels. Was this difficult to implement? Did you ever consider doing more fights like this where the characters were separated?

I do think that there is more potential to expand on the idea of gameplay where the party is split.

We managed to include this type of mechanic in a small way with this boss battle in Remake, but I would like to polish it even further and try something similar again if it looks like we could do something fun with it.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

I was surprised at the detail and accuracy of physical features and movements. Not just the main characters like Cloud, but also animals like Wedge's cat. Did you do tests before implementing things like the cat's eyes, ears and gestures etc?

The facial animation section has some cat lovers on the team, so they were quite particular about these details. There were also other staff members who actually have cat allergies, but who heroically took it on themselves to take medicine and visit cat cafes to observe their gestures and movements anyway. We also looked at various different resources on cat ear and tongue movements etc. In some ways we may have been more particular about the cat's expressions than we were the human characters!

Akira Iwasawa (Facial Director)

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 14 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

8 of the best dragoons and spear-users in Square Enix games

Spear-wielders are a mainstay of Square Enix games. Let’s celebrate some of our favorites with some pointed remarks…
By Duncan Heaney
Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

We’ve previously looked out some of our favorite White Mages, beloved Black Mages, and fist fighters in Square Enix games. Today, we’re taking a look at another common fighting style: spear users!

Whether they’re a classic FINAL FANTASY dragoon with their signature Jump attacks, or a versatile warrior who uses the weapon for precision and power, each of these awesome characters has thrust their way into our hearts.


Jade - DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

To her friends, Jade is a steadfast ally, with a protective nature and a wry sense of humor. To those who oppose her… well, they don’t oppose her for long.

Jade may primarily be a martial artist, but she can wield a spear with uncommon skill. Her many techniques let her hit multiple foes at once, deliver critical hits, attack with elements and much more!

The flexibility of her skillset makes her capable of bringing the pain, whatever the foe or situation.

Of course, as a martial artist Jade has training beyond spears - she’s also skilled with claws and has a real talent for fisticuffs too. I guess her name’s appropriate because all that talent’s enough to turn you green with envy!


Kimahri - FINAL FANTASY X HD

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Kimahri may not be the most vocal of characters, but he’s great at getting his point across. Especially when that point is at the end of a long stick.

This Ronso guardian is a strong and flexible fighter. While most of the party in FINAL FANTASY X lean towards specific roles and functions in combat, especially in the early hours of the game, Kimahri’s upgrade path lets you mold him into the warrior you want him to be. Plus his Lancet ability, which lets him learn enemy skills, gives him even more versatility in the field.

That flexibility stands in stark contrast to his personality. Kimahri presents himself as stoic and guarded, but that gruff exterior hides a heart as warm as his fur. He cares deeply about his companions and will rush to protect them against anyone that threatens them.

He may worry about his status among the rest of his species, but as far as we’re concerned, he’s the ultimate Rons-bro!


Jack - STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

What? We’re including Jack… again? Well, all together now… he’s a Jack of all trades!

Jack is able to take on multiple spear-wielding jobs, including lancer and dragoon. He’s a dab hand at them too - the range afforded by the big pointy weapon lets him jab and break enemies before they get close enough to lay a finger, tentacle, or chef’s knife on him.

Depending on the specific job, he can hurl his spear at foes from afar, jump into the air and spike down from above and much more. It’s a technical weapon for those who like their fights to be about precision, rather than chaos.

And we all know how Jack feels about chaos…


Riesz - Trials of Mana

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Riesz wears a lot of hats. She’s a princess, a doting sister and, most impressively, Captain of the Amazon Guard.

She commands enormous respect from her warriors - not because of her position as daughter of the king, but due to her abilities as a warrior. Despite her young age, Riesz is a ferocious fighter who uses a spear with as much skill as someone twice her years.

She uses those skills to protect others with near-total commitment. The only thing she values more than her kingdom is her little brother Elliot, who she’s helped raise since her mother passed away.

Sure would be a shame then if something were to happen to him…


Cid - FINAL FANTASY VII

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Despite FINAL FANTASY VII not having defined ‘jobs’ in combat, Cid retains many of the elements of the classic FINAL FANTASY dragoon, He uses a spear, and has access to jump attacks via his Limit Breaks - he even shares a surname with the series very first dragoon in the series, FINAL FANTASY II’s Ricard Highwind (big shoutout to the OG!)

But Cid brings his own distinct style to combat, using his affinity for airships, high explosives and a temperament best described as ‘prickly’ to find imaginative ways to devastate foes.

In fairness, he has a reason to be embittered. Once he was to be the first man in space - but faulty technology and Shinra’s abandonment of the project have left that dream in tatters. But after meeting Cloud and company, he finds a new purpose and proves himself to be a strong, reliable ally.

So much so, that when Cloud is indisposed, he takes over as team leader!


Freya - FINAL FANTASY IX

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Poor Freya endures her fair share of tragedy. She loses the love of her life to absence and amnesia, her hometown of Burmecia is destroyed and she fails to stop the devastation of its neighbor Cleyra. Yeah… it’s a lot.

So with all of that, it’s a testament to her inner strength that she’s able to stay focused and positive. Freya is a Dragon Knight, a highly skilled warrior who uses her spear and agility to deliver a lot of very pointy pain to her foes.

That sharp mind is demonstrated throughout the rest of FINAL FANTASY IX too. She provides useful guidance throughout the adventure, is able put personal grudges aside for the sake of the bigger picture and is willing to kick Zidane’s butt when he deserves it.

All said, she’s a brilliant character and we Jump for joy whenever she’s in the party.


Estinien - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Estinien has become a real fan-favorite, though we can’t imagine why…

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

What Estinien lacks in social graces, he more than makes up for with his abilities as a dragoon.

This spear-wielding warrior bears the title of the Azure Dragoon and is greatly admired for his combat prowess. He’s less adept at being in the spotlight as he hates politics and parties and won’t mince words when dealing with others.

Although he began a little cold and brusque, Estinien has grown over the course of the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online saga so far. Initially driven wholly by revenge, his adventures alongside the Warrior of Light have helped him find perspective.

While he remains stoic and direct at times, his personality has softened, and he’s become a trusted ally throughout many adventures.


Kain - FINAL FANTASY IV pixel remaster

Estinien from FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

Looking for a character that encapsulates everything awesome about dragoons? This is Kain - and he’s able.

Kain follows in the footsteps of his father Ricard Highwind - a spear-wielding warrior who died while Kain was still very young (shoutout to the OG again!).

Adopted by the King of Baron, he grew up alongside the game’s protagonist Cecil, and formed a strong bond with the hero. But tensions simmer beneath the surface of the friendship - the two also share a strong rivalry, which is only exacerbated by Kain’s hidden feelings for Cecil’s lover Rosa.

This comes to a head when Kain is put under the influence of the evil Golbez - and betrays and even battles his former comrade.

But despite these unfortunate events, Kain is a good man at heart - and an exemplary warrior. His physical strength and diverse skillset make him an invaluable addition to the team - particularly in boss battles, where he can really deal some damage!

And let’s be honest: that armor looks awesome, right?


Those were just a few of our favorite spear-slinging heroes, but we’re sure you have suggestions of your own. Why not let us know your ideas on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 12: Fight for Survival

We’re taking a deep dive into the twelfth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


By Chapter 12 it has become clear that the Whispers are intent on preserving the timeline of the original FFVII, but why do they appear at the beginning of this chapter and block Cloud, Tifa and Aerith from progressing? Have the trio arrived earlier than expected?

With Avalanche taking the fight to Shinra, the plan to drop the plate has been delayed here. If Cloud and the team were to link up straight away, there would be a danger that the plot would fail entirely, so the Whispers appear to obstruct their progress and preserve the destined timeline.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

The cut scenes in this chapter, such as the gunfight scene, use lots of different camera work to add dynamism. I would imagine that these scenes are initially planned out using storyboards, but how do you decide on the camera movement at this stage?

We do work out the scene direction and camera work when we put together the storyboards, but we also further refine everything to improve the quality when the pre-production visuals are created. At this stage we fix down all the things that you cannot express through storyboards, such as the intensity of camera shake, feelings of motion, the speed and tempo of the cuts etc.

There are often many changes made at this pre-production visuals stage, in order to achieve the best quality we can.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

Why did Biggs used to visit the Leaf House Orphanage? The fact that he cares for the kids so much even as he loses consciousness really made us love him that much more.

Biggs was also an orphan and was raised at Leaf House himself. Even after growing up and leaving the orphanage, he continued to support their work from the shadows.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

The helicopter approaches the plate support pillar in the original game too, but it would probably look quite odd if it arrived in the same way in the remake, with its more realistic style. It seems like there was a lot of thought and innovation put into this scene, so could you talk about the design decisions here?

When we started work on Remake, we re-assessed the scale of the city of Midgar, and set the height from the slums to the city level as 300m. Considering that the general height that helicopters fly at is around 500m, we felt that this was a restriction that we could show what we wanted to within.

On top of that, having Shinra helicopters regularly appearing from the Train Graveyard onward was done to give the player a sense of the encroaching threat from Shinra. The helicopter arriving during the battle with Reno and Rude atop the pillar was put in for the same reason.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

It is a small detail, but in the gunfight scene where the Avalanche members are fighting with Shinra soldiers, it feels very realistic how they take cover behind the staircase pillars and only expose their heads and guns while they open fire. How were these kinds of subtle movements created. I do not imagine that the team get into many gunfights in real life, so where did you get inspiration and references from?

When making these kinds of large-scale cut scenes, most of the time we start by creating storyboards, and the overall flow of the action and how it will be presented comes together at that stage.

Some of the detailed movements and sequences are depicted in the storyboards from the beginning, but most of them are created together with the actors during motion capture, achieving a sense of reality as we imagine the actual scene in a real space. In addition, animators also need to have the ability to express things that they could not experience for real, and this comes in at the brushing up stage too, not just for gunfights but all kinds of things.

Thus, the final stage of the process sees the animators putting themselves in the shoes of the characters and adding the finishing touches to create a tense and thrilling scene.

Yoshiyuki Soma (Animation Director)

It feels like the tense scenes in this chapter are differentiated from the more sedate ones through clever use of flame motifs. Was this done deliberately and if so, how did you approach tweaking the volume of fire shown and the intensity at which it burns?

The rooftops see the fiercest fighting here, so we created a gradation as you move up through the different levels, increasing the intensity of the flames, smoke and sparks the closer you get to the top. This effect increases the sense of urgency as the player climbs.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

The boss battle with Reno incorporates attacks from the original FFVII, such as Pyramid. How difficult was it to incorporate these old moves into the new combat system?

It was actually the opposite, and these elements fit really well with the character changing and real time action mechanics.

The situation changes greatly when one character is tied down, so in this battle it is important to address that quickly when it happens.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

In this chapter there are many scenes (such as when Aerith saves Marlene, parting with Jessie, and Reno and Rude after battle) where we see several characters looking different to their normal appearances, with bruising, scars and grime.

What do you take particular care with when applying these kinds of alterations and what difficulties are there in doing so? (One small detail was how Jessie's skin looks more drained of blood than normal)

We change the scars and grime depending on what kind of scene the character will feature in. For example, if a character is caught in an explosion, then they will be given burns, but if they are caught in falling rubble then they will be coated in dust instead.

A lot of the time we keep the scars and injuries fairly restrained, as showing them too graphically would violate the restrictions set by the rating for the game.

As you pointed out, we dramatically changed the colour of the character's complexions here in order to depict scenes like this where they suffer serious injuries, while still staying within the restrictions.

Dai Suzuki (Main Character Modeler & Lead Character Artist)

Fans were delighted by the surprise cameo of Cait Sith during this scene! How did the idea of his introduction in FFVII Remake come about? I didn't think we would see him until later.

Was there a concern that this might be confusing for players who had not played the original FFVII and was there ever a point where any of the other main characters from the original FFVII were going to make a cameo appearance in FFVII Remake?

We wanted to show that even within the Shinra company, not everyone agreed regarding the plot to drop the plate, but I think that probably only the most dedicated fans will understand why it was Cait Sith who was used here.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 13 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

5 White Mages and Healers that FANS love

Fans have weighed in on their favorite healing characters in Square Enix games. Here are some of their choices.
By Duncan Heaney

A few weeks ago, we shared an article that showcased some of our favorite white mages and healers from Square Enix games. It’s fair to say that a lot of you had… ‘Opinions’ about our selection. You can read it here:

You also had some fantastic suggestions of your own - highlighting some truly wonderful heroes that perhaps should have been on that original list. Allow us to rectify that wrong now, and celebrate some of the healers that you, the fans, adore.

Let’s start with the big one…


Rosa - FINAL FANTASY IV pixel remaster

This was by far the most controversial omission from the original list.

…yep, it’s a fair cop. Rosa is indeed one of the greatest healers of the FINAL FANTASY series and she deserves recognition.

Rosa is a White Mage through and through - she’s dedicated her life to helping and supporting others, particularly her beloved Cecil. From the very start of the game, she’s on hand to provide the hero with well-considered advice and a friendly ear.

Later on, that support becomes a lot more literal, as she joins the group and becomes an essential member of the party. Her white magic lets her heal friends, buff allies, and weaken enemies - a potent combination that’s greatly appreciated in some of the tougher fights.


Donald - KINGDOM HEARTS series

When it comes to magic, Donald is the complete package. He can fire off spells of all elements, drop meteors on foes, and don’t even get us started on the sheer, raw power of Zettaflare.

But for some of you, he’s most loved as a healer.

When a fight’s going badly, and Sora’s health is in the red, you can rely on Donald to cast a much-needed Cure spell and bring you back up to fighting strength.

…ok, let’s be honest, you can’t always rely on it, but when it happens, you’ll feel such a wave of relief that you’ll feel nothing but appreciation for the marvelous magical mallard.


Minwu - FINAL FANTASY II pixel remaster

We could all use a friend like Minwu - as several of you pointed out.

This White Wizard is a powerful healer, a wise advisor, and a selfless hero. His dedication to the Wild Rose Rebellion makes him help the party in multiple ways. He heals their wounds when they’re critically injured, travels with them on important missions, and proves that he’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of his allies and ideals.

Honestly, Minwu goes above and beyond in order to do the right thing, and although he’s not a permanent member of the party in FINAL FANTASY II, he leaves a lasting impression.


Hope - FINAL FANTASY XIII

The Crystarium in FINAL FANTASY XIII means that characters can learn multiple jobs - nobody has to stick to a fixed role in battle. However, characters do have inclinations towards certain paths, and none make for better medics than Hope.

You wouldn’t think he was so powerful to look at him though. Hope goes through quite the emotional journey throughout the game: he experiences fear, anger, paralyzing self-doubt and more.

But as his experience grows, he’s able to work through his trauma and become a more capable, confident hero - and that emotional growth is reflected in his expansive medical prowess.


You - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

This is another one that should have been on our original list. Because what White Mage in the series could be better than… you?

And you, and you and… anyone who plays white mage in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online (and FINAL FANTASY XI for that matter!)

You courageous healers are invaluable for overcoming Hydaelyn’s toughest challenges. Your white magic keeps our HP topped up, covers for our mistakes, and even brings us back to life should the worst happen.

In short, you’re true heroes - and we /salute you all.


For more guides, lists and general Square Enix silliness, make sure you bookmark the Square Enix Blog. And to stay up to date with news and information about Square Enix games, make sure to follow the team on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 11: Haunted

We’re taking a deep dive into the eleventh chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


There's a very distinct change in tone during this chapter of FFVII Remake. Was there ever a concern that this could break up the flow of the story and was this considered during development?

We had decided to make the Train Graveyard its own chapter and so we added in some episodes that were not in the original game to construct the story there.

Like the previous chapter, this was another section that was important for building the relationship between Tifa and Aerith, and we tied it in so that it would be effective when Aerith leaves the party in the next chapter.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

Who created the designs crafted by the ghosts during this chapter, and how did they come together? Was there any reference material used to create these?

I (Sugawara Mizushi) designed these myself. They are supposed to be the work of children around 10 years old, so I looked at drawings by actual children and remembered back to the pictures I had drawn as a child when deciding on the designs. I arranged the designs to fit with the "Ghost" enemy, but also be something that the children in the world of FFVII Remake would have imagined and drawn.

Originally, I made them very child-like, using lots of colours, but to give the drawing a scarier look I ultimately changed it to a monotone.

Mizushi Sugawara (Environment Artwork)

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

The Ghost enemy from the original FFVII appears here in the remake too.

The original version appeared as a white, spirit-like monster, but when I first saw the new design, I realized that the white body was supposed to be cloth all along. How do you decide on the textures and details for these kinds of monsters?

We decided on cloth after thinking what kind of texture would be best to maintain the ghostly feel of the monster once it had manifested and not ruin the effect. The textures used on a character vary depending on the personality of that character and how they are used in the game, but in most cases we come up with several possibilities at the illustration stage and then check these over with Mr. Nomura and Mr. Takai to settle on the one that best fits the design.

In addition, we sometimes also change and adjust the textures while character data is being created, in order to make the final design fit in with the area in which it appears, as sometimes there can be situations where a model merges with the background and becomes hard to see.

Masaaki Kazeno (Modeling Director)

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

There's an infamous scene as Aerith and Tifa both grab Cloud by the arms as they convince him to take the lead entering the Maintenance Facility, what are all three characters thinking during this scene?

It looks like there's a bit of tension between them all...?

I imagined a situation similar to entering the haunted house attraction at a theme park surrounded by two people who you like, but in the actual scene here, the two ladies are seriously scared of the ghosts and so are clinging on to Cloud.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

There are so many distinct sources of light during this chapter, coupled with a subtle fog effect permeating the facility. What were the challenges in making all of this look as realistic as possible?

This location has many different lighting elements mixed together, and you can also see the plate and the Sector 7 pillar in the distance. It was tricky having to add a horror film style flavour to such a location, but we solved that problem by using the fog and colour correction. We managed to give an overall sense of consistency and reality to differently coloured elements by adding a single fixed tone to them all.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

It felt like the ghost enemies’ ability to grow immune to physical and magic damage was designed to force players to take advantage of different characters in the party. Was that the case?

It was indeed. This mechanic was one way to create gameplay where the player approaches battles by changing between characters and using their different skills.

I think we managed to implement the idea in a way that fits very well with the distinctive characteristics of the ghosts themselves.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

Reno and Rude seem genuinely annoyed at their role at attacking the plate during this chapter. Did they really want to go through with it?

To the Turks, an order from the company is absolute and they must always do their job, regardless of any personal feelings about the situation.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

In Aerith’s flashback, we get a glimpse at her childhood. It gives us a glimpse into Aerith’s psychological vulnerabilities. Was this something you wanted to explore more in the game?

The episodes from Aerith's childhood as an ancient were one element that I wanted to use to dig deeper into the character for Remake. However, if we showed too much from that period then the number of flashback scenes would become unmanageable and the story would not progress.

Accordingly, we made it so that fans who want to know more about those times can learn about Aerith and Tifa's respective pasts in the companion novel "Trace of Two Pasts".

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

The Train Graveyard is quite a large area when compared to its size in the original game. Was it difficult remaking this area anew, while still keeping the gimmicks from the original, such as walking across carriage roofs and starting up one train to push another out of the way etc.?

It was difficult getting the visuals to align properly now that the graphics are so realistic and the staff put great effort into finding the right balance between reality and fantasy for the area. We always seemed to have reference material for trains or tracks in one hand as we worked.

I think that effort definitely paid off though, and the finished area is great fun to get your teeth into from a gameplay perspective.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

Overall were many of the concepts behind the Train Graveyard in FFVII Remake taken from ideas that perhaps did not make it into the original FFVII, or were they all brand-new for Remake?

What was the most challenging thing about creating the Train Graveyard chapter?

The ideas here were all created fresh for the remake, rather than being things that were not implemented in the original game.

For this location we had the most trouble with incorporating the ghostly elements in a way that did not interfere with the overall tempo of the story as the team hurry towards the Sector 7 pillar.

After experimenting with several different things, we decided to move away from trying to merge the feeling of hurrying towards the pillar together with the ghostly elements and instead went for a two-part construction where the focus shifts between them halfway through the area.

In the first half of the area up to the battle with the Ghoul, we concentrate on the ghosts, and do not really touch on the actions of Shinra much. However, in the second half you get to see the battle for the Sector 7 pillar playing out from the playable camera, with helicopters hovering around it. This gives the player a feeling of getting closer to the pillar and to lays the groundwork for mood the of the next chapter. If you pay attention to this while playing, you should notice the point where the overall presentation changes between the first and second parts of the area.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud in the train graveyard

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 12 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Unearth a “Buried Memory" with FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker Patch 6.2

What’s in the new update for FINAL FANTASY XIV Online? Here’s a look at what’s in Patch 6.2 and beyond.
By Duncan Heaney
FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker marked the end of a major chapter for the Warriors of Light but they have already begun to take their first steps on a newfound adventure.

There’s a lot coming in Patch 6.2, titled “Buried Memory.” That includes new main scenario quests, new side quests, a challenging new raid, and the chance to get away from it all with your very own island sanctuary!

We’ll take you through what's included, but first, check out the trailer:

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

New Main Scenario Quests

The epic story of the Warriors of Light continues in Patch 6.2!

Five millennia ago, the great wyrm Azdaja vanished into the void, and for long years Vrtra despaired of being reunited with his dear sister.

With the encouragement of his people, however, he has found the resolve to search for her, and sets forth with the Warrior of Light for a world engulfed in Darkness...

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

New: Island Sanctuary

Want to explore an island paradise? Patch 6.2 introduces the Island Sanctuary - new, casual solo-focused content that takes you to a deserted island that you can mold into your perfect island hideaway.

Build a farm, gather materials, create facilities, care for creatures and more - and there’s no prior crafting or gathering experience required!

We can’t wait to see what you create!

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

New High-end Raid: Pandæmonium: Abyssos

Step deeper into Pandæmonium in a new high-end, 8-player raid. This dangerous facility contains ancient power that must be confronted - if you’re brave enough…

Pandæmonium: Abyssos launches in Patch 6.2 and can be played at Normal difficulty. Those seeking an even tougher challenge can then try the Savage version when it launches a week later.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

New Dungeon: The Fell Court of Troia

Having uncovered the voidgate in the undersea treasure vault, you now seek to use it to travel to the Thirteenth. Beyond the emptiness of the rift awaits a shadowed castle swarming with voidsent.

Best steel yourself for a hostile reception…


New Dungeons added to Duty Support

The Duty Support system lets you play through dungeons solo, teaming up with NPCs rather than fellow players. Patch 6.2 expands the system to include five additional dungeons from A Realm Reborn and Heavensward.

The newly added dungeons comprise the Patch 2.x series to 3.0 (Snowcloak, the Keeper of the Lake, Sohm Al, the Aery and the Vault).

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

New side quests: Tataru’s Grand Endeavor

Tataru still has grand ideas, and still needs help to make them a reality. If only a certain adventurer could her lend a hand…

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

New Unreal Trial

Relive your epic battle with Sephirot in Containment Bay S1T7. It’s a tough battle that will test everything you’ve learned - are you powerful enough to overcome it?

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

More Main Scenario Improvements

The team continue to make adjustments to the main scenario quests, to make for a smoother, more enjoyable experience. In Patch 6.2, the Steps of Faith trial has been reworked into a solo quest battle and Thornmarch, the battle against Good King Moggle Mog XII and the Mogglesguard, has been revamped.


PvP Updates

The launch of Patch 6.2 brings with it PvP Series 2 and Crystalline Conflict Season 3. Rival Wings will also resume, along with adjustments to PvP actions and updates to the Crystalline Conflict ranked matching system.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

Miscellaneous updates

As usual, there are lots of additional tweaks and additions, including updates to adventurer plates and portraits, and an expansion to the glamour dresser capacity from 400 to 800 slots, and more.

FINAL FANTASY XIV: Endwalker screenshot

What’s coming in Patch 6.25?

Patch 6.25 will arrive at a later date, and include the following:

  • New Side Story Quests - Somehow Further Hildibrand Adventures

  • New Weapon Enhancement Quests - you can obtain and enhance Manderville Weapons throughout the Patch 6.x series, which will begin in the Somehow Further Hildibrand Adventures questline.

  • New Tribal Quests - The Omicrons

  • New “Variant Dungeons” Battle Content - you can enjoy new variable-difficulty dungeons, beginning with the Sil'dihn Subterrane. These are designed for 1-4 players, with the difficulty of enemies scaling depending on party size. Dungeons will also feature branching routes, which change depending on player actions within the dungeon.

  • Criterion Dungeons - these are high difficulty four-player dungeons. They are visually similar to the Variant Dungeons, but each have a set route. Criterion dungeons will feature two options of difficulties, each with their own unique set of rules and characteristics.


That’s just a broad overview of what’s coming in Patch 6.2 and beyond. You can get the full rundown on the FINAL FANTASY XIV Lodestone website:

To stay up to date with news about this release, and FINAL FANTASY XIV Online as a whole, make sure to follow the team on social media:

If you’re yet to experience the many wonders of FINAL FANTASY XIV Online yourself, now’s the perfect time.

The expanded Free Trial now includes all content from A Realm Reborn and the Heavensward expansion (and updates through Patch 3.56), as well as an additional playable race (Au Ra), and three additional playable jobs (Dark Knight, Astrologian, and Machinist)!

That’s hours of award-winning gameplay and story experiences equivalent to two full FINAL FANTASY titles - with no limit on playtime!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 10: Rough Waters

We’re taking a deep dive into the 10th chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


The battle with Abzu was first revealed at Tokyo Game Show back in 2019 and was a big moment in terms of showing off a long segment of gameplay to fans. What are your memories of that reveal and how did you feel at the reaction received from fans around the world?

We were delighted at the passion we felt from all the fans at the event and those watching from elsewhere and were very grateful to them. One of the marketing themes that was set for the Abzu fight was to show a battle where summons are used. When we saw the response to the first reveal of fighting alongside Ifrit in the video, we were convinced deep down that players would enjoy the battles in FFVII Remake and wanted to get the game to them as soon as possible.

One other thing that we showed for the first time at that year's TGS was Classic Mode (the mode where everything except selecting menu commands is automated to create a play experience closer to the original FFVII). I was the player for that demo and my hands were shown on camera to prove that I was not controlling the characters directly, but it was so hard to stop them from shaking! (laughs)

Yuma Watanabe (Senior Assistant Producer)

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

Aerith is probably the most difficult character to play as in battle in FFVII Remake. Did she ever play significantly differently in battle during the development of the game? Which aspects of the way Aerith fights in combat are you most proud of developing?

Development on Aerith started with the concept that she should be a character with high magic power, and who really comes into her own when using magic. However, if we allowed her to launch straight into a sustained magical barrage from the start of battle then she would lack nuance and be too powerful.

Accordingly, we designed her as the type of character that needs to get prepared and take up a solid position at the start of a fight, but her offensive power and the variety of things she can do increases greatly once she has.

I think that the extra difficulty in using her stems from the distance she needs to keep from the enemy and the comparative trickiness of managing the charge up of her ATB gauge.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

The fog in the sewers gives a great atmosphere to the area. Was it difficult making sure that this effect was not too thick or too thin, and was it easy aligning it with the lighting?

As the fog has a very close relationship with the lighting of this area, we actually worked on adjusting and balancing the effect in the lighting section. We changed around the thickness of the fog several times and tweaked the intensity of the light at the same time, to make sure we got the overall feel just right.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

Tifa and Aerith's friendship develops over the course of this chapter, was it important to ensure that they both had enough screentime to grow their friendship and what's going through both of their minds during this part of the story?

There is actualy surprisingly little time that Aerith and Tifa spend together during the part of the story in Midgar, so we decided to focus on their relationship in the underground sewers. That we were only able to put in this oppressive and gloomy area could only come from following the story of the original game.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

Tifa and Aerith's friendship was surely tested by the water pump mini-game! What was the reason for implementing that?

I am overjoyed that players could sense the friendship between Tifa and Aerith in this scene. The water pump was not included in Mr. Nojima's original script, but we had always wanted to have the two of them achieve something together through the player's actions here, rather than just confide in each other in the cut scenes.

It was only proposed to add the water pump mini game here during the latter part of the development, so the designers pushed back quite a lot on the asset creation schedule, but I explained to them how important it was to insert a co-operative task between Tifa and Aerith here and they managed to sort out the scheduling somehow. I really am super grateful to the designers for pulling that off.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

The water pump mini-game is challenging, but it never gets too frustrating. How hard was it to balance the mini-game?

As I said in my previous answer, the objective here was to show Aerith and Tifa co-operating, so we set the initial difficulty a little bit higher. However, we also made it so that it gets slightly easier each time you fail, so that anyone can get through the game in the end.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

The sewer scene in the original game was considerably shorter. Why did you make the decision to extend it for FFVII Remake?

There is a specific reason why chapter 10 was made denser in the remake.

In terms of the overall game structure, the battle around the Sector 7 pillar in chapter 12 forms the big climax in the middle part of the story, and so we needed to create a sense of achievement from getting to the pillar itself.

One element of that was taking care that the player experienced the true scale of Midgar, by having them travel the actual distance from Corneo's mansion, through the sewers and the Train Graveyard to the Sector 7 pillar at full scale.

I hope that players got a sense of satisfaction at finally having made it back to the pillar after journeying through that section.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

Were there any concepts / ideas / enemies for the sewer section that didn’t make the final game? If so, why?

The original plans for the sewer section had it laid out like a maze, with the player raising and lowering the water level to access different areas.

However, we felt that having the player need to stop to change the water level and possibly get lost or hit a dead end did not fit with the narrative of needing to hurry back to the Sector 7 pillar, so we removed those mechanics and tweaked the difficulty so the player could progress through the area without great hinderance or getting lost.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

During Chapter 10 players may end up being turned into toads! How important was it to keep this FF series staple status effect in FFVII Remake? Who oversaw designing the toad versions of each character and how were these built and implemented in the final game?

We absolutely had to include the toads in Remake, and it was never an option to get rid of them.

The designs were handled by the team headed up by Mr. Kazano, and they were all very passionate about making the toads reminiscent of the original characters. We felt that allowing players to still do some things while turned into toads would be more fun, so we also created the models in a way that they could use their triangle button skills and abilities.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump in the Midgar sewers

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 11 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 9: The Town That Never Sleeps

We’re taking a deep dive into the ninth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


Where did the concept of Aerith wanting to high five Cloud, and the subsequent attempts between both of them to do this, originally come from?

The time they spend together heading between the Sector 5 Slums and Wall Market is an important time for Cloud and Aerith, as this scene is the "date" that she talks about as Cloud's reward. We used the high five to show the relationship between the two characters and how the distance has been broken down between them.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

I could never have imagined the Wall Market theme from the original FFVII being turned into "Due Recompense" on the FFVII Remake soundtrack. How did the concept for this arrangement come about? It's so brilliant!

If you play the original FFVII music for Wall Market next to the new version from REMAKE, they tie together naturally.

As I put the track together I tried to get my head into to the atmosphere of the place and build an image of the kind of BGM that could be playing while you walk around the town and see its distinctive vistas. I tried to sweep away all preconceptions and focus my efforts on expressing the things I felt from the location through music.

Unfortunately Corneo was always lurking in the back of my mind while I was doing this! (laughs)

Mitsuto Suzuki (Music)

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

Creating a brand-new piece of music to serve as the background track for Wall Market must have been a difficult decision to make. How did the team decide to write something brand-new for this part of the game?

Mr. Toriyama's request was to create a noisy and hectic atmosphere, where music can be heard from different angles all over the place.

Once you meet with Chocobo Sam and head out into the town it immediately hits you with a saxophone to bring out the excitement of the bustling neon-lit city, but if you go down a narrow backstreet then you stop being able to hear the BGM. Walk a bit further and the sitar and tabla drums open up to create a exotic and suspicious mood when you pass by the hand massage parlour.

To sum it up in one phrase, I would say that the music for Wall Market in Remake is a "nationless sound", but I imagined a chaotic yet alluring place where people forget about their everyday lives and the flow of time, to enjoy this transient, dystopian world for one night. I would be delighted if the Honeybee Inn and Midgar Blues also added to expanding the world of FFVII Remake too,

Mitsuto Suzuki (Music)

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

It was an absolute delight to see the Hell House make a return from the original FFVII as a fully fledged boss in FFVII Remake. What process did the team have to go through in order to turn this into a boss fight, including the addition of Tonberries in Hard Mode!

We wanted the gameplay for this boss to involve the player preparing lots of different elemental attacks and strategically selecting the right one for the situation, but had a hard time communicating that structure to the player in-game.

It is a bit of a regret that the underlying logic of the battle is not easy for the player to pick up on, so it can become a fairly gruelling battle.

However, I think that the fact it ended up as a memorable boss works well for the remake.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

The squats mini-game looks so simple when being watched but it's actually incredibly tough to get just right, did this need lots of refinement during development to make it just difficult enough for players?

It is always a head-scratcher trying to get the difficulty level right for this type of mini game. If it were a section where the objective is only to progress through for the main story or for a quest then we would obviously make it something that can be completed before it starts to feel stressful for the player. However, when you have something that involves a level of replay, we play through the game over and over, subtly tweaking and adjusting the parameters as we go to settle on the final direction.

The button UI disappears and the difficulty of the inputs increases as you progress, but that was not actually part of the original planning for this mini game. It was added in later while we were testing, as we felt it would be interesting to increase the difficulty by having a phase where the player needed to rely on their memory.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

How did you determine how many side quests to include in this chapter, especially with the option to revisit and complete additional quests? As an aside, thank you for keeping a sidequest in which mimics Cloud's quest through Wall Market in the original FFVII - it was such a great homage!

This touches on what I said in a previous answer about quests, but we approached the side quests based on the concept of using them to dig deeper into the lives of the slum dwellers.

This concept led to our policy to have side quests through the various slum areas and was solidly in place by the middle phase of development, leading to the quest placement in the Sector 7 Slums, Sector 5 Slums, Sector 6 Slums (Wall Market) and in the areas of Sector 5 and 6 after the plate falls.

We also wanted to have the player earn the outfits they get in Wall Market through progress in quests and split the roles of the quests in different areas so that the ones in the Sector 7 Slums affect Tifa's outfit, the ones in the Sector 5 Slums affect Aerith's outfit and the ones in Wall Market itself affect Cloud's outfit.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

The entire Honeybee Inn section of the game has been praised by both fans and critics alike for being tasteful and respectful. Keeping in mind that this is all brand-new compared to the original FFVII it can't have been easy to write this entire section from scratch.How did this come together?

We had decided to change the original FFVII's Honeybee Inn episode from a gender free perspective right from the start of development. We remade the whole scene as a song and dance show, in order to make it the big stage for Cloud's cross-dressing event and to give it a "maximum showbusiness" vibe as part of the Remake story.

We collected together references of dance shows and decided on an overall direction, then tentatively edited that footage together while adding music and lyrics, before going even further and setting down the choreography. I think that just that preparatory phase here took up the longest period in the whole development.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

Did the entire dance scene with Andrea and Cloud have to be choreographed and motion captured and how was that done? I loved all the nods in the dance to actions that Cloud makes in the original FFVII.

Changing Andrea to the owner of the Honeybee Inn had a big influence on the dance scene. We put together a concept video based on cabaret show reviews and then had the choreography worked up based on that reference and the music.

From the initial planning stages we wanted to have nods to the original FFVII in the dancing. We originally thought about having things happen to break up the show, but having the characters draw weapons felt too abrupt and would not fit with the scene, so we changed it so they took up distinctive poses instead.

If players have picked up on these touches then I think that fortune has smiled on our direction and presentation. It feels like an added bonus for all the effort that we put in.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

How did the designs of each of Cloud, Tifa and Aerith's dresses come together? Was there one person on the team assigned to design all of these or was it a combination of team members who brought them to life? Were there any dress designs that ultimately didn't make it into the game, and can we see them?

My name is Roberto Ferrari, and I designed the dresses for all the main characters. I re-designed the outfits based on the ones from the original FFVII and approached them by trying to keep the distinctive colour palette for each character, while adding in more different pieces and subtle decoration.

After I showed Nomura the proposals for the basic design direction, I moved straight on to finalising the visuals, so there was not a lot of waste in the workflow. I did not propose any completely different designs, but there were several different colour versions of the outfits.

For example, when I was checking the designs for the purple dress with Nomura, I sent him several different hues of purple to consider, including a redder purple and one with more of a blue tone, and asked him to pick his favourite. As you would expect, I don’t really want to show any of the proposal images from before they were cleaned up (gulp!)

Roberto Ferrari (Character Design)

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

FFVII Remake has a few sections where players take control of a different character to Cloud. What was the reason for this?

The original FFVII told a story centred around Cloud and was structured so he would be the main character that the player controlled.

For Remake, we have not changed this basic idea, but each of the other party members also has their own strong personality and many fans, so we wanted to do some fan service and give each one an opportunity to be the star as a playable character.

I feel that this philosophy should not just apply to the first game and should continue into the future games in the series.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Cloud dancing at the Honeybee Inn

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 10 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

The FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Guide Video Series is here!

New to the acclaimed MMORPG? This video series teaches you everything you need to know about the early parts of the game, so you can get straight to the fun!
By Duncan Heaney
FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Guide Series

One of the best things about FINAL FANTASY XIV Online is how welcoming it is.

Whether you’re playing solo at your own pace, or joining friends to adventure together, the game embraces you with open arms - be who you want, and play how you want, it says.

Even so, we also recognise that FINAL FANTASY XIV Online is also a daunting game for some. That’s partly because it’s big - as in REALLY big. With four expansions, deep lore, hundreds of hours of potential playtime and such a massively diverse list of activities to partake in, it feels like it would be hard to know where to even start.

That’s where our Starter Guide video series comes in!


The FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Guide Video Series

This brand new seven-part series guides you through your first steps in the land of Eorzea, and teaches you everything you need to know to hit the ground running. Each video is short and easily-digestible, so it’s worth sparing a few minutes to check them out!

The series itself focuses on a new player called Kaz, and his mentor Mayra. Over the course of the series, you’ll see Kaz develop from fresh-faced adventurer to burgeoning hero - and learn some tips and tricks for the game along the way!

Each episode focuses on a different aspect of the new player experience, teaching you about basic game mechanics, dungeons, boss battles and more. In the first video in the series, “Series Introduction”, Mayra guides you and Kaz gently into the world of FINAL FANTASY XIV Online.

Watch it here:

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Guide Series

The rest of the series can be viewed at https://starter-guide.finalfantasyxiv.com/. Here’s a brief rundown of each episode:

  • Series Introduction - Join veteran adventurer Mayra as she guides new player Kaz to the world of FINAL FANTASY XIV.

  • Episode 1: The Adventure Begins - Kaz creates his character and takes his first steps in Eorzea. Mayra introduces Kaz to the map and different quest types so he can enjoy the main story without getting lost.

  • Episode 2: Meet Your FATE - Mayra introduces Kaz to class quests and how he can unlock different classes starting at level 10. Kaz encounters his first FATE, an open world encounter where everyone nearby can take part.

  • Episode 3: Hall of the Novice - Kaz learns how to organize his cluttered inventory and discovers the Recommended Gear feature. Mayra takes Kaz to the Hall of the Novice where he gets a crash course on party combat and a new set of gear.

  • Episode 4: Do Your Duty - Putting his newly acquired skills to the test, Kaz teams up with Mayra to form a light party via the Duty Finder to tackle his first dungeon. Kaz learns how dungeon rewards are distributed via Need, Greed, and Pass.

  • Episode 5: Trial by Fire - Kaz forms his own party and takes on his first trial: an epic boss battle. As his renown grows, Kaz is recruited by one of three Grand Companies of Eorzea, and unlocks his very own chocobo mount at level 20.

  • Episode 6: The End of the Beginning - Mayra regales Kaz with all he has learned so far and all he still has to look forward to in the Free Trial… and beyond!

Watch the full series here:

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Starter Guide Series

We hope you enjoy the series - it’s packed with information and a lot of fun in its own right. If you want to follow Kaz’s example and step into the world of FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, you should check out the Free Trial.

It lets you play through all the content of A Realm Reborn, and the first expansion Heavensward, and take your character up to level 60. It’s basically the equivalent of two full FINAL FANTASY games - and there’s no restriction on play time either!

Whether you want to play it solo, or join other players, you’re free to play how you like. And considering it’s free, there’s no reason not to give it a go!

If you like what you play (and we have no doubt you will), the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Complete Edition gives you the full experience, including the acclaimed expansions Stormblood, Shadowbringers and Endwalker.


Finally, to stay up to date with news and information about FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, make sure you follow the team on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 8: Budding Bodyguard

We’re taking a deep dive into the eighth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


The rendition of "Flowers Blooming in the Church" that plays throughout this chapter will have brought many players close to tears. How much work and effort goes into recreating a track from the original FFVII as a fully realised orchestrated piece of music?

When I have done arrangements of game music in the past, I naturally copied the musical notation from them as accurately as I could, but for FFVII REMAKE, the focus was instead on whether players hearing the new versions of the tracks in REMAKE would feel the same as the players of the original FFVII did at the time.

There were numerous limitations on the internally generated sound used when the original FFVII was made (such as the number of sounds that could play simultaneously or the restrictions on the tones you could use) and the resources available were stunningly sparse when compared to modern music production, but it was those very restrictions that created such uniquely dynamic and easy to follow music, with incredibly prominent melodies.

I think that there must have been a lot of players who were entranced by that music, including myself. You could even say that it really was the golden age of internally generated game music!

Accordingly, I did not simply switch everything over to using a rich orchestral sound. With my arrangements, I wanted the fans of the original to enjoy the nostalgia of internally generated sound and also for first time players to experience the unique flavour of it too.

The first thing I did for my arrangement of “Flowers Blooming in the Church” was to think about what the players of the original game felt when they heard this track at the time.

If you keep listening to the looping “mi-fa la, mi-fa la” melody created through the PS sound system, it is not only beautiful but also conjures a feeling of great fragility, as if everything could fall apart at any minute. I felt that this emotional response was what impressed itself on the players at the time when they first listened to “Flowers Blooming in the Church” and so set out to create my arrangement with the goal of communicating a sense of “beauty and fragility”.

I tried to insert the essence of decline and deterioration into the piece in various ways. To give some specific examples of the sounds I used, I avoided the gorgeous and imposing sound of a grand piano for the piano sections, and instead chose an older, worn-down piano where the felt of the hammers touched the strings. In the live performances, I also lightly overlapped some sounds that do not match the same pitch over the top of the strings (I kept it to a degree where you really have to listen out to pick up on these touches though).

In actual fact, “Flowers Blooming in the Church” would have a very weak flavour as a full orchestral arrangement and this is also the reason that I kept down the number of different instruments I used on it.

How the music would be played in conjunction with the gameplay flow was also something that I took particular care on. It was structured in a three-stage progression, starting with the short intro loop then moving on to the main section as the conversation with Aerith goes on and finally having extra strings come in subtly as Aerith looks out over the ruins while telling her tale to Cloud.

I structured it in this way to further amplify the essence of what makes “Flowers Blooming in the Church" great by tying it to the beautiful visuals. On the soundtrack the various sections are just played in order, but the whole arrangement is predicated on being played alongside the game, so I would be delighted if players would go back and play through chapter 8 again to pay attention to the music.

Shotaro Shima (Globe Enterbrainz)

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

At this point in the game, why is Cloud already having flash-forwards of events that take place later in the original FFVII's story?

After meeting Aerith on the Sector 8 streets, Cloud also becomes able to see the Whispers. At this point Cloud can see parts of a certain destined future, possibly due to the influence of the interference with his memories. However, that vision only lasts for a second and he is not seeing it in any detail.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Reno is a very fast boss who attacks with a storm of blows. What were the concepts behind the design for Reno as a boss character and his actions in battle? Please could you also let us know if there were any difficulties in the development?

Reno was designed to contrast with Rude, who has a heavy, rooted stance and solid guard, so we defined him with quick, agile movements and evasions. The character has complex motions and movement routes, so it was a challenge to implement proper control for that.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Hiding a piece of materia behind a wall of Whispers was very cheeky. Was the intention that players would think to revisit this area later in the game?

Sorry if it was a bit cheeky! (Laughs)

I think that players who played on hard mode will understand this, but the Chakra materia found here is one that comes into its own when MP are limited, so we felt that there should be a certain difficulty to obtaining all three of them in the game. That is why we decided to hide one of them here.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

It's a very subtle change, but why did the team decide to move away from Cloud using barrels to distract the guards from harming Aerith (in the original FFVII) to having him cut down a chandelier?

This was an area that was very difficult to plan for.

We did consider having Cloud drop barrels exactly like the original but found it very hard to make that look realistic. We were concerned that using barrels could make it feel too comedic in what was supposed to be a serious scene.

At the time we were working on implementing the overhead ladder for Tifa to climb along in the Shinra Building and were experimenting with having Cloud shot at while he was climbing along to increase the tension. It was then that we hit on the idea of having him cut down a chandelier while hanging from the bars.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

The next scene, Cloud and Aerith walking along the rooftops, is perhaps my favourite in the entire game. I've read that Hamaguchi-san has also said the same in the past, why exactly is this your favourite?

I think that this scene really cuts to the essence of what makes a good remake, in that it is something that we were unable to depict in the original game, but that has been made possible by modern technology.

By adding more of a realistic presentation to the section in the original FFVII where Aerith and Cloud simply jump across the rooftops, we were able to show the kind of view that they saw while up there and what they experienced. This allows the player to experience what they would have imagined while playing this section in the original.

I feel that recreating the experiences from the original in this way is the value behind doing a remake and the date with Aerith scene really represents that perfectly, so it is one of my favourites.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

How difficult was it to design the in-game version of Aerith's House? Is this done from scratch based on concept artwork? What special considerations (if any) needed to be made to get it just right?

If we had Aerith's house too cleanly built then it would create a dissonance with how the other residents of the slums live, but we also did not want to break with the design from the original, so we paid special attention to creating the feeling that it is still a corner of the slums while also being a nice house and a pleasant place to live.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director) Mizushi Sugawara (Environment Artwork)

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

In this chapter the player has the option of fighting Shiva in a VR Battle thanks to Chadley, why was the decision made for these fights to be included as VR Battles?

How to handle the summons was something that we were very torn about.

In the FFVII setting, summons are actually knowledge that dissolved into the lifestream in ancient times and the background behind them is not widely known in the world that Cloud and his friends inhabit. We did have the option of digging deeper into that background, but we felt that having that mystery to them worked to keep the summons appealing.

Because of that, we decided that rather than incorporate the summons into the setting in a bigger way, we would instead use them as a gameplay element by allowing the player to engage with them in frenetic battles via Chadley's VR machine as the story progressed.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

The real fun in Whack-a-Box comes from working out the optimal route to get the best prizes. Where did the ideal for this mini-game come from?

There are lots of fans of the original FFVII who feel that having lots of mini games made FFVII what it is, so we set out to have an equivalent number in the remake too.

We decided to create a mini game for the Sector 5 Slum from the start and came up with all kinds of ideas at the planning stage. We also alighted on the concept that it should be something that the children of the slums would play and ran with that.

The idea for Whack-a-Box came from this concept, as something that the energetic slum children would do for fun. There were plenty of other ideas we came up with too, such as one that used the flower cart from Crisis Core, where the player had to navigate it around unstable slum roads without the flowers falling off.

Whack-a-Box was also evolved even further in Intergrade and if we have the opportunity to take it even further in the sequels then I would definitely like to think about doing that too.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Reno from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 9 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 7: A Trap Is Sprung

We’re taking a deep dive into the seventh chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


Please could you tell us the differences in design between Mako Reactor 5 and Mako Reactor 1? What did you pay attention to when trying to differentiate them and what were the reasons behind the differences in the designs?

We created differentiation through the use of different lights in particular. We made it so Reactor 1 uses warmer colours (these are older lights and have a lower energy efficiency) while Reactor 5 uses colder colours (the latest models that are energy efficient) to show the differing ages of the facilities.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Heideggar and President Shinra's appearance in this chapter differs massively from the original FFVII. How did the team decide on turning both into projections?

This was one of the ideas that came up when we tried to update the interpretation of technology from the original for Remake.

The first proposal was just to have them appear on a screen, but we felt it was rather lacking. When old sci-fi films are remade, you often see the UI on the machines changed a lot and for FF7 Remake we also wanted to show how gadgets had evolved in the same way.

The resulting 3D holographic projection allowed us to create a feeling of intimidation and arrogance, and I think it worked great visually.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

In this chapter we see "cutters" that are similar to, but subtly different from the sweeper robots. How do the designs for these kinds of "subspecies" of enemies come about?

The battle planners decide on everything to do with the forms that monsters will take and their movements, including the subspecies we will have, where they will appear in the game and how they will attack etc. We then base our designs on those plans and in this case worked to ensure that the Cutter looked significantly different from the Sweeper in game.

For example, by changing the weapon mounted on the arms from a machinegun to a cutting blade, we not only changed the appearance of the enemy, but also added variation to its movements and how it attacks. (However, if you change a design too much then you will incur higher resourcing costs when creating the model, so you need to be careful)

Masaaki Kazeno (Character Modeling Director)

One thing this chapter does very well is foreshadowing. Why did you want players to see Airbuster early on?

One key feature of the level design for this chapter is how we wanted to make it so that the difficulty of the Airbuster fight changed depending on how the player had tackled the level. From that concept, it was only natural that we thought of adding in foreshadowing and making the player aware of the presence of Airbuster from the start.

The story in this section has the Shinra side working feverishly to get the Airbuster set up, while the player's team tries to disrupt that, so I think we were able to get a good narrative flowing through this section, with a setup, further development of the idea, a twist and a satisfying conclusion.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director (Game Design / Programming))

As someone who was repeatedly frustrated by this, I have to ask… who was responsible for bringing back the mini-game where Cloud, Barret and Tifa have to synchronise disabling the locks? That said, it was delightful to see this homage to the original FFVII. How important was it to ensure that even minor elements like this were brought back from the original FFVII?

When we were sorting out the staff assignments, there happened to be nobody who fit the slot for planning out the Reactor 5 section, so we actually had producer Yoshinori Kitase do the planning for the first part. From that point he had written in the planning documents that he wanted to make the unlocking section into a mini-game.

During development we were always aware that fans would have strong expectations towards how all the mini-games from the original were handled, not just for the unlocking section, but for things like the squats and G-bike too. We also knew that FFVII is associated with having lots of mini-games and unique gimmicks in the dungeons, so we felt a responsibility to meet those expectations, both for Remake and for the subsequent titles as well.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director (Game Design / Programming))

This section sees Cloud’s relationship with Barret soften – he even makes a joke! How difficult was it to develop the friendship between these two very different characters?

After the Reactor 1 bombing mission and Cloud having worked together with Avalanche over the next night, Barret gradually opens up to him. He was actually curious about Cloud from the start but was unable to say anything because of Cloud's aloof behaviour.

The distance between the two of them is reduced when Cloud joins them again for the Reactor 5 mission. It could be that the shared experience and facing danger together on the bombing missions has strengthened the bonds between them. As very different people, they also cover each other’s weaknesses and work well together.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Shinra seems intent on blaming Avalache’s activities on Wutai. Why do they want this so much?

If a war with Wutai erupts then there would be large scale economic effects. The Shinra company is directing this plot to crush two of their foes at once; the nation of Wutai that does not fall under their global control and Avalanche who are engaged in anti-Shinra activities.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Shinra broadcast Barret and Cloud on TV. Did you plan any scenes where they may be recognised by the population?

The TV broadcast was deliberately done in a way that made it impossible to recognise the faces of the Avalanche members in any detail, as its aim was simply to stir up a vague and generalised feeling of societal unease from an anti-Shinra terrorist organisation being on the loose. It was a tactic aimed to strengthen the public's feelings of dependency on Shinra and create a situation where they could be seen to be dealing with any further crimes attributed to Avalanche in a suitable manner.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

The Airbuster music track is absolutely incredible, especially in the way that it's built up of different pieces of music across phases of the battle. How was this piece created from scratch?

What kind of details are shared before composing the track can even begin? Do the music team receive a detailed overview of how the battle is going to plan out, and then create the music from there?

The Airbuster battle is the first time in the original FFVII that the player will hear "Let the Battles Begin".

We did use some of the melodies from it in the area leading up to the fight, but wanted to save the rock guitar arrangement that is closest to the original for the fight itself. We let the composer and arranger, Mr. Makino Tadayoshi, know that the fight would be split into several phases and had him put the music together in a way that would ramp up the excitement as they progressed.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

When Cloud falls, he’s surrounded by Whispers. Is he being saved by them, or is this to signify something else?

Cloud is destined to survive here, so the Whispers are working to maintain that timeline.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 8 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

6 of the best FINAL FANTASY summons

We celebrate a few of the most memorable Espers, Eidolons, Aeons and Eikons in the FINAL FANTASY series and explain what makes them so special.
By Duncan Heaney

What would FINAL FANTASY be without Summons?

Call them Espers, call them Aeons or Eidolons, even Eikons… whatever name they’re currently going by, the ability to call on these powerful entities is one of the most purely awesome things you can do in the series.

Useful too - feeling overwhelmed in a fight? Simply pull a legendary being of ultimate destruction out of your arsenal and watch your enemies fall before you.

There are loads of Summons in the FINAL FANTASY series, and we wanted to highlight just a few of our favorites…


Ifrit

Few summons are as beloved - and iconic - as this raging inferno of flames and fury. His mastery of fire coupled with a… let’s say ‘irritable’ disposition, make him perfect when you want to issue a burn notice on your foes.

Ol’ Iffy - as absolutely nobody calls him - has been present in almost every mainline FINAL FANTASY game since his debut in FINAL FANTASY III. Most recently, he made a triumphant appearance in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, literally diving into battle to let Shinra’s security forces know they’re fired.

His future’s looking pretty bright too - he features heavily in the trailer for FINAL FANTASY XVI. Just one of many reasons it’s among the hottest games coming to the PS5!

Did you know: Ifrit was inspired by a type of Jinn / Djinn from Arabic folklore that embodies fire. He even went by the name Jinn in the original Super Nintendo version of FINAL FANTASY IV!


Shiva

Shiva’s total control over ice makes total sense - she’s effortlessly cool.

Like her counterpart Ifrit, she’s one of the most famous and prolific summons in the entire FINAL FANTASY series. She made her first appearance in FINAL FANTASY III just as fans have come to know her - not really dressed for the weather but powerful enough to give even the strongest of foes the cold shoulder.

Over the years, Shiva’s remained a consistently powerful and popular presence in the series. Whether she’s helping Squall thaw out in FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered, or challenging Yuna in FINAL FANTASY X HD Remaster, we’re always excited to see her… and her iconic Diamond Dust attack!

Did you know: According to FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, Legend has it that Shiva once saved the planet by staunching a catastrophic wound with a massive glacier. Told you she was cool!


Tonberry

We all love tonberries, right?

I mean, yes, we’re deathly afraid of them because they can shuffle us off our mortal coil with one mean-spirited slice of a knife (and boy can they hold a grudge!), but there’s something about their beady eyes and stubby widdle legs that’s just so gosh darn cute!

While you’re most likely to encounter tonberries as enemies…

…or adorable plushies…

...in FINAL FANTASY VIII you can get one as a summonable Guardian Force.

It’s not easy, mind you. First, you must defeat at least 20 tonberries in the dangerous Cetra Ruins area. That’s a slightly terrifying ask in itself, yet it’s still not enough!

To actually claim Tonberry as your own, you must then face off against the Tonberry King… a super-sized, super-stabby psycho with a spectacularly sharp knife.

And yet… he has a little crown. D’awwww.

If you manage to beat the King, you’ll be rewarded with your very own summonable tonberry. It’s so refreshing to have one of these guys on our side for once!

Did you know: The humble tonberry has gone by other names over the course of the series, including Pug (original FINAL FANTASY VI) and the decidedly unflattering Dinglberry (FINAL FANTASY V on PlayStation). That said, a tonberry by any other name is just as butt-clenchingly terrifying.


Odin

When you’re facing off against particularly strong foes, it’s good to have Odin at your back.

This horse-riding warrior specializes in instant kills. Summon him into battle, and he’ll typically use his Zantetsuken move to take out your opponents in a single hit.

The name and function of the move can differ from game to game - it can be called Sword of Vengeance, Atom Edge or Steel Bladed Sword - but the function is the same: take out enemies as quickly and cleanly as possible. He’s very efficient like that.

He’s not always 100% reliable of course (we all have our off days), and he’s usually better at taking out rank and file enemies than bosses. Still, you won’t find many more respected Summons in the entire FINAL FANTASY pantheon.

Did you know: Have you tried facing off against Seifer in FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered with Odin equipped? If not, give it a go - you may be in for a surprise…


Ramuh

If we ever did a list of the top FINAL FANTASY beards, there’s no doubt that this legendary summon would top the list. If that’s all we had to recommend him, it would be enough - but he has something even more impressive - power over thunder and lightning.

Since his debut in FINAL FANTASY III, Ramuh has been leaving his targets shocked and awed but no FINAL FANTASY game captures the power of Ramuh like FINAL FANTASY XV.

When he deigns to make an appearance, the choir starts singing, the sky splits, everything around you is reduced to smoldering embers. It’s an assault on the senses that captures the raw, elemental power of lightning!

Did you know: Ramuh was originally planned to appear in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but was ultimately left out of the game.

Why? Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi, explained to the PlayStation Blog: “Firstly, we thought there would be fans who would like to use Leviathan in Mako Reactor 1 like you could in the demo for the original game.

“Secondly, we also thought that fans would be disappointed if they could not see Bahamut in a FINAL FANTASY game — I know I would be!

“So unfortunately, Ramuh doesn’t appear in the game – but he’ll definitely be in the running next time we make a decision on what Summons to use!”

True to his word, Ramuh did indeed feature as part of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE. He appeared in the Yuffie-centric FF7R EPISODE INTERmission - and I think we'll all agree the Lord of Levin was worth the wait!


Bahamut

Mr Hamaguchi is correct. To not include Bahamut in a FINAL FANTASY game would just feel… wrong. This dragon-like beast is a mainstay of the FINAL FANTASY series, making his legendary debut in the very first game - albeit not as a Summon.

Over the years, he’s been both friend and foe - when he’s on your side he’s a powerful weapon, whose power can turn the tide of battle. Even when he’s not the strongest Summon, he’s definitely up there near the top of the list.

When he’s against you though… let’s just say that tonberries suddenly don’t seem seem so bad.

Whichever role he’s currently playing, Bahamut is a true icon of the FINAL FANTASY series - an iconic figure who struts his stuff with mega-flair.

Did you know: Bahamut has appeared in every mainline FINAL FANTASY game… except one - the big-winged wonder sat out FINAL FANTASY II.


Those were just a few of the FINAL FANTASY Summons that we love to… well, summon. But we’re sure you have your own favorites - why not share your own picks with us on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 6: Light the Way

We’re taking a deep dive into the sixth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania
Cloud using fire magic on a monster

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

Over the coming months we’ll be revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


The track "Tightrope" plays during this chapter of the game, originally featured in the State of Play trailer in 2019, when FFVII Remake returned to the public domain. Was this one of the first pieces of music completed for the game?

This was the very first track that we created. Originally it was made with a sense of searching for what would fit with the feeling of suspense from the new battle music played in dungeons and this particular arrangement. After it was used in the trailer we decided to have it play on the Sector 4 plate.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

Tifa quotes one of President Shinra's speeches during the chapter, so we assume it must have made quite an impression on her. Is President Shinra the type of leader who makes grand speeches and is there a particular reason that this speech remained in Tifa's memory?

Not just Tifa, but the lives of everyone living in Midgar relies on Shinra. The minor, government PR style pronouncements to the citizens about everyday matters are entrusted to mayor Domino and the leaders of the various Shinra divisions, but the president himself will appear for issues that are important to the company.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

The scene where the three characters must pass in front of the giant fan felt really nerve wracking and gave the sense that they could be blown away at any minute! What did you do to give the feeling that Cloud and the gang are being buffeted by immense wind pressure and what kind of wind speeds are actually involved here?

The visuals are based on a wind speed of around 20mps. The movement is all simulated, but because the standard way that hair and clothing is blown around was fine-tuned based on the light to medium wind speeds used in most of the game, we could not get what we wanted here by just upping the wind speed used in the simulation.

For special situations like when they were in front of the fan, we individually set the movements for each part of each character, such as their skirts and belts etc. to give us the kind of extreme windblown effect we were after.

Yoshiyuki Soma (Animation Director)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

As you are passing through this zone, you see the slums of Midgar beneath you. It feels like you are pretty high up, so were there any special tricks or techniques used to give the player that feeling of height when creating the effects and the far-off vistas?

We tweaked and adjusted the feeling of space between the plate interior and the slums below numerous times as we play tested the area.

If the air were too clear then it would actually feel closer, but if it was too foggy then you would lose the details of the town below and it would not feel that high up either, so we strived to find the right point between those two extremes.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

The benches that appear around Midgar are a nice touch. Were there any other concepts put forward for what these rest points could have looked like?

I personally pushed to have the benches and vending machines myself (Laughs)

As a part of the mechanics of the game system, it would normally be best for an element like this to stand out a bit (to make it visible) but I thought that we needed to go for that subtle line of abstraction where they didn't feel completely lacking in reality either.

They were to be presented in a warm and inviting way to get across that these are rest stops, so we decided early on in development to go with the benches and vending machines.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director (Game Design / Programming)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

Barret mentions the smell of mako. Is this something the development team have thought about before? What exactly does mako smell like…?

I think that smells will stay as something that is very difficult for players to experience, even after games have evolved into virtual reality. So, this is something I want to leave to everyone's imagination.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

Who had the idea for Barret's treasure song? How did that come about and eventually make it into the final script?

Barret's voice actor sometimes ad-libbed the lines by giving them a melody in his performance. There were times when we added in new lines for game design reasons as we continued to record the dialogue, and we added in more lines that were to be spoken with a melody then.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

The design of the terrain in this chapter feels really detailed. What kind of ideas went into the structuring of the map and what difficulties were there in realising the final design?

The 3D artist in charge of this section loves mechanical things, so he was able to put his knowledge and imagination to good use when coming up with ideas. What we had trouble with was making the complex and convoluted structure of the area easily visible and possible to be navigated without frustration.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

The EX Quest where you have to stop the ventilation system and eradicate the enemies within one minute is probably the first time in the game where players are set a difficult challenge in battle. What was the thinking behind setting the time limit at one minute, the number of enemies to have and how to balance the difficulty here?

As this is a side quest that is not required for the player to complete, we decided to make it somewhat of a challenge.

We set the difficulty so you would not be able to get through it unless you aim to use a solid strategy, exploiting the elemental weaknesses and stagger mechanics etc.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

Please could you tell us about the thinking behind the effects used in this chapter? For example, fire exists in the real world, but it is not magical fire, so how do you approach the line between reality and fantasy in its depiction?

Keeping too close to reality would make it dull, but having it too fantastical would stand out from the photorealistic style of the game, so how do you try to achieve the right balance here?

The same shader is used for both real fire and magical fire, so the photorealistic approach does not change.

However, for real fire we do consider factors like the smoke and ash, as well as what the fuel causing it to burn is.

For magical fire we use elements such as emissive particles and aura like effects to make it appear dazzling and present the flames in a fantastical way.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

Cloud using fire magic on a monster

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 7 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

What’s in the first expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN?

Trials of the Dragon King adds loads of new content to the action RPG! We take a closer look at what to expect from the expansion!
By Duncan Heaney
Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

The first expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN launches July 20, 2022, and it’s called: Trials of the Dragon King.

If you’re a FINAL FANTASY fan, you may already have an inkling as to who that Dragon King may be…

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

The new expansion adds loads of new content to the game, including new missions, a new weapon type, three spectacular new jobs that use it, deeper equipment and character customization options, and a higher difficulty mode!

Read on and we’ll take a closer look at what’s coming, starting with the story…


WARNING: Please note that Trials of the Dragon King takes place after the main game, so there are spoilers in this article.


The Story

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

After countless deaths, countless cycles, a man assumed the mantle of the dark god of chaos and seized the very power of creation.

All this was according to plan - a meticulously orchestrated scheme to shatter the shackles that the Lufenians had placed upon the world, and free Cornelia from their grasp.

His first task complete, he sets the wheels of a new design in motion. Across time eternal, he and his allies would nurture and guide heroes worthy of the title of Warriors of Light - just as a friend had once guided him and his comrades.

For in the end, it is only the light that can sever the fetters of the past and lead the world to a brighter dawn.


Characters

There are some new characters in Trials of the Dragon King that… well, let’s just say that you may have heard of them.

Here’s a closer look:

Bahamut

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Bahamut is the king that rules over dragonkind. It sets trials for the brave and awards them titles.

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

It takes an interest in Jack and the others and lends them its counsel and strength.

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Warrior of Light

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

The Warriors of Light appear in Cornelia.

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

They fight to restore the light to the crystals and save the world.

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

New Job and Weapon

The first expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN equips Jack with a new weapon and a new job chain, giving him excitingly fresh new ways to smash his foes into crystal.

New Weapon: Staff

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Staves are striking weapons that attack enemies over a wide area by adjusting the length of the weapon.

During a normal combo, you can perform thrust attacks or an upward attack.

A thrust attack closes distance, while an upwards strike increases the distance between you and your enemy. By using the best strike for different situations, you can turn the battle to your advantage.

New job: Pilgrim

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Pilgrims can use their job action to perform an assault hook, which changes the length of the staff and grabs an enemy.

This job is all about setting up advantageous situations in battle - depending on how you use the staff you can leap towards the enemy or bring them close to you.

New job: Evoker

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

With this job, you can use the Job Action Evoke to summon a spirit to aid you in battle. This spirit will automatically attack your foes and can also unleash special abilities on command.

It provides backup as you fight - for example, its blast wave staggers enemies, shackle seals enemy movement, Interrupt delays enemy actions and heal restores the HP of you and nearby allies.

New Job: Summoner

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Summoners can use their Job Action - Summon - to call Bahamut into battle!

While the Dragon King is active, your MP and max MP will continually decrease, but you can control Bahamut and its powerful abilities.

Depending on the amount of maximum MP that has been consumed, Bahamut will be able to use megaflare, gigaflare, and exaflare. All of its attacks are extremely powerful, with a wide area of effect, making them highly effective when you’re surrounded by enemies.

You can increase the duration of the summon by attacking enemies to restore your MP.


New mechanics

Trials of the Dragon King adds new features that give you even more options when it comes to customizing your build. These additions are only available when you have completed the original game’s story, and include:

New Equipment Category: Accessories

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Accessories are a new type of equipment that can boost stats, grant special abilities and much more.

Some of these special abilities can’t be gotten from weapons or armor, and some even let you use specific abilities like enemy skills!

One accessory can be equipped to each battle set.

Chaos Equipment

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Equipment found while playing on HARD or higher difficulty may be imbued with powerful ‘Chaos’ abilities

These are stronger than regular special abilities and grant effects such as increased damage against specific enemies.

The higher the difficulty level, the greater your chance to obtain chaos equipment - but the reward is worth the risk!

Changing Classes

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Trials of the Dragon King adds the ability to change classes from the job tree screen. There are two different classes available to choose between: Evocation and Ultima. Each empowers certain job actions in different ways.

Using a “Rat Tail” on the class tree screen will also allow you to learn new abilities.

Changing characters

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Want to play as Jed, Ash, Neon and Sophia outside of multiplayer? In the latest update coming to Trials of the Dragon King, you'll now be able to choose whether you fight as Jack or another of his recruited warriors.

Note that the character’s appearance will change in gameplay, but not cutscenes.


Additional missions and difficulty

This first expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN adds a new difficulty setting: BAHAMUT.

On BAHAMUT difficulty, the Bahamut tab will be added to the game menu. This contains three options:

Trials of the Dragon

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

During these trials, you’ll be forced to fight under a variety of disadvantageous effects. However, when you complete the test, you’ll earn valuable dragon treasures.

What’s more, raising your trial rank makes it easier to obtain powerful chaos equipment.

Exchange Shop

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Dragon treasures earned in trial can be traded for items and equipment at the Exchange Shop.

The Exchange Shop’s stock can be refreshed and clearing a certain number of missions will increase the number of times you can do this.

Conversations with Bahamut

Bahamut in the Trials of the Dragon King expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

New conversations with Bahamut will be unlocked as you complete dragon king trials. Conversations with Bahamut will unlock new missions and progress the main story.


How to get the Trials of the Dragon King expansion

Trials of the Dragon King is the first expansion for STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN and is included in the game’s Season Pass. It is not available to purchase separately.

The Season Pass will include three expansions in total:

  • Trials of the Dragon King (releasing July 20, 2022)
  • Wanderer of the Rift (coming soon)
  • DIFFERENT FUTURE (coming soon)

The Season Pass is available to purchase from July 20, 2022


We hope you enjoyed this brief look at the Trials of the Dragon King expansion, and that you’re looking forward to grabbing a stave and jumping into the action!

To stay up to date with information about this and the other upcoming expansions, be sure to follow us on social media:

Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 5: Dogged Pursuit

We’re taking a deep dive into the fifth chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

Over the coming months we’ll be revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out previous chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…


How is the Shinra Middle Manager on the train so brave and able to stand up to Barret, who looks twice his size and has a gun for a hand?!

That kind of willpower is the "Shinra Spirit".

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Barret hums the traditional Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare as his conversation with Cloud concludes, which was a nice easter egg for fans (who may have also heard it during Chapter 1). Why was this added into the script?

Barret gives a rendition of the fanfare with his prized humming skills when victorious in battle. This humming was added into to the dialogue in places to show different sides of Barret, such as when he was in a good mood and when he was just flaking out a bit.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

The motion for peeling away the grashtrike hives feels so real and you get a great sense of the stickiness and viscosity. Are these kind of imaginative touches all created through the sensitivity of the individual motion artists?

The different motions are designed by the individual animators using their own ingenuity to try and match with the characters personalities, while the team leader occasionally checks over and manages the whole picture. Accordingly, each team member needs to exercise their own creative sensibility.

A lot of the way the peeling motion looked came from how the hives themselves were depicted, and it shows how the collaboration between each section of the development team comes together across the whole game to produce great results.

Yoshiyuki Soma (Animation Director)

Tifa must have been a difficult character to balance alongside Cloud and Barret given that she is so quick, mobile, and able to quickly build up the damage multiplier on staggered enemies, how was this achieved in FFVII Remake?

We wanted to create a fun battle system where the player would get enjoyment in lots of different ways from changing between characters as they fought, so we were very particular about differentiating the situations when each character would come into their own.

It was comparatively easy to differentiate Cloud, Barret, and Aerith, but we had to think extremely hard about what defining characteristics we should give Tifa.

I think that we managed to add depth to Tifa's mechanics by tying her abilities to the burst system that is one of the core pillars of FF7R's battles.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

In this very combat-heavy chapter of FFVII Remake players have access to Cloud, Barret, and Tifa. While playing the game, which character do you tend to gravitate towards using?

As you might expect, we put the battles in this chapter together with the expectation that players would be using Cloud a lot, as the story does centre around him.

However, which character a player uses the most will differ depending on their play style and other preferences, so we designed it to work regardless of who you favour.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Where within the Shinra Electric Power Company did the original design of Stamp come from?

The character of Stamp was first designed as part of a public relations exercise to fire the public's morale when the war between Shinra and Wutai broke out. It is not public knowledge, but there is a rumour that Stamp is based on a doodle that Palmer drew at the time his space exploration division was being downsized.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

What can you tell us about some of the graffiti which appears in this zone? Where does it come from and are there any specific meanings behind each piece?

This area is a sprawling maze of tracks and a dangerous hotbed of monsters and the graffiti is drawn by hot-blooded young punks who sneak into the area to prove their bravery and acts as proof of their bravado.

The 2D design team and localisation team came up with ideas for what it would say, trying to get into the heads of the young daredevils and create the kinds of messages and pictures that they would want to leave here.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

The music that plays during the Crab Warden battle is an arrangement of the battle theme from the original FFVII, why was this theme chosen as the basis for this battle, and not, for example, the boss battle theme from FFVII, or an entirely new piece?

In the original FFVII there was only one main boss battle theme, but that would not be enough when aligned with a modern game design, so for Remake we added in new boss music. However, if all of these additional boss fight tracks were completely new music then it would not tie-in to people’s memories of the original, so we created lots of different arrangements of "Those who Fight" and "Let the Battles Begin" to use here.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

When the train passes through the spiral tunnel, the player's viewpoint (the camera) shakes with the vibrations, giving an amazing sense of immersion in the world. How do these little touches come about? Are they envisaged and planned from the start, or do they come about through a process of trial and error?

We did set out the concept of making the player feel a sense of trepidation at moving along the tracks, but also thought that fans would not want to have Cloud hit by a train if they messed up…

So we decided to create a feeling of realism as the trains went thundering past and proactively incorporated various supporting touches with the lights, sound effects and the camera vibration. We also did detailed calculations of the player's position and the timing when a train would come past, to make sure that they only appeared at points where you could not be run over, regardless of how you control the characters.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director (Game Design / Programming)

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 6 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

For news and updates on anything Final Fantasy VII related, make sure you follow us on social media:

7 of the best black mages and spellcasters in Square Enix games

Fireballs, thunderbolts and much more: let’s celebrate the some of the best spellcasters in all of gaming!
By Duncan Heaney
Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Earlier this year, we showcased some of our favorite white mages and healers in games (read that here!).

Today, let’s take a look at a role that’s a bit more… destructive.

Every RPG party needs an offensive spellcaster. The ability to pepper enemies with magic attacks is not only useful, it’s also just plain cool.

You could say the same about the ones doing the casting - whether you call them wizards, witches, or black mages, they’re some of the most memorable in their games.

Here are just seven of our favorites:


Veronica - DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Veronica is a powerful mage whose temperament is as incendiary as a Frizz spell.

A run-in with the forces of darkness leaves her trapped in the body of a little girl, but thanks to the Luminary’s help, she’s able to restore her magical power. Along with her sister Serena, she accompanies the Luminary on his journey to defeat the Lord of Shadows.

And we’re glad she does. Veronica’s magical might lets her cast a wide variety of powerful spells. She can even sap an enemy’s defenses and agility!

She may not always be the politest member of the group, but she’s a welcome reminder that sometimes good things really do come in small packages.


Palom (and Porom) - FINAL FANTASY IV pixel remaster

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Considering their young age, you might assume that these twins would be unable to fling a fire spell without setting their own hair alight. I mean, have you seen a six-year old try to do… anything?

Yet Palom and Porom are each intensely powerful mages in their own right. And together they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Of course, only Palom is a black mage, but to separate him from his white mage sister just felt wrong. Not only do they enhance each other’s magic, they balance each other’s personalities too.

For example, Palom may be a little kid, but has a big ego. It’s always good to have his ‘older’ sister around him to knock him down a peg when necessary. That’s what siblings are for, right?


Jack - STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Hold on you confusing, yet surprisingly insightful blog monkey!” I hear you cry. “You put Jack in your list of white mages too! What gives!?

As I said then, the protagonist of STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN is a Jack of all trades - he’s able to take on multiple jobs from the FINAL FANTASY series, including the Black Mage.

This job lets him fire off black magic spells, from Fire to devastating Firaga. In fact, when it comes to pure, unfettered destruction, Jack’s among the best. We’ve all seen a mage cast Blizzaga at a foe for massive damage, but how many can follow up by turning them into crystal and crushing them beneath their heel?

Brutal, yes, but oh-so effective.


Lulu - FINAL FANTASY X HD

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Lulu may initially come across as intimidating - she’s stern, reserved and could flash-fry you with a single wiggle of a cuddly moogle. That’s if she doesn’t cut you down to size with some scathing words first.

Yet beneath that composed exterior is a kind-hearted, witty, and supportive, black mage who will stop at nothing to protect her friends. Even though she’s still recovering from personal tragedy, she steps up to guide and support Yuna during her Pilgrimage to defeat the murderously moist Sin.

She’s equally valuable in combat too. The monsters of Spira can be very tough and swords or spears won’t always cut it. Lula’s devastating magic is essential to your success - even the most armored foes don’t enjoy a lightning bolt to the face.

And she does all this while wielding some of the most adorable weapons in FINAL FANTASY history. What a class act.


Pyromancer - Outriders

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Wait! Before you all rush to Twitter to tell us (I assume very politely) why Outriders are in no way mages actually, allow me to state my case.

The Pyromancer is a class in the game that has the ability to control perhaps the most traditionally wizard-friendly element of all: fire.

If you go Pyromancer, you can set foes alight, blow them up with powerful thermal explosions… even summon a literal volcano to rain hot lava down upon them.

Okay, so maybe it’s not ‘magic’ in the traditional sense, but if that’s not traditional mage schtick, I don’t know what is.

Not even remotely coincidentally, Outriders Worldslayer is out now. It’s the ultimate form of Outriders, featuring a whole new campaign (plus the original story is also included), a fascinating villain, deep new endgame content, and a host of tweaks and new systems that make your sort-of-black-mage-like powers even more… well, powerful.


Y’shtola - FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Y’shtola hasn’t always walked the path of black magic - when we first meet her in FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, she’s a healer all the way.

But during the Shadowbringers expansion, the cultured conjurer undergoes an unexpected career change and becomes a black magic-casting sorceress instead.

Whichever role she uses, Y’shtola has a curious and insightful nature, and a commitment to justice that serves her well as one of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. She’s one of the most steadfast allies to the Warrior of Light and has steered them right through many adventures.

She can hold her own in battle too, and thanks to the Trust system, which lets you play through Shadowbringers and Endwalker dungeons solo with prominent NPCs from the story instead of fellow players, you can also take advantage of her incredible destructive abilities!


Vivi - FINAL FANTASY IX

Vivi from FINAL FANTASY IX

Vivi may have awesome power, but as far as we’re concerned, he’s a special treasure who must be protected.

Perhaps the feeling’s to be expected - FINAL FANTASY IX puts poor Vivi through the wringer. The lonely little mage is tricked, his search for identity leads him to an existential crisis, and even worse, he has to deal with that EXPLETIVE DELETED skipping rope.

That he’s able to emerge from his trials a stronger, more confident person is a testament to his strength of character - and his skill as a spellcaster.

In fact, Vivi is a true black mage through and through. Not only is his design a callback to the original FINAL FANTASY, his awesome of spells can devastate the many misty monsters that move against him.

This contrast between destructive power and a humble nature is just one reason Vivi’s such a fan-favorite character. He’s the little mage that could.


Those were just a few of Square Enix’s superb spellcasters, but we’re sure you have thoughts of your own.

Share this blog on Facebook and Twitter, and let’s get the conversation going!