It’s been a few months since we’ve heard anything important from Square-Enix on Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin, but with the game March 18 out soon, there’s still work to be done to win over fans of the role-playing franchise. Thankfully, in our latest interview with Square Enix, Ninja Team, and Koei-Tecmo, Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin looking to go big and hopefully not at home.
Honoring us once again with their presence, director Daisuke Inoue and producer Jin Fujiwara from Square Enix and Fumihiko Yasuda from Koei Tecmo, and like this alliance of creative talents, the Warriors of Light from Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin are more than about Jack Garland,
In fact, aside from some of the group members who have been revealed, others are apparently set to join the crew in the fight against Chaos. How they figure into the story remains a mystery, with Inoue keen to maintain that plotline, but it goes without saying that all five main protagonists will figure prominently in the events of this retelling of a classic.
“We wanted to make sure there was a good amount of story, but still exhilarating as an action game,” Fujiwara said. “And so, we thought about how to portray this journey of Jack Garland becoming the villain and approached the story and tried to bring some originality to it.”
This obviously goes beyond the narrative part of Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin, with combat a particular area where they will also shine. When exploring the setup of a party going up against the enemy, the team had to strike a balance so as not to make the game too easy or too difficult, and that was a big challenge.
“We conducted two different user tests and received feedback from players on how this type of system works. We use a system called the Resonance System where the player character kind of interacts with the NPCs and the AI with them, so they sort of balance themselves out so the AI isn’t too strong. But it’s also balanced enough not to lose interactivity,” Inoue explained.
If you didn’t already know, players could only take control of Garland only, but with the various jobs to choose from, during the main story. However, if you’re sticking with that direction, the team is also working on a planned multiplayer mode, but details won’t come until the following months.
Of course, the most obvious change to the Final Fantasy formula comes in the form of an increased focus on action, and with that comes a double-edged sword. How it works Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin cater to old-school RPG fans, while ensuring the barriers of entry remain accessible for newcomers to the action genre?
Having delivered tastes of nioh and its impressive sequel, having both Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja as part of the creative process certainly helps, but it’s the reunion of old favorites like the aforementioned job system that makes the magic happen.
“With Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin, he is still Final Fantasy. So we have the job system, and we also incorporate a party system with your NPCs. And at the same time, we want to provide a challenging battle, which gives a sense of accomplishment if you beat the boss,” the trio explained.
“We encourage people to try it and then do some trial and error, and if they still feel like it’s too hard, there’s also the story mode difficulty. You will need to be very strategic about which jobs you use to enter battle, using the RPG elements of the game”
The developers revealed that if players are skilled enough, they could actually outrun the entire game with a single job, though the bosses will require more tact than sheer brute force. Still, if you’re a glutton for punishment, completing the game once will unlock an extra difficulty after hard mode, so you’ll have that to look forward to as well.
As parting advice, Fujiwara recommends that players not only try out the works, but also seek out as many gear and equipment available in Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin. Not only will this make you more powerful, but it will also pave the way for you to take advantage of the work system that has been put in place.
While we’re still around two months away from launch, the cautious optimism surrounding this latest entry into the Final Fantasy family has given way to more enjoyable anticipation as we begin to peel back the layers. It remains to be seen how much the majority of fans think of this departure from franchise staples, but if you can give it a shot, there’s every hope that Stranger from Heaven: Final Fantasy Origin will surprise you in the best way.
Jake is a full-time trophy hunter and collector of console achievements, and part-time victim of the Steam Sale. He has a thing for Batman and impressive statues, and lacks space for both. Send help.
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