What a time to be a fan of a specific video game franchise! Yes, you read the headline correctly, with yesterday's announcement of Dissidia: Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, it means that Square Enix has announced twelve, yes TWELVE Final Fantasy games in the past twelve months. That's a new game announced every month - just wrap your head around that for a second.
Before we get onto what those twelve games are, let's just take a step back. Can you think of another publisher who could even fathom announcing twelve games from just one of their franchises in a single year? And that's not forgetting all the other games they've announced in the past year from their other studios... like Deux Ex Mankind Divided (plus Deus Ex Go), Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue.
If we extended the timeline a little, we could also include World of Final Fantasy and the Final Fantasy VII Remake (both announced at E3 2015) and the the Western localisation of Final Fantasy Explorers. But, 14 games in 15 months wouldn't be quite as punchy now, would it?
We could also have included Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV and some very much related Final Fantasy games like Bravely Second: End Later (Western release announced) and Samurai Rising, but we wanted to be fair.
So, without much further ado, let's get onto the twelve games that have been announced in the last twelve months, starting with...!
Final Fantasy Type-0 Online
Platforms?: Mobile, PC
When Was It Announced?: 19th Sept, 2015 (Tokyo Game Show 2015!)
Has It Released?: Nope! (it's in beta testing)
The announcement of Final Fantasy Type-0 Online was a rather confusing one, as it rose from the ashes of Final Fantasy Agito+ like a phoenix!
You see, Final Fantasy Agito+ had been announced for PlayStation Vita the year before and was due to release on the 15th January, 2015. When the date came, it didn't ever materalise... much like the announced Western port of Final Fantasy Agito!
In the build-up to Tokyo Game Show 2015 over half a year later, Square Enix announced that they would be starting afresh with a "reborn" version of Final Fantasy Agito. During the show, they announced Agito+ had been cancelled and the arrival of Type-0 Online came two days later. It's being developed by Perfect World and has been going through testing in the Chinese market this year.
It's also been scheduled for a Western release... but we'll hold our breath on that one while we wait for the originally promised Final Fantasy Agito to materalise.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Part Two + Three (Counted As Two Games!)
When Was It Announced?: 7th Dec, 2015
Has It Released?: Nope! (and who knows when it will! Place your bets!)
Let's be honest, when the Final Fantasy VII Remake was announced at E3 2015, the internet pretty much lost its shit. There had been so much hype around a game that may or may not happen, that even though it was leaked a day before, fans still were beside themselves with excitement when the announcement did, in fact, materialise during the Sony press conference! Sure, it didn't reach Shenmue 3 levels of meltdown/happiness, but it was still pretty fucking awesome when people figured out just what those swirly green lines were!
We have since learnt, through an interview with Kitase and Nomura, that the game won't be a self-contained experience. No, instead it will be told through multiple parts (NO, IT'S NOT EPISODIC!), each of which will be treated as a separate game with 40-50 hours of main story gameplay (and then side-quests thrown on top!). Think of it like the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy, except with them looking to retaining the quality of the original game.
I've counted this as two games because it's safe to assume there will be a Part Two and Part Three thanks to Kitase's Final Fantasy XIII comparison. But who knows, there may even be a fourth part. It just depends on how much they want to
milk the heck out of it expand on the original scenario with creative storytelling.
Final Fantasy IX (Remaster)
Platforms?: Mobile, PC
When Was It Announced?: 3rd Jan, 2016
Has It Released?: Yep! (albeit in stages)
Square Enix kicked 2016 off with a bang when they announced Final Fantasy IX for PC and mobile on the 3rd January! This was quite a big deal, as it wasn't just going to be a simple port of the original PSX title; Final Fantasy IX was getting remastered. It also meant that a rather strange trilogy would be completed, as Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII received PC versions in tandem with the original game, but when it came to Final Fantasy IX, Squaresoft decided against it.
It's kind of harsh, but as seems to quite often be the case when games involve Square Enix Japan and the PC, there did end up being complications. The mobile version released on both iOS and Android only a month after it was announced, but there was absolute silence on when the PC version would arrive. That was, until rumours whirled around on the 14th Apr, 2016 that Final Fantasy IX would become available on Steam very soon. Those rumours turned out to be true and we were finally able to view those glorious upscaled FMV sequences on PC!
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival
When Was It Announced?: 12th Feb, 2016
Has It Released?: Nope! (releasing 27th Sept, 2016)
With Dissidia: Final Fantasy Arcade out in the wild, Square Enix decided that they wanted a bigger piece of the arcade action by announcing Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival just a few months later.
Featuring an all-new control scheme that makes use of both hands and the potential for co-op, All-Star Carnival should be a significant amendment to the Theatrhythm franchise, at least when it comes to gameplay. However, unlike its bigger arcade brother, there is almost zero hype concerning a Western release of this game on consoles, handheld or otherwise. But, it's hardly surprising when you consider that there's actually less content packed into this experience than Curtain Call.
We just have to keep reminding ourselves that it's all about the unique gameplay... and the experience of playing in arcades, which many people are sure to do, if only for the novelty!
Justice Monsters Five
When Was It Announced?: 31st Mar, 2016 (during Uncovered)
Has It Released?: Nope! (should be out 30th Aug, 2016)
Oh Justice Monsters Five. You aren't even out yet and you've already been through more public turmoil in five months than most games do in their entire lifetime.
Announced as a companion game to Final Fantasy XV during Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, Justice Monsters Five was slated to arrive at some point during 2016 on mobile devices - fair enough. But, only two months later Square Enix revealed that they had encountered technical issues during development. It meant they wouldn't be able to release the game as early as they'd hoped, but would share the release date during E3 2016.
It was therefore a bit perplexing that by the time E3 2016 finished, we'd heard absolutely nothing about Justice Monsters Five.
Taking to Twitter a few weeks later, the development team said that the game was due to release at the "end of August, 2016", but wouldn't give a specific date. As of today, they've said it will arrive on the 30th August, 2016
Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius
When Was It Announced?: 10th May, 2016
Has It Released?: Yep!
Ok, so this one is a slight grey area. The game was announced quite some time ago for the Japanese market (6th Apr, 2014) and released on 22nd Oct, 2015, but technically it was announced for Western release in the past twelve months.
It was, in reality, a quick and efficient release cycle. Following its announcement, the game was showcased at E3 2016 and released with no complications six weeks later on the 30th Jun, 2016 for both iOS and Android.
If you're interested in checking out, I recommend you read our review.
Mobius: Final Fantasy
When Was It Announced?: 4th June, 2016
Has It Released?: Yep!
The announcement of Mobius: Final Fantasy for Western audiences was rather strange to say the least. Instead of coming through traditional channels, it was subtly dropped into an update that appeared on the Final Fantasy Portal App.
Yoshinori Kitase, the game's producer, was speaking as part of the 1st anniversary celebration for Mobius in Japan. He mentioned that localisation was coming along well and that the game would be available in the not-so-distant future. An official announcement with a pre-order campaign followed soon after, but due to the close proximity of the announcement against that of Brave Exvius, it didn't get anywhere near the same treatment.
Not only did Mobius: Final Fantasy skip E3 2016, while Brave Exvius was available to play on the show floor, the pre-registration campaign seemed something of an afterthought. Upon smashing the original tiers, the website was updated with a short messaging stating that the team were surprised by the level of interest and that they'd have to look into adding more bonuses in the near future as a thank you to fans.
The game has since released on the 3rd Aug, 2016 to a rather glorious fanfare.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
When Was It Announced?: 6th June, 2016
Has It Released?: Nope! (scheduled for 2017)
Perhaps they were just sick of leaks, but Square Enix decided to jump the gun on almost everything at E3 2016. Not only did we get a release date for World of Final Fantasy before the show even started, they made an awful lot of English people spit out their morning tea when they announced Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. And no, we aren't counting Arnie Roth's unfortunate faux pas as the announcement of this game.
As many had hoped, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age isn't just a straight remaster of the original title. Square Enix are using this opportunity to allow non-Japanese gamers to experience Final Fantasy XII: International Zodiac Job System for the first time and we couldn't be more excited! Well, as a vocal critic of Final Fantasy XII I probably could be more excited, but I am willing to bury the hatchet and give it the fresh pair of eyes when this releases next year.
A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV
Platforms?: PS4, Xbox One
When Was It Announced?: 14th June, 2016
Has It Released?: Nope! (scheduled for 29th Nov, 2016)
Without wanting to sound too harsh, the handling of A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV has been a bit of a mess. Not only did Square Enix choose to skip announcing it with everything else at Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV, when it was announced, it was revealed that it would be a pre-order bonus that was limited to specific retailers.
This, as you'd imagine, led to quite a lot of frustration and confusion. Anyone who wanted to play this game and had pre-ordered Final Fantasy XV straight after Uncovered was left to go through the annoyance of switching over their pre-order to new retailers. This fate was even dealt to those who had bought through the Square Enix store. Those who had pumped up for the Ultimate Collector's Edition were then told it wouldn't be included in that version of the game. What's the big deal, you might ask? Well, as far as we know, you can ONLY receive this game by pre-ordering through select retailers - there's no other way. But hey, if you've put down $270 for the Ultimate Collector's Edition, what's another $60 on top?
Aside from that, the game has some promise. It will follow the escapades of King Regis and his former band of brothers (Clarus Amicitia, Cid Sophiar and Weskham Armaugh) in a non-canon, dream-based narrative set 30 years before the events of Final Fantasy XV.
We'll just have to wait and see whether we end up lamenting the convolution of actually being able to play the game when it releases alongside Final Fantasy XV in November.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (Expansion Two)
Platforms?: PS4, PC
When Was It Announced?: 24th June, 2016
Has It Released?: Nope!
Even though the official name of Final Fantasy XIV's second expansion hasn't been given, YoshiP revealed in an interview with Game Watch that development is very much underway and that we can expect further details during the October Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival in Las Vegas.
Now, I appreciate that a) this isn't a standalone game and b) it hasn't been named yet, so therefore isn't "official", but to that I say baloney! With the amount of sheer content they threw into Heavensward, we can assume this next expansion will be more of the same, so it very much warrants a place on this list. And with YoshiP quite openly talking about its existence, I'm happy to take that as an official announcement.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy Opera Omnia
When Was It Announced?: 27th Aug, 2016
Has It Released?: Nope! (due in 2016)
With everything else announced in the past twelve months, and with games such as World of Final Fantasy on the horizon, the appearance of Dissidia: Final Fantasy Opera Omnia yesterday was quite a surprise to say the least. I don't think anyone was expecting it, but really, we should know better at this point!
Not only does Opera Omnia act as a spin-off to the Dissidia: Final Fantasy franchise, which is a spin-off itself, it's another game that will feature an assortment of Final Fantasy characters in a turn-based RPG format (albeit integrating Dissidia features such as Brave). Over-saturation was what initially came to mind, but at the same time, it does look rather adorable!
Yes, it still has the annoyance of Cloud Strife being front and centre on all the promotional artwork, but they've also showcased characters such as Rem, Yuffie, Hope, Seifer, Steiner, Sazh and even Yda. That in itself makes the game appealing to me, but in truth we know little about this game at the moment.
It has been pinned down for a 2016 release in Japan, but given Square Enix's recent track record with Final Fantasy mobile titles it's also unlikely we'll see it for about a year anyway. We can get more excited about it when that Western release announcement comes... if, of course, another 10 games haven't been announced that look even better in the meantime!
So that's twelve Final Fantasy games that have been announced in the last twelve months. Which are you most excited for and/or have enjoyed the most?