Final Fantasy Needs A Dynasty Warriors Game Already

Musou crossovers are nothing new, and they’re almost always more engaging than the mainline Dynasty Warriors games that inspired them. Age of Calamity was a wondrous expansion to Breath of the Wild’s universe that wasn’t afraid to further explore characters and narrative, while Fire Emblem Warriors managed to combine the relationship building of the RPG franchise with an absurd number of playable heroes each with their own distinct weapons and mechanics. Persona 5 Strikers was brilliant too, and arguably the deepest we’ve ever seen the musou genre venture into role-playing territory.

The examples are countless, because the musou template often benefits when it has an existing genre to combine itself with. Such a trend means that Final Fantasy would be the perfect fit, with the JRPG franchise having several decades of history to delve into when crafting a universe-hopping action adventure crammed with welcome excess. The potential is there, and my heart aches as another day passes without this becoming a reality. I think we’ll see it one day, but right now it appears Square Enix has its mind on other things.

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While it was teased ahead of the show in a leaked report, the reveal of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin still came as a surprise. This wasn’t due to the Soulslike genre it occupied, but rather how such a dark, cumbersome, and rather underwhelming trailer was used to highlight one of the publisher’s biggest franchises. It was incredibly awkward, and it felt like Square Enix was simply hoping to jump into an increasingly popular genre without the narrative foundations to back it up.

Much like the musou adaptations I mentioned earlier, it appears to be a love letter to the series’ history, taking us back to the first game and viewing it from a new, far more edgy perspective. Right now, we’ve only seen a brief snippet of the game from its trailer and the playable demo, with the latter showing a lot more promise than I expected, but I can’t help but feel honoring the series’ history could be better served in a different manner, and I’m confident I’m not alone here.

The closest comparison to Stranger of Paradise is Final Fantasy Dissidia, a selection of fighting games that brought a number of iconic characters and worlds together as they fought it out in service of an original plot. The spinoff series has seen a number of entries over the years, most of which have been well received, so Square Enix is aware that crossovers like this have an audience, and if executed correctly, can be downright excellent. Sadly, instead of taking what Dissidia did well and transforming it into something new, we’ve been given Stranger of Paradise, a new effort from Team Ninja that isn’t really sure what it wants to be.

While I’m not a fan of Dissidia’s visual aesthetic, it’s feasible to simply take that universe and adapt it to the musou genre, with many of the components already assembled to help make it a game worth playing. Final Fantasy Dissidia Warriors rolls off the tongue quite nicely, and would allow Square Enix to leverage an existing property and involve fans who want to see more from it. Obviously the creators need to contend with a drastic shift in gameplay style, but all of the characters, lore, and overarching mechanics would remain the same.

Final Fantasy can be melded to the musou mould so easily that it’s almost comedic. You’ve got a selection of archetypes such as black mage, white mage, dark knight, pugilist, dragoon, and so many more that could be given their own individual combat systems when transplanted into the genre. You could either allow players to craft their own avatars or simply iron these classes over existing characters like Fire Emblem Warriors before it. Either way works, with upgrade paths and visual customisation able to sit neatly alongside them.

Awful name aside, I’m sure Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin will be an enjoyable escapade for the series, but it isn’t the one I want, at least from everything I’ve seen of it thus far. What I’d really love is for Square Enix to finally embrace the musou genre, and to allow Koei Tecmo to wrap its hands around this esteemed property and work its magic like it has for so many others. Go wild, drop an endless number of beloved faces into a new universe and have them embark on a nonsensical quest to save the realm. None of it has to make sense, and honestly, it’s more fun when it doesn’t.

Remake isn’t afraid to make sweeping changes, and this could be the biggest yet.

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Jade King is one of the Features Editors for TheGamer. Previously Gaming Editor over at Trusted Reviews, she can be found talking about games, anime and retweeting Catradora fanart @KonaYMA6.

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