square Enix’s Final Fantasy series has expanded beyond its RPG origins. Through various spin-offs, sequels and other titles under the franchise’s brand, followers of this iconic series can enjoy games in the strategy, simulation, action and MMO genres. Now Square Enix directs its flagship towards new waters: the beat ‘em up.
Dissidia Final Fantasy represents uncharted territory for the series, but one fans will surely agree is a good fit for the characters. Finally, the over-the-top skirmishes and general spectacle of the combat can be experienced in real-time as iconic heroes and villains from throughout the series battle to preserve or reshape their histories.
The game is being released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy, and spins a tale that brings together everyone’s favourite characters, from Cloud and Sephiroth to Squall and Golbez. There’s something for every loyal follower of the series, and Square is keen to highlight how important this game is to the overall franchise.
“Dissidia Final Fantasy is a milestone release for Square Enix,” says senior product manager Adrian Arnese.
“With its crossover of heroes, villains and other key elements from across the Final Fantasy series, Dissidia Final Fantasy is a unique and very special celebration of over 20 years of successes and 85 million units sold for the brand.”
The game’s story revolves around the goddess of harmony Cosmos, who has been locked in an eternal struggle with Chaos, the god of dischord. Both have called forth warriors to fight for them, but with their armies of equal strength, there seemed to be no end to the conflict – until the forces of Chaos upset the balance.
Now it’s up to the surviving fighters to fend off the forces of Chaos, or help them plunge the world into disorder.
Obviously, Square Enix hasn’t constructed such a rich narrative simply to provide context for the battles. Fans follow each character’s individual storyline as they play out this ultimate war from both sides. As they progress, they encounter the other characters and must defeat them to progress.
After the major clashes between the main fighters, gamers must navigate a number of grid-based levels. Here they can battle other enemies, pick up items and build their character’s experience, adding a level of strategy to the game.
In fact, every device that makes the combat of the mainstay Final Fantasy games so popular is present. Players can even enhance their fighter with new items and skills, just as they would in an RPG. The only difference is fans get to use these advantages in real-time, which promises to make this the most exciting Final Fantasy title to date.
All this is sure to make Dissidia Final Fantasy an appealing package to any PSP owner, whether they’re a fan of Final Fantasy or beat ‘em ups, or simply looking for something different. The publisher is confident this title has what it takes to not only outperform rival titles, but also outsell previous Final Fantasy games on the format.
“Crisis Core was the PSP’s summer smash hit for last year. And thanks to Dissidia’s strength of narrative and solid fighting mechanics, it manages to remain essential to the Final Fantasy hardcore whilst still becoming the definitive beat ‘em up for PSP,” says sales director Doug Bone.
“This has already been reflected in Japan, where despite RPGs being the dominant genre, Dissidia has outsold Crisis Core considerably and we have no doubt that this will be reflected in the UK where pre-orders are tracking even higher than our initial expectations.”
Square Enix is also releasing a Limited Collector’s Edition of the game. Available in unique clamshell packaging, this includes a copy of the game, a soundtrack CD, artwork book, official miniature game guide and two exclusive lithograph prints. With the Final Fantasy fanbase some of the most dedicated game consumers on the market, known to favour collector’s and special editions, this is certain to shift a significant number of units when its hits shelves this September.
THE CALL TO ARMS
Square Enix will be recruiting gamers for the fight between Chaos and Cosmos with a comprehensive marketing campaign, modelled on the activity around its 2008 best-selling PSP title, Crisis Core.
“As with last year’s smash Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, the UK promotional champagne for Dissidia Final Fantasy also looks set to gain huge awareness and success,” says senior product manager Adrian Arnese.
Square’s marketing plans includes the following activities:
- A TV advertising campaign is set to run from launch, featuring a 20 second creative on terrestrial and satellite channels. The spots are set to reach two million 16 to 34 year-old males.
- Print media advertising will run for three months across specialist gaming and movie press, with a mixture of single page and double page executions.
- Pre-release online activity is due to start a month before the game is released. A special online ‘widget’ application will be shared via social networking sites, keeping users engaged with new and exclusive content.
- Online advertising surrounding the game’s release will include various takeovers and rich media video on gaming and movie websites. Square Enix is also targeting YouTube users with in-video advertising.
- An outdoor poster campaign is set to run on the London Underground. The large posters will be on display for two weeks after the game’s launch date.