Final Fantasy (#1)

Upon researching for this article, I was honestly shocked that there had never been a Final Fantasy tabletop RPG.. at least, here in the west. I found a number of lore books and a few fan created RPGs, but no official release. Final Fantasy is a series of classic RPG video games, by Square Enix, that many of us grew up on. Each game taking place in a different world, but focusing on the heroes journey with a plot full of twists and turns. All while having enough iconic villains to shake a buster sword at!  That being said, let’s look at some of the pros/cons of bringing the Final Fantasy IP into the world of tabletop RPGs.

Strengths:

  • World Building/Lore
  • Classes/Jobs
  • Strong Asian Art Style
  • Characters/Villains
  • Unique Magic/Spells
  • Interesting Monsters

Honestly, I could keep going on the strengths the Final Fantasy brand would have in the tabletop RPG market. I believe the most important aspect a tabletop RPG needs is an interesting world. Players should be filled with excitement to investigate and explore. The FF series brings this in spades, as you not only get one world, but several! For the core book, you could keep the setting generic or include a chapter detailing the most popular worlds.  Another option could be to select a default setting such as FF14 as it has an active MMO community that are already invested in that story. A publisher could then release world/setting books to expand the game into both past and future worlds. To complement this, a standout RPG needs to have captivating art. Final Fantasy has a number of different art books from each game, and even though each game takes place in a different world, they all feel like Final Fantasy due to their unique Asian art style. With most RPG art coming from a Western/European style, I would love to see other cultures spin on the tabletop RPG landscape, and the art will certainly set that tone.

While the worlds and art will peek player’s interest, the game-play and characters will keep them hooked. Fortunately for Final Fantasy, they have been doing this since 1987.  Just look to the FF14 MMO, and one could easily copy and paste their Jobs (classes) system into a tabletop RPG. Dark Knights and White Mages will feel unique, but also familiar to those not acquainted with the FF franchise. This works equally for the spells and abilities that have been showcased in the games. I could easily see a spell rank system that adds additional affects. Think Cure, Cura, and Curaga. Stemming from a basic healing spell, but by spending more mana, and maybe a longer cast, you have a quick heal, strong heal, and a heal for the whole party. This concept could be similar to Pathfinder 2E’s magic system, and would feel organic in a Final Fantasy Setting. Another core mechanic could be ultimate weapons, and unlocking their true power. A individual or group limit break system could also be interesting and set the game apart. I could keep going, but honestly, you don’t need to completely create a new game system for Final Fantasy, but I think it would be more interesting if a publisher really pushed the limits in this way. Either way, I am clearly on board.

Weakness:

  • Several Worlds/Aesthetics
  • Sheer Amount of Content

All that being said, there are some challenges that would need to be overcome. The first of which being that each Final Fantasy game is set in a different world. Obviously there are fan favorites, but the publisher would need to decide if the game will be anchored in one of the more popular worlds, or be non-specific about the world in the core book. Either way, you could include a small chapter that overviews a number of the more popular worlds in a page or two or have plans to release supplement books that flesh out each world. Personally, I would tie into the successful MMO Final Fantasy 14, using that as your base setting, and then seeing if your audience has a hunger for different world settings. If the publisher does find a strong demand for supplement material, which is a good problem to have, then they would need to isolate what new content would create the most demand. Is it a world settings book? New new Job/Classes that appeared in various games?  Stat blocks for iconic characters/villains? There is a ton of content in the Final Fantasy universe, however, you also require an audience that is invested in order to fully flush out what this game could be.

Final Fantasy has a special place in my heart as FF7 opened my eyes to what RPGs could be. Epic. World spanning. Also, unique and not reliant on the classic Tolkien fantasy style. With a beautiful and interesting world that has been flushed out in games and art, I feel like this would be a slam dunk for any publisher.

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