May 16, 2007 - While last week's announcement of Dissidia Final Fantasy (note the order of the name) was certainly a big surprise, Square Enix didn't really reveal too much about the title. Even after a short trailer at the Square Enix Party, all we could do was make guesses about the battle system.
Enter this week's issue of Famitsu, which provides a first full look at the game.
Believe it or not, they actually managed to put together a storyline for Dissidia in order to explain how all the Final Fantasy heroes and villains got together. It all has to do with the god of balance and harmony, Cosmos, and the god of disorder, Chaos. The eternal war between these two is struck with a slight imbalance, leading to chaos filling the world. All hope lies in 10 warriors brought forth by Cosmos.
The long and the short is, Cosmos has called upon a bunch of Final Fantasy warriors to do battle over a fully 3D battle field. Currently, we know that Warrior of Light (FF1) and Zidan (FF9) will appear in the game. Also appearing (apparently from the Chaos side) are their two greatest rivals, Garland (FF1) and Kuja (FF9). Sephiroth should also be making an appearance, based on what we saw in the Square Enix Party trailer.
As suggested by the storyline, there should be at least 10 heroes in the game. This number does not include characters from the villain side, with character designer and creative director Tetsuya Nomura admitting to Famitsu that the development team is currently simply working on getting as many characters as possible into the game.
The characters will feature in a storyline that players will be able to see by clearing the game's story mode with each one in turn. As this game is being made in celebration of the Final Fantasy series 20th anniversary, one of the hopes of the development staff is that fans will exclaim things like, "I was able to meet that character!".
Considering that this is a fighting game at heart, more important than the storyline is the combat system. Fights revolve around the use of an individual set of special skills to do damage to your rivals. Each character's skills are displayed through a command list on the bottom-left corner, which changes based on distance from your enemy and other special factors. The battle system also includes evasion and jumping, although the controls are said to be simple enough that even players who aren't into action games will be okay.
Players are encouraged to destroy the environments. Destroying pillars and other objects builds up your character's "Brave" meter, which gives you access to new attacks. You also gain an advantage by pounding your opponents, as this causes a special move gauge to build up.
Special moves include the skills that you'd expect to see given the background story of each character. Warrior of Light can transform using a Class Change command. So too can Zidane, making use of a Trance command. Warrior of Light also has an Excalibur command, and when facing off long range, gains access to a "Long Range" attack option.
You'll be able to build up experience through battle, growing stronger as you rise in level. You can also customize your characters with equipment. This should make for some interesting wireless fights against your buddies.
This strange twist of the Final Fantasy series is currently without a release date in Japan. However, as it is a 20th anniversary game, we're expecting to get our hands on it some time this year.