Can you believe Final Fantasy is 34 years old? (Me neither) Over the weekend, the developers of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin held an event where they discussed the first Final Fantasy game that released in 1987 and how the 2022 game is a re-telling of the story that started it all.
Since its announcement, earlier this year, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin was simply dubbed “A Bold New Vision for Final Fantasy”, but wasn’t full-on exposed as being a direct re-telling of Final Fantasy I. Although, I suspect having the main character be named Jack Garland should’ve been a dead giveaway.
Nevertheless, that bold vision for Final Fantasy tag line seems to ring true. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is a bold re-telling of the classic Final Fantasy story in that it (spoiler alert) follows one character’s journey into becoming one of the most prolific villains in Final Fantasy history, Garland.
Akitoshi Kawazu (Square Enix): “The story of FF Origin is told through the eyes of Garland. It’s quite exciting to see this story depicted through the villain’s perspective. I’m interested to see what kind of emotional impact that the story of this game might have on players this time around. “As far as what happens to Garland… People who played the original FINAL FANTASY already know his fate, but I hope people will find appreciation in how this title portrays him. “So that’s what happened!?” “I’m almost in tears!” “These are the kinds of emotions I look forward to seeing from our players.”
This is the first time in which a Final Fantasy game has focused solely on the villain’s origin, making it even more fascinating than it was previously. It also explains all the rage and darker themes. It also has me wondering if the second half of this game – or maybe even the tail end of the game – will have us confronting Garland the character we follow throughout the game. Perhaps.
One thing is for sure, Square Enix, Team Ninja, and Koei Tecmo Games seem to be dedicated to making Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin stay true to the source material. It’s evident from the comments made during the anniversary event and even how they managed to recreate the iconic “Northern Bridge” scene from Final Fantasy I, which essentially is a kickoff to adventure.
Cross the bridge and begin a journey from Cornelia into prophecy.
In our Final Fantasy Birthday Celebration Live Stream we revealed #StrangerOfParadise #FinalFantasy Origin's new take on one of the original Final Fantasy's most remembered scenes. pic.twitter.com/m0TSXouWUe
— STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN (@fforigin) December 18, 2021
Hironobu Sakaguchi (Mistwalker Corporation CEO): “Garland, who is defeated at the beginning of the story, is reborn 2000 years in the past as Chaos where he continues to rule over darkness, but is once again bested by the Warriors of Light… I created this endless cycle in the story because it was the first game in the series, and even though it is a pixel art RPG, I thought that by giving the story such layers, it wouldn’t just be viewed as some kind of “toy,” and we could elevate it to an authentic form of entertainment. That was the reason behind this decision. I think the same can be said for the scene when the player crosses the northern bridge, and the title and opening story text are shown on screen.”
I really like that in the year that Final Fantasy turns 35 that Square Enix & co. are releasing a re-telling of Final Fantasy I. Unless you played the recent Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster, a lot of Final Fantasy fans have either never played the first Final Fantasy game or it’s at least been a very long time. For me, I think I was 7 when I played the first Final Fantasy. 25 years worth of sleep has happened since then. So I wouldn’t say it’s very fresh in my mind.
That’s why I think Stranger of Paradise has suddenly become more crucial, more exciting, because it’s bringing us back to Final Fantasy’s roots, even if it’s a darker, alternative re-telling. Still, I might have to go and play the Pixel Remasters myself to get a refresher.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin releases March 18, 2022 on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store. You can pre-order the game, here.