NOTE: There are spoilers ahead for Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is promising a Soulslike action RPG spinoff for Square Enix’s beloved franchise, developed by Nioh studio Team Ninja. That in and of itself is an exciting enough elevator pitch to catch most people’s eye, but the fact that the game is set in the same world as the original Final Fantasy and has a lot of threads in common with that classic makes it that much more fascinating. In a recent blog published on the PlayStation Blog, members of the game’s development team went into detail on exactly how much the two games have in common.
Interestingly, producer Jin Fujiwara calls it “an alternate retelling of Final Fantasy 1“. One of the most intriguing elements of Stranger of Paradise’s story is that you play as Jack, who, as it turns out, ultimately goes on to become Garland, the main antagonist of Final Fantasy 1, with the upcoming action RPG revealing “how this once brave hero was brought so low.”
Speaking about why the story takes this direction, Fujiwara said, “Many villains appear in the early Final Fantasy titles, but their backstories weren’t depicted that often.
“I believe a good antagonist should have a clear reason as to why they became a villain in the first place, so I felt digging deeper into that aspect of Garland would be interesting.
“In Final Fantasy 1, you see him from the start of the game as a knight who has embraced the darkness, but the story never elaborates on why he went down that path. We thought we could expand upon the lore of the original game through Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin by portraying one possibility as to why Garland ended up as he does.
“We see the story of Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin as an “alternate retelling” of Final Fantasy 1. It’s probably easiest to think of it as taking place in a parallel universe that sits alongside that original game.”
Team Ninja’s Nobumichi Kumabe, the game’s director, also explained how that central narrative premise affected gameplay as well. He said: “Since Jack’s path to becoming Garland serves as the foundation to the story, we decided to take his destructive impulse – which we don’t see in other Final Fantasy protagonists – as a core concept and translated it into various action elements.
“The first that we laid out as a concept was ‘Soul Burst.’ We originally considered a more gory presentation, but we ended up going with a crystallization visual, to combine that exhilarating presentation with Final Fantasy-esque beauty.
“Additionally, Garland in the Dissidia series has an ability called Soul of Chaos, which makes him stronger as he keeps on fighting.”
Stranger of Paradise will share other similarities with the original Final Fantasy as well. For instance, just as crossing the northern bridge of Cornelia served as a crucial milestone in the beginning of Final Fantasy 1, so too will Jack and his allies begin their journey by crossing over that same bridge as Stranger of Paradise kicks off. From there, their path will lead soon lead them to the town of Pravoka, just as it was in the original game, and here you will, once again, be dealing with a band of pirates. Of course, you should also expect new twists and elements- for instance, unlike in Final Fantasy 1, the pirates in Pravoka have their own separate base.
Alongside the pirate Captain Bikke, other characters from Final Fantasy 1 will show up in Stranger of Paradise as well, including the likes of the King of Cornelia and Princess Sarah. In addition to these two returning characters, the royal family of Cornelia will have new characters as well, including Queen Jayne and Princess Mia.
There will be some familiar enemies to square off against as well. The Fiend of Wind, Tiamat – one of the Four Fiends that showed up in Final Fantasy 1 – will be an enemy that you’ll fight against in Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin as well, and will apparently be “even more imposing.”
Several screenshots of locations and characters both new and familiar have also been released. You can check them out in the gallery below.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin launches on March 18, 2022 for PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
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