After more than 30 years, Final Fantasy will return to its original title – Final Fantasy 1, which shipped on the Nintendo Entertainment System – with a new re-imagined take called Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.
The game got a new trailer during Square Enix’s E3 2021 showcase where we saw a showdown between the game’s trio of protagonists and Garland... er, Chaos, the main antagonist of the series’ first entry.
While the original Final Fantasy game used 2D sprites with 8-bit graphics and turn-based combat, Stranger of Paradise looks like a 3D action-RPG similar to Final Fantasy XV and will release on both the PS5 and Xbox Series X as well as the Xbox One and PS4 in addition to the PC in 2022.
Before then, however, we’ll see a demo of the game for PS5 – according to Square Enix’s website, the Trial Version is available for free on PS5 beginning June 13, 2021 through June 24, 2021 7:59 pm PT / 3:59pm BST. Once that period is over, though, the demo will no longer be available, so you’ll have to act fast if you want to try it.
Team Ninja strikes from the shadows
The game appears to be a collaboration between Team Ninja, Koei Tecmo and Square Enix, with the development happening at Team Ninja. If the name sounds familiar, it’s the studio that created Nioh, Dead or Alive and revitalized the Ninja Gaiden franchise.
What that means for Final Fantasy Origin, as we’ve seen, is frenetic, action-oriented gameplay instead of the traditional turn-based combat we remember from the NES days.
It also looks a lot more mature, too, with Jack (the main character) often breaking the jaws of his enemies or shattering their crystalized bodies on the ground.
“While it is Final Fantasy, it feels different – but there's no doubt that the blood of Final Fantasy runs through its veins,” said Tetsuya Nomura, Creative Producer for the game in a statement. “We've undertaken the challenge of finding this difficult middle ground for this mature and stylish title. We need a little time until we're able to complete it, and while the battle system is a bloody one, it does link to the story, so I hope you'll use this opportunity to give it a try.”
That said, if you want the more traditional Final Fantasy experience, Square Enix also announced that it will be re-releasing Final Fantasy 1 - 6 as part of the upcoming Pixel Remaster collection on Steam and mobile platforms that was also announced at the Square Enix E3 2021 keynote.