Square Enix has unveiled a set of collectible NFT trading cards to mark the 25th anniversary of Final Fantasy 7.
Released on March 31st, the Final Fantasy 7 Anniversary Art Museum Digital Card Plus series contains 207 cards. Featuring beloved characters and scenes from the original Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and the extended Final Fantasy 7 continuity, each pack contains six physical cards and one digital card redeemable for an NFT (via VGC). The product will set you back 440 yen, which amounts to roughly $3.30 / £2.68 / AUS$6.07
Non-Fungiable Tokens (NFTs) are digital assets often visualized through images that are allegedly impossible to duplicate. Owners of NFTs can trade assets with one another, often for real-world money.
This isn’t Square Enix’s first foray into NFTs. The Japanese video game giant recently released a trailer for the new RPG Symbiogenesis, which promises “narrative unlocked NFT entertainment”, including a marketplace where players can exchange their NFTs.
The NFT market has been controversial for its environmental impact and the numerous scams and malware problems surrounding the storage and protection of these online assets. Indeed the environment surrounding the trade and manufacture of NFTs is sufficiently fractious that Valve decided to ban games that engage in cryptocurrency or NFT trading. Given that NFTs incur significant environmental damage as users exchange them within a precarious and unregulated market, we’d advise against believing the hype.
Do you hear the cries of the planet?
It’s deeply ironic and rather sad that Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and co. are used as a vehicle for NFT distribution. Final Fantasy 7 is a famously anti-capitalist and pro-environmentalist title, which follows the trials and tribulations of a group of eco-terrorists as they attempt to save the planet from a megalomaniacal wannabe-god and the greedy megacorporation that spawned him.
The world of Final Fantasy 7 is, much like our own, defined by a stark contrast between the haves and have-nots. Fighting for the latter group, it seems extremely unlikely that Cloud and co. would be particularly happy to learn that a big conglomerate is using their likenesses to produce and sell NFTs. At its heart, Final Fantasy 7 is about resisting corporate greed and living sustainably with the world around us.
Though there are efforts o produce more environmentally friendly NFTs, in their current state, these tradable commodities seem conspicuously at odds with the values and morality baked into Final Fantasy 7. It would appear that Square Enix has little grasp of the deep irony at the core of its Final Fantasy 7 NFT project. Using a group of anti-capitalist eco-terrorists to promote a collection of environmentally damaging commodities seems almost worthy of an April Fools’ joke in its bizarre incongruity. Unfortunately for us, this year’s April Fools’ Day has been and gone.