Dissidia Final Fantasy and its pseud-sequel, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, were cult-classics on the Playstation Portable and was a massive celebration of the franchise’s 25 year history.
The third iteration of Square Enix’s massive crossover fighter, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, was released through Japanese arcades in 2015 and pivoted the sub-franchise into the next generation and added more esports elements to the formula.
This includes keeping the game strictly as a 3v3 affair, instead of the one on one battles that fans were used to. NT’s controls were also streamlined to make it easier for gamers to pick up and play, though the intricacies of the original Dissidia games were lost in translation.
This arcade version was then ported to the PS4 and PC, with free versions being available on the platforms as well. This opened up the game to a worldwide audience, and yet it didn’t become the esports hit that Square Enix was hoping it would become, with fans of the previous games seeing it as a shallow experience.
With the game reaching its five year anniversary and with the looming release of Final Fantasy XVI on the PS5, here’s our wishlist for a new next-generation Dissidia game:
Begone Loot Boxes
The main problem with Dissidia NT, even with the full retail release of the game, relied too heavily on loot boxes to collect assorted items throughout the game. From cosmetics to equippable equipment, if you wanted something, it was all up to the luck of the draw. This is a horrible way of giving rewards to the player and definitely needs to be removed.
This was also applied to the story mode appalling enough, where players have to earn special crystals to proceed with the game’s campaign. For fans who are looking to enjoy the game through its story and seeing their favourite Final Fantasy characters interact with each other, had to slog through online matches just to get to the next chapter.
Esports Balancing Act
It’s fine that Square Enix wants Dissidia to be an esports title, like League of Legends or Tekken 7, but it definitely needs to toe the line between being a hardcore arena fighter and a celebration of all things Final Fantasy. Keep a special mode for tournament play and practice on one side, and have the fun crossover story and casual play on one side.
This is one aspect that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate does well, having a variety of options that players easily switch between for professional and casual playstyles. Maybe for the next Dissidia game, Square Enix should co-develop the game with Bandai Namco Studios like Smash Ultimate, instead of Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja.
One thing that the first two Dissidia games boasted was the complete customisation of each and every character, down to the moveset, equipment, and levels of each fighter. This may have worked on the PSP, but isn’t viable if they want to make the game accessible to casual players.
Dissidia NT does streamline this process, but removes a ton of moves from each character, making them a little too neutered from their previous iterations. So maybe having both preset and custom loadouts for each character’s movesets will be a nice way to bridge the gap between the old and new methods.
Dream Characters and Echo Fighters
Dissidia NT added a number of great characters to the roster, from new additions like Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis and Ardyn, to fan-favourites like Final Fantasy VIII’s Rinoa and Final Fantasy Tactics’ Ramza. Hopefully we’ll see more additions from spin-off games like Kingdom Hearts’ Sora or 2B from NieR: Automata.
Another thing that Dissidia could learn from Smash Ultimate is the concept of Echo Fighters, fighters that have similar movesets but are separate from each other. A clear example from the fighting game genre as a whole would be Street Fighter’s Ryu and Ken with their minor differences from another. This way, Dissidia can introduce Zack Fair and Seifer as echo fighters for Cloud and Squall respectively.
A Gripping Story
One good thing that Dissidia NT brought to the table was great interactions between the various Final Fantasy protagonists and antagonists. All their personalities shine through and are faithful to their original depictions from their respective games. They also removed the clunky amnesia plot point that every character had in the original Dissidia games, which really got stale by Dissidia 012.
Keeping up with the fan service should be Dissidia’s modus operandi, and having a world ending event that only the Final Fantasy heroes can put a stop to, Avengers-style, is definitely the way to go. The episodic side stories that the mobile game, Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia, brings to the table should also be reintroduced into a mainline console Dissidia release.