Final Fantasy is the only big gaming franchise missing from the arcades, isn’t it? Everything else has got some kind of branded cabinet repping the brand amid some of the most lucrative walk-through zones in gaming, so the only question we were asking ourselves as we watched the blistering nonsense of the Dissidia Final Fantasy is ‘why hasn’t this come out sooner?’


The Japanese arcade fighting scene has never died, per se, but it lay quiet for a while grabbing the big hitters before their console releases, but rarely trying to innovate hugely. Then, recently, something happened in the prefectures around Tokyo, development companies have been plotting and planning: we’ve seen Harada take Pokémon to the arcade with Pokken Tournament, ArkSys’ Persona 4 Arena has erupted across Akihabara and Shibuya, and Tekken 7 is getting a huge exclusivity window in the Japanese arcades, too. Aside from Tekken, it’s notable that the other two big hitters are cross-overs taking non-fighting game franchises into experimental territory within the genre.
All the heroes of the various Final Fantasy worlds clash in epic battles that can probably alter the shape of the world, or something. There’ll be crystals involved
In light of this quiet resurrection, Square Enix has taken advantage of a gap in the fighting market with its previously-dormant Dissidia IP: the game will feature three-on-three brawls which could, in theory, feature six player action across a cabinet network. Being able to play as literally every hero from the games (spin-offs included) is a huge perk, too. If the previous Dissidia games are anything to go by, the cast of fighters is going to be huge.

Since Dissidia isn’t a 2D game, but more of an arena based fighter, it’s likely the three-on-three gameplay will get incredibly frenetic, especially if the supporting magic comes back from the previous games. It’s interesting also to consider how the balancing will work the PSP versions of the game were RPGs at their core, revolving around stat building, levelling up moves and equipping items. Unless Square Enix introduces a system similar to Bandai Namco’s ‘passports’ whereby you can store your data from play-to-play, machine-to-machine the RPG elements won’t be present… which means each character will have to specialise in a discipline: Cloud will become an aggressive pressure builder, for example, whereas Terra might focus instead on support magic and zoning. It’ll be a total game changer a genuine arcade innovation in how the three-on-three bouts will operate.

There are no plans to bring the game to console, for now, but we know how the arcade genre works give it year or two and there’ll inevitably be a port. We’d hope so, too, because we can’t imagine any cabinets making their way to the UK in a hurry…