Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where the hell is Final Fantasy Tactics for the 3DS?

With the release of Bravely Default Flying Fairy looming for the west, 3DS-owning RPG fans are about to have access to a very compelling reason to fall in love with Square Enix all over again.

And if the Bravely Default reboot lives up to the hype, it just might be enough to help the Square Enix faithful forget that it's been six years since the release of a new Final Fantasy Tactics title.

Six years!

Mobile ports aside, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and The War of the Lions both came out in 2007 and it's been strangely quiet on the Tactics front since then.  Meanwhile, Nintendo's latest handheld - the now stratospherically successful 3DS - has been languishing without a new installment of the excellent strategy/tactics RPG series.

For those unfamiliar with the series, Final Fantasy Tactics delivers a great guild/clan-based game completely unlike mainstream Final Fantasy titles (FFXII notwithstanding).  The main challenge of these games is coordinating a cavalcade of jobs to make your clan versatile enough to handle any sort of challenge that you might face.

Despite the reliance on turn-based combat and fighting, however, most Final Fantasy Tactics games manage to deliver convincing stories that are at least meaty enough to keep players involved.

The good news is that a new Tactics for the 3DS might not be so far off if history is anything to go by - and if, of course Square Enix is actually working on it.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the first handheld Tactics outing, came out two years after the launch of the Gameboy Advance in 2001. The second handheld Tactics title, Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift launched for the DS in 2007 - three years into that console's lifetime.  And the 3DS - which seems like it just came out yesterday - is celebrating its third anniversary this March.

Of course, there's potential bad news, however.  Square Enix is dipping its toes ever-deeper into the world of mobile gaming, and it might shock the world by delivering a new Tactics titles for iPad gamers instead.  It technically already did with the Mobage-powered free-to-play atrocity Final Fantasy Tactics S, but that - hopefully - isn't a sign of what's to come for the franchise.

With any luck, the next proper Final Fantasy Tactics will find its to the 3DS instead of the iPad.  Given how prominently the 3D battlefields and terrain factor into the game, it'd be an awesome experience to add a bit of stereoscopic 3D the traditional Tactics experience.

And if not, well, Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift is still playable on a 3DS...