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January 2022

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: March 18, 2022

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'Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin' Available for Pre-Order, TGS 2021 Panel Reveals Multiplayer, Player Feedback Changes - Trailer

by Rainier on Oct. 4, 2021 @ 10:41 a.m. PDT

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin blends challenging and strategic action gameplay with the world and lore of the Final Fantasy series to create a unique action RPG experience.

Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is a new action RPG, developed by Team Ninja in collaboration with Tetsuya Nomura (Final Fantasy VII, Kingdom Hearts), brings a bold, new vision to the Final Fantasy series that will appeal to existing Final Fantasy fans and new players alike.

Join Jack and his allies as they throw open the gates to the Chaos Shrine and step into a world of dark fantasy and exhilarating battles to discover if they are truly the Warriors of Light the prophecy foretold.

As part of a Square Enix broadcast at the Tokyo Game Show 2021 Online, the company hosted a Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin panel where developers from Square Enix and KOEI TECMO’s Team NINJA discussed the new action RPG, gave viewers a sneak peek at multiplayer gameplay and shared that player feedback from a trial version launched at E3 is guiding some key development decisions as they work toward launch. 

Panelists Daisuke Inoue (Director, Square Enix), Hiroya Usuda (Director, Koei Tecmo Games), Nobumichi Kumabe (Director, Koei Tecmo Games) and Tetsuya Nomura (Creative Producer) thanked players for their support and participation, outlined the below key areas for improvement that were highlighted by survey respondents and confirmed that they will be included in the final version of the game. Players excited to sample a selection of these improvements can play the Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin Trial Version 2, which is available now on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.

  • Graphical Improvements

One of the most common criticisms of the previous trial was the graphics - fans wanted better, clearer visuals.

To be honest, the team was already aware that was room for improvement here and had a lot of internal discussions about how to enhance and polish the graphics.

Those improvements are still being worked on, and will continue to do so over development, but some visual enhancements have been included in TRIAL VERSION 2. Take a trip back to the Chaos Shrine (the area in the first trial is also included in the new one) and you’ll see for yourselves how much better it already looks.

  • Dynamic Lighting – Gameplay footage shown during the broadcast highlighted the use of dynamic lighting, which will provide a more realistic and immersive gameplay experience in areas throughout the game.

STRANGER OF PARADISE was supposed to be a ‘dark’ FINAL FANTASY game thematically… but feedback on the first demo revealed that many found it too dark—literally. There were some areas where people felt they were unable to see anything, and that was getting in the way of the gameplay experience.

So, for the new trial, the team fixed it. They paid more attention to the portrayal of light and darkness in each area, ensuring that players are able to see what they need to clearly.

At the same time, they didn’t want to make it over-lit - it was important to preserve those moments where the juxtaposition between light and dark adds drama and excitement to an encounter. The game now has dynamic lighting, so when you hit an enemy with an attack in a dark area, the area lights up with a bright flash, making it feel impactful and satisfying.

  • Combat Balancing – Adjustments to the ‘Lightbringer’ ability and tweaks to allies’ break gauge and MP recovery speeds are a few of the improvements implemented into Trial Version 2 to help create an exciting, high-risk high-reward battle system.

One element of the previous trial that was well received was the actions and abilities. The feedback survey was positive, with most players saying they enjoyed the various combat options available to them.

Even so, the team wanted to make them even better! As a result, they’ve put a lot of focus into making the actions stronger and easier to use. For some actions, these changes come in the form of small tweaks to things like responsiveness. For others, they’ve made much bigger changes to how they work.

A good example of this would be Lightbringer. This is an ability that Jack can activate at the cost of some MP and makes it easier for him to break enemies (stagger them and set them up for an instant MP-replenishing kill called a Soul Burst), while bestowing additional effects for different jobs, such as faster spell charging.

In the new trial version, Lightbringer is much stronger than before. It consumes more MP, but the effect lasts longer. There have also been additional changes - the amount players can chip away at the upper limit of an enemy's break gauge has increased, allowing players to deliver a finishing blow using Soul Burst more easily.

All these changes mean that using Lightbringer now encourages a more high-risk / high-reward playstyle.

  • Difficulty Level Adjustments – Players will be able to select from various difficulty levels which can suit their preferred playstyle: ‘Story’ for a more casual play experience, ‘Action’ for action-oriented gameplay, and ‘Hard” for those seeking a true challenge.

Finally, the game’s difficulty has been rebalanced to ensure it delivers a smooth, satisfying, and challenging experience for players.

The names of the difficulty levels have also been changed to ‘STORY’, ‘ACTION’, and ‘HARD’. That’s because we want to emphasise that STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN caters to players who care more about story than challenge, and players who want to focus on intense, challenging action alike.

  • AI Improvements – In addition to general improvements in AI combat for Jack’s allies, players can customize their teammates jobs, equipment and abilities, and can also utilize the ‘Resonance’ feature to boost the combat prowess of allies temporarily in battle.

Back to some constructive criticism from the player survey - fans weren’t particularly impressed with the AI of NPC companions in the previous trial. No arguments from us there - it was still in the early stages.

For this new trial, the team has implemented ways to improve the behavior and effectiveness of the computer-controlled characters. It now feels much more like you’re fighting as a party - something you’ll likely notice when you play the new trial.

They’ve also added a new feature called Resonance, which lets you boost the strength of your companions for a limited period of time.

While Resonance is active, an AI party member will proactively use their abilities more, which opens up all kinds of strategy for the player. For example, using Resonance on Ash makes him draw the attention of enemies in the area, letting the player focus on casting magic.

  • Framerate Improvements and 4K Rendering

Some observant players who tried the previous trials noticed that the visuals were a little blurry overall.

You’ll be pleased to hear that the new trial looks much clearer and crisper. What’s more, the team put a lot of focus and energy into making sure that the game runs at a high framerate, even at 4K resolution.

  • Companions can now be customised

Your fellow party members are much better integrated into the game in this second trial - for example, you can now change the equipment and abilities of allies in addition to Jack.

This is good news - one complaint we received was that enemies dropped a lot of loot, and players couldn’t use all that equipment. Now that there’s a greater emphasis on being able to gear up allies, you have more use for that loot - to help your companions become stronger as you fight together.

What’s more, you can also change your allies’ jobs in the retail version, giving them new roles in combat. When you do so, their behavior will change to suit that job.

These additions, combined with the improvements to AI and Resonance feature, add an extra layer of strategy to encounters, making the player think about equipment, abilities, jobs, and experiment with combining these different elements.

  • Tutorials are less overwhelming

The first Trial Version went quite heavy on the tutorials, and according to the feedback survey, many players found it overwhelming. It was quite difficult to take all the information in at once.

For the second Trial Version, we’ve taken a different approach. This time the team implemented a world map, through which you can play the tutorial at any time - not only the beginning of the game. There are also now tutorials for each weapon! That means you can experiment with the mechanics at your own pace.

The Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin Trial Version 2 is available on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S through October 11, 2021 7:59 a.m. (PDT) / 3:59 p.m. (BST).

An expansion of the first trial version of the game, which launched in June, players can explore an additional stage of the game, the Refrin Wetlands, alongside a new ally, experience new playstyles in battle with the addition of multiple new jobs, and fight against an array of new enemies. This will also be the first opportunity for players to sample the game’s multiplayer function.

Players who download and play Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin Trial Version 2 are invited to participate in a survey to provide feedback to the development team on their play experience, further helping to shape the outcome of the game. The survey will be open now through October 18, 2021 7:59 a.m. (PDT) / 3:59 p.m. (BST) and will be accessible from the menu screen of Trial Version 2.

Fans can now pre-order the game here.

The Digital Deluxe Edition of Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin includes a digital artbook, digital mini soundtrack and a DLC Season Pass, which will include the additional missions; ‘Trials of the Dragon King, ‘Wanderer of the Rift’ and ‘Different Future’. Those who purchase the PS5 or PS4 physical or digital Standard Edition owners can purchase a Digital Deluxe Edition upgrade at launch, which will provide the above Digital Deluxe Edition bonuses.

Players who purchase Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin for the PS4 can download a free PS5 console enhancement update that includes all the next-gen visual and gameplay enhancements at no extra cost when playing on a PS5 console. Xbox customers who purchase the physical or digital editions of the game will be eligible to leverage Smart Delivery, meaning they can play their editions across any Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles. The system will automatically select the optimal version of the game for the console being used.

Customers who pre-order the Digital Standard and Digital Deluxe Editions of Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will receive 72-hour early access to the full game, as well as in-game items—the “Braveheart” weapon and the Lustrous Shield—and an original PS4 theme for PlayStation store purchasers. These customers will also receive the early purchase incentive: the “Rebellion” weapon.

Stranger Of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will be available as a physical and digital edition on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC (digital only on the Epic Games Store) on March 18, 2022.

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