World of Final Fantasy

Generally speaking, the Final Fantasy franchise has always taken itself fairly seriously, possibly to a fault. This makes the humor of World of Final Fantasy one of the most noticeable things about it. I had the opportunity to spend some time playing through an early sequence of World of Final Fantasy and while the game's mechanics, as well as its general look, feel very much like a Final Fantasy game, it's general tone is a fresh, and welcome, take on the series. Complete with fourth-wall breaking jokes.

While at Pax West 2016 I got to spend some time with World of Final Fantasy and overall I really enjoyed the experience. You take control of a pair of siblings, Lann and Reyne, who travel from their own world to the world of Grimoire. While Lann and Reyne look mostly like any other pair of modern Final Fantasy protagonists, the inhabitants of Grimoire have a much more chibi-style design, tiny, round and cute to a fault. I picked up the story from the point at which they entered into the city of Cornelia, a reference to the first town you enter in the very first Final Fantasy game.

Almost immediately you get into a battle with Mirages, small creatures which Lann and Reyne have the ability to "Imprism" which is to say, magically capture, Pokemon style. Seriously, they make magic balls form around them and everything. However, after my character found himself unable to imprism a particular Mirage, he was told by Tama, a sidekick floating ball of cute with the already annoying habit of placing the word "the" in places where it did not belong, that he could not do so, because it was already under the control of somebody else. At this point, Lann responded with, "Huh, who wrote that hook?" which was followed by Tama admonishing him for breaking the fourth wall.

It was a fairly surprising moment for me. A Deadpool style joke about how the games' writing? It was the first of many humorous moments during my time with the game. While the plots of Final Fantasy games have the tendency to get a bit ridiculous, the characters in them always seem to take things far too seriously. It's always the end of the world, and it's always so serious. It's so serious that when a game does add a comic relief character, it feels out of place. Here, the humor is part of the basic structure. The fact that everybody is tiny and cute and you are not, unless you choose to be, is part of the joke.

There's nothing wrong with serious games, but I'm looking forward to World of Final Fantasy now simply because it's a bit of a lighter story. If the snappy writing continues throughout the title, it will make for an invigorating take on Final Fantasy RPGs.

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