Square-Enix is a cruel master when it comes to its classic series. The company is all too happy to tease sequels to fan favorites like The World Ends With You, only to turn around and release them as incredibly expensive mobile ports. While its audience clamors for a new traditional Final Fantasy game or a Chrono Trigger sequel, Square’s response is to make $40 iPhone and Android-only RPGs. This week brought on another cruel moment for longtime fans, as Square-Enix announced the first new game in the Final Fantasy Tactics series in six years! Then it revealed it’s a social game.
Square opened a teaser website for Final Fantasy Tactics S on Thursday. Rather than a follow up to the 2007 Nintendo DS game Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift, this game is a social title developed in a partnership with Mobage. Mobage has worked together with Square before, namely on the social game Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade.
Brigade should offer some insight into how Tactics S will work. Rather than selecting a character, assigning them a job, and then growing their skills through battles, Brigade players do that by purchasing collectible cards that represent skills, spells, and summoned monsters. The webpage for Final Fantasy Tactics S shows some of the familiar job classes from Yasumi Matsuno’s classic strategy games, like Black Mage and even a rabbit like Viera archer as seen in his games going back to Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. There even appears to be the silhouette of knight Agrias, one of the main characters in the original PlayStation Final Fantasy Tactics. As with Square’s past social games, you’ll likely have to pay for these characters piecemeal.
It’s surprising to see Square-Enix announce another game of this type just one year after the release of Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade since the once lucrative Japanese market for collectible card social games has started to shrink. Competitor Capcom is actually backing off that market for that exact reason. “In Japan, growth of card battle-type social games has stagnated in the market,” said Capcom in a recent note to investors. Here’s hoping Square makes a proper Final Fantasy Tactics game is this one suffers in a stagnant market.