Dissidia Final Fantasy came out over a year ago in Japan as an arcade game, but a console version is apparently still in the works.
In a recent interview with Weekly Famitsu the game's producer, Ichirou Hazama, and director, Takeo Kujiraoka, said that the only reason a console version of Dissidia Final Fantasy wasn't shown at the recent Final Fantasy 30th anniversary event was because development of a single-player campaign has slowed things down. According to Gematsu's translation of the interview, Hazama said the console port didn't currently have "enough value" to warrant showing anything to the public.
"Many users are expecting a story for the console version, which we are of course preparing. However, the focus of the game is battles and that has not changed. We will further enhance other elements as well, which will take a little bit more time."
Image credit: Jpellgen.
But that doesn't mean the console version isn't still on its way. In fact, Kujiraoka suggested that Dissidia Final Fantasy's potential as a competitive fighting game might propel it not just onto consoles but also into markets outside of Japan.
"If we can export it to the world as a high-proficiency, competitive fighting tool, while also an enjoyable team battle Final Fantasy, it might even rise up as an e-Sports event. If that happens, then next will be a global tournament, right? I can't say too much, but I want to use these sorts of ambitions to make Dissidia Final Fantasy an even better game."
Square Enix has been toying with the idea of trying to create an esport-friendly game for a few years now, most recently with Flame x Blaze, a MOBA-style game in the mould of League of Legends or Dota 2 designed for smartphones. The 3 vs. 3 setup makes it look similar to Vainglory, but while the game is in beta for Japan, there's still no Western release date.
In an earnings report from late 2015, the company said it would be "tenacious" in its pursuit of esports, despite not yet being able to make any money from it.
"We are less-experienced in the new genre of e-sports, which prevented us from gaining player acceptance in some cases. While we need to work to develop e-sports offerings over the long term, we wanted to recognise the valuation losses on our books earlier rather than later," said the report.
Months prior to that report, Square Enix president and CEO Yosuke Matsuda said in an interview with Nikkei that the company was putting energy into esports prior to the 2015 Tokyo Game Show.
"When it comes to eSports, if there are the core [games] that pros get into for the prize money, then are also the more relaxed esports out there," he said.
"Our company's European studio offers Nosgoth, which is currently managed as an open-beta, and it is highly reputed by the western players, so I believe we'd like to continue growing it into a more hardcore esports title. Even the foreign pro teams out there have been noticing it."
A free-to-play spin-off of Legacy of Kain, Nosgoth was developed by Psyonix, the creators of Rocket League. But unlike the studio's game about cars with rocket packs ramming giant inflatable balls into nets which did become a popular game and successful esport, Nosgoth never caught on, despite Matsuda's enthusiasm. Early last year, the servers were shutdown.
It's possible Dissidia Final Fantasy could break that trend given the popularity of the series characters and the fact that the game has already been out in the wild for over a year. The arcade game even runs on PS4 hardware, so creating a console version shouldn't be a monumental task. Plus, it was developed by Team Ninja, the company behind the Dead or Alive series.
While Dead or Alive 5: Last Round isn't at the top of most people's fighting game lists, the game has a dedicated community of competitive players that offers a blueprint for how something like Dissidia could grow beyond the Japanese arcades its currently confined to.