Final Fantasy Deserves a Brainless Beat-Em-Up

I cannot believe that Final Fantasy is 30 years old and still doesn’t have a gratuitous, fan service-y Dynasty Warriors-style spinoff game. We already have plushes, apparel, figures, movies, jewelry, and trading cards. We have perfumes. A Louis Vuitton fashion line. Car commercials. Criminally underrated rhythm games. Some kind of gene-spliced chocobo/camel Assassin’s Creed crossover? There’s not a Monopoly board yet, but don’t worry, they’re working on it!

If there’s any justice in this world, it’s only a matter of time until an actual “Final Fantasy Warriors” game comes to fruition. At the very least, it wouldn’t be the worst thing they’ve done with the franchise! The thought of such a game popped into my head last night, so for fun, I let my mind run wild on the concept. Here’s my best attempt at narrowing the many possibilities to a small, varied, and representative lineup of characters I would love to see:

Cloud (FF7)

I mean, this was never even up for debate. There is not a universe in the space-time continuum that has a Final Fantasy Warriors game, so there definitely isn’t one without Cloud. It’s even tempting to stop this list right here and come up with an entire roster of characters from Final Fantasy 7, because that would make one hell of a video game. I’m trying to keep this realistic, though!

Warrior of Light (FF)

Never forget your roots, they say. As typical as his moveset might end up being, this characterization of the original Final Fantasy’s warrior archetype feels too classic to be left out. We can (and maybe should) play it safe with a few spots on our list.

Cecil (FF4)

Between his white magic, dark sword arts, heavy armor, and flowing white hair, you know we need to have Cecil in this game. Square Enix’s art team have done an incredible job of adapting Yoshitaka Amano’s original design into 3D, so it would almost be a waste to not toss those assets right into a buckwild action brawler.

Rydia (FF4)

Rydia is one of the series’ earliest examples of strong female characterization, and if only for that reason alone, she would deserve a spot in the game. As a summoner, though, there are a lot of different ways they could go with her. Her entire moveset could be based around her partnership with the Mist Dragon, or maybe she would call in various summons for each combo. It doesn’t really matter to me, I’d be down!

Bartz & Boco (FF5)

We have to put a chocobo in somewhere, right? These games tend to have characters on horseback, dragonback, or whatever else, and I can’t think of anyone better suited to that idea than Bartz. To be fair, Bartz isn’t the most compelling on his own, but as long as he has a combo finisher where he gives Boco a nice pat, he’ll be worth having around.

Terra (FF6)

Hopefully, you’re already nodding along as to why Terra would be a good pick. She’s (ostensibly) the protagonist of one of the most beloved games in the series! Between her giant Magitek Armor and her esper transformation, her special moves would feel immense.

Vincent (FF7)

Sorry, I think I maybe said something earlier about being done with Final Fantasy 7 characters. I meant it at the time, but I’m realizing that it’s not going to be much of a Final Fantasy game if we don’t have any edge. We need you, Vincent. Your guns, your demon transformations, and yes, your completely unexplained levitation.

Vivi (FF9)

Not only is Vivi a complex and incredibly cute character, he would be the perfect representative of the series’ iconic black mage design. If you ask me, it would be a bit stupid to include a black mage other than Vivi. ALMOST as stupid as not making a Final Fantasy musou game after 30 years! I should maybe move on now, because the longer I try and imagine Vivi in this game, the worse I feel that it doesn’t exist.

Wakka (FFX)

This is more than a little unconventional, so let me explain: a laidback dude that bounces sporting equipment off of his enemies’ faces would add a lot of flavor to an otherwise sword-heavy roster. Did you know that in Hyrule Warriors, you could dress Link up in a mail man outfit while obliterating thousands of bad dudes? They didn’t have to do that, but they did, and the game was better for it. Wakka brings our game some much-needed levity.

Rikku (FFX-2)

She’s no Yuna, but Rikku has way too many character traits that make her a must-have. The dual blades from her X-2 design would be perfectly suited to a speedy playstyle. She also has an enormous number of unique special attacks that could be borrowed from her Mix overlimits from Final Fantasy X. Most importantly, her energetic and playful personality would balance out the series’ penchant for sullen teenagers.

Snow (FF13)

Lightning is probably the more realistic pick here, and as a Lightning fan, I’d be totally fine with that. In Snow’s favor, though, a brainless beat-em-up needs a brainless guy to punch things. Snow would fill that role without a second’s hesitation. He also has some kind of strange, lady-based motorcycle? That stupid bike is never going to be as useful anywhere else as it would be in a Dynasty Warriors game.

Noctis (FF15)

As the hero of the most recent Final Fantasy, Noctis is probably as essential a character as Cloud. That restriction aside, it’s fortunately pretty easy to imagine a flashy and sastisfying moveset for our king-to-be. He has sparkly blue teleports, numerous weapons, and some spectacularly anime special moves.

This is far from a complete list, but for a practical lineup of 12 characters, we could do worse! For comparison’s sake, Dynasty Warriors 8 has 70+ playable characters, so maybe we still have some seats to fill. Feel free to share your picks with me on Twitter.