Just 13 months ago, Square Enix released Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier. Today, January 11, marks the end of this game’s lifetime. It is officially dead and unplayable, with the plug pulled. When you load into the game, you are greeted with this message:
To say the least, the life cycle of this game has been insane and pretty disappointing overall. Despite this, it could have been saved had Square Enix made key decisions and not left it to rot. Today let’s take a look back at the life of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, and why it deserved better.
A Fascinating Idea
Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is such an interesting idea. Combining the world of Final Fantasy VII and battle royale wasn’t on my bingo card for 2021, but the execution of the idea with SOLDIER candidates really worked. The premise of First Soldier takes you back thirty years prior to the events of FFVII, with you taking on the role of a SOLDIER in training. It’s an extremely neat idea considering this was a part of the Final Fantasy VII storyline never really touched on.
First Soldier had all sorts of collaborations with your favorite Final Fantasy VII characters, allowing you to become Cloud, Zack, Sephiroth, and others. Chocobo costumes, mage costumes, and all sorts of wackiness were added throughout the game’s life cycle. You get to see your favorite FF7 characters running around with assault rifles and casting magic on other players. It’s a crazy concept but it was really neat. In the final photo that is posted below, you can see all sorts of costumes that were added to the game.
The game was originally announced for iOS and Android only, but plenty of people, myself included, figured that Square would end up bringing the title to consoles and PC. As we know, this did not happen, and it is really a shame considering what could’ve been.
First Soldier is now lost to time. There is no way to play it or access the game in any capacity. This is another example of a situation that could have been avoided entirely if the game was given a chance on other platforms. While it’s not a guarantee that it would’ve lasted longer, I think it would have received a fighting chance if it was on PlayStation or PC. The game had a lot of really cool elements to it, which allowed players to experience something pretty awesome in Midgar.
This was a good idea poorly executed. A live service game like this requires dedication and patience. It was doomed from the start with it being a mobile exclusive, and over the course of the game, certain events did not help its case. There never really was a massive marketing push from Square, which is odd considering Final Fantasy is their biggest IP. Proper marketing could have saved First Soldier, or at least kept it around a little longer. Sure, Final Fantasy is an RPG series and nowhere near a battle royale. However, Square really never set this one up for success. They set it up to fail.
The First Soldier couldn’t stop there, as it had to go out with one final bang. In December, it was revealed that Sonic creator Yuji Naka was arrested for insider trading surrounding this title. A final spark just under a month before the servers were set to go down.
An Ever Crisis Inside Square Enix?
The mobile games for Final Fantasy VII won’t stop anytime soon it seems. Ever Crisis is an incredibly ambitious title that looks to recreate the entire compilation of Final Fantasy VII. While this title does not have a live service approach that we know of, this is yet another Square title exclusive to mobile platforms. A game like Ever Crisis seems perfect for Nintendo Switch, with impressive but not intensive graphics.
We saw all sorts of costumes on the main party in the trailer, which means there is assuredly going to be a gacha element of some sort in Ever Crisis. This shouldn’t be a turnoff for bringing it to other platforms, however. With a true 1:1 remake, Ever Crisis seems to be a faithful adaptation of the original game. Even as someone who prefers the new direction the Remake Project is headed in, I’d love to get the chance to play Ever Crisis on something that isn’t a phone.
It’s a mystery if Square Enix will ever get over the mobile hump, but we sure hope they do. Another mobile game, Bravely Default: Brilliant Lights, is also ending service within a year. Next month, this title will close the curtains just as The First Soldier has today. Tons of games could still be thriving right now if they were released on PC and console as well. First Soldier is just the latest example of this, lasting basically one calendar year. It really is a sad sight. If you go to the official website, you’re greeted with a 404 error.
Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier had a really weird cycle with all sorts of craziness happening. It’s really unfortunate, as the game would have been really fun if given the right opportunities to shine. Hopefully, Square Enix reconsiders their approach to mobile development. It is just a shame seeing titles continuously being launched and shut down, forever unplayable.