The mobile gaming industry is a juggernaut in terms of sales, due to the sheer size of the smartphone market. Fans may have mocked the guy who said: "Do you guys not have phones?" during the infamous Diablo Immortal presentation at BlizzCon, but he had a point, especially when mobile titles are bringing in billions of dollars in revenue from in-app purchases alone.
Pokémon Go has made a tremendous amount of money, which has led to other companies taking note and preparing their own AR (augmented reality) games. Square Enix will shortly enter this market with the release of Dragon Quest Walk, but fans are wondering why the company didn't use the Final Fantasy license for its first big AR game?
It's possible that a Final Fantasy AR game is on the cards, based on the recent influx of AR games on the market and the fact that Square Enix is already dabbling with the concept with the Dragon Quest license.
The Success Of Pokémon Go Has Prompted Copycat Games Based On Big Franchises
Pokémon Go became a worldwide phenomenon when it launched in 2016 and it single-handily caused a nostalgia boom for the Pokémon franchise. To date, Pokémon Go has brought in over three billion dollars in profit.
The success of Pokémon Go has prompted other companies to follow suit and create their own knock-off AR games that use the same format but with different multimedia franchises. The most notable examples of this are Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and the upcoming Minecraft Earth, both of which are trying to snag the market that isn't interested in the Pokémon franchise.
Square Enix Might Be Testing The Waters With Dragon Quest Walk
It's possible that Square Enix is preparing for a Final Fantasy AR game with a smaller project that can help the company work out the kinks beforehand, in the form of Dragon Quest Walk.
Dragon Quest Walk is due to be released in the next few days, but it seems to be a Japan-exclusive title. The reason for this is due to the fact that the Dragon Quest series is huge in Japan, but is still considered relatively niche in international markets.
Dragon Quest Walk takes the formula of Pokémon Go but allows the player to build the character who takes part in battle. The player character acts as a party member who fights monsters and visits different locations to heal and find treasure.
It seems unlikely that Dragon Quest Walk will see an international release but it could be setting the stage for something bigger.
Square Enix Is Not Afraid To Use The Final Fantasy License For Mobile Titles
Square Enix has wholly embraced the mobile gaming market and the company hasn't been afraid to squeeze as much nostalgia juice out of the Final Fantasy franchise as possible.
The Final Fantasy license took a hit when Final Fantasy All The Bravest was savaged by both fans and critics alike. The gameplay of Final Fantasy All The Bravest involved mindlessly tapping the screen, yet it still found a way to include plenty of in-app purchases. The game proved that Square Enix was willing to shill out its biggest franchise to the mobile market.
Square Enix has released a few quality Final Fantasy mobile games in the past, so a potential Final Fantasy AR title isn't necessarily destined to be a microtransaction nightmare, especially as established names have already carved out a piece of the market and a greedy approach could easily turn prospective fans away from the game.
How Would A Final Fantasy AR Game Work?
Dragon Quest Walk, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Pokémon Go have already laid out the groundwork for how a Final Fantasy AR game could work. The player would create a character model and assign it to a job (likely one of the six base classes introduced in the original Final Fantasy), before sending them off to fight monsters.
The Final Fantasy AR game could encourage players to seek out monsters using their phone and fight them in order to gain experience points and rare gear. The harder monsters could encourage players to work in a group in order to take it down, in a similar manner to how parties fight together in the mainline Final Fantasy games.
Pokémon Go has hundreds of Pokémon to add to the game, which means that it has plenty of content to add for years to come. A Final Fantasy game could take the same approach as Final Fantasy XIV and slowly introduce new jobs, monsters, and loot over time. The established characters could also be worked into the game in the same manner as Final Fantasy Explorers by allowing the player to temporarily transform their avatar into a legacy character, such as Cloud Strife. It could also be possible to earn summons of the famous characters that can be used in battle, as well as using them as opponents during events in order to win their gear.
There is a lot of potential in the prospect of a Final Fantasy AR game, but the influx of new games might cause a decline in interest. Dragon Quest Walk could be Square Enix's attempt at testing the concept on a local scale before attempting such a major undertaking as a global Final Fantasy mobile title.