The Final Fantasy Countdown
If there is one thing that can be said of this time particular of year that we can all accept as a universal truth, it is that this is the season of counting things down. At no other time do we become so focused on knowing exactly how many days there are until something happens. With, possibly, the notable exceptions of December 21st 2012 - when mistranslations of the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world to widespread debate, and the Y2K panic of 1999 that saw half the world fearing a New Millennium AI take over.
Ticking off the days until the obligatory office party, carefully calculating exactly how many sleeps are left until Santa squeezes down the chimney and optimistically trying to convince ourselves that we absolutely can resist eating the entire ‘holiday stash’ of snacks before we even get to December – the long weeks of build up that take us from Halloween to Christmas are made considerably more enjoyable as we stuff our weeks (and our faces) with as much pre-planned excitement as we can handle.
So when, from the Stark Expo-like stages of London’s Copper Box Arena during this year’s highly anticipated XO19 exhibition between November 14th and 16th, Microsoft announced the upcoming addition of a string of their most definitive RPG games to the X Box Games Pass service, you can forgive the collective digital calendars of the gaming community world for imploding with an overload of anticipation.
Seriously, if you still haven’t seen the images from XO19 yet we recommend sacrificing the next ten minutes to a Google search – don’t worry, we’ll wait.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the service, the X Box Games Pass works as a subscription for X Box One players that gives users access to a library of games for a monthly fee. Whilst the announcement alone was enough to get console happy fingers twitching, it was the news that not one, not two, but ten games from the Final Fantasy franchise would be included that caught our attention at Dicebox.
We make no secret of our love of all things physical in the gaming world – we love trading cards, can’t get enough of counters and we’re pretty sure that there isn’t a single drawer we own that doesn’t have at least a handful of dice rattling around inside. But while board games undoubtedly take up a large proportion of our time, we also love online gaming.
Whether you’re a seasoned console pro or still convinced that they really ought to bring back joysticks, digital play has massively influenced the culture, accessibility, and market of the gaming community ever since SpaceWar first bleeped its way into existence back in 1962. So it will come as no surprise to anyone that any game franchise capable of transitioning almost seamlessly from the digital to the physical and back again will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Around since 1987, there have been fourteen main instalments to date in the Final Fantasy series. The Japanese made RPG is one of the most eponymous titles in the genre and stands solid against the likes of more modern choices like Fable, World of Warcraft and Skyrim as
an absolute game-changer. There are few series out there that can still offer the same visual scope, storytelling and character intricacy after over three decades of releases.
Even the most villainous of game antagonists would be hard-pressed to match the depth and complexity of Sephiroth – the arch-nemesis of Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife (he of the ridiculously oversized weapon fame) and, in our opinion, one of the most overlooked ‘bad guy’ characters in modern RPG history.
If like us, the news of Microsoft’s announcement has got you itching to dust off your old FF collection, Dicebox are pleased to be able to offer a number of related products to help you mix a little real-life play into your screen time. After all - just because the experts recommend setting a limit to your daily online time so as not to damage your eyes, it doesn’t mean we have to limit game time altogether (we love a good loophole).
We firmly believe you can never have too many trading card games – they’re easy to learn,
accessible for gaming novices and endlessly expandable. The Final Fantasy franchise has
long been a stalwart of the TC world. At $34.00 the Final Fantasy TCG Versus Decks WraithVs Knight is a two-player game featuring exclusive starter set cards for one on one battling.
With the kind of imagery that can make warriors weep, the cards are as much a piece of
artwork as they are a very playable game.
Other products in our trading card range feature starter sets from several of the instalments, including more recent releases (2018) like the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game Starter Set -Final Fantasy XII, which gives players three varieties based on FF XII, XIII, and XIV. Priced at $22.00 each, we recommend searching the entire range to find your favourites. Suitable from ages 13 years and upwards, trading cards are a fantastic way to introduce newcomers to the breadth and detail of World A.
For those of you who still have the patience (and room on your calendars) for yet another countdown, Dicebox is anticipating high demand for the Final Fantasy TCG Tin Gift Set, available from 28th March 2020 and priced at $60.00. With exclusive Tifa and Y'shtola promo cards included, this set is the ultimate gift for FF fans and definitely worth the wait. Be aware though, we expect this product to sell out on pre-orders so you might want to put in a word with the Christmas elves in advance.
On the subject of waiting for things to arrive, we think it’s worth reminding the gaming world that as well as the expansion of the X Box Games Pass range, the year 2020 will also see the March release of the Final Fantasy Version VII remake. The remake, which has been anticipated since 2005, will initially be released to the PS4 platform after a nearly fifteen-year wait. Almost universally acknowledged as the best storyline in the series, it’s safe to say we all know how we’ll be spending most of the first few weeks of spring.
If, after all that, you’re hankering for something to look forward to that doesn’t seem to be quite so far in the distant future, you can always join us on Dicebox again for more gaming and pop culture themed blog posts in the run-up to December.
Now, all that talk of counting things down has us in the mood for a little classic 80’s rock – if you need us, we’ll be air-guitaring our way around the office to a bit of Europe. All together now, ‘it’s the final countdown....’