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8 reasons 2021 could be the biggest year ever for Final Fantasy

What's in store for the beloved Square Enix series this year?

Square Enix’s beloved Final Fantasy series is on a strong footing heading into the 2020s, thanks in no small part to the superb Final Fantasy VII Remake. The game’s villain, Sephiroth, even showed up as a brand-new fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The fantasy role-playing series has now been in the United States for more than 30 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down as one of the best role-playing game series around. This year, the U.S. release of Final Fantasy IV turns 30, and it'll also be the 20-year anniversary of Final Fantasy X's release.

Between another FF7 Remake, the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI, and other potential spinoffs and re-releases, Final Fantasy fans have a lot to look forward to in 2021 and beyond. what’s next for Final Fantasy in 2021, including some theories and predictions. Let's mosey.

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8. FF7 Remake is free for PS Plus subscribers in March

FF7 Remake is among several solid games available to PS Plus subscribers this March.Sony

If you're a Final Fantasy fan with a PlayStation 4, then you almost certainly already purchased and played 2020's Final Fantasy VII Remake. On the off chance that you haven't yet, Sony has made the game free for anyone with a paid PS Plus subscription.

The game is technically redeemable on PS4 or PS5 until April 5, but if you get FF7 Remake through this method on PS5, you'll be missing out on the best features from the free PS5 upgrade.

FF7 Remake is available free to PS Plus subscribers from March 2 to April 5.

7. FF7 Remake Intergrade coming to PS5

Yuffie is the star now.

During Sony's February 2021 State of Play live stream, Square Enix announced that a FF7 Remake port called Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was coming to the PlayStation 5. Though this was the culmination of months' worth of rumors, nobody predicted just how extensive the port would be.

Intergrade features typical next-gen upgrades like improved visuals and loading times, new haptic feedback thanks to the DualSense controller, along with a photo mode and options to prioritize graphics or performance. But the biggest surprise is a new episode featuring everyone's favorite teenaged ninja as the main playable character.

"In this new adventure, play as ninja Yuffie Kisaragi as she infiltrates the shadowy Shinra Corporation to steal a powerful materia and restore glory to her homeland," the official description reads. She'll be joined by a new character named Sonon. While it's unclear precisely how much Yuffie's new story will overlap with the pre-existing timeline, her addition makes it clear that she'll be a playable character very early in FF7 Remake Part 2.

FF7 Remake Intergrade will be released June 10, 2021 only on the PS5.

6. Final Fantasy XIV's new 6.0 update: Endwalker

Square Enix announced in February that a new FF14 expansion, called Endwalker, would be released in fall 2021. Not only will the expansion introduce two new jobs into the mix and bring players to the moon, but it'll bring the narrative that began with the relaunch of A Realm Reborn to a close.

"Endwalker will mark a new beginning for the beloved MMO," a press release from the announcement reads, "setting the stage for new adventures that longtime fans and new players can enjoy together." So it's abundantly clear that this'll mark the dawning of a new era for the game rather than the end of it.

There will be a FF14 Digital Fan Festival held on May 14 and 15 that should include more information, but for now, the expansion promises all of the following:

  • Journey to Thavnair, the imperial capital of Garlemald, and even the Moon!
  • New Jobs: Sage and more – A first look at the Sage in action can be seen here: https://youtu.be/ASTGVJLBX14
  • Level Cap Increase from 80 to 90
  • Expansive new areas, including Garlemald, Thavnair, and the city of Radz-at-Han.
  • A New Tribe: the Arkasodara
  • New threats, including Anima.
  • New Dungeons
  • New High-Difficulty Raid: Pandæmonium
  • Secrets Revealed in a New Alliance Raid Series
  • New Small-scale PvP Mode
  • An Additional “Trust” System ally: Estinien Wyrmblood
  • A New Residential District: Ishgard
  • Updates to the Gold Saucer
  • Relaxing Fun in Island Sanctuary
  • New Gear and Crafting Recipes
  • Expanded Horizons via the Data Center Travel System

5. FF7: The First Soldier mobile battle royale release

Few things could have been more surprising than Square Enix announcing during Sony's February State of Play that a mobile Final Fantasy VII battle royale game was going to be released this year. A trademark for "The First Soldier" was leaked in January, and in retrospect, that was for FF7: The First Soldier.

Like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone, The First Soldier is a free-to-play battle royale game. Except it's only slated for release on iOS and Android thus far. The First Soldier is set in Midgar before the events of FF7. "As a SOLDIER candidate, the player will make full use of their magic and abilities in a battle for their survival," an official description reads. It's largely a third-person action game like Fortnite, but aiming down the sights of a weapon shifts things into a first-person perspective.

It's all a bit baffling, but combat doesn't look half-bad. We'll just have to wait and see when it's released later this year. But because we don't have a first release date yet, it seems likely that it'll be closer to the end of the year.

Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier is scheduled for release sometime in 2021.

4. FF7 Remake on Xbox Game Pass?

A Microsoft representative confirmed to True Achievements in early January 2021 that several more Final Fantasy games would come to Xbox Game Pass at some point in 2021. These include:

  • Final Fantasy X: HD Remastered
  • Final Fantasy X-2: HD Remastered
  • Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
  • Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, and Final Fantasy IX will also remain in the Xbox Game Pass library until further notice. Final Fantasy XV: Royal Edition was removed from the service on February 1, and as of March 2021, there's been no further news about Final Fantasy on Xbox Game Pass.

FF7 Remake had been a timed exclusive for PlayStation 4 with a window of exclusivity set to expire in April 2021 on the one-year anniversary of the first game's release. But it's unclear whether or not Sony has extended that window in some way considering the fact that we're getting Intergrade and that FF7 Remake will be free for PS Plus subscribers in March.

It’s possible that Microsoft may figure out a way to bring the title to Xbox Game Pass at some point before the end of the year.

3. FF7 Remake Part 2 release date reveal

What did that radical FF7 Remake ending really mean for the sequel?Square Enix

Consider this one a hopeful dream: Could we learn more about FF7 Remake Part 2? Or even see it released in 2021? There's some speculation that the aforementioned February 2021 concert could include info about the upcoming sequel, but that seems farfetched.

We know for a fact that the next installment was in development as early as December 2019, and while production may have been delayed due to remote work conditions, producer Yoshinori Kitase said development was "progressing smoothly" in December 2020.

That same month, the motion capture artist for Aerith revealed on Twitter that she had completed a lengthy session of mocap work with the Sephiroth actor. This led to some redditors assuming that all mo-cap work on the game has wrapped. But that remains to be seen, especially when a follow-up tweet notes more work to be done in 2021.

Regardless, we should get some kind of update or at least a trailer by the end of 2021, but if the next entry is a shorter game, we could get something even better.

2. An update on the Final Fantasy 16 release date

The Final Fantasy XVI protagonist Clive Rosfield has been through a lot.Square Enix

Sony took the gaming world by surprise by opening its mid-September PS5 showcase with a reveal trailer for Final Fantasy XVI. While graphics closely resemble Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, the next mainline installment of the series appears to take a novel approach to combat that's drawn comparisons to Game of Thrones and Dark Souls.

While Square Enix has yet to confirm a release date, the game’s producer Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida said alongside initial announcements that “the next big information reveal is scheduled for 2021.” Some rumors indicate that “basic development and scenario production” is complete, which could indicate a release date announcement for later this year — or soon thereafter.

Square Enix did release a playable demo for Final Fantasy XV about eight months before the full game was released, so it's possible that the same could happen for FF16 sometime in 2021. Yoshi-P spoke about the game in a February 2021 radio interview, but did not hint at any sort of release date window. That could be a strong indication that the game won't be released until late in the year, or in 2022.

1. Live-action Final Fantasy 14 show news

Back in June 2019, Sony Pictures Television announced a partnership with Hivemind Entertainment to develop a live-action series based in the world of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. That's the same studio that makes Netflix's series based on The Witcher, which is a good sign that the final product could be pretty great. But when will we learn more? Unsure, but Sony Pictures Television Co-President Chris Parnell previously promised that the series will delight any Final Fantasy fan.

“This show is about embracing and embodying all of the elements that have made the mythos such an endlessly captivating phenomenon," Parnell said in 2019, "and it’s an immense honor to be bringing all of Eorzea’s iconic characters, settings, and concepts — including fan-favorites like Cid and, of course, the chocobos – to life for a television audience."

There has been a total dearth of news since the initial announcement and no telling when we'll hear more. But perhaps it'll happen before the end of 2021?

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