Spotted amongst the stalls, booths and crowds at Essen Spiel 2022 were a pair of small posters advertising board game adaptations of both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Chocobo’s Dungeon.
Distributor Hobby Japan didn’t have much more information about the titles beyond what was printed on the signs. Square Enix, the video game developer that handles the Final Fantasy franchise and its many spin-offs will be designing both board games in-house.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake adaptation is described as an “original boardgame”, according to the poster, which is admittedly not very helpful. Original could mean a more faithful retelling of Remake’s story (itself a rehash of the original 1997 video game) as a cooperative, quest-based experience where players fill the roles of Cloud, Tifa, Barret and the rest of the video game’s core cast. It could just as easily be a loose theming on a coherent but otherwise unrelated design.
Also missing is a release date - the poster simply reads “coming soon”. Dicebreaker has reached out to Square Enix for more information.
Chocobo’s Dungeon, which is currently looking at a release sometime in 2023, will be based on the popular mystery dungeon video game series featuring the large yellow mount and longtime mascot. Again, solid information is slim, but this series has a stronger mechanical identity - players enter randomly generated floors, battling enemies in turn-based battles and collecting equipment and items to help them delve deeper.
Popularised by video game studio Spike Chunsoft, the mystery dungeon format could make for an interesting board game where players place tiles as they explore an unknown dungeon, drawing enemies and loot from a deck or bag of tokens. In fact, analogue games arguably have a long history of adapting this style of play to the table, so Square Enix has plenty of inspiration on which to draw.
Past Square Enix board games have focused on smaller elements within the popular online multiplayer RPG Final Fantasy XIV (2019’s Gold Saucer Cactpot Party) or tended toward lighter designs, such as Chocobo’s Crystal Hunt and Chocobo Party Up!
The heaviest title in the developer’s analogue portfolio is probably the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game, first released only in Japan in 2011 and then later re-released globally in 2016. It plays somewhere close to Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! as combatants summon characters from throughout the Final Fantasy series and attempt to break through defensive lines to damage their opponents directly.
Final Fantasy’s flirtation with the tabletop space has been heating up recently. Magic: the Gathering publisher Wizards of the Coast recently announced a crossover set for the trading card gamee as part of Final Fantasy’s 35th anniversary celebration. Fans of the RPG series have also been hard at work translating the world of FFXIV’s Eorzea into a tabletop RPG.