The classic tunes of Final Fantasy have always been one of the many hallmarks of the series next to its story and eclectic cast of characters for each installment. Recently, publisher Square Enix announced that it would be releasing a rhythm game based on the series, and we managed to check out a few more details about the game.
For starters, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy will cram all 13 of the main stories of Final Fantasy into one package. According to the site's story explanation, there's actually a plane of existence between Final Fantasy gods Cosmos and Chaos called Rhythm. This space gives birth to the crystals that control the powers of music and sound. Unfortunately, the forces of Chaos tampered with this power, and as a result, the crystals lose their shine and hold on music reality. You will have to guide your Final Fantasy party members on a quest to restore these crystals' former power by playing the role-playing equivalent of a touch-screen-based rhythm game, not unlike Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents.
Before each stage, players can form a party of four characters to participate in any quest. While the full character list has not been revealed, the game's official site has shown off Lightning, Cloud, Frionel, the Onion Knight, and Bartz.
You will have three different types of icons to hit in accordance to the beat of the songs played. Red icons require you to touch the inputs once, while yellow icons require you to touch and slide the icon in the direction the arrow is pointing. Green icons require you to hold and drag the icon on a green line from the front all the way to the back.
A stage in the game will be divided into three parts: a field, a battle, and an event segment. The field stages will let you match inputs to the field, town, and dungeon music through one rhythm line. This section is meant to ease you into the game since the songs played here are slow-paced. The battle segments, however, will challenge you with upbeat tempos and more notes and icons to hit. The background is laid out like a typical Final Fantasy battle, with the opponents on the right and the heroes on the left taking turns attempting to hit each other. You will be fighting classic FF monsters like the bombs and behemoths. There weren't any details about the last segment, but we can guess that it will play out key moments in Final Fantasy history, such as the opera scene in FFVI and the climactic boss fights with Sephiroth, Ex-Death, and Kefka from their respective series appearances.
In addition, the game features yet-to-be-revealed museum and SpotPass options. Based on the 3DS's unique feature, the SpotPass option could be ghost data of a random player's party or score for a particular track, which you could compete against. We'll also take a guess that the museum option lets you check out unlocked music and items found throughout the game's story mode.
With more than 50 songs featured (three songs from each mothership Final Fantasy title from FFI to FFXIII), fans will get to tap inputs to the likes of "One Winged Angel" and "Clash On the Big Bridge." The less open-minded fans, however, may not take too kindly to the fact that this was the big Final Fantasy news Tetsuya Nomura talked about on Famitsu last week that isn't related to the other big Final Fantasy title he's still working on. Looking at the flip side of the pessimistic coin, we're surprised that it took until 2011 for a project like this, given the rich history of Final Fantasy's music.
Stick around for the next few months, as we will get a chance to get a thorough hands-on with a Tokyo Game Show build here on GameSpot. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy will be out this winter in Japan.