Opera Omnia's throwing us back to the year 2000 this season with the arrival of some serious fan-service in the form of new story content and event draws. The latest update introduces a fan favourite character and a new EX weapon that’ll get the veterans screaming like groupies at a KISS concert.
Whether you’re a long-time Dissidia devotee, or a totally unaffected onlooker, anyone even vaguely clued up on Final Fantasy VII's popularity will likely concur that, following tonight’s announcement that Tifa Lockhart will be joining the NT's roster next week, the turbulent 3-v-3 brawler will see an observable surge in Western attention. Yes folks, the time has come; Final Fantasy VII’s aesthetically questionable, but objectively beloved barmaid-turned-terrorist has been confirmed at long last on Square Enix’s NT livestream!
For a very many people across the world, modernised remakes of their favourite childhood games are a dream come true. The way things are going, more and more games developers are starting to realise there’s money to be made in the art of recreating old classics for an audience of gamers eating it up like cake.
I think I speak for most of the gaming community when I express my pity for anyone who's never experienced a good game or two. Many are the times I've gifted my girlfriend with an in-depth lecture on the ins and outs of the Final Fantasy VII continuity, met every time with cold indifference. Admittedly, I enjoy telling that story far too much to care if anyone’s listening or not, but it’s a tragic shame that so many people can’t get lost in video game storylines that, in all honesty, do a better job of telling stories than most movies I’ve ever seen. Final Fantasy in particular is 30 years of Japanese narrative magic that utterly deserves far more gold screen time than its been allowed thus far, especially considering the state of today's film industry, where writers and filmmakers seem to be so devoid of original ideas that we’ve seen a huge spike in re-emerged franchises from the 80s and 90s just to fill that creative gap. Films like Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Independence Day have spontaneously popped back into our lives like unannounced remnants of an adolescent love affair. If there is a void in Hollywood’s creative works, I can think of a far less exploited source of inspiration.
Earlier this year, my life was devastated. For years my family has made a big deal out of A.G. Barr’s magical Irn-Bru at Christmas times, and it's been a family tradition for the last 20 years to have our fridge glowing orange all the way through to New Year. As you probably know, Barr was forced, among all other soft drinks manufacturers, to submit to a rather restrictive tax in the UK earlier this year—the sugar tax—which obviously presented a pretty uncomfortable decision to these companies, now forced to choose between boosting the price of their products to balance their profits, or redesigning their recipes so that their drinks contain less sugar content and evade the tax entirely.
Suffice it to say, I harbour a sentimental attachment to this one. Last year, I was one of 40 Final Fantasy fans invited to attend an exclusive evening in London with Ichiro Hazama, the man at the helm of Dissidia NT’s production team. After the usual Q&A, I was the fool who challenged him to a match of his own game; “You’re going down, son!” I believe were my badly-chosen words. A misguided decision, I thought, as he thoroughly put me in my place and mercilessly secured a clean victory within minutes. From the moment it was announced, I jumped at every opportunity I had to sample Dissidia NT, attending the show-and-tell in London, signing up for PSN beta tests, and even adding the original Dissidia to my digital Playstation library. By the time NT was finally released for PS4, I was already thoroughly familiar with this port of Dissidia’s latest manifestation that, up until NT, was exclusive to Japanese gaming arcades. The day finally came to pass, and all my rampant premonitions of what Square-Enix and Koei had cooked up for us were put to rest, not through nostalgia, but in an ambivalent display of both joy and disappointment.