Building Fantasian For Apple Arcade
HWM Singapore|April 2021
A chat with Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi about his latest gaming opus.
Aaron Yip

Fantasian at a glance has everything a JRPG fan will find familiar. It takes place in a lush fantasy world, features turn-based combat and tells a grandiose tale of good versus evil. It is after all, a game made by Hironobu Sakaguchi – the creator of the Final Fantasy series and also the man behind the genesis of JRPGs (Japanese role-playing games) that we know of today. Fantasian even reunited Sakaguchi with famed composer and frequent collaborator, Nobuo Uematsu.

Fantasian will also be available on the Apple Arcade platform, making it only the third mobile game series, that Sakaguchi’s Mistwalker studio is working on. Actually, to call Fantasian a mobile game is a misnomer as it will be available across all Apple Arcade devices – that means Mac, iOS and Apple TV. It could also be Apple Arcade’s first real blockbuster title, a boost to the current library of games there that while, in all honesty, decent and entertaining, don’t quite have the kind of triple-AAA lustre that we are used to seeing on PC and consoles.

But what makes Fantasian a unique JRPG is clear from the screenshot below:

Fantasian’s game world is actually built from tiny, handcrafted dioramas that give it a distinctly unique charm. I’ve had the chance to chat with Sakaguchi (over Zoom, of course) to find out more about the game, quash a long-running myth (hint: it’s about Final Fantasy), and if there’s even a remote chance of a second reunion of him, Uematsu and Akira Toriyama.

THE IDEA FOR FANTASIAN HAPPENED BECAUSE SAKAGUCHI REPLAYED FINAL FANTASY IV AGAIN

Three years ago, Sakaguchi and a few old colleagues from Square Enix were going back down memory lane and play Final Fantasy IV together. The game reminded him of how much he loved the JRPG genre and inspired him to go back to his roots. So, if you’re familiar with the JRPG genre trope, Fantasian will have NPCs that you can speak to and get quests, dungeon crawling, and of course random monster encounters. Which brings us to the battle system…

Fantasian features a system that twists how players deal with random monster encounters. Unlike classic Final Fantasy and other traditional JRPGs, the game lets you deal with random encounters…at your convenience later. Called the Dimengeon (a wordplay between “dimension” and “dungeon”), it sends the monsters that you encounter to an alternate dimension. You can then jump into a Dimengeon when you want to and wipe them all out at once.

THE PREMISE OF FANTASIAN IS VERY CLASSIC “FINAL FANTASY” TOO

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