Final Fantasy has had several spin-offs over the years. The RPG series has been around the block a time or two, whether it was with rhythm game Theatrhythm or a kart racer like Chocobo Racing, Final Fantasy has shown it’s willing to work outside of the confines of the genre it began with.
So with all that being said, here’s my pitch: Final Fantasy dating sim.
Not sold on the idea? Let me walk you through how I found myself fixated on this idea.
We’re only a few weeks away from the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake (part one, at least), and a lot of us are eager to see Cloud, Tifa, Barret, and all the other characters people have held dear to them for the past 23 years. Especially now that each of them are being realized in a way they weren’t in the original game. These people are no longer being rendered with so few polygons they look like a kind of off-brand Lego figurine. Now, Cloud Strife has a character model to match his sexy, brooding demeanor.
Final Fantasy is a franchise that thrives on sex appeal. Even when you don’t like a character like Snow in Final Fantasy XIII, it’s hard to deny that he is a gorgeous specimen of a man. Whether it’s the angsty, emotionally unavailable Cloud or the sporty girl next door Tifa, Final Fantasy has probably managed to hit somewhere that at least partially resembles your type.
But what if I’m not into Cloud Strife and his assortment of belts, that spikey blonde hair, and the way I never quite feel like he’s listening to me when I speak? Where is the Final Fantasy VII that focuses instead on a rugged, risk-taking chocobo handler that always has a whip on his person in case he finds himself in a situation where he might need it?
Yeah, I’m talking about this guy, Chocobo Sam. He doesn’t even have a full name. Cloud might have terrible memory, but what is more enigmatic than going by a pseudonym and not letting anyone close enough to know the real you? Can Cloud Strife help you enact your various McCree Overwatch fantasies? I don’t think so.
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Then for those of us who might be feeling a different kind of adventurous, there’s also Andrea Rhodea, the owner of the Honey Bee Inn who is here in Final Fantasy VII Remake to break down Cloud and company’s perceptions of beauty and its ties to stereotypical gender roles. He is described as “always in search of perfection, vigorously training both his body and mind.” Imagine what a man of such vigorous training could teach you in a dating sim scenario. He’s all about expanding one’s body and mind, convincing you to try new things you never thought of before.
Characters like Andrea and Chocobo Sam can only appear for the briefest of times in Final Fantasy VII Remake, or really any game that’s structured like a standard Final Fantasy RPG. But a dating sim? That’s primetime to both explore the lives of characters who exist outside of Final Fantasy VII’s eco terrorism story and also let you explore them in other ways.
If you don’t want to mess with any of the canon relationships, this hypothetical dating sim could just be about these characters who are criminally underdeveloped as Cloud and friends pass through their lives on their way to bigger things. We’ve watched the series’ most stoic characters dance in Theatrhythm, what harm could it do to the series’ image to let us kiss its NPCs? Let me ride Chocobo Sam’s Chocobo, Square-Enix.