Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a video game for the Nintendo 3DS and formerly for iOS. It is a "theater rhythm action" game in which players use the stylus to tap and hold notes while fighting enemies. The game features popular Final Fantasy songs and characters, who appear with a similar style to their avatars from Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade, Kingdom Hearts Mobile and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
Its sequel, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call, was released in Japan on April 24, 2014 on the 3DS, with a release date of "2014" for other countries. The game features a playlist of over 200 songs, including tracks from Final Fantasy XIV and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, with 60 characters and a "Versus Battle Mode" for rhythmic multiplayer action.
Service for the iOS version ended September 30, 2017 (JST). Due to a lack of support coupled with relative unpopularity, the game was removed entirely from the App Store as of this date. While it is no longer possible to download the game or access new content, existing game data will remain on the device for which it was acquired. Because the iOS app had never been updated within its lifetime, compatibility is limited to devices running iOS 4.x-10.3.x.
The game features three kinds of notes. If a red note appears on screen the player has to tap it; if a green note appears the player must hold the note (green notes in field sequences have a pattern the player must trace); and with yellow notes, the player must slide in the direction of the arrows on them. Failing notes damages HP. At some point in the song there will be a section called the Feature Zone where the notes turn silver. Doing well enough in this section activates an event depending on what type of stage is being played.
This gameplay is divided in three types: Battle, Field and Event:
- Battle Music Sequences are up-tempo and the player can control up to four characters. Enemies are damaged and defeated by successfully hitting notes. The Feature Zone activates one of five summons: Ifrit, Shiva, Ramuh, Odin, or Bahamut (the rarest). The summons do great damage, often killing the current enemy.
- Event Music Sequences feature video montages from scenes of previous Final Fantasy games where the player taps the notes in rhythm with the music featured in the scene. The Feature Zone activates an "extended" part increasing the chance to earn points.
- Field Music Sequences are similar to event sequences, but instead of video montages they are represented by a chosen playable character strolling though a background scenery. The Feature Zone here calls a chocobo, accelerating the character and changing the sound of the notes when hit.
Characters have four stats: Strength, Magic, Agility, and Luck. Each character has different stats to represent their skill, and stats increase as the character levels up. Stats are ranked based on their current level, with the ranks ascending from F to A, with S as the second highest rank a character's stat can achieve and "Mastered" being the highest. In the iOS version, the "Mastered" rank is changed to SS and SSS, being the second and first best rank respectively.
Each character may have up to either three or four abilities divided into either Reactive or Proactive abilities, such as Focus and Strength Up, respectively. Depending on the character, certain skill slots may be restricted to only active or only passive abilities, with some slots able to equip either type of ability. The iOS version has each character restricted to two abilities each, with each ability changing as they level up. This is the only way for each character to have changes to their fixed stat.
When the game starts there will be three main options to choose from—Music Play, StreetPass Settings, and Museum: Music Play branches out into its own categories such as Series Mode, Challenge and Chaos Shrine.
- Series Mode involves selecting one of the thirteen titles present to play through. After a selection has been made, gameplay consists of a prelude, a battle music sequence, an event music sequence, a field music sequence and an ending. Preludes and endings consist of tapping the screen when floating crystals reach the center, and can be skipped at any time with the player being rewarded all of the Rhythmia earned up to that point.
- Challenge Mode allows a player to go back and play through individual songs from the Series Mode. Each song features three difficulty levels: 'Basic', 'Expert' and 'Ultimate', with Ultimate difficulty unlocked upon completion of Expert mode with a ranking of 'A' or higher. Bonus songs and downloadable content can also be accessed in Challenge mode.
- Chaos Shrine contains a single-player and cooperative multiplayer mode for up to four players. Players will earn a Dark Note, which will unlock, and can be 'defeated' in the Chaos Shrine, after which each successfully defeated Dark Note will unlock another. During multiplayer all players receive the record of the group's best player, meaning a player can get good items by playing with other good players.
In the StreetPass settings the player can edit their ProfiCard and view others' ProfiCards they have obtained from StreetPass:
- The options the player can edit for their ProfiCard are what Dark Note it has, changing the byline, selecting a design, and editing the message. The back of the card contains various statistics, such as the player's current party and most played song.
- Viewing others' ProfiCards allows one to check their statistics. The player can receive the Dark Note by tapping on it.
Museum has four options: Records, Collection, Theatre, and Music Player:
- Records details all of the player's statistics.
- Collection shows all of the player's CollectaCards.
- Theatre allows one to watch any of the unlocked videos.
- Music player allows one to listen to any of the unlocked music.
The story focuses on a conflict between Chaos and Cosmos. The space between the two is called "Rhythm", and houses a Crystal that births music. When the forces of Chaos disrupt the balance, the Crystal's power wavers and Cosmos sends her warriors to increase a music wave called "Rhythmia" to restore balance and make the Crystal shine again.
The logo mirrors Dissidia Final Fantasy, featuring matching chibi-esque Cosmos and Chaos. The protagonists who were represented in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy appear along with sub-characters that can be unlocked after collecting crystals. Many enemies from titles of the series appear, such as Behemoth, Bomb, Ultros, Flan, Green Dragon, Magic Pot, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and Iron Giant.
The iOS port comes with thirteen characters initially available in the 3DS version. Additionally, twenty-five more characters can be purchased online. Of these, two characters are from games not represented in the 3DS version: Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Final Fantasy Tactics.
Characters in bold are available by default.
The game includes over 70 songs. There are at least five tracks for each Final Fantasy from the original to Final Fantasy XIII, corresponding to a field, battle, event, opening and ending theme from each game. There are extra themes unlocked with Rhythmia points that can be played in special modes; and paid downloadable content. The game borrows themes from past games for menus.
Several arrangements of themes from the Final Fantasy series are used as the background themes for the menus:
- "Cornelia Castle" from Final Fantasy, for the Series Mode Selection menu;
- "Chaos Shrine" from Final Fantasy, for the Chaos Shrine Mode menu;
- "Return of the Warrior" from Final Fantasy III, for the Result screen;
- "Palom and Porom" from Final Fantasy IV, for the tutorial screens;
- "Kingdom of Baron" from Final Fantasy IV, for the Museum menu;
- "Setzer's Theme" from Final Fantasy VI, for the Party Edit menu;
- "Racing Chocobos - Place Your Bets!" from Final Fantasy VII, for the StreetPass menu;
- "The Highwind Takes to the Skies" from Final Fantasy VII, for the Main Menu;
- "Festival of the Hunt" from Final Fantasy IX, for the Music Play menu;
- "Roses of May" from Final Fantasy IX, for the Collection menu;
- "Thunder Plains" from Final Fantasy X, for the ProfiCard Design menu;
- "The Royal City of Rabanastre/City Ward Upper Level" from Final Fantasy XII, for the downloadable content menu;
- "Blinded By Light" from Final Fantasy XIII, for the Challenge menu.
Included playable music
Square Enix released 52 songs as downloadable content, with eight songs available at release, at ¥150 per song in Japan, $0.99 in North America, €1.00 in Europe, £0.90 in the United Kingdom, $11.99 pesos in Mexico, and $1.50 in Australia. To commemorate the game's release the eight initial downloadable songs cost ¥100 each for a limited time after the release date. The DLC list includes songs the staff had wanted to include but couldn't fit due to capacity limitations. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is the first 3DS game to have paid download content.
The iOS port includes more songs in its online store, including tracks from Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, titles that were not represented in the 3DS version.
Behind the scenes
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is Ichiro Hazama's debut game. Previously he had worked as support staff with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and proposed making Theatrhythm after Advent Children had been completed. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was envisioned as a Nintendo DS game, but the development team would have had trouble fitting all content in the game. When Hazama first saw the Nintendo 3DS, he went to developer Indies Zero to finalize the plan for the game and showed this to Tetsuya Nomura receiving the go-ahead to start the project that same day.
The music selection is based on surveys conducted at the Japanese Square Enix Members during the development of Dissidia Final Fantasy, as well as considerations of balance. Hazama joked that if they'd followed the survey results the game would have been more like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy VII. The included songs are in their original form, the only exception being the "Gurgu Volcano" theme from the original Final Fantasy, which is based on the PlayStation arranged version, because the original NES version was too short. Although Theatrhythm Final Fantasy doesn't use music from spinoffs, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is part of Fabula Nova Crystallis, the Final Fantasy XIII family, and the creators wanted to include music from every game in that series. Although Theatrhythm features songs from the main series Final Fantasy games, no songs from Final Fantasy XIV were included. Ichiro Hazama has commented that he thought they were not ready to be incorporated, because Final Fantasy XIV was undergoing a big change, but didn't rule out the possibility of Final Fantasy XIV songs being added in the future.
Ichiro Hazama has noted the stories and key moments in the Final Fantasy franchise were often tied to his memories of the music, so it was a natural pairing for him to create a rhythm game. To make the game accessible to as many fans as possible, he wanted to add RPG elements as to not turn them off to the title based on it being a rhythm game.
The game outputs at 60 frames per second even when stereoscopic 3D is on, something the team worked hard to achieve. High framerate is necessary for playability in a rhythm game; event music stages run at 30 frames per second due to the need to output video, but the touch controls are still read at 60 frames per second. Some of the event stages show their movies in 3D and making the rhythm gameplay work while playing back a 3D movie presented some technical hurdles.
From the beginning the team was discussing how to present characters from the entire Final Fantasy franchise, but after seeing the designs of the Final Fantasy guest characters in Kingdom Hearts Mobile this style was decided to be used for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Tetsuya Nomura, who worked as the creative director, thought it would be a good idea to use the artwork from Dissidia Final Fantasy and thus the game's logo features Chaos and Cosmos.
The series' original composer Nobuo Uematsu has endorsed Theatrhythm Final Fantasy in his Twitter with the words: "I played Theatrhythm Final Fantasy for the first time today. Not too shabby! As I remembered various things from the past 20 years, I was reduced to tears. FF music fans should definitely play it. Won't you cry with me?"
Two demos for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy have been released before the game.
During the Penny Arcade Expo East which was held in Boston, MA, between April 6–8, 2012, a sample of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy was playable at Boston Convention and Exhibit Center.
As part of its promotion for the game's release, Square Enix released a game called Social Rhythm whose gameplay system was similar to that of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. In Social Rhythm the player could link his or her Facebook or Twitter account to create a character and team up with other players to fight monsters and eventually reach the final boss, Yama-chan (head is attached to a Tonberry's body) from real life Japanese comedy duo Nankai Candies.
The game was accessible here and was only available from February 10 to March 30, 2012.
The staff credits roll after Chaos is defeated, and after that will be available in the Settings to rewatch.
- Producer - Ichiro Hazama
- Creative Producer - Tetsuya Nomura
- Character Designer - Atsuhiro Tsuchiya
- Product Manager - Tatsuya Nonaka
- Publicity Producer - Kakuko Obinata
- Original Music Producers -Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Kumi Tanioka, Naoshi Mizuta
- Game Development
- Director - Masanobu Suzui
- Planners - Mitsuru Shinohara, Yuichiro Takahashi, Tsukasa Okayasu, Katsunori Yazawa, Hirotaka Watanabe, Tomoaki Hoshino, Naoe Watabe
- Chief Programmer - Shuichi Kitamura
- Programmers - Shinya Ebihara, Ryu Nakamura, Takahiro Matsudo, Hikaru Tsuchiya, Keisuke Matsunuma, Tatsuo Kikuchi, Takenari Takayama, Yoshiaki Ito, Katsuhiko Miura
- Chief Graphics Degigner - Giichiro Matsumoto
- Chief 3D Graphics Designer - Atsushi Aburano
- Chief Menu Graphics Designer - Aiko Inada
- Graphic Designers - Kyohei Imanishi, Rie Matsushita, Yuri Endo, Masahiro Yanaka, Taeko Kuroda, Yuka Ueda, Megumi Nakaya, Takashi Watanabe, Kentaro Miki, Hiroaki Nakamura
- Technical Support - Keiji Hara, Keiichi Hinata
- Line Producer - Motohiro Umeki
- Special Thanks - Nobuaki Tanaka, Yasuhiro Nakamura, Kouchi Takeda, Tomomi Abe, Yuichi Igarashi, Ryougi Arisaka, Hiroyuki Imai, Tomoaki Betsumiya, Tomomi Sekiguchi, Yuichi Hoda
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- Sound Development
- Chief Sound Designer - Kingyo Miyamoto
- Sound Designers - Hiroyuki Maruyam, Syota Sakurai, Tsutomu Narita, Masataka Saito
- Sound Supervisor - Yoshitaka Hirota
- Square Enix Inc.
- Senior Quality Assurance Manager - David "Ribs" Carrillo
- Assistant QA Manager - Aaron J. Adams
- Senior QA Coordinator - Mathew A. Clift
- QA Coordinator - Alejandro J Kontarovsky
- QA Administrators - Keith P. Martz, Alfred Holz
- QA Team - Alison Garfinkle, Matt Slanchik, D. Michael Triplett
- QA Translator - Takahiro Soh
- Assistant TQA Manager - Juvé Quiroz
- Localization & QA Director - Yutaka Sano
- Product Marketing John Inada
- Product Marketing Manager - Raio Mitsuno
- Assistant Product Marketing Manager - Andrew Ahn
- Marketing Coordinator - Luke Icenhower
- Senior Director of Public Relations - Reilly Brennan
- Public Relations - Emily Shoji, David Yang
- Sales - Ron Kurtz, Mike Silbowitz, Keith Hillmer, Eric Rosenberger, Johnny Lam, Jennifer Park, Daniel Gaita, Nathan Harris
- Sales Product Communications & Merchandise - Kanji Romeo Tashiro
- Interactive Marketing Services - Chrisophe Bahamed, Eric So, Shinri Matsuoka
- Director of Creative Services - Michael Bannon
- Creative Services - Brett Wooldridge
- Vice President of Marketing - Mona Hamilton
- Senior Vice President - Shinji Hashimoto
- Chief Operating Officer - Clinton Foy
- President & CEO - Mike Fischer
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- Senior Production Manager Seb Ohsan Berthelsen
- Assistant Production Manager - Yuko Tomizawa
- Assistant Localization Manager - Elisa Giribaldi
- QA Manager André Woitczyk
- Assistant QA Managers - Thibaut Salembier, Pĺndaro Vargas-Farĺas
- QA Translators - Sumiko Okada, Gavin Poffley
- Senior QA Lead (UK) - Shailish Iyer
- Localization Team - Pierre Gauthier, Giulia Isnenghi, Sina Moelleken, Mariona Pera i de Miguel
- Contract Creative - Gary Harrod
- Senior Creative Artist - Emma Ward
- Senior Creative Manager - Stéphanie Journau
- Production Executive - Tiago Silva
- Production Manager - Linda Kershaw
- PR Executive - Alex Chinchen
- International PR Manager - Emily Britt
- European PR Manager - Adam Phillips
- Brand Manager - Rui Anderson
- Brand Director, Project Co-Coordinator - Makoto Kotaka
- Vice President - Comunications - Chris Glover
- Vice Presidents - Brand - Larry Sparks, Sarah Hoeksma
- Co-COOs - Michael Sherlock, Jürgen Goeldner
- CEO - Phil Rogers
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- QA Manager - Liam Ross
- Lead Tester - Jesse Alfstad
- Localization Tester - Angela Pinto
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- Music Data Support - Keiji Kawamori, Tsuyoshi Sekito
- Project Manager - Kazuki Hamamoto
- Project Assistant - Yuko Sakae
- Production Manager - Masaaki Kasai
- Chief Production Engineer - Keisuke Miyazaki
- Editor - Keiichi Kojima
- Assistant Editor - Keisuke Ishikawa
- General Manager - Kazuyuki Ikumori
- Character Design
- Character Designer - Yui Adachi
- Publicity Staff - Rei Kawano, Emiko Sato
- Supervisor - Akio Oofuji
- Corporate Executive - Koji Taguchi
- Coordinators - Kanako Irino, Wako Yokoyama
- English Translator - Jillian Nonaka
- General Manager - Kazuhisa Ichigaya
- Special Thanks - Yoshiya Hirohama, Michael Christopher Koji Fox
- Quality Assurance
- Coordinator - Katsuhiko Yokoyama
- Technical Engineers - Akihiko Nagayama, Toyokazu Takehara, Toshimitsu Umezawa, Tatsuya Nishimura
- Testers - Masakatsu Inomota, Kenji Kurasawa, Satoru Kubota, Maiko Wakamiya
- Manager - Hideyuki Kato
- Senior Manager - Yukihiro Shibuya
- General Manager - Koji Yamashita
Special Thanks - Yoshinori Kitase, Akitoshi Kawazu, Hiromichi Tanaka, Takashi Tokita
- Production Executives - Yoichi Wada, Keiji Honda
- Executive Producer - Shinji Hashimoto
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