There are few video game worlds more iconic or memorable than that of Final Fantasies. The legendary gaming series has been pleasing fans for decades with some of the most impressive gaming experiences ever developed. As a result the infamous franchise has seen a plethora of adaptations from mobile apps and animated films, to radio dramas and manga. So in a world where the name Final Fantasy could appear on literally anything, I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to find out it’ll soon be receiving its own VR roller-coaster.
Available early 2018 at Universal Studios Japan, the Final Fantasy XR ride will send passengers on a spine-tingling journey through some of the games most iconic locations. Developed by Square Enix’s personal FX studio Visual Works, each twist and turn on the futuristic coaster is synced to the motions within the VR headset, immersing passengers in exciting battles and other exhilarating moments. Of course you can expect a few cameos from some of the games most popular characters, such as the terrifying Sephiroth and heroic Cloud.
For those lucky enough to make it out to Osaka, Final Fantasy XR will be available for a limited time at Universal Studios Japan January 19th – June 24th. Prices start at 3,500 yen ($31 USD). The release of the experience is in support of Universals Cool Japan 2018 initiative. Several other gaming attractions will also be available during the five-month initiative including a Detective Conan: The Escape live mystery game, a Monster Hunter walkthrough exhibit and a Sailor Moon 4D experience.
While this is by far Square Enix’s most ambitious push into VR yet, it’s not their first. Last November saw the release of Monsters of the Deep, a Final Fantasy XV fishing game add-on for the PSVR. There was also, FFXV VR, another PSVR adaptation that puts you in the shoes of the character Prompto as you assist your buddies in battle from afar as you warp around the battlefield taking shots at the might Behemoth enemy. While both titles are far from AAA, serving more as glorified tech demos rather than full VR experiences.
Hopefully Final Fantasy XR raises the bar a little higher for future Final Fantasy-based VR experiences by giving fans of the series what they’ve always wanted: the genuine feeling of being inside the FF universe. With the Japanese VR market currently crushing it when it comes to location-based immersive experience, Final Fantasy XR will have a lot to live up to if they want to compete with the likes of Mario Kart GT VR or Ghost in the Shell: Arise Stealth Hounds.