Square Enix Ends FF7 Battle Royale First Soldier in 2023

Several Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier fighters compete against iconic series characters such as Barret, Cloud, and Tifa.

Just fighting to keep it alive. Screenshot: Square Enix

Everything must eventually die, and Square Enix heard the death knell loud and clear. Dig an early grave as Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, the company’s mobile battle royale game, will be discontinued on January 11, 2023.

Launched in November 2021, The First Soldier was Square Enix’s attempt to capitalize on the popular battle royale trend. Think Fortnite, but with swords and chocobos instead of just guns and cars. You created a character adorned with outfits worn by series favorites like Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockhart, then skydived with 74 other players to various Migar maps to be the last soldier standing. I had a blast despite some performance issues and its exclusivity on Android and iOS platforms. Still, it passed a million downloads not long after its release, so there was an audience.

Square Enix announced on the game’s official website, a month before its first anniversary, that service for The First Soldier will end in January. The blog post stated that the company failed to “deliver the experience we were hoping for and that you all deserve,” leading to the game’s unceremonious closing. I’m not quite sure any revival material will work here, all of you. Unfortunately, I think this one is finished. Permadeath was coming.

“While it’s only a little less than three months until the service ends, we’ll continue to make updates during this time, so we hope you continue to enjoy Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier until the end,” said Square Enix. “We want to thank you all for the support over the past year.”

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The community is shocked, but not necessarily surprised by the announcement. Many in the tweet’s mentions saw the writing on the wall, especially since The First Soldier was only mobile. One tweeter said the “game design worked well together,” but the performance issues were the “killing blow.” Another simply argued that the Avalanche gang — members like Biggs and Jessie in addition to Barret and Cloud — should have been added to Fortnite instead. However, most seem to agree that it could see a resurgence if it’s re-released on PC.

Kotaku has contacted Square Enix for comment.

This news makes me sick, and not just as a game save enthusiast. In my impressions a few days after it came out, I called The First Soldier an “intriguing mix” of Final Fantasy design and upcoming battle royale gameplay that suffered from being a mobile-only release. The small phone screen doesn’t do the game any favors at all, making it difficult to sort through all the information on the screen. Combine the puny screen with occasional performance issues – dropped frames, input lag, etc. – and you have a frustrating, albeit exciting, free-to-play battle royale action game. Maybe things would have been different if it had launched on consoles and PC. But this is the timeline we live in, and it always sucks when a game dies, no matter the reason.

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