"We don't consider this to be in the SOULS genre": Stranger of Paradise developers discuss challenges and game reception

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin's Jin Fujiwara and Daisuke Inoue had a lot to say about how the game came about (Image via Square Enix)
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin's Jin Fujiwara and Daisuke Inoue had a lot to say about how the game came about (Image via Square Enix)

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin brought a unique experience to the Final Fantasy franchise in the form of intense, action-packed combat. In a recent interaction with Jason Parker of Sportskeeda Esports, Jin Fujiwara (Producer) and Daisuke Inoue (Director) revealed a great deal about the development and reception of the game.

The developers of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin discussed whether the title is a “SOULS” game, what fans can expect in the future, and so much more. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin brought something new to the RPG franchise, and perhaps we could see more like it in the future.

Sportskeeda's review of the latest addition to the @FinalFantasy series 'Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin' by @SquareEnix✨Read Here: #SquareEnix #gaming #sportskeedagaming

Jin Fujiwara and Daisuke Inoue of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin about the reception of the game in Japan

Q: First of all, thank you for taking the time to speak to me! I'm a huge fan of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. What has the game's reception been like in Japan?

Fujiwara: Thank you for playing Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin! Hearing that you’re a huge fan makes us truly happy to have created this game.

In Japan, the game has received positive feedback on responsive action combat, the job system, and the difficulty. Also, players who have finished the game have said the story is great, so we’ve received a large amount of overall positive reception for the game. We’re very grateful and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the players of this game.

Q: Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin has so many awesome classes in it, but were there any that didn't quite make the cut, but were discussed? Is it possible we could see some of those in future updates?


Inoue: There are jobs that were not included due to various reasons, such as scheduling. For example, jobs using long-range weapons or jobs related to summons. We are looking into additional jobs with upcoming DLC releases and considering a class change system where an existing job transforms into a new job.

Q: On the topic of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin classes, there's a decided lack of ranged physical attacks. Is there a particular reason that there are no real ranged physical classes (would be overpowered, challenges with the game design)?

Inoue: As noted previously, long range attacks, such as a hunter’s bow or a mechanic’s gun, were considered but reluctantly cut due to scheduling. As we were considering these kinds of jobs for the game, it’d be great to have a chance to show them one day…

Q: Do you, as the developer(s), think any of the skills were particularly overpowered? For my money, it's Zantetsuken, as it blew up so many bosses and regular enemies.


Inoue: Personally, I think axe-type weapons are the most fun to use. With standard attacks and abilities, I think it’s fun to have super armor and be able to defeat enemies without flinching.

The Cyclic Warrior’s Chaosbringer command ability has its demerits, but I think it can become quite a powerful skill by combining it with another ability.

Q: The actual Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin missions themselves were pretty terrific too, with puzzles that were fun without being too frustrating. Were there any particular challenges in designing any of the maps?

Inoue: Each map has its own motif, so it was a challenge to create an atmosphere that was both close to the original motif and unique to this game. The most difficult level design may have been the “Ancients’ Tower,” inspired by FINAL FANTASY XI’s Delkfutt’s Tower.

Much of the landscapes in that level are similar, so I often lost track of where I was in the tower as the overall color between levels has not changed. I remember in the final stages of development, each floor was distinguished with different lighting, and gimmicks were adjusted so they were easier to see.

Q: Games like Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will probably always get compared to the various Souls/Bloodborne games. Do you consider this game to be in the "SOULS" genre?


Fujiwara: There are many players comparing this game to the “SOULS” genre of games, but we don’t consider this game to be in the “SOULS” genre. We reached this style of game after challenging ourselves to create an action game in the FINAL FANTASY series with a villain as the protagonist.

That said, there certainly are some similarities, such as the fact that it is a full-fledged action game, so we encourage fans of the “SOULS” series to play.

Q: What games ultimately did inspire Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin?

Inoue: There is without a doubt influence from the past FINAL FANTASY series. The job system from FINAL FANTASY V was very influential, and the job changes are heavily inspired by LIGHTNING RETURNS FINAL FANTASY XIII.

When considering how to depict the birth of a villain, I think we were inspired by the medieval chapter of “LIVE A LIVE,” and the foreshadowing, though it’s a game from a different company, was inspired by “Glory of Heracles III” that Mr. Nojima has worked on.

Q: What sort of design approach did the team utilize when it comes to the game's encounters? Was it difficult to figure out where to put any of the particular fights?


Inoue: Basically, the placement of enemies is done with balance in mind. If enemies are placed one after the other, players won’t be able to rest, and so I believe the game is designed so that there is a safe place and time for players to relax after battling a strong enemy.

The placement of enemies is generally determined after designing the level and was adjusted after playing and testing it out. We decreased the number of enemies if it felt like it was too much, and increased the number if it felt like it was too little. The placement of battles in confined spaces was particularly challenging.

Q: What was it like working on a game that is so closely tied to the very first Final Fantasy game?

Fujiwara: At first, I had many worries about it being related to “FINAL FANTASY,” an epic series that has continued for 35 years. Although it is an alternate retelling, STRANGER OF PARADISE can be thought of as a prequel to the original FINAL FANTASY, so there were worries if it would match up with fan expectations, or if we could create something that could live up to the original’s legacy.

However, as production went on and once the character, story, and system became one, I was convinced that we had without a doubt created something that is “FINAL FANTASY” and my worries dispersed. It’s now become my favorite title within the FINAL FANTASY series, and I hope you all will feel the same way.


Q: Without spoiling the Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin story, it certainly feels like this could be a series. Was this game designed to allow room for a sequel, or more games of this style?

Fujiwara: We wanted players to play at a good pace as an action game, so we focused the story on Jack’s adventure alone, keeping things compact. This perhaps created some room to consider a sequel. But as you say, the structure of this game can easily be made into a series. We encourage your support to make this happen!

Q: Does the team have a particular favorite Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin fight, that they felt was the most difficult?

That was definitely Zombie Dragon for me; it was without a doubt the hardest fight for me.

Fujiwara: I had a very rough time with the Dragon Zombie, but tonberries may have defeated me the most times. Since they aren’t a boss-level enemy, it’s easy to let my guard down and approach them, only to be ruthlessly defeated by their extremely powerful attacks.

There were also several missions in which I had to defeat three tonberries, and even after getting used to the ACTION difficulty level, I still played that part in STORY.

Inoue: The bosses I found difficult, or rather, the bosses that killed me more times than I could count, were Chaos Advent and the final boss. Chaos Advent is a boss whose difficulty levels were adjusted quite a bit during the development stage.

While we built the prototype, it was really strong and impermeable, and at the time, the support AIs were not as intelligent as they are now… so I recall trying to defeat it for the entire day and dying endlessly.

Do not underestimate the power of Chaos Advent (Image via Square Enix)
Do not underestimate the power of Chaos Advent (Image via Square Enix)

Fortunately, Chaos Advent in the retail version is an enemy that is easy to defeat if you move according to the action basics.

The developers have designed things to remind us of the basics of the game's systems, and I think they made proper adjustments to the bosses so that the action basics are important: you will get killed if you rush in like you’re fighting a basic enemy or if you fight without trying to assess the enemy's attacks.

For the final boss, it’s all about the situation (laughter).

Q: Can fans expect more Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin content going forward? More missions, classes, or items?

Inoue: As I briefly mentioned before, we are considering implementing a class change system. This will expand on the breadth of character development/progression and in turn, the range of customization possibilities, leading to players discovering new ways to play and enjoy the game.

We are also planning to add a system that will make the treasure hunting element for gear even more enjoyable and make people want to collect more things, so please look forward to it.

For the storyline, we've prepared scenarios where one will be able to hear unexpected information, so please stay tuned.

Q: Are there any other RPGs you'd like to give the Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin treatment to if given the opportunity?

Could we see more Stranger of Paradise style games in the future? Possibly! (Image via Square Enix)
Could we see more Stranger of Paradise style games in the future? Possibly! (Image via Square Enix)

Inoue: I think the question is about RPGs other than FINAL FANTASY, so if we limit it to RPGs from the same company, I think the DRAGON QUEST series might be interesting. The World Ends with You could also be interesting as it’s a series with real-world elements

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin was released on March 15, 2022, across PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows. It brought the story of Jack Garland to life as he struggled to defeat Chaos once and for all.

Quick Links

Edited by Saman