Final Fantasy Bloodlines is a multiplayer RPG developed by Pyro Enterprises alongside Square Enix as a reboot to the esteemed Final Fantasy franchise. According to project co-directors Pyrostar (t∣b∣c) and Hajime Tabata, the game is meant to recapture the epic fantasy feel of the original Final Fantasy game, with multiplayer aspects taken from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Pyro Enterprises' own VORTEX.
Once upon a time, the world had heroes.
The story was always the same. The crystals that governed the elements of the world would be under attack by a malevolent force. Some simply sought to gain power or end the world, but some had more interesting reasons. It could be anything; a combination of millions of evil spirits, a man seeking to become a god, or even a millennia-old beast set on destroying civilization. No matter what, a group of heroes would arise to stop them.
Even though the journey would be challenging, the heroes would always eventually win. The world would return to normal and wait for the next threat to be vanquished.
Then the heroes stopped appearing.
At first, it was anarchy. The villains who sought to control the crystals had nothing to stand in their way, and so the world was placed under the control of brigands and conquerors for decades. Eventually, the world realized that the heroes weren't coming this time. They rose up, overthrowing their cruel overlords and establishing the Thirteen Kingdoms, united under the Grand Kingdom of Crystalia, the Crystal Hearth.
Life adapted from what the world had known. The people of the land became more militant, and threats to the crystals dropped significantly. A thousand years of relative prosperity passed... But a new threat emerged.
A massive force of darkness suddenly appeared, so massive in strength that the four crystals shattered into pieces, scattering across the world. Garland, a wandering warrior, discovered a few pieces and is now looking to collect them all; not for selfish reasons, but seemingly simply to keep them out of the hands of Crystalia.
Princess Sarah, heir to the throne of Crystalia, has used magic long forbidden to construct six avatars to protect the world and retrieve the lost crystal pieces.
The land has no heroes... But heroes are not born. They are made.
The field gameplay is akin to 3D open-world JRPGs like Final Fantasy XV or Xenoblade Chronicles. Players navigate an expansive environment, jumping around and platforming in order to explore and find secrets. The player's created party of six Warriors of Light all exist in the field at once, though only the Warrior designated as leader is controlled directly by the player, with the rest simply following him or her.
In the overworld, players may converse with NPCs, buy or sell objects in shops, mine for crystal ore, and more. Basically, it's normal RPG overworld stuff.
Later in the story, an Airship is unlocked for the party to use. Touch the Airship button on the Pyrohedron's touch screen to have the party ascend of the Airship at any time, as long as the party is no indoors or on treacherous land. The Airship flies over any and all obstacles, making it a form of quick travel.
Final Fantasy Bloodlines lacks random encounters, and all potential foes can be seen in the overworld beforehand. Contact with an enemy triggers a transition into battle.
Battle in this game is directly inspired by a fusion of the Active Time Battle system (Final Fantasy IV) and the Conditional Turn-Based Battle system (Final Fantasy X), and is referred to as the Active Chain Battle system. All Warriors of Light and all enemies will perform weak auto-attacks over time, and are all pictured via icons on a large ATB-style bar on the top of the touch screen.
When an icon reaches the right side of the bar, they stop auto-attacking and perform a move. This is referred to as a Chain. When a Warrior of Light performs a Chain, the player must select their command from one of several options:
- Strike: A melee attack far more powerful than an auto-attack.
- Skills: Select a move from the abilities offered by a class/job.
- Defend: Raise DEF and M.DEF until the user performs their next Chain. Also speeds up the movement of their icon.
- Object: Use an item from the character's inventory.
- LBreak: Use one of a character's Limit Breaks. See the Espers section below for more information.
- Escape: Run from battle, losing some Gil in the process.
Espers are powerful spirits that dwell in a realm far away from that of Crystaleia, and are considered deities. While normally not present in the world, a person may gain the ability to temporarily summon an Esper by binding their spirits to one. At a certain point in the story, the player gains the ability to access the Esper Shrine and bind each of their Warriors of Light to an Esper of their choice.
As players fulfill certain requirements in combat, they charge up powerful abilities called Limit Breaks. Using a Limit Break summons the Esper the character is bound to, using their summoned power for an incredibly strong attack. Each Esper has 4 levels of Limit Break, depending on how long they have been charged.
After use of the Limit Break, the Esper remains in the field temporarily, acting as a seventh party member and using slightly weaker moves and abilities. In addition, while an Esper is in the field, all party members gain a buff, which is dependent on the Esper. The Esper finally vanishes after 3 Chains.
If a Limit Break is used while an Esper is already on the field, the first Esper's buff will continue as long as the second one is materialized. If this tactic, known as Esper Comboing, is used repeatedly, players can garner significant stat boosts.