‘Dirge of Cerberus’ is the first playable spin off from one of the most successful games of all time, Final Fantasy VII. Focusing on Vincent Valentine, a mysterious secret character from the original game, ‘Dirge of Cerberus’ steps away from Square-Enix’s usual RPG format and moves into a whole new territory, 3rd person action.
Set three years after the events in Final Fantasy VII, and a year after the upcoming film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, it is known that the storyline is based around the sudden appearance of an underground soldier movement known as the Deep Ground Soldiers and a powerful Meteo spell hitting an unsuspecting town. Although it is still unclear how these are brought together into the storyline, we know that Vincent has connections with both these events.
The cast of ‘Dirge of Cerberus’ is still unclear also. From screenshots of the game in development we can see as well as Vincent, another Final Fantasy VII character makes a welcome return, Cait Sith. How he links into the story and whether he is a playable is unclear though. Other characters are rumoured to return too (Cid Highwind has been pictured in some scans).
The news of this game has brought mixed reactions amongst Final Fantasy fans. Many, like myself, are excited and keen to play a spin off from one of their favourite games, but some are worried that ‘Dirge of Cerberus’ is going to taint the Final Fantasy name. After the success of Final Fantasy X-2, the direct sequel of Final Fantasy X, the view of some fans is that this game may just be another way of ‘milking’ the Final Fantasy VII world for a quick buck. The game will hopefully dispel these rumours and prove to be a worthy addition to the Square Enix collection.
The team behind ‘Dirge of Cerberus’ offers some familiar faces. Tetsuya Nomura, Character Designer for ‘Dirge of Cerberus’, directed Kingdom Hearts & Advent Children, and was also the character designer for Final Fantasy VII. Yoshinori Kitase, the producer, has a wide catalogue of games he has worked on from ‘Final Fantasy Adventure’ in 1991, up to ‘Final Fantasy X-2’ in 2003. These two are joined by Director – Takayoshi Nakazato, Art Supervisor – Yusuke Naora & Composer – Masashi Hamauzu. With the creative talent of these men, this game will surely be one to remember.
In conclusion, it is unfair to form judgments about this game just yet. Details are so scarce and vague (and mostly in Japanese!), it is impossible to predict how the finished product will perform. Fingers crossed, it will be worth the wait.
The Japanese release for ‘Dirge of Cerberus’ was in early 2006.
Release Date: 2006