Pre-order exclusives are basically a mainstay of the video game industry nowadays, as they incentivize die-hard fans into purchasing upcoming releases in advance and/or shelling extra money for deluxe editions that come with extra goodies, like a statue or artbook. This sort of practice is routinely criticized and mocked for how many special editions some games get (Horizon Forbidden West, for example, has four) and, in the case of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, locking some players out of specific content.
Earlier today, Square Enix announced that pre-orders of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin’s digital deluxe edition will come bundled with three extra missions: Trials of the Dragon King, Wanderer of the Rift, and Different Future. This is on top of the digital artbook, digital mini soundtrack, early access to the game, a couple extra weapons, and a PlayStation 4 theme.
What has confused and irked fans is that Square Enix’s announcement bluntly adds that none of these missions will be available to purchase separately. At first glance, this suggests that the only way to access these missions is to pre-order the digital deluxe edition, effectively locking them behind an $89.99 paywall.
While this has understandably not gone down well with some people, others believe that this is a miscommunication on Square Enix’s part. The game’s listing on the Xbox digital storefront mentions that the three extra missions are part of a season pass. And that the season pass will not only be made available for purchase after launch, but its contents will also each be released as well.
This does seem to contradict Square Enix’s statement somewhat, but what can probably be assumed is that fans will still be able to access them by buying the season pass, even if they’ve purchased a physical copy. At the time of writing, Square Enix has yet to issue any statement to clarify this.
Developed by Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is an action-RPG that plays more akin to something like Team Ninja’s own Nioh or the Dark Souls series. Players take control of a new hero called Jack who leads a small band of warriors to find and destroy Chaos.
The game’s very premise remains something of a mystery, as it appears to be either a reimagining or a prequel to the very first Final Fantasy game. Aside from several characters and locations from that game returning, Jack’s full name is Jack Garland, heavily implying that he is the same Garland from the original game, who served as the main villain.
Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin releases for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on March 18, 2022.