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Video Game / Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

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"I never asked your name."

"Chaos isn't a man. Or a monster. Chaos is just a fairy tale. The darkness, the beasts—this despair that eats away at people's hearts—it's easy to blame a single thing for all that. It gives people hope to think that the world can be saved with a single heroic deed. Even if it's never that simple..."

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is an Action RPG developed by Team Ninja of Ninja Gaiden and Nioh fame, a spin-off of the shin-splinteringly popular Final Fantasy series. Set during an earlier version of the eventual Stable Time Loop from the first Final Fantasy, the story follows five disparate adventurers attempting to fulfill the Warrior of Light prophecy to vanquish the fabled source of all darkness, Chaos, and in the process restore the corrupted Crystals that once brought peace and prosperity to the lands. However, it quickly becomes clear that Chaos and his allies the Four Fiends do not yet exist as we knew them in Final Fantasy, and the path our heroes find themselves on is an altogether darker one...

The game was unveiled at Square Enix's E3 2021 presentation. Square Enix also released a playable demo for PlayStation 5 owners at the same time. A second demo was released following the game's second trailer at Tokyo Game Show 2021, which features adjustments that take into consideration feedback received from the first demo.


The full game is due to be released on March 22, 2022. Alongside the PlayStation 5, it will also be available for fellow ninth-generation consoles Xbox Series X|S, the previous generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and PC.

Not to be confused with either Strangers in Paradise or Stranger Than Paradise. Or with Final Fantasy Origins or Final Fantasy: Lost Stranger, for that matter.

I only know one thing: I want to list tropes. I need to. It's not a hope, or a dream. It's like a hunger, a thirst:

  • Action Bomb: The demo shows that Bombs are back, in all their self-destructing glory. Jack can force them to detonate prematurely by hitting them with certain spells and attacks.
  • Actionized Sequel: Or, rather, an actionized retelling. While the original Final Fantasy is a turn-based RPG, this is an Action RPG with an emphasis on the "action". The trailers and demo show that there is a much greater focus on fast-paced reactive combat.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In the original Final Fantasy, Garland wasn't much of a threat. He was limited to physical attacks and didn't have much health, meaning a decently prepared party could take him down easily. By contrast, the demo shows that this version of Garland is a powerful Magic Knight who moves like lightning and hits like a truck.
    • In the original Final Fantasy, Bikke the pirate never actually fought the Warriors of Light: he let his crew do the fighting for him and surrendered immediately once they were defeated. The release date trailer shows him taking on Jack's party alone and wielding a massive battle-axe against them.
  • Aerith and Bob: The characters shown in the demo are Jack, Ash, Jed... and Neon, with a voice-only cameo from Princess Sarah.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In the second demo, Jack can only have two of his allies with him in the field at any given time, even though his party now consists of four people. Despite this, the teammate who was left behind will still appear in cutscenes and participate in dialogue.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In the demo, the Black Mage's Flare spell creates an impressive-looking explosion which deals massive damage to all enemies in its blast radius. It is by far the most powerful spell Jack can cast. It's also the only spell that costs three MP bars instead of one, and the only spell where Jack is required to spend a full two-plus seconds charging it up—during which he can't move at all—before he can cast it.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first trailer and demo treated the armored knight that Jack and his companions confront in the Chaos Shrine as Garland, and he even shares Garland's voice actors (both Japanese and English) from Dissidia. The second demo reveals that the figure is actually Neon, and she played the part of "Chaos" hoping that a band of heroes would defeat her and restore hope to the people. Word of God is that this was intentional to shift the marketing for the game to better reflect its story and tone, which is the story of Jack Garland's Protagonist Journey to Villain.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The demo shows that Ash is carrying on the grand Final Fantasy tradition of a party member who punches and kicks enemies to death. Though looking closely at his waist when out of battle, you can see he carries a pair of bracers. The second demo lets Jack get in on the punching action with the Pugilist and Monk Jobs.
  • BFS:
    • While Jack is shown to wield a variety of weapons in the trailer and demo, the one which is most associated with him (and serves as the default starting weapon in the demo) is a greatsword whose blade is as long as he is tall and as wide as his torso.
    • Also from the demo is the Armored Knigt's own sword, which is of similar length to Jack's but not quite as massive due to tapering to a point. The knight later forms a replacement sword out of ice after he loses his metal one during the battle.
  • Black Mage: In the demo, the Mage Job focuses on blasting enemies from afar with powerful elemental spells, which Jack can charge up to produce more devastating effect and exploit enemy weaknesses.
  • Blade Spam: In the demo, Jack can unleash a flurry of rapid thrusts while wielding a lance.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Bikke is shown to have a gold pistol in the release date trailer.
  • Blob Monster: The Fused Elemental from the second demo is a gelatinous blob with multiple appendages sticking out of its lumpy mass.
  • Break Meter: In the demo, enemies have a Break Gauge which depletes as they take damage. Jack can shatter any enemy whose gauge has run out, even if they have plenty of health left. Jack himself has a Break Gauge, and letting it get Broken will not only stun him for a few seconds, it will also reduce his maximum MP and make him lose any Instant Abilities he copied from his enemies.
  • Breath Weapon: The release date trailer shows Tiamat exhaling beams of green energy from her six mouths.
  • Broken Faceplate: In the fight with Chaos Advent in the demos, when Jack reaches the second stage of the fight, he damages his enemy's helmet with a powerful punch. Ash and Jed are a bit shocked there's actually a human being under there.
  • Can't Drop the Hero: In the second demo, you can boot Jed, Ash, and Neon out of the party freely, but Jack must always remain.
  • Charged Attack: In the demo, Jack can charge up both his regular attack as well as his spells to cast more powerful versions of them. For example, charging up the basic Thunder spell for a second or two will upgrade it to Thundara, and charging it for another second will upgrade it to Thundaga. He must stand still while charging up a spell, leaving him vulnerable to attack though the option to dodge is still available.
  • Color-Coded Elements: In the demo, the Mage's elemental spells are associated with specific colors. Fire is red, Blizzard is pale blue, Thunder is yellow, Water is dark blue, Quake is brown, and Aero is green. The Black Mage-exclusive Flare spell, meanwhile, is black.
  • Darker and Edgier: The game is a dark retelling of the original Final Fantasy. While most Final Fantasy games don't stray too far out of the T for Teen range, the trailer and official art show Jack engaging in bloody, violent combat and tearing apart enemies with his bare hands which splatters blood all over him and his weapons.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons appear as enemies late in the demo.
  • Dramatic Irony: Jack is dead set on hunting down and killing Chaos, whatever he or it really is despite its supposed absence making it hard to find. As Jack Garland, he's completely oblivious to the Stable Time Loop that will result in his downfall and inevitable transformation into Chaos itself, meaning he's unwittingly hunting himself with no possible way to fulfill his goals. Anyone familiar with the original Final Fantasy is essentially "in" on the irony from the minute the game reveals his surname.
  • Dressed to Plunder: The release date trailer shows Bikke the pirate decked out in a purple naval jacket, a tricorne hat, an eyepatch, and tall boots.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Fire elementals and water elementals appear in the second demo. Both look like humanoid figures tethered to, and sitting on, a large sphere of their corresponding element. The area's boss is a fire elemental and water elemental tethered to the same sphere.
  • Fish People: The second demo shows that the series staple Sahagin is back, and it is once again depicted as a humanoid fish.
  • Foreshadowing: When fighting Chaos Advent, one of its moves is similar to Jack's, something the party actively comments on. While it's really Neon emulating what she knows of the being that would become Chaos, it's still valid in foreshadowing Jack Garland's probable change into an identical being.
  • Fusion Dance: The second demo has an involuntary example in its boss fight. When Jack rips apart the Elemental Core, it causes Lahmu and Lahamu to violently merge with one another, becoming the bloblike Fused Elemental.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pausing the release date trailer at the right time reveals that Tiamat has a naked woman embedded in her torso.
  • Gendered Outfit: The release date trailer shows that the Garland armor worn by Neon has subtle differences that make it slightly more feminine, being curvier with a narrower waist, then the armor worn by the figure at the end.
  • The Goomba: Goblins are the first enemies which Jack encounters in the demo. They are easy to kill and not particularly threatening on their own, though they can be dangerous in groups.
  • Gradual Regeneration: The second demo gives Jack access to the recurring Regen spell. Casting it at its base level makes him recover small amounts of HP over time, while charging the spell up spreads the effect to the whole party.
  • Harping on About Harpies: Harpies appear as enemies in the second demo.
  • Haunted Castle: The setting of the demo is the Chaos Shrine, an abandoned old castle full of demons and monsters.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: While Jack can use a variety of different weapons, the demo starts him off as a Swordsman wielding a greatsword if starting a New Game (on New Game+ runs, you start with the equipment you last had on after fighting the boss). Fittingly, he is both the protagonist and the apparent leader of his team.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the demo, Jack can use Soul Shield to copy a Bomb's Fire spells and throw them right back at them, forcing the Bomb to swell up and explode. It also works for the Bat's supersonic wave, Skeleton's bloody claw attack, and Griffin's Aero attack.
  • Javelin Thrower: In the demo, the Lancer Job's special attack lets Jack throw his currently equipped spear at a distant enemy for heavy damage. The game switches to a Third-Person Shooter interface while he lines up the shot. Once it's been thrown, the spear then seemingly teleports back to his hand.
  • Job System: In the demo, Jack can equip various Jobs which gain experience points and level up as he kills enemies. Leveling up a Job earns him Job Points for that specific Job, which he can then spend to unlock various active abilities and passive bonuses. If he sinks enough points into a Job, he can unlock an advanced Job which builds upon the base Job's abilities: for example, maxing out the Lancer Job will unlock the advanced Dragoon Job. Jack can have two Jobs equipped at a time, switching between the two of them on the fly in combat, and applies all stat/passive buffs to both slots.
  • Kukris Are Kool: In the trailer and the demo, Jed wields a pair of kukri-like knives which can be spotted on his waist outside of battle.
  • Lag Cancel: Jack can cancel one of his Job-related specials to switch Jobs on the fly, switching faster than he would if he did so normally. The demo teaches players how to do so once they gain access to the basic Mage class.
  • Lamprey Mouth: The Worm enemies in the second demo have circular mouths ringed with rows of sharp teeth.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: While Stranger of Paradise doesn't divulge the exact details, it does give away the major twist in its source material of Garland becoming Chaos. In fact, Garland himself is the one to state this fact, which raises a few interesting implications.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: As shown in the demo and trailer, depleting a standard enemy's Break Gauge downs them, giving Jack the opportunity to finish them off by crystallizing them and shattering them.
  • Magic Knight:
    • This game's demo gives the Mage and Black Mage Jobs an opportunity to wield a one-handed club weapon with a shield. The club can be imbued with magical properties during combos and for special moves, making the Mage classes much more offensively capable without MP usage than in previous Final Fantasy games.
    • Chaos Advent wields both powerful magic and a BFS during their boss fight in the demo.
    • In the demos, due to the mechanics of the Job System in this game, Jack can serve as one in some capacity by switching between physical- and magic-oriented Jobs mid-battle. He also is able to copy certain enemy abilities for his own use, some of which are more esoteric in nature.
    • The second demo marks the return of the series staple Red Mage class, which can wield both swords and magic in equal measure.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: In the demo, bats can let out a shriek which inflicts continuous Break damage to anyone in their immediate vicinity. Jack can copy this power for his own use, including against themselves.
  • Mana Meter: In the demo, Jack has a segmented MP bar which is used to fuel his spells and special attacks. Though each section has 100 MP by default, its exact size is constantly in flux, as Jack's maximum MP increases every time he blocks an attack with Soul Shield or shatters an enemy with Soul Burst, and decreases whenever his Break Gauge gets broken or Jack dies.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: In the demo, the player controls Jack while the A.I. controls Jed, Ash, and Neon.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Lahamu, the female half of the Elemental Core boss, invokes this with her grab attack, shoving the victim's face into her watery chest for a couple of seconds seconds before violently blasting them off of her.
  • Metal Slime: Cactuars, as seen in the demo. They're ridiculously small and spend most of their time running away from you, making them hard to kill, let alone Break, but they offer a lot of experience and their signature 1000 Needles can be copied, if you can get them to even attack.
  • Mook Maker: In the demo, there are clumps of purple Meat Moss which will continuously spawn new enemies until Jack destroys them.
  • Multi-Melee Master: The demo shows that Jack is proficient with greatswords, maces, and lances, while the developers claim he'll be able to use several more weapon types. The Job System lets him equip two of these three weapon types and switch between them on the fly.
  • My Name Is ???: The boss of the first demo is listed as "Chaos?". The second demo renames him "Chaos Advent".
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: In the demo, Jack continuously insists he can "feel" Chaos out there somewhere. The release date trailer and subsequent TGS 2021 interviews with Tetsuya Nomura reveal it is because he is Garland, feeling echoes of his future self who will become the Big Bad Chaos due to the Time Loop the world is trapped in.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The iconic image of Cornelia from the original Final Fantasy is the Warriors of Light standing on a hill looking across a body of water at the castle and surrounding environs. The second trailer ends with Garland, armor splattered with blood and Princess Sarah slung over his shoulder, walking over a similar hill away from Cornelia, with the shot even framed the same way as in Final Fantasy.
    • The second trailer shows Sarah playing a lute just like in the original game, where the lute also became an item of importance for the heroes.
    • The area showcased in the second Trial Demo, the Refrin Wetlands, is a direct nod to the Sunleth Waterscape from Final Fantasy XIII. It even features similar mechanics, such as manipulating the weather of the area to progress, and to top it off, the background music is a remix of “The Archylte Steppe” from XIII. According to Nomura, there will be other areas in the game that homage other FF games as well.
  • Nintendo Hard: The demo shows the game to be incredibly challenging, with enemies able to plaster Jack in three hits if you let them. However, there is an easier difficulty with an optional casual setting that is able to be turned on.
  • Not So Above It All: Promotional materials generally portray Jack as stoic and goal-oriented to the point of obsession, but the second demo shows him joining his companions in teasing Jed about his astraphobia and Neon about her promise to respect Jack if he takes her to Chaos.
  • One Steve Limit: The release date trailer and subsequent TGS 2021 interviews with Tetsuya Nomura reveal Jack is named Jack Garland. However, he is not a separate entity from the Big Bad Garland, but rather an earlier version of Garland, before his Protagonist Journey to Villain and travelling into the past to achieve his new goals.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The release date trailer shows that Tiamat is a wingless dragon with a bipedal body structure and six heads.
  • Power Copying: In the demo, Jack can copy named enemy attacks by blocking them with his Soul Shield. These copied attacks, called "Instant Abilities", don't consume MP but can only be used a limited number of times. Notably, he can only copy attacks with purple names; attacks with red names can't be copied but most of those can still be Soul Shielded to knock them out of red attacks.
  • Power Fist: As shown in the trailer, Ash wears a pair of spiked leather gloves on his belt. The demo shows that he puts them on in combat, the better to punch monsters to death.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the second demo, Jack responds to Neon's explanation of why she was trying to become Chaos with a blunt "Bullshit".
  • Punch Catch: In both the trailer and the demo, Jack gets the upper hand on the knight in Garland's armor. He grabs the knight by the collar and punches him in the face, but when he throws a second punch, the knight catches it before shoving Jack away with a burst of dark energy. In the demo proper, this marks the transition to the second stage of the knight's boss fight.
  • Punched Across the Room: In the demo, Jack defeats the knight in Garland armor with an uppercut that hurls him a good ten feet away and makes him flip over before he hits the ground.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The two elementals fought in the second demo, Lahmu and Lahamu, are named after a being from Mesopotamian myth.
  • Regenerating Mana: In the demo, if Jack is low on MP and tries to cast a spell while in the Mage Job, he will quickly regenerate up to two MP bars. There's also passive abilities that Jack can get in the demo that that help him gain MP from attacking enemies.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The second demo reveals the armored individual the heroes initially assume to be Chaos is actually a woman named Neon.
  • Schizo Tech: Both the trailers and the demo have shown off a strange mixture of archaic and modern elements with regards to the setting. On the one hand, the setting by and large resembles a standard fantasy setting, and the characters fight with swords and other melee weapons. On the other hand, modern technology exists, and appears to be quite common. Characters wear modern-looking clothes, environments have also been shown off that resemble modern and even futuristic laboratories, and then there's the rather infamous scene where Jack whips out a smartphone and starts blasting Nu Metal through his wireless earbuds.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: An armoured griffon serves as a Mini-Boss in the demo. This griffon is slow and landbound while its armour is intact. Once it takes enough damage, however, the armour breaks off, and the griffon starts flying around and executing quick diving attacks.
  • Shield Bash: The Swordfighter job has a skill that allows Jack to strike opponent with his equipped shield.
  • Slouch of Villainy: The trailer and demo show that the knight in Garland's armor is slouching in a sinister throne when the protagonists find him.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The second trailer reveals a female party member, Neon, joining the three male protagonists to round out their band of four prophesized Warriors of Light.
  • Sole Survivor: In the second demo, Neon explains that she is the last living member of a previous group of adventurers who tried to rid the world of Chaos.
  • Souls-like RPG: The demo shows that the gameplay will hew closely to the style of Action RPG established by games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and especially Nioh since the Nioh developers are working on this game. Save points fully replenish Jack's HP and limited supply of health potions when used, but also revive slain enemies in the area. The Break Gauge is also noted to be very similar to the Posture mechanic from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, allowing Jack to instantly kill a Broken enemy but also leaving Jack vulnerable if his own Break Gauge runs out.
  • Spell Blade:
    • In the demo, Jack can unlock several magic-infused melee attacks by leveling up the Mage Job. He starts with a watery attack called Cascade and can gain via leveling: Fiery Impact, Frost Swing, and Sparkstrike.
    • In the demo, Chaos Advent can imbue his sword with fire or ice magic and near the end actually makes a weapon of ice.
  • Spin Attack: In the demo, the Spinning Slash is a special attack which Jack can use while wielding a greatsword.
  • Super Mode: In the demo, Jack can spend a full MP gauge to activate Lightbringer Mode. In this state his attacks inflict much greater Break damage than usual and automatically shatter any enemy reduced to 0 HP, and he himself cannot be Broken while Lightbringer lasts.
  • Sword Plant: In the demo, the knight in Garland armor has two attacks which involve stabbing his sword into the floor. One creates a fiery explosion, while the other creates a burst of ice.
  • That Man Is Dead: In the trailer and the demo, the armored knight reacts negatively to Jed saying they're Garland, instead insisting they are Chaos. The second demo subverts this by revealing the armored individual to actually be Neon, and the release date trailer indicates that the actual Garland is actually the Player Character Jack.
    Jed: [shocked] It's Garland!
    Garland: No. I am to become Chaos!
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: In the demo, elemental attacks can have an effect on the environment: fire attacks can light patches of grass on fire, and water attacks can extinguish them. Certain environmental objects can also be destroyed by your spells, such as a blast of lightning destroying stone blocks. At one point it's possible to knock a Bomb off a ledge into a group of Wolves below, causing the Bomb to explode and damage them while also setting the grass around them on fire. This gives players a greater degree of interactivity with the game world than most previous Final Fantasy games.
  • Use Your Head: In the demo, certain finishing animations have Jack shatter the crystallized enemy with a powerful headbutt.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Chaos Advent in the demo, who has far more hp and moves than previous enemies. Make no mistake, Chaos Advent will knock you all down.
  • Wham Line: At the end of the second trailer, this exchange is likely to completely change the viewer's perception of what this game is going to be:
    Sarah: I never asked your name.
    Jack: Garland. My name's Jack Garland.
  • Wham Shot: As the Wham Line is spoken, the final shot of the second trailer is a figure that resembles Garland, with a design closer to his Dissidia design than before and wielding an updated version of his distinctive claymore, walking away from Cornelia with Princess Sarah thrown over his shoulder.
  • White Mage: The second demo includes White Mage as an advanced Job. Its White Magic command allows Jack to heal, buff, resurrect unconscious allies, and blast enemies with spheres of holy light.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The second demo reveals that Jed is afraid of lightning.
    Ash: Still scared of lightning, Jed?
    Jack: I bet.
    Jed: I have a perfectly healthy fear. You go out there, Ash. Then tell me those bolts aren't a hazard.
  • Wind from Beneath My Wings: In the demo, the griffon can flap its wings to produce a damaging Razor Wind.
  • Wind Is Green: In the demo, the Aero spell has a green icon and creates a green whirlwind.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: In the second demo, the animation for shattering a Sahagin involves Jack performing an Argentine backbreaker on the creature.
  • You Fool!: In the demo, Chaos Advent bellows "You fools!" just before Jack punches him out.


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