The sadness and uncertainty of a destroyed community: The final days of Final Fantasy 7 The First Soldier

Earlier this week, Closing Fantasy 7: The First Soldier was shuttered. This left the final remaining gamers mourning the lack of their favorite battle royale, lamenting for the small however enraptured neighborhood round it, and grieving the friendships shaped inside it.

The sport, first introduced at Tokyo Sport Present 2021, had an unofficial Reddit now swamped with remaining posts, screenshots of characters, and a pinned thanks message to the tons of of followers current there. We reached out to a few of them to listen to their tales, and get some perception into how they spent their final day with Sq. Enix’s doomed battle royale.

You may watch the opening film for the sport right here!

“I’ve all the time been a fan of Closing Fantasy, 7 included, however I can not fairly put my finger on why I used to be drawn to this recreation,” writes Richard, an American streamer who jumped into The First Soldier when it launched November 17, 2021. “I hadn’t performed a battle royale recreation earlier than this level, both. I couldn’t get any of my pals to play it as they instantly disregarded it for being such a drastically completely different take for a Closing Fantasy.”

Trying again, it was a tough promote for a lot of. Not solely did the First Soldier drop proper as battle royale saturation was cementing itself into the online game business, it was one hell of a departure from what Closing Fantasy followers are used to. You can even name it ‘cynical’. Even so, the sport bought itself 4 full seasons of content material, which – when blended with participating gameplay and a coating of that FF7 aesthetic – made a cocktail some gamers simply couldn’t get sufficient of.

And a few cherished the experiemntal recreation greater than others. For Edenia, from Australia, the title was nicely value investing money and time into. “I really cherished the sport a lot I bought roughly over $1000 AUS value of cosmetics and credit. I made many pals and loved being a part of the neighborhood, type becoming a member of non-public matches to serving to a buddy make a video about this recreation. It was implausible!”

Throughout its quick life, there have been moments of brilliance within the thoughts of the neighborhood. Richard spoke to me of a Bahamut occasion throughout Season 2, the place the summon was super-charged and required a number of gamers teaming as much as convey it down, while all of the whereas the everyday battle royale shenanigans have been occurring round them. This proved troublesome to do naturally (resulting from these bored with taking down Bahamut not co-operating), so a devoted group of gamers shaped groups to take down the boss, securing kills for individuals who wanted them.

You may not ‘dominate the sky’.

Heidi Van Vuuren, a participant from Zimbabwe, has been providing to recreate folks’s characters as an act of memorial, with 18 folks to date taking him up on the supply, hoping for a everlasting souvenir of their avatar in The First Soldier. Van Vuuren shared related anecdotes of taking down bosses like Bahumut and Cloud with the assistance of a devoted crew, using round on chocobos in non-public matches, and reaching prime rank in staff playlists. However for Van Vuuren, then spotlight was incomes their favorite chocobo from the sport’s restricted time Easter occasion. As of this week, all of those occasions – and the rewards for participating in them – are gone ceaselessly.

For a neighborhood like this, the information that The First Soldier could be shutting down was devastating when it dropped in October 2022. In an official put up written by the builders, the rationale for its closure was transient and surgical: “Regardless of all our efforts to convey you common updates with recent and thrilling content material, we have not been capable of ship the expertise that we have been hoping to, and that you simply all deserve, so we’ve made the extraordinarily powerful choice to finish service.”

“It was a blindside to make certain,” states Richard. “We had simply had a livestream a day or two earlier than, speaking concerning the upcoming anniversary occasion. Simply be crushed with the information [of the game’s closure] in a tweet. “I had began to stream the sport perhaps a month after it launched, so for as much as about 10 months I used to be stay each different day with it. Now it felt empty.”

Edenia felt a scarcity of motivation to maintain taking part in as a lot upon listening to the information, too. “I felt on a regular basis and funding I put into this recreation was wasted.” Trying again by means of posts on-line, this sentiment was shared with many having to decide on between hanging on till the tip, or leaping ship earlier than it went away for good.

There have been loads of cool occasions within the recreation that are actually misplaced ceaselessly.

For people who did stick round up till the tip, they have been capable of expertise one remaining day of enjoyable and video games earlier than the curtains closed and the sport booted them out unceremoniously. Edenia relished their final moments with The First Soldier: “On the final day I took many screenshots of my favorite cosmetics and recorded myself preventing towards different gamers. It wasn’t about being the strongest within the recreation, it was about going out with a bang. I saved taking part in till I could not log in anymore.”

Richard streamed the sport so long as he may, chatting with neighborhood members about one of the best elements of the sport, whereas Heidi (unable to get a lot time in resulting from work) additionally shared recollections together with his pals on-line whereas he “moped round at work all day, very unhappy”.

Farewell, short-haired Cloud.

Now, with the servers down and all their progress in The First Soldier gone, the neighborhood is pressured to depart it behind. Nonetheless, there’s a push amongst these remaining to remain in contact – and transfer to a different recreation the place they’ll hold the friendships they’ve constructed alive. “Most needed me to play Apex Cellular, however that is not as enjoyable as designing your individual character in FF7:TFS,“ says Edenia. “I heard good issues about Warzone Cellular, in order that could possibly be my subsequent one to play, however after all I do not suppose any battle royale will prime FF7:TFS resulting from its distinctive play fashion.“

They continued: “For the time being we actually do not know what to do. FF7:TFS was what introduced us collectively as a household, so I actually hope I’ll discover one thing related, one thing that comes with JRPG parts in a battle royale.”

Heidi feels the identical, not sure if any recreation may seize him like The First Soldier did. “I’m ready for Ever Disaster as a result of a variety of my pals say they are going to be taking part in it, however truthfully I do not suppose any recreation could possibly be as massive part of my life as this one was. Contemplating I had by no means performed a battle royal earlier than, I used to be stunned after I fell in love with the sport, so perhaps sometime it would occur once more.”

The loss of life of Closing Fantasy 7: The First Soldier is very similar to the quite a few different multiplayer video games which were taken round again and flushed ceaselessly: it leaves a nomadic fanbase behind, not sure the place to spend its money and time. Right here’s to them, and to their journey to discover a new gaming house.