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Final Fantasy 7's Gold Saucer, chocobo racing coming to Final Fantasy 14 next month

Many long-time fans of the Final Fantasy series look back fondly on its first PlayStation release, Final Fantasy 7. Along with a huge, complex storyline and (arguably) deep characters, FF7 featured a memorable detour early in the game. The heroes took a break from saving the world to play a bunch of weird mini-games at a colorful carnival called the Gold Saucer.

Now the Saucer will be making its way online courtesy of Square Enix's MMO, Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn.

The trailer above shows off the many additions coming to Final Fantasy 14 in Patch 2.5, an update so big that it's actually been split into three parts. The first part launches January 20 and will include new story quests, a new dungeon and updated hard modes for some previous dungeons.

Then in late February, Square Enix will add the Manderville Gold Saucer, Final Fantasy 14's adorable version of the mini-game-loaded distraction from FF7. The devs behind 14 have been promising the inclusion of the Gold Saucer almost since the MMO launched, but you can see why it took so long in the video above.

In addition to being a gorgeous, detailed area, the Manderville Gold Saucer seems to have a lot of mini-games, including contests of strength, a Final Fantasy take on a basketball challenge and even Triple Triad, the strategic card game originally featured in Final Fantasy 8.

Oh, and my personal favorite way to pass the time in Final Fantasy games: chocobo racing.

Finally, in late March Square Enix will wrap up Patch 2.5 with a final addition that will bring more story quests and a massive, difficult new raid called World of Darkness that looks really incredible. You can see pieces from each of these updates for yourself in the lengthy video up top.

An expansion for the MMO, titled Final Fantasy 14: Heavensward, is planned for spring of this year, so don't be surprised if patch 2.5 is the last big update before that hits. The expansion will include a new race and several new playable classes.