Square Enix revealed a new spinoff Final Fantasy game at its E3 2021 press conference on Sunday, Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin. And while a new Final Fantasy game might sound like exciting news at a conference thin with announcements, fans were quick to notice a fatal flaw with its protagonist, Jack.
He wears a T-shirt.
He dons a simple, black, short-sleeved shirt with buttons on the front. If it weren’t for the ragged hem hanging down over his crotch and butt, it looks like something you could buy from the men’s section at Target. It might sound like a small thing, but this is the world of Final Fantasy, where everybody and their mom usually has an ornate, whimsical character design. And Jack is the protagonist, of all characters. People started dunking on his style immediately.
JRPGs and Final Fantasy games specifically are known for giving fans pretty, anime-like boys. Final Fantasy 7 Remake gave us both the doe-eyed Cloud Strife and Sephiroth, whose abs and beautiful long hair sends fans into a frenzy. Coming into the JRPG space, Jack is the equivalent to the milquetoast boyfriend who shows up to a New Years Eve formal in jeans, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes.
And while seeing Jack wear such a simple outfit might not be all that surprising given Tetsuya Nomura’s general fashion sense is not always on the ball — Nomura himself is often seen wearing a plain black v-neck T-shirt — it still prompted plenty of colorful fan responses.
The art direction I expected from Final Fantasy Origins Vs. What I Got pic.twitter.com/EOnpuWJpMv— Brian Harding (@BriHardGaming) June 13, 2021
the new final fantasy characters in their normal ass clothes pic.twitter.com/ARiiYZEJ0l— eeby deeby (@bepista) June 13, 2021
People are comparing one of Jack’s companions, Jed, to Ninja. It’s that bad.
Damn square put ninja in this game pic.twitter.com/OGRS5xyATb— Jojjua (@BombermanHero) June 13, 2021
While it’s easy to dogpile on a character design, it’s important to note that Jack will apparently upgrade from T-shirt to fancy armor and belt-laden clothes later on in the game. An image from Square Enix shows him fighting a monster with a spear and an entirely different outfit.
Also, the game is still early in development. Square Enix and developer Team Ninja are still figuring out how to balance the demands between creating a Final Fantasy title and trying something new. Nomura said that the team just needs “a little more time” until they're able to complete it. And for what it’s worth, Nioh 2, which was developed by Team Ninja, improved the game using user feedback by its release.
To this end, the game already has a trial version and the developers have expressed that they want feedback from players. Jin Fujiwara, producer on the title told fans verbatim, “Please send us your thoughts through the trial version survey or through social media.” So, now fans that have thoughts (that aren’t memes) can go and download the game and voice what they want to see.
Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin is slated to release in 2022 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.