Nice Joke, Square Enix. Now Make Tactics Alexander For Real
It goes without saying that humor is subjective. I'm partial to irreverent comedy rock myself, and its a fondness I've found that none of my friends share. Square Enix has their own sense of humor, and for April Fool's day the company released a trailer for a non-existent tactical role-playing game called Tactics Alexander. More than just a fake trailer, it's a beautiful, satisfying glimpse at what the developer could put together if they weren't so busy breaking our hearts.
Seriously, just look at the trailer. It has everything 16- and 32-bit gamers expect from a retro TRPG: gorgeous pixel art, delightful chiptune music, a strict isometric perspective, a distinct lack of voice acting, and a bewildering opening cinematic and plot. It even has all of the weirdness inherent to video games of the period it emulates, including environments represented by square islands floating out in space and five different enemies sharing a single oval-shaped shadow.
It's brilliant. I've watched the trailer just a few times now (okay, maybe several times) and I'm already humming and air-drumming to the game's simple musical theme. That Square Enix can put something like this together is impressive all its own; that they can do so just in the name of an April Fool's joke is mind-boggling.
I often stare longingly at the beautiful Final Fantasy Tactics ad I keep framed on my office wall, yearning for the days when a single game could so feverishly consume my life as that title did. While it goes without saying that the work Squaresoft put into Tactics eclipses the effort put into the Tactics Alexander trailer, the fact remains that with simple expectations comes incredible potential for satisfaction. With so many fans clamoring for a return to this style, and considering the apparent ease with which Square Enix can emulate that brand, Tactics Alexander has the potential to become an enormous success.
This "game," this non-existent product that the company has showcased in this trailer could be considered nothing more than a friendly poke at Square Enix's audience — on the other hand, it feels like a cruel jest that stabs at the heart of gamers across the globe. No doubt the crew around the office shared a few yuks at the fake trailer, but you know what would please fans more than the lighthearted misdirection they've provided? Actually making the game. Do it, Square Enix. Set the team that made this trailer aside, tell them that fans want more, and get to work.