Square Enix is cutting online support for two popular arcade machines in Japan—Dissidia Final Fantasy and Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnival will lose their online functionality at the end of March 2021.
The company issued a notice of termination this morning via the games’ respective Twitter accounts and thanked customers for their patronage over the years. Without network support, Dissidia Final Fantasy machines will only be able to play the Tutorial stage, but Theatrhythm Final Fantasy will continue to offer all songs and all difficulty levels offline.
Dissidia Final Fantasy hit Japanese arcades in 2015. In 2018 it received a port on PS4, subtitled NT, which took its core 3v3 gameplay and added some barebones offline modes. The original games in the Dissidia subfranchise were sleeper hits on PSP for Square Enix, but fans were disappointed with NT‘s new approach—particularly the lack of 1v1 fights, the unusual structure of its Story Mode, and its long matchmaking times. Despite ambitious plans for further DLC, development for Dissidia Final Fantasy NT ceased in March this year.
It’s unusual, then, that Square Enix is directing Arcade players to migrate to the PS4 and Steam versions after the machines are taken offline. The Arcade edition remained popular throughout Japan, even while the home version struggled, but with the future of many public forms of entertainment—like arcades and theatres—up in the air due ot the pandemic, Square Enix may be withdrawing to protect itself. To support the transition, faithful players will be able to export their data from the arcade version to Dissidia Final Fantasy NT until the end of April.
Meanwhile, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: All-Star Carnival can go strong, so long as arcades stay open. Going offline means no new content can be added, but the base game remains functional offline. The rhythm game features a staggering number of tunes from across the Final Fantasy series, as well as some tracks from other popular Square Enix properties, like Octopath Traveler, Chrono Trigger, and SaGa. Though it launched in September 2016, the third entry in the subfranchise has yet to be ported outside of Japan.