Final Fantasy XV’s mobile strategy spinoff launches today

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The newest addition to the Final Fantasy XV universe goes in a very different direction. Today Square Enix is launching Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire on iOS and Android, a game developed by the same studio behind lucrative (and heavily advertised) mobile games Game of War and Mobile Strike. Much like those games, the new FFXV spinoff is an online-focused strategy game, where players build up a base and army, while forming allegiances with and battling against other players. Like the main version of the game — which debuted in November — A New Empire will take place in the futuristic world of Eos, and will star the same cast of familiar characters.

A New Empire is just the latest in an ever-growing lineup of spinoffs based on FFXV. Most recently, Square Enix announced an upcoming virtual reality fishing game, while the main game’s second expansion launched earlier this week. They join everything from a FFXV feature-length film to a multi-part anime series. According to A New Empire developer MZ, formerly known as Machine Zone, what makes the new experience unique is its social focus — and the developer sounds nothing if not ambitious. “Being social is a critical aspect, and players can find unique gameplay and communication systems, such as instant translation from any language to your language,” MZ general manager Tim Ernst says. “And because all players are playing in the same virtual space, what we are building will soon become one of the most active game universes that mobile has ever seen.”

Both of MZ’s previous releases were incredibly successful; in 2015 Game of War was reportedly earning $ 1 million per day. The company is perhaps as well known for its ubiquitous TV commercials as it is for its games, with multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns starring celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kate Upton, and Mariah Carey. However, the studio’s games have also been criticized for their heavy use of microtransactions, which often force players to spend money in order to progress through the game. How that style of game will blend with the narrative-heavy experience of FFXV is something players can see for themselves with today’s launch.

According to Ernst, MZ and Square Enix worked in collaboration on A New Empire, with MZ traveling to Tokyo for a crash course on the art direction behind FFXV. “Our game studio and the Final Fantasy XV development team have been in close contact from the start,” Ernst says. “Square Enix was excited to see our expertise in action, and we were excited and humbled to work with the amazing art and design talents that created Final Fantasy XV.”

Final Fantasy XV: A New Empire is available now on iOS and Android.

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