Hey, Square Enix: it's time to put Final Fantasy Tactics on PC already

In June, Final Fantasy Tactics turned 20 years old. To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Square Enix released a remastered version of the game on Steam, complete with high resolution assets, a new orchestral soundtrack, mod support, and... Okay, no, they didn't do any of that. They dropped the price of Tactics on iOS and Android in an anniversary sale and called it a day.

What a wasted opportunity! Of all the Final Fantasy games, none is more perfectly suited to PC mouse controls. Nearly every other game in the series is now on PC. So where's Tactics?

Somehow, when we first published this article in May, the argument we laid out just wasn't convincing enough to make a PC port of Final Fantasy Tactics spontaneously manifest. I know, I know—it's hard to believe. And yet, here we are. Still no Final Fantasy Tactics. So I reached out to Square Enix PR with a few questions. Are there any plans for FFT on PC? Did they read our article making the case?

"Thanks for checking in! It’s one of my favorites too," wrote PR manager Stephanie Chang. "We don’t have any updates at this time, but thank you as always for your support."

To make our case even stronger, we've added an eighth reason to our original seven #TacticsFacts proving a PC port is necessary. We shall not rest until it happens.

Ivalice hasn't been this hot in years

No no no, this isn't about global warming, though Ivalice does seem to be about half desert. We're talking about the popularity of the fantasy world in which most of director Yasumi Matsuno's games are set: the Tactics series, Vagrant Story, and Final Fantasy 12. Ivalice is the best setting in Final Fantasy history, and it's getting some serious love in 2017. Final Fantasy 12: The Zodiac Age, an HD remaster, just released on PS4, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive.

And on top of that, Square Enix brought Matsuno back on board to help design some Final Fantasy 14 raids set in the world of Ivalice. A whole new generation of Final Fantasy players are discovering this setting, and tons of classic fans are getting back into it. What better time to give them the first, best Ivalice story? Tactics, baby!

There's still a healthy strategy audience on PC

In December a strategy game called Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun landed on PC without much preview buzz or hype. It was fantastic, and has racked up more than 2000 positive reviews and sold more than 100,000 copies, according to SteamSpy. The new Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 3 has sold nearly 200,000 copies, according to SteamSpy. And you've probably heard of XCOM.

Not every new strategy game is this successful, and the RTS genre isn't as big as it once was. But there's clearly still a big audience for serious-minded, top-down combat, and a game as well-loved as Final Fantasy Tactics could easily sell well to old fans while tapping into that PC strategy audience.

Tactics was born for mouse controls

Click on character. Click where you want them to move. 'Nuff said.

 Mods would be awesome 

Mods mods mods!

If we can have Uncle Sam in XCOM 2, we can have him in FFT, dammit.

Remember playing Tactics and thinking it was cool that you could get Cloud Strife in your party? Well, how about replacing him with Geralt, or an entire party full of Final Fantasy characters? Or the Monstars from Space Jam? 

Modders could make some amazing, ridiculous team compositions happen with some spritework. Rebalance mods could also be fascinating and change a game that some people know inside and out, making it feel fresh again. 

There's already some good precedent for this on PC. Even though none of Square's Final Fantasy ports are designed to be moddable, there's a modding community on Steam comprised of willing modders. I wrote last year about how they'd modded Final Fantasy 6 to fix some of the port's ugly issues. I think it's a safe bet that FFT would inspire some creative modding.

The PC can be the platform that can play every Final Fantasy game 

There are now only a few mainline Final Fantasy games missing from Steam: the original I and II, and last year's Final Fantasy XV. Since Square Enix has shown off bits of Final Fantasy XV running on PC hardware, and even talked about PC, it feels like an inevitability. I & II may just be considered too old to be worth porting, but it's hard to imagine some version (there are so many remakes) not showing up on PC someday. 

Console backwards compatibility is always a bit fraught, and moving to a new generation often means wondering if the digital versions you bought a few years ago will transfer to the new hardware. That's no issue on the PC, and Windows 10 has done a good job of maintaining compatibility with a lot of older games. Even 20 years from now, there's a pretty good chance the Final Fantasy games on Steam today will be playable on PC in some form. They might take some tinkering, but they'll be preserved better than they ever would on consoles. Tactics deserves to be in that catalog.

There's almost no competition for a Japanese tactics RPG 

One thing every PC strategy game has in common: it's no Final Fantasy Tactics. Japanese tactics RPGs have their own flavor. They typically handle ability systems differently than western games, and Tactics has its own really inventive jobs like the Time Mage and Calculator. And Tactics is the rare Japanese game with a medieval European story, which has an incredible translation thanks to the 2007 remake The War of the Lions. That version was translated by the same localization team that handled Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy XII, and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling together, all directed by the brilliant Yasumi Matsuno. The character writing is subtle, and the plots are more focused on politics than save-the-world heroism.

The point is, there aren't really any RPGs or strategy games on PC that feel much like Final Fantasy Tactics. And as we've seen from other Japanese-inspired games like Stardew Valley, there's a hungry audience on PC going underserved.

So get on it already, Square, before the Advance Wars-inspired WarGroove eats your lunch.

The art style still holds up

If there's a better Japanese character artist than Akihiko Yoshida, I don't know who it is. His style is immediately recognizable, often using more muted colors and simple facial expressions instead of overdoing detail. Here's an entire Tumblr of his work. Final Fantasy Tactics' sprites and character portraits really stand the test of time, and the 2007 remake brought everything up to a higher resolution.

Even better: the iOS/Android version, which is likely what a PC port would be based on, was updated further with higher resolution support. The art looks more than good enough for 2017. 

It's totally broken, and that's why it's perfect

PC Gamer boss Tim Clark calls Final Fantasy Tactics "a perfect game." Tactics seems hard when you first start playing it, but as you begin to understand its many jobs and unlock new abilities, the range of what you can do with those powers is mind boggling. Combining jobs lets you discover so many fun ways to play.

Exhibit A: Calculators. (You're gonna want to mute the music in this video)

That's just eight reasons. We could come up with a hundred more, but we'd much rather spend that time playing Final Fantasy Tactics on our computers.

Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.

When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).