Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail leads PLAY’s massive Final Fantasy special

Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail
(Image credit: Future, Square Enix)

And in the beginning there was… Final Fantasy. Or at least that’s how I remember it, anyway, with the seventh outing on the classic grey box completely changing the way many of us thought about games. All these years on, and it’s still happening, which makes this big takeover for the PLAY #38 Final Fantasy special a really (ahem) fantastic one.

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Naoki Yoshida on Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail

Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail

(Image credit: Future, Square Enix)

Leading the way is Final Fantasy 14: Dawntrail. The start of a bold new era for the online RPG, we’re setting sail for new adventures, and Naoki Yoshida sits down to tell us all about it.

As ambitious as ever, this might be a new expansion but make no mistake: this is the next big, new Final Fantasy. With a massive story arc brought to a closure, this is a fresh start in many ways, creating opportunity for new gameplay twists, some stunning new locations, and technical improvements as well. Final Fantasy 14 is here to stay.

Us on Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

(Image credit: Future, Square Enix)

But for something older made new again, we’ve Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. The biggest PS5 exclusive of the year, we’ve spent hours upon hours in this truly humongous quest to bring you our first verdict, ahead of our scored review. Needless to say, we’re stoked so far.

Final Fantasy's many approaches to sequels and spin-offs

Final Fantasy

(Image credit: Future, Square Enix)

FF14 and FF7 have something in common beyond being two meaty quests. They’re both expanding on the series’ well-crafted worlds. It’s not the first time the anthology series has aimed to make an entry into something bigger.

Here, we take a look at the different approaches through the years, including epilogues, spin-offs, cameos, the original FF7 Compilation, and, of course, FF13’s Fabula Nova Crystallis project.

Death Stranding 2 gets beach ready

Death Stranding 2

(Image credit: Future, Kojima Productions)

With those huge 2024 games out the way, what about the years ahead? Leading our Insider section, Hideo Kojima has the answers across next year’s wildly ambitious Death Stranding 2: On The Beach and a spiritual successor to Metal Gear.

We also chat with New Star GP’s devs about crafting a retro racing revival, take a look at the town of Silent Hill’s big redevelopment plans, slurp up some noodles, and more.

Harold Halibut dives into our Previews

Harold Halibut

(Image credit: Future, Slow Bros)

This issue we spent some time under an alien sea with Harold Halibut, a jaw-dropping hand-crafted creation that’s set to be a journey to remember. We also investigate the samurai-steel sharp open world of Rise Of The Ronin, from Ninja Gaiden’s creators, and give a final preview of Dragon’s Dogma 2.

Also in previews: Dave The Diver, Freedom Planet 2, Naiad, and more!

Our massive Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League verdict leads our Reviews

Suicide Squad

(Image credit: Future, Warner Bros)

Campaign cleared. Endgame mastered. So does Suicide Squad have the juice? Our massive review of the Arkham-successor leads our reviews section, and we go in-depth on it all, from the villainous story to the fast-paced combat. And, of course, its live service ambitions. We’ve spent a long time on this one.

Also inside: Banishers: Ghost Of New Eden, Persona 3 Reload, Touhou Luna Nights, Ultros, Granblue Fantasy: Relink, and more!

RetroStation boots up

Hyper Light Drifter

(Image credit: Future, Heart Machine)

Now Loading: The RetroStation. We embrace pixel art with our retrospective on Hyper Light Drifter, an indie hit we just can’t forget, step up to defend WWE’s Ribbie, ask the readers for their thoughts on Dark Souls 2, return to PS1’s Star Wars: Episode I, ponder Heavenly Sword’s launch on PS3, and chart the eclectic evolution of kart racers over the years.

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Final Fantasy 14 Dawntrail

(Image credit: Future, Square Enix)

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Oscar Taylor-Kent

PLAY editor Oscar Taylor-Kent first joined Official PlayStation Magazine in 2018, and was involved with the long-standing mag’s rebrand into PLAY before becoming editor. Despite being a PlayStation expert (and noted PS Vita apologist), he’s got fingers on many buttons, having also written for GamesRadar, SFX, PC Gamer, Kotaku, Waypoint, Official Xbox Magazine, GamesMaster, PCGamesN, and Xbox to name but a few.

When not knee deep in character action games, JRPGs, and visual novels, he’s often found reading books, manga, or binging anime. His current favourite games include Devil May Cry, Persona, Ace Attorney, and Hakuoki.