For most of the day, I've had a Twitch stream on in the background. Normally, I work to the sounds of my various music playlists and video game soundtracks, or maybe a podcast, but today, it's the chipper pips and blown-out blasts of Final Fantasy Tactics. Only, I'm not playing it; a computer is handling all the fine details. I'm just here to see the outcome, and maybe place a bet or two in the meantime.
Spotted by PCGamesN, a new Twitch channel called "FFTBattleground" has been hosting fantasy tournaments with teams of randomized characters. Everything, from gender and zodiac sign to equipment and job is jumbled up, creating legions of ramshackle squads that skirmish through a tournament to see who emerges on top. It is simply fascinating to watch.
All the action takes place in a modded version of the strategy RPG classic Final Fantasy Tactics that allows two A.I. teams to fight each other. The computer handles everything, from each team's moves to the randomization, tournament structure, and betting. Oh yes, betting. It's all imaginary money, but there are some stakes in the matches if you decide to chip in. So when a team gets slept into a double-Zodiac wipe like in the clip below, that could be your team landing the wombo-combo-or it could be your opponent.
FFTBattleground scratches the same itch for me as Salty Bet, a Mugen-fueled Twitch channel where custom fighting game characters duke it out in randomized battles. And just like the chat there developed its own culture, the FFT crew is getting into the action as well.
Messages scroll across the side of the screen, cheering on clutch players and yelling at the lackadaisical performance of a Behemoth. I watched a Goblin get absolutely blown up in the opening salvo of a match. A Dragon slowly dismantled a team by itself, unit by unit. I'm almost certain having a Mime on your team is a surefire win.
The channel description says this is an early beta, still undergoing development. There are "many features" the developer is hoping to implement, a comprehensive breakdown of the systems at play, and a Discord for those who want to make some suggestions or help out.
Frankly, I'm just enamored with the concept of this stream. There's a surprising depth to these squad battles, and cheering on your chosen team is really fun, especially when they overcome the odds to beat a seemingly stacked lineup. It has the same hands-off, spectator appeal that an autobattler does, only this is even more automated and it's got moogles, chocobos, and other Final Fantasy creatures. If we're not getting a Final Fantasy Tactics 2 anytime soon, this can at least tide me over.