July 31, 2014

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Will Final Fantasy destroy itself?

Flickr/animaster

Earlier this month, the video game company Square Enix announced the next current-gen installment of its critically acclaimed “Final Fantasy” series. The series, which has been in the hands of almost every role-playing game lover, has been receiving more and more negative feedback since the 2010 release of “Final Fantasy XIII”. The game sold well and was praised for its breathtaking graphics, but it was slammed by critics and fans for its extremely linear story progression and overwhelming mythology.

Then Square Enix tried to right its wrongs. In 2012, the company released a follow up to the game: “Final Fantasy XIII-2”. It was only the second installment of the series to have a sequel (the other being “Final Fantasy X”).

Now, when it comes to “Final Fantasy,” the number scheme can be quite confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the series. Each addition to the series is signified by a roman numeral and contains a world and story that is completely separate from any other installment. In the rare case that a game does have a sequel, it is signified by another number. Confused yet?

“Final Fantasy XIII-2” didn’t sell as well as its predecessor (about a third of its sales), but it received praise for its upgraded battle system and newly introduced monster capturing system. However, the game was criticized for not being linear enough because of its convoluted time traveling gameplay and cliché plotline.

Now, Square Enix has pulled off something even rarer than a sequel to a “Final Fantasy” game. It’s turning “Final Fantasy XIII” into a trilogy. “Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII” is Square Enix’s latest and supposedly last attempt to correct the 13th installment’s notorious imperfections.

The game will feature the main protagonist from “Final Fantasy XIII”, Lightning, returning to a world that will end in 13 days, unless of course she’s able to save it from impending doom. Details are still under wraps, but it’s been confirmed that Lightning will be the only playable character in the game. This revelation came as a surprise, because the previous games were criticized for their restrictions on playable characters. There is no confirmation as to whether or not the other original cast members will make a reappearance, but a colorful and eccentric cast has been promised.

It’s great to see that Square Enix cares about pleasing their customers, but instead of listening to fans’ pleas for another installment or a remake of the most popular “Final Fantasy” series, “Final Fantasy VII,” the video game giant just keeps adding games to the “Final Fantasy XIII” roster. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That’s exactly what Square Enix is doing.

Has “Final Fantasy” run its course? The first entry into the series, “Final Fantasy,” was released in 1987 and raised a dying video game company (originally named Square) from ashes. The series will be celebrating its 25th anniversary soon, but with dwindling sales and low reviews, the series might soon see its own impending doom, only without any spiky-haired heroes to save it. Square Enix seems to be milking the series for every last dime before it runs dry. It’s a dishonor to longtime fans of the beloved series and it’s making an even bigger dent in Square Enix’s once untarnished reputation.

 

Comments
23 Responses to “Will Final Fantasy destroy itself?”
  1. Johnny says:

    I actually hope they stop making Final Fantasy games. Think of how much money I could save!

  2. John says:

    The Final Fantasy name is far from “imploding” on itself. It’s legacy has planted itself in the gaming industry and in the hearts of gamers long ago and the series will continue to evolve. XIII was a great addition to the series and was the only one to receive such outspoken criticism because it’s fanbase has become mainstream over the last 15 years. A new final fantasy game on a new platform defines the gaming industry at that time and has for almost 30 years tthe way IV did for the super nintendo, VII did with the original playstation, and X did for the playstation 2. The bottom line though is that this fanbase hates change. VIII was worse than VII, XII was not as captivating as X, and VI was better than I but will never come close to IV… The hate has always and will always be around but now it’s just that Square has a bigger stage to fill. I welcome the new challenges that Square provides us and have been doing so for the last 25 years, and am ready for the conclusion of the only game important enough in the entire series to recieve a full trilogy :)

  3. No says:

    “What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That’s exactly what Square Enix is doing.”

    Well Shia Lebouf, XIII and XIII-2 are very different games, and XX-3 (LR:FFXIII) is looking to be another completely different concept.

    I’m not sure whether you’re an idiot or just forgot everything you said prior to the quote but it wasn’t implemented properly. Further more, you doomsday freaks really annoy me, Final Fantasy is still the world’s most successful JRPG and RPG (in general though I believe Elder scrolls will surpass it eventually)regardless of backlash, and no matter how much your kind LOVE to shove it down our throats, this is NOT the end of Final Fantasy. People were saying the same crap when FF became a Sony franchise, when FFX came out (had a lot of haters that game did) and now this.

  4. Jerry Jones says:

    I agree with you completely. I don’t know what is wrong with them, but it makes me very angry: the worst game in the entire FF catalog receives 2 sequels? Why???? There are so many other games they have that deserve sequels more, and they need to hurry up and finish Versus XIII. FFXII was terrible. I refuse to play any of the sequels.

  5. Stephen M. says:

    Yes! I completely agree that the Final Fantasy series has revolutionized the capabilities of almost every console generation, both in terms of graphics and expansive worlds. However, Western RPGs are taking precedence of JRPGs (think Skyrim and the Mass Effect trilogy). They’re doing much better than the Final Fantasy series in the United States and they’re even making a big splash in Japan and other Eastern countries. Fan backlash has been obvious. I tried to keep my personal opinions out of the reviews of XIII and XIII-2 as much as possible and instead introduced reviews and sales figures because I actually loved these games. But the MAJORITY of Final Fantasy fans were disappointed by Final Fantasy XIII and even XIII-2. Square-Enix should be trying to please that majority because those are the people who are going to make them the most money. Also, I want Versus too! WTF is it? :P

  6. Tri-Blade says:

    Actually, it’s less about “fixing FF13″ and more about “getting FF games out more often and testing new ways to make a future game”. SE has been having trouble with development times post 10 wise. Big numbered titled games (FF12, FF13, FF14) or games equal to that (Versus 13) have been taking FOREVER to get out the final product (5+ years). They just thought: hey, we have this crystal engine and FF13 sold very well, then we can make 2 more sequels to test out new battle additions, DLC, gameplay mechanics, etc. It’s all one big experiment to them to get feedback on what ways they can make a future title. This is also a way to test out how outsourcing their product goes with

    Executive producer Kisate’s obsession with expanded universes is the real problem. Ever since FF10-2 came out, we have had nothing but constant, unneeded expansions for games. FF7 got compilation games that contradicted with the original lore and now the remake of FF7 has to fit with those games. FF4 got the After Years whch told what happened to Golbez. FF12 got the Ivarce Alliance which even though lesser known, tends to expand on the universe itself. And now we have FF13 trilogy because they have the assets ready, the big enough fandom that buys such games, and they are wanting to promote Lightning as the new face of SE because Cloud is and old relic to them now.

    As long as it has a big enough fandom with the original game selling a ton, that FF game will get an expanded universe. I would not be surprised if such games like FF8, FF9 and FF6 got expanded universes in the future as well.

    It’s not like this risky game making business hasn’t happened in the past. FF8 had the same reaction. Sold extremely well, it was the fastest selling until FF13 came along, beautiful graphics, just very complex storyline. FF9 was the “apology” to that said game because it took place in the pre 7 era of FF games. Same thing with FF10 and FF12. FF10 took risks and FF12 threw it back by taking place in Final Fantasy Tactics world. FF Versus 13 proves to be that same “throwback” to FF13′s risky storytelling and design. Versus 13 has an overworld, airships, modern setting, etc. So FF is doing what FF has always done post 7: jumped between risky game making and Nostalgic game making.

  7. Aoi says:

    I actually think the XIII ark is really good… I don’t think it was the worst game in the series at all. I don’t think any of them are bad at all. It makes me so mad that everywhere I go, people are hating on XIII for all sorts of stupid reasons! Noooo just stop.
    Think for a moment, the Final Fantasy series is a compilation of JRPGs. J standing for JAPAN. Which MEANS: These games are MORE THAN LIKELY going to appease to JAPANESE gamers.

    But they still release it in other countries because there are still tons of people who would enjoy these types of games.

  8. ryan says:

    Actually 5 main series games have had sequels: IV (after years), VII (Dirge of Cerberus), X (X-2), XII (Revenant Wings), and XIII (XIII-2 and Lightning Returns).

  9. Stephen M. says:

    Hey, Ryan: that’s a good point, but only X-2 and XIII-2 are included as part of the main installments. Those games are seen as spin-offs and fan service by Square Enix. Good point, though! Also, Aoi, the games did NOT do badly when compared to the rest of the video game industry, but it wasn’t great for a Final Fantasy game. I just want to say thank you because I didn’t expect to get this much feedback. You all bring up many great points and I love hearing from you. Maybe I’ll address these points in a future column?

  10. Stephen M. says:

    Also, there will be a review of Lightning Returns when it releases, especially since the Arts section of The Daily Collegian is trying to create more content geared towards video games. I plan/hope to do that review. Who knows? This game could be revolutionary. It might even be the game that breathes life back into the series. I hope you guys can check that review out when it releases in the future.

  11. blasianFMA says:

    Forget all of that. I am looking forward to what they do with Agni’s Philosophy.

  12. John says:

    I believe that the only way square enix could truly fall as a company is if they start making remakes of the varied classic installments and change them in any way at all. The battle systems are what i think would get altered first mainly because they are outdated especially in this CoD generation. But they are truly classic in themselves; timeless really, and I have always enjoyed the ATB system (reason #1 why I enjoyed XIII so much) but it did not work for many people and they turned on it like a stranger. You couldn’t have a crisis core version of VI (even though it would be cool to run around as Cyan and samurai stuff!!) because it would not only steal the nostalgia, but it also kills that feeling you get when 2 characters are down and another is silenced and your fresh out of Phoenix downs but are chocked full of determination! The remake of IV and III on the DS were fun but they did change some things like the battle line up in IV and they gave the randomned youth onion knights names in III. These trivial details changed the experience I received from playing them which differed from their famicom and SNES glory and it felt repolished, but stil refurbished, and less authentic.

  13. David F says:

    Personally i just want to see a re-make, re-master, what ever you want to call it, of final fantasy V11 and X for the better consoles (PS3, Xbox 360) they probably will sell more copies of these than apple selling the iphone haha, i mean there are 3 PS3′s in my house and i know that if the re-makes were released we would all buy them because we wouldnt want to wait until ‘it’s my turn’ also multiplayer blitzball would just be epic!
    in my opinion re-releasing these games at a higher definition could easily restore final fantasy’s status to it’s rightful glory

  14. Nobody says:

    Final Fantasy isn’t what it used to be and that’s where I stopped playing. If someone likes the new trilogy, great. If Final Fantasy implodes, great. Who really cares at this point? Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 and most likely XIII-3 have nothing special about them. They’re generic RPGs that lack the spark that older titles had. Doesn’t mean they’re bad games, just not for me nor for many other fans of the original series no matter how many times people on forums and other places say “No! It’s still the same series.” No, it is not and you know it. As of late however, I’m just enjoying watching them make screw up after screw up and blame it on things that are completely irrelevant. Like how they blamed fan’s distrust on the FF series all on FFXIV. Go ahead, make a 4th installment of XIII so I can laugh even harder.

  15. FireDragon says:

    Cool comments here. Tri-Blade makes a very good point. I haven’t even considered that before.
    But this punched me in the gut so hard-

    “And now we have FF13 trilogy because they have the assets ready, the big enough fandom that buys such games, and they are wanting to promote Lightning as the new face of SE because Cloud is and (sic) old relic to them now.”

    I don’t know…should I be happy or sad? Happy because, like in the article “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over”, which (let’s admit it, VII fanboys!) has been done with VII (and VII is one of my favorite FFs along with VIII, IX and X). Seriously, the only good spin-offs was Crisis Core for VII and Dissidia- and the later slipped up in places with characterization (not counting Kingdom Hearts because, while it ruled, it didn’t take good care of the FF characters). In all the other spin-offs for ANYTHING, the characters have gotten flatter and flatter. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, eh? Well, don’t overwork him! Even Kingdom Hearts is suffering from this (notice Sora’s getting more and more overly cheerful)! With TWEWY getting bigger and Joshua less troll-y in Kingdom Hearts 3D, I’m horrified that my little Nekky might face the same fate! Giving Cloud a rest might help him out in the long run.

    The sad part is his replacement is a sheet of damn cardboard unrepresentative of Final Fantasy and Square games in general. Squall, Neku- they were all “like” Cloud, but they were captivating. Zack and Sora were a little flatter, but they’re still more interesting. Then there’s Roxas, Tidus, Zidane- Hell, NOCTIS has more appeal that Lightning and his game hasn’t even been released yet! And you think I’m being sexist? Let’s see…Aerith, Garnet, Rydia, Rikku and Yuna (in FFX, not that X-2 garbage). There you go- FIVE female characters that are more well-written and compelling than Lightning. None of the other characters in XIII really hit home, either. And the story! Dear Gods! I couldn’t understand a lick of it without that Datalog. I stopped playing when I realized something from a writer’s perspective- if we need to rely on the Datalog so heavily, the story itself is most likely not good. That being said, XIII had its good points. The ideas in the Datalog provided the illusion of an amazing world and the graphics were pretty damn good. The gameplay wasn’t as horrendous as most people say it is. For me, Final Fantasy characters were weak, sickly things and that overshadowed any hiccups in gameplay for me (besides, as noticeable/annoying as the “hallway” was, X also had a “hallway” and it was amazing).

    Overall, this XIII crap needs to end…but going back to Cloud and pals isn’t a good idea. Hell, even with all the complaining about VIII and IX not getting sequels and VII not getting that remake, I’d rather they stay self-contained and safe. TWEWY was a precious haven, but I feel like I’m losing it. Square’s best possible option is to tie up all its loose ends (i.e.- Final Fantasy VERSUS XIII and the inevitable Kingdom Hearts 3, plus that X remaster that was announced and never released; I am no longer impartial to a WEWY sequel but more than ever leaning against it), then move on to something wholly original.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just stick to my old and precious relic. The way he was, way back in ’97. And all my other old relics, too. And ya, I’ll get KH3D for TWEWY characters and the chance to have a Wondernyan named Derpy because that thing is as derpy as heck. But the XIII trilogy will stay on the shelves.

  16. FireDragon says:

    Oh, sorry about the double comment, but that picture isn’t representative of the fail going on at Square. That is from Final Fantasy Type-0, which I heard was really good. I can attest to that- when a certain character dies (it’s literally the first cutscene so don’t whine about spoilers), it touched me more than hours of XIII and it was all in Japanese! Square Enix isn’t a total fail of a company, but it is really stuck. Liek, really.

  17. EAchankre says:

    This is what they need to do

    Come out with versus 13

    Finish off the ff13 trilogy with an all out effort

    Remake either ff6 or ff7 on the next gen console

    No more sequels to ff game
    Also, i would love to see square make a single player version of ff11are

  18. Brandon says:

    I think a sequel to an earlier FF title would be a very poor decision. Remaking an earlier game, like FF7, would be a real treat.

    I think the main problem with recent additions to different series, for example Resident Evil and Final Fantasy, is that developers are trying to change a gameplay formula that doesn’t need to be fixed. Just thinking back on what made the original FF titles so satisfying was an open world environment, non-linear gameplay, and an engaging storyline. In an effort to make FF13 more accessible to newer audiences, developers dramatically changed that formula into a, “run from point A to point B, fight a boss, and repeat.” In doing so, the company effectively alienated their original audience that allowed square-enix to become what they are today.
    I completely agree with FireDragon. The characters in FF13 were horribly written. To me, most felt fake and tried too hard to fill the role they were written for.

  19. Brandon says:

    And TWEWY was an incredible game. We need more original titles like that. Unfortunately, it’s easier for companies to milk a franchise to death than to risk producing original work. Square has already milked Lightning’s udders far too many times. Square….wut r u doin….square…STAHP.

  20. Kari426 says:

    I dont wanna see Final Fantasy go away :(
    Im a hardcore RPG gamer and to me Square Enix’s Final Fantasy delivers and satisfies me as a customer and gamer.

    I dont understand why people think Square will magically come out of its supposive rut by remaking Final Fantasy 7 or any of the classic FF games or releasing FF Verses 13.
    Its time to move forward. The classic FF’s will always be great and in some way be better in some parts then some of the newer FF games, but Squares evolving.

    And Im goin to be the first person in this forum (I think) to say that I loved Final Fantasy 13/13-2/and I’m super excited about the upcoming third installment.

    Keep going Square Enix :)

  21. tanto says:

    @steven dont be silly

    japanese rpgs are still superior

    ” However, Western RPGs are taking precedence of JRPGs (think Skyrim and the Mass Effect trilogy). They’re doing much better than the Final Fantasy series in the United States and they’re even making a big splash in Japan and other Eastern countries.”

    Final fantasy 13 outsold mass effect 1 and 2 combined on all platforms

    learn about rpgs before you make stupid comments

    jrpgs are the blood of the game industry

  22. Tim says:

    FF die after FFX so it’s already dead for the past 10 years now I don’t understand for what this article talking about..

  23. Josh says:

    So if we let FF’s Die we can Has Suikodens again?

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