Ben's Week In Review: August 9
The fall season is nigh...which game do you want most?
I have no idea what Final Fantasy XV's sales potential is
I was thinking about this when I read about the 2016 release window and Square Enix acknowledging the concern of fans.
Globally, according to VGChartz, Final Fantasy XIII sold nearly 7.5 million copies (counting both the PS3 and Xbox 360 sales; PS3 sales doubled the 360 sales, of course). Final Fantasy XIII-2 sold less than half that number, coming in at only 3.4 million. Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII sold a measly 1.26 million, a little more than one-third of FFXIII-2's global tally. Obviously, the franchise has been in a nosedive for the better part of a decade and it doesn't help that Final Fantasy XV - originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII back in 2006 - will have been 10 years in the making when it finally comes out. Fans have have every right to be suspicious; me, I've just given up entirely. Nothing about FFXV interests me.
But how will the game fare, sales-wise? Part of the reason Lightning Returns did so poorly is because it was basically trashed by critics. If FFXV gets decent scores, I'm wondering how it will do on the market. Long-time fans of the franchise probably don't like the new direction, but newcomers who love that everything is open-world these days might play it just because it's an open-world fantasy game. It's also arguably the first FF installment that isn't quite so Japanese in its presentation. And there's a ton of action and swordplay so maybe a high-scoring FFXV will sell exceedingly well. ...still not sure, though. For the latest info, here are some Gamescom details if you missed 'em.
Dark Souls with a Miyazaki vibe? How would that work, exactly?
I know a lot of downright rabid Dark Souls fans, and I know every last one of them is a little leery of what From Software president Hidetaka Miyazaki said about bringing the "Miyazaki touch" to the esteemed action/RPG franchise. There was some talk about a sci-fi setting with maybe some mechs worked in and quite frankly, that's not what Dark Souls lovers want. Even so, I think they're open to the possibility if it still has the same unique challenge and atmosphere they've always loved in the series.
This is one of those Final Fantasy-like situations where, on the one hand, you know an established franchise has to grow, and on the other hand, you don't want it to change too much. Few developers manage this balancing act well enough to satisfy the ardent fans of any particular IP, and I'm wondering what will happen if From Software gets too far away from their winning formula. Then again, Dark Souls III definitely sports some differences when compared to previous installments, and the fans seem to have no problem with that. And of course, Miyazaki might just make a different sci-fi game (and not call it Dark Souls); perhaps a brand new IP that Armored Core lovers will appreciate. Who knows?
Personal gaming update
Two games the puzzle fans and adventure aficionados should try: Q.U.B.E: Director's Cut and the first chapter of the re-imagined King's Quest. The former is a unique, challenging puzzler with a surprisingly involving back story, and the latter is just a great old-school adventure game with a boatload of whimsy and charm. Amid a flurry of huge blockbusters on the horizon, it's nice to sit back with such games and enjoy a different sort of interactive entertainment. They're not perfect but they're very special in their own way, and it's impossible not to smile at something like King's Quest. I'm also playing a bit of Driveclub here and there, along with my play-through of the PS4 version of Grand Theft Auto V.
I also can't wait to try Everybody's Gone to the Rapture, which comes out this week. That has a huge amount of promise; The Chinese Room (Dear Esther) has put together a hugely atmospheric and touching adventure that, in some ways, reminds me of Journey. After that, it's on to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which will undoubtedly be awesome. I'm sure the frame rate and resolution numbers will satisfy the tech heads. :)
8/8/2015 Ben Dutka