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Wada: Western Developers Could Make A Final Fantasy

These days, the biggest difference between Japanese and Western video games is the art style. In the past, there were distinct differences in standard gameplay and even quality but now, it's more about the embedded anime-ish flair with a certain character design that tends to make Japanese-developed titles stand out.

This is how we all see the Final Fantasy franchise, which has been quintessentially Japanese from the get-go. But in this big push by many Eastern developers to embrace gamers outside Japan who may not dig that atmosphere, we may start seeing Japanese designers purposely going another route. Heck, it has already begun to happen, obviously. But what if Square-Enix decided to lend out the FF license to a Western developer? ...wouldn't the world implode, or something? According to what S-E boss Yoichi Wada told European website Play.tm, there's the possibility that we might see a Western-created Final Fantasy entry at some point. Said Wada:

"That is one of the possible paths, but it’s not something that we would shift completely over to. There is always a possibility that Final Fantasy could be produced with the input of our Western developers, overseen by our Japanese developers."

He goes on to mention Batman: Arkham Asylum as a potential template for producing titles that really appeal to the Western masses. He says it's a game "that is very like the Japanese taste in games" and also says it's "like the best aspects of Metal Gear Solid, but evolved." Okay, Batman was great but we're not going that far. Even so, we understand his zeal; Square-Enix has been trying to expand and diversify their core demographic for the past few years, which has resulted in games with a heavier "Western tinge" (Nier comes to mind) and the opening of their LA studio. But a FF from a Western team?

Oh, I have plenty of faith in the talented devs out there but one of the reasons we all love FF is that distinctly Japanese flair. Or am I wrong...?

1/5/2010 10:22:59 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (71 posts)

robinhood2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:39:01 AM
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This can just not happen. No way. Ever.

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godsman
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:03:23 AM

I imagine the Western FF will be the same thing with big buff guys holding guns, with more action, less talk, and lots and lots of gore.

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robinhood2010
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 3:14:34 PM

Sooo, an FPS, right?

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johnld
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:15:44 PM

imagine a final fantasy with real buff guys as main characters and watered down story supplemented with multiple ending/story branches. that is not final fantasy at all. I prefer my rpgs with a full story, thank you. theres a reason why jrpgs are seperate from rpgs,lol.

Last edited by johnld on 1/5/2010 4:17:13 PM

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shadowpal2
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 9:27:28 PM

Wada always seems to disappoint me. When can I finally see the day this guy will just SHUT UP?

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:51:35 AM
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If there were to be such a game it would be on the Wii or PSP. I honestly think he's talking out his ass.

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to_far_apart
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 12:17:34 PM

Tell me about it

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:54:36 AM
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Bad idea, BAD IDEA!!!!!

If anything they should look at what happened to Silent Hill: Homecoming as an example of the outcome.

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Nickname
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:57:19 AM
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WTF! Am I in the freaking Twilight Zone. (Totally agree it has the that Japanese flare)

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Oliver
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:58:22 AM
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He's not saying that it would be 100% western developed. Only that they might take input from their developers in the west. That's a big difference. Good ideas can come from anywhere...even the west.

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:08:03 AM

Good ideas are fine, but what I hear him talking about is diluting one culture with the other.

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Oliver
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:23:34 AM

I guess I just see "...produced with the input of our Western developers, overseen by our Japanese developers." as something very different from "westernizing".

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to_far_apart
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 12:12:39 PM

Exactly, but if we see these two different cultures trying to culminate into one, games like Final Fantasy, Metal Gear solid could lose that uniqueness brought forth by the differences in culture.

I agree with Ben, that unique flair brought about by the Japanese culture is what makes Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy. I can't see it any other way.

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Ragnarok00_CODE
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 @ 7:06:58 PM

Good ideas like the "The Last Remnant" rigghhhtttt.....

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FatherSun
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:02:33 AM
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This seems like a low risk high return type of situation. "Lending" out the franchise allows them to make money, because we all know it will sell, without being directly blamed for the possible sacrilege that will surely be done to Final Fantasy. Although a western developer may pull a Rock Steady and produce a spectacular product. Keep your fingers crossed.

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godsman
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:05:42 AM
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The Japanese market is shrinking, and this dude is pushing for even more western gaming. He's adding oil to fire.

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:07:15 AM

Exactly.

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:06:54 AM
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You're not wrong Ben, in my opinion of course.

As I've posted before, that Japanese flair is th reason why so many people flock to JRPGs and Final Fantasy games. Western RPG developers generally produce very different looking and feeling RPGs. This is not a bad thing.

I honestly think that western developers should stick to the genre that they know best and the kinds of games they do best, and the same is true of Japanese developers. Stick to your culture and produce the best quality product you can. Don't dilute it for another culture, celebrate your own unique take on things, and allow people from other cultures to experience your culture through your games.

When a western developer tries to add that Japanese flair, you end up with a sort of faux anime approach, and when a Japanese developer tries to court western audiences that quintessential Japanese flair is muted or overwritten. The result is a game that is neither one thing or the other.

It's like taking a 30 year old single malt whiskey and diluting it with tap water. The result still tastes like whiskey, but it has none of the depth and character that characterizes the original single malt.

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piratedrunk
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:27:52 AM

Very well said.
Now I want to play Japanese games and drink whiskey.. but it's a bit early.

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to_far_apart
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 12:16:22 PM

Agreed Highlander. They each have their own distinct feel and have their own unique presence, if you will. Each respective developer should stick to their roots, stick to the culture and the influences you've maintained in your respective countries. They've succeeded with that formula, why tamper with it when you see great and unique games from both cultures?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:42:14 PM

I like what you said about winding up with a "game this is neither" because that is what I see happening if they stay down this path. We will wind up with middle of the road jrpgs and then well they wouldn't be any fun anymore. It's like American made anime, total crap.

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 9:15:46 PM

i can not agree with you more on the Japanese flair thing Highlander (i actually i agree with majority of your posting here on RPGs), and i have to say, till this day, i have never seriously played or liked any WRPGs. (i tried very hard to get myself into Dragon Age Origin to diverse myself, i bought it, tried very hard to love it, but i still gave up cuz i cant stand the look of the people, i ended up still selling back to EB).

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 1/5/2010 9:18:00 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:48:05 PM

@Piratedrunk

We have an arctic air mass moving in tomorrow night, so I may well break out the whiskey to stay warm! It can keep me and the PS3 company as I hug my PS3 Phat for warmth...

LOL!!!

@BigBoss

Indeed, I haven't been able to get into the western RPGs either. What's odd is that I used to love the old text driven adventure games and there a number of graphically driven adventure games in the mold of Monkey Island and Sam N Max, but games like Elder Scrolls, Fallout 3 and Dragon Age Origins just don't do it for me. On the other hand Final Fantasy, Star Ocean, Xenosaga, Valkyria Chronicles, Cross Edge, Mana Khemia and Enchanted Arms (and others) do offer something I like. These games offer a completely different kind of game play, mood, feel, atmosphere, music, story and character.

That Japanese flair that Ben mentioned is somehow unique to the JRPG, fighting games such as Soul Calibur or Tekken and other Japanese games. Games like the IdolMaster ( I really wish that one of the RPG publishers over here the generally handle JRPG games would do a textual localization of these games for the English speaking market - my wife loves their look) series on DS and PSP have that flair woven into their very fiber.

I wish that SE and others would just have faith in their own abilities and ideas without trying to westernize to appeal to a western audience. Ironically they will alienate the audience they already have by westernizing a game to the point where the very thing that attracts those customers, is missing.

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:34:26 PM

very well said. cant agree with you more.

i mean, i want to say to those Japanese developers: just focus on what you have and who you are, it is what makes you shine and flourish at the first place, do not forget your root and origin, trying to do a hybrid is the beginning of the end. just let peoople who love to play western games choose from western developers, and let people who love Jap. flair choose Japanese games.

a healthy free market should offer all kinds of things, not flock to a single trend. (but then again i guess the market is not free and not healthy :O )

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 1/5/2010 11:39:42 PM

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Qwarktast1c
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:08:01 AM
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BAD IDEA!!!!

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Jawknee
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:10:37 AM
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Yea, "Westernizing" Final Fantasy really worked out well for Spirits Within. What a joke. I don't know why, but I really don't like this Wads guy. He seems full of bad ideas left and right.

Ben, rumors are circulating on the net about a PS3/Xbox version of Dissidia. Any validity to these rumors?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:42:46 PM

yeah, fire Wads!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 6:44:16 PM

Got a source for these rumors?

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Jawknee
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 9:17:47 PM

This is the site I read about it on. Their source seems kind of weak though.

http://playstationlifestyle.net/2010/01/05/dissidia-final-fantasy-may-be-taking-the-fight-to-new-turf/

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:49:31 PM

Good find Jawky.

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Nickname
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:12:32 AM
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BAD IDEA!!!!
Doesn't anyone remember "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within."
(It literally broke square-soft apart)
Forgive me, I have spoken the name of the movie that shouldn't have been spoken of.

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dragonx_HD
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 12:08:57 PM

I happened to like Spirits. Even though it was absolutely nothing like the games in any possible way. Advent children complete was the movie it should have been.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:44:18 PM

I liked it too, but it was no Final Fantasy and the critics hated it. That was a gamble that never should have been. How hard is it to stick to swords, spells, and engaging adventure?

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Nynja
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:25:50 AM
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I agree with a majority of the people here that one of the draws to the Final Fantasy series is the Eastern culture.

That said, I would be interested in seeing what a high caliber RPG developer (such as BioWare) could do with the FF license and the guidance of Square-Enix developers. Could be interesting.

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dragonx_HD
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 12:00:52 PM
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Is this guy the reason that square has lost......whaterver it was that made them special. Now they seem to have become remedial.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:44:53 PM

seems like it dragon.

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oldmike
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:50:42 PM

he is also the one behind SE pro-360 push

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Oxvial
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 12:08:12 PM
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LOL at the obsession with the west, there's enough western games ...hu that jrpg aren't selling too good? that only happen on the 360.

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NoSmokingBandit
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:16:48 PM
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A final fantasy FPS? How could it possibly go wrong!?!?!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:45:32 PM

same way the Final Fantasy TPS went wrong ;)

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johnld
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:20:55 PM

i liked dirge of cerberus,lol.

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:34:44 PM

I didnt mind the gameplay of DOC..... Its the sotry i hated, by the end it became like an over the top comic book, Hideous

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Jawknee
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 5:34:42 PM

I enjoyed Dirge too. I have to agree with Ultimadream though. The story was lacking.

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Naztycuts
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:36:53 PM
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Have an open mind here, what if Bethesda or Bioware picked it up and did something really awesome with it. I think it'd be cool to summom Shiva or Ifrit in 1st person with PS3 graphics. It'd have to be exclusive or have the ps3 as the lead platform before I'd purchase though, I remember the Vampire curse from Oblivion (GOTY ed.) I couldn't cure and the Gladiator Arena.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:46:30 PM

*sigh* don't remind me, I had to give up 15 hours of gameplay to load an old save so I didn't have that damned vampire glitch that Bethesda refused to patch.

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Oxvial
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:48:19 PM

eew Bethesda all of their game bores me to death.

now Bioware they could make something good.

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Naztycuts
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 2:12:12 PM

I never cured it I just kept feeding on the lady that was supposed to make the cure every so often and travelled at night, It was definitely one of my less fond gaming memories, ranking right up there with the overall gameplay of Leisure Suit Larry Box Office Bust, and if you haven't heard of that game then consider yourself lucky, I also further caution you not to pick this up at a bargain bin I don't care if it was $3 IT WAS NOT WORTH IT!

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johnld
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:23:18 PM

No thanks, i never got into western rpgs. didnt like how oblivion played and after seeing combat videos in dragons age, im not about to buy it. I'm not saying its not great but its just not the type of games i like playing, and i play a lot of different genres.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:49:45 PM
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Well, I think it's clear where I stand on this issue. That said, I'm fairly certain that the creation of a western Final Fantasy would cause a black hole to rip through our planet and suck us all into a backwards bizarro world where the PS3 is a piece of crap, the 360 has blu ray, and the Wii has co-opted all electronics in your house so that they all function using a wand.

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Riku994
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 1:59:25 PM
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And NOW we see why the world is gunna end in 2012...

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SvenMD
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 2:01:33 PM
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just....no.

I don't know what else to say. That's just all around a horrible idea.

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Banky A
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 3:32:19 PM
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Oh hell no.
Somebody grab Yoichi's Bow and shoot him...

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DIsmael85
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 3:34:24 PM

Haha, I agree, if this happens then Final Fantasy as we know it is officially dead. Guess it was just a matter of time.

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___________
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 @ 12:27:47 AM

come to think of it.
i remember when i think it was GRIN that closed down last year, they released some concept art of a FF VII remake.
maybe thats what hes hinting at.
maybe since GRIN bit the bullet they gave the project to someone else to finish off.

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Oyashiro
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 3:36:49 PM
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No.

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johnld
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:25:44 PM
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shut the hell up wada! unless the words that are coming out of your mouth is "Final Fantasy VII,VIII, or IX remake is coming out exclusive on ps3" or "Final Fantasy VS XIII will stay exclusive to ps3" then i dont want to hear anything from you.

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 8:55:57 PM

fully agree, i said the exact same thing below.

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rell
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:30:02 PM
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oh boy Wada has become poison to SE they got rid of ff creator ever sense he left SE has gone down hill.

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tes37
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 4:45:15 PM
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SE could pick something else to try and appeal to western gamers with besides rpg's. I want FF games without western influences. .....except for English language.

Last edited by tes37 on 1/5/2010 4:46:50 PM

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SnipeySnake
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 5:50:12 PM
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No.

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 7:25:23 PM
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This has turned from poison to disease (Demon's Souls reference here)

Nasty...

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 9:23:23 PM

haha, plague loses hp faster than poison. good analogy

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Phoelix
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 7:37:49 PM
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Maybe the western people could give FF something NEW for a change. I like all the FF games I've played, but they recycle too many characters and plot lines for my tastes. Change it up a little!

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 8:28:07 PM

I disagree...

How are FFVII-XII similar at all aside from being rpgs and having Ifrit/Shiva? (and Cid)?

Anyway, the day I see a "Western" Final Fantasy will be the day FF becomes a legend of the past and no longer great.

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 8:55:21 PM
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i say again, fire this stupid Wada. just shut up and leave SE.

Gamers will be much better off without him!

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BigBoss4ever
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 9:19:41 PM

put it this way, he basically ruined the SE especially since the merge.

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Snaaaake
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 9:49:21 PM
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Guess I'm gonna be a fan of FF till western developers poop on it.

Ok, where's my Persona 4 and Rogue Galaxy......

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LegendaryWolfeh
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 10:57:42 PM
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Alright, FF:FPS, this is gonna suck ._.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, January 05, 2010 @ 11:00:45 PM
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Wada load of crap coming out of Wada!

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___________
Wednesday, January 06, 2010 @ 12:25:31 AM
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now thats a disaster waiting to happen!
western cultures and eastern are completley different.
there idea of a perfect game is completley different to ours, mix them up, switching teams is just going to screw the whole system up.
FF is a Japanese game, it needs to be made by Japanese people because it has that essence its what suits the game.
i want Japanese cooking my Japanese food, i want Italians cooking my Italian food, i want Chinese cooking my Chinese food.
i do not want a Chinese cooking my Italian food and vise verse.
FF has a Japanese esc feeling to it such that it feels fantasy.
some of the things they have in there are so over the top and typical to a Japanese game.
i think the perfect example of a Japanese esc game and one thats not would be bayonetta and DMC.
devil may cry does not feel, seem like its made by a Japanese developer, but bayonetta is a dead giveaway.
both should just stick to what there use to.

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CptGreedle
Thursday, January 07, 2010 @ 11:11:00 AM
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As long as it comes out to the PS3, I am excited to see what they would do with it, as long as the Japanese team has complete control and approval over what the Western team does. Combining the 2 genres, eastern and western games, is inevitable. It is the best of both worlds, assuming it is not the worst of both. Either way, we will see if it is a success, or a failure.

Still, as long as it comes out on the PS3, I don't see how it could be that bad. Plenty of excellent "western" games have come out lately, even better than the Japanese ones (like Uncharted 2), and Japan is still keeping it competitive and trying to take advantage of the situation, which may be best for all. We will see.

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