Final Fantasy Will Save Itself
The PSXE community has been vocal about what is perceived to be a derailing of the legendary Final Fantasy franchise. While I will always maintain that FFXIII was a fantastic game in its own right (outside of the FF name), many just saw it as too big of a departure and in taking a brief look at Final Fantasy Versus XIII, that may not fit the bill, either.
But enough with the negativity. It's too draining. I've decided to become very optimistic about the whole situation; it's not a blind optimism, either, because I have reasons. Just bear with me for a second: although this industry remains very much reliant on review scores, as most any publisher and analyst will tell you, there are a few titles out there that are almost - almost - immune to critical reception. Madden, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Halo; I think these franchises qualify and I also believe we can add Final Fantasy to the list. I'm not talking about spin-offs, per se, but I think we can all agree that Final Fantasy XV will be hotly anticipated and sell very well. At one point in Japan, FFXIII ended up being owned by nearly 1 in every 2 PS3 owners. ...that's insane.
It's also the brand name at work. FFXIII sold pretty darn well everywhere, in fact, and it's because of the name; not because of the inconsistent reviews, which were very un-FF-like. So, S-E doesn't really have to worry about this, do they? If they wanted to experiment, or if they wanted to attempt "fan service" and give us an actual RPG that made us go, "holy sh**, this is like a modern FFVII," they could do that. The risk is low. Secondly, just about every FF designer seems very tentative about FFXV; about where they intend to go; about the direction of the series. Hell, they seem downright baffled in some interviews. And all it requires is any one of them to spend a half-hour online, reading message boards and site communities...they'll find communities like ours, all asking for - essentially - the same thing: a return to form.
A return. Not a new idea you think will appeal to the Western gamers. If they even catch a glimmer of that, FFXV could very well be more like FFXII or Dragon Age. Thirdly and finally, that brand name can suffer if they stray too far and the S-E executives may be sensing a "straying" right about now, which could spell the end of FF immunity. But there's one caveat. I think they need to decide what they want to do. Do they really want to make an RPG or do they want to pursue yet another project that almost defies classification? It must be hard to nail down a direction and style when you don't have anything to compare it to...
But anyway, I say Final Fantasy can and will save itself. I say it's in a prime position to do so.
10/17/2010 9:49:40 PM Ben Dutka