Great Games Have The Power To Restore All Lost Faith
It's a common topic of discussion at PSXE these days: Square-Enix's perceived betrayal of Sony fans in this new generation. We won't get into the business angle of this too much - the debate rages as to whether or not Square-Enix really is turning their back on Sony, although we have difficulty viewing it any other way - but we'd like to examine another angle: the power of the final product.
I've seen it time and time again. People can complain bitterly about a particular company, be it developer or publisher, and if the end result is amazing enough, all will be forgiven. There will still be a small group of dissenters, but they're quickly drowned out by the vast majority, which simply enjoy and praise the game. I get the feeling the same thing is going to happen when Final Fantasy XIII finally releases. I know, I know; those who are currently on the S-E hate bandwagon will reply with something along the lines of, "yeah, fat chance. I will never give my respect back to Square-Enix!" And while I don't question that vehement statement, nor would I question the determination of the person who made the vow, I do question its staying power.
FFXIII comes out, and it's awesome. It rakes in the high 9s and even a few perfect 10s here and there, and most of the gaming press is telling everyone who loves RPGs to get on board. Because it's really that good. At first, you may hold out. You may turn your back and with a haughty, "hmph," ignore the game's release. You're still seething, and you certainly remember your oath. But over the next few weeks, the constant barrage of "dude, you haven't played it yet?!" starts to hack away at that internal wall, and by the time Game of the Year nominations come out, you're already starting to waver. You've sworn you wouldn't reward S-E for their transgressions, but at the same time, you love yourself some FF. You feel as if you're missing out on a great experience, and the gamer inside you picks up a sledgehammer and adds to the wall assault. It isn't long before the cracks appear, and faster than you may believe, the wall crumbles into dust and you're eagerly unwrapping a fresh new copy of Final Fantasy XIII.
Thing is, Square-Enix could stand on a podium and say, "yep, we do prefer Microsoft and we're going to focus on the Xbox 360 this generation," and if FFXIII (and later, Final Fantasy Versus XIII) delivers in fine fashion, it won't matter. I swear it won't. We all love to play games, and our supposed nobility and integrity - "yes, we will take S-E to task and punish them!" - fades in the face of our ceaseless pursuit of awesome entertainment. I'm just preparing y'all for the inevitable transformation... ;)
1/18/2009 Ben Dutka