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Thread: In Defence of Final Fantasy XV - Editorial

  1. #1
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    In Defence of Final Fantasy XV - Editorial

    The RPGaming world is abuzz with news of Final Fantasy Versus XIII's evolution into Final Fantasy XV, but not everyone is pleased with the announcement. While some have chosen to respond with cynicism based on the title's troubled history, it might be wiser to reserve judgment until release.

    Editorial
    "To tell you the truth, I like drinking tea and eating fresh vegetables, but that doesn't fit with my super-cool attitude. I guess I have to accept this about myself."

  2. #2
    A Serious Man Drav's Avatar
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    The concern I'm seeing from most people over making FFvXIII a real entry isn't that it doesn't fit with the other games, but that it will propel the series down an action-oriented route from which it will never return. Anyone who's followed the "evolution" of WRPGs over the past 10 years can attest that this is a valid concern, presuming you prefer real-time/turn-based squad tactics over action.

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    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    Exactly my feelings on it, Trent.
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    chaotic neutral observer ironmage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drav View Post
    The concern I'm seeing from most people over making FFvXIII a real entry isn't that it doesn't fit with the other games, but that it will propel the series down an action-oriented route from which it will never return.
    The mainline FF series drifting into the action genre isn't desirable, but I agree with the editorial in this respect; we should judge the game on what it is, not on its origins.

    I don't want to see the FF series give up on its turn-based roots, but if S/E makes a good action RPG, then I'll play it, regardless of my personal expectations for the FF series.

  5. #5
    Almost all action RPGs I've played I didn't enjoy. I DID enjoy games with a separate battle screen and action combat (Tales of... and Star Ocean) and I also liked Secret of Mana 1&2 and Secret of Evermore, but most of the other action RPGs I didn't like at all. And seeing how the game is done by the old Kingdom Hearts game and the gameplay looks exactly like in Kingdom Hearts 2 except that it has a different graphic style and you can teleport around, makes me conclude that I will not like the game very much.

    It is particularly frustrating because there are ALMOST NO RPGs released anymore that have an actual battle system (not on-screen). I was already angry at S-E for released something like Nier instead of making a proper JRPG and now they even do that stuff with their main series on which I still had hopes (I liked FFXIII).

    Plus everything Drav said.

  6. #6
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    I'm still in the camp that each FF is different, for better or worse. Do I typically like action RPGs? No, but there are some I love. Do I love turn-based RPGs? Some, yes.

    That said, I don't think that XV being an action RPG impacts the rest of the series, as I think the impact has already happened. The love of Kingdom Hearts and the sucess of Western action RPGs drove this decision more than anything. I think SE could still do a turn-based RPG, and Kitase is at least curious about doing so.
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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Everyone of them is different, but up until 15, as far as I know, each of them were a command based, team based, JRPG style game on some level (including the MMOs). The changes between IV and VI to VIII to X...were evolutionary. The changes from 13 to 15 are genre defining. And that doesn't mean 15 will be a bad game. It just means it will be a game in a genre that isn't in the same camp with the previous entries....and given that, one has to wonder why it's part of the FF line of games outside of the fact the name pulls weight and therefore sales. Granted, none of us should be surprised...after all, they did the same thing when they jumped shark by making 11 and 14 part of the named series. But as different as an MMO is from the others in the series, this change is even larger as it eschews the team based JRPG system entirely (which MMO's still use...albiet with the change that every character on the team is played by a different player).

    Aside from the brand identity issues I brought up in other threads, I share Drav's concerns. We're seeing the traditional party based games go the way of the dinosaur, replaced with more action oriented counterparts. As he brought up, we saw it happen with WRPGs some time ago. To me, its sad that it's taking place with a major JRPG franchise. I agree with you, Ironmage, that we should judge the game when it comes out on its own merit. And, like you, if it is good and appeals to me, I will buy it and play it.

    However, action based RPG games (even those with RPG mechanics like Dark Souls, Fallout 3, Kingdom Hearts, etc) don't hold as strong a place in my heart as more traditional RPG approaches. And, the actiony RPG game market (with RPG elements) is extremely competitive....unlike the current traditional RPG market on consoles. Whereas I would (and did) buy previous Final Fantasy games brand new (even with the faults they had) rarely waiting for reviews, I will treat this FF game as I do actiony rpg games .... I will wait for the reviews, and only buy it new/full price if it's REALLY good (and considering I only bought 1 of the last 7 action RPGs new, that tells you how high I set the bar there). In my books it's going up against franchises like Fallout, Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, etc. And, who knows...it might be BETTER than those. We'll have to wait and see. In short, FF falls off my shrinking list of franchises that I tend to buy blindly and/or give benefits of the doubt to.

    That said, I don't think that XV being an action RPG impacts the rest of the series, as I think the impact has already happened. The love of Kingdom Hearts and the sucess of Western action RPGs drove this decision more than anything. I think SE could still do a turn-based RPG, and Kitase is at least curious about doing so.
    In other words, its wear the money is at, and S-E needs to make money. Hey, I totally get it. I'm a business man by day. I write all of this with the complete understanding that consumers like me (those who prefer more traditional RPG approaches) are in the minority and that the paradigm of the video game marketplace makes it difficult, if not impossible, for larger companies like S-E to cater to old fogies like me It's the reality of life. Doesn't mean I have to like the overall paradigm shift. A small part of me just hoped that with the action rpg market pretty well covered, that S-E/FF could continue to shine as one of the few bastions of high quality JRPGs, not afraid to push the form forward...never content to let it stagnate....rather than simply appealing to the lowest common denominator. While I can safely say that these decisions have forced me to pull the franchise off my 'must buy at full price' list, I still respect them, and will continue to buy their games in line with how I buy games from other companies.
    Last edited by jcservant; 06-13-2013 at 10:38 AM.

  8. #8
    I know that most of my vocal concerns over the game have come to the point of it being too hyped on very little material for so long. And I think most of that came from it being Not-XIII. Just how certain flawed politicians can get elected based on not being the other guy rather than for anything they actually bring to the table.

    But that reason is why I think the game will disappoint gamers in general. The article mentions games that were in development for 4 years as being successful. 4 years is not a particularly unreasonable development time for a big game. This game was announced 7 years ago, and was probably in development for awhile before that, and it is quickly approaching the 10+ year point where games like DNF and TH disappoint. I wonder if there are games that were in development for that long that were highly regarded after release, I personally can't think of any.

    However that reasoning is completely different than why I am already dismissing it. Its the setting. Its the same type of setting that has been present in all of what I felt are the weakest entries in the series- futurish settings. 7, 8, 10, and 13 are my 4 least favorite (non-MMO) FFs, and all have the same type of setting. On the other hand, I know that at least two of those happen to be among the most popular. I don't consider the future setting as part of what makes a core FF. And while I've always felt that at least some of those 4 games originally started as side games that got rebranded to sell more than they originally would have, now we have a game that I can definitively point to and say that is a fact. Where I could have pointed to the fact that every 3rd FF title was great and fit exactly what I wanted in a core FF, that is not the case this time. Where I could have been more excited for a side game called Versus not fitting what I see as a core FF title, rebranding it means that it is now a core game and I must treat it as such. Or it means that attaching a number and calling a game a core FF, is pretty much meaningless (not that numbering the MMOs helped).

    I realize that most people will likely disagree and love the setting, and thats fine, but I just want my core FFs to have a medieval (maybe with explainable steampunk traits) setting, have Crystals, have chocobos and have a character named Cid. And no guns. Seriously. I'm cool with an action battle system. I just don't want to be roaming the streets and driving cars and climbing skyscrapers in my FF.
    Last edited by smacd; 06-13-2013 at 11:35 AM.

  9. #9
    We're seeing the traditional party based games go the way of the dinosaur
    I love this quote.

  10. #10
    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Hehehe. Yeah, it happened to traditional western RPGs some time ago...it was a slow erosion that lead to the action western RPGs like Fallout 3. The odd thing is, both types co-existed for a long time. You've always had action RPGs like Zelda and Secret of Mana side by side with franchises like D&D computer games and Final Fantasy. But, one by one, we saw a number of them get simplified and more actiony...and now the only party wRPG type games you see are from indy peeps (thank the heavens for Kickstarter) and the occasional handheld. Now, it's hitting JRPGs hard. As Mac point out, this is something that's been going on for some time. This is just a wake up reminder for those who have forgotten. It's a matter of time, IMHO, to where the only JRPG type games you see will be on handhelds, iOS, indy stuff, etc. I think aside from missing some of the deeper, high production deals we would see in something like DQ8 or FFX, I am concerned that we'll see a further stagnation of the genre in general from those still developing them. As Mac points out, FF series was always changing...they weren't afraid to try different ways to present that party based RPG experience. I appreciated that approach even if they weren't all perfect. I'm concerned that as indy developers pick up the JRPG slack, we may not get those types of innovations anymore. I could be wrong...there's PLENTY of innovation from the Indy scene in other genres.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rya.Reisender View Post
    I love this quote.
    I hate that quote (in that I hate that it might be true). Luckily there are quite a few upcoming indie games that beg to differ.

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    New Member Member Sega_Fanboi's Avatar
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    Drav, jcservant and smacd really got me thinking. Good stuff.

    I don't think Final Fantasy will never return to its turn-based roots. I remember that Squeenix released FF9 right after making VII and VII. X is one the most poplar entries and its as turn-based as it gets. XII is turn based. FF XIII is turn-based as well (although the emphasis is on cinematic action). I checked out the the link Macstrom provided (thanks btw) and I think Kitase is a little wrong here. The big money makers in console gaming are FPSes and multiplayer, making it a tacked on feature of many games (too many titles are compromised by tacked on multiplayer). It's why titles such Fallout and Mass Effect are modeled a bit after FPSes. FF XIII itself was inspired in part by Call of Duty. But lack of multiplayer didn't stop Skyrim from becoming one of the most popular titles in gaming. Dishonored kicked serious *** (not an RPG but still) and was different from the current mold of action games. Squeenix can make a traditional turn-based RPG AND make a ton of $$$ if they wanted to. I can't think of anything stopping them except that feeling traditional turn-based gameplay does not match their definition of the cinematic game experience. Also, what they're doing for this game gives not clear indication of what they will do next game. For all we know XVI/XVII (should the series go that far) will be classic turn-based based on someone's whims. Many other JRPG franchises are sticking with turn-based combat. Lastly, the trailers show a team fighting off the enemy. This could be a fast paced system (fps ) that lets teams of party members take really quick turns.

    @jcservant (#7): I don't think it's wise to buy games blindly. You could get stuck with with buyer's remorse. Happened to me a couple times (and for this reason I avoid reviews as well). I insist on demoing a game before I sink my hard-earned Grants, Lincolns and Georges into it.

    It's not that you're old fogie (unless you are really old and I'm just not getting it), it's that for a number of reasons you're outside the target demographic. Seeing as how I've never really been in it, I understand completely. But I believe that "paradigm of the video game marketplace" (yours, awesome btw) is based on bad business sense and practices from larger companies (such as Squeenix, Capcom, EA, etc.) as opposed an inability to cater to smaller but significant demographics. After all, it's working for ATLUS.

    @smacd (#8): Four years is a LONG time to develop a game. Something that long indicates a lot of problems. Also, when you develop a game for that long you have make serious bank from day one of the whole thing is a loss. If possible, games can and should be developed faster. Otherwise you're constantly behind in taking advantage of new ideas and synching up with the market.

    I see no evidence that any of the games you mention started out as side games and were later re-branded in development to boost sales. All of those had significant resources placed up front and early buzz about those entries always intended them to be mainline titles. The same logic could easily be applied to IX (FF sorta retro) and XII (FF Sorta Offline-MMORPG Tactics). If you've got evidence that would be fascinating. Could you share it please?

    I share your feeling about settings to a point. Medieval settings keep me from getting into a lot of games (FF entries included). But XV looks to have castles, swords, guns, airships (I really want to fly an airship), something about a crystal. So the setting looks to be a blend so far. I'm sure chocobos and someone named Cid aren't far behind.

    Versus XIII's rebranding interests me. Up to this point the only time Squeenix released a trailer was when they had something new to show. The only lie I can see in their promotion is that XIII would be released for the PS3. The trailers for Versus XII and now XV look very different, suggesting the possibility that this game was rebuilt from the bottom up at some point. To me the rebranding is a bold and perhaps, desperate move. It means that they've taken a troubled product and brought to the point where they can confidently display it as a headline product. Live A Realm Reborn. That's huge. Personally, I would have just trashed the project and moved on with something else. If it is a combination of boldness and desperation, I see that as a good thing. It was boldness and desperation that created the beloved franchise in the first place.

    Thanks for the comments.

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    Tactic's Ogre I choose u! scorpio_7's Avatar
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    Indie games seem to be the best rpg games these days.

    I don't understand why developers are afraid of the dreaded RPG and turn-based system. XCOM did quite great with a turn-based system.

    Anyhow, only SE can save FF as they get stuck in their ways and completely ignore their fans until it is too late. They seem to get stuck in what they are doing, completely out of touch with their fans... they are the only ones who can change this direction, but to do so, they gotta look outside their ivory towers for real original ideas that tie in their traditional style of game.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Sega_Fanboi View Post
    @smacd (#8): Four years is a LONG time to develop a game. Something that long indicates a lot of problems. Also, when you develop a game for that long you have make serious bank from day one of the whole thing is a loss. If possible, games can and should be developed faster. Otherwise you're constantly behind in taking advantage of new ideas and synching up with the market.
    Four years is definitely on the long side, but I wouldn't say that its out of the realm of reasonable time frame. What research I've done says that AAA titles usually take around 2-3 years. But on the other hand, we see plenty come faster, and some take a bit longer. 4 years doesn't worry me in most cases, my worry point starts coming at around 5+ years for modern AAA games. There are a lot of factors in development that can adjust the timeframe. I'm a software engineer, though not a game developer, but I can understand that there might be a pretty big development timeline difference between using your own engine vs using a licensed engine, porting to different consoles, and type of game makes a difference with debugging, etc. For instance, GTA is mostly open world, which takes a lot more QA and debugging than a strictly linear level-based game I'd imagine.

    As a side note, the longest development timeframe for a game that I think turned out really well and was a hit, was Morrowind. It came 6-7 years after Daggerfall and its own announcement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega_Fanboi View Post
    I see no evidence that any of the games you mention started out as side games and were later re-branded in development to boost sales. All of those had significant resources placed up front and early buzz about those entries always intended them to be mainline titles. The same logic could easily be applied to IX (FF sorta retro) and XII (FF Sorta Offline-MMORPG Tactics). If you've got evidence that would be fascinating. Could you share it please?
    I have no evidence, and my feelings are mostly just due to how much I didn't feel they were anything like their predecessors. It wasn't uncommon for Squaresoft to rename games in the west as FF games, despite being other series - FF Adventures and FF Legends series, so its not out of the realm of possibilities since Square did slap the FF name on games to sell more. I'm not stating its fact, just that I wouldn't be surprised if some of those games really weren't originally going to be core games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sega_Fanboi View Post
    I share your feeling about settings to a point. Medieval settings keep me from getting into a lot of games (FF entries included). But XV looks to have castles, swords, guns, airships (I really want to fly an airship), something about a crystal. So the setting looks to be a blend so far. I'm sure chocobos and someone named Cid aren't far behind.
    Yeah, it'll have a Cid, and chocobos, and there was a mention of crystals. But I still don't like the modern city setting in my fantasy series. And I absolutely despise guns in my JRPGs.

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    Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff jcservant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorpio_7 View Post
    Indie games seem to be the best rpg games these days.

    I don't understand why developers are afraid of the dreaded RPG and turn-based system. XCOM did quite great with a turn-based system.
    Basically companies that do good are expected to do better year over year. If they 'grew up' filling a niche market, they eventually outgrow that market and try to move onto broader markets, even going as far as to rebrand themselves or their products in the process. Sometimes, this works out great for the franchise/company, and many times it does not.

    D&D (the pen and paper version) is a great case study. By most metrics, D&D 3.5/D20 system did very well. However, the parent company was under a lot of pressure to substantially increase their sales figures in developing their next edition. They developed 4.0 with a broader, younger market in mind, alienating much of their core audience in the process. Eventually, they lost their #1 spot in pen and paper sales to Paizo who developed Pathfinder, a gaming system that was very close to their older system :P On the other hand, you've got franchises like Fallout and companies like Bioware who have (for the most part) transitioned to other genres very well.

    X-Com and a few other games like it have shown that there is money and profit to be found in more classic RPG approaches. However, since they will rarely match the sales of more mainstream titles, larger companies will not expend their limited resources on them.

  16. #16
    Never Google Image Search Clix's Avatar
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    To the best of my knowledge, only one Final Fantasy game before hand was ever rebranded in development. Final Fantasy IX was not originally conceived as a numbered entry. It was a chance for a younger crew to team up with some of the remaining veterans to create a more-classical styled fantasy game. The project spent most of development as "Final Fantasy Root[s]" to signify it as a retro spin-off. However, it was then rebranded, behind close doors, as IX. According to SE, it was because they felt the near-finished project was good enough to be a numbered entry, but it might have just as easily been a money-grab, since they were already starting to smell the burnt money from The Spirits Within's development.

    It's the same ordeal VSXIII faces. Due to it and other games having stupidly long development times, they need the extra sales to fill in at least a few feet on their grave-deep hole. The major significance (beyond the obvious development hell) is that we've known about FFVSXIII for seven years--FFR was kept under wraps and announced as FFIX. And this isn't the first time SE made the mistake of showing something way, way too soon. Besides the other FNC games, there was a similar screw up over a decade ago. FFXII was announced as part of a big showing for FFIX, FFX, and XI in 2000. FFIX soon came out, and the other two followed a year each (in Japan). But FFXII was nowhere to be seen for half a decade. For some reason, after that debacle, SE never thought to fire or retrain their marketing department, but they did it again in 2006 and dug the first good foot of the hole they've been sinking into since.

  17. #17
    I'd actually heard that FF9 had possibly been originally a spinoff title rebranded. But I never heard much about the story or from any sort of source other than rumor. It would be interesting if one of the only two core FFs I actually liked in the last 17 years was what I felt all the cruddy ones I didn't like were. But if it is true, it still wont make me sing the praises of Versus being renamed to XV.

    And realizing that I've only liked 2 core FFs in the last 17 years... why do I still pay attention to this series?
    Last edited by smacd; 06-13-2013 at 04:42 PM.

  18. #18
    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    FFIX was supposed to be a Gaiden title, but the Gooch decided to make it a main game. I think the series is better for it. This time? We shall see.
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  19. #19
    I wish I could find more reliable resources to verify that FF9 was in fact a side game originally. Google isn't helping, and Wikipedia only says the following-

    In the game's conceptual stage, the developers made it clear that the title would not necessarily be Final Fantasy IX, as its break from the realism of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII may have alienated audiences. This led fans to speculate that it would be released as a "gaiden" (side story) to the main series.[15] By late 1999, however, Square had confirmed that the game would indeed be published as Final Fantasy IX, and by early 2000, the game was nearly finished.
    This seems to imply that they hadn't really decided what FF9 would be until late in development, but that the rebranding could just be an urban legend. Unfortunately, the source they cite doesn't look like it exists anymore.

    Are there any more reliable sources on that?

  20. #20
    Member Scar's Avatar
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    Now's as good of a time as ever for Square to redeem themselves in my eyes.

    I found it pretty cool that each character has a Latin name, and meaning.

    Noctis Lucis Caelum = Light of the Night Sky
    Ignis Scientia = Fire Knowledge, Fire Skill
    Gladiolus Amicitia = Friends Knife, Friends Sword
    Prompto Argentum = Quick Silver, Ready Silver
    Cor Leonis = Lion's Heart
    Stella Nox Fleuret = Night Star

    ~

    and the blond guy, Prompto...has a Cloud vibe to him...they need to nix the Cloud love.

    ~~

    Either way, I guess I am once again curious about this game which is what SE wanted, right? Better then me not giving a damn for the past 7 years I suppose.

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