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This thread is in response to an article about Final Fantasy XIII on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the article in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: November 21, 2011 (10:58 AM)
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Yes. Because when I think of mistakes with the Final Fantasy series in recent years, the first thing that comes to mind is how they take too much time to make games. Hell, why didn't they take longer with XIII to give them time to come to the conclusion that having most of the game being linear and on rails isn't the greatest of ideas?


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: November 21, 2011 (11:22 AM)
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Final Fantasy XIII was well received in the grand scheme of things, and I personally thought it stood up there with the rest of the franchise --
the problem was it took so long to get it out. And Versus? Christ that's been in development for a historical amount of time.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: November 21, 2011 (11:11 AM)
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Yes, that's just what that brand needs. More saturation.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: SamildanachEmrys
Posted: November 21, 2011 (12:02 PM)
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The fall in popularity is due to the decline in quality and maybe even a general disinterest in JRPGs. I can see that the timescale is much more protracted than it used to be, but I think games now just take longer to make.


'There would be tears and there would be strange laughter. Fierce births and deaths beneath umbrageous ceilings. And dreams, and violence, and disenchantment.'


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 21, 2011 (12:05 PM)
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If Square-Enix has a few teams sharing basic technology and working on Final Fantasy games over a period of 2 or 3 years apiece and thus the market sees a new Final Fantasy game every year or two (the Call of Duty model that Kitase likely meant), I don't see how that would be such a bad thing. There's less interest in the JRPG now than there used to be, with the westrn RPG coming to prominence, but I think there's still an audience for quality JRPGs if Square-Enix can make buying one every year or two a habit that gamers don't want to break. This isn't really as ludicrous an idea as a lot of people are suggesting.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 21, 2011 (05:00 PM)
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The problem is that they've been telling the same story since at least FFX. Maybe SE should try doing something new. And then, yeah, it'd be nice after that to have games be released quicker.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: jerec
Posted: November 21, 2011 (06:21 PM)
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Could they perhaps make RPGs again? I'm getting tired of these interactive movies.


I can avoid death by not having a life.


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: November 21, 2011 (07:01 PM)
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They made a full-blooded RPG with FF12, but it seemed everyone hated it. It's still my favorite of all the post-FF9 games.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: November 21, 2011 (07:07 PM)
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No kidding, everyone hated FFXII on message boards when it came out as well, and considering how good that game was, I don't think that the older fanbase will ever be pleased with anything Square Enix does. FF is now a brand for a newer generation, the title is just used for marketing. It's just a confusing mess of nostalgia and anger undercutting what are actually very polished pieces of software.

I suppose message board posters make up a minuscule portion of the market though.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 21, 2011 (11:18 PM)
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FFXII would've been great if any of the characters were likeable. Balthier and Cid were pretty well written, Cid in particular being an actually interesting character, but the other characters had the depth of a kiddy pool.

I did enjoy FFXII for it's tendency to not try and shove story down our throats. But when it did stop to tell its story or tell us to go somewhere to see something, it was never interesting.

Really, I do think that character is what's been lacking from the recent FF games. It was the characters who gave us an FFIV sequel almost two decades after the original game was released. It's the characters who make FFVI consistently labeled one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Character is what's made Sephiroth and Cloud two of the most famous video game icons of all time. Character began the flame wars between FFIX and FFVIII and kept people playing FFX even when they thought Tidus was a boob. FFX-2 was the first game to take character and stomp it in the dirt. The FF games since then (and including that one) have had consistently interesting gameplay and world settings, but none of them have had any characters worth writing home about.

Character is so important to a game with a story (note: WITH A STORY. I'm not talking your basic platformer or more Western-style RPG). What do you think has kept Metal Gear Solid going for so long? We can argue all we want about whether it has well-written characters, but Snake is an icon. Something about Snake is interesting enough to write home about.

Other examples include Mass Effect and Dragon Age. People talk about the gameplay in them, sure, but more people talk about Morrigan-this-or-that or who you had a relationship with in Mass Effect.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 21, 2011 (11:31 PM)
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It's no surprise. Characters are the most important part of any fiction, for most viewers or readers or gamers. I tend to start my own fiction with environments, since that is actually what interests me, but as a viewer/reader/gamer I'm in the minority. A lot of people care passionately about characters, and even some of my favorite fiction (such as the Belgariad series by David Eddings) was my favorite because of strong characters. My biggest issue with Final Fantasy XIII, which I found mostly to be a great game, was Hope. I wanted to strangle him most of the way through the game.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: November 21, 2011 (11:38 PM)
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Character are nice, but I want a good dungeon crawler, and FF12 was basically that.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: November 21, 2011 (11:55 PM)
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Interestingly enough, I don't really find any cast from the FF franchise to be inherently deep or to have gone through truly rigorous development -- they are fairly straightforward characters (FFVI is the epitome of this), and I think that's helped carry the games into popularity. Simple characters in a fantastical adventure that conveys powerful themes -- this is a big part of what Japanese game design is. That's not to say the writing is bad simply because it doesn't match something like Planescape Torment, because FF games do indeed have very well executed characters and story arcs, but it's pretty much a whole separate genre of story telling. Japanese RPGs like XIII, for example, really go for the player's heart strings with each line of dialogue. Characters develop via emotional outbursts, where as in a game like Dragon Age, the player is meant to be impressed by the detail within lore and character backgrounds. Whichever game I want to play depends on my mood, really =p.


As for XII, I don't have much to complain about, almost at all, to put it flatly. Vaan was a great opening perspective, and I loved how the game literally portrayed him and Penelo as bickering children in the background of cutscenes as the adults took the reign of the story. They really forced him into a few scenes which felt out of place at times, but I was glad they lessened the focus on him overall. Ashe's dilemma was quite powerful, the dialogue between Basch and Gabranth was chilling (incredible script, really), and Fran's and Balthier's story arcs were very relevant. Opinions will vary on that though, I just really admired the way they handled a game about war, politics, reconciliation, etc... as opposed to the more personal stories of the old games. As for the core gameplay and structure of the game, THAT was impressive. And those cities, they had such a stunning amount of detail to them.

My gripes with XIII, then, would be some minor pacing issues as the battle system takes time to heat up. And then characters, mainly Hope and Snow, and how they dived too deeply into melodrama where they failed to remain believable. Other than that it was quite a positive experience, almost reminded me a bit of FFVI with how the characters were handled. And I'm becoming a sucker for streamlined RPGs, as I greatly enjoyed XIII and Mass Effect 2 this generation.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: Roto13 (Mod)
Posted: November 22, 2011 (07:56 AM)
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I would like to go on record as saying that Final Fantasy XII is fantastic. Some of the characters may not be as memorable as the cast from X, but Ivalice quickly became my favourite video game world. Amazing.


---


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Author: fleinn
Posted: November 22, 2011 (08:20 AM)
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..maybe they should just create something new. They had talented writers when they made FF7&8. Some of that talent made it into the game. Other talent seems to have made sure the game's presentation was taped together, and that there was some kind of link between gameplay and story.

FF8 even had a few of the scripted scenarios where you were playing in them. That was one of the series' highlights, in my opinion. The battlefield blowing up in the background while Squall and Rinoa would run around. Was a couple of semi-interactive events turning up that way. Even if it always ends up being a mini-game with a few button-prompts that lead to some very implausible bridge to the next part of the ..not actually bad story..

Same with the build-up for the assassination of the sorceress. That was a consistent story with elements that were really well made. But you always saw that they didn't have the graphics or the engine to really display the entire sequence completely. And they didn't have the skill to create good enough segueways with the tools they had (the prison-sequences - where the rules in the game turn into the rules in the game-world. Or some of the skips between cinematics and game-time - and some of the skips between overview and battle-mode, when your brain has to twist into a knot to maintain suspension of disbelief... horrible stuff).

Thing is that if they try to copy that in better graphics - where the actual game-mechanics in the other FF games dictate how the events play out - then what you get won't make sense. It will just be the same game as before, except with prettier overlays, and the same fractured game-world.

Maybe that's good enough, though.. I don't know.

But that's always been the problem with SE's popular games, hasn't it? That no one have been bold enough to do something brilliant with the design (like Tri-Ace did with Resonance of Fate). Or have the guts to simply say out loud that the weird narratives that barely worked in the other FF games shouldn't be kept at all.

That they either need to create something that works in the cinematic style they want to adopt. Or else they need to start treating the bridges between the segments more seriously.

I mean, what's going on when a battle suddenly freezes time and boxes you in to pocket-dimension where insane summoning attacks can happen - without any of it turning up in the "real world" afterwards? That's not a change of perspective in those battles, it's a change of dimensions instead.

Same thing when the plot keeps the same "Character A is introduced, does pose, flaunts weapon and says catchphrase". It only works in something like FF7 - where the cartoony graphics allow it, and no one expects movie-direction.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 22, 2011 (10:58 AM)
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I don't really find any cast from the FF franchise to be inherently deep or to have gone through truly rigorous development -- they are fairly straightforward characters (FFVI is the epitome of this), and I think that's helped carry the games into popularity.

I don't really understand how you can call FFVI the epitome of straightforward character, when the whole point of that game was to take character cliches and give them back history. Shadow was the perfect example of this; on the surface he's a classic assassin ninja character with no real personality. But if you delve deep enough into the game, you'll find a fairly rich history to him that makes all of his decisions in the game that much more complex.

Sabin and Edgar are other perfect examples. One is literally a "body builder" while the other is the dandy king. But both facades are acts and the relationship between the brothers is a very deep one and well explored and developed throughout the game.

Don't even get me started on Terra and Ceres. They were emo back when emo didn't mean you had to wear black and mope around all the time. They actually kept their pain pretty well hidden, which made scenes like the opera house one extremely poignant, because it was revealing their emotions through the art of acting, basically emotion revealed by proxy. Locke is another key player in that triad. Which I could easily delve into further if needed.

Even characters who are fairly skin deep, like Mog, are put in the disorienting situation of the world ending, and their reactions to that reveals a lot about them.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: November 22, 2011 (12:28 PM)
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Final Fantasy VI is the standard by which I judge nearly any RPG that I've ever played since. It's the reason Final Fantasy VII disappointed me so much (because VII really plays too much like VI, only without the spark of personality that the characters in VI produced).

It's absurd to say that Square-Enix needs to try to do something new. Each Final Fantasy is new in all of the ways that matter. The Final Fantasy name doesn't mean the same game all over again. It simply stands for the JRPG produced with first-rate production values and an epic plot and a massive world. That's worth doing as many times as Square-Enix can manage it. Sometimes, efforts work better than others. The stripping down of the actual exploration that began with FFX and (hopefully) ended with Final Fantasy XIII is an unfortunate diversion, but otherwise the games have held true to their main themes while producing wildly different scenarios.

Yes, you see the active battle system used a lot. It began with FFIV, but then Square-Enix produced the class system for V that allowed you to really change how battles went for your charcters. In VI, you could put in Street Fighter-like button combos to perform super moves specific to some characters, like Saban. VII just sucked. VIII produced the draw system, which was as unique as the series ever needs. IX was a conscious throwback to the earlier games in the series. X went with a purely turn-based system and you could swap out characters. It was fast-paced and wonderful. XII was, by all accounts, quite different from that. I've never actually played through it, not yet. And XIII was spectacular, one of the most unique battle systems in an RPG in ages (though from what I hear, inspired by and expanded over XII's combat system).

Many of the people who gripe about the endless stream of Final Fantasy titles with one breath quickly use their next breath to beg for another Kingdom Hearts installment, or a new Mana game. I think one of the problems for Final Fantasy games is that it has become the CoD of the genre. No matter what happens, a lot of people will be displeased. The series has found too much success and now there's a large portion of the target audience that wants it to fail and will ignore innovations just to see that happen.

Final Fantasy isn't perfect. Like every other series, it never really has been. But it deserves a better shake than it has been getting lately. Square-Enix is still taking the franchise seriously (as it should), and JRPG fans should be hopeful for a true return to form. It's still possible, and it would be wonderful!


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: November 22, 2011 (04:36 PM)
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I'm hoping FFXV turns out to be every bit the classic that FFVI was. The problem is, the culture that created Final Fantasy at Squaresoft is gone. Hironobu Sakaguchi left to form Mistwalker, Nobuo Uematsu pretty much followed him, and Yoshitaka Amano is only involved at a promotional level at this point. Even the Ivalice faction of FF is no longer with Square. All that's really left is Tetsuya Nemura, who isn't the character designer he was in 1997.

What's left is a corporate asset. Maybe the executives will hand it to a team that will do something good with it, maybe not. Right now, I'm not too optimistic.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: fleinn
Posted: November 22, 2011 (07:50 PM)
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(Meanwhile, why not allow the possibility that other studios might have done something interesting with the "jrpg" template..? :) )


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 22, 2011 (08:55 PM)
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Of course, if SE was really interested in making a quick buck, all they'd have to do would be to throw together a graphics-enhanced remake of FFVII. Bam. Instant best seller.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: November 22, 2011 (10:22 PM)
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Except that they've said repeatedly that an up-to-date version of FFVII would take years and years of development and cost a gargantuan amount of money. It would be a massive hit, and SE still won't do it, which should spell out how impossible it really is.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 23, 2011 (12:27 AM)
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I've heard that argument, but it doesn't have as much power when you consider that Final Fantasy XIII cost something like 80 million dollars to produce. They could spend the money. At least this time they'd be gauranteed to sell it. I mean, shit, didn't they sell some ridiculous number of copies of just the PSN rerelease?

I mean, hell... they could do what they did with FFIV and FFVI and just release a version with more cutscenes, all of them done in Advent style graphics, and it would sell. As long as they threw in some kind of extra dungeon and maybe a couple new mini games, people wouldn't call it too much of a sell out.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: November 23, 2011 (12:39 AM)
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Alright well it's a bit naive to think you can take something made over a decade ago, brush it up with current generation graphics, and sell 10 million units of the same product in the state of the current industry. A game like VII would need to be reworked in nearly every aspect, and I'd almost say that'd be a harder task than creating a new IP (and easily just as expensive). It's a huge gamble and can easily backfire. I'm sure we'll see mild touch ups and ports, like what we're getting with FFX HD, but if a FFVII or VI remake was really that easy of a cash in, we would have gotten it by now. Square can make a game like XIII instead, push their usual 5-6 million units, and reach out to new audiences. Or they can follow message boards and business advice from doomsayers (obviously not directed at anyone here) -- really I'm not an expert though.

Sakaguchi seems like he is also jumping ship to faster paced, stylized RPGs. I really hope The Last Story is as good as I hear it is.


Mobius 1, engage...


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: November 23, 2011 (08:50 AM)
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Alright well it's a bit naive to think you can take something made over a decade ago, brush it up with current generation graphics, and sell 10 million units of the same product in the state of the current industry.

Except that there are numerous examples of this succeeding. God of War HD, Shadow of the Collosus and ICO HD, Beyond Good and Evil HD.... but let's go closer to home, shall we? How do you then explain the fact that FFIV has been remade at least three times? Counting it, I'm seeing the PS1 remake, which was the same game with one crappy cutscene at the end and hard mode included, there was the DS version remake with all new graphics, and there was the advance version remake, which was the old game except with a couple new dungeons.

FFI, FFII, and FFIII were all remade with "advanced" graphics, basically an updating of the sprites in the case of FFI and FFII, and new dungeons. I think FFI this happened twice, once on the advance and again on the DS. FFVI has been remade for the PS1, with nothing new added except a couple glitches fixed and some new really bad cutscenes. That's the version being RE-RELEASED this week on the PSN, by the way.

So why would it be naive to think this would work again, with their best-selling game of all time?

I'm not arguing that this would be my preference. I would prefer to see a new game, moving away from the tired FF series that I used to love so much, or an FF game that truly tried something new with its characters and story, with maybe less of a focus on incredible graphics (which only do so much for a game, after all). But I don't think it's a naive thought.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: holdthephone
Posted: November 23, 2011 (10:24 AM)
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As I said, I fully expect to see something like an HD brush over, that takes very little work indeed, I agree. I thought you guys said FFVI with Advent Children visuals, which is wooaaahhhh. Simple handheld remakes and touch ups do not equate to rebuilding an entire game to HD console standards -- that's a shaky analogy. It's a huge undertaking, and not necessary considering their new games still push the usual amount of units. There problem isn't sales, it's inefficient development time while attempting to break into the new market. A call back to the old forms of game design would only hurt them at this point.

I'm sure we'll see some brushed up remakes on Vita or what have you, easy money to be made there.


Mobius 1, engage...


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