What Happened to Final Fantasy?
* I wrote this before Final Fantasy 14 was released, and I will write another hub on it around when patch 2.0 comes out, till then I wanted to move this here*
Ok I've talked a lot about the no jumping feature in FFXIV on many different forums, and caused some debate about it. And while I stand by my reasons for not wanting to play the game due to it not jumping. I have some reasons for being this way. The main reason is, I like being able to jump, and its my money and my entertainment, so if I want to not play it because of something so petty, then that's my choice. However I have some better reasons also. So here we go, I'm going to hate on Square-Enix.
First things first. If were going to talk about decisions on game that is numbered 14 in a series, we need to acknowledge the games before it. The Final Fantasy games, in my opinion have been going downhill for quite some time. ever since they turned into movies with combat kill tubes in between, they lost their charm with me. 10 was bearable, but didn't feel like a Final Fantasy to to me, it was the first of the combat kill tube mentality.
11 was the first of the online games, I personally didn't like it, I really tried, just didn't like it, not calling it a failure of a game, but I will say that it didn't deserve to be Final Fantasy 11. It's like they made an online game, using a lot of Final fantasy creatures as a base, cause hey, that's less time spent in the art development area, and when they got done, what's the best way to sell it? Label it the next in the FF series. They had Final Fantasy Tactics already, and have come out with Chocobo Dungeon, and Crystal Chronicles. What would have been the harm in calling this Final Fantasy Online?
We are Gamer's First, and A Company Second...Yeah Right
I think the answer is right away they knew they would sale more copies of the game if it was the next game in the series. I know Tactics didn't tank, but it didn't do nearly as well at release as FF7 released earlier that year, or FF8 did two years later. So that was just a way to move boxes. Final Fantasy is like the Linkin Park of video games, if Linkin Park released, "Farting the tunes of Christmas" It would go platinum. They made it out to be just like the other games, which so far have been smash hit games, then they tried to feed us this line that all the epicness we feel in those games would be in an online version.
All the FF series games, save 11, have this, your the underdog, and some great evil is going to destroy/rule the world, and just you and your handful of friends can stop it. That's not in 11, it can't be, its an MMO, and we all know that there are no messiahs among the PC's in an MMO.
So anyways, Final fantasy 12, well I hated that game, I think a lot of people did as well, the story was all right I guess, but man the gameplay. I like MMO's but that game just had.....lets just say I hated it. Played on it for quite a while cause I wanted to see the story but finally the gameplay just made me say, enough, screw this, I hope the world burns. But I still loved the series.
Work is Hard, Let's Just Not Do It!
Which brings me to Final fantasy 13. When I first started playing the game, it was good, there were promises of the game opening up, which I guess technically it does, but the first ten or so chapters, are in a kill tube with movie segments scattered every few battles. While I do think the story is good, there is not much content to see outside of what they want you to see. It's more like a movie, and not the game that Final Fantasy was living up to be. After a while, I asked myself, are there no towns in this game? Now while I admit there are times where you are in city areas, you never are strolling around around town, going to stores, checking in at the inn, finding other people who have insights into things to go explore and try to find. Cause there really is no exploration in the game. If you want to make the argument of Gran Pulse, exploring in an RPG isn't going back to areas after you do some other objective, to find a stone lit up that allows an extra boss fight. That is not extra content, that is lazy. At least open a cave for us to explore, but none of that. So I did some searching, and I found this as the reason.
“Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve HD, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style,” reads a quote from Toriyama. He goes on: “In the limited period of development time, to convey the the great story that deserves the name of Final Fantasy, and to convey the battles that entertain players enough, we condensed each element.”
*The above quote is from the link that no longer works, the whole review can still be found, google "Square enix says making hi def towns is too hard" but the links might not be safe.*
That article pretty gives the reason that FF13 has no towns is with the Hi def graphics in the game:"It is a result of considering HD graphics will be the mainstream. Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve HD, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style," Toriyama (FF13 producer) said.
Bethseda Isn't Afraid of Work.
So basically its too hard. Plenty of other games with high def graphics have towns, I call bull****. I mean I realize the rest of the world probably looks at Americans as stupid, but we know bull when we see it. I think it was a cost of development issue. Too much time and effort being put into something that will just be overlooked, it's not shiny enough, or whatever. Just too hard. It makes you think, if they are not doing it just because its too hard, is this why the quality of the gold standard in RPG's, Final Fantasy, is slipping? They are starting to sound like a legendary band that has tons of platinum records, they know they can make total crap and it will go platinum cause they have so many fans. We all say, this is supposed to be the one that's like they use to be, they went back to their roots with this one.
What does this have to do with jumping, well its this, jumping introduces an element of physics that are not in most jrpgs. its something that is rather complex to change in the formula, you go from a 2D world. to a 3D world. and its something that they are not used to doing, so in order to do it, they would have to try harder with something they are unfamiliar with, or hire talent that is already experienced with that, both of which cost money, and its money I think they don't care to invest.
Because they don't care to invest it, I don't care to play it.
I've noticed Square-Enix has come out with a ton of games, Like The Last Remenant, Infinite Undiscovery, a Few Final Fantasy games, and at gamestop i see something that I never used to, tons of RPG's in the used section, and the cost of the new games dropped after a few months, RPG's used to hold their value, now it seems that they drop just like the latest MADDEN after about 8 months. So Square-Enix ranks up there with me as bad as SOE does with many other people. They set the standard for what is done in RPG's the way that Blizzard sets the standard for MMO's but they are getting to where they are wanting to keep cost down, but make a shiny product.
You can paint a turd gold, and throw glitter on it, but its still a turd.
That being said, the game might be good for some people, I'm sure some people will find the game they had been searching for in it, good for them, I personally want to jump in my MMO's so I'll not be playing it, and that means to Square Enix, my opinion is worth $50, plus a sub, that they won't be getting. People are catching on to this, and Enix is going to have to step it up. The Final Fantasy Series, practically birthed a genre, and instead of trying to birth a new genre with the same title, just be on top of it.
So What happened to the Talent?
Surely there is somewhere that all the talent that made the games we know and loved went. I did a little more research and found that many of the developers that made the Final Fantasies that made the series legendary went off to make their own studio. Hironobu Sakaguchi, who was either the writer, designer, and/or producer of Final Fantasy 1-9 (you know the awesome ones that Enix keeps making remakes of to try to keep making money) went on to make a company called MistWalker, and they made a game called Lost Odessey, which is by and large what Final Fantasy 10 should have been, if you play it you will understand what I mean. Matter of fact, go get it, it is totally worth it, especially if you feel like Final Fantasy has lost it's magic.