Does Final Fantasy Need A Reboot?

Final Fantasy XIII was released last year, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII is forthcoming. Now might be as good a time as any to clean the slate and start over.

While Final Fantasy XIII was hardly a failure and has sold a whopping 5 million copies plus. "But when it comes to the customers' reaction to the quality of the game, some value it highly and some are not very happy with it," Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada told website Gamasutra.

"I think this is a product that was able to meet the expectations for those who know Final Fantasy," Wada added. "There are all kinds of games around in the market today. Should Final Fantasy become a new type of the game or should Final Fantasy not become a new type of game? The customers have different opinions. It's very difficult to determine which way it should go."

It's not like Square Enix has been entirely stagnate with the series. The company makes changes with each new title, but often, those those who do not play the titles regularly, they feel like tweaks.

In the West, Mass Effect has become a benchmark of sorts, offering the one-two punch of gameplay and innovation. Should Final Fantasy move away from its traditional Japanese role-playing element and ape Mass Effect? Is it necessary to hire a new character designer to give the games a fresh look?

Square Enix was moving in the right direction by hiring non-defunct Swedish developer Grin to do a Final Fantasy title. Interpretations of Final Fantasy by both Western and Japanese developers could breath new life into the brand.

Square Enix in 2010: President Wada Speaks [Gamasutra via VG247]


Comments

    I'm one of those that know Final Fantasy and it definately did not meet my expectations. What I valued in FFVII-FFIX has long since gone...

      I agree. I felt that since ff7, each new entry has taken something away from the franchise. Having said that, I love 8 and 10, but honestly 13 felt so empty. Pretty, but empty.

      Indeed, ff 7-9 was just something I haven't seen since. ff12 and 13 wasn't as deep, inspiring and I didn't feel hooked to 13 at all, unlike other ff's where you go to sleep and wan't to wake up faster to play it again. But then again, there were times we were young...

      Gotta love the playstation generation that seems to think FFVII was the start of the franchise.

      The franchise has been fine since then, it's just one of the largest and long living franchises that is still popular. That alone should tell you it doesn't need a reboot. All these flavour of the month American titles, that apparently Final Fantasy needs to copy, won't last beyond 4 or 5 (and that is a good run).

      Final Fantasy XIII is a great game. The standard is so high for the game, and the audience is so wide for what is normally a niche genre, that it was going to disappoint people. The comments on this article show a large and diverse fanbase from the old skool fans from the nes and snes era who want sprites, the fans who jumped on the bandwagon with the introduction of emo leads like Cloud in the Playstation era (which causes the developers to change the lead from characters like Basch to creating and forcing in fluff characters like Vaan) and then all the other gamers who want to taste of the giant of the RPG genre and even gaming industry.

    I really did not like it. The gameplay was easily the most boring thing ever seen in the FF series. It was basically: walk a bit, watch cutscenes sometimes, fight the occasional scripted battle, and then level up your characters using the extremely linear sphere-grid-wannabe "the chrystarium".
    Not to mention how ridiculously linear the game in itself was... I have nothing against linear games (the FF series is a pretty linear series in itself), but the majority of this game, you are stuck on a single path with scripted fights scattered throughout.

    After saying all this, the setting and characters (well most of the characters) were pretty cool. It probably would have been better as another FF movie or something.

    ... at least bring back towns, Square :(

    The thing that cracks me up about the FFXIII hate is... it's EXACTLY THE SAME as every other Final Fantasy game, with one exception. They took (most of) the grind out. No, really, the game is exactly the same. Except instead of having to constantly walk around in circles trying to level up, you can just walk to the exit.

    And that makes it the most revolutionary Final Fantasy game in years.

      About 5 million people across the world just got taken to the hospital for severe burns.

      People are still reminded of the mmo style of 12 even though they maintain they hated it. They want that but they don't...honestly they don't really know what they want.

      The grinding for the main story was removed, it's not so much for the optional bosses. People who complain that character development is linear and the story is linear and bunch of bandwagon whiners who have been riding it since people imported the Japanese version last December and didn't understand either aspect. It's no more linear than X was, a narrow path right up to Yu Yevon broken up once by the Calm Lands.

      I enjoyed FF XIII and I'm still playing it trying to finish all the marks.

        Wow, I guess this whole people having different opinions than you thing is really pissing you off. Seriously, mate people are allowed to dislike something.

    Imagine if they went the Megaman path? Instead of going all next-gen with XV (you know it's coming), I would LOVE a game done in the style of one of the classics (V or VI spring to mind). Only this time, in HD, with better quality sound (no voice-acting), more detailed animations, cut-scenes, etc.

    It would rule! Wouldn't take much to make and would basically give Squeenix a license to print money!

      When you wrote 'XV' I thought you were referring to a Megaman title... Man, so want a reploid with a V in his name now...

      Taking it one step further, I'd love to see an FF game done in sprite art again. Time/funds from art put into script work + massive story/large world (too big is just cumbersome).

      I MISS SPRITES! :(

    I've been playing FF games for 10 years now and the game is still as fun as it was when I was playing FF 6 as a kid

    Final Fantasy needs to have REAL CHARACTERS, with average people faces, not supermodels or girly sissy guys. and japanese needs learn to stay away from CLICHES and dumb stupid emo dialogues.

      Ive always wished someone would make an rpg based on real life with real characters and scenarios. Pretty much final fantasy minus the fantasy

        Kind of like Atlus' Persona series?
        It doesn't have the glamorous art that the Final Fantasy series has but the games have characters with depth and innovative plot lines. I wish Square Enix would learn a thing or two from them.

    Skipped this bullet entirely, waiting (SO IMPATIENTLY) for Versus!

    I dont understand why they've remained Final Fantasys, however? I understood the common link between the early ones was the beastiary, but slowly and surely it's getting the ass. From what I've seen from FFXIII, they've mostly ditched it (anyone care to confirm/debate?)

    @Sughly - Agreed. The lack of voice acting gave it that greater sense of fantasy, you could attach any voice you wanted to the characters, bending their design a little to make the experience more pleasurable for yourself.

    More importantly, the wide, open cities with such an amazing art style, they were very dark games indeed - which is why I'm looking forward to Versus.

    @Mr Waffle, From what i've heard grinding is even worse? Each battle is run almost as a boss battle - very, very difficult. Again - I haven't played it, so I'll cease my rebuttle of grinding there.

    However, the magic of old Final Fantasys is gone with this new found, 30(?) hour long "go from point A to point B". The towns provided a huge treasure trove of secrets, of lore, amazing artwork holding easter eggs, and self-contained stories. Most importantly, they broke it up nicely. You had time to calmly analyze etc.

    Again - the artwork, the LACK of realism in the art, and a crazy "world domination" plot, combined with typical JRPG elements with a touch of intuitivness is all you need to see another good FF being pushed out. Despite that I really think the name needs to die. It hasn't been their Final Fantasy for how many years now? 20? -.-

    I didn't enjoy the FF13 battle system at all, individual spells and defences were almost completely irrelevant for most battles. Gambits were great in FF12, and let you select very precise battle strategies, while reducing most of the menu trawling that made long battles in FF10 a hard slog.

    Put FF9 next to FF13, and I think it is embarrasing how much more sophisticated FF9 was in the story telling department. Smaller locations full of content to explore - rather than lots of dull empty corridors and long cut scenes.

      I agree with this completely FF was much better when the story was told with subtlety. Through exploration of towns and the interaction with NPC's. Even through the world itself as you flew around in your airship learnt the geography and figured out how all the different locations fitted together.

      It may not have been the most popular but I think 9 was probably the best example of this and I agree with the point you make about how unsophisticated the game has become in its approach to the way story is presented.

    The issue isn't the look of the game or the fighting and battle systems (although saying that, the grinding, whilst as lengthy as other FF games, is more monotonous and tedious in this game than any other).
    The real issue, is the loss of decent story telling. I couldn't give a crap about any of the characters, in fact I want to stab Vanille every time she opens her mouth.
    I want to feel emotion and Final Fantasy games just don't do that anymore.... even Vivi who only had 2 yellow eyes had more feeling than any FFXIII characters.

    FFXIII just... requires no thinking. The problem is, I find that I'm just pressing up and hammering the x button, the entire time. I'm not wondering which way I should go. I'm not curious about finding secrets, because they're all laid bare.

    There is just nothing interesting at all left. The problem is, I get bored after 10 minutes because my mind isn't kept busy. Sure, earlier versions can be a grind - but I know I don't have to. I can stop and go do something else for a while if I want to.

    They trimmed the fat from previous iterations to make FF13. Unfortunately that 'fat' also had what a lot of people enjoyed about the ff series. I happen to like the random encounter system and while that may make me a dinosaur so be it. I also like towns and real shops as a means of fleshing out the world and wasn't a big fan of how they implemented the revised system in ff13. On the other hand the combat and storyline was particularly fresh and poignant respectively. It is good to see that they are trying new things within their comfortable niche.

    We need more FF10-2s. Stop taking yourselves so seriously, Square!

    Doesn't require any thinking? Have you got the platinum trophy for it if you have played it on PS3? The optional hunts are actually quite difficult, same as XII and the hunt system there. I ground XII until I got the Wyrmhero Blade even though it was next to useless and far too slow but it was a sense of achievement. I plundered 130hrs into XII and 99hrs into XIII, I calculated the 'waste of time VS reward' scenario for XIII and worked out I needed at least another 10-15 hours of grinding to beat the final hunt (ie: maxing out every character's Crystarium) and decided I couldn't be bothered but if it's the grind and 'stupid jrpg-ness' you're after then XIII has bucketloads of it. The battle system isn't hard, once you 'use your brain' and develop strategies for wiping out enemies in just a few seconds the grind process flows nicely.

    As far as story goes, I have never really cared for jrpg stories, but the freakish hairstyles and clothing is something of a drawcard and visual trip out. If the Final Fantasy series made boring Western RPG elements inter-mingle with the crazy Japanese style it would be lame and not really Final Fantasy anymore. There's a mammoth amount of depth and strategy to every FF game, so far beyond the story and I am not sure if everyone who plays the games actually 'get it' at all.

    And that's a shame.

    I just want a next gen Persona game after my last week of playing Persona 3 portable of PSP!

    How do you re-boot something that keeps cahnging with every iteration?

    Before I knew anything else about FF, I knew it was about beautiful imagery and graphics.

    Personaly, I don't like turn based combat... but ignoring that, Square need to look at some of the story design from other games and try imparting some of that gripping narrative style. Even if that means employing novelists to write the story. And please, for the love of God, do something about the charecters.

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