Happy 25th Birthday, Final Fantasy. It's Time To Get Your Act Together.

Happy birthday, Final Fantasy! You're 25. Good times. Now listen. We need to talk.

There used to be a day when seeing the name "Final Fantasy" meant we were about to play something fantastic, when your "brand" -- as the kids like to call it these days -- was a sign of something special. Those days are gone. Now you're a mess.

The problems started a while ago -- with that awful Spirits Within movie, really -- but the first major blow to the Final Fantasy clout was FFXIII. Granted, some people loved walking Lightning down the Tube, but many of your fans were disillusioned by the style-over-substance approach. Lots of people weren't happy.

Then there was the FFXIV disaster, the vapourware Final Fantasy Versus XIII, and the endless remakes of the first four Final Fantasy games. (Fun fact: There have been nine -- count'em, nine -- re-releases of Final Fantasy IV. FFVI and FFVII? Two.)

It's like Square Enix is teaching us all a crash course in "How To Make Your Fans Hate You Forever."

Now you're sticking the Final Fantasy name on just about anything. Look at Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade, the ridiculous mobile/social game that launched last week without sound. How do you release a Final Fantasy game without any sound? Nobuo Uematsu must be rolling in his cryogenic sleep chamber.

How the hell did you let this happen, Final Fantasy? Take a good, hard look at yourself. Think about what you've become. What you want to be. You're old enough to rent a car now. Time to get your shit together. Happy birthday.

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Comments

    Final Fantasy X, walked around a world where you could not deviate off the path, in other words a linear tube and no one complained. Final Fantasy XII was more like XI everyone bitched and whined about it and then XIII comes out more like X but with the story broken up so that it was ages before you got everyone together, everyone bitches and whines that it's not like XII a game they hated but apparently forgot they hated it and now love it and wish XIII was more like it. There is no pleasing people, they'll always find something to complain about.

    And try not to forget that social and mobile games are big business in Japan, SE is a Japanese company and first and foremost caters to Japanese consumers not bitchy whinny westerners.

      Well, I actually really enjoyed FFXIII so much so that I am playing in through again. Then again I have mostly liked FFVII and FFVIII so I didn't really play through IX much and never played XII but a quote from a friend was. "its so good to play while watching movies while you are hungover because you can do it without paying attention by having someone put on heal and just walk around killing things and you just don't die" So my thoughts of it aren't exactly high but it might just be that because you can, doesnt mean you should.

        Xii is almost beyond fault. I have no idea why people disliked it. It's easily the least emo ff. maybe the fans didn't know how to cosplay as characters that weren't androgynous.

          I think it's the whole change thing. People don't like change, so at the time they were scared of XII but then they got to like it but would never admit it after having bashed the crap out of it. Then when XIII came out and was like FF of old (one would think because SE are still thinking well they hated XII so lets go backwards) they went nuts and bashed it.

          I for one liked both XII and XIII though I did not like the art style of XII or Vaan in general. I think a lot of that had to do with his voice actor.

      I'm one of those that liked X but not XIII not so much. I agree that X was largely linear and actually I have always been a big fan of linear. Something I always felt though, was that its great to make the game linear (so as to emphasize a well written story) but you should try and fool the player into thinking the game is not at all linear, so that they feel you can actually explore etc.

      I think FFX had linear areas, but they were better designed so that it was not literally walking straight down a path. FFXIII wasn't always like that, but it was much more than FFX. The other difference is the towns where you stop over in X, explore the town, talk to people, backtrack if you want to, switch in different characters etcx - it really gave a feeling that you were doing a lot more and were a lot more free (whether that was the case or not).

      FFXIII on the other hand [spoilers] I really felt like I was on rails until I got the gran pulse. I was actually fine with this at first, because so far the game had forced different party combinations for character development and while the story was underdeveloped had been a bit of a ride. What annoyed me was that this was actually more than half way through the game. I would say actually, almost the end of the game if you decide not to side quest in gran pulse. If it had been say 20% or 30% of the game - and the rest had been a bit more free with towns and free roaming I think no one would have complained as much. [/spoilers].

      Finally if you make a game linear, you better have a good story. I thought FFX had a very good one, original at the very least. FFXIII was a mangled mess.

      -- FF dies with 11 since whether you like it or not its MMORPG and not really part of the series. I never even played it. 12 died harder, sticking to MMO ways but offline with unlikeable characters and a combat system unbefitting of FF. XIII was an attempt to return but it looked like they forgot what made FF.

      I do miss the days - like the title suggests - where you could just know FF was coming out and that it would be amazing. I still remember when FF8 was being released, I never even worried it could be bad. And I was right not to. Now i have so much fear - "oh... is this going to be a squeenix disaster"?

        To all those saying that FF MMOs ( XI & XIV ) doesn't fit the FF universe you are all wrong. Play the game before you judge. The fantasy and story elements are really good but I have to say the technical side of things need adjustments.
        And yes imo FFX is far superior than FFXIII. The only people that enjoys FFXIII are young gamers that just got into the series. Any one that plays the past FFs in their glory days would not think so or they could be emos o.O

          "The only people that enjoys FFXIII are young gamers that just got into the series.".... "or they could be emos o.O"

          I'm not young or an emo and I loved FFXIII and FFXIII-2.

          However, to be fair my Final Fantasy experiences are likely less than yours. I got into the series at FFVII, thoroughly enjoying that game (as did everyone else). I also played FFVIII and really enjoyed that too (I had a big crush on Quistis). I didn't get a PS2 so my only other Final Fantasy experiences until FFXIII was Tactics and various spin offs.

          Regardless of my familiarity with the series, I stand by my opinion that that FFXIII and XIII-2 are excellent games, and certainly served their purpose of entertaining me. I'm looking forward to Lightning Returns, so for my SE are right on track.

          BTW Squall was a much bigger emo than any of the FFXIII cast!

          Pretty much this, regarding FFXI (and XIV) and to be fair, the game can't do more than what the PS2 can handle.

        "whether you like it or not its MMORPG and not really part of the series."

        And why do you think that? Please tell me why a game that has everything all the previous Final Fantasy games have shouldn't be a part of the main series (that's storyline's, endings, very memorable characters, excellent music, unforgettable experiences, etc).

        Spoiler warning, as it shows a few of the games Final Bosses: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bb0SuK74fjw

      x had soooooooo much substance though. the liner path was fine, id say it didnt bother me too much in XIII too much either but its the total lack of depth to the characters/world/story/batle system/everything that really got to me.

      At least it was pretty I guess. . .

      I personally hated FFX for that very reason at first. Bring back the damn world map. And the terrible lead character, but it did get better the more you play it. Also Blitzball was worth the price alone.

      EVERY Final Fantasy game sucked. I hope SE never localizes another crappy "sequel" in the West ever again. No one deserves the pain that is playing Final Fantasy XYZ.

      Goddamn you white otaku.

    I've been a Final Fantasy fan my whole life and the 3 games I liked the most were VII, XIII & XIII-2.

    I don't understand why people complain about FFXIII & XIII-2. In my opinion they are the best Final Fantasy games. The story is awesome, the characters are awesome (apart from Hope) and the music is perfect. The music in The Vestige alone is probably the best music I've heard in a game full stop.

    Final Fantasy VI get's an honourable mention as well. Excellent music!

    Wow, that was lame journalism.. I'd argue it's almost 2013 - get your act together.. Bashing Final Fantasy because it's a many headed beast and an easy target due to it's many different legions of fans.. yeah.. lame.

    FFXIII got rectified with XIII-2. It was as open (maybe more so) than FFX.
    Versus will come out and I reckon the delay is because they have been told to make something as well received as FFVII or else. Maybe it will be the last FF game for PS3 or maybe they are bringing it to PS4 because they need more powerful console hardware.

    Either way, FF is not that much of a ruined brand. It just has a few recent short comings. It can recover but I will say this. Square Soft did know what they were doing and Square Enix need a freaking clue.

    Yeah Square Enix is a real mess right now... I mean they haven't even announced Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon 2 yet!?

    You see the thing I never got was, why are the best rpg's the old school ones? It's because they focused on story over graphics, these days it seems the balance of graphics over story has turned, why cant they just make old style rpg's with a modernised version of their graphics, think FF7 with every graphics mod available. then think why not make a new story just as epic or better and with a world map just as big, this new FF13 lightning returns bs has a map so small you can fit the detailed 3D view of it in 1 small picture. SO WRONG ON SO MANY LEVELS. An Rpg should have a map the size of Middle earth. :c

    i just want them to make a new FF game that's similar to 7, 8 and 9.

    So... you're suggesting the turning point was when they made that movie?

    Isn't that when they nearly sank the company and had to merge to save themselves?

      What the author suggests is that everything was going great until they made the movie...

        That movie was one of the reasons square-soft became square-enix.

          Yes, I agree. In that case I don't quite understand your first point, but I suppose it doesn't matter :P

          Last edited 18/12/12 1:01 pm

    MY favorite FF was IX! Am i the only one? it never really gets a mention. I think the biggest problem is that everyone always compares one FF from another. I have played all except XII and XIII/-2 and have enjoyed them all. But i don't like to compare, they are all share the name and have similarities, but they are all still different games and i always treat them like that. Sure i enjoyed playing IX more than X, but still enjoyed playing X period. I loved both XI and XIV, XIV flawed... sure, but still loved to play it, and i can't wait for ARR.

      Dude grab XIII-2 now its cheap - you won't regret it!

      No 9 was my favourite too man. Vivi is the coolest character ever and the fact you play as a bunch of oddballs rather than good looking white asians' like modern FF games is how a fantasy game should be.

      IX is my third favourite. From what I've seen, IX is the most love/hate game in the series, and I honestly can't see why. It had some great characters, a good story, the best game play (In my opinion, of course), a fantastic art style, and brilliant music. While I love it to death, I certainly wouldn't rate it over the fantastic VII or the unparalleled VI.

      9 is my favourite as well.

    Geez so much hate for Final Fantasy Spirts Within and Final Fantasy XIII. Yes there has been plenty of crappy mobiles game with the name tagged on it for no apparent reason but Final Fantasy XIII was a great game and very enjoyable, it just followed a more linear path then the open world of the others which is why most FF fans had a big cry. As for Spirits Within yes having final fantasy tacked on wasn't the best idea as it wasn't really anything final fantasy related but it was a great movie.

      Yeah I have to admit I enjoyed Spirits Within too :P

        I loved Spirits Within as well. :D

        Anyway, for me Square went downhill after X. But I don't think it's just Square Enix who aren't as good anymore. I haven't found many (if any) RPGs from this gen that have blown me away as much as many of the RPGs from the PS2. My RPG collection for the PS2 alone is easily three or four times bigger than my RPG collection for this gen (PS3, 360, and Wii). Personally I feel that overall everyone just isn't trying as hard these days, not just Square. As for why, I wouldn't have a clue. Perhaps developers just don't want to take as many chances, or maybe the push for better graphics is somehow impacting on the time and resources spent on developing story and characters, or maybe developers just don't have any imagination any more. Perhaps it's none of those reasons and is something completely different. Perhaps it's just us...?

          I think its that devs are trying to appeal to a borader audience. This has the effect of reducing elements to the lowest common denominator, rather than the quirky innovations we were attracted to last gen's RPGs.

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