Today in Germany, Square Enix announced that the elusive Final Fantasy XV is totally on schedule and that they have even planned out a release date. Then, in traditional Square Enix fashion, they said they couldn't tell it to us yet.
In a bizarre, frustrating live presentation from Gamescom this afternoon, FFXV director Hajime Tabata teased a few story details -- and showed some brief gameplay footage -- without answering the question everyone really cares about: after nearly a decade of development, when is this game coming out? This coming May will mark the 10-year anniversary of Final Fantasy Versus XIII's announcement. In June, it will have been three years since Square announced that they'd rebranded Versus as FFXV and moved it to current-gen platforms. How much longer do they expect people to wait?
Just before this year's E3, Tabata and crew announced plans to to kick off a new marketing campaign for the 15th Final Fantasy that would start with this Gamescom. Many of us assumed this marketing blitz would start with the announcement of a release date -- or at least a release window -- and then cycle through a few months of trailers, magazine covers, and hands-on press previews, all leading up to a game launch in, say, May 2016. Or Q4 2016 at the latest.
Instead, we got a trailer that's nearly 50 per cent hugs. We got a few non-answers about airships and plot points ("Please look forward to more in the future!") and we learned that they're going to launch a forum soon (but it's not ready yet, because Final Fantasy XV). We also learned that their next live presentation will be at PAX Prime in three weeks, where they plan to show the same trailer again. They're also gonna show it at TGS.
What we didn't get was any sort of assurance that Final Fantasy XV is coming out any time soon, which is one of the reasons fans are dismissing today's presentation as a disaster. ("I'm crying and laughing at the same time here," wrote one GAF poster. "Please send help.") People are sick of the insignificant story morsels and promises that Tabata and team keep teasing out at these live presentations. Everyone just wants to play the damn game.
So maybe we'll see FFXV next year. Maybe the demo's Duscae region is actually the only thing they have built so far, and we'll see the game in the fall of 2017. Maybe the pressure's really getting to them. Who knows? For now, here's footage of Noctis dying to a Marlboro. Please look forward to more in the future.