Bringing Final Fantasy Back From The Edge Of Crisis 

Bringing Final Fantasy Back From The Edge Of Crisis 

Last week, Square Enix showed it was throwing all it had behind Final Fantasy XV. This is a big game and has the anime and live-action spin-off to prove it. While Square Enix might seem like it’s back on sure Final Fantasy footing, it was only a few years ago things seemed anything but. In the most recent issue of Famitsu, Hajime Tabata, who’s now in charge of Final Fantasy at Square Enix, gave honest and frank insights about the challenges that Square Enix has overcome and what’s ahead. Japanese game developers, especially in Famitsu interviews, can often seem to hold back. Tabata, however, doesn’t.

Final Fantasy XV was first announced back in 2006 as Final Fantasy Versus XIII and has since been reborn as Final Fantasy XV. Confirming what he previously told Kotaku, Tabata said work began on FFXV in July (note: Kotaku first reported that FF Versus XIII was no more that same month, which was later proven true) however, work didn’t formally begin on FFXV until the following year. From the sound of it, what he’s done is reorganized how the teams work and brought a fresh perspective to making Final Fantasy.

Tabata recalled the desire to make Final Fantasy competitive again as well as modern, but agreed that “there was an impending sense of doom”. Continuing, he added, “When I took over that increased. When we moved forward with the game as FFXV, within the company and among other developers, especially foreign ones, there was a sense more and more that things were worse for Final Fantasy as an IP than previously thought. I realised that when I was in a position to experience that kind of heat first hand.”

“Before there was a sense of crisis for the IP, the reality is that what was being aimed for wasn’t actually created,” Tabata continued. “I know there are various critical opinions regarding Final Fantasy XIII, too, but obviously that wasn’t the original intent, and the expectation was surely much higher. But what resulted was a game that was dubbed linear. Rather than that being the aim, I think that was due to doing things the way they have always been done and the inability to break through the barrier of HD games.”

Tabata said that changing this was no easy task and readily admits that things aren’t easy for Final Fantasy. But Tabata hasn’t given up, neither has his team and neither should you. Yet.

[Image: Square Enix]


  • How about we wait until the game’s actually out before we say anyone saved it? Just because they finally put someone in charge that was able to force the team to actually work toward releasing the game doesn’t mean the game will actually be any good.

  • FF13 didn’t suck because it was too linear. FF13 sucked because the story was a mess and the characters were uninteresting (outside Sazh).

  • Was 13 the one where you just pushed ‘X’ on the controller to do everything? I remember playing on of them and going to the bathroom with controller just pushing x for the hell of it and I remember I could hear the win music played in the background a few minutes later as I bit the boss.

    • Was there ever a main series Final Fantasy game where you couldn’t just spam confirm to win? Don’t get me wrong, Final Fantasy XIII wasn’t award winning in regards to combat, but I feel like it cops a lot of flack for being blunt when battles so simple a dead fish could win is a staple of the series. In cases like the Adamantoise fights where you’re forced to pay attention I’d actually say FFXIII had deeper combat than any of the other games. It’s still not great combat but it’s more engaging than say, the weapon fights in FFVII.
      If you prefer the older combat systems that’s fine, I just think it’s a bit unfair to mock FFXIII for having boring, simple combat when the FFVII solidifying a slow, boring and simple combat system as the standard for JRPGs is one of the major reasons for the genres massive decline in relevance.

      • FF9 combat had variety too, you couldnt really grind to a state of overpoweredness so you needed to use each character properly

      • I never played FF13 as I gave up after the awfulness that was 12 but I remember during FF12 you could set up your gambits and then just go afk during all the fights.

        In previous FF games there were some bosses that required real thought during the fight. The boss on the bridge in the calm lands springs to mind as one that I didn’t just 1 shot.

        • FF12 was actually semi decent to be honest.

          Compared to 13,you could program commands your party would use using if and when commands. Very simple, but awesomely powerful since you can literally choose when your support party buffsand heals you and they do exactly that, provided they have the MP. That auto potion kid was also a huge breath of relief when he was a party assist.

        • In previous FF games there were some bosses that required real thought during the fight. The boss on the bridge in the calm lands springs to mind as one that I didn’t just 1 shot.

          I’m not sure about FFXII since I only played it for about 10 minutes, but FFXIII has plenty of those fights. There are tons of fights where you have to constantly shift in order to properly buff/de-buff, tank, heal and stagger. On top of that actually have to time your shifts properly. If you’re really stubbornly insisting that it can be played by mashing X then you can reduce how many of those fights there are a little but there’s still heaps of fights where that just doesn’t work.

          Again, I’m not saying FFXIII’s combat is perfect, it’s actually quite annoying, but it’s no simpler than the previous games.

      • Aye. Hell, Bravely Default/Second, two games people really like (especially since it’s turn based), can pretty much be won by either x4 Brave Attacks (for mooks) and, if you have the right Job set up, pretty much auto-battle win (requires no button pushing). Regardless of how difficult the enemy may be.

        The Jobs I have for my characters in Bravely Second pretty much kills anything… and all I do is leave the 3DS on the table while I do my own thing.

        • I’m a mook! All my random battles so far have been everyone braving 4 times (Sparrow is so OP combined with Barrage) to get around 3 – 4 chain fights and then popping off 4 specials and a follow up round or two for bosses. That’s pretty much been the entire game so far and I’m a fair way in.

    • You could play that way. However the way I played was to plan and time my commands manually in time with the rest of the party. However they did have the easy mode auto combat- but for boss fights, it is not the way to actually fight efficiently and get 5 star wins

  • I honestly have a lot of hopes with FFXV.

    I will miss the original versus setting, but I appreciate everything Squeenix have done so far.

    It’s almost like they stopped and reflected on what things they did right in XIII(music, graphics, baby chocobo. That’s it) and went back to their roots.

    For example, not one but two demo’s came out(anyone remember the FFVIII demo disc in the back of FFVII?) letting us see the scale of the games, showing us the revamps(levelling up only when camping, banter between brothers in battle, new action oriented battle system with added combos, a behemoth that is actually ginormous, epic summon sequences) and it really feels like a new final fantasy for a new generation of audience, as well as some cool new tricks for us old time fans.

    My fingers and toes are crossed this is the game that puts Final Fantasy back in the spotlight and keeps up hype for the FFVII remake

    • I hope your enthusiasm infects the internet and the quality of the game 🙂

      I enjoy select FF games and want another to enjoy.

      • It’s funny because Xiii was really only linear in skill progression tree and in that it’s only sidequests were not until the final third of the game. FFX had the same corridor runner problems but because it was full of mini games, and it had a level system that had true flexibility. However I believe turn based combat is truly a product for a niche audience.

        Hajime Tabata did good work in Crisis core, and I can see elements of that game and Kingdom Hearts in this game.

        Because I loved both demo’s, I proactively pre ordered the game the minute i became able to.

        Sadly FFVII remake is also a guaranteed pre order as well now that I have found out its not episodic, but to the same of the Xiii trilogy

  • I’m keen for this. I’m slowly playing through 12 at the moment (emulated for prettiness), have 13 on Steam and will buy 13-2 and Lightning returns after i finish those 2.

    I really don’t know if i’ll bother to buy the remade FF7, mastered it 100% recently and it will look and play great i’m sure… but hey if they did that to FF8 i’d do that anyday of the week. FF15 looks great though, i am so glad they’re releasing it on Xbone as well so that it will no longer be a Netflix machine but actually play something… until Gears of War 4 comes out =)

  • I played the recent FFXV demo. Uh… did I miss something? I thought it was rubbish and killed any potential interest I have in the game. Follow a rat that talks via text for a bit, turn into a car for some reason, do a sloppy boss fight and it’s done. I feel like I completely missed the part of the demo that everyone else played or something. Not to mention how janky and stuttery the movement was, yikes.

    At the moment I’m just glad Final Fantasy Record Keeper is a thing, it’s the best Final Fantasy game I’ve played in years.

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