In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

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Lvl 64 Klutz:
The mistake in the article is that Final Fantasy is *exactly the same* as CoD and those other franchises. It's not the fans of any of these franchises that criticize it for being too "samey" all the time. It is, however, the fans that lament when there is a drastic shift in the formula of their beloved series. If Call of Duty suddenly changed into an RTS or something, you can bet that it's fanbase would be out with torches and pitchforks.

But yes, I agree that it's shocking people couldn't seem to grasp the fact that a project literally called "The New Crystal Story" was trying to reinvent a stagnate franchise.

How was the franchise stagnant?

XIII was stupidly succesful despite it being a shit game purely because the franchise was anything but stagnant.

-

A really big factor is, I think, the loss of control of the characters. People hate, or at least I do and I commonly see others moaning about, AI controlled teammates. So why the flaming fuck balls do they impose AI on us when we had a perfectly functional system before?

My first Final Fantasy game, heck, my first RPG was Final Fantasy VII and I don't regard it as the best of the series and I certainly don't expect every RPG I play to be similar to FFVII.

I haven't played XIII yet, but I seriously can't think of a better way to keep the game retain the Final Fantasy name without changing too much, I agree that it should've been named differently.

The conclusions and defence of FF13 are wrong, essentially the article can be summed up as the fans didn't like it because while it tried to make significant changes to the expected FF archtypes this is the exact reason that the long term fans hated it and that had the creators stuck to the FF formula then the fans would have loved it.... well that's kinda wrong.

Firstly despite what Square Enix would have you believe FF13 was NOT a huge change from the last FF game, in fact the FF games have slowly been evolving towards the linear limited, control, streamlined and for quite a while. I joined the FF series with FF6 and have played and completed all of them up to FF11.

The movement towards what we saw in FF13 started with FF10, yes you could select where you wanted to go in the world but travelling there was essentially a process of you walking down a straight linear corrider, it was a huge set from the massive free to go anywhere worlds of FF6, 7, 8 and 9.

FF11 on the other hand brought back some the open world and in turn tried it's hand at limited character control, allowing you to only control on character with the AI doing the job for the other two.

FF13 then decided to take these two factors, essentially the worse aspects of the game and then refine them to some how make them even worse. Yes FF10 had the linear go in one direction travelling but it managed to mask it very well, FF13 didn't. Yes FF11 had the single player controlled character but it left a wealth of options open to the player in the set up and behaviour of the remaining party members, FF13 just plain dumbed it down to the point that you could enter a battle and hit auto battle until you won.

FF13 didn't try anything new, it took questionable ideas that had appeared in the games that came before it and decided to make them a key feature. FF11's one character control was brought forward and put on display by the fancy cinematics, that added nothing but removed just about any real feeling that you, the player, were controlling what was going on when your party entered combat. FF10s linear go here before you can go there was implemented becaue the game wanted to force feed you a story in such a way that you had to go in the direction it told you to, but some how FF6 - 9 managed epic and complex stories without noticeably forcing you to go in a single direction, yes when you look at it you logically had to go to point a then point b then point c and you could only really go that way for the stories to progress BUT all the other games hide it behind a disguise of open world freedom where as FF13 totally failed.

So FF13 didn't bring anything new to the table, it didn't try to take the FF series in a new direction because it didn't do anything that previous FF games hadn't tried before, all it did manage to do is highlight that the poor ideas that previous FF games HAD tried had been very well hidden behind much better and much more involving games.

Whew. Okay, first, thanks everyone for the feedback. I love you all. Even (Especially) the ones who disagree with me. That you guys are engaging with something I put a good amount of time and thought into means the world to me. It's a special feeling, so thanks guys.

That being said, I'm going to get to responding to some choice complaints. I feel like John Marston right before he dies at the end of Red Dead. Anyways, this is going to be a MEGA POST, so here we go...

Atmos Duality:

There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.

What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.

EDIT:

Final Fantasy XIII gave fans something new. And it was vehemently hated as a result.

Actually, the whole time I was playing FF13 (brief as it was), I could not stop thinking of another game that had similar problems: Xenosaga Episode 2.

It had very similar gameplay related problems and an overwrought story.

No, I don't find that unreasonable Atmos, not at all. But when the guy who makes the game tells you this before the game comes out, I think you should adjust your expectations accordingly. The interview I referenced came before the NA release of the game (or at least right around the same time), so it was before all the backlash. Also, "something new" up there refers to it being new relative to the franchise, not to the genre as a whole.

Aiberg:
I read the whole article but I still think it is only being devil's advocate to try to defend this game. How are you suggesting that the game was never supposed to be an RPG and the players just didn't get that the game tried to be better by being different? Such comments anger me, really. And I don't listen to each and every one of the producers giving speeches about the genre of the game they are making to check whether it matches with the genre I expect. Those producer speechers usually contain a lot of useless stuff, anyhow. All in all I'm still mad at anything Final Fantasy XIII.

Oh, and I never found Zell annoying... Why did you suggest that?

Ah, "devil's advocate." I was hoping to avoid that. Oh well. I see your point. I'm not suggesting that it wasn't supposed to be a (full-fledged) RPG. "You don't have to take my word for this." The guys behind the game said so themselves.

Also, never said that it was trying to be "better" per se, merely pointing out that the Final Fantasy name is an anchor around the developers' collective neck. I'm trying to put us in their shoes. Final Fantasy makes money, lots of it, because everyone is content with its formula, its consistent way of going about things. FFXIII was different, I don't think anyone is going to disagree here. So the team behind the game decided to change things up. Now, if you're a developer, wouldn't you grow tired of rehashing a similar project repeatedly?

What we're essentially arguing here is the validity of "The customer is always right" policy. At what point do developers have to make an effort to nudge the fanbase along into accepting something different? Think of what happens if FF keeps doing its standard thing over and over. Are we saying that people wouldn't deride them at some point for making the same thing repeatedly? Would we really always be content with just incremental changes and new stories (all of which tend to focus on the same themes)? Some of you may very well be, and that's perfectly fine. But, for me, and I think many others, the series needs to take more risks, like they did with FFXIII. Now, FFXIII didn't exactly succeed, which brings me to my next rebuttal...

xXxJessicaxXx:
If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel. That aside the things the article is completely dismissive of are big issues. The unlikable characters, the terrible combat, the movie like gameplay.

I can play a linear game and be happy, Dead Space or Crysis 2 for example but the fact is that if that linear experience is horrible why would I want to endure it.

It seems like you are making flimsy excuses for a bad game.

My point was not to say FFXIII is the "BEST GAME EVAR," I didn't want to spend an article responding to forum rants about the game. That's what this forum is for. I merely wanted to point out that people have come to expect a certain thing from this franchise, and that expectation naturally breeds stagnancy. I know FFXIII wasn't a great game. It wasn't a bad game though, but it received a whole lot of backlash despite being a decent title. Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.

But, and this applies to a lot of y'all, if you genuinely believe FFXIII was a bad game, and your pre-determined expectations of the game, based on its status as a Final Fantasy title, had no bearing on your judgments, well then there's not much for me to say. But that's not my point. I didn't think it'd be interesting just to write "NO FFXIII IS GOOD! IT'S GOOD!" in 1500 words. I did think that the complex relationship between the series' developers and its hardcore fanbase, and how that affects what kinds of games come to be created, would be interesting...

Ashoten:
Sorry you lost my interest towards the end of the first page. FF 13 wanted to be a movie that resented being a game. I couldn't get past 2 hours of its tedium. The game play just wasn't engaging enough to keep me going from movie clip to movie clip. Glad I was playing on a friends copy instead of spending my own money.

Yeah Kingdom Hearts 3 would be a nice.

...which I guess it wasn't to Ashoten. Sorry you feel that way, man. Hope I can get you with the next one :)

90sgamer:
Mr Dunn, I am sorry to say you are off point in every area. People who hate FFXIII hate it because it's not a good game by its own merits. Some of those same people *also* hate it because it is not true to the Final Fantasy formula, if there is such a thing any more. It seems you spend three web pages rebutting a very slim and specific group of people who take issue with FFXIII solely because of the latter, which is an entirely unproductive endeavor because you are addressing the minority. Your accusation of hypocrisy is also unwarranted. People detest Call of Duty because it makes no changes to its formula--only the setting ever changes. FFXIII did not change its formula, it changed its genre, a point you argue for. Apple to Oranges, bud. In any case, you are assuming some who hate Call of Duty are the same people who hate FFXIII but provide no evidence to support this assumption. Since the RPG genre is nothing like the FPS genre I doubt your assumption to be true.

They're a very vocal minority then, wouldn't you say? The internets be full of people trashing the game. Again, see my above point, my intent was not to tell you that your judgment of the game was wrong, unless you thought it was trash because it didn't do what you expected a FF game to do.

Also, I'm getting two different reasons on why people hate COD. Some saying it's because it doesn't innovate, some saying it's successful. I focused on the former. Oh well.

I think the "bizarro world" quote confused some people. Besides making a reference to the "Bizarro Jerry" episode of Seinfeld, what I meant there was that FFXIII is the same as COD, just for a mirrored reason. Whereas COD is bemoaned for not changing, FFXIII is bemoaned for changing. That's all I meant by that, really. Also, I could have polled everybody who hates COD and everybody who hates FFXIII and see if they overlap, but I had to make deadline. I know lots o' people dislike COD, and lots o' people dislike FFXIII. I'd venture to say there's an overlap there. Gamers, I hope, typically don't restrict themselves to one genre, especially in this case when it's two massively successful franchises like COD and FF.

Angry Juju:
Now defend XIII-2 cutting the ending from the game completely and releasing it as DLC.

Well, when I play FFXIII-2, I just may. xD

Aeonknight:

Jeff Dunn:
In Defense of Final Fantasy XIII

The legacy of the Final Fantasy name is what's preventing the series from progressing in any meaningful way.

Read Full Article

I was waiting for someone to say it.

Fucking thank you.

No, thank YOU.

Oh, and Zell is a tool. You guys can't change my mind there. Think of hanging out with that guy. I guess I'm a little like Seifer then.

Well OKAY. I'm never doing a post this long again. Hope I gave some insight, though. Again, thank you all a ton for giving my article a once-over. It's huge to me (That's what sh...no, nevermind). If I didn't get to any points, and you want me to that bad, post again, and I'll be back. Though I won't write a thesis next time. Later, my friends.

Jikuu:
Thanks for writing on Final Fantasy XIII and being open about why people feel so divided over it. For what it's worth, ever since Final Fantasy became popular in America (around FF6/7, depending on who you talk to), the next one's always been a bit polarizing. Folks who liked 7 disliked 8 or 9, folks who liked 8 hated 10, folks who liked 10 hated 12, and so on down the line. I'd actually argue that 12 and 13 aren't that far off mechanically, since both had little programs for your guys and they were on some sort of auto-pilot. If anything, the menu-based system that's become ubiquitous in most JRPGs was more apparent in 13 than 12. I will agree that the legacy of the series name is troublesome. While there are some expectations for staying the same, Final Fantasy implies a somewhat new system and other innovations every game, and these innovations aren't always welcome. Basically, no game bearing Final Fantasy is ever going to be 100% accepted because we have these weird convoluted expectations. 13 and 13-2 are just the latest to bear the bulk of the grudge.

It's okie, I loved 6, that was my entry into the franchise and HATED 8, 10, 10-2, etc etc all the way through. Hell I even hated the Final Fantasy movie.

Atmos Duality:

There's a reason for that, though: Final Fantasy XIII wasn't really an RPG. Nor did it ever want to be.

What? You mean it's unreasonable to assume that the thirteenth installment in one of the most famous series of RPGs in gaming ISN'T meant to be an RPG?

This reminds of when Tommy Wiseau went back and claimed that his atrocity of a movie (The Room) was was actually meant as a "comedy", when the tone clearly isn't intentionally humorous at all.

To me, the Final Fantasy series, past one at least, has only been an RPG in mechanics only, that is to say the stats and combat and what not. I don't know if you've noticed but you don't actually do any "role-playing" in them, you just play out a pretty linear plot.

The newest Extra Credits talks about how JRPGs and Western RPGs could possibly be considered different genres, with JRPGs being focused on narratives, so I can kind of see the reasoning behind the direction FFXIII took, cutting out a lot of RPG fluff to focus on a core narrative.

guy...change is fine. A boring, vapid game isn't. You're defending the OJ of games

I didn't find the game/story itself confusing at all, and I never got the whole "it doesn't feel like a FF" idea. To SE's credit they do try to mix up the formula for all the FFs so they don't play like each other, so gameplay wise it's kinda hard to make a complaint about 13 playing different from the rest of the FFs when that's exactly what they were going for with every game. There are plenty of other things worth complaining about in FF13, but trying to be different isn't one of them.

SurfinTaxt:
guy...change is fine. A boring, vapid game isn't. You're defending the OJ of games

LOL'd. Resisting the urge to make an OJ joke now.

You know, this article clarifies something that's been bothering me for a while.

I loved FF 13. I thought it told a great story - I hated Hope and Snow at the outset, but watching them grow and change as people made me care about them, something I did not expect at the start of the game.

I loved that FF 13 tried something new and different. I didn't even mind the linear levels (just look at FF 10! It was nothing but linear paths! Why love 10 and hate 13?).

I've never really been able to place what I liked - and everyone else hated - about FF 13, but I think I have now. I wanted something different, and I got what I asked for. And I loved it.

Since this is a JRPG and is a very story driven linear game, (which I like more than open world but that's me), one MUST like the characters and the story. This is the one time where the gameplay is second fiddle, though it must be a decent fiddle. Story and characters are king. This FF has characters I just can't like... save Fang. Oh things pick up later, but it's soooooo many hours in that it can't make up for it. There is too much whining, too much "why would you do that?" stuff going on. (Part of me has this theory that FF hasn't been able to do well since voice acting in video games happened. Things sound less stupid when you read them than if you hear them out loud.)

It's a game I want to like but don't. I want more good stories, memorable characters. I do miss real turn based combat, (which I haven't seen since FFX), but that isn't a deal breaker. While I like my "Pokemon" style chess fix I am more than happy to experiment. Give me a good story and a game system that just bearly works and I'll have the best time ever.

Bara_no_Hime:
You know, this article clarifies something that's been bothering me for a while.

I loved FF 13. I thought it told a great story - I hated Hope and Snow at the outset, but watching them grow and change as people made me care about them, something I did not expect at the start of the game.

I loved that FF 13 tried something new and different. I didn't even mind the linear levels (just look at FF 10! It was nothing but linear paths! Why love 10 and hate 13?).

I've never really been able to place what I liked - and everyone else hated - about FF 13, but I think I have now. I wanted something different, and I got what I asked for. And I loved it.

Glad I could be of service then, my friend.

I'm playing through FFXIII right now. I've "forced" my way to chapter 13 and I'm a chunk of the way through it now.

I'm sorry. If FFXIII were renamed anything different, it would still be a terrible, terrible game, and not one that would be "praised for it's evolution of JRPGs".

My faults with FFXIII:

1. Story - The story as played out in the gameplay is nonsensical. That I have to read datalogs to figure out what the hell is going on is not an evolution in any way, shape or form.

2. Linearity - This wouldn't be AS bad if the story were any sort of decent (so you had something to drive you further). Instead the linearity stands out like a sore thumb because all there is is moving forwards on screen and nothing comes of it.

3. Gameplay - It is luck based rather than skill based because you can't really control your character's actions. You "sort of" have control over your leader's actions. I say sort of because the game's pace plays too fast to really let you have any control. If you direct your actions, you will play poorer because of it. Your party...beyond the lackluster AI scripting of the paradigms, they control themselves, and you have no input in how they play.

4. Monster design and layout - The monsters are very unremarkable, and also very samey. It seems to stand out more than the early Final Fantasy's palette swaps for some reason. Considering the game is all about the combat (as there is nothing else redeeming in the game), making the monsters unique should have been paramount. As well, when I run through an area, the monsters respawn in exactly the same spots, with the same numbers and types...why? Why not change it up so that the monsters can be in different locations with different group makeups when you re-tread down a path?

5. Characters - Flat and uninspired. This is also due to the story being told through the datalogs rather than on screen where you see them, but they really stood out as being caricatures rather than people, with over-the-top actions and dialogue that makes no sense.

6. The Tutorial - It was so slowly paced from beginning right to end.

7. Unintuitive and/or clumsy systems - The Weapon/Accessory upgrading. The Crystarium Levelling. Not being able to save Paradigms when changing team members.

8. The Grind - Now this is something that I could just "see" being terrible. I will say that I didn't grind at all. I've been playing the game from start to finish with minimal "killing to earn experience/gold". Hell, I didn't even do all of the hunting quests (mainly due to the boring running). The pacing for the game is "okay" so far. What is terrible is that if you want to upgrade things in this game the amount of grinding you would need to do just to get money. There are youtube videos on how to earn money in the game efficiently, so that it ONLY takes you hours to earn the necessary money to upgrade one weapon! And this is monotonously fighting the same enemies over and over again...

9. The Cutscenes - Wow, are there a lot of them, and wow are there tons that add nothing to the game character or story! I can see why they let you finally skip them (and why this was received as such a "good" thing...)

10. The World Layout - Running down a long monster-less and featureless corridor after finishing a cutscene to another cutscene (with no interruptions! Literally, I leave a cutscene, walk down a hallway, with no opportunity to interact with anything in the world to another cutscene. And this happens often!).

11. Inconsistent - From walking down a hallway to find a "jump point" to leap over an obstacle to finding another area that doesn't have a jump point, yet I still leap over an obstacle.

12. Things don't make sense within the context of the game world - Why are there "treasure balls"? Why are there save points? Why can I only upgrade at these save points? Why can I shop at only these save points? Why are these shops selling to a L'Cie?

Truthfully, FFXIII felt like a half-finished game. A game that wanted to do so much and then ran out of money and time, so it had to be rushed out the door as is with a couple of band-aids added to it to make it function. I guess that's why we are getting so many FFXIII games, but it's too bad we will need to pay for the game many times over...

It's sad to see how far Square has fallen...I used to like their .games so much, and they showed such promise. To think that this was the road they somehow took...

Jeff Dunn:
Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.

Did you even read my post? I said I wouldn't care how they made the game as long as the game was decent, but it wasn't. It was terrible. The story was convoluted, the characters were unlikable, the combat was over simplified and button bashy and the 'game' consisted of watching a movie.

If it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, I still wouldn't like it.

Oh sure "Uh...yeah, we never REALLY meant to make an RPG at all! Yeah!"

Try saying it BEFORE the game comes out for more effect...

what miffed me with ff13 was not the gameplay, or the auto combat (actually i like not having to work with that old and tried combat system unless i really have to due to the ai fucking up.) but the fact that i despised all characters for they were annoying cretins.

i'm to old to still tolerate these kind of chars. They should all die - which presumably they did since i never finished the game.

xXxJessicaxXx:

Jeff Dunn:
Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.

Did you even read my post? I said I wouldn't care how they made the game as long as the game was decent, but it wasn't. It was terrible. The story was convoluted, the characters were unlikable, the combat was over simplified and button bashy and the 'game' consisted of watching a movie.

If it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, I still wouldn't like it.

Multiple times. That line was in response to this:

xXxJessicaxXx:
If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel.

I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?

I liked FF13 once it actually got to the point of being a GAME. It felt like a long boring dragged out tutorial for a good many chapters. Add in Chapter 7 almost making me stop playing because I couldn't stand to hear Hope whine ONE MORE TIME and nothing happening at all in the story, and you have a terrible first part of a game. I didn't enjoy it until chapter 11 when you hit Gran Pulse and finally get to go explore and feel like you have control.

I didn't hate those portions of the game because they weren't 'Final Fantasy' - which is kind of a hollow statement, since 13 is a natural progression from 10 -> 11 -> 12 combat and even setting-wise, I hated them because they were poorly done. The game felt like different departments of Square worked on different sections of the game, then just mashed it into chapters.

RPG or not, FF13 was a story and character driven game that had a painfully slow story and poorly presented characters, and THOSE are it's critical flaws.

Jeff Dunn:

I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?

Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'

What ..

Even if every single thing said here are amazingly apt points of merit for the game, there is no excuse, none, under any circumstances, for any game, ever, to have a 30 hour tutorial.

Hulyen:

Jeff Dunn:

I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?

Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'

Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

Jeff Dunn:

Hulyen:

Jeff Dunn:

I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?

Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'

Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

It wouldn't have gotten as much flak simply because it wouldn't have sold as many copies. My point is that Square already HAS a vehicle for 'new genre' Final Fantasy games, so them complaining that the core series has no way to innovate (which is untrue) is just silly in my opinion.

jurnag12:

Simonoly:

jurnag12:

And there you also have my reason for hating VIII and X. They'd have been decent if Squall and Tidus hadn't been the 2 most annoying and whiny f*cks on the face of the planet.

Agreed. I actually really like Zidane from FFIX, simply due to the fact that he is neither whiny nor a depressing little shit. He was just a normal guy (albiet with a tail) that liked to have a laugh and stab the crap out of wildlife. Cloud, Squall and Lightning all fall under the depressed teenager category for me, which just isn't fun to watch. Tidus and Vaan from FFXII were basically the same whiney characters. If Square Enix want to create something unique, maybe they should start giving their main characters new personalities?

Giving them new personalities?! Next you'll be asking that they make their next game without androgynous teenagers as main characters!
And yeah, I'd forgotten about Lightning. Christ, the only person in XIII that managed to out-annoy her in my eyes was friggin' Snow (Who, together with Hope, needs to die in some sort of grisly accident involving chainsaws, napalm, and a morbidly obese walrus).

Oh what a dream - a Final Fantasy game not starring a passive agressive androgynous teenager as the main protagonist. Really, one can only dream....

I like your method of destruction when it comes to Final Fantasy 13 characters. I just want to blend them in my shitty under-used smoothie maker. I love blending stuff I hate. It's cathartic.

Hulyen:

Jeff Dunn:

Hulyen:

Actually, I'd like to point out that Square does this all the time with its non-core Final Fantasy games (ie Tactics, Dissidia, etc), with mixed reception. I'd also like to point out that they have done this exact thing before with 11, which was an MMO, and still got less flak than 13 did.

Edit: Clarified what I meant by 'core games'

Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

It wouldn't have gotten as much flak simply because it wouldn't have sold as many copies. My point is that Square already HAS a vehicle for 'new genre' Final Fantasy games, so them complaining that the core series has no way to innovate (which is untrue) is just silly in my opinion.

Understandable. And you're right in that, naturally, it's "more money, more problems" for the franchise with regard to the amount of flak they're going to get. I suppose I don't like the fact that they have to have a separate vehicle for "innovative games," then (although they're not the only studio to do this). But agree to disagree. Thanks again.

Jeff Dunn:

No, I don't find that unreasonable Atmos, not at all. But when the guy who makes the game tells you this before the game comes out, I think you should adjust your expectations accordingly. The interview I referenced came before the NA release of the game (or at least right around the same time), so it was before all the backlash.

Ah, well I must have missed that.
Then again, I was away from civilization around when FF13 launched; I mostly remember being worried about my back yard flooding.

Also, "something new" up there refers to it being new relative to the franchise, not to the genre as a whole.

Actually, looking at it a bit more closely, shaking up the mechanics/mood started from about FF5 onward. It's not that new to the franchise. I'd argue that Squaresoft actually experimented a fair bit during their "glory years" (1994-2000).

FF5 introduced the class system, FF7 and FF8 are very unique installments, FF9 was a throwback to (especially to FF4 and FF6 mechanically, where characters had more unique skill sets), FF10 was sort of a hybrid of FF8 and FF9, and mechanically is very similar to FF13 in character progression.
FF12 was literally designed to play like an MMO, but as a single player title.

So for me, it wasn't any great shock when they "changed" in FF13. It's just that the changes weren't interesting or good. Adding "live-action" timing to what is essentially a turn-based game (there's a rhythm to it) didn't really bother me; I like a couple of Namco's "Tales Of..." games and they essentially treat combo chains as turns taken in real time.

Oh, and Zell is a tool. You guys can't change my mind there. Think of hanging out with that guy. I guess I'm a little like Seifer then.

I consider him a prime example of an "attitude" character taken too far.
There were points where he was approaching Bubsy levels of douche. I cringed when he launched into his "chicken strut" upon making it to SeeD.

Gatx:

To me, the Final Fantasy series, past one at least, has only been an RPG in mechanics only, that is to say the stats and combat and what not. I don't know if you've noticed but you don't actually do any "role-playing" in them, you just play out a pretty linear plot.

Heh, part of the problem is that "RPG" has the broadest definition of any genre/element in the entirety of gaming. I cannot begin to describe how nebulous the term is; even "game with stats" is a pretty broad categorization when you consider how many games there are with "stats" there are that aren't RPGs; or multi-genre titles.

What gets defined as "role-playing"? Pretending you're someone/something else and playing their story? Playing one "class" from a series that has a special "role"? Both of these have been done with and without the other.

As for the linear plot; well, that's a limitation of production. Even in the games with non-linear plots, and you will find that nearly all of them have to cut corners somewhere to deal with the fractal-logic and exponential growth of plot branches. (Radiata Stories, Blade Runner by Westwood)

Jeff Dunn:

Hulyen:

Jeff Dunn:

Right. You're very much right, Hulyen. This builds off the "Lighting's Quest" line I wrote in the article, though, right? Even if FF13 had just named itself a "secondary" (or "non-core") entry in the series, it may not have gotten as much flak from some. Would it have gotten more flak than if it had changed the name entirely? Of course, but it'd lie in this sort of "half Final Fantasy" state, in the middle ground between the two options (i.e. being a core entry and being a new IP entirely). At the same time, it probably wouldn't have sold as well as a "non-core" entry as it did as a "core" entry.

It wouldn't have gotten as much flak simply because it wouldn't have sold as many copies. My point is that Square already HAS a vehicle for 'new genre' Final Fantasy games, so them complaining that the core series has no way to innovate (which is untrue) is just silly in my opinion.

Understandable. And you're right in that, naturally, it's "more money, more problems" for the franchise with regard to the amount of flak they're going to get. I suppose I don't like the fact that they have to have a separate vehicle for "innovative games," then (although they're not the only studio to do this). But agree to disagree. Thanks again.

A valid point of view, and agreed! Thanks for the civil discourse. :)

Jeff Dunn:

xXxJessicaxXx:

Jeff Dunn:
Now, Jessica, you don't want drastic changes in your FF games, and that's perfectly fine. I don't really want to say that's some horrible blight on the gaming community, although I do think we should demand newness and freshness in our games.

Did you even read my post? I said I wouldn't care how they made the game as long as the game was decent, but it wasn't. It was terrible. The story was convoluted, the characters were unlikable, the combat was over simplified and button bashy and the 'game' consisted of watching a movie.

If it wasn't a Final Fantasy game, I still wouldn't like it.

Multiple times. That line was in response to this:

xXxJessicaxXx:
If you are going to try and make a completely new type of game don't make it a sequel.

I took that to mean you don't want future FF games to "try and make a completely new type of game." Right?

From a business point of view it makes no sense to try something so radical with such an old series. People have come to expect something from those games and when you radically change that you are asking for trouble. There's no reason why they couldn't release it as a new IP if they were looking to establish a new style of game.

People end up paying for something they didn't want if you do that. The same thing happened with Dragon Age 2. If you are going to do that then at least be honest about it and make sure people know ahead of time that this one will be different.

Being dismissive of valid complaints about the game and gathering everyone under the banner of 'not wanting progress' is kind of ridiculous. Especially since that 'progress' isn't an improvement but a backwards step.

Every Final Fantasy game brought a load of change.

The issue wasn't "change".

If everyone was complaining about it going from Fantasy to Sci-fi, like with from XI to XII, THAT would be an complaint about change.

But FFXIII was just a worse game. Period.

It was that the game was focused on style-over-substance and was a vapid, shallow, BORING experience.
Repetitive, simplified combat was all there was to this game. There was no variation at all.

The characters were unlikable cardboard cutout's that didn't develop properly.
We never got an Act 1 in order to get to know any of them or establish them in a normal situation. Their peril had no weight to it because of this. We have no idea what they've lost or seek to regain, except via a hand full of cut-scene flashbacks.

Nothing was gained. All that was improved on was the graphics.

That's the issue.

I agree In full.

I always liked how "FF" did thing differently in each game, with a new story each time, but at the same time it annoyed the hell out of me that they never kept any of the good stuff they were able to do. But to me FFXIII was an astounding fail at all level, the game ply was a glorified autopilot, the story was mixed up and made me feel annoyed, and other then Fang, the characters just did not connect with me at all. It's good that they tried something different, but with FFXIII, if felt like they forgot to check with the fans, and by the time they remembered about them, it was to late and they had to finish the game.

to me Square is dieing from the inside, fans are trusting them less and less with every game, and it seems that Square dos not care.

Ashoten:
Sorry you lost my interest towards the end of the first page. FF 13 wanted to be a movie that resented being a game.

Hey, that's what I was going to say!

Plinglebob:
I'm surprised the Escapist let this article on the site considering how much the community here "Likes" Final Fantasy XIII, but as a fan of XIII I'm glad to see it and I think you made some very good points. However, I still don't see how people found it confusing. Compared to VII's "Clouds a clone" and VIII's Time Compression I found it very easy to follow as long as you paid attention to the dialogue (and no, I didn't look at the encyclopedia thing once as it all gets explained in time.)

Okay, I'm going to agree with you that VIII's Time Compression was just weird as hell, Cloud admitting he lived his whole life as a lie pretending to be someone he wasn't was the moment where he went from being a shallow character to someone I actually cared for. I'm more bothered that Square doesn't remember Cloud's vulnerabilities in any meaningful way in any of the FF7 spinoffs. Sephiroth's existence is much more confusing than Cloud's character arc.

FF13 could be followed easily enough even with all of its terminology. L'cie, Fal'cie, and Cie'th were not hard terms to follow along with considering how long the group talks about their fate about becoming l'cie. It's a minor gripe when many games are much more confusing about their terminology (Tales of Abyss, anyone?) The real problem is that the villain's plan in FF13 is a complete mess that makes my brain hurt just trying to figure it out. I didn't understand the whole final gambit until I read through TVTropes... and even then it still was incredibly hard to comprehend a plan so stupid. Characters who died are brought back only to die again like 5 minutes after they come back. Characters who weren't developed at all keep coming back and I wonder how they survived being gunned down/shot down in their plane/etc. The game was clearly developed in separate segments and then was woefully stitched together so they could have cool cutscenes with little regard for continuity that makes a lick of sense.

To reiterate: Motivations of the villain are bad, treatment of minor characters is completely nonsensical. I didn't even mention combat or linearity, which weren't that bad though it requires almost no input from the player. Paradigm shifts are clunky the first time you shift, putting you in a damned if you do damned if you don't scenario with such a long delay where you are definitely not invincible and time is still moving. I don't really care about the linear hallway design, as Shin Megami Tensei is almost nothing but narrow hallways, and less detailed ones to boot. The lack of variety in gameplay really hurt FF13 too. Even if a lot of the minigames in FF are of questionable quality, it's something that breaks up the pacing and leaves you refreshed, even if the minigame left a negative impression. In FF13, the only thing to do is walk around and get into into battles (which all play pretty much the same), and watch cutscenes.

Two activities in a 40 hour plus game.

I realize nothing else like FF13 is on the market, but unique does not equal good. Persona has been telling better character-focused stories for years, and Tales in general has focused on strong stories building up a whole world. FF13 had weak gameplay (which was remedied in FF13-2 by fixing that awful 2 second paradigm shift delay), a confusing story that was hard to derive satisfaction from, and an utterly forgettable cast of characters beyond your party members, the main villain, and Serah. There's no excuses to be made for FF13's failings and I am glad that FF13-2 took the problems to heart and at least polished the gameplay and brought in new elements beyond "walk down corridor and kill everything... Oh hey chapter 10! Now walk around the big plain and kill everything!". FF13-2 was not a step backwards towards safe territory. It only acknowledged that FF13 was a shallow game, too focused on style and not enough on function.

Gizmo1990:

Plinglebob:
I'm surprised the Escapist let this article on the site considering how much the community here "Likes" Final Fantasy XIII, but as a fan of XIII I'm glad to see it and I think you made some very good points. However, I still don't see how people found it confusing. Compared to VII's "Clouds a clone" and VIII's Time Compression I found it very easy to follow as long as you paid attention to the dialogue (and no, I didn't look at the encyclopedia thing once as it all gets explained in time.)

See I do not understand why people were confused by the story either. I just throught it was a shit story with really bad characters. You like it and that's fine but tell me that Snow is not the biggest douche in fiction?

The funny thing about Snow is the way he acts (I'm the hero, getting people to fight with him, jumping head first into every battle) is pretty much how the player usually acts in RPGs (more specifically WRPGS). Its just while the player is good at it/destined by fate, Snow just really bad at it. Like Vanille, its taking a standard character convention of the genre and twisting it slightly to show you the darker side.

Woah, woah, woah...Final Fantasy's VII-XIII were video games? Could have fooled me.

It was not bad, but lots of the element from previous games in the franchise have either been changed or gone to waste. The good things about the game is that the random encounters, which I actually miss, but when I don't have to worry about being forced to battle every 4th step in a cave, I say it's OK. The cut scenes could have been without all the whining and all the grunting sounds, sometimes, it's too much. The Square-Enix franchise is taking a different line from how the Squaresoft FF where, but like everything (except war according to Fallout) it changes. If this is how Square-Enix FF games are gonna be, it's OK, but please. At least once, or twice, I hope that they take inspiration from one or more of the previous games and make a game reminiscing to the classic style of FF games.
Overall, not a perfect game, but can be entertaining to the right audience

Final Fantasy 13 should not be like Call of Duty where it feels like (at least from my perspective) that you are doing the same thing year after year.

However, what we got was more like Call of Duty suddenly becoming a puzzle game. It doesn't make sense and felt kinda wrong.

I also dislike being on auto-pilot for a good half of the game. FF13 was more than just bitching fans. There are many legit criticisms of it, and that's why many changes were made for 13-2.

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