Square Enix Wants a New Final Fantasy Every Year

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BrotherRool:
They need to make shorter games, FFXIII was too longer, but i don;t want early releases. Franchises can be turned around in a year when not much changes. FF shouldn't do that, new world every time

You want shorter Final Fantasy games!? What is wrong with you!? In the nicest way possible.
The very attraction (to me, at least) of the the series is the long hours you can lose in them. Take that away and you're left with what is often subpar gameplay mixed with a drastically shortened story.

EDIT: Also they better not do a FFXIII with KH:3D or KH3. Or I will never forgive them. In a series as long as FF, I can forgive the odd mistake. Mess with my Kingdom Hearts and I will burn you all.

EDIT 2.2.65: I clicked the red button and now the horrid coverage on every avatar is making forum browsing SO VERY CONFUSING.

Are they trying to depopulate the Final Fantasy fanbase?

Personally the best FF game was 6. In my opinion, it is the ONLY game which had a female protagonist, and had her as a spellcaster. To me it also had a cool villain (not badass ala Sephiroth) and an excellent storyline (Haven't finished FF7, so cannot comment on that one.)

All the ones after 6 (and 7) have been slowly go down hill, though I did enjoy FFX. FFXIII was a game I couldn't be bothered playing long enough for the plot to get interesting, and the voices... oh those two female shrilling harpies.

And I dread what they will do to the Espers or whatever they call them now.

Really it all depends on the quality. I mean say what you want about CoDs single player being short, if you're into the online it can last for months. And now that Assassins Creed has online as well as a great single player, you can play tat for months too. But a Final Fantasy every year? They better keep it at 40+ hours and all the stuff we love about the series.

Shouldn't they like take longer developing cycles considering their last two fuck ups?

Mestraal:

BrotherRool:
They need to make shorter games, FFXIII was too longer, but i don;t want early releases. Franchises can be turned around in a year when not much changes. FF shouldn't do that, new world every time

You want shorter Final Fantasy games!? What is wrong with you!? In the nicest way possible.
The very attraction (to me, at least) of the the series is the long hours you can lose in them. Take that away and you're left with what is often subpar gameplay mixed with a drastically shortened story.

EDIT: Also they better not do a FFXIII with KH:3D or KH3. Or I will never forgive them. In a series as long as FF, I can forgive the odd mistake. Mess with my Kingdom Hearts and I will burn you all.

EDIT 2.2.65: I clicked the red button and now the horrid coverage on every avatar is making forum browsing SO VERY CONFUSING.

Dude FFX had fantastic gameplay.

I'm serious though, the story of FFXIII actually suffered for it's length. Now ideally FFX would be the way to go, but the truth is it's more expensive and time consuming now to make larger games. Both FFXII and FFXIII's problems were basically time and budget constraints. They had didn't have the manpower to make any kind of story whatsoever for FFXII and no time to make maps and gameplay for FFXIII. What's more, the gaming demographic is shifting and to be frank, it's shifting to people who have less time to play a game. A 60 hour game can take a month for me now. I tried to replay XIII over easter and i just didn't have time.

Mass Effect, whilst having a crud story, has shown you can do a lot in 20 hours and I feel that's where the FF's should aim at. But it should be 20 hours of story related gameplay with lot of opportunity to chill, explore and sidequest if you feel like it.

What's more, longer games require a certain style of story to fit, so it's restricting. The good FF's have been stories about journeying and exploration, so whilst the plot is stretched out over a very long period of time, wherever we are, even when it's been a while since cutscenes we're still experiencing the story. That's why VII and X worked so well. But if they shorten the game they can experiment with other story types, even stories like that in XII. The problem with XII is the game experience didn't match the story, it felt like travel was unrealistically awkward and there wasn't much of a connect about why it was so hard to get around a world like this. When the story is about politics and empires, it felt like we were just missing the story when we were slogging around marshes

Admittedly it's not the only fault. The other big BIG thing they need to realise, is that combat doesn't have to be fast and reflexy to be interesting. Almost everyone agrees FFX's gameplay is some of the best of the series and that was the slowest paced combat of them all. Fast paced ruins the fun and stragetising that an RPG is meant to thrive on.

BrotherRool:
A 60 hour game can take a month for me now. I tried to replay XIII over easter and i just didn't have time.

Nothing wrong with game taking over a month to play through, you get value for your money after all, but the game needs to be entertaining for all the time you play it, which is where FFXIII failed, it simply did not entertain me, or many others.

BrotherRool:
Admittedly it's not the only fault. The other big BIG thing they need to realise, is that combat doesn't have to be fast and reflexy to be interesting. Almost everyone agrees FFX's gameplay is some of the best of the series and that was the slowest paced combat of them all. Fast paced ruins the fun and stragetising that an RPG is meant to thrive on.

I agree with you here, FFX, for all it's other issues, had awesome combat.
And most old time FF fans are not really after fast paced combat, slow and methodical has worked for first 10 games, and one of the most complained issues with XII was the combat (never my issue, i actually liked it, but sometimes it seems i was the only one, i did hate XIII combat though).

Hey, Squeenix, how about putting Final Fantasy to bed already?
Seriously, FF has been steadily nosediving in quality for a few years now.

Volothos:
You know... does anyone remember that Final Fantasy 27 poster in Deus Ex Human Revolution? Think that might happen?

Yeah, that was a great easter egg. I actually stopped and had a laugh.

In theory a lot is possible, but they'd prolly lose their fanbase and fail to attract new players before that time. Of course under the assumption that they'll rush their games and create atrocities like FF XIII or worse.

Then again, I can't predict shit so...

Well I find it great that we agree on so many things. Combat on FFX, FFXII and FFXIII and how combat should generally go. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't like FFXIII combat though, it just felt a bit unreal, it was lacking feedback. Maybe it was the way battles didn't have consequence beyond the minute it took, or the way the enemies just stood around in a corridor in front of you completely unlifelike.

I'm afraid to say I still don't quite agree with you on the 60 hours though

nyysjan:

BrotherRool:
A 60 hour game can take a month for me now. I tried to replay XIII over easter and i just didn't have time.

Nothing wrong with game taking over a month to play through, you get value for your money after all, but the game needs to be entertaining for all the time you play it, which is where FFXIII failed, it simply did not entertain me, or many others.

There are a couple of ways I'd like to go about this, if it's okay with you. Some are practical things and others are more wider concept.

I think the practical is where we'll agree most so I'll start there. Games taking frickin' ages to make and cost a lot of money. FF games aren't meant to be sandboxes and we've got Skyrim and GTA if we want games like that, so the money has to go on creating a very tight and cool experience. But to be frank they don't have the time or money to do that when it takes 60 hours. FFX was last generation and had a huge development time and it was awesome but next-gen means that everything now is scale of magnitude harder. Even with FFXII they were beginning to show the strain of developing good and good looking games that big. I hope you agree that if we have to choose between 60 hours and 20 hours of much better quality with more realistic feelings worlds AND good story then the 20 hours is the way to go.

I'd also like to suggest that aside from it's gameplay and environment problems time was a direct factor of why it didn't entertain you so much. Not because 60 hours is too long, but because it stretches things too much. I'll be honest with you, the story and cutscenes of FFXIII are fantastic and probably something better than they've done for a long time. The concept was good. The Snow - Hope scene was amazing. The Snow-Sarah scene in the ice was amazing. The Hope and his father storyline was great. The Lightning-Hope storyline was great. Sazh had a really emotional arc with his son and him and Vanille made an okay group if nothing special was going on.

The only real fault storywise was they didn't develop and differentiate the bad guys very well. Nothing like Sephiroth or Seymour.

But time really ruined those storylines. They became too dragged out, people forget what was going on, tension was ruined. Some of this won't have affected you and some of it will. I know for instance the fact that the intro to the story took 20 hours made people switch of early and give up on the game, coming away with entirely the wrong conception. It's happened here on the Escapist, twice! Because Lightnings character arc took 20 hours before she started to change and 60 before finally changing people didn't even realise that the way she brushes people aside was portrayed as a negative trait. They thought that was how they stayed. People called her a bad role model for being too much like a guy because they didn't stick around to find out that actually her whole storyline was her realising she was acting abnormally and too coldly and becoming a frickin' surrogate mother to Hope. How more woman important can a character line be?

And I'm not going to say it's their fault for not sticking it out, these are people I respect who are intelligent. The game was just designed too long.

And something I hope you'll be able to empathise with more, the game was less entertaining because there were longer waits between story revelations. In FFX (it was my favourite game of all time, forgive me for harping on about it so much) you were really driven from cutscene to cutscene. It was all 'I'll quit after the next cutscene. Okay the next one. Maybe the one after that'. In FFXIII you'd watch the cutscene and then after half an hour when nothing has happened you'd turn off and go to bed.

This is still a bit of a practical issue, if they had the development time to do as much as they did with early FF's a 60 hour game would be great, but they don't and the story suffers.

But the last one is about 60 hours games in general. I'd like to qualify this. 60hours can be a good length for a game. But those 60 hours should be 20 hours story and 40 hours optional messing around.

A 60 hour story isn't concise enough, when it's played over a month it's easier to forget things to disconnect, the story meanders and they don't drive it through where they should. It's hard to shape a proper tension cycle or build a proper climax, because, to be frank, it takes too long. Films can be too wordy, too ungainly. 1000 page books are too much like doorstoppers and bar flow. And 60 hour games are too long.

This isn't a hard and fast rule. There have been plenty of good 60 hour stories, but it is easier to make a good 20 hour story and harder to make a 60 hour one that doesn't become a mess that turns off all but the best fans.

I'd rather they play it a little safer and allow people who can only play a few hours a week (lightweights!) a chance to enjoy it as well. MGS4 despite being a bit ungainly in the individual cutscenes, told an amazing and tense story in much less than 60 hours. Mass Effect does it in 20. I think FF should readjust to whats more possible and have a go at it too. The game will be better for it

This is gonna be Hell for sure. Unless, of course, each new game is new, inspiring, and innovative enough to not make the game shit. If that fails, it'll be another annual game series that's gonna be just as bad as every other AAA game series of this generation.

Crono1973:

Let's not forget, during the franchises peak, they were putting out games that quickly. Final Fantasy 7, 8, 9 and 10 all came out in a 4 year period. 7 came out in Sep 1997 and 10 came out in Dec 2001. Taking so long between titles (MMO's notwithstanding) has hurt them.

I wanted to thank you for being the first person I saw to make a good and valid point in amongst all the nay-saying and everything.

Although it must be said that back in the PS1 days the dev cycle was a lot more forgiving in terms of money and sheer man hours behind a release... Even when they were the guys leading the whole 3d RPG thing back then.

OT: I don't mind them working to tighter deadlines in and of itself, I just want there to be some of the classic gameplay in my JRPG and less linearity and MUCH less cutscenes... I tore into 13 as much as anyone, but I have to say 13-2 has me very intrigued. The whole time travelling to the same area in different time zones thing was done outstandingly well in Chrono, and noone has take a decent stab at it since, so I'm optimistic about it.

So yeah, shorter dev cycles doesn't fill me with dread at all, let's just hope they can make them well in that kind of time. It would genuienly make me very sad if Square went under...

Omnific One:

Yeah, if they want a long dev cycle, they need to make sure what they are doing is what the fans really want. Otherwise, they are just shooting themselves in the foot.

To be fair, a large part of the reason behind 13's extended dev cycle is down to two things - Building a new engine, and rebuilding a worse version of their new engine to fit it onto the 360. They built a new(and revolutionary)engine for 7, and there was about three and a half years between 7 and 6.

They could have put 13 out in that kind of time scale, but they decided relatively late in the day to release on the 360, which meant they had to go back to the drawing board in some key areas because the 360 wouldn't have been able to cope otherwise. It's all about disc space.

I'm not even ragging on the 360 either, I have one, it's just a fact that 13 would've came out sooner and with more in it if they didn't force themselves to put it out on the 360.

So really, the dev cycle they're describing is a return to what they did back in the day.

I cant just imagine how the meeting went around the CEO board/R&D table:

"You know what our games today need? EVEN LESS development time!"
"Ooooh, that's a good idea boss!"
"Yeah! To hell with actually doing research or trying to work out all the bugs, our fans are SO dependent on our games that they'll shovel out money year after year for ANY piece of crap we slap the title 'Final Fantasy' on!"
"Wow, sir! You really know how to run a business!"
"That's an AWESOME strategy sir!"
"Mwa ha ha ha! It's an absolutely FULLPROOF plan! Nothing can go wrong!"

*bangs head on table*

Seriously....are the people who make our games video games even trying anymore?

I hate this whole annualizing games thing. I really do.

I stopped buying assassin's creed because of that reason. If every single developer tried to do this, it'd be like this Fall every month of the year.

But but... I can't even finish one game in that time! How would I cope with yearly releases?

Marshall Honorof:
they make a new game in 1-2 years. That is something we need to follow up, because that seems to be the best way to keep our fans interested and attracted to the franchise."

No... just NO! This is exactly the kind of thinking that has destroyed the Final Fantasy series. Original fans don't want crappy, year-made games that last all of 2 hours of game play. They want games that are deeply enthralling with wonderful storyline, GOOD game play, etc.

To put it bluntly... STOP TRYING TO APPEAL TO THE MASSES AND GET BACK TO MAKING GOOD GAMES!

On the plus side, if they really want to do a game per year, they can get off their asses and remake the games fans WANT to see made with today's consoles in mind... like 6 & 7... even as far as 8 & 9 (Much as I prefer those, still looking forward to a total remake of X).

If they really wanted to make a game per year, here's an idea for them. Set aside half the development crew. Have the best designers/developers create a brand new game that sticks to the ORIGINAL style of the series. The set aside half can then be used to graphically remake all the previous games in the series (1-9) to make them today's standards. You'd only need half as the games wouldn't need to be changed much. Maybe add in a little extra content here and there, but all the designs for characters, monsters, places (etc) are already completed. The only thing you'd really have to do is hire some voice actors for the main and important characters.
This way, new gamers can play the older games without getting bored with the low res graphics and non-voiced versions games (I'm guilty of that). This would also allow SE to gain profit from the older games with less time and money put in, bring out a game every year AND keep the fans happy, while still creating a new game in the process.
Oh, and SE... by the time you run out of Final Fantasy games to remake... can you do the same for Chrono Trigger and such please?

that i have to say, is disappointing. I LOVE the Final Fantasy series, its the game series that got me into gaming, and its fantastic. But if they're going to rush games out, and create stuff like thirteen and stuff then its not worth it. I would much rather see the series end, than push out crap.

As far as I'm concerned I really feel they should let the final fantasy series go. Just about all the games had their good features and their bad but the whole fanbase is so polarized it isn't worth attempting to please. Every final fantasy fan goes on and on about which ones are good and which ones suck but, all their points can be argued against by the people who like the so called crappy ones or by people who hate the labeled good games. Here's a summary of what should work from what I've seen.

1. All final fantasy games I've ever played had pretty simplistic god/monster ends the world stories once you break it down, and going more complex has been turned down again and again. Complex doesn't have to mean convoluted but final fantasy hasn't mastered that. Just stick to what you know. Also, stop bringing up time travel of any kind. You guys have never dealt with that subject well. Stick with steam punk as it's what you've done best.

2. When it comes to characters stick to the established templates except for the ever present extremely whiny or childish character. They almost always end up hated so just don't put them in there. They ruin the atmosphere of a more serious story anyway.

3. Gameplay-wise stay with the tried and true. Just make it more sleek. See shin megami tensei series. Most fans like the old style gameplay, so don't bother trying to attract people like me who can't stand it. I'm not going to be buying your games anymore no matter what you do so it's pointless.

4. Cut down on the cinematic sequences. Break the game into chapters and have a sequence at the beginning and end of each chapter. If you want to make attacks overly flashy make them skippable.

5. Refrain from making enemies that conflict with the story. If your story is anti technology make no robot bosses. if the story is in climax do not make 50 side bosses show up.

6. Keep avoiding random battles. Keep your outfits more practical. No hair horns or half naked fighters. Keep your music quality.

...But you already can't make decent games with your current timetable, why on earth would having even LESS time to not innovate be a good idea?!

On a positive note, hopefully this means there will be more spin-offs. Also, Squeenix, make a proper sequel to Crystal Chronicles, kthx. I liked the first one because it was a multiplayer hack and slash, and it wasn't over-bloated with bad storytelling, bad characterization, ear-grating voices and five hour cutscenes. Also the music was great.
On the same token, I really enjoyed Tactics as well. More of that would be excellent.

But seriously. "We think this will bring in more Final Fantasy fans"?! Do they even listen to people?!

Well FFXIII made me afraid to actually try out the series for the first time, so if the next one is any good I might try that one instead.

Just make it like how it used to be, and I'm sure you'll get a whole new generation of fans.
Good story, interesting characters, pretty worlds... you understand right?

Good luck with that, Square Enix. Only group that can do that is Sports/Racing games. It would be just too hard to keep up decent story telling with the amount of time you'd provide o.o.

Marshall Honorof:

"I think we took a little too long getting [Final Fantasy XIII] out," says Yoshinori Kitase

Ohohoho, a little you say?

I waited since that E3 2006 announcement, four years of waiting, for FFXIII. And what did I get? I'll let the rest of the world answer for you.

You crack me up, Kitase. You really do. I'm glad to have such a diluted man as you currently running the franchise of my childhood.

Gosh, just when you think they're starting to learn their lesson. They have their priorities all wrong.

Spamming titles when your image is going downhill is one way to make your image plummet to the lowest depths of the gaming industry. There's only so much further Square can fall from grace, but being considered a "dime a dozen" gaming company is hitting rock bottom.

It's a sad time, when Square was a name associated with "the few, proud, greatest among the SNES" games. Occupying most of the top slots of games under the SNES generation of gaming. With Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Super Mario RPG, Seiken Densetsu 3, and not limited to them, they were part of the golden age of jRPGs. The forefront, even. And together with Enix, the creators of Dragon Quest, the most successful RPG franchise of all time, they should be unstoppable. The two greatest jRPG juggernauts as one company.

Why would the creators of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, come to this? Please, just worry about making great RPGs again. Don't leave the jRPG torch to Namco or some other company.

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