Yeah, I went there.

[Disclaimer: The Friday Night Rant is just that, a rant. It contains extemporaneous remarks which are not to be confused with this site's journalism or more serious editorial opinions. It is meant to be an entertaining take on the industry and may be divisive in nature.]

And I’m not going to stop talking about it just because the very small subset of new fans Square Enix traded the legions of old ones for can’t recognize where we are coming from.

I got some hot reactions to a certain rant about Lightning and how I couldn’t figure out how she had been the catalyst for the destruction of the once legendary franchise. They all missed the point. Some tried to make it about gender, some tried to make it about me, others tried to muddy the waters, but nobody could answer for the fact that Final Fantasy is in trouble with a capital T and that trilogy got it there.

Even Square Enix is being 100% sure about the fact that this is the last time we will see Lightning by assuring fans that her trilogy is “final” as often as they can get the word in there. Honestly I’m a little scared she is going to pop up in Kingdom Hearts III but we are all relatively certain that there won’t be a Final Fantasy XIII-4. Maybe.

As I tried to say before she was a great lead in FFXIII but the internal studio obsession with her (which long time fans never felt) has led to a sojourn into the 9th circle of hell for the series. And if anyone wants to argue they should check out the available demo for Lightning Returns first. Even if you like it, that doesn’t make it good. Objectively the presentation has gotten markedly worse everywhere but the pretty CGI scenes. The characters and story are even more random and bizarre. The new battle system seems locked in some kind of purgatory between a button mashing action game and a restrictive RPG. The environments and traversal gameplay are from a bygone era. It screams slapped-together-in-a-year.

If you think the final product will be much better I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of the early reviews, which are not good. We will see what happens when the embargo lifts but we can be sure of one thing: it isn’t going to sell very well. It just isn’t, you can’t even argue that point.

It will be the first Final Fantasy I don’t buy day one, and honestly this whole debacle of a trilogy is going to dampen all future hopes for me. That’s just me though,what I wonder is if you all think this debacle will have a measurable negative effect on the sales and reception of Final Fantasy XIV.

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Formerly titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Final Fantasy XV has all the hallmarks of being a smash hit. It’s dark, serious, and fans are interested. The only problem is it has to follow a divisive trilogy that paved a nasty path. We know this new entry comes from Tetsuya Nomura and his Kingdom Hearts development team so there’s no risk of it actually playing much like other recent games. However, only very informed gamers know anything about all of that. Most gamers just know that FF has been action-y and bereft of narrative integrity lately and they can’t count on Square Enix like they could Squaresoft.

Final Fantasy XV intends to go with all out action, and that has been a problem lately. I’m not saying it won’t be an amazing game, it looks amazing, but it just happens to be a bad time to release yet another departure from the RPG genre. It really doesn’t matter that informed individuals have known that it would be a different sort of FF adventure for the last 8 years of its troubled development, most gamers aren’t informed and they want classic FF. Even Square Enix knows people like classic FF. They know that so much they are trying to sell Lightning Returns with classic costumes and classic trailers. If people are still asking for classic by the time the dust settles then Final Fantasy XV could land with a big loud thud.

The signals just aren’t looking good. Square Enix has already said they intend to make more sequels out of it despite how things have been going lately with that approach. They’ve managed to narrow the audience down to a niche subset, and everyone who was excited about it back when it was Versus XIII has either moved on or become bitter enough to place it in their mental bargain bin.

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XIII marked an expansion to two consoles but a setback in sales. XIII-2 sold less than half of that number. Lightning Returns could do even less than that if we see more 4/10 reviews. Do you think this kind of damage will hurt the sales of Nomura’s long awaited opus Final Fantasy XV or can the series that perpetually reinvents itself escape Lightning’s icy grip unscathed?

 

  • Jbumi

    Unfortunately, I think it will hurt XV. I hated FFX – I still think it’s the worst main numbered game. I was so disappointed that I didn’t buy XII (didn’t even follow its development). A few years after it came out I picked it up. Now XII is among my most favorite of the series. As you say above, though, most people aren’t going to think of something like my experience – all they’ll think of was how bad LR was.

    • http://www.onlysp.com/ Nick Calandra

      The power of a brand name…one has to wonder how much damage a bad Call of Duty game would do to that brand.

    • http://alanasghost.tumblr.com/ Alana

      I used to pre-order them and never contemplate not buying the FF games, but after the atrocious X-2, I stopped buying on release day, and this LR:XIII will be the first I won’t buy full-stop.

      • Jbumi

        Yeah, we’re in the same boat – I’m not purchasing LR either. I’ll wait until XV is out (in probably another 5 years!) before I decide whether or not to buy it. Still hoping it’s a return to form – I figure they were able to turn their MMO around so there’s hope they can do it to the main series as well.

  • Gargamelle

    It took Square-Enix a great deal of money and effort to fix FFXIV and
    there’s no point in having to invest that type of commitment on Final
    Fantasy XV when there is no historical issue with the way they are
    developing and what they are delivering outside of having name ties with
    FFXIII.

    So yes Final Fantasy XIII has hurt the faith consumers can place in the Final Fantasy franchise. If FFXV would have kept its original name as Final Fantasy XIII Versus it would have been much worse. So it is a very good thing that it moved away from both the FFXIII name and last gen consoles (PS3/Xbox 360).

    Yet it will be very hard for consumers to look at Final Fantasy XV and not think FFXIII. Since Lightning keeps popping in other franchises turning a great experience into a bitter one.

  • Jon Holden

    Final Fantasy is shit, has been for years.
    10 was the last really great one, 12 was mediocre, and everything since has been shit.

  • Jeff

    Every FF was bad after 7. Let me explain, 8,9, 10 were good games. They didn’t need to be called Final fantasy tho. They would have been a hit if it was a new original series. Lets face it, after 7, the only thing keeping these games any kind of “Final Fantasy” is summons, gil, and chocobo’s.

    Just because the game has chocobo’s, summons, and gil doesn’t make it a Final fantasy!

    • Razorsfury

      If you want to go that route then 7 wasn’t even final fantasy. You must not have played final fantasy (no number). 8,10 and 12 were fun games. Stay off the bandwagon, not very becoming.

  • Shadow8088

    While I have no problem with an evolving game genre, completely abandoning a battle system that, with slight modifications, you’ve been using for the past 20 years, seems like complete lunacy. If I wanted an action game, I’d BUY an action game. I want to explore and roam a world where there are RANDOM encounters. I want to ride chocobos again.. Do I want another FF7? no.. not even close… But I’d love something LIKE Final Fantasy 1 through 10… 11 and 14 are mmos so i’m not overly concerned there, but 12 and 13 (and it’s spawn from hell) have been complete and utter CRAP!! I’d rather see them make another FF10-Pretty pretty dress up (X-2 reloaded or some sh&t) than anything remotely close to the pile of steaming feces 13 is…

    guess I’m a bit of an FF purist, but the last few incarnations of FF don’t deserve the name…

    • Razorsfury

      You really must not have played 12 then…

  • GB Rodgers

    SquareEnix is trying to push Lightning down our throats like Microsoft is to Kinnect. It’s not gonna happen, people.

    • http://alanasghost.tumblr.com/ Alana

      I just feel that these teams have no idea of how to craft a decent female lead. They’re either stoic to the point of banality (Lightning), or excessively whiny (Sarah). Despite its flaws, the Tomb Raider reboot did an excellent job of making Lara a believable woman, strong without having to be a blank-faced badass and actually restrained themselves from exposing her cleavage at every available opportunity.

      • GB Rodgers

        Just the entire cast in FFXIII series has been dull and boring. And then make 2 sequels out of it.

  • Issac clarck

    İ think it will sell around 5 million copies.But square enix has to be realistic in sales expectations.No matter this franchise will sell there are loyal fans out there.

  • Adam_Rodriguez

    FFXII was my last Final Fantasy. I made a good call. I KNEW that all the teams that made Final Fantasy a great series was gone outside of Nomura’s team. Yazz, ‘Hashi, and even Sakaguchi all left and left a empty void in the franchise and even the company of Square/Enix/Soft.

    Amazing since Square is one of those companies that if they decided to make a particular game, would make insane levels of money. Their management just keeps on ****ing up though. Who ever is in the CEO seat should step down and let me take over. I’ll get paid less and yet make Square insane levels of money.

  • gerome

    square needs to go back to interesting provocative characters, stories, and settings. at one point, they made video games with an interesting twist to the now cliche anime art style. it was elegant and stylish but not overdone, the stories were aggressively interesting and emotional but not overdone and they made a lot more sense. it seems that square has a wrong ideology now. they believe that by over complicating stories, and using over exaggerated anime designs and personalities that range from absurd to dull they will make their games more interesting. no square, no. go back to the days of squaresoft and take a hard good look at what you were doing back then, please!.

  • http://alanasghost.tumblr.com/ Alana

    Reasons why I love FF7
    (1) Each character has a recognisable arc of growth
    (2) Tapped into relatable concerns such as class struggles, the ethics of science, the environment, terrorism, corporate rule, ambition.
    (3) Wasn’t saccharin in its delivery.
    (4) Didn’t overtly sexualise the female characters (look, Lightning has a new bikini outfit… sigh)
    (5) Remained grounded despite its supernatural content.
    (6) Materia system was infinitely tweakable.
    (7) Huge amount of strategy and preparation involved… I used to spend nearly an hour preparing for the weapon battles, made it so much more rewarding when I won.
    (8) Decent and varied side-quests with tangible rewards (KotR for chocobo breeding, ultima weapon for Flying Saucer battles etc.
    (9) Wasn’t afraid to kill characters permanently.
    (10) Perfect mix of narrative structure to open world exploration
    (11) Sephiroth! A bad guy with understandable motivation.
    (12) No cloyingly cute characters.
    (13) A feeling that when things went wrong, it was your fault rather than just bad luck.
    (14) Attention to detail. So much care was put into making every part of the game varied, dynamic and fun.

    FFXV looks like it might bring back some of these. But I’ve bought every FF game so far (6+), but LR:FFXIII is the first one I won’t be getting.

    • Amanda

      Girl high five.

    • Giordan

      1. Except for Aerith and Cloud.
      2. Corporate rule and terrorism, yes. The environment, barely.
      3. The PS1 was a 32 bit console and very easy to develop for.
      4. Tifa’s boobs… that’s all.
      5. I don’t get that…
      6. So is FFXIII/LR’s system.
      7. Again, so is FFXIII.
      8. Ok, you got me there, but getting the KotR is a pain in the ass.
      9. She was a useless bitch anyway.
      10. Yeah… and getting lost half the time.
      11. He’s doing it for his “mommy”… At least Kefka had good motivation.
      12. I direct you to Yuffie.
      13. Nope, it’s usually bad luck.
      14. Don’t know how to answer that…

      • http://alanasghost.tumblr.com/ Alana

        Well aren’t you a sexist asshole. Do you often call women you don’t like a bitch?

        • Giordan

          pretty much.

  • Nym Sudo

    FFXIII wasn’t that bad it was actually fairly good even great, the problem was XIII-2 that screwed it up because instead of building off the original ending properly they retconned it. And I’ve seen the story for LR, it works out fine given the crap they gave us in XIII-2. And if LR’s ending leads to the creation of XV’s world, I’d except it, its a better idea than it being our world.

  • Amanda

    No one bought Lightning Returns in the opening week in Japan, and no one bought in it NA, yet there is ZERO information on sales anywhere. It got a 66 on Metacritic (that’s a D), and people are hailing it like it’s the best game that has ever existed. Is this a sick joke I’m just not getting?

    I think it will hurt FFXV sales because I’m not going to buy it if it has the FFXIII crystal convolution base story that supposedly will be in it. It’s crap, no one can relate to it, and it’s not creative at all.

    I like semi-linear games because when I was growing up with games like FFVII they were my books. They were my adventures. You don’t get to rewrite books or control the story – you just have to deal with it and learn the lessons written in. I hate this new style of choose-your-own-adventure, boring story, mission-based life escape. I’ve had enough.

    • http://alanasghost.tumblr.com/ Alana

      Agreed, if The Last of Us has told us anything, it’s the power of writing a story and sticking to it. Sure it’s a nice idea to have the game react to your choices, but down that path leads to zero interesting characterisation (blank slate is necessary for open-ended gameplay).

      • Amanda

        People still like Resident Evil and it’s more RPG now than RPG games. There are still points of action that occur if you are close to them, and the story continues even if you adventure around for a while. If I wanted open world, I would just go outside and go for a walk.

  • Lawrence

    FF Sales have been going down hill since the release of FF7, it came back up pretty good with FF10 but still a ways off from FF7 sales figures, but now the sales figures have been plummeting again so it’s possible it can have an affect on sales though I doubt it will ever reach the figures FF7 hit or even come close to that. For me, I’ll be picking up FF15 on day 1, I’ve skipped out on FF-13-3 all together. For me FF13 has no bearing on FF15 since FF15 has a new lead and supposed open world, These were the 2 big problems for FF13, the majority did not like Lightning’s character and the lack of an open world was a big issue. These 2 problems seem to have been fixed in FF15 so I think it will do better then FF-13-3 in sales for sure, can’t say if it will do better then 13-2 or 13 but it should.

    http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Final_Fantasy