Will Lightning Returns Hurt Final Fantasy XV Sales?
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.
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.
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?