Feature Article

How to Fix Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Finale.

Final Fantasy is broken.

With Lightning Returns, it has become clear that Square Enix is suffering from a crisis of imagination, caught between a desire to give players what we want while still searching for the creative energy to deliver something we've never seen before. I believe, however, that with Toriyama's trilogy past us, Final Fantasy XV could become the great crystal hope we've been aching for. And to make that so, FFXV director Tetsuya Nomura should heed the lessons of the FFXIII games--the greatest of which is that blindly pursuing sales and creative trends without understanding the reasons for their successes leads you into traps that are difficult to escape.

The beginning of the end? It depends on who you ask.

Seeking Inspiration from the Proper Places

I have often said that the games I adore the most are not those created by developers trying to give me what I wanted, but those I didn't know I wanted until I had them. Most good developers collect data based on how people play their games, focus test their creation in various stages of development, and ask for direct feedback from fans. Portal developer Valve famously collects information on when players die and engages in exhaustive playtesting to fine-tune their games, for instance, though it is ultimately up to creators to determine how to use this data, and when direct feedback must be filtered through the designer's vision, or just disregarded entirely. Try to make everyone happy, and you lose sight of your goals--and as former Civilization lead designer Jon Shafer once stated, "most failed games suffer a lack of focus."

Is this the best game to be inspiring Final Fantasy

On one hand, it's laudable that Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama would incorporate ideas from successful games--but like other Japanese developers, Toriyama saw Call of Duty as the standard-setter, hoping to replicate its success without understanding what makes it so successful. Ace Combat director Kazutoki Kono rode the same wave with Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, producing a shallow game with lots of pizzazz but little passion. By chasing a trend, Kono sacrificed a vision he once believed in. Toriyama traveled a similar path on the way to Final Fantasy XIII, telling Tech Digest, "we're more interested in things such as first person shooters like Call of Duty. They give a better sense of tension on the battlefield. We sometimes draw inspiration from those sorts of games. It's not just RPGs but FPS titles that get us excited."

Games with big worlds really can tell good stories.

Meanwhile, even most first-person shooters fail to re-create the set-piece-focused style of Call of Duty in any meaningful way. Yet Toriyama was adamant that the best way to tell a great story is to lead the player down a narrow path. "When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like... [It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you're given that much freedom," Toriyama told Xbox World 360 in 2010. This statement has proven a self-fulfilling prophecy: Lightning Returns is not only the most open of the XIII trilogy, but also tells the weakest story by a significant margin. However, talented game developers like Rockstar, Rocksteady, and Xenoblade Chronicles studio Monolith Soft have proven that a big world featuring seemingly endless freedom can also be home to a great story. The problem isn't that writers can't tell great stories in open worlds; the problem is that Toriyama can't.

With Final Fantasy XIII-2, Toriyama changed his approach. In 2011, he told Xbox Achievements, "our main goal with XIII-2 was listening to what people thought of XIII. A lot of people were unhappy, so we wanted to answer to those voices." He still admitted to finding some inspiration from Red Dead Redemption, referring to the "bit where you actually ride a horse," and again leading me to question whether he can identify what causes games like Red Dead to earn such accolades. "The fact that you can receive missions almost anywhere in the world" is not an innovation unique to that game, and it makes me wonder about the claustrophobic bubble within which Square Enix is crafting its games.

With Tetsuya Nomura at the helm of the Final Fantasy XV team, the series' overall direction is looking up. The game features a large world traversable in a variety of ways--airship, chocobo, and so forth--though it also harbors shooter elements, though so little is known about these elements that it's hard to guess at just how prominent they might be. I hope, however, that Nomura trusts in his own concepts, and is less concerned with casting Final Fantasy in the Call of Duty mold. At the very least, I hope that if Nomura finds inspiration in Western games, he finds it in games that allow Final Fantasy to mature. I don't want Square to create the game they think we want; I want them to create the game we didn't know we couldn't live without until we have it.

More than one of Final Fantasy's best characters are depicted above. What was it that made them so beloved?

Creating Relatable Characters

You could argue that Final Fantasy XIII's story was no stunning victory, as much as I personally enjoyed it. I liked Lightning then, but she did not carry the game on her own, and I didn't much miss her in Final Fantasy XIII-2. For some reason, however, Square was banking on Lightning's ability to carry a game on her own, so much so that Toriyama stripped away the party dynamic completely in Lightning Returns. And without an ensemble for her to interact with, Lightning was bled of her appeal, left to mope on her own while reciting repetitive dialogue that turned simple situations into tangled webs of metaphors and religious allegories. Harry Potter had Ron and Hermione to guide him through his relatable turmoil; Luke Skywalker had Han Solo, C-3PO, and other companions to give context to his normalcy. Lightning Returns is like a disappointing sitcom spinoff--the Joanie Loves Chachi to Final Fantasy XIII's Happy Days. Without the proper group of friends to support them, some characters simply wither.

I wouldn't call Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker weak characters: they grounded us in strange new worlds. They showed identifiable growth, and we could empathize with them because their situations were familiar, even when the worlds they inhabited were not. Harry was a savior, certainly, but he was also a gawky kid coming to grips with a cruel professor and bullying schoolmates. Luke Skywalker wanted to make something of himself--to break free from a mundane life and see the galaxy beyond a simple farm. Lightning wants to see Serah. That's it. That's what she wanted in Final Fantasy XIII, and again in Lightning Returns. In a world filled with unfamiliar concepts with funny names like fal'Cie, l'Cie, and Cie'th, we need drama we can be invested in. And drama results when the plot follows from the needs and desires of the characters, rather than the characters serving as plot points first and foremost.

Perhaps this is why I appreciate Final Fantasy XII as the underpraised gem of the series: it was about people and politics, rather than gods and lifestreams. And consider the widely beloved Final Fantasy VI. It wasn't about saving the world, not really. In fact, the world is destroyed halfway through the game, in one of the great unexpected developments in role-playing history. The aspects of the story that I remember most fondly aren't the plot points, however, but the moments that defined and deepened the characters. Shadow may seem as stoic as Lightning, but his stoicism hid a touching backstory that you uncover through his dreams. Shadow masked his pain; Lightning's pain is front and center, and nothing is masked. Her quietness veils… more quietness.

In a world filled with unfamiliar concepts with funny names like fal'Cie, l'Cie, and Cie'th, we need drama we can be invested in.

Saving the world is fine and all, but dealing with classroom bullies is no mean feat, either.

Toriyama insists that Lightning is a well-loved heroine. He recently told Siliconera, "we know that Lightning is an extremely popular character, even when compared to other Final Fantasy characters." She's already appeared in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn--no surprise, given that she makes a remark in Lightning Returns that she'll have to visit Eorzea at some point in the future. (I'm sure that the story gymnastics Square performed to justify the crossover are exhausting.) I'm not sure where Toriyama gets his figures from, and perhaps Square's market research has led him to that conclusion. My guess, however, is that Toriyama himself is so enamored of Lightning that he’s unwilling to leave the character behind, even if her presence is at the detriment of the game.

And so now, attention turns to Final Fantasy XV's Noctis Lucis Caelum, who must break free from the shackles of cliche, and the shackles of a game designer’s infatuation with a digital avatar. The time has passed when we could accept the Moeblob (the chirpy girl with no other definable character trait), the orphaned hero, and the monosyllabic brooder as the best ensemble cast available. It's time to create people, not "types."

At very least, I crave a good villain, a strong foil for the hero's willing (or unwilling) sense of duty. Perhaps it's no wonder that I think Caius Ballad is the best character of the XIII trilogy; he's the logical evolution of the tortured malefactor best personified by Final Fantasy VII's Sephiroth. Final Fantasy XIII did not reveal its villain until well into the game, and Lightning Returns doesn't feature an omnipresent villain in its usual sense. If it provides a protagonist worth rooting for and a villain we love to hate--or even legitimately love--Final Fantasy XV could be an important step in Final Fantasy's evolution.

This is not Final Fantasy. But why not?

Reestablishing an Identity

You may have heard that Bravely Default is the best Final Fantasy games in years, though it is not, in fact, part of the Final Fantasy brand.

Why not?

Bravely Default began as a Final Fantasy game, after all. According to Bravely Default producer Tomoya Asanowe, “originally, in the early planning stages, [we] were looking at this project as a sequel to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.” Eventually, however, a new brand was born; says Asanowe, "we have also incorporated lots of interesting new elements that have not been seen in games in that series up till now."

Why is a giant bird Final Fantasy's most recognizable remaining element?

I question, however, that introducing interesting new elements required abandoning the Final Fantasy brand. Each new Final Fantasy game introduces new elements, from novel combat systems, to wholly new worlds, to new methods of character advancement. Aspects I have often associated with Final Fantasy--full adventuring parties, for instance--haven’t appeared in every mainline entry, leaving few defining characteristics. Chocobos. Moogles. The victory theme. The arpeggiated main theme. The spell names. Beyond these factors, what makes a Final Fantasy game what it is? It strikes me that Square Enix has retained what matters least for Final Fantasy’s identity, and has discarded what matters most. Perhaps it’s heresy to say such a thing, but I’d gladly give up moogles if it means being rewarded with a tonally consistent role-playing game. I’d never miss chocobos if I could explore a unique world with a group of adventurers that break free of ancient archetypes.

Reestablishing the Final Fantasy identity isn’t just a matter of copying past successes, however. It's easy to look back on previous Final Fantasy games and cite the ways in which they are superior to the series' recent outings. I have personally mentioned other Final Fantasies as examples of properly-delivered tropes, but if Final Fantasy is to grow, Square Enix must be willing to break free of the past and prove its ability to discern between innovation and gimmickry.

The problem isn't that writers can't tell great stories in open worlds; the problem is that Toriyama can't.

Hope. And not the annoying kind of Hope, but the good kind.

What is that difference? It's the difference between Final Fantasy IV's active time battles, and Lightning Returns' countdown clock. It's the difference between Final Fantasy III's job system, and Final Fantasy XIII's crystarium. Innovations give us new ways to play games, and change the manner with which the game's systems unfold. Gimmicks introduce change for change's sake, without regard for how that change impacts the elements around it. In some ways, it comes back to Jon Shafer's call for focus: innovations are often solutions to problems or avenues for delivering new ideas, while gimmicks are bolted on whether or not they complement the game as a whole. The former stems from great focus; the latter, from lack thereof.

Toriyama’s view regarding what makes a Final Fantasy game is relatively clear, at least: it must be pretty, above all other concerns. As he told Tech Digest, “We set out to create something with a greater visual impact, something more spectacular that is only possible when you separate the field and the battle data.” By now, however, it’s abundantly clear that being pretty is not an identity in and of itself. Here’s hoping that Final Fantasy XV is pretty--but that the beauty doesn’t come at the expense of the wonder of exploring a new world, and at the expense of the deep systems that make role-playing games so exciting to play.

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Kevin-V

Kevin VanOrd

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.
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1614 comments
cowboybbp1
cowboybbp1

I would have to say that FF13s main story flaw was the lack of an unexpected threat. In every FF game I can remember, the characters always start the game with the goal of defeating (what seems at the time to be) this horrible threat. Only to find out after that threat is defeated that the REAL threat is not the evil dictator but something (or someone) else that is vastly more destructive.

In FF13, there is only ever one enemy (and not a very good one) in the Fal'cie. In 13-2, the Fal'cie are all gone suddenly (for some reason) and it's you against Caius. In LR, the enemy really just seems to be time itself until you hit Bunivelza (sp?) in the last half hour.

So, while I agree that change would be nice, the problem with the 13 trilogy was due to change. And I would be happy with a return to older form (at least for now).

Elranzer
Elranzer

tl;dr: fire Motomu Toriyama

augmira
augmira

I would love to see FFXII get a second run with a little HD love. It holds a special spot in my JRPG heart, alongside FF4, 6, 7 and 9. Bring it baaaaack!

michyeosseo
michyeosseo

This article was written a couple of weeks ago so I don't think there'll be much feedback. For me, the things that need to change are:


1. Storyline: lately, FF has been throwing us in the middle of things: wars between two nations/worlds/planets. Everything is already going on and no one knows what it's about. I wouldn't mind a slower buildup: an architectural discovery, a contagious disease, ... I prefer something that's new to both the characters and the players so they can evolve simultaneously.

2. Character Development: We've had some nice character development in some past FF titles (Vivi was probably the epitome of character development in a Final Fantasy game), but other than that you mostly end up with the same characters as you started out with: in Final Fantasy your team gets stronger and they kill of the threat by working together... but I feel that's not enough.


3. Choice: We've come to a point in gaming where we want our actions to have an actual impact on the storyline, not just on the next 3 lines of speech. Actions could have an impact on who joins/leaves your team, which side you support and of course how the story line ends up.


I don't need exactly 'openworld' (I don't like it when games just throw me in the middle of something and tell me I'm free to figure it out myself). But it shouldn't be as linear as when a choice is given, it doesn't have any impact.

say0cheese
say0cheese

Nicely written article. Definitely an interesting read, especially since I was a bit disappointed with the ff13 series myself and am hoping to see ff15 turn out to be one of the best in the franchise. ff13 definitely seemed ambitious in terms of epic storytelling and it lost out on developing characters that the player would actually care about, which I pray ff15 will not do. When you said "I don't want Square to create the game they think we want" I couldn't agree more; even though ff13 wasn't exactly great, it was at least built upon an original idea by square. The following two games lacked quality and focus because the company was just catering to popular opinion and wasn't really thinking about what they, as the developers, want to make. Whatever vision square enix has for ff15, I hope it's a creative one that they wanted to see produced, ideally with more emphasis on characters imo haha

gianmoretto
gianmoretto

I think 10 was the one which ruined the series. I mean, maybe ruin is a strong word, but before 13, wich were the main installmentes in the series? 12, 10 and 9. Was 9 a bad FF? I don't think so. Neither 8 nor 7. FFX was linear, had, in my opinion, that boring pilgrimage story. I guess FFXIII was the same team behind 10, Gran Pulse even resembles an area for free roaming on 10. I still like the series, and I respect the ones who like 10, but I miss those grand and exciting moments that the FF series used to have, throughout its long stories. I think 10 presented some changes to the series that made the series less glorious, even tough it had great reviews at the time of its release (which I tend to disagree with).

gianmoretto
gianmoretto

Sorry, I thought my previous message had not been sent.

raxspot
raxspot

@gianmoretto Final Fantasy X was my favorite of them all (and i stopped playing after XIII, and yeah i skipped X-2 cause it was just awful). The story and the gameplay made me invest about 300 hours of time in it, not even FF7 had that effect on me. I even kinda cried with the ending.. so yeah, defo the game WAS Special. And just to finish, FF-X IS nothing like FF-XIII.

gianmoretto
gianmoretto

For me, FFX was the one which ruined the series. When people talk about how the series isn't the same thing anymore, which one do you think started it all? 12? 10? 9? I wouldn't put 9 on that list. FFX got great reviews at its time of release. I don't get it. It was linear and that pilgrimage stuff was boring as well. BTW, I guess it was the same team that made 13, it even has an area similar to Gran Pulse 13. I respect the ones who like 10, I still like it, maybe ruin is a strong word, but I think the series lost those grand and exciting moments with the arrival of 10's style and game design.

tongchang
tongchang

FF is dead. It was fun in the 8 and 16 bit days because most of the art work was just pixelated sprites. But as the graphics improved. Especially during the late PS2 stage. The franchise was could not appeal to its core audience anymore. And ff13 was extremely so. At least we got Lightning. But she alone cant carry it. The franchise is just ugly now

bonkdacarnivore
bonkdacarnivore

This is a really long article in terms of how it talks about a subject and never once addresses how to actually fix Final Fantasy.  You could sum it up as thus:

-Return to turn based combat


That's it.  That's all you have to do.  People such as myself (and believe me, there are a LOT of people such as myself - gamers well into their 30's that have been playing FF since day 1, have tonnes of disposable income, and a desire to play FF games) left FF when they released XII and have steadfastly refused to return, mostly because of the combat system.  These people keep trying to make it more like Call of Duty to try to appeal to the kids who like hopping around like cracked out bunny rabbits mashing buttons, shooting things, and remembering combos.  Those kids are never going to flock to FF, because FF is not an FPS, and that's all they want to do is see a hand and a gun, have some multiplayer maps, and have the ability to fast forward past anything that even remotely resembles trying to tell a story.


I like WRPG's, and will tolerate real time combat in them, though I'd prefer the old cutaway from the world to a battle screen and turn based combat - so long as they don't make me mash buttons or bother with sequences. I don't tolerate it of my JRPG's.


I bought XII.  I played it for about 4 hours and gave up on it.  I rented XIII.  I loathed everything I saw about it, from the hallway to, most importantly, the battle system, and I abandoned it before I even got to the open world part of the game.  I completely ignored XIII-2 and XIII-Lightning or whatever-the-hell-it-was-called.  And I will be ignoring XV, because from what I saw...real time combat, button mashing, combo sequences.


Screw that.  Yes, FF is broken.  No, Gamespot apparently doesn't know the problem.  Bring back old style JRPG play.  Old-style JRPG's used to DOMINATE game sales.  It wasn't until people started messing with the formula and trying to "improve" it that it descended into a niche genre.  Gee, I wonder why?

Yuna08
Yuna08

"Final Fantasy is broken." -NUFF SAID

mrpelicanpants
mrpelicanpants

"The problem isn't that writers can't tell great stories in open worlds; the problem is that Toriyama can't."


This. Too many developers conclude that something cannot be done simply because THEY cannot do it. That's just ego talking, and it makes for very little creativity.


Toriyama is not a director, he's a dictator.

noctcaelum
noctcaelum

Nice article but that's....not Bravely Default screenshot.
It's "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons".

noctcaelum
noctcaelum

@johnnyjeckt the URL image name is bravely-default.jpg. Sorry it is just my OCD kicking in, ugh. :(

resh_aykut
resh_aykut

FF trilogy was great except gameplay . They changed gameplay so much . But They used very well nova crystallis myth in trilogy's story . I really enjoyed while playing the saga . 

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

A nice read but it does draw into question one's review when the person who wrote this article is the same one that originally gave FFXIII an 8.5. It certainly sounds like he doesn't think it's so great now.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@horizonwriter The review of ff13 was appropriate. At the time it came out there is no denying the quality, production, and content of the game compared to its peers of its genre and current games of the day. Of course it is not a review of FF games in the series to itself, as there are many FFs that have done better. FF13 is a great game and an amazing title for the ps3 - but .... for there to only be one ff game during the overly long ps3 7th gen and compared to the powerful stories other ff have told - ff13 has not aged well at all. 

koylu8
koylu8

Remove the "Auto Attack" option.

The Fal'Cie is boring.

Bring back the old "Gem" system from the old FF7-9 systems.

Drop the 3 battle systems (Defence, Attack, Brake Shields) or what ever you call them. If it's not fun then what's the meaning with keeping it


Make an open world


One last thing... open your eyes instead of walking blind. Listen to people. That's professional.


jauburn
jauburn

TBH i think the writer is right. Yes we can look at the past but that's just a little inspiration. The real beauty is having a great idea and going with it. Develop that idea to the fullest as if it is an entirely new IP. love it and nurture it fully. This is how great games are created. with great focus. Spewing out a new game a year only typically works for FPS games like COD and sports games like FIFA and half the time they can't even get it right! this should not be the motive for ANY RPG.


on another note, I really loves FF IX... I really want to buy a psx just to play it again.

Naridar
Naridar

Where SE should look are the dozens of successful RPGs the elements of past FFs have diffused to over time, instead of an entirely different genre with a completely different focus.


If the XIII trilogy would have taken inspiration for character dynamics from Persona 4, maybe the Lightning-tumor could've been avoided. No P4 character would work on its' own, but through interacting with each other, they evolve to a whole other level. 


If they would've taken gameplay inspiration from Disgaea, maybe we would've avoided the gimmicky crystarium system. Endless postgame possibilities existed in almost every FF, they inspired the creators of Nippon Ichi, why not take inspiration from them for once?


If they would've played Xenoblade Chronicles (alas, they couldn't, as it was released after XIII), I'm sure the corridor syndrome would've been non-existant in XIII, and maybe they would've thought twice about punishing exploration and experimentation in LR.

Seriphious
Seriphious

The problem is that developers are looking at other games that aren't in the same ballpark for inspiration. Call of Duty? The game that's mostly successful do to it's quick action and pvp? You want to intergrate this into an rpg? There's a reason why titles like Call of Duty and Halo clash, and not say Call of Duty and Final Fantasy. The intergration to new mmo isn't about making everything into a shooter, because not everyone likes shooters. You still have your tactical gamers, your sports gamers. Sure Call of Duty's field may have increased for it's game type but that increase won't help a rpg. Why? RPG is about telling a story, and Call of Duty basically dumped its story element. It's all about the multiplayer. Also a large portion of Call of Duties player influx came from Rainbow Six dropping out of existance. 


In RPG's you need something memorable, and I don't mean the combat. The graphics and the battle system enhance the experience from the story being told, making you enjoy the world your visiting more. It makes the game more playable, replayable. Without a story, whats the point in an rpg? Just pick up a mmo if you looking to just do battles. there are plenty out there that covers most, if not all, avenues. Gameplay involves everything from combat skills and abilities, to items, to travel to true game innovation. Developers seem to have lost sight of what innovation means. You want your players to fall into that world completely when they are playing it. Your characters need to beable to move people in one way or another. Characters that completely piss you off to those that make you smile. Situations that leave you heart broken or give you an overall excited feeling. You don't see this in rpgs now days, and that's what an rpg is. As for final fantasy, it was never one or two things that did it. The game as a whole was at the peak of rpgs up until 10, I'm skeptical of 10-2 but that's me. 11 and 14 are mmos so they don't really count, 11 being the better gameplay wise. 12 was a remake of 11's system, with a backdrop, an installation of set characters, a quick install skill grid and political story to back it. Good but I didn't enjoy it much due it's likeness to an mmo. 

Seriphious
Seriphious

As for FF-10, players that didn't like it played it through and through, unlike recent title. Why? Because the points of the game they didn't like didn't actually crush the game as a whole. The game is basically hated due to the linar style of play it took or the overall emo-ness of the characters, neither of which actually dropped the rate of the story. Throughout you still wondered what would happen next all the way up until the end, which is another reason people hated the game. And when the game was finished, you went back to play blitzball for months, if not years.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@Seriphious People who hate FF10 for being "linear" have clearly never actually played an FF or Square game before that, because not in any of them could you go do what you wanted and actually have a story at the same time, not until the inevitable freedom section of every game. Every square game has and had one.

stewnwt
stewnwt

The other thing Square needs to do is look at what games were successful or well loved.


Two examples I can think of are the Lunar series, which were the ultimate meat and potatoes JRPG, but did it with great style and a sense of humour. 


An even better example would be Skies of Arcadia (I played Legends on the Gamecube). Nothing in that game was spectacular and it was full of standard tropes but it just did everything so WELL, had a pretty damn good story, had tons of boss battles, side quests, unlockable secret content and introduced something a little new with the ship battles and the Cupil growth. Bravely Default is similar in that it doesn't break the mold but is a blast to play because all of the basic things are just done SO well (I could rave about the excellent menu system for half an hour, just basic stuff like that which developers get lazy with). 


And look at games that had a lot of potential but were crippled by major flaws - take the good things from them and improve upon them. A great example is Shining Tears for the PS2 - had so much potential to be an awesome Mana style action RPG but the combo moves were broken, the enemy AI and limited episode maps were quite poor (instead of a continuous over world Mana or Evermore style). But it still managed to be fun to play in spite of that as it had a fantastic cast of characters and great music. Work on combining the battle system of games such as the Tales series and Valkyrie Profile 2 for example. 


FFXIII was a failure on innumerable levels, but the linearity and artificially enforced single player combat system were among the most destructive. 


Lots of adults play games now as well and want to play them socially. More multiplayer RPGs please!

stewnwt
stewnwt

"I have often said that the games I adore the most are not those created by developers trying to give me what I wanted, but those I didn't know I wanted until I had them. "


No. No. A thousand times NO. 


This is the quintessential problem with Square-Enix which the rest of the video game industry seems to understand (Halo 4, Mario Kart 8, Diablo III, WoW, Zelda series, hell even Marty Party 10). Give us more of what we want. Stop trying to TELL us what we want. Which is what the producers over at Squenix have been doing ever since the PS2. 


We want a fantasy based FF series that doesn't look like it was lifted from one of George Lucas' mind numbing creative abortions (aka the Star Wars prequels). 


We want an actual sequel to Secret of Mana that uses the same combat mechanics and has MULTIPLAYER the way the first one did that made it so popular. 


We'd prefer gorgeous 2D games that don't suck over gorgeous 3D games that do. 


Bravely Default is amazing because it's what Final Fantasy 9 should have been - a good cast of characters and good villains (seriously, thong wearing Kuja?). I agree FF12 had some fantastic characters but a shitty villain and the plot really fell apart near the end of the game. I liked that they tried something new with the battle system - I'd rather they improved on that and made it more interactive maybe Secret of Mana style rather than reinvent the wheel every time out. 


You point out that Nomura seems in love with Lightening - she was a great character in concept but the piss poor execution of FFXIII ruined her. Time to relegate her to the dustbin of history. 

mrpelicanpants
mrpelicanpants

@stewnwt You 100% misunderstood what he meant by that comment. He wasn't endorsing developers telling us what we want. He was endorsing them going off and creating something interesting that just happens to strike a chord and fill a void the gamer didn't even know he or she had until playing the game. While on the surface it might look the same, it's actually a completely different concept. It would be more like a happy coincidence than anything contrived or intentional. The problem is that Kevin failed to mention how this is extremely difficult to do BECAUSE you can't determine it, it relies on luck.


I completely agree with you about developers telling us what we want being a bad idea. Very few companies have been able to do it and be successful with it.

crustosser
crustosser

We need emotionally involved characters, so that everything around them has a deep meaning so that nothing is left mundane. Complex villains going from power hungry self centered a**holes to tortured souls finding meanings in blind devotions and reacting through flaws and personal wounds from past experience.  We need all the small elements to have such meaning that when looking from perspective creates as a whole a deep tale of struggles, grinding for happiness and purpose.  And adding different races to the party to deepen differences between them, bringing several fresh perspectives on life and mixing it up so that there's constant tension and argument but through the story evolving to camaraderie and selflessness for a common goal for a greater good.

Personally I like the active time battle system; I think that there is a lot that can be done to deepen it.  When I first saw final fantasy x, the battles were so beautiful and in your face, camera angles focusing on a great sword strike or jumping with a spear or the limit breaks in ff7, how awesome were the attacks right?, it really felt like your beating the heck out of em, with style and aggression.  The battles should be involving, each strike counts and given a lot of focus instead of having everyone attacking all at once while the enemies is also doing that, it break the Jrpg into a big clash that you merely see what's happening and can't enjoy it since everything is so fast, always smashing buttons on your controller.  It's my opinion but I prefer genre sticking to its roots and evolving from that, otherwise if you’re going to change it and making it another genre, than make something fresh instead with another name.  A final fantasy is Jrpg, not an action movie or a shooter... when you've got legions of hardcore fans that stuck since the beginning, it is not because you are doing something to please them but because your evolving your product constantly making it more and more of what it is and getting better at it, that's how you keep them, the fan band will always get bigger that way...but if you change the recipe and instead of making great variations of pasta you start making tofu plates, well no wonder the fans get disappointed, a lot of them just don’t like tofu!  Just like resident evil, its survival horror and there is a whole lot to improve what it is instead of making it a shooter.


As far as the world goes, it should feel like an adventure, discovering secret areas, bunch of side quests but attached with meaning so it’s not just going in there, kill a few baddies get the treasure and bye bye.  We need some locations with history, a story to tell, even if it’s just told in the layouts or with the landscape, just something that you can get a little attached to, creating an atmosphere.  And what about having some chest with more than just one item in it heh?  Going through long corridors battling beasties to get one phoenix down, or a hi-potion, it’s getting too predictable, I enjoyed monster-in-a-box, sometimes it would kick your ass if not prepared, we need to be surprised and get our a** handed from time to time so that it feels fresh and challenging.  And most of all... remember the times when you could beat a game with all side-quests without relying on walkthrough's! It was hard but it was doable, now they make the games so that you need a walkthrough to complete all side-quests, where's the sense of accomplishment in that!!! Example: final fantasy x had insanely complexes ways to get the ultimate weapons for each characters, without a walkthrough it was just impossible, was not cool at all, on the other hand final fantasy 7 had a lot of content for the keen explorer, it was difficult, going from breeding chocobos, exploring every nooks and cranny of every dungeons but it was doable, at that time the only thing I didn’t beat was the ruby weapon in the desert, but that was on me, cause everything else I did.  It was all doable without a walkthrough!


I think they are doing well as far as the different ways to <level up> characters, crystarium, the nodes, even if some are better than others.  I think the materia learning system in ff7 was awesome, a huge variations of summons, skills and magic. 


On a last note... bravery default was pretty cool, i would've loved for the villains to be more serious rather than cartoonish, but even though its not titled ff, its defenitvely one the great ones.  I wanna mention ff dimensions on the app store, enjoyed the hardcore old school style, 5 characther battles totally rock's and the multiple characters stories was well done and entertaining, well done square enix ;)


krazken
krazken

Different people enjoy Final Fantasy for different reasons. For me, I like character development, story, and the sense of exploration and discovery. I felt like FFXIII was weak on all these fronts.


I've finished every other Final Fantasy, but I quit playing XIII about 40 hours into the game, annoyed with the cheesy voice overs and linear maps. I watched a play through on Youtube and found out that I really didn't miss out on anything.

grenadehh
grenadehh

@krazken For a game that takes less than 40 hours to beat, if you hated it too much to grind and explore, that's a feat.

rynn21
rynn21

Final Fantasy X was the last Final Fantasy game I truly enjoyed playing from start to finish.

Gankstar_VX84
Gankstar_VX84

FF games have gone downhill because of their desire for perfection and the engines they use. They've become more and more linear. Most people fondly.. lovingly remember FF10. I do.. but the first  fk knows how long was basically one long road you follow untill you get a few more paths and then back to another long road. I honestly don't know why it has to be so linear.  When I play a FF I wanna see people laugh love die and conquer, thats what FF is about... Hell if u wanna innovate push the boat out make a generational story, show how the world has changed 3- years later, etc there's loads they can do. Instead they are all one linear corridor-shooter esque adventure that plays like a manga.

WeWerePirates
WeWerePirates

Being in the midst of playing the FFXIII trilogy I can't really agree with a lot of this.


First of all it's not really how to fix Final Fantasy but a hatchet job on Toriyama, carried out primarily by pulling quotes out of context which isn't really fair.


As to the defining qualities of Final Fantasy, no it's not just Chocobos, Moogles and Firaga. It's about being a big visual experience and delivering something new each time. Change is a defining quality. Final Fantasy as a series is an anthology of course it's going to be tough to pin down the elements beyond the obvious ones that connect them. However, even if you stripped out those elements I think you could still identify the Final Fantasy games.

It's easy to forget how much times have changed. FFIV had a main production staff of 14 and took a year to make, I don't know about VI but it was probably not vastly bigger. How many hands made FFXIII. When we compare FFVI to later games we give it a free pass on so much, its graphics, its (lack of) voice acting, its combat mechanics, its script. It's easy to focus on the good, we cherry pick from our memories and we are blase about the technical achievements of modern games. Of course it's not fair to compare FFVI by modern standards, but that runs both ways. Progress is a double edged sword.


Personally I was really disappointed with FFXIII when it first came out but I've made my peace with it. FFX is now fondly remembered but it took a lot of flack and unfavourable comparisons to FFVI in its time too. FFVII still gets the FFVI is better treatment but assertions are just that; I could say FFVII is better than FFVI but that would just be my opinion. FFXIII isn't bad it's just disappointing and I think its crisis of identity is a sign of the wider crisis of identity in JRPGs during its creation. Toriyama had a tough job since FFXIII was the great hope for bringing the JRPG back after a time when it fallen out of favour. He didn't succeed at that but he didn't make a bad game by any reasonable measure. I also think as a trilogy FFXIII is greater than the sum of its parts.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@WeWerePirates  Honey Final Fantasy is a JRPG what defines it are the common gameplay elements,story [the franchise name is an allusion for that] and other minor aspects like chocobos,moogles, airships and summons that was introduced later, FFXIII ''saga'' failed to incorporate the most basic aspects of a JRPG[ the gameplay itself] and that is the reason behind the failure,they could try something new but they DEFINITELY had to maintain the traditional gameplay elements otherwise the game would be obsolete as a JRPG that is what happened with FFXIII ''saga'' this fact can't be erased, your comment is mostly based in opinions and they have no value against Kevin review.

E-Major
E-Major

@cory_vet_gamer @WeWerePirates Baby Final Fantasy is above and foremost a GAME. That means that it is a part of one of the most rapidly changing industries on the planet. Beyond that the entire Crystal saga has always been defined by their willingness to incorporate new and at times unrefined ideas. Square Enix has NEVER just made traditional games. From FF1 they have always been the company that pushes the envelope. Yes this has led to failures and disappointments in the past (I mean its how they went from squaresoft to Square Enix). Yet they have always dusted themselves off and jumped right back into the ring. This is just MY opinion. But I completely agree with what 'WeWerePirates' said. It seems to be a disease that afflicts gamers quite often. The "In my day we had REAL games" phobia. Why not judge the game on it's own merits instead of comparing it to the glowing memories you have of your 'BEST' Final Fantasy.


P.S. I would just like to point out that I actually AM one of the people who LOVES Lightning as a character. I also hope they find a way to keep the XIII series' sense of pacing in XV. A vaster world is all well and good, but so far EVERY Final Fantasy has been linear. The vast world was more window dressing and optional missions than actual plot development. This left me feeling as if i was just killing time before the next IMPORTANT thing happened.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

Dears Final Fantasy need a deep and memorable storyline with unexpected turn of events to impress us once again, and inside that storyline must have be charismatic characters with distinguished personalities,that way we can feel their feelings and get attached to them so that we can laugh and cry with them depending on the situation that helps the immersion tremendously, the antagonists can't be spared as well they have to be cunning,evil and intelligent to come up with plans that will bring the good guys to their limits and the gameplay must have everything that a JRPG can offer,exploration,free roam,quests,minigames and sidestories [yes secondary characters MUST have their time to shine too!],it is also very important to have decent OST and BCG musics that can depict the situation like Uematsu always cared to implement, i'm sure that many fans of FF like me deserve to see all that again.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

"He still admitted to finding some inspiration from Red Dead Redemption, referring to the 'bit where you actually ride a horse.'"


That might be the greatest thing I've ever read.  Imagine if this guy ever plays Golden Axe, where you ride a dragon.  He'll have a coronary.



Retroxgamer0
Retroxgamer0

i agree, there is nothing wrong with final fantasy at all, the fans seem to be the problem. i have no problem enjoying most final fantasy games from 7 to 13, and i'm in love with the retooled ff14 realm reborn. also, when i looked at the picture stating "more of one final fantasy character above is so loved, why?" none of those characters appeal to me that much. the answer to your question is probably blind nostalgia. my favorite ff characters so far, are cloud, lightning, and zidane, in that order.
 final fantasy 6 really isn't as big as people make it out to be, i think people just can't take their nostalgia goggles off. i love retro games, heck i even gave myself a screen name reflecting that, but i take the games for what they are, not the experience i had..because then that would just be bias. ff games have progressed and improved so much since 6. i've already been playing ffxiv realm reborn more hours than i ever played ff6.

travadinho
travadinho

@Retroxgamer0  You know, don't take any offense to this but you sound like a younger gamer.  The beauty of FF6 was it was waaaaaaaayy ahead of its time in terms of writing.  And honestly, it was better written than most newer games.  


Most fans of FF13 seem to be younger gamers.  And, to boot, most people who really reacted strongly against FF13 seemed to be players who have been around long enough to have at least played 6-7 upon release.  I really don't think it is simply nostalgia.  The 13 series really appears to just be a money grab.  Sorry but the games were released too close together temporally to have really taken seriously thought/planning.  Maybe they actually put some soul into FF13 (I don't think that is really even the case), but the rest of the trilogy embarrasses me.  I'd actually be embarrassed to have people over and those are in my collection.  

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@travadinho  Yes honey 6 was a masterpiece it was my favorite i wished a remake of the game [ considering that they will not mess up with everything of course], most of those novice gamers never played a FF game before they only play now because it was twisted to attract their attention and when they open their mouths to show their ''love'' or fool themselves stating their opinions as facts they amuse me even more.

cory_vet_gamer
cory_vet_gamer

@Retroxgamer0  Honey youre such a blind and delusional novice gamer nothing that you said maked any sense, you said you love ''retro'' games but you failed to see the depth of FF6 story and if you don't know that if the most important factor in a FF game,judging by the way you dislike the origins of the franchise i would say that you don't appreciated the limitations of those games like the gameplay and the 2D scenarios, it's better for you to shut up honey youre talking about something you don't understand.

ashxgeist
ashxgeist

@annabiabrum @cory_vet_gamer @travadinho People can't use their own word choice on the net now? Damn lol. It really isn't like someone you don't know is actually going to stop doing something just because a stranger on the net said so. Don't read her posts. It's that simple a solution.

E-Major
E-Major

@travadinho I believe you just supported his point.

.."The beauty of FF6 was it was waaaaaaaayy ahead of its time in terms of writing.  And honestly, it was better written than most newer games. " : Note WAS ahead, and WAS better written.

.."And, to boot, most people who really reacted strongly against FF13 seemed to be players who have been around long enough to have at least played 6-7 upon release." : That's called nostalgia, you like the game because of your fond memories of it.

.."Sorry but the games were released too close together temporally to have really taken seriously thought/planning." I JUST did a quick google search and Final Fantasy 6 only took ONE year to make soooo..... 


E-Major
E-Major

@cory_vet_gamer @Retroxgamer0 First off, as a person with improper grammar you should REALLY not be throwing stones from your glass house. (And YES, I went there. The 'Honey's are starting to bug me ;)) Secondly, As a gamer who has played and enjoyed ALL of the Final Fantasy games (Every single one. INCLUDING spin-offs) I have to agree that 6 had an awesome story. Terra and Kefka made such a wonderful contrast, etc, etc (Not gonna get into ALL the reasons I love that game.) In-fact 6 IS my favourite of the FF Games. That being said...... I LOVE XIII.... and XIII-2..... and XIII-3. You see love of the older FF Games and love of the newer ones need not be mutually exclusive. 

resident_jisen
resident_jisen

final fantasy is not broken. It's only the players that are broken. players can be fixed too.  As for i'm a fan true fan of final fantasy(there may be more of you out there to)you play the games and enjoy them.you may have your favorites.but you never trash any game as a whole.for me my favorites are 7,10,10-2 and 13 series.