Final Fantasy XV has been in development hell for so long that it used to be called Final Fantasy Versus XIII way back in 2006! After the misery of Final Fantasy XIII , series fans are much more cautious than excited, and that’s a very bad sign. Hearing Hajime Tabata – the latest man tasked with directing this gong show – say he wants to make FF XV more ‘casual’ is the latest indication that this series has completely lost it’s way. We were ready to deal with boy bands, awkward English voice-acting, and button mashing combat, but ‘casual’ is a four-letter word here.
I’m looking for a hardcore RPG I can sink my teeth into for 100+ hours. I want a gigantic world to explore, characters I don’t hate, and an epic story that makes sense!
FF XIII failed on all of these fronts. Its story confused ‘complex’ with ‘compelling,’ assaulting us with convoluted backstory while forgetting to make us care. Its irritating characters couldn’t go more than three sentences without relying on the crutch of a made-up, confusingly named concept.
FF XV does appear to get the large world right, but the simplistic combat and the developer saying it’s “a game that’s easy to operate, with a flexible difficulty level” will make hardcore fans groan.
So how can Square Enix rescue FF XV from development hell and make a worthy Final Fantasy game? It needs to stop wasting time and resources patching a demo and just finish the game. That also means it shouldn’t worry about remastering FF XII , and don’t even get me started on whatever the heck the Final Fantasy VII remake is going to be. Cut the distractions and put everything into XV . Release a Final Fantasy that threatens to knock VI off its perch as the series’ best game.
Fans are frothing at the mouth for a hardcore Final Fantasy . A deep combat system and level system that takes careful planning. Turn-based is not a bad thing. There’s great excitement knowing that your characters are one turn away from death, with everything riding on your next choice.
The storytelling needs to be simplified, at least at the beginning. The game should be 50+ hours, so use that time to slowly unravel the story like a television series. Also, use actions instead of endless exposition. Kefka and Sephiroth were easily hated villains because they didn’t just talk a nasty game, they did bad things that resonated with the player.
After the XIII trilogy, FF XV needs to be the mother of all JRPGs with all the pretty graphics we know Square Enix can muster. Persona has proven that people still love that traditional format and it’s time for Square Enix to take it back.
Instead, we’ll probably see a title so expensive to develop it should be called a quadruple-A title, but it will only come out to middling success. It’ll have it’s moments, but with too many “casual” elements, it won’t be what most fans want and it’s not the kind of game that has new fans coming in droves.
Don’t be surprised if SE backs out of expensive console development just like Konami did. It might even be for the best. I’d be more excited for a modest, retro, Final Fantasy released on a portable system than I am for XV .
I’ll still be rooting for you to prove me wrong, Square Enix.