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Sunday, November 21, 2004

A retort to Final Fantasy open letter

Posted by Nathaniel at 9:22 PM
This is just too delicious a debate to pass up.

First of all, Dacquin--if this is indeed your real name--you say this as our cohort-in-arms on ENGames has not one but TWO Final Fantasy games on his Currently Playing list. Have you no shame? Show a little decency, please. =) And, in case you haven't noticed, Square Enix has made plenty of changes in the money machine that is Final Fantasy over the years. Allow me outline them for you, in a hilariously confusing form of reverse chronological order:

  1. The latest entry for Square Enix would be Final Fantasy XI (or "11", for those not familiar with Roman numerals). This game attempts to combine the first money-making scheme (namely, the name "Final Fantasy") with the latest and greatest gaming dollar-whore: the blessed MMORPG. That's a change! And a great business decision it was to marry the finest quality name in video games with the biggest cash cow ever created.

  2. Final Fantasy X (just subtract 1 from the name of the game above) included a water-based game you could play whenever you were bored with the actual game. That was huge.

  3. Final Fantasy X-2 (I know, I know - they changed up the numbering here -- it translates to "the sequel to Final Fantasy X) was Square Enix's first true sequel. They learned from that mistake, I'm sure. They then took a page out of Disney's book, and now their sequels go straight to video! As they should.

  4. On the GameCube, Square Enix released a version of their brand called Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles that included the ability to play the game multiplayer! The game was never heard from again...

  5. Final Fantasy IX (back to the Roman numerals) is a classic. The hero had a tail. This was back when Squaresoft was a bit lax with their rehashes of previous intellectual property.

  6. Final Fantasy VIII. Yeah...I'm not even going to bother.

  7. Final Fantasy VII - now there's a fanchise front-runner! It was so good that the sequel is coming out on the PSP in non-playable DVD format! Wait...I've forgotten if this is good news, or bad...

So, as you can see, Square Enix has a long history of screwing over their fans with 2-bit rehashes and lamentable attempts at reinvigorating a dead franchise.

I know, this all sounds really harsh, but you have to understand where I'm coming from here. I played every Final Fantasy game up through and including 9. Every one, even the early Final Fantasy Legend games on the Game Boy. I loved (most) of them, and was a huge FF fan all the way through. I even liked the movie no-one seemed to care about, Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within. Then, when the next generation came out, Squaresoft moved--logically, I might add--from the Playstation to the Playstation 2. Their president at the time said that they felt that Nintendo's next generation machine might be something they would develop for, instead of the N64 which was the bane of every developer's existence. They said they could see themselves bringing out Final Fantasy games for the GameCube, and would look forward to seeing what they could do. Five games later, what do we have: Crystal Chronicles, a game that isn't any fun unless there's a group of people playing. Which, of course, makes complete sense for a 20-30 hour RPG.

I lost hope in Square Enix, especially since I had no interest in the Playstation 2 besides the couple of games Square Enix brought out for it. And an MMORPG? Who has time for that anymore? Hasn't this fad of a genre died yet? (no offense to any of you that actually play it - I'm sure it's all very inventive)

Anyways, for the future, I see more and more companies abandoning Nintendo and joining up the ranks of the Sony core army. Capcom has done it, Konami has done it, Square Enix might as well have done it, and who knows who else is going to follow suit? In the end, Nintendo will be left with just them and 2nd-party developers. So I guess I hijacked this topic and turned it into yet another "boo-hoo" lament about Nintendo's lack of 3rd-party support. Seriously, this rant isn't really about what Square Enix has done in the past, trust me. It's more about what Nintendo will be forced to deal with in the future. Less of what works, and more of what doesn't.

Depressing, no? And now I return you, emotionally scarred as you are, back to your regular programming, already in progress....


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